Leaked: NSA's Talking Points Defending NSA Surveillance

from the you-have-to-be-kidding-me dept

The government has been passing around some “talking points” to politicians and the press trying to spin the NSA surveillance story. We’ve got the talking points about scooping up business records (i.e., all data on all phone calls) and on the internet program known as PRISM. Both are embedded below. Let’s dig in on a few of the points, starting with the business records/FISA issue:

The news articles have been discussing what purports to be a classified, lawfully-authorized order that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) issued under an Act of Congress – the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Under this Act, the FISA Court authorized a collection of business records. There is no secret program involved here – it is strictly authorized by a U.S. statute.

“There is no secret program here”? Bullshit. Why, then, have so many people, both in the Congress and the public been shocked at the extent to which the NSA is snarfing up data? This is a secret program, enabled by a secret interpretation of the FISA Amendments Act, by the FISA Court, which the DOJ and the NSA insist the public is not allowed to know. Yes, it’s a secret program. Saying otherwise is simply lying.

It authorizes only metadata collection, which includes barebones records – such as a telephone number or the length of a call.

“Barebones records” and “metadata” are terms being used to play down the extent of the collection of info, but it ignores multiple reports that note the amount of data actually collected — including phone numbers, call times, call location, among other things — is more than enough to identify who someone is and a variety of important characteristics about that person.

This legal tool, as enacted by Congress, has been critical in protecting America. It has been essential in thwarting at least one major terrorist attack to our country in the past few years.

“At least one” is a lot less than the “dozens” NSA boss Keith Alexander recently stated. But, so far the only “one” identified, involving an attempted NYC Subway bombing was shown not to have needed this data collection program to uncover and stop. So, nope.

Despite what appears to be a broad scope in the FISA Court’s order, the Intelligence Community uses only a small fraction of a percent of the business records collected to pursue terrorism subjects.

This is meaningless. That’s like saying, even though we search everyone’s house illegally, we only actually arrest a small number of people. No one would allow such house searches under the 4th Amendment, so why is it okay with phone records?

All three branches – Congress, the Courts, and the Executive Branch – review and sign off on FISA collection authorities. Congress passed FISA, and the Intelligence Committees are regularly and fully briefed on how it is used.

Except many in Congress have made it clear they did not review this kind of program, or were led to believe that the NSA did not collect this kind of information. And those who are being briefed now say the program goes way beyond what they were told. And, those who did know about it beforehand, tried to dig deeper into the program, but were blocked. As for “the Courts” reviewing it, we’re talking about the FISA Court which is a rubberstamp in black robes, having approved every single request of it for the past three years. It last rejected a request back in 2009, and that was only one out of 1320. In its entire history, since 1979, the court has rejected a grand total of 11 applications. 11. Out of 33,939 applications. That’s 0.03%. Not 3%. 0.03% with not a single rejection in over three years. That’s not careful review. That’s a rubber stamp. As for the executive branch signing off on it, what do you expect? They’re going to hold back their own ability to spy on people?

The FISA Court authorizes intelligence collection only after the Intelligence Community has proven its case, based on underlying facts and investigations.

Well, we already covered the rubber stamp issue above, but Section 215 of the Patriot Act requires that the government present a case that the data it is seeking “must be relevant to an authorized preliminary or full investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a U.S. person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” I’d love to see the argument that all data is somehow relevant to the investigation. Of course, I can’t see it, because it’s secret.

This legal tool has been reauthorized only after ongoing 90-day renewal periods. That means that every 90 days, the Department of Justice and the FBI must prove to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that they have the facts and legal basis to renew this legal authority. It is not a rubber stamp.

Ha ha ha. So, we violate your privacy without any opposing view — but we do it every 90 days for seven straight years.

FISA-authorized collections are subject to strict controls and procedures under oversight of the Department of Justice, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the FISA Court, to ensure that they comply with the Constitution and laws of the United States and appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties.

