Former Top NSA Lawyer Blames Civil Libertarians For 9/11, Says Hype About NSA May Lead To A Repeat

from the fuck-the-4th-amendment,-live-in-fear,-bitches dept

Ah, Stewart Baker. We've mentioned him a few times in the past. He's the former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security and General Counsel for the NSA. He's, as you may have guessed, strongly in the "pro-surveillance" camp, and has even attacked some of the journalists who revealed the NSA leaks, claiming that by revealing the truth they're no longer journalists, but advocates. He's taking part in a House Judiciary Committee hearing looking into oversight on the administration's use of FISA and his testimony is quite incredible. It goes way beyond what we've seen from others. While it repeats his baseless and confused attack that some journalists who were key players in this story were evil "advocates" rather than journalists, that's nothing compared to his lack of regard for the Constitution and basic civil liberties. In fact, he very clearly blames 9/11 on civil liberties advocates, and fears that all this talk about surveillance may lead to a repeat event.
To be blunt, one of the reasons I'm here is that I fear we may repeat some of the mistakes we made as a country in the years before September 11, 2001. In those years, a Democratic President serving his second term seemed to inspire deepening suspicion of government and a rebirth of enthusiasm for civil liberties not just on the left but also on the right. The Cato Institute criticized the Clinton Administrations' support of warrantless national security searches and expanded government wiretap authority as "dereliction of duty," saying "[i]f constitutional report cards were handed out to presidents, Bill Clinton would certainly receive an F-an appalling grade for any president-let alone a former professor of constitutional law?" The criticism rubbed off on the FISA court, whose chief judge felt obliged to give public interviews and speeches defending against the claim that the court was rubber-stamping the Clinton administration's intercept requests.

This is where I. should insert a joke about the movie "Groundhog Day." But I don't feel like joking, because I know how this movie ends. Faced with civil liberties criticism all across the ideological spectrum, the FISA court imposed aggressive new civil liberties restrictions on governments use of FISA information. As part of its "minimization procedures" for FISA taps, the court required a "wall" between law enforcement and intelligence. And by early 2001, it was enforcing that wall with unprecedented ferver. That was when the court's chief judge harshly disciplined an FBI supervisor for not strictly observing the wall and demanded an investigation that seemed to put the well-regarded agent at risk of a perjury prosecution. A chorus of civil liberties critics and a determined FISA court was sending the FBI a single clear message: the wall must be observed at all costs.

And so, when a law enforcement task force of the FBI found out in August of 2001 that al Qaeda had sent two dangerous operatives to the United States, it did ... nothing. It was told to stand down; it could not go looking for the two al Qaeda operatives because it was on the wrong side of the wall. I believe that FBI task force would have found the hijackers -- who weren't hiding -- and that the attacks could have been stopped if not for a combination of bad judgment by the FISA court (whose minimization rules were later thrown out on appeal) and a climate in which national security concerns were discounted by civil liberties advocates on both sides of the aisle.
Got that? Anyone advocating for basic civil liberties is to blame for 9/11. Holy fuck. This kind of thinking is about as anti-American as I can think of. As we've discussed, protecting civil liberties is at the core of the American way of life. "Give me liberty or give me death" is the phrase that Patrick Henry chose, and apparently Stewart Baker believes the American motto should be "you're all going to die if you fight for civil liberties!" Shameful.

And that's not the only example he uses. He goes back to the early days of organized US intelligence efforts, talking about how we "won" World War II by ignoring limitations on intelligence collections.
The Americans who fought World War II had a different view; they thought that intelligence couldn't be conducted under any but the most general legal constraints. This may have been a reaction to a failure of law in the run-up to World War II, when U.S. codebreakers were forbidden to intercept Japan's coded radio communications because section 605 of the Federal Communications Act made such intercepts illegal. Finally, in 1939, Gen. George C. Marshall told Navy intelligence officers to ignore the law. The military that followed made the officers look like heroes, not felons.
Got that? Ignoring laws that protect your privacy and communications is good, because of one situation where intelligence agencies breaking the law helped the US in war. But that kind of justification is a justification that the government has the power to do anything it wants to achieve its goals. We would all be a lot "safer" if the government could randomly search homes and throw those it doesn't like in jail with no trial. And Stewart Baker could smugly sit in front of Congress with his best "this is my best grave face" and talk about how this "saves lives." But that's not how it works. We don't ignore the Constitution and basic civil liberties because "it makes us safer." Because it doesn't. It shows what hypocrites the US government can be, that it has no respect for the people who duly elected its leaders. That it has no respect for the Constitution. That it will go to any length to control the population, with vague scare stories of "but... but... terrorism."

