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I'm amazed, not at the NSA "revelations" but at the reactions here on this website. There are two things that I can't wrap my head around. First, that you guys are suprised. Second, that you guys think it's wrong to spy on your "own citizens" in the war on terror.  

Really, perhaps it was because I read "digital fortress" from Dan Brown and in my brain truth and " fiction" got mixed up,  but I always have assumed that the NSA and such agencies have the capability and are spying on every form of communication inside and outside the US. Really, novels, tv series like 24, they are not just absurd fantasy, they are based on the real stuff. The NSA is not there to watch the weeds grow in the garden.

I don't know where I heard it but it had been mentioned several times that the NSA had a system where they would get an alarm if you use certain words in your e-mail or phonecall. They may not get alarmed if you say that "Justin Bieber is the bomb" but they will get alarmed if you communicate the contents of a chemical bomb for example. Again, I don't know where I heard it, perhaps it was in a fiction and perhaps my mind had made me believe it. Point is when I'm reading about what the NSA is doing (and really, I'm not a conspiracy theorist) all I thought was, "yeah, what else is new?".

I mean, I'm from the Netherlands and there have been countless scandals from the NSA listening in on EU and UN meetings to spying scandals on the corporate level to the United States "demanding" creditcard and bank transaction information on every EU member.

What you think they only do that to people from other countries? Are you serious? You saw in Dark Zero Thirty how the US government tapped Kuweity phonelines. You think they wouldn't do that to someone with an American passport? Why not exactly?

That's the second point. Either its really wrong and they shouldn't do it at all to anyone, or it serves a real purpose to gather this information, in which case it would be stupid to ignore US citizens in the hunt for potential terrorists.

This is not cold war on russia, where the choice is easy. US citizen, don't spy. Russian citizen..spy. No the terrorists don't carry a passport that says "terrorististan". They carry pakistani passports, jemenite passports, saudi passport, indonesian passports, german passports, dutch passports, spanish passports, canadian passports and yes American passports. They are no nation, they can be the guy in the other country, or they can be you.

So it would be pointless to limit surveillence on terrorists only to people outside the United States. So if you're going to have this debate please stop your patriot and jingoism bullshit and lets have the honest debate. Do you want the NSA to spy on people or not? If the answer is no, then fine, but don't make the stupid argument that its ok if its done in pakistan because the next terrorist could very well be your neighbour right over there in the United States.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't think anyone is really shocked, just upset (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lowgun, truong son traveler, gfv6800

    and want it to stop, while still realizing there will be some secrets.

  •  Companies collect data. (7+ / 0-)

    That's how they quantify their business.
    What is known cannot be unknown.
    Secrets will not be kept.

    If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.
    Khalil Gibran

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 02:00:53 AM PDT

    •  So what? (6+ / 0-)

      That doesn't give the government the right to violate the Fourth Amendment rights of average citizens.




      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
      ~ Jerry Garcia

      by DeadHead on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 02:38:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The secrecy and lies are what's maddening... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DeadHead, apimomfan2

        If it wasn't for both, we could have had an honest debate over this a decade ago. But this has been done to We the People... arbitrarily, in complete darkness.

        If our government wants to act as an autocratic police state, then they should just come out and say so; instead of spewing this "democracy" pretense.

        And, another thing, they've been relying on the FISC for judicial oversight on what they've been doing. But if you read the court order (pdf)...

        unless otherwise ordered by the Court, an electronic copy of the following tangible things: all call detail records or "telephony metadata" created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls. This Order does not require Verizon to produce telephony metadata for communications wholly originating and terminating in foreign countries (my emphasis)
        The operative word in "Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court" is "Foreign."

        "Anyone with an aquarium knows that if you change the temperature and chemistry of the water, you're asking for trouble... big trouble." -- Oceanographer David Gallo

        by markthshark on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 04:17:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  they are not violating the Fourth Amendment . . . (11+ / 0-)

        that's part of the problem.  The Fourth Amendment doesn't prohibit the Sheriff watching who you talk to in a bar (or asking the bartender for that information).  Neither does it prohibit them watching who you talk to on a phone, or asking the phone company.

        And there is nothing in the Fourth Amendment that says Google cannot disclose what you "search" about . . . you waived that "privacy" when you used Google in the first place . . . and they've been disclosing your search history to whoever pays for it, well, forever.