What kind of “strict controls and procedures” allow for the collection of every single record of every single phone call, and then also make it accessible to the 29-year-old IT guy in Hawaii? Just wondering…

Moving on to the “NSA internet talking points.”

Section 702 is a vital legal tool that Congress reauthorized in December 2012, as part of the FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act, after extensive hearings and debate. Under Section 702, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) certifies foreign intelligence collection. There is no secret program involved – it is strictly authorized by a U.S. statute.

Again, “no secret program,” merely a secret interpretation of the law, in a secret ruling by a secret court. What’s everyone complaining about?

Section 702 cannot be used to target any U.S. person. Section 702 also cannot be used to target any person located in the United States, whether that person is an American or a foreigner.

Note the careful choice of words: it cannot be used to target a person in the US. It can, however, be used to collect info on a person in the US if they’re not “the target” of the investigation. Fun with words!

The unauthorized disclosure of information about this critical legal tool puts our national security in grave danger, puts Americans at risk of terrorist and cyber attacks, and puts our military intelligence resources in danger of being revealed to our adversaries.

Right. So this is not a new program, it’s no surprise, people shouldn’t be concerned… and now that you know about it we’re all going to die!

How does anyone take these jokers seriously?



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Comments on “Leaked: NSA's Talking Points Defending NSA Surveillance”

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96 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

it makes no difference what is said about what the security agencies are doing, it was, it is and it should always be the worst thing any government can do to it’s people. it makes the government untrustworthy and no amount of ‘because of the millions of records and the amount of data we collected on everyone, everywhere, we stopped so and so, we prevented so and so. this is wrong! it will never be anything but wrong! even the hacking claims about China are as full of shit as the data mining that has been done. there is almost nothing now that the people are going to believe and give their trust for. i just hope that none of these agencies or the government go down the road of trying to convince everyone that this is all worth while and must carry on by faking a plot or ‘situation’ for that specific purpose! if they do, it will be scrutinized from every possible angle. any wrong doing found would surely mean the end of the government!!

Steven William says:

Re: End of Governement

It will not be the “[e]nd of Government!!!” It will however be the end of bad government, of arbitrary government, of abusive government.

“I carried out my orders until arrested. I had no sense that I was spying, and I ask that this be taken into account in deciding my verdict.” ~Witold Pilecki

Anonymous Coward says:

Limited Data

Knowing which number phoned which foreign numbers is useless without names to distinguish.
Son ringing mum.
Business man ringing foreign supplier.
Boyfriend ringing girlfriend.
Girlfriend ringing boyfriend.
Husband ringing wife.
Wife Ringing husband.
Brothers and sister ringing each other.

Have I missed any…
Oh yes terrorist ringing controller.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Limited Data

I have a good idea as to the power of network analysis. It is good for finding the organizers and facilitators in larger networks of people. A building political or protest movement will be easy to identify, and who to subvert, arrest or delay for the most effect easy to identify.

Any terrorist ‘network’ will be small fragments, with various techniques to keep the fragments disconnected. Without an identification of a terrorist by some means, phone records which phone rang which phone and when are by themselves useless for identifying terrorists. Even with a known terrorist, most of their phone contacts will have nothing to do with terrorism.

Bulk data collection is often useful for political purposes, which include disrupting protest movements, and almost never useful for anti-terrorist efforts.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is meaningless. That’s like saying, even though we search everyone’s house illegally, we only actually arrest a small number of people. No one would allow such house searches under the 4th Amendment, so why is it okay with phone records?

I thought you were familiar with Smith v. Maryland and the third-party doctrine. I know you don’t like the law, but being the evidence-loving person you are, it’s strange how you ignore the facts you don’t like.

As for “the Courts” reviewing it, we’re talking about the FISA Court which is a rubberstamp in black robes, having approved every single request of it for the past three years. It last rejected a request back in 2009, and that was only one out of 1320. In its entire history, since 1979, the court has rejected a grand total of 11 applications. 11. Out of 33,939 applications. That’s 0.03%. Not 3%. 0.03% with not a single rejection in over three years. That’s not careful review. That’s a rubber stamp.

