The corporate media's 'bombshell' that the US government is engaged in a massive cyber-surveillance operation is old news. The alternative media has been broadcasting and writing about it for years.
In January 2010 , in what was described by many Barack Obama-loving liberals as a 'historic speech', Secretary of State Hilary Clinton championed the cause of internet freedom.
According to one liberal website 'she drew a bold line in the cyber-sand regarding exactly where the United States stands on global online freedom.'
“Both the American people and nations that censor the Internet should understand that our government is committed to helping promote Internet freedom. The Internet can serve as a great equalizer, By providing people with access to knowledge and potential markets, networks can create opportunities where none exist.”
But she also warned that “the same networks that help organize movements for freedom… can also be hijacked by governments to crush dissent and deny human rights.”
In a direct criticism of countries like China and Iran, she said virtual walls were replacing traditional walls in many nations as repressive regimes sought to squash the liberties of their citizenry.
She repeatedly argued in her speech that the Internet has empowered every man, woman, and child to be heard and to make a difference in this world.
Clinton said all this in the full knowledge that her government had been has been engaged in a massive cyber- surveillance operation for many years.
After The Guardian reported that the National Security Agency had compelled at least one telecom company (Verizon) to hand over its customers' call records, the Washington Post last week published a report outlining how at least nine major internet companies were cooperating with the NSA and the FBI. The companies include Google, YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo, Skype and Microsoft.
This data-trawling program is called Prism and has been in operation at least seven years and had been in operation for some five years when Hilary Clinton made her 'historic speech' on internet freedom.
But while the corporate media has been acting as if this surveillance operation has only just been exposed, it has been known about for many years. But it has only been the alternative media that has been broadcasting and writing about it.
What the corporate media have not said is that the NSA’s surveillance activities aren't even secret. They come up regularly in Congress, during hearings, for example, about the renewal of the USA Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the principal laws that govern the activity.
Opponents of these laws have consistently shown up at the hearings and have been invariably shot down by both Democrat and Republican politicians as 'being soft on terrorism'.
This has all gone largely unreported by the corporate media.
In 2007, when Congress passed the "Protect America Act," some people quickly pointed out that it massively expanded warrantless surveillance with little oversight:
But the hastily-enacted legislation, dubbed the Protect America Act, does more than permit the interception of foreign-to-foreign communications. It permits warrantless surveillance "directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States. There is no language specifically restricting surveillance activities to communications originating outside of the United States.
This law was signed by President Bush. Obama declared hat he would end such practices but it has just been one of his many election promises that he hasn't fulfilled.
What is most shocking, but not exactly surprising, is that the corporate media has again been asleep at the wheel. A dumbed down media besotted with ratings and advertising revenue has continued to feed its audience with tabloid news headlines and trivia - at the expense of coverage of the issues that do matter.
The corporate media, which has the attention span of a gnat, will soon move on to the 'next big thing' and it'll again be up to an under resourced alternative media to continue reporting on what the US government is really up to.