NSA Insists It Needs All The Metadata, While Eric Holder Says He Was 'Concerned' About It Even Before Snowden

from the yeah,-right dept

Earlier this week, as we’ve noted, the leaders of the Intelligence Community fought hard for their metadata, arguing that they were “necessary” and under no circumstances would they give up their precious metadata. They even made nonsensical arguments, including suggesting that if the NSA doesn’t get to keep the metadata it’s actually worse for Americans’ privacy. And of course, it seems a bit bizarre that the NSA is so focused on this when it’s pretty clear that the program hasn’t been particularly useful in stopping terrorism.

Of course, a day later, after these representatives from the Intelligence Community made it abundantly clear that they had no interest, whatsoever, in giving up their metadata, Attorney General Eric Holder suddenly announced that the administration has been concerned about the metadata collections since before the Snowden leaks, and that the administration wants to “work with Congress” as Congress considers legislation to stop bulk metadata collection.

Of course, the idea that anyone in the administration was legitimately concerned about the bulk metadata collection is pretty laughable given everything they’ve done to defend it, including having the representatives from the intelligence community go to the PCLOB on Monday suggesting that all hell would break loose without their precious, precious metadata. It seems that Holder’s statement is much more about the administration seeing the writing on the wall with the USA Freedom Act, and realizing that it now wants to pretend that it’s been thinking about cutting back on the bulk metadata collection all along.

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Comments on “NSA Insists It Needs All The Metadata, While Eric Holder Says He Was 'Concerned' About It Even Before Snowden”

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out_of_the_blue says:

Too much "of course". Avoid meaningless conjunctives.

Also watch comma-tizing: not necessary when meant to be read instead of pause in speaking; make it: “A day after these representatives from the Intelligence Community made it abundantly clear that they had no interest whatsoever in giving up their metadata…” (Though, as you repeat this thought in each paragraph, it’s actually doubly redundant.)

Anyhoo, why is it necessary to tell us Holder is lying? Is he still breathing? Then he’s lying. — Or to imply that NSA is under pressure when it’s not? — And when did this turn into sheerly political blog? Where’s the tech? — And why no mention of Google’s party barges? That’s gotta be the biggest innovation of the year, something no one else has ever done.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Forget terrists, think of the children!

I wonder if the CIA distributes pedo material the same way they get Swiss bankers to drink-drive?

I bet they do.

I wonder if that’s the leverage they have over some of the apparatchiks defending spying on their own people for the NSA.

It’s probably easy, target visits a porn site (99% of men do), swap a few pictures with a MITM attack, confront the minister or senior civil servant with the logs.

They have all the mechanisms in place, it must be quite easy to gain leverage over allied politicians, ministers etc. that way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Forget terrists, think of the children!

Image you are a UK minister. Like most men you look at porn because you’re biologically programmed to like pictures of woman doing stuff. Like most ministers you pretend porn is vial and evil, because that’s how you get elected.

CIA wants to turn you into an apparatchik, so they do their ‘redirect’ attack, the one they use to MITM Google in one of the leaks. CIA redirects them to a kiddy porn server in Orlando, now the logs of both GCHQ and NSA show them visiting a kiddy diddling site.

CIA man visits minister and explains the shock and outrage at finding this, but assures minister that he’s a good man and therefore the CIA won’t tell.

Minister can’t go to MI5 because Parker could be a CIA apparatchik (he is doing an attack on the free press FFS). Indeed he can’t get help at all, because all it takes is ONE apparatchik among the people in the know and he is gone.

It may sound fanciful, but the mechanisms are already in place. Also read a few leaks. The plan to attack Greenwald & Wikileaks.


The leverage they got over a Swiss Banker:


The weird way ministers are behaving.

JCDavis says:

Metadata is the key to their haystack

Of course they need the metadata and their made-up three hop rule, because without those, they wouldn’t be able to get a rubber stamp warrant to listen to the full conversations and read the full emails that they have in storage. The metadata isn’t otherwise useful, but without it they have nothing at all, and their haystack will just sit there, unexploited.

Anonymous Coward says:

HTTPS on France, Spain Germany

We had leaks showing USA spying on Internet traffic of France, German, Spain, Italy etc.

Then we had leaks claiming the spying agencies of those countries assisted in that spying.

Then we had leaks showing USA told GCHQ it could break HTTPS encrypted traffic. i.e. Industrial, government, medical, political and lots of other sensitive data on these countries.

So I just realized, that the French, German, Italians etc. were not in among the leaks.

The spy agencies of allies agreed to tap data that contains mostly their own countries comms, on the basis that only unencrypted traffic could be viewed by the NSA.

So when the spy agencies were busy spying on their own countries, did they know about the 2010 breakthrough in encryption cracking the NSA had done?
Were they assured by the NSA only unencrypted traffic could be read?

Jim Anderson (profile) says:

Eric Holder

Eric Holder knew about this situation and he did nothing. He was concerned but did not propose any changes to then existing policy. Eric if you know about a problem and have some authority to prevent the problem then you are part of the problem. It could be his concern was what was being done didn’t go far enough. If Obama could get a replacement confirmed Holder and several other members of the cabinet would be looking for new cushy establishment jobs.

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