So you think the percentage of rejections proves that the judges are not carefully reviewing them? I thought you were an evidence-based guy, Mike. They could have examined the applications extremely carefully, yet only rejected that percentage. Your argument is meaningless and faith-based.

Well, we already covered the rubber stamp issue above, but Section 215 of the Patriot Act requires that the government present a case that the data it is seeking “must be relevant to an authorized preliminary or full investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a U.S. person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” I’d love to see the argument that all data is somehow relevant to the investigation. Of course, I can’t see it, because it’s secret.

The evidence is that the Article III judges who looked at the evidence said it was relevant. Your faith-based guesses to the contrary are meaningless.

How does anyone take these jokers seriously?

How does anyone take you seriously? All you do is pump out idiotic FUD, and then you run like a little girl whenever anyone challenges you. Cluck. Cluck. You’re a total joke and a total coward. I fucking dare you to man up and discuss your views on the merits without weasel words and without running away. You and I both know that you will never do that. You don’t do honest discussions. You do Techdirt.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

wow, the mental gymnastics in your post is amazing. “Oh sure they only never said no to the US government the whole time they were running these secret courts, but that’s okay! That doesn’t mean that they’re not rubberstamping these totally over-reaching requests!”

Then there’s a whole paragraph at the end that can be summed up with “lol fuk u mike hitler”. Do you ever stop to consider that making an ass of yourself on techdirt instead of trying to reasonably discuss your points only makes everyone realize that you are an ass?

I mean, your points are still wrong and you would still be called out on being wrong, but it would be at least more constructive than posting a full-post of fallacies and then going “UR JUST A CHIKENSHIT MIKE CLUCKCLUCKLUCKCLUCK”. Like it somehow helps your argument and paints you as a intelligent, effective debater.

The evidence is that the Article III judges who looked at the evidence said it was relevant.

The secret evidence that we can’t see. Evidence shows that you need to stop posting.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yep, I’ll join in with the chorous of “you occasionally have some points, but you act like such an obnoxious twat nobody’s going to take you seriously no matter how right you are”. Anything you think yoy’re saying is made completely null and void by your last paragraph, which generally says “ignore me I’m an idiot”.

Did you ever consider not being such a complete tool, so that people will take on board whatever it is you think you’re trying to get across?

Loki says:

Re: Re: Re:

Not to mention that in the decade or so I’ve been reading this blog, I’ve seen first hand “Mike’s Minions” occasionally disagree with him, and sometimes each other, over various points. I’ve seen Mike, as well as all the other contributors and many of the regular posters, concede points when presented with a pervasive enough counter-arguments, and I’ve seen every writer for the site correct articles when presented with reasonable proof of incorrect data.

Given I have no communication with, nor any personal connection with anyone on this website (aside from a couple roommates who occasionally post, albeit anonymously) other than being a regular reader and occasional commenter, I tend to base arguments on their own merits rather than the poster. And there are times I do disagree with Mike, Tim, Leigh and the rest or think they got it wrong, it about as often as I agree with, their most vocal detractors (and it’s not always in the same arguments. It is possible, despite what some think, to agree or disagree with multiple viewpoints at the same time).

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It is possible, despite what some think, to agree or disagree with multiple viewpoints at the same time).

Not just possible, but this is the ideal everyone should strive for.

Every rational argument I’ve ever seen on any topic contains points I agree (and disagree) with. If I cannot make an argument both for and against any particular (sane) position, it’s an excellent sign that I don’t understand the issue.

Jason says:

Re: Re:

I’m your huckleberry.

“The evidence is that the Article III judges who looked at the evidence said it was relevant.”

No, the third-hand report given in three layers of double-speak from politicians who skipped the actual briefing “is that the judges who looked at “it” said it was relevant.’

