Keith Alexander Says The US Gov't Needs To Figure Out A Way To Stop Journalists From Reporting On Snowden Leaks

from the because-the-first-amendment-means-as-much-as-the-fourth dept

Apparently not satisfied with just setting fire to the 4th Amendment, NSA boss Keith Alexander’s next target is the 1st Amendment. In an interview with the Defense Department’s “Armed With Science” blog, it appears that Alexander felt he’d have a friendly audience, so he let loose with some insane claims, including suggesting that the government needs to find a way to “stop” journalists from reporting on the Snowden leaks.

As noted by Politco, General Alexander isn’t a fan of journalists doing anything about these documents:

“I think it’s wrong that that newspaper reporters have all these documents, the 50,000—whatever they have and are selling them and giving them out as if these—you know it just doesn’t make sense,” Alexander said in an interview with the Defense Department’s “Armed With Science” blog.

“We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I don’t know how to do that. That’s more of the courts and the policymakers but, from my perspective, it’s wrong to allow this to go on,” the NSA director declared.

It’s not the policymakers and the courts. It’s the Constitution, and it says there’s freedom of the press.

Other parts of the interview continue to show Alexander spewing things that have already been debunked:

“When you look at the 9/11 commission, it faulted the intelligence community for not connecting the dots. We didn’t have the tools. These [programs we have now] are tools that help us connect the dots. We have learned that lesson once. We all vowed this would never happen again. We should commit to that course of action.”

That’s not true. The 9/11 commission argued, indeed, that the intelligence service failed to connect the dots, but it wasn’t because they lacked the information. It’s just that it wasn’t properly shared. The way to fix that is not to collect more information and make it even harder to connect the dots. And yet that’s been General Alexander’s strategy all along.

Elsewhere in the interview, Alexander laughably tries to pretend that US Cyber Command, which he also controls, is focused on protecting “intellectual property.” But that’s also not true. As has been clearly stated and confirmed, it’s focused on offensive attacks, which it does more than any other country (even as the US government tries to scold countries like China and Iran for their online attacks).

And then, I guess he figures that if he’s going to lie about, well, everything, why not go all in, and just claim that these programs aren’t “spying.”

“They aren’t spying programs,” he says directly. “One is called the Business Records FISA Program, or Section 215, and the other is called the FISA Amendment Act 702 or PRISM.”

The business records program, or Section 215, is probably the most misunderstood of the two programs. The metadata program takes information and puts it in a data repository. Metadata is the phone number, the date, time, group, and duration of the call.

“That’s all we have,” Gen. Alexander explains. “We don’t have any names or any content.”

Except that having that metadata is incredibly revealing and absolutely is a form of spying. If it’s not, why won’t General Alexander release his phone numbers, date, time, group and duration of all of his calls from the past year? Why not? Because he thinks that’s private information. Because it is. And because General Alexander is a hypocrite.

“The oversight and compliance on these programs is greater than any other program in our government.”

Hahahahah. No. This is also a lie. It’s been shown that the courts and Congress have admitted they’re limited by what the NSA tells them — and the NSA goes out of its way to avoid telling Congress very much.

Alexander also mocks the recent claims about spying on French phone calls, using the exact same dodge as his boss, James Clapper. Both pretend that the news reports said that 70 million calls were recorded. Alexander mocks this by pointing out it would be impossible to have so many calls listened to, and to find enough translators to understand them. But the reports were about mostly metadata, and just some recordings. Pretending that the press said something that it didn’t doesn’t make Alexander look trustworthy. It makes it look like he’s lying.

Not surprisingly, though hilariously, the blogger for the Defense Department’s “Armed With Science,” Jessica Tozer doesn’t appear to challenge any of Alexander’s claims. Instead, she repeats all the statements and mocks anyone who might challenge them:

Some people would rather believe a dramatic, convenient lie than a real, uncomplicated truth. Don’t be that person.

I’d argue that right back at Tozer and Alexander, because Alexander is flat out lying in the interview, based on confirmed facts.

Don’t give credence to speculation, rumor, or hyperbole. Simply put, don’t give into the hype. When it comes down it, a nation without the NSA would be a nation left undefended.

And that, dear readers, is no lie.

Um. It’s absolutely a challengeable statement, but the Defense Department, obviously, isn’t here for reasoned discussion on this issues.

