NSA's Keith Alexander Calls Emergency Private Briefing To Lobby Against Amash Amendment

from the what-are-you-afraid-of? dept

So we were just writing about the details of the amendment from Rep. Justin Amash, which would limit the NSA’s ability to twist the language of Section 215 of the Patriot Act to pretend it means it’s okay to collect information on every phone call made. If you want to know just how important this is, all you need to know is that NSA boss, General Keith Alexander, wasted no time in scheduling a last-minute emergency briefing for Congress to tell them not to vote for the Amash Amendment.

NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander scheduled a last-minute, members-only briefing in response to the amendment, according to an invitation distributed to members of Congress this morning and forwarded to HuffPost. “In advance of anticipated action on amendments to the DoD Appropriations bill, Ranking Member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of the House Intelligence Committee invites your Member to attend a question and answer session with General Keith B. Alexander of the National Security Agency,” reads the invitation.

The invitation warned members that they could not share what they learned with their constituents or others. “The briefing will be held at the Top Secret/SCI level and will be strictly Members-Only,” reads the invite.

Of course, the people that Congress is supposed to be representing, the public, don’t get the privilege of being able to secure a last minute “briefing” with our elected officials to explain to them why the Amash amendment is important. Instead, we need to rely on things like DefundTheNSA.com or Demand Progress to reach out to our Representatives to let them know that bulk data collection on every American is not acceptable behavior by the NSA.

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Comments on “NSA's Keith Alexander Calls Emergency Private Briefing To Lobby Against Amash Amendment”

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TheLastCzarnian (profile) says:

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Remember, these are the same agencies that were certain that Saddam had “Weapons of Mass Destruction” which was supposed to justify the Iraq war.
Or, to put it another way, they make up whatever s**t they want and expect everyone to believe them. Can’t check their sources, can you?
Governmental Intelligence is a stupid idea as well as an oxymoron. The government doesn’t do anything correctly without checks and balances. Hell, they do very little correctly WITH checks and balaces.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Weapons of Mass Destruction

these are the same agencies that were certain that Saddam had “Weapons of Mass Destruction” which was supposed to justify the Iraq war

In all fairness, this isn’t exactly true. A special executive committee cherry-picked from intelligence reports to lead to the erroneous conclusion. The totality of what the intelligence agencies said was actually reasonably close to what ended up being so.

Djdjdndd says:

Wake up Amerika.

Yeah to say we got dirt on each of you and unless you like your nice job and life don’t vote for it.

Why is nobody talking about this potential? Every vote, every court ruling is suspect. The immense power they have is incredible.

Just on a personal level. My alarm went off the other day. Alarm company called and asked for my PIN, I said it – I was on my cell phone.

Now if the NSA wanted they could have my PIN.

The power the NSA has is far too great.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Wake up Amerika.

Ummm… if you’re giving your PIN to someone over the phone, you have far, far bigger security issues than whether or not the NSA is listening.

Where I work has an alarm system that has initiated a few false alarms. The alarm company will call and you have to supply the personal pin number (different numbers for different employees) over the phone to cancel the police call. Otherwise they will automatically assume they are talking to the criminal.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well, what better cover for a congressman then a secret meeting that they can’t reveal the contents of to their voters when they vote against their interests and then run for reelection.

I think that’ll work as well as it did when say Senator Burns was running against John Tester for reelection, claiming that unpopular things he did stopped terrorist attacks, but not being able to give ANY details once so ever on those claims. We now have a Senator Tester if you want to know who won that argument.

John Doe says:

You misunderstand

Of course, the people that Congress is supposed to be representing, the public, don’t get the privilege of being able to secure a last minute “briefing” with our elected officials to explain to them why the Amash amendment is important.

The government no longer serves the people, the people serve the government. That government which is big enough to give you everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. We have reached the take everything you have phase.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: You misunderstand

Don’t worry about the federal government they are doomed in about 10-15 years. The combination of debt, robotics and smart systems will reduce the tax paying part of the population to from 86 million people to 25-35 million people. Which is unsustainable. Then toss in the cost of an aging population.

The tech from Google’s self driving car will wipe out 8 million jobs directly and 4 million secondary. Elon Musk’s automation of his car factory will wipe out another 12-14 million jobs in the auto industry when the big 3 realize they have to follow suit to compete. Cheap baxter like robots, burger making bots and fry cooks, shelf stocking bots, and warehouse bots will take out another 30 million jobs.

I could go on for another 1,000 words on this but you get the picture. Due to automation tax revenue will fall substantially over the next decade and a half, the cost of an aging population, and the debt all combine into a catastrophic financial failure for the US federal government all debt laden nations.

Jasmine Charter (user link) says:

I think it's good...

I think it’s good for them to collect metadata and store it in a giant database that can be accessed anytime by anyone (see IRS scandals).

This makes good sense… because it’s to prevent terrorism.

Another good idea is to search EVERY house in America and take photos of EVERYTHING in it and then store the photos in case their ever needed. That would protect against terror too.

In fact, it’s probably a good idea to take fingerprints, DNA samples and even stick cameras in everyone’s home – but not to actually look at that stuff unless it’s needed.

I mean, how much easier is it for law enforcement then?!

Think… of… the… children…

Anonymous Coward says:

if they hadn’t been up to anything bad and underhanded, they wouldn’t be shitting backwards at losing anything or being stopped from doing anything! they would have looked on themselves as being squeaky clean and their conduct beyond reproach. in reality, they have been nothing but underhanded, surveilling, two faced arse holes, so they deserve to lose as much funding and freedom of carrying on with the same practices as soon as possible, with severe consequences when caught still carrying on as before (and yes, they will definitely carry on!!)!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Private Meeting Transcript

Rep 1: We’re yanking funding for the NSA’s spy gathering machine.

Alexander: What will it take to get you to change your mind?

Rep 2: How ’bout season tickets to “insert professional sports team name” games?

Alexander: Sure. Anything else?

Rep 1: My grand kids would really like a puppy.

Alexander: Done.

Rep 1: Well, I think that about does it.

Rep 2: Who’s buying drinks?

Alexander: I’ve got it.

Rep 1: Great! Meeting adjourned.

Bill W (profile) says:

It's not new people!

I was reflecting tonight on the NSA debacle and was thinking back on my own career. I am retired now but worked for a company (actually several companies but MY position never changed, they just kept changing the sign on the building …) that built surveillance satellites for the NRO. Of course we couldn’t even say “N R O” at the time but that bubble has burst long ago. We also had contact with another agency with a similar acronym although we were mostly optical “R” when we dealt with that other agency.

You may have heard of Corona which has been declassified and actually installed in the Air and Space Museum. It was really freaky to go see it as when I was working on the follow-on program Corona was a “naughty word” never to be mentioned. I don’t think I can mention our program (but a simple search can reveal it) yet but it, too, was optical. But at the same time we had several other programs which were trying to integrate optical surveillance with “SigInt” (Signal Intelligence) and although we did not use those technologies we did work with people who did.

So even back in the early 1980’s the focus in the Intel community was on advancing spying on every part that could be spied on. That it has gone as far as it has in the past 30 years in no surprise at all to me. It is a pattern that has its roots way back in time.

I don’t know that you can use any of my musings. It matters little in the current scheme of things. But I thought you might like to hear of a retired “spy” who actively worked these programs that I think it has gone too far by leagues. What disturbs me most is the feeling of entitlement that these people seem to feel. It’s “because I can therefore I WILL” that bothers me. Distresses me. There seems to be no Right or Wrong evaluation here. At all.

Distressing …

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