I just finished watching the PBS Frontline documentary, “The United States of Secrets.” It covers warrantless NSA wiretapping of Internet traffic and the Edward Snowden leaks. For just a moment I reviewed in my head my own Internet activity and considered whether I should perhaps start using some encryption. The mental review didn’t last very long and I concluded that there wasn’t anything I had that would interest the NSA. There really are only a couple of things in my digital life that I want to keep secret: my financial account information and things that others have shared with me in confidence. In that last category, there is again nothing that the NSA or law enforcement would care about, but I want to keep it private out of respect for the privacy of other people.1
WorldNetDaily has a thread that I’ve been commenting on for a few days, and on that thread there are repeated references to the Cold Case Posse investigation of Obama’s birth certificate in Maricopa County, Arizona. Mike Zullo (pictured right) is the only known member of the Posse, so I’ll just refer to him for the rest of the article. I said that I would happily pay for a trip to Arizona for the pleasure of watching Mike Zullo under cross-examination, and the reply was that I might not have a choice about attending, with the implication that I might be a subject of prosecution. One commenter said:
You might be interested to read the transcript of Zullo’s official interrogation of me by phone last year:
The transcript is blank because the event never occurred. Zullo has never so much as even asked me a question in an email. What law enforcement investigation names someone on a radio program (so it’s no secret), but fails to interview them after three years? Apparently Zullo never attempted to contact the White House either. The very fact that Zullo hasn’t questioned me, proves that he’s not doing a real investigation involving me.
Failing to respond to a non-existent request for information is one of the many ways that I evade Mike Zullo.
Another way that I evade Mike Zullo is by not dropping by his house, not that I have any reason to visit Arizona in the first place. While Mike Zullo has no authority to do anything official, he does have a permit to carry a gun, and there are stories of him sometimes being just a bit unstable, [redacted]. Sheriff Arpaio, on the other hand, has some authority and sometimes people in his jail end up dead. No one has come forward to say that Sheriff Joe has obtained or served warrants related to the birth certificate investigation. He said he had “probable cause.” At best, this indicates that Arpaio is not really investigating anything under his jurisdiction.
The primary tool used in the Cold Case Posse investigation appears to be the same tool that I use, reading stuff on the Internet or things others send me. When Mike Zullo said that Foggy was an “Obamacare navigator,” that information didn’t come from law enforcement sources, old fashioned detective work, or an investigation of government records. It came from a comment Foggy made on the Internet that Zullo misunderstood. In our methods of investigation, there is little difference between Zullo and me: we both read the Internet and people send us stuff. The difference is that I am more careful in what I believe, and I don’t go on the radio and smear people with rumors.
The NSA engaged in broad sweeps of data that most people thought was protected by the 4th Amendment. The amateurs (like me and Zullo) also engage in broad sweeps of data, but it’s public data. There is an amazing amount of information in someone’s public digital life when it’s all aggregated. That came home to me in a very creepy way through the doxing I got from Lucas Smith.
I blog very publicly and you can get a good sense of what I think on a variety of issues by reading my personal blog. There’s more “friends and family” material on Facebook, but I don’t share that outside my friends and so far since it went “friends only,” the birthers haven’t gotten anything from there. Google amasses an incredible store of information. The government can get and aggregate even more. Zullo only has a web browser, but reportedly more computer video monitors than I have.
I use a strong password on my blog and emails; I keep my computer antivirus software up to date. I lead a normal life and keep my nose clean. It’s pretty easy to evade Mike Zullo.
1If my emails were ever hacked and made public, the single person who would suffer the most from what was revealed would be Mike Zullo. What birthers would learn is how closely my private conversation and views match my public conversation and views, and of course that there’s no involvement with the White House whatsoever.