Baker then moves on to argue that any public debate over the US government absolutely destroying the civil liberties of the public they're supposed to serve only creates problems, because any such discussion just gives bogey men more opportunities to avoid further dragnet surveillance:
Forty years later, though, we're still finding problems with this experiment. One of them is that law changes slowly while technology changes quickly. That usually means Congress has to change the law frequently to keep up. But in the context of intelligence, it's often hard to explain why the law needs to be changed, let alone to write meaningful limits on collection without telling our intelligence targets a lot about our collection techniques. A freewheeling and prolonged debate -- and does Congress have any other kind? -- will give them enough time and knowledge to move their communications away from technologies we've mastered and into technologies that thwart us. The result won't be intelligence under law; it will be law without intelligence.
Basically, shut up with the debate, just let us go back to spying on fucking everyone. If we actually have to "debate" and "protect the Constitution," some "bad guys" might talk without us knowing about it. And then we'll all die.

Later in his remarks, he makes this point even clearer, insisting that "open debate" will cause "great harm."
In short, in both section 215 and section 702, the government has found a reasonable way to square intelligence-gathering necessities with changing technology. Now that they've been exposed to the light of day, these programs are not at all hard to justify. But we cannot go on exposing every collection technique to the light of day just to satisfy everyone that the programs are appropriate. The exposure itself will diminish their effectiveness. Even a fair debate in the open will cause great harm.
Bullshit. We keep hearing this claim, and there's no evidence to support it at all. Most people doing really bad things have always suspected that these telco and internet services were watched closely by the NSA. Just look at how Osama bin Laden communicated with the outside world, and it's clear that Al Qaeda knew how to go to great lengths to avoid leaving revealing marks via phone or internet services, moving messages around on USB sticks, having computers with no internet connection, and sending people many miles away to upload and download things.

In the security world, people have long noted that "security by obscurity" is a recipe for trouble. A truly strong security system can withstand attack even if its details are public. The same holds true for intelligence gathering techniques. If they are truly justified and justifiable, they can withstand public scrutiny and public debate.

Later, he again argues that the openness of this debate has already harmed American interests, in part because European countries are worse than the US with their own surveillance efforts, but since only the Americans are having this open debate, European politicians can attack the US while knowing that their own -- even worse -- surveillance efforts are still secret.

He then tries to flip the whole thing around and argue that supporters of civil liberties are actually anti-technology, because they're trying to limit the government's use of technology. That's ridiculous, since many of the loudest supporters of civil liberties come from the tech and innovation communities. No one thinks the government shouldn't make efficient use of technology -- but that's very different from saying it's okay for the government to either convince or force companies to cough up all sorts of private data on everyone or risk the wrath of the US government. That's not a fair fight. The government has the power to compel people and companies to do things that they would not do otherwise, though I guess an extreme authoritarian like Baker either doesn't realize this or doesn't see it as a problem.

At the end, he makes a bunch of claims about how it's the US government's job to "protect" everyone -- though I'd like to see where that's laid out in the Constitution. As mentioned above, he makes some valid points that other countries are just as bad, if not worse, but that's hardly a compelling argument, because that just allows others to flip it around, and claim that the US has no moral high ground, since it's ignoring the civil liberties of the public -- something that Baker notes he directly supports in this testimony -- for some vague and impossible promises of "safety."

Baker's key claim is the same bogus one we've heard before: an undying belief in a supreme authoritarian government that gets to do whatever the hell it wants in the name of "national security." Civil liberties and basic Constitutional protections just get in the way, and ain't nobody got time for that.


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  1.  
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    Jeff (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 7:31am

    Wow... just wow... shameful doesn't even begin to describe this man's behavior. Petty tyrants will always try and justify their actions - "BECAUSE THE LAW ALLOWS IT". However, through the use of secret interpretations, and secret courts, it dodges a fundamental guiding principle of the founding of the United States - the will of the governed. That's not to say the will of the governed wouldn't agree to being monitored and watched, but we haven't even been given the chance to debate the matter - because we don't matter. The autocratic - "TRUST US WE'RE WITH THE GOVERNMENT" has been completely worn thin, and the American public is waking up to the fact that an unfettered, unaccountable government is a dangerous thing.

     

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    Androgynous Cowherd, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:04am

    We're right

    Former Top NSA Lawyer Blames Civil Libertarians For 9/11, Says Hype About NSA May Lead To A Repeat


    Thing is, even if he's right, we're still right. Freedom is worth even the occasional "extra" terrorist attack that might otherwise have been prevented.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:05am

    "Baker's key claim is the same bogus one we've heard before: an undying belief in a supreme authoritarian government that gets to do whatever the hell it wants in the name of "national security." Civil liberties and basic Constitutional protections just get in the way, and ain't nobody got time for that."

    I have read many of Mr. Baker's papers/articles/ etc., and not once have I ever read in them what you are trying to do here with respect to his opinions. Hard to have a rational discussion when the predicate for such a discussion is totally off the mark.

     

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    Wally (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:07am

    This is fairly debatable...

    In short, in both section 215 and section 702, the government has found a reasonable way to square intelligence-gathering necessities with changing technology. Now that they've been exposed to the light of day, these programs are not at all hard to justify. But we cannot go on exposing every collection technique to the light of day just to satisfy everyone that the programs are appropriate. The exposure itself will diminish their effectiveness. Even a fair debate in the open will cause great harm.

