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NSA & FBI Spied On All Emails In Salt Lake City Before & After The Olympics

from the minimization? dept

We've already written about the latest NSA bombshell, which came via an article in the Wall Street Journal (which they stupidly put behind their paywall) by reporters Siobhan Gorman and Jennifer Valentino-Devries. But I wanted to focus in on one aspect that hasn't received very much attention -- the revelation that the NSA and the FBI teamed up to read every email and text communication in the Salt Lake City area before and after the Olympics there in 2002:
For the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, officials say, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and NSA arranged with Qwest Communications International Inc. to use intercept equipment for a period of less than six months around the time of the event. It monitored the content of all email and text communications in the Salt Lake City area.
At the time, Michael Hayden was in charge of the NSA, and today he remains one of the staunchest supporters of the NSA's surveillance, calling its opponents losers who can't get laid for daring to question the level of unconstitutional surveillance of our communications. Perhaps -- just perhaps -- he'd like to explain the legal rationale for spying on every digital communication. Sure, sure, this happened soon after September 11th, and I'm sure US officials were worried about the possibility of a terrorist attack on the winter Olympics. But, I don't recall us turning off the Constitution or ripping out the 4th Amendment just for the Olympics. Perhaps General Hayden, rather than random name calling, could share with us how such a project was possibly anywhere in the vicinity of legal at the time?


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 21st, 2013 @ 4:54am

    Michael Hayden was in charge of the NSA, and today he remains one of the staunchest supporters of the NSA's surveillance, calling its opponents losers who can't get laid for daring to question the level of unconstitutional surveillance of our communications

    I keep reading that and thinking that I probably get laid in a weekend more than this asshole has been laid in his whole life. And I'm in the opposition.

    I don't recall us turning off the Constitution or ripping out the 4th Amendment just for the Olympics.

    It is unfortunate but the world cup (football) and the olympics seem to override any country laws and constitutions in the name of pure corporate profit. Brazil being the most recent and scandalous example (there was a law enacted for the world cup that simply says "screw our current, established laws in favor of FIFA"). It's not that surprising to see such thing happening in the US. Actually no surprises at all except for the fact that it was concealed. I loathe both events for what they've become.

    Perhaps General Hayden, rather than random name calling, could share with us how such a project was possibly anywhere in the vicinity of legal at the time?

    He can't. Too busy wanking to the strawman he built in his mind about the opposition against these mass Constitution violations.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 6:34am

    Re:

    I keep reading that and thinking that I probably get laid in a weekend more than this asshole has been laid in his whole life. And I'm in the opposition.


    I keep reading that and thinking "Has he ever heard of the ad hominem logical fallacy? If so, does he really think people won't recognize it?"

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 6:36am

    Scary they had the capability to do this in 2002. Just think how much more evolved it must be now, what we know from leaks is just the tip of the iceberg.

     

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  4.  
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    esquireLLC, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 6:42am

    Im confused

    Obama wasnt president in 2002, how is this possible?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 6:44am

    Re: Re:

    'I keep reading that and thinking "Has he ever heard of the ad hominem logical fallacy? If so, does he really think people won't recognize it?"'

    Ever listen to Rush Limbaugh, he has 4 million listerners who never recognize it.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re:

    Next on Techdirt: Geekwars! In the red corner we have Sexual Prowess Geek, eager to brag of his sexual adequacy on an Internet Forum. In the blue corner we have Intellectual Superiority Geek, proud to strut his understanding of logical fallacies before his peers. Who will win this battle of commentary? Who will win...win...win....win?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 6:50am

    Does it matter?

    I reckon the IOOC made it a condition, for a suitable bribe.

    If this scandal is to have legs, the story needs concrete examples of abuses of information. They spied on everything in Salt Lake in 2002? Who cares? It was years ago! It didn't have any effect on anyone!

    The above is not a useful narrative frame for critics of these programs.

    For a more powerful narrative, you need to find examples of NSA misbehavior with this intercepted information, if there are any. Did government analysts pass around and mock funny intercepts? Make sports bets with inside information? Pass info off to the IRS or ATF for "parallel construction" of evidence?

    They sucked up all this data, more than a decade ago. For a powerful narrative, prove the intercepts matter. Banality counts, but it needs to be humanized.

     

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  8.  
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    Michael, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 6:54am

    NSA

    Has no one read "The Falcon and the Snowman"? True story that takes place in the 1980's about spies and secrets. Banned reading when I worked in the field.