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Comments on “Keith Alexander Says The US Gov't Needs To Figure Out A Way To Stop Journalists From Reporting On Snowden Leaks”

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75 Comments
lars626 (profile) says:

How far?

What do these people have to say to get the President to fire them? The disregard for the Constitution is appalling.

Fire them, bar them from government service or lobbying, possible criminal charges. They took an oath to ‘protect and defend the Constitution’. They have done neither.

Does he really think we believe the lies?
Was he a KGB mole? Does he still report to Putin?

California70 says:

Re: Re: How far?

Re: Your statement “he did get Bin Ladin”.

Sir, I respectfully submit to you that is probably abjectly false. Any good doctor knows that someone like Bin Ladin, who had kidney disease could not last very long running around in the mountains, living in a cave and using a washing machine to wash his blood clean, without getting a bad infection of some sort in the shunt he would have had either in his leg or arm!

It is safe to say, that Bin Laudin was probably “a long-time dead”, before they killed they man they told us was bin Ladin. You do remember we have never seen a body! They conveniently buried him at sea before anyone saw who he was! It was a lie!

They just use Bin Ladin as “face” for the War on Terror! The American people are tired of a nameless, faceless war such as this so they invented Bin Ladin as the “enemy”!

Now if you notice, they are looking around for a new name and face to take the place of Bin Ladin. They just don’t have one yet but they are looking..

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: How far?

don’t be a pollyanna: borderline personalities who will do WHATEVER it takes to defend the KORPORATOCRACY -NOT the constitution- are what it takes to qualify for a high position in the gummint…

it is highly lucrative to be a psychopath for Empire…

face it, the gummint is the ultimate korporate kapture, and we mere citizens who bitch about the bill of rights, etc, are simply in the way…

Anonymous Coward says:

You know what I find missing in all that from Alexander? It’s the same thing I find missing from nearly all bureaucrats that defend the massive abuse of spying done today. None of them recognizes the right to privacy granted by the Constitution. It’s corporate datamining on steroids.

There is nothing coming from the NSA that isn’t wrapped up in deceit. There is nothing they explain you can believe. I would question at this point if they said gravity pulled things down.

I’m still waiting on the revelation that it isn’t just metadata they collect off phone calls but everything including the speech.

Anonymous Coward says:

What Alexander is really saying is ‘we don’t need no stinking oversight’. What he is really bitching about is the exposure of wrong doing. There would be none of this were the spy agency operating legally.

Claiming legality by using a bad law is just shy of being illegal. That’s one of the reasons why the administration, the DOJ, and everyone else defending this is hollering ‘no standing’ to prevent it from examined in public court. They know the whole shebang could evaporate if what they really did was exposed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Lets see if I can summarise his attitude. He is saying:-
“You the people have no need of privacy, and the government needs to intrude into every aspect of your lives to protect you from terrorism. We the government need to keep our actions private, by classifying them as secret, and you the people have no need to know what we are doing in your name.”

scrivener50 (user link) says:

NSA Director Alexander Helms High-Tech Torture Matrix: Vet Journo

The crime is what has yet to be widely reported: the corporate-mil-intel community’s hidden agenda of social cleansing. This veteran journalist’s reporting reveals that deep metadata spying on all Americans is the gateway to a torturous disposition matrix that extrajudicially targets, tortures, impairs, subjugates, harms and slow-kills untold thousands of American citizens who have been branded as “dissidents” or “undesirables.” The main implement of this virtual Auschwitz: a “multifunctional” celltower radio frequency directed energy neuroweapon grid under U.S. Cyber Command administration, capable of “neuromodulation” of the human nervous system and anatomy — speed-of-light “no-touch” torturous assault, what Dr. Mengele types regard as “behavior modification.” This journalist calls it a slow-kill genocide: viclivingston.blogspot.com/2011/12/u.html

TasMot (profile) says:

It's gone "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth" it been classified out of existence

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
November 19, 1863
see http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/gettysburg.htm

It appears tht Lincoln got it wrong at Gettysburg. Alexander has changed it to:

and that government by me, for me and against all those people in the country that just won’t let me do anything I want, shall not perish from the earth.