    The problem is that the NSA lacked transparency towards the FBI in the matter when the information would only be given part ways in a conversation. This was just one of the causes of 9/11. At the time, the US relied heavily on the FBI for domestic intel

    There is a very good episode of PBS's Nova series on this problem the NSA has...the episode is called "The Spy Factory".

    Mike you may gain a better perspective of the issues that the Bush Jr. administration went through due to the NSA's lack of transparency towards the federal government by watching this.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:09am

    "In fact, he very clearly blames 9/11 on civil liberties advocates"

    Baker's actually absolutely right. If this country had no civil liberties and was the police state he dreams about, Islamic militants never would have attacked us in the first place. They hate us for our freedom, right? Take away the freedom, you get rid of the hate.

     

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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    Wow

    And here I thought the claims being made in the outrage over the verdict in the Zimmerman trial were bad (he was acquitted by a jury of his peers folks, get the fuck over it and move on already!).

    In short, in both section 215 and section 702, the government has found a reasonable way to square intelligence-gathering necessities with changing technology. Now that they've been exposed to the light of day, these programs are not at all hard to justify. But we cannot go on exposing every collection technique to the light of day just to satisfy everyone that the programs are appropriate. The exposure itself will diminish their effectiveness.


    Hold up.

    If the programs aren't all that hard to justify, then: a)why were the programs kept secret in the first place [oh yeah, they're unconstitutional], b)why has the NSA been stonewalling any attempt to discuss their methodology [probably because it SUCKS ASS. See "51% foreignness"], and c) why do you keep acting like nothing has happened when everybody and their dog is now aware of at least part of your surveillance program (except the guys who work for the NSA because they can't access the websites to read the articles on the documents)? [because you might have people who actually work in the NSA start to realize that "oh shit, this stuff really goes against American principles", and start speaking out]

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    Has anyone ever bothered to calculate how many lives the loss of our constitution would cost? Or even how many lives could be saved by spending NSA's budget on other things such as health care or smoking cessation? Funny, I don't recall ever seeing anything like that.

     

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    sorrykb (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    I fear we may repeat some of the mistakes we made as a country in the years before September 11, 2001. ... a rebirth of enthusiasm for civil liberties not just on the left but also on the right.

    Oh no! Anything but that!!!!
    *clutches pearls* *faints*

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:23am

    "Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:30am

    Re:

    Baker's key claim is the same bogus one we've heard before: an undying belief in a supreme authoritarian government

    The US has been authoritarian in its approaches to foreign trade for a long time, trying to get foreign countries to act in the best interests of America rather than their own people. This is a major driver of terrorism both against America and within some countries.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:32am

    "Holy fuck."

    Holy f...ractals.

    I think this is the first time I've seen Mike drop an f-bomb on an article.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:32am

    BUT so long as corporations have the data, gov't will too.

    That's the conundrum "the tech and innovation communities" CAN'T resolve. Both corporations and gov't are amoral monsters which will do anything necessary to keep and gain power. The public can't surrender just a little privacy: any bits of data create impulse for and means of gathering yet more power. You kids were born into already HIGH levels of surveillance, and don't see how pernicious it ALL is. -- Some even think Google does good! Pffft!

    Now, skipping obvious points in between: I don't advocate returning to The Stone Age, BUT Google's spying, supposedly for only commercial purposes, is NOT necessary for its basic services nor for a healthy economy: we got along just fine -- better -- without it, and could again. So roll it back.

    Corporations and gov't are both amoral monsters that must be kept chained. This focus on gov't isn't even half the battle while you leave key components of the spy grid free to operate, as if ALL spying isn't bad in and of itself.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:37am

    Is it so hard to understand id rather have a little danger in my life than their so called "security", gained with the destruction of the constitution. Sick of this mindless fearmongering track the country if not the world is going towards

     

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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:39am

    Re: This is fairly debatable...

    Actually, if I remember right, the NSA pretty much lacked transparency towards ALL other federal agencies pre-9/11. After all, before 9/11, the federal government refused to even acknowledge the NSA's existence, despite the gargantuan headquarters they have inside Fort Meade, Maryland.

    Doesn't help matters that the NSA is considered military and groups like the FBI, CIA, and the state Department are considered civilian (it's predecessor, AFSA, had a big problem with that).

     

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    Votre, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:39am

    There was a good article by Ken White over at Popehat that speaks about the 'statist' mindset. Something which Stewie Baker seems to have in spades.

    In Ken's words:

    As a statist, purpose of the criminal justice system is to convict and punish to the maximum extent possible people accused by the government. To determine whether someone has committed a brutal and dastardly crime, all you need to know is whether the government has said they did.

    'Statist'...hmm...that's a pretty good term. Time to start using it more.

