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The Hill

The heads of the House Intelligence Committee say Snowden is lying about both his access to information and the scope of the secret surveillance programs he uncovered.

Emerging from a hearing with NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), the senior Democrat on the panel, said Edward Snowden simply wasn't in the position to access the content of the communications gathered under National Security Agency programs, as he's claimed.

"He was lying," Rogers said. "He clearly has over-inflated his position, he has over-inflated his access and he's even over-inflated what the actually technology of the programs would allow one to do. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do." "He's done tremendous damage to the country where he was born and raised and educated," Ruppersberger said.

{...}
Rogers said investigators are also trying to determine whether Snowden has any relationship with foreign governments — something national security officials don't know yet, he said.  The NSA leaks have relaunched the post-9/11 debate about how far the government should be allowed to go to protect the country from attacks. Snowden has been hailed as a hero by some liberals, conservatives and civil-liberties groups, who argue the NSA programs are an infringement on constitutionally guaranteed privacy rights.

Snowden's critics, including a growing number of congressional leaders, argue that he broke the law when he leaked the sensitive data through the media. They want him extradited and prosecuted.

There is still much to come out it will take time.

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Comment Preferences

  •  They can't have it both ways (16+ / 0-)

    He can't both have done harm to our capabilities and lied about our capabilities.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:21:16 PM PDT

    •  Not necessarily (28+ / 0-)

      He can both cause considerable damage and be lying, these aren't mutually exclusive.

      Not that I take a position on the matter.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:27:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He Can Also Be a Whistleblower and Self (30+ / 0-)

        promoting liar at the same time.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:29:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  But if the secrets aren't secret, then no harm... (0+ / 0-)

        no foul, right?

        Or are they saying that he did publish secrets, but that they don't know how he got them?

        -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

        by JPax on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 11:25:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Id assume they are saying... well what they are (5+ / 0-)

          saying. That  he is lying about both his access to information.
          Other sources have said the same... for instance that  it is not possible that he knows all the CIA agents and locations  and that it is not possible that he could tap the president etc

          Obviously he had some real information and documents and no one is denting that

          He made some big claims and that had to be looked into... not just to make him a bad guy  but because it is a big risk if some guy hired 3 months before has access to all our spies  info and so many other national security matters

          He seems not to be helping his own case on either the truth telling part or the patriotic part.
          Like evidently overstating his salary by such a large amount. Now people do that but doing it when you are bound to get big attention and the truth is boind to come out is odd. (I guess employer could be lying for whatever their reason)

          And then in interview with South China Morning Post informing them how we spy on all the officials there (but that we started our spying operations in China in 2009. Really?) and about our global spying and hacking and how...

          I'd guess that we and China assumed we were cyber-spying on China (from well before 2009) but I lost any will or power to defend the guy since I read that interview.

          •  Rogers & Ruppersberger are full of s**t. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tardis10

            Given what we know about House Intelligence Committee briefings, the House Intelligence Committee chair and ranking member have no way of knowing whether Snowden is telling the truth.

            Remember, Director of National Intelligence Clapper lied outright to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

            I am inclined to assume that Snowden is telling the truth about the sheer number of people who had access to the CIA agents and locations and I am absolutely certain he's right about wiretapping the President (there's external evidence that that would be trivial for the NSA to do).

            The House Committee members just don't want to believe that the NSA system is as wildly insecure as Snowden has explained it to be.  They don't actually know how the NSA  is operated in detail -- they haven't been allowed to investigate it properly.

            They should investigate it properly.  Instead they're blustering and saying "that isn't possible", when they have no actual evidence that it isn't possible.  They just WANT to believe that it isn't possible.

            •  They are full of shit. Well I don't know (0+ / 0-)

              Ruppersberger but I'll take your word for that...