There is NO evidence. There are secrets. Faith-based? We’re the skeptics here. You’re the one believing the unsupported, baldly equivocated, constantly conflicting and confused reports of politicians who don’t actually even know what happened but who want you to be sure that everything is okay. Faith-based my ass!

And yes, when they have gotten ALL the data, the 0.03% rejection rate is plenty good enough proof that the review process is bullshit.

When a US Senator can say, “here’s MY phone, you have MY data, what facts supported what reasonable suspicion relevant to what investigation led you to be able to get MY contact list?” and you can’t give him an answer because “Um, er, uh, the terrorists might get us if I answer that, Mr. Senator” then yes, it’s all bullshit.

That’s not milk. That’s meat. Suck on it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Not our fault -- We were comissioned by Congress to do this

And the blamestorming begins…

In my opinion, it should. There needs to be a thorough investigation done. This illegal activity hasn’t been unknown, since we already knew about the wiretaps from Klein’s case which mysteriously granted everyone immunity. There’s plenty of fault to go around, and perhaps it lies within all three branches of government as well as the DoD.

RyanNerd (profile) says:

Re: Re: Not our fault -- We were comissioned by Congress to do this

The problem with blamestorming or the benefit depending on where you sit — is that everyone points fingers at everyone else and no one takes any responsibility. It’s a great stalling technique where everyone argues blaming each other waiting for the next BIG news item for the public to yell ‘Squirrel!’ at and poof the problem never was there to begin with.

Tynam says:

Re: Re:

True, but meaningless… since “all the necessary evidence to get the court to approve” is basically half a scrawled post-it note saying “well, we’d really like to”.

The FISA court has already admitted that they have no effective oversight of the NSA whatsoever, that the NSA misled them very easily and repeatedly, and that they have absolutely no ability or authority to tell when the NSA is lying to them.

So it’s a bit late for you to defend the effectiveness of the court.

The NSA hasn’t been really careful to gather sufficient evidence. They’ve just been really careful with the exact wording of the lies they tell, so that none of the individual statements were technically false.

I did the same when I was twelve, but it shouldn’t impress anyone older than that.

Nelston says:

“… lawfully-authorized order… issued under an Act of Congress ? the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)… ? it is strictly authorized by a U.S. statute. “

.

Just more Gorilla-Dust.

Non-Constitutional “laws/acts/statutes/orders” are instantly illegal, void and unlawful in the U.S. — no matter how many Congressmen/Presidents/Judges approve them. Those who enact & apply non-Constitutional orders/rules… are literally “outlaws” under the fundamental structure of American government.

The NSA collections directly and massively violate the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

FISA and the secret FISA court also directly violate the Constitution. Mere existence of the NSA is also a direct violation.

Common sense tells you that “secret courts” can NOT exist in a free society; if they do exist, you are not living in a free society.

“Lawful” is a vague term, easily misused to deceive.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: Re:

You’re missing the point. The point is, the Constitution is the high law of the land, surpassing all others, so in the event that a judge were to rule in favor of an unconstitutional law, that ‘law’ is in and of itself a violation of the Constitution.

In order that the state acquire more power, it is necessary for the people to surrender their rights, because all of the state’s power is derived from the people.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The point is, the Constitution is the high law of the land, surpassing all others, so in the event that a judge were to rule in favor of an unconstitutional law, that ‘law’ is in and of itself a violation of the Constitution.

I think you’re missing my point. The constitutionality of a law is undetermined until it’s been ruled on by a court. If the Supreme Court rules a law constitutional, then it is, as a matter of law. We could argue about whether it was the correct decision, but that wouldn’t affect anything. An unconstitutional law is one that has been struck down by a court (I think only the Supreme Court has the authority to do this but I’m not certain).

So when you say “in the event that a judge were to rule in favor of an unconstitutional law” that doesn’t really make sense. If the law is unconstitutional, that means it is no longer in force because it’s been ruled unconstitutional by a court. So no other court can subsequently rule in favor of that law – it effectively doesn’t exist anymore.