     

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    TheLastCzarnian (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:43am

    Re:

    It's not the first time, but it has been a long time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:43am

    perhaps shipping him and others of the same mind to a country like N.Korea or mainland China for a compulsory term of 10 years would make them change their mind(s)? when every single thing he/they did, no matter how trivial it seemed to him/them, was spied on and noted for future reference, a change of opinion might come about! i find it so hard to understand how anyone living in a country that supposedly holds freedom etc in such high esteem, will say/do what ever ridiculousness they can think of to throw it all away! what the fuck is wrong with these people? if they had been born under a dictatorship/police state, they would be working their arses off to get out of there!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:48am

    Then let there be another 9/11

    If protection of civil liberties means we get attacked by those who hate civil liberties, then let us be attacked, repeatedly and forever.

    At this point, the terrorists have won.

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:48am

    The government's job is to keep me safe, and the best way to do that would be solitary confinement. They just need to build everyone a little prison cell to stay in, and nobody would ever get hurt again.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:53am

    Huh?

    This is where I. should insert a joke about the movie "Groundhog Day." But I don't feel like joking, because I know how this movie ends.

    The movie had a happy ending. This is what he's afraid of?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:59am

    Re:

    But this is nothing new. It has existed for a long time. It just had a different name: inquisition.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Re:

    I have read many of Mr. Baker's papers/articles/ etc., and not once have I ever read in them what you are trying to do here with respect to his opinions. Hard to have a rational discussion when the predicate for such a discussion is totally off the mark.

    Clearly, Mike has no interest whatsoever in a "rational discussion." It's a shame. Techdirt could be a leader in this important conversation.

     

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    Bengie, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:08am

    Again?

    That sounds like he's threatening to do it again. /sarc

     

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    Michael, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    Re: BUT so long as corporations have the data, gov't will too.

    Google's spying, supposedly for only commercial purposes, is NOT necessary for its basic services

    That may be true. And since you don't have to use their services, you can totally avoid their spying. If Google's activities were nefarious and made their customers uncomfortable - their customers can go use someone else's services.

    Our only option with the NSA is to move to Cuba - but I'm sure the NSA is spying on them too, so it may not help.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:12am

    Huh

    Did Baker really just use our constituitonal liberties as the basis for an "asking for it" justification of 9/11?

    "You didn't see the US, it was all their fault. They were walking around flaunting their ability to express themselves and worship freely! I had to do something about it!"

     

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    Michael, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:12am

    Re: Huh?

    Perhaps he is concerned about a blizzard preventing traffic from moving.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    Re:

    I have read many of Mr. Baker's papers/articles/ etc., and not once have I ever read in them what you are trying to do here with respect to his opinions. Hard to have a rational discussion when the predicate for such a discussion is totally off the mark.

    Did you read this testimony? Because it's pretty clearly making just such a statement, as have many of Baker's previous works.

    That you have not read in them what is obviously there may suggest more about your own position and belief than what is or is not in Mr. Baker's writings.

     

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    Michael, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    Horrible Situation

    In those years, a Democratic President serving his second term seemed to inspire deepening suspicion of government and a rebirth of enthusiasm for civil liberties not just on the left but also on the right.

    Oh no! There was non-partisan support for increasing civil liberties!

    That IS a big problem.

    I think the last time that happened, a crap-load of tea ended up on Boston harbor.

     

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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re:

    First time I've seen him drop an f-bomb (then again, I've been hanging around TechDirt for about a year, if that).

    All the same, I think this situation does warrant the use of a vulgarity like that, and what's better is that Mike didn't resort to long for of the all-too-common "wtf?" remark we see nowadays.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:16am

    Re:

    "Nuh uh!" is not an argument.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:21am

    Re:

    Have my insightful vote and my hats off.

    the American public is waking up to the fact that an unfettered, unaccountable government is a dangerous thing.

    Hopefully not too late.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re:

    Did you read this testimony? Because it's pretty clearly making just such a statement, as have many of Baker's previous works.

    Can you point to Baker's language that shows his "undying belief in a supreme authoritarian government that gets to do whatever the hell it wants in the name of 'national security'"??

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:37am

    Well on the bright side if the government attacks us again people will be on their side for a few more years. Hell it might be enough to finish destroying the little bit of freedom we have left.

    Their way of thinking not mine.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:44am

    So he's warning there will be another False Flag?

     

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    Ralph Hitchens, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 11:05am

    A "wall?"

    Stewart Baker's account differs from what I've read, in the unclassified Congressional 9/11 report & elsewhere. The notion that FBI Counterintelligence was not allowed to investigate two foreign nationals inside the US is ridiculous. Furthermore, they were identified as al-Qaeda operatives well before August 2001 by CIA, who also discovered that they had multiple-entry US visas. CIA did NOT share this information with FBI Counterintelligence -- "need to know," of course -- so when these two guys entered the USA in 2000 they were not tracked or investigated by the FBI. Some pen register or cell phone metadata would have illuminated their links to several other foreign nationals who subsequently participated in the 9/11 operation. This investigative activity was perfectly legal for the FBI, and would likely have prevented the tragedy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 11:10am

    Re:

    Secret interpretations and secret law is a combination that guarantee the process will inevitably be hijacked by those who live in the legal construct. In this case Stewart Baker is a prime example of a man who has been trained by the system to obey the system and who deals with a fantasy world (law) while not recognising the truth of modern reality - Using WWII as a prime example of how the system should work is incredibly regressive and you need to be very diluted to see the world as the same as then!