     

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  9.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 21st, 2013 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re:

    and I keep thinking "it's not even a plausible ad hominem - it's just a plsyground insult"

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 7:04am

    Re:

    "Scary they had the capability to do this in 2002."

    they had it for as long as the internet has existed !!! and before that too !!!

     

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  11.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 21st, 2013 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    and then there is trollgeek...

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re:

    in fact when you were trying to connect to your local BBS with your 150Buad modem with your TRS-80 the security agencies were using Cray's and Connection machines and the like.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 7:11am

    Re: Im confused

    Thanks time-traveling-OBAMA!!

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 7:14am

    Re: Does it matter?

    So, there's a statute of limitations on trampling of the constitution?

    They didn't steal a god damn microwave, THEY VIOLATED A NON TRIVIAL AMOUNT OF PEOPLES FOURTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Without trollgeek there is no geekwars.

     

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  16.  
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    Truth Prevails, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 7:16am

    Did You Know!

    What you are reading in the news is just the beginning.. There is a lot more worse your government is doing without your knowledge..

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re: Does it matter?

    I think what he meant to say was, are most people going to think this matters? Obviously it does matter, especially since they'd do it again.

    "So, there's a statute of limitations on trampling of the constitution?"

    If you want to seek damages from a court, there absolutely is. Although I think courts may give you some flexibility if there was a conspiracy to keep it secret which you just now learned about.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 7:21am

    Manning gets 35 years

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    SPG: You think your smart,
    well you've not met me
    I get more love, than a hippie
    ISG: Oh yea, well I got a degree
    it tells me, that your full of pee
    and crap, thats all you have
    made up junk, to make you not look bad

    Who Won? Who's Next? You decide!

     

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

  20.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 21st, 2013 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually I didn't mean to brag on anything but rather to joke with his idiocy by replying with the same rationale. Not sure why some people got worked up ;)

     

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

  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 8:10am

    Let's just say that Michael Hayden is really a big loser who jerks off while reading people's email and txt messages. The kind that likes to brag about always getting laid but at the end of the day he humps that apple pie on top of the kitchen counter 'coz he really doesn't get some.

     

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  22.  
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    Hattie Jacques, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 8:25am

    So, as UK has no oversight

    I guess everything got spied on in London and the whole UK for(Olympics)ever.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 8:29am

    Re:

    The fact that the NSA could do this in 2002 is not near as scarey as the fact that all the Silicon Vally geeks of any importance has known this since 2000 and portrayed an attitude of moral superiority and righteous indignation that anyone that did not believe is world totalitarianism and world conquest was morally challenged.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 8:56am

    End to end encryption needed

    Write a Thunderbird add-on, it generates a public/private key pair.

    1. Attach your public key to every outgoing email.
    2. Recipient receives email with public key, their email program asks if they trust the key, if so accept it and record it for that email address. That X email address has public key Xp.
    3. All outgoing emails encrypted with the public key if known for each email address.
    4. If a different key arrives from that email warn user of possible man-in-the-middle attack, so they can verify the key a different way (e.g. phone call).
    5. Webmail can also attach the keys, but then its only as secure as the webmail provider.
    6. Let user manually enter public keys, to avoid first time man-in-the-middle attacks, so they can install their key when they visit their family and friends. For extra security.

    We're programmer FFS, we can fix this. Currently the encrypted options fail in two respects:
    They're not automatic.
    They distribute the key via third parties in some needlessly complex method.
    They use certificate authorities, which is inherently bad practice.
    They force the user to make the 'encrypted/not-encrypted' choice on each email.

    A much simpler system like the one outlined will simply work.

    You can even add the public key to the 'mailto:' html tag definition, so that companies can distribute secure mail addresses on their https websites.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Truth Prevails, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 9:07am

    the price for saying the truth..

    manning spoke the truth and he has been sentenced to 35 years.. I dont understand who is the victim here?? Nobama Noppression..

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    kitsune361, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: Does it matter?

    I think the point he's making is: Unless you can point to an obvious abuse of the information collected the general public likely won't care. And with general apathy, nothing will change.

     

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

  27.  
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    kP (profile), Aug 21st, 2013 @ 12:28pm

    Mitt Romney was the

    Mitt Romney was the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics. I wonder if he knew about this.

     

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

  28.  
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    Postulator (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:57am

    The US might have difficulty winning another Olympic bid any time soon, what with all the diplomats who normally follow the Olympics around and don't necessarily expect their every word to be listened to.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 5:32am

    Re: Im confused

    The NSA has been around long before the current administration. Recall the 'warrantless wire-tap' under our last POTS. This admin is continuing the program - but seems to be getting warrants.

     

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


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