Now if by “unconstitutional law” you mean “a law that I believe is unconstitutional” then that’s a different matter.

Anonymous Coward says:

S.1130

? enabled by a secret interpretation of the FISA Amendments Act?

Going off on a slight tangent here?

It’s Friday morning, and I still haven’t seen the text of Senator Merkley’s bill: S.1130.

All I’ve seen yet is the bill title:

Latest Title: A bill to require the Attorney General to disclose each decision, order, or opinion of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that includes significant legal interpretation of section 501 or 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 unless such disclosure is not in the national security interest of the United States and for other purposes.

But as for the actual text of the bill, all I’ve gotten so far is:

The text of S.1130 has not yet been received from GPO

Bills are generally sent to the Library of Congress from the Government Printing Office a day or two after they are introduced on the floor of the House or Senate. Delays can occur when there are a large number of bills to prepare or when a very large bill has to be printed.

Is S.1130 a ?very large bill? ?

I do note that the bill now has twelve co-sponsors.

Anyhow, maybe Monday?

out_of_the_blue says:

If by "jokers", you mean "lawyers justifying jack-booted fascist tyranny",

then I’ve nothing to quibble at. But it’s important to not minimize the gravity of their intentions by stopping short of calling them fascists. Particularly not when just spent much time analyzing word usage. It’s not name-calling when accurate. Don’t stop short of driving it home to them that THEY are the threats to freedom, THEY are doing “al-Qaeda’s” work by being the instruments of tyranny.

We’re supposed to believe that “asymetrical warfare” of 19 alleged hijackers resulted in trillions wasted on phony wars, a million lives taken, and 850,000 spooks watching the American people. I guess we’re just lucky “al-Qaeda” could find only 19 suicidal fanatics else Western civ would have collapsed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Collection

I want to pull out and highlight one of the FISA “Business Record” talking points:

? The FISA Court authorizes intelligence collection only after the Intelligence Community has proven its case, based on underlying facts and investigations.

Based on testimony before Congress from NSA Director Gen. Alexander, and from FBI Director Mueller (under oath), it appears to me that those two individuals regard ?collection? as synonymous with the ?production? under 215 authority (? 501) (codified at 50 U.S.C. ? 1861).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Collection

? collection?

?Clapper: I Gave ‘The Least Untruthful Answer’ To Wyden’s ‘Beating Your Wife’ Question On Data Surveillance?, by Mike Masnick, Techdirt, June 10, 2013:

Wyden: Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?

Clapper: No sir.

Wyden: It does not?

Clapper: Not wittingly. There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps, collect?but not wittingly.

Chris says:

Re: Collection

If you work in the intelligence community you are giving a very specific definition of what the word “collect” means. Gathering data and collecting data mean two separate things to them. AC you are right in your assumption that “collection” in IC usage infers production, but it also means that there will be more indepth investigation on that specific subject.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Collection

If you work in the intelligence community you are giving a very specific definition of what the word “collect” means.

Does FBI Director Mueller ?work in the intelligence community? ?

I’d call your attention to the C-SPAN video of the House Judiciary Committee FBI Oversight Hearing held yesterday (June 13, 2013). Director Mueller was sworn in at the beginning of this hearing.

Rep. Conyers: ? [~00:34:00]?

? [~00:35:30] ? The public’s understanding of this program is that the government collects these records –let’s take the Verizon system– and they collect the records of every person in the united states, and retains them for some period of time, and then queries a massive database when it has a specific concern about one of us, any one of us.

Is that understanding accurate?

Dir. Mueller: Within broad parameters, yes.?

( Timemarks from C-SPAN video reviewed just now. )

It appears to me that Representative Conyers asked his question using the specific words ?collect? and ?collects?. Mr. Conyers asked whether that was accurate.