    Furthermore, if NSA and/or FISA was forced to close down the man would be out of his current job and he sounds like he has enough baggage, not to be able to make it in a real court...

    Besides: How old is this guy? It is one thing to long for a time when you were younger, but dreaming about a distant past he was never part of is a glaring lack of perspective...

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 11:17am

    Re: Huh?

    The movie had a happy ending. This is what he's afraid of?



    I had the same thought when reading that also.

    If I recall the movie ended with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell in love and discussing living happily ever after in Smalltown USA.

    Is Stewart Baker actually afraid of the American Way??

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 11:31am

    Re: Horrible Situation

    I am actually surprised by such a blatant political statement coming from a guy whos work depend on "objectively" finding reason in law. It is almost as if he has absolutely no respect for the man who pays him...

    Also, bureaucracy and a badly implemented footlenght principle between government and secret service is not necessarily civil rights per se (even though politicians might have implemented it based on pressure from civil right groups). Some might say that a breaking of governmental and secret service ties could lessen corruption if implemented correctly, but that apparently is not a concern for "mr. objective".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 11:47am

    "The only thing we have to fear is...fear itself"

    -Franklin D. Roosevelt


    Stewart Bake is attempting to spread fear to the American People. The only thing I fear is Stewart Bake, and those like him.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    um, virtually every sentence ? ? ?
    i guess you just skip over the big words and are left with a word salad of 'the' 'a' 'USA' 'fuck yeah!' 'motherfuckin' eagles, bitchez!'...

    its always comfy inside the bubble...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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    Simple Mind (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 1:22pm

    Re:

    Stewart Baker should be given a dictatorship on a small desolate island with a population of 1. There he can bask in wonderful laws he can keep secret to himself and there won't be any pesky civil liberties to get in the way of his safety.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymouse Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 1:28pm

    law without intelligence

    Kind of says it all, doesn't it?

    So, if it is the responsibility to keep citizens safe, and as a citizen when I served in the military and the government sent me in harm's way ... of fuck it, I'm confused.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Simple Mind (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 1:34pm

    Re:

    It already is happening. It is called "The War on Drugs".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous?, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 1:34pm

    "Holy fuck." is right!
    Or he could have put it this way: "if we had the same way of life and liberties of Afganistan citizens then we would less likely to get attacked again."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 1:57pm

    Re: BUT so long as corporations have the data, gov't will too.

    Indeed, you really do not have to use Google's services or products, and you can effectively block all their efforts with No Script for Firefox. All your shield beating about Google is just tired. Amusing, but tired. Mostly because Google doesn't force you to use their products or give them your information.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:23pm

    Re:

    So if we fear fear, which came first? The fear or the fear?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah I had to recheck the author because it made me think it was Geigner. Better if the boss keeps the standards higher.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:46pm

    I'm pretty sure what Roosevelt meant, was we can't let fear get the best of us. Otherwise we, as a country, will start making incredibly stupid decisions while we're running around in panic mode.

    Such as destroying the Constitution in exchange for a false sense of 'absolute security'.

     

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  49.  
    icon
    byteboy (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 3:13pm

    US Navy Intelligence

    "Finally, in 1939, Gen. George C. Marshall told Navy intelligence officers to ignore the law. The military that followed made the officers look like heroes, not felons"

    I don't know about other parts of this guy's testimony, but a document from the NSA website indicates that the above quote is just totally inaccurate.

    "The first class of U.S. Navy intercept operators with classroom training began their intercept activities with the Japanese maneuvers of 1929. This proved good experience in preparing them for the Grand Maneuvers of 1930, when the U.S. Navy emphasized radio intercept operations."

    Source:http://www.nsa.gov/about/cryptologic_heritage/center_crypt_history/pearl_harb or_review/follow_fleet.shtml

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 3:23pm

    Re:

    Lets look at recent Afghan history.
    Invaded by the Russians, who were fought by an insurgency supported by the USA.
    Russian withdrawal followed by Taliban take-over.
    Invaded by a US led coalition. Resulting in a Taliban insurgency.

