Senator Bob Corker Says NSA Should Be Spying On More Americans, Not Fewer

from the say-what-now? dept

Senator Bob Corker, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, appears to now be calling for the NSA to spy on more Americans, rather than fewer, arguing that the metadata collection program that is currently being debated in Congress is so small that he considers it negligent.
"It's almost malpractice," Corker said at a breakfast for reporters hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. "That's the best word I can use to describe the amount of data that is being collected."

Corker, who said the NSA's data collection needs to be "ramped up hugely", was reacting to a closed-door briefing that national security officials held Tuesday to brief senators on federal surveillance programs....

[....]

"I think there was an aha moment (Tuesday) for people on both sides of the aisle when we realized how little data is being collected.... It's beyond belief how little data is part of this program, especially if the goal is to uncover terrorists."
Now, this is the same Senator Corker who originally was quite disturbed when he first heard about the very same program after it was leaked by Ed Snowden (suggesting he was completely unaware of it prior to it leaking, despite being a Senator). Back in June of 2013, he sent an angry letter to the President about how such "broad collection" raised "extremely serious concerns."

But now he thinks the NSA should actually be spying on more Americans? It sounds like the NSA briefing that was just given to Senators was designed to really ramp up the fear-mongering.

Filed Under: bob corker, metadata, nsa, section 215, surveillance


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  • identicon
    David, 13 May 2015 @ 12:40pm

    Almost makes you wonder...

    If Corkers briefing was on what the NSA knows about his particular meta-data?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 12:51pm

      Re: Almost makes you wonder...

      Indeed - I suspect nothing "impresses" a politician more than being told who they've been talking to, who they visit, and where they spend their money - during the off hours.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      KRA, 13 May 2015 @ 5:38pm

      Re: Almost makes you wonder...

      My first thought

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    leehb9 (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 12:52pm

    Well, he's sure got the right name....

    He is definitely a Corker!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2015 @ 8:06am

      Re: Well, he's sure got the right name....

      ...but not the 'outstanding statement' definition. I'm sure you are referring to the 'open the bottle for the NSA' definition.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 14 May 2015 @ 8:42am

        Re: Re: Well, he's sure got the right name....

        Hmm, I was unfamiliar with the "outstanding statement" definition of "corker", but looking it up I learned two things: yes, that's an accepted definition, and the people in my part of the country don't use that definition ever.

        Around here, we use the Irish definition: an odd, unique, peculiar, special, etc. person. Not necessarily bad, though not good either.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 12:57pm

    That's ok, I believe Bob Corker should be groveling for forgiveness from more Americans.

    Guess we're both gonna be disappointed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 12:59pm

    The NSA needs to collect more data. Clearly, their current approach isn't doing anything to stop the daily terror attacks on US soil.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 1:02pm

    Right words, wrong implications.

    > we realized how little data is being collected

    From the NSA dictionary:
    "collected" - data which has been seized from the internet and subsequently reviewed by an agent.

    See also emptywheel.net.

    So in the NSA's terms, "we need more people to watch you all".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 1:05pm

    Maybe he was persuaded to come around.

    Perhaps at the briefing members were handed dossiers with their names on them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 1:16pm

    I didn't know there was such a thing as "more" than literally all of something?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 2:07pm

      Re:

      I didn't know there was such a thing as "more" than literally all of something?
      Although NSA's collections far exceed their Constitutional authority, their purported lawful authority (which itself claims to exceed their actual Constitutional authority), and basic good sense, they are not collecting everything. Supposedly, they are not bulk recording the content of purely domestic calls, nor bulk recording e-mail that manages to remain entirely safe from EO12333, nor having much luck getting bulk access to encrypted data. They may collect some communications from those categories, but they would love to have all of the communications in those categories. They do far more than they are Constitutionally allowed to do, and far more than is sane to do, but they do not do everything yet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 2:32pm

        Re: Re:

        "Supposedly, they are not bulk recording the content of purely domestic calls, nor bulk recording e-mail that manages to remain entirely safe from EO12333"

        I'm not nearly as confident as you about this. I find it interesting that when they say they aren't doing these things, they never say they aren't doing these things at all, they only say that they aren't doing them under "this program".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 1:27pm

    It sounds like the NSA briefing that was just given to Senators was designed to really ramp up the fear-mongering.

    Either that, or a certain Senator just received a big fat check from the military industrial complex.

    Take your pick.

    These members of our government are vile. That have nothing but absolute contempt for all of us.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 1:54pm

      Re:

      "That have nothing but absolute contempt for all of us."

      What truly amazes me is that political insiders have been telling us about this fact for much longer than I've even been alive, and yet so few people really seem to believe it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        sigalrm (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 2:14pm

        Re: Re:

        "My politician is honest. It's all the others that are crooks".

        It's cognitive dissonance at enormous scale.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 2:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yup.

          Gallup's most recent (April) poll on Congressional Job Approval is only 15% approval. However reelection rates are apparently well over 80%.

