US Official Admits Spying On US Phone Calls & Internet Had Nothing To Do With Latest Terror Alert

from the but-of-course dept

As we already noted, defenders of the NSA’s mass dragnet collection of data on Americans, such as Senator Saxby Chambliss, have used the latest terror alerts to justify those programs, claiming:

They are what lead us to have the – or allow us to have the ability to gather this chatter that I referred to. If we did not have these programs, then we simply wouldn’t be able to listen in on the bad guys.

Right, so that’s a direct claim that these programs — the Patriot Act Section 215 hoovering up of all metadata and the FISA Amendments Act Section 702 access to data from internet companies — are apparently necessary to catch the communications from leaders in Al Qaeda that resulted in the terror warnings. That seems dubious for a variety of reasons (not the least of which is that it seems pretty clear that any terrorist with more than a couple of brain cells already knows to avoid anything that might trigger such programs). And, of course, now it’s come out that the alert came about because of an intercepted conference call, but that doesn’t mean it came via these programs And, indeed, buried in an AP article about the terror alert is this little tidbit:

But an intelligence official said the controversial NSA programs that gather data on American phone calls or track Internet communications with suspected terrorists played no part in detecting the initial tip.

In other words, it would appear that Chambliss flat out lied to defend these programs. I guess we can just add that one to the ever growing list.

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Comments on “US Official Admits Spying On US Phone Calls & Internet Had Nothing To Do With Latest Terror Alert”

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Machin Shin (profile) says:

Do you really think the leaders of these organizations have gone from hiding in a compounds and using only trusted messengers that hand deliver messages, to instead just grabbing nearest phone and setting up a conference call? Next they are going to want me to believe they intercepted a top terrorists Skype video conference.

Something really does not add up.

Anonymous Coward says:

This again stresses why the government and officials can not be trusted to tell the truth about the spying matters. The longer this goes on the more is revealed through the mistakes in omissions and admissions that these programs are not what they were said to be.

It also reflects when they actually have something that everyone will believe they are once again crying wolf. I’ve lost all respect and trust in this government to actually do what they are supposed to do.

I keep wondering what else is going to be revealed that hasn’t been talked about and what else is of real domestic importance that’s being lied about.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Simple rule

I have heard about a few alternative VOIP programs. The problem I always run into is thinking about getting the folks I want to talk to, to move over to a new program, or be willing to have two running in the background. I wound up with Gtalk and Skype both there. I get a better experience with Gtalk, but can’t move those contacts.

Anonymous Coward says:

And they wonder why we don’t just trust them. Time and time again they have proved themselves to be liars, think themselves above the law and abuse our trust. This is why they need some supervision or to be kicked out. They act like thugs and then tell us that it is really okay, because they are the good guys.
These “good guys” sure do alot of shitty, bad and ugly stuff.

Anonymous Coward says:

Rainmaker con

Watch for the basic rainmaker con — See One example was use in Season Three of The Wire. Clip at

Basically, once I’ve convinced you of my power over rain, you have two options.
1) It rains, and you should pay me for making it happen.
2) It doesn’t rain, and you should pay me to make it happen.

Something similar happens with US National Security politics. Once people are frightened and convinced of the power and necessity of anti-terror agencies, people have two options:
1) If there is no terrorist attack, people should continue this success by supporting expanded powers and funding for the agencies that “prevented” it.
2) If there is a terrorist attack, people should prevent future attacks by supporting expanded powers and funding for the agencies that will “prevent” it in the future.

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.
(How about a nice game of chess?)

InformedUSCitizen says:

Joseph Nacchio QWEST jailed for insider trading months before 9/11, the reason why? The US Govt pulled their contracts with QWEST when he refused to allow NSA inside access. He shorted his stocks knowing no contracts the company was going to end. They been spying longer than most think. Try 1920’s with telegraph interceptions.

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