    I imagine most Afghan citizens would like a some freedom from being attacked.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

    Of course, Stewart Baker is complicit and his head would be among those who would roll if congress actually gave two shits:
    https://twitter.com/csoghoian/status/353719958129217537

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    icon
    uRspqF7L (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 4:14pm

    stop this

    if you keep writing stuff i agree with i may have a heart attack.

    read back through the 9/11 commission transcripts--the security state was going out of its way to exacerbate the firewall problems before 9/11 happened. They clearly could have communicated more about the threats they not only perceived but both the FBI and CIA had hands in supporting. That whole part of the story gives me a chill, & the number of security state reps who shouted "tear down that firewall" immediately after the event really, really frightened me. Even security-insider legislators like Hamilton & others responded to their "the firewall prevented us from connecting the dots" claims with incredulity at the time. They wanted this power, far beyond what reason would dictate, and I think the reasons have much less to do with "real" terrorist threats than with "potential" terrorist threats, i.e., anything certain security-state types perceive as threatening to some very powerful interest.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 5:06pm

    Re:

    If there were no citizens, no citizens could ever be in danger.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Re: Horrible Situation

    It is almost as if he has absolutely no respect for the man who pays him

    I assume you mean the TAXPAYERS

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Nynewonwon, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 5:36pm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 5:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sometimes it's appropriate. This load of horseshit calls for it. Furthermore, because he uses it very discriminately, it is even more effective when he does.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Roland, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 5:45pm

    how to prevent another 9/11

    It's really straightforward: Stop Occupying Other Peoples' Countries.
    "Imagine an occupied America": http://www.antiwar.com/paul/?articleid=14377
    Why did Osama Bin-laden attack on 9/11?
    Bin Laden was furious that the Saudis would allow American troop bases to be established in the 'Holy Land'. He issued warnings. The warnings were ignored.
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081026092130AAiPI2E

     

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  58.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 6:33pm

    Re: Re: This is fairly debatable...

    "Mike you may gain a better perspective of the issues that the Bush Jr. administration went through due to the NSA's lack of transparency towards the federal government by watching this."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 7:00pm

    Re: A "wall?"

    "Stewart Baker's account differs from what I've read, in the unclassified Congressional 9/11 report & elsewhere. The notion that FBI Counterintelligence was not allowed to investigate two foreign nationals inside the US is ridiculous."


    Oh no...that was absolutely true. The FBI Counterintelligence was only given the recordings of the foreign nationals as they called Osama Bin Laden for orders. The NSA kept the recordings of Osama Bin Laden. So the Patriot Act was written up to actually MAKE the NSA hand over its data should the need arise. Of course the PRISM program got added to it which allowed it to be abused.

    The Patriot Act was about agency to agency transparency and was only applied to foreign nationals in its infancy. Congress and the FISA courts kept piling on basically...that's when PRISM came along.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 7:08pm

    Re: how to prevent another 9/11

    To answer the question plainly...transparency.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 7:29pm

    Re: how to prevent another 9/11

    And citing Yahoo Answers??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    Pat, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:12pm

    I'm from IOWA, where the flag says, right there on the flag, “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.” Thanks a lot for 9/11, Iowa.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jul 18th, 2013 @ 5:38am

    Re: Re: Huh?

    Maybe he's afraid of Andie McDowell?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    Anonymous Howard (profile), Jul 18th, 2013 @ 6:32am

    Re: We're right

    This, given that we believe 9/11 were what your government told us were. Which I personally doubt.

    The more they use it as a boogeyman, the more I think it was the us government's doing to create a boogeyman.
    /take off tinfoil hat

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    Anonymous Howard (profile), Jul 18th, 2013 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Authoritarianism:
    Authoritarianism ... regimes as political systems characterized by four qualities:
    (1) "limited, not responsible, political pluralism"; that is, constraints on political institutions and groups (such as legislatures, political parties, and interest groups),

    Secret laws, agencies ignoring/"reinterpreting" the law. check.

    (2) a basis for legitimacy based on emotion, especially the identification of the regime as a necessary evil to combat "easily recognizable societal problems" such as underdevelopment or insurgency;

    FOR DA CHILDREN! BUTBUTBUTERRORISTS! check.

    (3) neither "intensive nor extensive political mobilization" and constraints on the mass public (such as repressive tactics against opponents and a prohibition of antiregime activity) and

    2 party system, secret prisons, Manning, Snowden etc, govt. mouthpiece media. check.

    (4) "formally ill-defined" executive power, often shifting or vague.[2]

    CFAA. PATRIOT. CISPA. check.

    This is the government Baker defend so vigorously. In the name of 2. we must strengthen 1 and 4, and ignore the acts of 3.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    Anonymous Howard (profile), Jul 18th, 2013 @ 7:04am

    Re: how to prevent another 9/11

    Simple: don't replace commercial aircraft with military drones, and rig skyscrapers with explosives..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 7:57am

    Re:

    Excellent post. But don't worry, if their spy network were ever threatened, you can count on them either staging or allowing another attack to occur. They rely on manipulating the public into an emotional reaction of fear in order to consolidate more power at our expense. If our rights are dismantled, we sure as hell won't be safe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 8:03am

    Re: Again?

    Actually, that's about right. It's a thinly-veiled threat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 8:08am

    Re:

    Yup. He's basically giving us an ultimatum: either sacrifice our freedoms to the NSA or be prepared to die.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 8:13am

    Re:

    Exactly. No threat or danger is worth dissolving our rights over.