        You waive "privacy" when you say (or do) something in public.  And the government position is that the internet is public and is only "protected" if specific statute does so.  The Fourth Amendment does not apply.  The same is true of the "public" telephone network.  There was some argument about phone "privacy" in the landline days, but "no expectation of privacy" in radio (cell phone) communication (again absent specific statutory protection) was established years ago.

        I know what you want the Fourth Amendment to say, but it doesn't.

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 04:38:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Supreme Court in 1967, "Katz v. United States" (2+ / 0-)

          Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

          The Fourth Amendment only protects you against searches that violate your reasonable expectation of privacy. A reasonable expectation of privacy exists if 1) you actually expect privacy, and 2) your expectation is one that society as a whole would think is legitimate.

          This rule comes from a decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1967, Katz v. United States, holding that when a person enters a telephone booth, shuts the door, and makes a call, the government can not record what that person says on the phone without a warrant. Even though the recording device was stuck to the outside of the phone booth glass and did not physically invade Katz’s private space, the Supreme Court decided that when Katz shut the phone booth’s door, he justifiably expected that no one would hear his conversation, and that it was this expectation — rather than the inside of the phone booth itself — that was protected from government intrusion by the Fourth Amendment. This idea is generally phrased as "the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places."

          I think making a phone call -- especially in your home -- would constitute "reasonable."

          Electronic Frontier Foundation

          "Anyone with an aquarium knows that if you change the temperature and chemistry of the water, you're asking for trouble... big trouble." -- Oceanographer David Gallo

          by markthshark on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 04:51:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  *you're. nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jazzence, xyz, DeadHead

    'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

    by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 02:06:43 AM PDT

    •  Yeah my piece is likely ridden with grammatical.. (5+ / 0-)

      ..errors. I'm sorry but I'm not that good in English, it's a foreign language to me.

      Card-carrying member of the Illuminati.

      by DarkOmnius on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 02:45:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No need to apologize, Dark. I can guarantee you (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CwV, Pandora, Onomastic, madmsf, Eyesbright

        that your English is a helluva lot better than my Dutch.

        Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

        by ZedMont on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 04:24:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Dont worry (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic, worldlotus

        Im Texan and English is a third language to me. It goes 1)Texan 2)Internet/Txt Speak (hey im young) and then whatever Proper english I happened to learn in schools outside of Texas comes in a distant third.

        "I never had any large respect for good spelling. That is my feeling yet. Before the spelling-book came with its arbitrary forms, men unconsciously revealed shades of their characters and also added enlightening shades of expression to what they wrote by their spelling, and so it is possible that the spelling-book has been a doubtful benevolence to us."
        - Mark Twain

  •  There are plenty of diaries (5+ / 0-)

    and commentary here that will directly answer your questions.

    Like this one:

    I Don't Care What The Excuse Is

    It's not about being "surprised," it's about having suspicions CONFIRMED.

    The war on terror doesn't trump constitutional rights. Very little in the way of fighting the war on terror has been accomplished by this. One, maybe two plots have been foiled at an enormous expense, monetarily and privacy-wise.

    Not to mention, the Boston Marathon bombers were NOT stopped.




    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 02:34:31 AM PDT

    •  You mention "constitutional" rights (0+ / 0-)

      I find that interesting. Do you believe that the U.S. government should be able to do this on citizens of other nations?

      Card-carrying member of the Illuminati.

      by DarkOmnius on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 02:44:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well hell, you're right. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doc2, Onomastic, sewaneepat, Eyesbright
      Not to mention, the Boston Marathon bombers were NOT stopped.
      Now, what about all the terrorists who WERE stopped before they could pull off their plot.  Do you imagine that they were stopped without electronic monitoring?  If so, you have an absolutely fabulous imagination.

      So, we're supposed to stop monitoring* and allow any and all terrorist activity because terrorists had success in spite of the monitoring?

      The mantra of anti-terrorist agencies is a simple one:  "They only have to be right once.  We have to be right every time."
      Of course that's a goal that is not achievable.

      *Unless your phone calls mirror a pattern documented as consistent with terrorist activity, the "monitoring" consists of looking at relationships between telephone numbers WITH NO NAMES OR ADDRESSES attached to them.  The chance of your phone calls meeting such a pattern is virtually nonexistent.  These programs have to be extremely sophisticated.  They can't have large numbers of false positives, because there simply are not enough agents to investigate millions of suspicious patterns.

      Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

      by ZedMont on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 03:58:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When have you ever not seen our government... (0+ / 0-)

        officials tripping over themselves getting to a microphone and camera whenever they foil a terrorist attack?

        Now, what about all the terrorists who WERE stopped before they could pull off their plot.
        Congressman Mike Rogers came out and said they stopped one terrorist plot a few years ago using the program. But of course he didn't say when, where and who was involved.

        Curious

        "Anyone with an aquarium knows that if you change the temperature and chemistry of the water, you're asking for trouble... big trouble." -- Oceanographer David Gallo

        by markthshark on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 04:32:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  How many do we know of that were foiled? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        markthshark

        You'd think they'd be eager to tout their numerous successes if they had indeed occurred.

        And for the magnitude of this operation, Boston should have been an easy catch, I would think.




        Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
        ~ Jerry Garcia

        by DeadHead on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 04:32:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no, they wouldn't. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZedMont, CwV, Onomastic, gramofsam1, Eyesbright

          That would reveal their methods and abilities to the terrorists.

          •  Just trust us. We're catching lots of bad guys (0+ / 0-)

            Promise!

            They've announced foiled terror plots before.

            Saying you did so is not equivalent to saying HOW you did it.




            Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
            ~ Jerry Garcia

            by DeadHead on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 12:15:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  They're eager to tout their arrests, but they're (4+ / 0-)

          not eager to divulge their investigative methods, for obvious reasons.

          I think the claim that only one terrorist arrest has resulted from electronic monitoring is shocking if true, but let's say it was only one, and that oh, seven lives were saved.

          Is keeping the government's eyes off your anonymous phone number worth seven lives?  Would you be willing to sacrifice seven of YOUR family members just for the satisfaction of knowing the government could not see your phone number, unassociated with your name or address?  Six?  Five?  Four?  Three?  Two?  One?  Which ones?

          The government already has voluminous information identifying you specifically.  It's called the IRS.  They have your name, address, social security number, family members, religious affiliation if you tithe to a religion, your employer, your bank, your financial information, etc. etc.

          Just what do you fear the government could learn about you that it doesn't already know by a computer looking at the relationship between a series of telephone numbers that the computer doesn't even know includes yours?

          Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

          by ZedMont on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 05:06:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Is it worth seven lives?" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DeadHead

            I'll quote myself:

            Over 30,000 people die each year in car accidents. Would you support the government putting tracking devices and voice recorders in every car so they can prosecute people for negligent driving?

            "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

            by TealTerror on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 07:26:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  See there is so much data and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        markthshark, TealTerror

        even with a computer algorithm to help sort stuff there wuld be tons of false positives. This kind of thing is most handy Post-crime to go back and see every person these (in the case of the boston bombing) had contact with, what they chatted about, searched online, called, sexted, whatever. Im sure they do use them to try and catch real time events but that would be damn hard. Instead they mine the data looking for possible 'lone wolves' and then usually try and set them up in some way in a sting operation that we're always hearing about involving fake bombs and detonators.

        It doesnt really matter though if they are looking for terrorists because what if the next administration (or hell even the current one) wanted to use it again other 'terrorists' like Occupiers and 16 year old nerd Hackers. THere is no justification of anything this broad. Its like the US postal service opening ever letter, scanning it into a database but not 'reading' itm resealing it and sending it on, with the right to go back someday and read everything in it. Something I dont think the founding fathers had in mind.

        •  How is it like the IRS scanning every letter into (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Onomastic, Eyesbright

          a database for reading it later?  Can you please provide a link to the source for that explanation of how it works?  I haven't seen any evidence that this program is listening to OR recording phone conversations to listen to later.

          My understanding is that the program looks for patterns involving only telephone numbers and their relationships to each other.

          I have seen nothing to indicate the government could gain access to an actual telephone conversation without a warrant, for which it would have to have probable cause.

          Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

          by ZedMont on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 05:15:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TealTerror
            he NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

            The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims "collection directly from the servers" of major US service providers.

            http://www.guardian.co.uk/...
            The participation of the internet companies in Prism will add to the debate, ignited by the Verizon revelation, about the scale of surveillance by the intelligence services. Unlike the collection of those call records, this surveillance can include the content of communications and not just the metadata.
            A chart prepared by the NSA, contained within the top-secret document obtained by the Guardian, underscores the breadth of the data it is able to obtain: email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype, for example) chats, file transfers, social networking details, and more.
            Also check out this link/video:

            http://www.nytimes.com/...