              I wasn't reacting to hearing them speak but maybe the people I did pay attention to also don't know. It was a quote from some CIA guy saying him knowing all the agents was impossible and explaining why but maybe the CIA guys really don't know
              and maybe the presidential office is not as safe as we think

              Boy I hope some are really looking into how all of this works. I am glad the outing of the program got so much attention (though I am not sure why it came as any surprise) and there could be changes
              but our intelligence and classified material and access... it is all a big mess
              and the outsourcing hardly helps in any control.

              We need less secrecy but as long as we have CIA agents people like Snowden shouldn't be able to access that. (Not an anti-Snowden point... but an untested short term employee point)

          •  His company never claimed he lied (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joynow

            about his salary.

            They merely issued a statement saying that the "base" wage for his position in the company was $122,000 per year.

            That is a very ambiguous statement... A "base" wage is a starting point. It doesn't include any overtime, incentive pay, bonuses, or raises.

            So it is entirely possible that he wasn't lying about his "around $200,000 a year" statement, and his former employer's press release didn't argue the point...

            They never said "He did not make around $200,000 a year."

            They said "The base wage for that position is $122,000 per year."

            And they never said he was making the base... My guess is if he WERE making the base wage, they'd of stated so unambiguously, because it would absolutely paint him as a verifiable liar, but my guess is since they didn't do so, it likely means they COULDN'T do so.

            "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

            by MichiganGirl on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:14:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  possibly, possibly not. he was an administrator (0+ / 0-)

            on the system, not a generic user, so he might have access to backdoors or workarounds or be able to run his own code or adapt the code. that's what I thought he was talking about at first, but I don't know.

            Or maybe he had the information from somewhere else and didn't actually use the system to get it. In that case he might a regular spy on his own be a patsy for someone else. Maybe he saw talk on the system about someone (him) sneaking around the system and he got spooked and took off and pre-empted them with his whistle-blower claim when he really may have been trying to get information to sell/extort.

            I wonder if his salary is all known or if he has a shadow salary for other work he does. For all we know his leak was part of an NSA counter-espionage op and he's a double agent and his mistake was mentioning his true salary/compensation

            -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

            by JPax on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 08:01:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  yep, gotta be one or the other, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, mrsgoo

      or just a warmed-over middle-mash of both-- that served to bring the discussion back into the public's eye.

      "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

      by kj in missouri on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:30:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A Blast from the Past (22+ / 0-)

      This from Foreign Policy magazine.  We don't have a clue how all of this is going to play out in the long run.

      The leaking of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 didn't work out so well for Richard Nixon and his GOP cronies, did it?

      When the Guardian named Edward Snowden as the source behind a series of leaks last week on National Security Agency surveillance programs, the backlash was swift. In a rare show of bipartisanship, several members of Congress -- including House Speaker John Boehner, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton -- labeled the 29-year-old contractor a traitor. The Guardian's profile, meanwhile, characterized Snowden as "one of America's most consequential whistleblowers" and compared him to Daniel Ellsberg...

      Lyman Lemnitzer, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did write in an editorial that Ellsberg had committed a "traitorous act" and "didn't know what he was doing to the security of the United States." But while that language may be par for the course today, it was an unusually scathing indictment at the time.

      When Ellsberg did face harsh criticism, it was often personal in nature. Consider this July 23, 1971 letter to the editor of LIFE magazine on Ellsberg, who had served in Vietnam as a State Department official:

      This Ellsberg is too much to believe! He was so bloodthirsty in Vietnam that, though a civilian, he just had to grab up a rifle. Then, he was so concerned with Vietnamese welfare that he stole his own government's documents while a trusted employee! I have seen this kind of instability in women's bridge club politics.
    •  The damage is that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, Onomastic, deep info

      what he has said is giving our allies pause, making us paranoid and angry, and called the NSA on the carpet to then have to talk about classified stuff that, for argument's sake, isn't actually what we are so angry about at all.

      That's damaging.

      But I do believe it is somewhere in the middle.  Inaccuracy but close enough that we need to have the discussion.

      At the very least it's not a lie that FISA court is a big joke, a total rubber stamp.