    There are only two ways one can live: free or slave. There is no third option of security as that is a LIE.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    icon
    PT (profile), Jul 18th, 2013 @ 1:40pm

    Re: A "wall?"

    I'm surprised that Baker would bring 9/11 into it, considering how precariously the lid has been secured on that can of worms. There is plenty of evidence that if there was a "failure to connect the dots", it was willful. Some agency was tracking these guys during their time at the flight school in Florida, and other agencies had been told to leave them alone. This is not to say that anyone knew what they were planning to do, but they were certainly already "persons of interest" to someone. As for the FBI, it's been adequately documented by Daniel Hopsicker (http://www.madcowprod.com/newvideo/dvd/flyingcircus2.html) and others that their primary concern after the event was not investigating, but gathering up and concealing evidence and warning inconvenient witnesses to keep their mouths shut.

     

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  72.  
    icon
    leveymg (profile), Jul 21st, 2013 @ 1:13pm

    That's NOT the way it happened, Mr. Baker

    That's NOT the way it happened. The CIA quashed the FBI FISA request for al-Midhar and al-Hazmi

    The court records of the Moussaoui case provide, another, entirely different account of events that explain why the warrants were denied in the much-delayed, much-obstructed FBI hunt for the Flt. 77 hijackers in the weeks before 9/11. It wasn't The Wall that prevented FBI agents from obtaining FISA warrants, it was the fact that the CIA was withholding files on the soon to be Flt. 77 hijackers, and had been doing so since the day they entered the US on Jan. 15, 2000.

    Shortly after the pair's arrival from an al-Qaeda planning summit in Kuala Lumpur that was surveilled by the CIA and a half doezen allied services, an FBI liaison officer drafted a warning cable, but she was ordered to withhold it by the Assistant Director of the CIA Counter-Terrorism Center (CIA-CTC). The CIA repeatedly obstructed subsequent FBI attempts to get its own surveillance of al-Hazmi and al-Midhar during the 18 months leading up to the attacks.

    Here's an account based upon court records from the Moussaoui case: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023015400


    Moussaoui Court Records Show CIA Suppression of Ongoing FBI Investigation

    http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?freewheel=90962&sitesection=csmonitor&VID=24880 556

    We've learned a great deal about 9/11 that confirmed earlier information that points to sabotage of FBI field investigations of the 9/11 hijackers known by both CIA and FBI to be inside the U.S. We also see a chain of malfeasance and dereliction of duty that reaches up into the White House in the handling of the known threat presented by the presence of the soon to be Flt.-77 hijackers, Nawaf Al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar.

    The following summary also sheds light on the role that previously unpublicized NSA surveillance had, and how willful misinterpretation of FISA requirements led to FBI surveillance of the Flt. 77 plot being shut down. The "DE" references, below, refer to specific Defense Exhibits in the Moussaoui trial.

    (Note: Much of what we now know about the 9/11 plot the material introduced by the defense. http://www.salon.com/2012/06/19/new_nsa_docs_reveal_911_truths/singleton/)



    DE #939 entered into the Moussaoui trial on March 11, 2006: email from former CIA Deputy Chief of the CIA Bin Laden unit , Tom Wilshire, back to his CIA CTC managers, Richard Blee, Head of the CIA Bin Laden unit, Cofer Black head of the CIA CTC unit and likely George Tenet, on July 23, 2001. This email said that Khalid al-Mihdhar would be found at the point of the next big al Qaeda attack. Wilshire in the DOJ IG report had also already stated in his July 5, 2001 email back to his CIA CTC managers that he thought the people at the Kuala Lumpur meeting were connected to the warnings the CIA and FBI had been receiving since April 2001 of a huge al Qaeda attack aimed at the United States. These people would have been Mihdhar and Hazmi. Wilshire, as did the CIA already knew Hazmi had a US visa and was inside of the US, and knew Mihdhar had a US multi-entry visa.

    According DE 939, Wilshire was not given permission to his two requests on July 13, 2001, and July 23, 2001 to turn the information on Kuala Lumpur meeting over to the FBI Cole bombing investigators (O'Neill's unit), even though his CIA managers, Richard Blee and Cofer Black along with George Tenet were holding an urgent meeting on July 10, 2001 with Rice and Clark in the White house warning Rice and Clark that the al Qaeda terrorists were planning an attack inside of the US that would kill thousands of Americans. see State of Denial by Bob Woodward. On July 17, Blee, Black and Tenet gave the same warning to Ashcroft, and Rumsfeld. Whatever the warning, Ashcroft quite flying commercial aircraft on AJ business on July 26, 2001 due to some still unexplained threat from the FBI?

