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View Diary: NSA whistleblower Russell Tice on Countdown w/KO, Day Two (update X4) (152 comments)

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  •  Olberman's Public Discussions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, Inky99

    aren't of the same caliber that we witnessed in the late 70s when the tough knuckle investigative reporting required identifying people who might know something about behind the scenes activity, getting those people to talk, and connecting the dots that allowed the developed story to be told in full.

    So far, Olberman is merely expressing "concern" and indulging in speculation with a talkative guest with a murky background and another one who knows he's been "spied" on.  Interesting, stimulating, and provocative this may be to the viewer.  But it's not hard boiled journalism.  And it's certainly not investigative journalism of the type I described and this country once experienced.

    "Give me but one firm spot to stand, and I will move the earth." -- Archimedes

    by Limelite on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 06:15:21 PM PST

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    •  But it's not just them (7+ / 0-)

      there is the AT&T worker that took pictures of the one of their archive rooms and all the computers collecting information.

      Seriously, have you read anything about Great Briton recently?  They live in a total information society already.  It's not like computers are incapable of doing it.

      You seriously underestimate where technology is now.

    •  I'm old enough to remember... (7+ / 0-)

      ... what you are talking about.  With that said, I still think that Olbermann should be given credit for running with this.  I guess part of what I look at in saying this is the consideration that KO knows what might happen to him if this thing winds up the way the Bush papers did with Rather.

      Quick to judge, Quick to anger, Slow to understand; Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand. -- Neil Peart

      by JRandomPoster on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 06:21:03 PM PST

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      •  Agree as to Credit Goes to Olbermann (6+ / 0-)

        I'm trying to insure that we realize his airing these two interviews with Tice are insufficient to the probable truth that is yet to be uncovered about illegal domestic spying, and that he, in his capacity as curmudgeon and gadfly for the left, is inadequate to that task.  No fault of his.  Just the nature of the infotainment beast.

        "Give me but one firm spot to stand, and I will move the earth." -- Archimedes

        by Limelite on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 06:31:28 PM PST

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        •  Perhaps. (8+ / 0-)

          But there is circumstantial evidence as well (in addition to the AT&T room in San Francisco).

          It boils down to a technological matter.  (For a far more in depth discussion, see my diary that RiderOnTheStorm was kind enough to link above.)  However, in short:  

          To survale that much information, you have to use an automated system.  There are too many bytes flying around out there to do it any other way.

          Furthermore, the internet is decentralized by nature.  A packet does not have a designated route from any two given arbitrary points.  Therefore, to listen to any communication, you have to at least have the ability to listen to all information.

          Back to what you do with the information you intercept, and how it can be used.  As noted, there would have to be an automated system to process it; that is, to classify communications as "terrorist" or "non-terrorist".  In order to build such a system, one would have to take a large sample of communications that are not terrorist as well as communications known to be terrorist in order to "train" the system to recognize the difference between the two.  Such classifier systems cannot learn to recognize the difference between the colors blue and green unless, during the training phase of their development, they have not seen both blue and green.  Just showing such a system the color green would not allow it to tell the difference when presented with new color, blue.  This is a simple example, but it is a fundamental principle of machine learning and statistical analysis.

          I've been writing code for a living for the last two decades, with a good portion of that time spent working in security and intrusion detection of one nature or another (and no, I have never worked for any government agency in any capacity).  If someone can show me a way that the NSA could have built a terrorist detection system without listening to innocent communications, en masse, I will give them a sweeping tip of my hat.  Until then, I'll maintain that I find it extremely likely that our fourth amendment rights have been severely trampled.

          Quick to judge, Quick to anger, Slow to understand; Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand. -- Neil Peart

          by JRandomPoster on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 06:50:07 PM PST

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          •  I Have No Argument (8+ / 0-)

            about the method, which (if you'll pardon me) I don't think is the important story here.

            The story is WHO authorized, blessed, and okayed these processes to be used for illegal domestic spying.  Why, if it is so "OK" did NSA engage in the shell game of shifting "jurisdiction" back and forth between civilian covert auspices and DOD whenever a Congressional committee wanted to make inquiries?  Why didn't more people who were involved in running the program blow the whistle; what's at the root of all this complicity?

            The human angle is and always will be where the real story resides.

            "Give me but one firm spot to stand, and I will move the earth." -- Archimedes

            by Limelite on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 06:58:30 PM PST

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            •  I would say that the method... (6+ / 0-)

              ... implies a systematic and enormous development effort to implement the system, which the NSA has already admitted they have.  Albiet, they say that they have only used it to monitor foreign communications; I again argue that it is impossible to build such a system without having the capacity to listen to all communications, and furthermore, listening to a huge sample of innocent communications, illegally, in order to build the system.

              This sort of effort would require a huge resource allocation.  This would be the Apollo program of the spy world.  Which leads, at least to a very good likelihood that it was known about and authorized from the top down.  And thus, I am not sure that there is as much of a blurring between the technical method and the human angle.

              While I cannot prove what the NSA has been up to, I can look at what they have said and apply my own professional knowledge to the problem.  I realize that circumstantial evidence is not proof; with this said, I cannot come to any other conclusion at this time, given the current data that I have.

              The next few days and weeks should be interesting, regardless.

              Quick to judge, Quick to anger, Slow to understand; Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand. -- Neil Peart

              by JRandomPoster on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 07:13:46 PM PST

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          •  I strongly concur... (10+ / 0-)

            ...with your analysis of this.  (Part of my graduate work was in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and pattern recognition.)  I don't like the implications of this at all (just as you don't) but I follow your reasoning and think it leads inexorably to the conclusion you've stated.

            (And I apologize for not noticing your diary entry earlier -- I would have included it in the intro/recap as recommended reading for everyone.)

            It is the business of the future to be dangerous.

            by RiderOnTheStorm on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 07:04:58 PM PST

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            •  I've never gotten... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blueoasis

              ... the hang of posting at the correct time of day.

              Also - thank you much for linking my diary.  Much appreciated.

              Quick to judge, Quick to anger, Slow to understand; Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand. -- Neil Peart

              by JRandomPoster on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 07:14:57 PM PST

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