Director Mueller answered in the affirmative. While I did not transcribe his complete answer, his following remarks (begining ?But??) do not appear to materially affect his affirmative reply to Mr. Conyer’s question. Director Mueller, in sworn testimony, answered in the affirmative.

Mr. Conyers asked whether ?collect? was accurate. And Mr. Mueller, under oath, answered ?yes?.

horse with no name says:

snarf

Why, then, have so many people, both in the Congress and the public been shocked at the extent to which the NSA is snarfing up data?

The public (and congress) are equally freaked out when they find out how much data your friends at Google collect every day. That is way more shocking, considering they are doing it only for profit and not with any intention to protect the citizens – just to profit from their personal information.

I think also we are starting to see people realizing that while what they authorities are doing is wide in scope, it is also legal within the system as defined by congress. So the congress critters are mostly shocked to find out what they passed (likely without reading).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: snarf

“The public (and congress) are equally freaked out when they find out how much data your friends at Google collect every day. That is way more shocking, considering they are doing it only for profit and not with any intention to protect the citizens – just to profit from their personal information.”

Ahahahahaha. You and Bob should get together.

Alt0 says:

Re: Re: snarf

Well if gOOgle does collect all that data on ME (I have a whole folder of gOOgle apps on my iPhone that I use a LOT) and there is no way of me knowing if they do or don’t, they suck at using it. My e-mail “spam” many times consists of ads for high blood pressure (I have low blood pressure) of Diets (I am not at all overweight)and lately for bras. BRAS! I would think they could have figured out at least that I am a male. So tell your buds at gOOgle to smarten up and use my collected profile to send me ads that actually apply!
Thanks

Michael (profile) says:

Re: snarf

only for profit and not with any intention to protect the citizens

What does that have to do with anything? Are you suggesting that the NSA was collecting all of this data “to protect the citizens”? It already appears that they have been spying on Germany “for profit”, I am not sure you can claim that their motivation has been to protect US citizens – it certainly has not been their exclusive motivation.

horse with no name says:

Re: Re: snarf

It already appears that they have been spying on Germany “for profit”,

Don’t believe the hype. The internet echo chamber is rank with the stink of all the “might be” and “reported by anonymous sources close to an anonymous source” and “in a recent blogger posting, an anonymous guy said”.

NSA wasn’t collecting, to be fair, they were receiving. Internet, phone, and other companies are collecting and submitting or making available. You should be more worried what they are doing.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: snarf

NSA wasn’t collecting, to be fair

Actually, they are collecting. They are getting data from multiple sources and combining and retaining it. Since they never delete any of it, I suppose a better term would be hoarding it.

I worry far less about the companies that I CHOOSE to purchase services from because I can choose. If I don’t like what they do with my data, I can find another provider. Also, they cannot throw me in jail after data mining my phone calls and emails to determine if I used a parking space to wash my clothes (that’s illegal in some places).

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: snarf

NSA wasn’t collecting, to be fair, they were receiving. Internet, phone, and other companies are collecting and submitting or making available. You should be more worried what they are doing.

Pure word games. Call it what you want, it’s the same thing regardless. Widespread domestic spying by the government.

As much as I wish that any of the companies that were aiding the NSA in this endeavor was ethical and brave enough to engage in civil disobedience and refuse to comply, the companies were legally required (by the NSA) to provide this information. The blame for this falls mostly on the government (and particularly on the NSA and congress).

FM Hilton (profile) says:

Selling the lies

It’s simple, really-the NSA wishes to have unfettered permission to keep on spying illegally, and with full approval from everyone.
That’s why it’s so important that the general public be bamboozled and fed a continuous diet of denials and talking points.
They hope to distract us from knowing the truth or asking questions. They don’t like being questioned about their illegal activities. It leads to so many messy things-like Congressional hearings and reduction in funding.
Someone might lose their job from this! Someone might have to be accountable to explain why they feel the need to lie to the entire country!
Oh, my goodness, sunshine laws! They’re just plain evil!