    Less than one month after his July 23, 2001 email back to Blee and Black indicating that Mihdhar would be found at the location of the next big al Qaeda attack, on August 22, 2001 FBI Agent Margret Gillespie, aka Mary, working at the CIA Bin Laden unit tells FBI HQ Agent Dina Corsi and CIA officer Tom Wilshire, working at that time as the FBI ITOS Deputy Chief, that the INS had discovered both Mihdhar and Hazmi inside of the US. It is clear that Wilshire and most likely Corsi know that that point that both Mihdhar and Hazmi are inside of the US to take part in the al Qaeda attack they are aware of that will kill thousands of Americans. It is clear that . . . they work together to shut down the only investigation of Mihdhar and Hazmi that could have prevented this attack. See description of DE 061/062 below.

    On August 23, 2001 Gillespie had the CIA Bin Laden unit send out an alert for Mihdhar and Hazmi, and indicated that these al Qaeda terrorists are inside of the US. At that point anyone at the CIA who had received Wilshire’s July 23, 2001 and July 5, 2001 email, or who were aware of the massive warnings of an al Qaeda attack inside of the US would also know that al Qaeda terrorists Mihdhar and Hazmi were inside of the US to carry out the al Qaeda attacks the CIA and FBI HQ had been warned about since April 2001.

    See the following webs sites; http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notable...aoui/exhibits/ and www.eventson911.com.

    In addition to DE 939, the most chilling of these is DE-0681 and DE 0682. In DE 681/682, FBI HQ IOS Agent Dina Corsi tells Bongardt on August 28, 2001, that he and his team must shut down any investigation of Mihdhar and Hazmi because the information came from intelligence through the NSA. But on August 27, 2001 the day before, the NSA had already given Corsi written permission to give all of this NSA information to the criminal investigators on the Cole bombing investigation, see DE-0448 for this actual release from the NSA. (ON EDIT: See, link: "NSA approves sharing info" at http://prior-knowledge-of-9-11.blogspot.com/2008/09/nsa-release-from-nsa-caveats.html)


    Corsi also tells Bongardt on August 29, 2001 that a FBI National Security Legal Unit (NSLU) attorney had ruled that Bongardt and his team could have no part in the investigation of Mihdhar and Hazmi but per Sherry Sabol’s testimony to DOJ IG investigators, on November 7, 2002, in the DOJ IG report, it is clear that Sabol, the NSLU attorney Corsi had contacted, had ruled in fact just the opposite and had ruled that Bongardt and his team could be part of any investigation and search for of Mihdhar since the NSA information had no connection to any FISA warrant.

    This was the exact argument that FBI Agent Steve Bongardt had raised when he asked Corsi on August 28, 2001 to get a legal ruling from the NSLU, the FBI legal unit, to see if he could investigate and search for Mihdhar and Hazmi. Bongardt even tells Corsi on August 29, 2001 as she is shutting down his investigation, that these terrorists are inside of the US to carry out yet another horrific al Qaeda terrorist attack, and people will die because of this ruling. See testimony of Sherry Sabol, aka Sherry S. 9/11 Commission report page 538, footnote 81.

    Corsi also never tells Bongardt as she is shutting down his investigation of Mihdhar and Hazmi that she is aware that the CIA had been deliberately hiding the photograph of Walid Bin Attash, mastermind of the Cole bombing, taken at Kuala Lumpur, from him and his Cole bombing investigating team, a photograph that directly connects both Mihdhar and Hazmi, who were at the same meeting, to the planning of the Cole bombing, see page 302 DOJ IG report.
    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=181411&page=3

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    john smith, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 8:42am

    Re: That's NOT the way it happened, Mr. Baker

    it's all about the money JFK was murder by the us government because he did not want to put the us at war in Vietnam after he was kill a us embassy was bombed and we went at war the next us president had a chance to stop the war but he took orders from the government it had nothing to do with HONOR,FIGHTING FOR YOUR COUNTRY it's all politics after the war over $200 billion dollars were made in the war everybody got a piece of the pie samething with 9/11 a tragic thing happen and we were at war bush could have stopped it when you become a president of the us you still have to take orders from the government no matter what you can still be killed like JFK who is really behind the 9/11 attacks why are there some many cover-ups in the us I LOVE MY COUNTRY JUST NOT THE POLITICS

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    icon
    bugmenot (profile), Dec 19th, 2013 @ 5:50pm

    Wow. Just Wow.

    If any of the national security agencies in this country have bona fide intelligence on terrorist threats in this country, and believe me there are plenty, (http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/government-refuses-to-deport-syrian-terrorist-facilitator-wi th-ties-to-911-attacks/) then by all means, I want them to use every resource they have to get so far up their ass, they’ll feel like they’re getting a colonoscopy.

    There needs to be strict, common sense oversight based on verified indications and warnings. The problem is, any power created for clandestine use can be abused.

    The erosion of America’s civil and personal liberties has taken on evil proportions. Obama’s abuse of power in particular, is unprecedented.

    It’s not just the government, private omnipresent companies like Google are doing the same thing. They collaborate with government agencies in exchange for political favors.

    The line between security and liberty has been crossed. It’s up to the citizens of America to kick their asses back over that line.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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