There is no government “by the people” if they are not allowed to know what the government is doing because it classified. The true hypocrasy that keeps recurring is that he is no longer protecting the foundations of this once great country. He is waging a personal war against an enemy he can’t actually name, so we keep getting the “BUT TERRORIST” argument. There always have been terrortists, there always will be terrorists. There will always be people who don’t like the way things are. They believe they have a better way and are willing to kill to make the change to their way. Oh wait isn’t that what a “targeted drone strike” means (why bother with those pesky trials and rules of evidence)?

Instead of protecting the foundations of this country, he is waging a personal unwinnable war against a vague enemy at taxpayer expense. The worst part is that (again at taxpayer expense and against their will) he’s got the tools that the Nazis and Hoover would drool over.

The sad part is that the pesky entitlement programs are getting in the way of spending more taxpayer money on this unwinnable war. Its called target blindness and Air Force pilots crash their planes when they get it, Alexander is going to crash the country if he is not stopped soon.

Is there any hope that the next election will see a wave of congressional change that will result in the resolve to downsize the Alexander empire and return to protecting Americans by upholding the Constitution by the highest law enforcement agencies in the country?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: It's gone "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth" it been classified out of existence

“Is there any hope that the next election will see a wave of congressional change that will result in the resolve to downsize the Alexander empire and return to protecting Americans by upholding the Constitution by the highest law enforcement agencies in the country?”

This hope is doubtful at best as long as big corporate money consolidated in the hands of a very few elite people are able to use that money to hijack the election process starting at the primary level, making it such that our choices are limited to those that they want us to have. We need Citizen’s United overturned… YESTERDAY.

Anonymous Coward says:

Billions of reasons why Alexander has a pliant interviewer

Of course Jessica Tozer doesn’t have the slightest quibble with General Alexander.
She is “employed by Dynamics Research Corporation which has a 6 billion dollar contract to provide “Cyber Security Support”.

This is corporate marketing/damage-control disguised as an interview with a news-maker.
I guess we can add DRC to the list of toady corporations allied with the NSA who are fine with destroying the US Constitution as long as it’s profitable.

American Citizen says:

Re: Re: Billions of reasons why Alexander has a pliant interviewer

You presume America is different than other nations?

Mayhaps, once upon a time, that may have rang true.

Alas, we have become a nation of propaganda.

Speaking in the name of freedom and human rights for all people, our nation deprives these rights behind the veil.

Our leaders may speak with golden tongues, but their hands rend the very ideals they purport to serve.

Not all is lost, some of us have awakened. And in that awakening we have committed to awake the world.

Let the nations of the world be put on notice, the people of earth seek not to live in strife. They seek not to hate their neighbors, those of differing colors and customs.

This digital age has provided the means to unify people. We will not stand by and let the actions of a few deprive the many.

In the words of Mr. Universe: “You can’t stop the signal… Everything goes somewhere, and I go everywhere.”

martyburns (profile) says:

Re: Re:

We need a new board game. Perhaps ‘Corporate Monopoly, Revolving Door Edition’.

‘Do not go to jail, do not go directly to jail. Pass GO. Collect hundreds of thousands of dollars when you do pass go and enter the private sector’.

The jail square could be removed and replaced with some sort of luxury holiday resort.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No you just use a regular board and you play just like regular monopoly except the player that is “the banker” is also is “the government” and players just pay “the banker” to let them cheat. You also have to have the jail square because “the banker” then sends you there if you point out that any other players are cheating.

ahow628 (profile) says:

Comments

I find it weird that there are no comments on the DOD blog. They use Disqus so it isn’t like it is hard to register and comment. Are they censoring comments?

I didn’t comment because it would have just been something stupid like, “FIRST AMENDMENT 4 LIFE!!!!1” or something. Would have loved to see some discussion over there though.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, he would be smiling like a proud papa of all of what his protegees grew up to become. After all these programs were started under Bush/Cheney mainly by Cheney and Rumsfeld who who were key players under the Nixon administration that somehow managed to escape the scrutiny. Their ideologies were born from Nixon’s and are unapologetically similar.

Conor says:

Re: background music

Alex picked it out. He’s all new wave, like how he had a complete replica of the bridge of the starship enterprise built as his command headquarters, complete with “whooshing” doors, all at our expense. After I found that out I’m in complete shock he still has his job. Are you sh*tting me?

This guy deserves to be locked up.