          At some point citizens are going to have to realize that they are part of the problem too.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    You are being watched (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 1:39pm

    His complete turn around is more likely him being blackmailed than anything else. Nothing like the NSA collecting all of your data to know what you've been up to in order to put you in place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    limbodog (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 1:45pm

    Wait, what?

    So it has nothing to do with going after suspects, it's just going after enough people? That's what matters?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sigalrm (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 2:07pm

      Re: Wait, what?

      It's not about going after enough people.

      It's about going after potential terrorists. Which can be easily defined as "Everyone on the planet who doesn't work for the NSA

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 2:36pm

        Re: Re: Wait, what?

        Your definition is too narrow. Since the Snowden incident, the NSA believes some of the people that work for it are also terrorists.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 13 May 2015 @ 1:51pm

    Perhaps the NSA "impressed" him ..

    and by "impress", I mean found something potentially damaging in his own personal communications.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 1:53pm

    Or in the closed door meeting the NSA showed Senator Corker his web browsing history....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonCow, 13 May 2015 @ 2:00pm

    Someone should remind Corker and the rest of the Senate about the oath they took:

    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States..."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 2:03pm

    Don't worry about this data-collection, it's not even enough.

    It sounds like he's trying to convince people that the NSA isn't collecting large amounts of data.
    Saying they collect so little that it's not even enough, so little that you shouldn't worry about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 2:09pm

    I wonder what the NSA has on this guy. Gay boyfrind? Raped a minor? Visits hookers often?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 2:44pm

    Idiots

    Mass collection of 'ambiguous' data is obviously not enough...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 2:49pm

    When he says that he means he and his fellow war mongering power elite should exempt from any such programs.

    Only the slaves and serfs need to be spied on to be kept in their place by their betters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 13 May 2015 @ 3:24pm

    Tennessee

    Please, Techdirt, when you refer to an elected representative, give the state where they are from, like this:
    Sen. Bob Corker (TN)
    Give blame where it's due. People of Tennessee, have you lost your minds when you elected this guy?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 3:43pm

    I actually agree. Compared to other organizations technology and programs, having knowledge of phone calls seems like an appropriate response.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 4:11pm

    The United Fascists of America is doomed!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    J.R, 13 May 2015 @ 4:34pm

    Is Corker a closet Communist or something? Seems like the kind of thing ex-KGB officer Tsar Vladimir [Putin} would want.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Giles Byles, 13 May 2015 @ 4:50pm

    "Supposedly, they are not bulk recording the content of purely domestic calls, nor bulk recording e-mail that manages to remain entirely safe from EO12333."

    This statement seems naive to me.  Are not domestic calls & e-mail carried via the very photons hurtling through the backbone that the NSA is so fond of siphoning out & forwarding to Bluffdale for archiving?  What they're "recording" is raw bits along with some "metadata" to categorize it.  They "collect it all."  They don't need to differentiate right now.  They like to think they can somehow sift through it later & find nuggets if there's a perceived need.

    Not enough data?  Mr. Corker probably doesn't understand what a fatpipe is, an ignorance he shares with a vast majority of the citizenry.  Doesn't grok the basic concept of umpty-nine zillion modulated photons flowing down a toob.  The populace at large certainly doesn't know––-& they don't want to know.

    Hoovering photons ("legal" under 702) is probably the most egregiously treasonous of all the treasonous activities NSA engages in.  But we don't talk about that.  That discussion doesn't come up until 2017, I gather.

    The only thing that saves us from tyranny at the moment is that they have accumulated more pure noise than they know what to do with & can't find ANYTHING.  Must be like drowning in a grain bin.

    & they're so preoccupied with blackmail, intimidation & corporate chicanery, they don't have time to deal with "terr'rism."

    Tho I bet they have followed all the threads back to who hacked Sony.  But they can't say anything because the party line involving NK is a big LIE.

    Thanks, I had fun with this.  I'll put my tinfoil gimp-mask back on now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jimb (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 5:49pm

    Let's start with him...

    I'm sure Sen. Corker has nothing to hide... so he should have no problem with the government and the rest of the country learning all about him. After all, privacy is overrated when it comes in the way of fighting "Terrorists". So perhaps we should let all of Sen. Corker's most personal information, financial, personal, health, employment, everything get out in public as well as in the hands of the government. After all, once the government has all our data its just one breach away from that kind of 'freedom and safety' for all of us.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 5:52pm

    It may be my memory acting up, but I seem to recall that the NSA wasn't supposed to be gathering domestic data at all, and was solely supposed to be collecting foreign communications, as there are other agencies to deal with domestic concerns, hence why they always try and claim that any domestic data collected was purely 'accidental'.

    Saying they should gather more domestic data then is a terrible idea for two reasons in that case, as it's acting as though they should be collecting domestic communications, as well as telling them to do so on an even greater scale than they already do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 9:16pm

    Oh, put a cork in it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    me, 14 May 2015 @ 4:40am

    Bob Corker

    Go screw

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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