Anonymous Coward says:

Words, Words, Words

Note the careful choice of words: it cannot be used to target a person in the US. It can, however, be used to collect info on a person in the US if they’re not “the target” of the investigation. Fun with words!

In all seriousness, it probably can’t be used to collect information either. They are probably using collect to be synonymous with intercept, while you’re suggesting that it is synonymous with receive.

The NSA et al are receiving this information, not collecting or intercepting.

The distinction is what will allow the esteemed General to avoid perjury charges when he insisted that the NSA is not collecting any information on American citizens.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Words, Words, Words

The distinction is what?

A number of us watched all or a part of the Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing on Cybersecurity (June 12, 2013).

Sen. Feinstein: [~01:58:30] ?

? Just to be corrected, if I need to corrected, I would like to just quickly read my understanding of ? 215 ?

? [~01:59:30] ? under ? 215 NSA collects phone records ?

? [~02:00:30] ? Is that a fair description? Or can you correct it in any way?

Gen. Alexander: That is accurate, Senator.

Sen. Feinstein: Thank you.

( Time marks refer to C-SPAN video reviewed again today. )

“Collects”.

“Collects phone records”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Act of Congress

Used to be that an “Act of Congress” meant something, that it had the stamp of approval from the people that it served.
Now not so much.
It is no more than a bunch of Clueless buffoons trying to cover their asses and looking even more pathetic (I never thought that would be possible) in the process.

Maybe more people will start looking at who they’re electing
and we can have some politicians and judges that truly believe in the Constitution and have the smarts to keep crooks, like our current batch, out of politics.

We need more people like Snowden to bring this country back to it’s former glory…Now it’s just an embarrassment.

iroots.org (user link) says:

A phone # = A Person

For those who think phone numbers are no big deal. “It’s just metadata…”

Anyone who works in advanced sales and uses databases will let you know that a phone number can be used to populate unbelievable, to the general public, data on an individual’s habits, income, location, facebook/twitter/linkedIn and political affiliation…

See here: http://iroots.org/2013/06/13/telecom-exec-calls-rush-confirms-shocking-data-available-from-phone-numbers/

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: NSA

? established by legislative fiat instead of?

Dude, WTF?

Article III, Section 1

The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

I mean, I understand you perhaps heard the separation of powers concerns echoing from several senators and representatives, but I think you have seriously misunderstood where those concerns are coming from.

You need start with the fact that the executive branch appears to be collecting phone records which detail calls that constituents have made to their elected representatives. Go from there to the inference that the executive branch is collecting records on all the telephone traffic to and from each member of Congress.

Further, during the FBI oversight hearing, Ms Lofgren brought up some additional ?although related? separation of powers concerns in connection with the James Rosen case.

Anonymous Coward says:

Security through Obscurity

The unauthorized disclosure of information about this critical legal tool puts our national security in grave danger, puts Americans at risk of terrorist and cyber attacks, and puts our military intelligence resources in danger of being revealed to our adversaries.

Okay, so….the NSA’s program relies on security through obscurity? The irony is overwhelming.

Spaceman Spiff (profile) says:

Forward! Into the past!

Ok, it’s time we reverted to one-time pads and physical dead-drops to share sensitive information. Anything else? Speak/write gobbledygook. Back in the 1960’s, when I and compatriots wanted to speak on the phone (concerned about wire taps) about the latest batch of LSD (or pot – I don’t remember which), it was referred to as “clear camel piss soup” or some similar bit of cruft. Not that I ever indulged in such stuff… 🙂

nonfer (user link) says:

comments tldr

not being done by the government. outsourced to private
contractors that do not limit their business to national
security. these companies have no checks to their usage of
this data. they could get caught or exposed, but not by
oversight. this is pathetic, not embarrassing, beyond
ignorant and incompetent.

the most disheartening information, they are overpaid to do
it. failure even with all those advantages. sad.