PS- love the “Anonymous Coward” tag

Brian Dell (user link) says:

lies?

U.S. courts have repeatedly recognized that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in metadata. Mike Masnick disagrees and evidently believes these decisions were wrongly decided, which is fine, but to call everyone who disagrees with him a liar, well, this is the sort of hyperventilating that suggests Masnick cannot be trusted to report anything reliably.

RCGAMBLER (profile) says:

Gen. Alexander is a bat

I watched part of the video and came to notice echoic Bells softly ding-donging as Alexander speaks.

MY COMMENTS:
Why are bells ringing as Gen. Alexander speaks? You can hear their softly echoic ringing as Alexander speaks. Those sounds were put there by the Defense Department’s “Armed With Science” blog, and were generated for a reason…
Do they lend weight to Alexander’s words? Do they give his flattish voice resonance and help make his words seem acceptable?
There was no reason for the bell sounds to be there naturally.
I’ve never heard of this kind of audio effect being used, and right now I am very suspicious of the NSA and the Defense Department, so I’m thinking they put the Bells in as a psychological “softener”.

John Sinclair (user link) says:

Goodnight USA

Who would have thought in the 1980’s that the spies that would finally bring the corrupt and corrupting US to its knees would be sitting in the white house and lying to senate committees in a general’s uniform?

“Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?”

Maybe someone very special knew of “Snow den” long before the 1980’s. Maybe he was created for just such a purpose. And if one snowflake can produce so much mayhem imagine what a storm, a treasure, of them could do …… and then the hail. Just a thought. I think the general needs to apologise, …… and quick, for his horrendous abuse of the God-given US constitution. Then he should resign without a pension. ;o)

Araldo (profile) says:

General Alexander, already has more power in his hands

than that of Lavrentiy Beria the infamous secret service

chief during Stalin’s rule of the Soviet Union. Now, he

wants to destroy the freedom of the press. Alexander and

his minions are not different that other human beings

anywhere (it is anthropological) when given uncontrolled

power they become arrogantly dangerous. It is time to

stop the madness before it is too late!

gregfullmoon (profile) says:

'We'll First Get the Facts' says Gen. Alexander..

‘We’ve learned from 9/11’ he says. Early in the interview he claims to not having sufficient data on the pre 9/11 movement of the alleged 19 hijackers.
Overseas Intelligence and Intelligence in the USA made many reports to Authority prior that fateful Tuesday about suspicious stuff pointing to planes, hijackings and bombs.

The Authorities quashed it, letting 9/11 run. Why would they do this? The people who protect our interest, why quash their own Intelligence operatives bringing forward field intel, not just ‘snoop’ gathered from phones?

Gen Alexander then refers to the 9/11 Commission report taking a few references from it to bolster his smooth and melodically backed (notice the fluffy muzak in the background, real psyche op) employment of that Grand Lie as justification of his/their Empire.

Jeez if the Intelligence haven’t worked out what happened on 9/11 by now, they’ve got no hope of spotting the enemy. The enemy of the people are running the Spy Operation. The same guys that gave the World ‘A New Pearl Harbour’, what do you think William Kristol and Robert Kagan?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

Collateral Damage;

http://wikispooks.com/wiki/Document:Collateral_Damage_911

It’s not rocket science. More a bit of inconvenient truth.

Also as to the lie of ‘meta data’; New Zealand’s Nicky Hagar gave evidence to the European Parliamentary inquiry into Echelon the 5 Powers spying alliance comprising USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The first link is Nicky describing how he gained the information sufficient to write his book ‘Secret Power.’ The second is his testimony to the Europeans 23/24th April 2001. Not long before that fate full Tuesday, and guess what? He said they the Echelon partners, particularly the USA were using it extensively for corporate and industrial espionage.

http://www.nickyhager.info/researching-echelon/

http://cryptome.org/echelon-nh.htm

It’s a tool of the Banksters;

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30605.htm

Obviously the Banksters wanted 9/11. What do you think?

gctuser says:

how many operators are needed to run siri?

love the part (around min 21:00) where he calculates the number of analysts required to handle the phonecalls collected in france/month. he comes up with a number of nearly 100k french speaking anylysts (to write down, translate and analyse the conversations.

Makes me wonder how many operators are employed by apple to provide siri – must be millions!

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