            And research the Utah and Texas data storage facilities

            •  Apparently some of those claims are being walked (4+ / 0-)

              back, at least by the NYT and Washington Post.

              No evidence of NSA's 'direct access' to tech companies

              Sources challenge reports alleging National Security Agency is "tapping directly into the central servers." Instead, they say, the spy agency is obtaining orders under process created by Congress......

              ....... The Washington Post has backtracked from its initial report on PRISM. At first, the paper claimed the Silicon Valley firms "participate knowingly in PRISM operations." But then -- without explanation -- the newspaper quietly removed that language last night. It also abandoned its original claim to have confirmed that the NSA is "tapping directly into the central servers" of the companies.

              In a separate article published today, the New York Times cited anonymous sources that cast additional doubt on the initial reports. Each of the tech companies, the Times said, "drew a bright line between giving the government wholesale access to its servers to collect user data and giving them specific data in response to individual court orders."

              http://news.cnet.com/...

              "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

              by Onomastic on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 06:19:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  My source is the President of the United States. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Onomastic, worldlotus, Eyesbright

              Until he is proved a liar, and in this case it will be an impeachable lie, I will take his word over anonymous sources reporting to newspapers.

              Now, that being said, I strongly suspect that the newspapers failed to ask enough questions and assumed a lot.  The sources are talking about intelligence capabilities and it appears that the newspapers have conflated what authorities are able to do as part of a complete investigation with what PRISM does, which are not the same thing.

              But, if the President is lying, I'll be the first to call for his impeachment.  Trouble is, Congress knows all the details of this program, and it is difficult to believe that the President would stand up and lie, knowing this.

              I find it interesting that the Republicans are laying back and letting the conspiracy theories blossom, taking full advantage, before they inevitably have to admit that no, this stuff is not happening.  But by then, they hope, the damage to the President and the Democratic party will be done.

              Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

              by ZedMont on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 06:30:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Is that laying or lying? I think it should be (0+ / 0-)

                lying.  The Congress is not a chicken house, although at times it's a hard distinction.

                Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

                by ZedMont on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 06:33:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Given that the NYT and Washingtong post are (4+ / 0-)

                now walking back some of the initial claims and the timing of this, I find much of the "uproar" giving me pause.

                After weeks of scandal drum beating - Benghazi, IRS, Benghazi, IRS, Benghazi, IRS - now there is all this sudden MSM outrage over a program that has been in existence for years?

                Mean while this Thursday House Republicans showed their willingness to put mlllions of our children, the poor and disabled at risk by voting to cut Food Stamps and Medicaid in order to fund Military Spending.

                   Led by budget architect Paul Ryan, Republicans have been fighting to stave off a 10 percent reduction in military spending mandated by the collapse last year of the so-called super committee tasked with slimming the deficit by $1.2 trillion, distributed between military and domestic spending. Congress created the supercommittee as a solution to last summer's bitter standoff over voting to raise the nation's debt limit.

                    Thursday's largely party-line vote sought to swap cuts to social programs for the impending installment of about $110 billion in Pentagon cuts.

                    The legislation would cut $23.5 billion from Medicaid in addition to billions from hospitals for low-income and uninsured Americans and children's health programs, while eliminating a preventive care fund established by the 2010 health care law. It would pare back $36 billion in spending on food stamps by lowering benefits and making it more difficult to be eligible for nutritional assistance.

                http://www.ibtimes.com/...

                The MSM response as far as I can tell - crickets.

                All of this leaves me wondering just how much of this is designed to distract from what Republicans and their deep pocket allies are doing.

                "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

                by Onomastic on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 06:49:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Fixing the spelling in the title... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeadHead, markthshark

    didn't improve the diary at all. For fifty bucks I'll spell and grammar check the rest of the diary. It won't make any difference to the quality, though.

    'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

    by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 02:49:07 AM PDT

    •  Do you always write nasty comments like this one (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DarkOmnius

      when you disagree with a diary, Clive, or are you just feeling particularly asinine today?

      Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

      by ZedMont on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 04:04:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As The Information Age Progressed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeadHead, ZedMont, TiaRachel

    I just figured that many strangers would have access to the  knowledge of the sexual fetish sites that I visit online and whose phone contacts I call. That is why I just tell people what my sexual fetishes are whenever I meet someone new. This bridge to the 21st century that Bill Clinton talked about has not turned into what I thought it would be.

    •  LOL! That must be some introduction, Leo. (0+ / 0-)

      Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

      by ZedMont on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 04:27:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You speak of "wrong" and "should" (3+ / 0-)

    "Either it's really wrong and they shouldn't do it at all to anyone . . . " and "Do you believe that the U.S. government should be able to do this on citizens of other nations?" and so forth.

    I myself don't know about right and wrong and should; these are difficult questions. More concrete is the question of lawful and unlawful. If the NSA, or the government in general, can get away with doing things that are unlawful, then there is no rule of law and nothing to protect us.

    My own interpretation is that, currently, it is unlawful to spy in this way on citizens of the US, because of the constitution. But it is lawful to spy on citizens of other countries. You may think this isn't the way it "should" be in order to stop terrorism. Then it's your problem to change the laws, amend the constitution, whatever. The government doesn't have the right to declare that the law is trumped by the demands of national security.

    The government, of course, argues that its actions are lawful, that the Patriot Act gives them the right, validated by a judge of the FISA court. This is a separate argument, to be settled ultimately by the decision of a judge. And, conversely, if the decision is that these acts are lawful, then it's my problem to try to change the laws, depending on how I balance the potential for increased safety against the privacy protection that I want but that some others maybe don't want.

  •  This program does not associate your name or (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Onomastic, Eyesbright

    address with the telephone number.  It is looking for suspicious patterns of activity that has been documented as characteristic of terrorist activity, not listening to your telephone conversations.

    The IRS, on the other hand, has not only your name, address, age, social security number, place of employment, etc. etc. and they are data mining as well.  IRS data mining is in its infancy, but in a few years, they will have a profile of you that includes your purchase history, your travel history, your social network history, you name it.    

    This has been reported on, and yet I have seen absolutely no outrage.  I guess we have been programmed wirelessly to go mentally numb whenever we hear "IRS,"  but the government forgot to hypnotize us when we hear "NSA."  Tsk Tsk.  Sloppy.  Very sloppy.

    Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

    by ZedMont on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 03:34:56 AM PDT

    •  where on Earth (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      markthshark

      do you get the idea that your name is not associated with your phone number?

      do you realize how crazy that sounds if you just think about it?

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 04:45:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's not what I said, Deward. This computer (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic, sewaneepat, Eyesbright

        program does not associate your name with the phone number.  Obviously, if you were making phone calls to numbers that were known to belong to suspected terrorists, for example, then humans would associate the phone number and your name and you would be investigated.  Any monitoring of your actual phone conversation could not be done without a warrant supported by probable cause.  Probable cause could not be established without "boots on the ground" investigation.

        BTW, you will be struck by lightening before the FBI monitors your phone calls.

        Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

        by ZedMont on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 05:30:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  my phone was tapped, (0+ / 0-)

          by the FBI, in 1964. Free Speech Movement, Berkeley.  Again in 1965.  Berkeley Free Press.  It's a matter of public record now.

          Still waiting for the lightning.

          Ps.  If you knew enough about "this computer program" to make that statement you'd be lying.  

          Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

          by Deward Hastings on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 06:02:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You got me there, Deward. Surprised I was not (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eyesbright

            struck by lightning.  I should have said "without a court order."
            Then I wouldn't have been the liar I turned out to be.

            And all I know about this computer program is what the President of the United States said, and what little I know about the 4th amendment.  By the way, the President hasn't been struck by lightning yet, either.

            And kudos for standing up for free speech.  It was hard to come by in those days.

            Damn, I misspelled lightning in comment above.  Lightening?  You would be struck by yeast or baking powder?  I need sleep.

            Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

            by ZedMont on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 06:45:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  You asked some incisive questions. (7+ / 0-)

    Americans don't pay as much attention to events in other countries compared to the attention the US receives.

    You see in but we don't see out. That includes Afghanistan which is rarely mentioned.  Most Americans don't expect the government to do here what it does elsewhere.  