      The rules need to change.

      Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

      by delphine on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:44:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If our allies and enemies don't know well enough (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        deep info

        to protect their communications, then they're too incompetent to be either.

        Who, seriously, will be caught in this net? wannabes and copycats and radicalized ne'er-do-wells and you're run-of-the-mill malcontents. Do we really need this level of surveillance to (not always) stop them instead of just dealing with it?

        We send thousands overseas to "die for our freedoms", so a few civilians dead in the US from a terrorist-wannabe is a small price to pay for actual freedoms. Drape their caskets in the flag and give their families a medal to remember them by and move on.

        -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

        by JPax on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 11:39:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  --Say Evolution and Global Warming Deniers. (18+ / 0-)

    If any institution could be found with less credibility than a potential traitor, it would be the Republican House leadership.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:23:00 PM PDT

    •  this was both Dem & Rep leaders n/t (10+ / 0-)

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:25:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well That's More Persuasive. nt (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shahryar, msmacgyver, quill

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:30:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As was pointed out on MSNBC this is (9+ / 0-)

          Inside the Beltway Blind faith in intelligence community vs Outside the Beltway who don't have Blind faith in intelligence community

          I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

          by JML9999 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:35:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No. I think this is people ... (9+ / 0-)

            ... with their hair on fire versus people who are willing to wait to get all the information before making a judgment.

            I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

            by Tortmaster on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 09:15:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you wait (3+ / 0-)

              you will never get the information.

              What are you doing to fight the dangerous and counterproductive error of treating dirtbag terrorist criminals as though they were comic book supervillains? I can't believe we still have to argue this shit, let alone on Daily Kos.

              by happymisanthropy on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 10:17:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Huh? (5+ / 0-)

                Greenwald says he has a lot more to disclose.

                We just found out yesterday that Snowden has shown documents to the Chinese.

                Some of Snowden's online history has been made available on the net.

                Greenwald has refused to walk back his inaccuracies about the methods that data is retrieved by the NSA.  That's interesting in itself.

                Various meetings have been held in public by our government, and plenty of statements have come from that.

                There are lots of articles and analysis that have been written since this broke, and there will be more.

                •  That didn't come (0+ / 0-)

                  from waiting.

                  Do you think Snowden knows 10% of what the NSA is doing?  5%? 1%?

                  What are you doing to fight the dangerous and counterproductive error of treating dirtbag terrorist criminals as though they were comic book supervillains? I can't believe we still have to argue this shit, let alone on Daily Kos.

                  by happymisanthropy on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 11:30:16 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What was said (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sewaneepat, Eyesbright, Sylv, Onomastic

                    by Tortmaster was 'waiting to make a judgment'.  You know, as in letting the facts come out.

                    I have no idea what Snowden really knows.  I know that he said he was making $200K, when he was really making $122K.  That's a 64% exaggeration, and does lead to questions about his truthfulness.

                    I know that I am against the Patriot Act and think it needs to be repealed, but I think that's a pipedream.  Maybe someday in the future -- at least I hope.

                    I also know that Al Franken voted against the Patriot Act reauth, and he said this:

                    "I’m on the Judiciary committee and the Judiciary committee has jurisdiction (over) N.S.A. and on (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) and the Patriot Act," he said. "I availed myself of these briefings so nothing surprised me and the architecture of these programs I was very well aware of."

                    Last week, as the first disclosures were coming out about the N.S.A.'s collection of phone data, Franken said that: "The American public can't be kept in the dark about the basic architecture of the programs designed to protect them."

                    On Monday, he said, "I think there should be enough transparency that the American people understand what is happening...But I can assure you that this isn’t about spying on the American people."

                    http://www.startribune.com/...

                    •  It's about spying on the American People. (0+ / 0-)

                      Charitably, Franken has been stonewalled and lied to by DNI Clapper and the other "intelligence community" people.