Francisco (user link) says:

Legislative process

My understanding of the American legislative system is that, because of pork barrel politics, bills are so long that it is impossible for legislators to read every line or have time to think through implications. It is, therefore, impossible for legislators in the US to effectively monitor the implementation of any law.

Steven William says:

Re: Legislative process

Maybe we should just cut to the chase and save everyone time, money and energy and make everything illegal and a crime, then the attorneys aka legislators can start working backwards and pass new “laws” telling us what we are allowed to do that is no longer illegal? Seeing as there are now more laws on the books than a man or woman could count in a lifetime, and ignorance of the law is no excuse (unless you are a federal judge (think A. Howard Matz [recently retired], a cop or a persecutor) it seems “a prudent thing.”

A PS Fact: Do to so many so called “laws” the fact is “You’re (Probably) a Federal Criminal.”

ReadALot says:

3 billion USA records in March

We know from the ‘Boundless Informant’ leak, they collected 3 billion pieces of data from US computers in March alone.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/08/nsa-boundless-informant-global-datamining

Ergo, they’re still lying.

Germany was spied on to a similar extent. I assume that’s commercial spying. Germany being Europes major competing economy.

What we learn from their talking points though, is the leadership knows it is outside the law. I wonder how deep this hole goes, we’ve seen only 2 of the programs, there are several blacked out in the slides and we know the data includes financial data because it was already leaked.

We also know they record phones, the Strauss Kahn case showed they had a recording of a phone call between the maid and her family.

And I’m more inclined to believe Shia LaBeouf too:
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/06/shia-labeouf-spy-whistleblower/

Andy says:

The rule of law has morphed into the rule of man by rule of men and women calling themselves the authorities, or simply lawmakers. They are killers, thieves and liars. Sure, everyone lies. But when those of us who are ruled over lie, our lies don’t kill millions of people nor rob whole nations of people.

If you don’t have a moral right to do what government does to you, politicians and their law enforcers don’t don’t have a moral right to do it either. Morality cannot be legislated.

Ask a judge or a cop, “If me and my friends did business the same way you do, would we be called criminals?” Let me explain…

If, though you’ve harmed no one, you were to get a letter in the mail demanding you appear in court at the specified date and you ignore the letter the judge will rubberstamp a bench warrant for your arrest. Imagine doing that to a judge. You send him a letter commanding him to be at XX address on XXX date and if he fails to do that men with guns will be sent to his home to kidnap him and put him in a cage. If he resists, the gunmen will use whatever force is necessary, including shooting him.

Steven William says:

Re: Imagine doing that to a judge.

They and you have the same right to shoot at any one claiming a right that doesn’t exist while in the attempt of a false arrest. The men in your story may believe they are acting within the law, as in a law unto themselves, but many a dead person has. It all comes down to how fast can you shoot? A violation or attempt of a violation of a fundamental right always does. U.S. v John Bad Elk.

We are now a nation of the rule of men, not the rule of laws.

FACT: There are no rights recognized in Federal Courts, except to plead for bail.

The so-called rules of law are for the poor, the uneducated and working class. Everyone else is privileged, entitled, exempt or immune from so-called rules of law. How ya like those rules?

Steven William says:

Fisa Act

Recommend you read ACLU v. National Sec. Agency, 493 F. 3d 644 for an enlightening insight about FISA through the Dissenting opinion by the Honorable RONALD LEE GILMAN, Circuit Judge.

And now two brief sponsored messages, one for the Voting Cattle and two for the Sheepeople, who live near a steeple, that don’t fly a flag of the yellow. Red, White and Blue cuts through all party lines. Like truth, justice and the American way.

http://youtu.be/NwztaQgv3-Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6b70TUbdfs

Spying on Citizens within America is Spying. And Treason of their Oath of the Office.

First they came for the Facebooks,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t “Facebooker.”

Then they came for the Twitters,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a “Twitterer.”

Then they came for the Youtubes,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a “Youtuber.”

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_UV2Mao2-E

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