    Like people everywhere, Americans don't necessarily see themselves as they really are.  Now they're suffering the trauma of self-recognition.  I don't think they understand they still have a long way to go.  

    I hesitate to say anything about the news at this time because people are emotional.  That tends to drive away reasoning and logic.

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 03:40:29 AM PDT

  •  I have always maintained, ever since 9/12/01 (0+ / 0-)

    that 9-1-1 was chosen [by whoever chose it...] as the date for the 'New Pearl Harbor' event because in America that means "National Emergency Day."
         You can write a thousand e-mails about how uncle Henry had a stroke and we called "9-1-1" and it will not be a red flag. But that is because Americans write the date as month/day/year. If it were really foreigners, they would have had to say 1/9/01 and it's a much more unusual thing to keep showing up.
         I still want to know this:
    Back in the day when we all had rotary phones, never mind just landlines, if you tried to dial a "9" you had to firmly turn the wheel shoop-9-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click, and if your finger slipped you got a five or six and had to fully hang up and start again. How is that an "emergency number" for someone in a weakened state who needs help?
       'They' said that 1-1-1 was too easy to misdial, but things like 4-1-1 were not spoken for at that time. Always seemed to me that certain people were enamored of certain things back in that day.

  •  Just research (3+ / 0-)

    Stellar Wind during the Bush Administration. Prism is no different.

    Hell the tv show Person of Interest probably is about as accurate as it could possibly get (and its a damn good show as a bonus)

    •  Matter of Fact (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Onomastic

      watch this short little documentary (description below)

      http://www.nytimes.com/...

      I might unleash by calling Mr. Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency turned whistle-blower. He picked up. I nervously explained I was a documentary filmmaker and wanted to speak to him. To my surprise he replied: “I’m tired of my government harassing me and violating the Constitution. Yes, I’ll talk to you.”

      A forum for short, opinionated documentaries, produced with creative latitude by independent filmmakers and artists.

      Two weeks later, driving past the headquarters of the N.S.A. in Maryland, outside Washington, Mr. Binney described details about Stellar Wind, the N.S.A.’s top-secret domestic spying program begun after 9/11, which was so controversial that it nearly caused top Justice Department officials to resign in protest, in 2004

      .
  •  This is a good article on the NSA. (0+ / 0-)
  •  The simple solution is to change the (0+ / 0-)

    President's oath of office. Get rid of the "protect and defend" line. Then he won't have to do things like this to protect us. But for now, presidents have little choice but to fight terrorism with zeal.

    •  The Presidential oath (0+ / 0-)

      requires the President to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. The duty to protect us is a valid one but not specifically in the oath. I do agree that fighting terrorism is an essential part of the job description.

    •  This is snark, right? (0+ / 0-)

      Oath text:

      I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
      (emphasis added)

      "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

      by TealTerror on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 07:22:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  American passports get to vote (0+ / 0-)
    You think they wouldn't do that to someone with an American passport? Why not exactly?
    Because historically they needed the American public's approval or at least complacency to stay in business.

    The new thing here isn't what they're doing, we've had The Five Eyes (where US/UK/Canada/Australia/NZ all spy on each other's citizens to get around domestic spying laws) since the 50s.

    The shocking AND new thing here isn't the privacy violation, it's the NSA's confidence that they can get away with it. The pre-9/11 NSA was contemptuous of American expectations of privacy, but at the same time worried about public outrage. These leaks aren't coming from an agency that's worried about what the public thinks.

    The NSA has overreached and had Congress slap them down before. They know this is exactly the kind of thing that pisses off voters. They just don't care anymore. They have a friendly president and a toothless Congress, so worst-case the media has a little tizzy for a few days and then it all blows over. And you can just as easily plug in any other three letter acronym in place of the NSA there, they just don't have nearly as many math PhDs hanging around to have a crisis of conscience and leak stuff.

    We built an unstoppable trillion-dollar attack dog and it just figured out it can break its leash.

  •  For anyone who is interested... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ajr111240

    I saw this on Reuters today.

    It's a brief synopsis of the history of mass surveillance in the US.

  •  This has been going on forever...... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Personally, I could care less. But, I'm not a "terrorist".
     IMO, it's just something else to keep from talking about creating jobs & what will help the middle class & the poor among us. {also, Congress doesn't have to do the job they get paid so well to do}

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