NSA Boss: Section 702 Should Be Renewed Because It Helped Prove Russia Hacked Election

from the pay-no-attention-to-the-abuses-and-violations dept

The push for a smooth Section 702 renewal continues. The never-not-abused surveillance program has received some vocal support in recent weeks. Former FBI Director James Comey’s Senate testimony began with his praise for Section 702, despite there being about a million investigation-related questions Senators were dying to hear answers to.

Any opening will do for promoting the NSA’s internet-based collections, even with the agency voluntarily shutting down its upstream email collection because it just couldn’t stop sweeping up (and searching) domestic communications. Such is the case here, with NSA boss Admiral Mike Rogers aiming to remain the commander of oceans of internet data/communications (some of it gathered under actual oceans!) for the foreseeable future. The selling point here is the popular Jeopardy category CURRENT EVENTS.

“I would highlight much, not all, much of what was in the intelligence community’s assessment, for example, on the Russian efforts against the U.S. election process in 2016, was informed by knowledge we gained through (Section) 702 authority,” Rogers said.

Rogers said allowing the statute to expire on Dec. 31, unless Congress votes to reauthorize it, would degrade U.S. intelligence agencies’ ability to provide “timely warning and insight” on a variety of criminal and national security threats.

There is little doubt the 702 program provides all the things Rogers says it does. How could it not? The program pulls millions of communications directly from internet backbones, in addition to what it gathers with the help of service providers. It also gathers plenty of US persons’ communications, the recent culling of the “about” collection notwithstanding. And it gathers tons of useless communications because that’s just how the collection works: the collection continues regardless. FISA court orders just narrow the searches analysts can perform.

Even with a pro-surveillance president and a controlling party that’s shown little interest in pushing back against the administration, the Section 702 renewal process isn’t going to go as smoothly as the NSA (and FBI) would hope. Too many documents have been leaked and the NSA has been caught abusing the program far too often. Sure, it’s great the program helped track down evidence of politically-motivated hacking, but no one has ever argued the program is useless. They’ve argued it violates privacy and civil liberties in bulk and no amount of “usefulness” changes that fact.

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Comments on “NSA Boss: Section 702 Should Be Renewed Because It Helped Prove Russia Hacked Election”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

‘would degrade U.S. intelligence agencies’ ability to provide “timely warning and insight” on a variety of criminal and national security threats’

Criminal? I thought this was just for terrorism.

Warning like the ones before Pulse Night Club, San Bernadino?
Or did you mean the ones before the white nationalists (white folk can’t be terrorists) murdered people to cause terror?

We have nothing to show for these programs beyond huge costs & huge infringement upon the alleged rights we have. Its grown so large that no one dares question it or face the specter of being called a terrorist lover.

In a perfect world we’d review these stupid do something laws passed in the wake of tragedies, and see if they were actually worth it. Instead we just throw more money & excuses when the program fails to do its job.

Now they will tell us they can’t tell us about all the bad it has stopped else the bad guys figure out how to get around it, despite the ‘going dark’ narrative. (If they went so dark you can’t find them, how does scooping up more find them? They are dark and unfindable.)

The American people should have no trust in these programs, because those charged with representing our best interests lie to us on a regular basis to get corporate sponsorship. (They passed a STUPID law because no one wanted to appear to be voting against the families of survivors, despite the huge costs on the world stage.) There is no real review, no real data, just rumors & threats the sky might fall if we don’t.

The NSA Boss has a vested interest in keeping the program, because it gets his budget more money. Have we not learned yet that when their pay & power is tied to the program they will support it no matter how much it fails? They have a vested interest in pretending its working & not a failure.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It is a false narrative that the left are desperately clinging to because they cannot fathom that their ideology is highly flawed and was rejected in the election.

Step 2 of their rejection of reality is to vandalize and break stuff and assault people who don’t think like they do. The name calling isn’t working anymore so they have stepped up to violence.

