There cannot be any other way to do this. Why? The inefficiency described by the NSA supporters fly in the face of the goal of the program. Think about this for a second. Raw data is gathered. The data is then crunched with some kind of unknown and secret algorithm that somehow ferrets outs terrorists key activities- different from yours- somehow… (Okay, let’s just buy that for a second.)
Now, this is where it gets interesting. This is metadata, no conversations. They claim the NSA gathers all your content of your emails and text messages but doesn’t read them. And the MSM stays with that narrative even after we have had other NSA employees and CIA employees tell a far different story. But for the sake of argument lets say the analyst looking at your activity doesn’t really LOOK at your activity, just the data. The government says if the number crunching kicks out a series of numbers (I’m guessing because nobody talks about HOW it really works) those numbers are given to the FBI and a subpoena is issued for them to look at the content…or something like that.
So what they are saying is that analyst- staring at a series of numbers the program thinks are terrorists resists the urge to hit the “open” button on the screen to read a few key emails to make sure he isn’t sending the FBI on a wild goose chase. And by doing it in the manner the NSA claims occurs, in such an inefficient process, is the way its done to protect your privacy. The same privacy they violate by snagging all of your data out of the air and store it forever because they can.
Well, not so much according to CNET.
The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls, a participant said.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed on Thursday that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”
If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.
Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA’s formidable eavesdropping apparatus works domestically, it also suggests the Justice Department has secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.
James Owens, a spokesman for Nadler, provided a statement on Sunday morning, a day after this article was published, saying: “I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant.” Owens said he couldn’t comment on what assurances from the Obama administration Nadler was referring to, and said Nadler was unavailable for an interview. (CNET had contacted Nadler for comment on Friday.)
Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, being able to listen to phone calls would mean the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval.
Nadler’s initial statement appears to confirm some of the allegations made by Edward Snowden, a former NSA infrastructure analyst who leaked classified documents to the Guardian. Snowden said in a video interview that, while not all NSA analysts had this ability, he could from Hawaii “wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president.”
See, that makes far more sense to anyone who has worked with a crime analyst in any police department. They are, by design and nature, to be diggers, like squirrels in a yard looking for a nut. It’s what they do. And there is no way they aren’t looking at your stuff to make sure they are being run down dead end. What is their mission? To keep us safe. What is their tool? The ability to sweep and analyze data in order to terrorist communication. How do they know it is a terrorist they are dealing with? They look. To hand over every communication the computer kicks out to an overworked FBI agency without taking a peek is just dumb.
And the NSA is anything but dumb.
They just may be hoping we are.