I’m watching his press conference. Boy, you talk about trying to fly down a narrow beam! He wants to assure us this is all okay. He denies the NSA is sweeping up domestic emails, only foreign emails. My instincts tell me that’s a flat out lie. The nature of the sweep is so broad that it can’t help but sweep domestic traffic. If you live in New York and email your friend in England, which part of the email is safe from the sweep, your message or their response?
Worse Obama, who was “shocked” to find out that the IRS was targeting people and that the DOJ was snooping on reporters, THIS time tells us to trust him because all is well. I ask this- How does he know that?
First of all I heard the NSA is absolutely sure, to the tune of 51% sure, that they are only grabbing up foreign data on the Internet. Fifty-one percent?? Would you let a pilot land a plane you were on if he made safe landings 51% of the time??! Here is the WP link, watch the video.
Further, and this should be a very big issue. The NSA says they are going grabbing up “foreign” actors. Yet, the British are doing the same thing. And they share data with us and we with them. So what does that mean? Simple. We give them data on their people, they give us data on our people (they are foreigners to the Brits y’know) and when then when asked by Congress if the NSA is sweeping data from citizens they can say no with a straight face. “Oh no WE aren’t sweeping the data. Nope, never, out of the question!” A more narrow question would be, do you HAVE data of American citizens.
The information collected by the NSA, known as “metadata,” does not include the content of the phone calls or the names of the people associated with the accounts. But it does tell the government when calls were made, what numbers were dialed, and the location and duration of those calls. Current and former U.S. intelligence officials familiar with the longstanding program to collect metadata from American telecommunications and Internet companies tell The Daily Beast that, in a few discreet cases, the NSA has shared unedited analysis of these records with its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
And then there is the definition of foreign contacts. If I live here, work here and have my computer here I’m domestic. But what if I do a search for something and say come up with a British article or an article from a paper in India or Pakistan and I click on it, am I traveling to a foreign location and thus activating the NSA protocols?
As for the metadata, here’s the lie in that. The information pealed out of the sweep can easily identify the owner. And then there is the issue of security. If someone hacks it like Wikileaks do we see data scattered all over the Internet? As I’ve said, the idea of sweeping cellphones for foreign calls is not bad (I don’t know like the Boston bombers calling Chechnya for example). But the problem is the process is reversed. If the trouble is in Pakistan or Yemen or some other hot spot and those calls are coming into the U.S. that would be a better sweep. But as my MENSA bright buddy pointed out this is “lazy cop” policing. They should be over there spying on their cell networks, not here spying on ours. But here is easier.
And as he also pointed out, the Internet/Prism program revelation may be the real problem for the feds. Especially since the major Internet companies have stated they had no idea. Somebody is lying, the question is did the NSA hack the companies or are the companies doing damage control by denying they were complicit. Either way, you can be assured everything you do is subject to review some time in the future. Truth is it has been that way for a long time. It’s just out in the open now. I’m pretty sure Google went willingly. Its boss is a good friend and supporter of Obama.
Of course, let’s put this whole thing in the light of the request by the FBI to have software companies build backdoors into every program they have so the FBI’s can get inside. So, assuming the NSA just took the information under FISA isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.
Now as far as the head of the NSA lying to Congress, I say give the guy a break here. OF COURSE HE LIED!!!! It was a hard question he couldn’t answer. It would be like asking the head of the FBI if it was wiretaping the Mafia Social Club at the corner of 125th Ave and 2nd street in Queens! Of course the head of the FBI would say no.
However, again the issue comes down to my second principle “Just because you can does not mean you should.” There is no reason for the massive sweep of cellphone metadata or the tapping of Internet companies. It isn’t efficient and it is highly intrusive. I know its legal for the government to look at my phone records because they argue I gave the right of privacy up when I signed on with the company. But that is being cute by half here. The way I look at it is like this- I gave the right to privacy away to ONLY that company. I didn’t post my records online or send out fliers in the mail. So my INTENT was to keep it private between me and the phone company, much like my patient records should be private between my doctor and me.
What we have here is the government lawyers stretching the law to suit their agenda, not to do the right thing. It really is that simple. And wait until some political person gets a hold of the information just like they did in the confidential data held by the IRS and use that data to harm a political enemy.
This is too much and should be stopped. It won’t be, but it should be. Adams at PJ Media is even more strident and he should know he was a federal prosecutor and probably knows what they are capable of.
The Lives of Others also portrays human goodness — the rejection of the surveillance state by small moral choices. The whistleblower who blew up PRISM is an American hero who joins others who have kept the republic alive like Joshua Chamberlain and Harold Agerholm — which probably means the corrupt and dastardly attorney general will prosecute them.
And let’s dispense with any Republican who defends this program. If the Patriot Act justified it, then that law needs to be scrapped, scorned, and spat upon. Republicans need to stop with the “this wasn’t our intent” garbage also. That line of argument betrays an ignorance of history and a naiveté of power.
If Prism was done without statutory support, it’s time for all Americans to do whatever it takes to shame, embarrass, and identify by name the bureaucrats who administered it at the National Security Agency. Stop with always blaming Obama alone. That’s primitive and unsophisticated. It means you never worked inside government, where mid- and low-level people drive bad behavior.
Perhaps PRISM will be a bookend to 9-11 that once again unifies Americans. If not, I fear what those offended by PRISM will do to the ones defending it.