It is the same thought process that helped them to justify slavery. If you don’t look, act or think like they do, you are their enemy. We should be glad they don’t support the 2nd amendment or they would be even more dangerous.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re:

I’ve been laughing like hell about this. Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has a great article about the moral panic here: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-putin-derangement-syndrome-arrives-w474771

As you may have seen from comments made elsewhere I’ve got no time for histrionics based on feelings and gut instinct. There is little in the way of evidence that the Russians hacked the election; people who want change elected Trump, not the “business as usual” promised by her.

That the Russians have been up to mischief is not in doubt, but the extent of that has yet to be determined. If any of this crap is true, what the hell have the CIA and FBI been up to?

Anonymous Coward says:

if it allows the government, security services, police, the rich and famous to do whatever they want as far as watching what everyone is up to without giving any access to their stuff or to be watched, it will be renewed with no problems!! the only time something like this fails is if it gives things away related to those above!!

Personanongrata says:

Re: Re:

So when will you be releasing the proof the US interfered in the elections for Brexit, Israel, etc…

When will the US be releasing the proof the Russians interfered in the US elections?

As of today, 16May17, only hearsay, innuendo, conjecture and rumors have been bandied about in public only to have the "official" US spokespersons retreat and hide behind the tired mantra of national security whenever pressed to expand upon their answer.

As a matter of fact the US government has not even examined the servers in question as Clinton hired a tech firm (ie Cloudstrike) to investigate.

Italicized/bold text below was excerpted from the website computerworld.com a report titled FBI dispute with DNC over hacked servers may fuel doubt on Russia role:

The FBI may have been forced into a misstep when investigating whether Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee — the agency never directly examined the DNC servers that were breached.

Instead, the FBI had to rely on forensic evidence provided by third-party cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which the DNC hired to mitigate the breach._

“The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed,” the agency said on Thursday in a statement.


Italicized/bold text below was excerpted from the website thehill.com a report titled FBI never examined hacked DNC servers itself: report:

According to one intelligence official who spoke to the publication, no U.S. intelligence agency has performed its own forensics analysis on the hacked servers.

Instead, the official said, the bureau and other agencies have relied on analysis done by the third-party security firm CrowdStrike, which investigated the breach for the DNC.


Italicized/bold text below was excerpted from the website wired.com a report titled FBI Says the Democratic Party Wouldn’t Let Agents See the Hacked Email Servers:

In a statement to WIRED, a senior FBI law enforcement official wrote in an email Thursday that “The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated.”


Where is the evidence of a Russian hack?

There is however plenty of evidence available in the public domain that Hillary Clinton was grossly negligent in the handling of classified information.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re:

That would be a very wealthy US individual, not USG. The actual problem is not Robert Mercer colluding with Britain’s right wing press, it’s that Britain’s right wing press is so damn powerful it actually owns the narrative. This is market-driven whether we like it or not: people choose to read and buy the Mail, Express, Times, and tabloids like The Sun. They’re not choosing the Mirror and The Guardian. That, dear friends, is where the trouble is.

That the right-wing press skews so hard to the right that it’s downright fascist (would the Express care to explain why it referred to High Court judges as “enemies of the people?”) is not the problem, it’s that people choose to buy the damn papers. There are plenty of middle-ground and left-wing papers but the right-wing ones sell more copies. This feeds a vicious cycle in which people become more intolerant after reading the bilge these papers publish and the papers are obliged to publish ever more horrible copy in order to keep their readership.

So yeah, it’s more complex than “some American done stole de election,” it’s more a case of “stupid is as stupid reads.”

The trendy lefties don’t help themselves by blathering on about class and hating the Royal Family. It’s why I don’t take sides with any particular faction. So basically you’ve got a choice between a right-wing press that panders to your sensibilities and presents you as the victim of a great wrong by “the liberal elites” and a left-wing press that blames class and the very rich for all your woes. Into that toxic mix stepped Mr. Mercer and his money, if the Guardian is to be believed.

Nobody “hacked” anything: people chose to believe what they wanted to believe without bothering to check if it was true or not. That’s on them, not Mercer, the press, or anyone else. Getting informed is on the individual and nobody else.

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