                      That's one of the things which Ron Wyden demonstrated to us.  Clapper & company are lying even to the Intelligence committee.  They're obviously lying to the Judiciary committee too.

                    •  His former company never actually disputed (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Killer

                      his claim of making "around $200,000 per year."

                      They issued a press release stating the BASE wage for that position is $122,000 per year.

                      They never stated that he was making the base wage for his position in the company, merely told us what the base wage was for that position.

                      People keep going on and on that he "lied" about his salary, but I have read that press release over and over, and it is full of weasel words.

                      If he were making the absolute "base" wage for that position, and they could obviously prove it as the company paying that wage... Why wouldn't they do it, and be able to brand him a proven liar to the public, thereby blunting anything else he has to say as unreliabe in the court of public opinion?

                      My belief is they haven't done so, because they can't do so...

                      "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

                      by MichiganGirl on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:23:17 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Greenwald likely right about NSA data collection (0+ / 0-)

                  What "inaccuracies"?  The NSA has lied about a bunch of stuff, and that's been proven -- we know Clapper lied outright to the Senate Intelligence Committed.  But there's no evidence that Greenwald was wrong about NSA data collection methods; he appears to have been right.

      •  true, but after FBI has the nerve to say that (15+ / 0-)

        Bush could have stopped 9/11 had he had these new "tools" when we know everything bush ignored before 9/11 -- and all the parsing and spinning about this surveillance,  i take much with grain of salt.

        There are also democrats saying, based on what they know and we don't yet know, that the NSA program goes too far.

        Snowden may well be lying on some things, and accurate on others. time will tell.

        "It is in the shelter of each other that people live." Irish Proverb

        by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:53:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The NSA actually had some of these tools prior to (8+ / 0-)

          9/11 and had intercepted calls from Yemen indicating bin Laden was on the move. They just failed to use the information, failed to communicate among organizations. So, bringing 9/11 into the discussion only proves that you can have all the data in the world, and not stop an attack. In fact, having too much data can be a huge problem. All this was discussed ad nauseum 2007-2008, but people seem to have forgotten.

          Using my free speech while I still have it. http://www.ellenofthetenth.blogspot.com/

          by ebgill on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 09:29:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They "Failed To Communicate"... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tardis10, Eyesbright

            ...when the last link in the chain was severed. That link came between writing "Bin Laden Determined To Strike In US" and GeeDubya attentively reading and acting upon "Bin Laden Determined To Strike In US".

            On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

            by stevemb on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 03:37:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  ruppersberger co-authored cispa (13+ / 0-)

        he has zero credibility on this.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:57:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Establishment Dems have a stake in smearing him (9+ / 0-)

          too -- any political ally of the WH, in particular. And many Dems on the Intelligence Committee and related Congressional committees who knew about this program already have a political stake in minimizing it (and killing the messenger, Snowden), to avoid embarrassment with their Dem supporters back home.

          I'll reserve judgement until objective analysis emerges.

          "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by Kombema on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 09:11:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            deep info, tardis10, Kombema

            once you have decided that there is no problem needing to be fixed, you must delegitimize anyone so tasteless as to continue to press for reform.

            What are you doing to fight the dangerous and counterproductive error of treating dirtbag terrorist criminals as though they were comic book supervillains? I can't believe we still have to argue this shit, let alone on Daily Kos.

            by happymisanthropy on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 10:18:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Smoke and mirrors (10+ / 0-)

           

          Emerging from a hearing with NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), the senior Democrat on the panel, said Snowden simply wasn't in the position to access the content of the communications gathered under National Security Agency programs, as he's claimed.

              http://thehill.com/....

          Well that's interesting.   The La times reported earlier today that

             

          Former National Security Agency contract employee Edward Snowden used a computer thumb drive to smuggle highly classified documents out of an NSA facility in Hawaii, using a portable digital device supposedly barred inside the cyber spying agency, U.S. officials said.

                  Investigators “know how many documents he downloaded and what server he took them from,” said one official who would not be named while speaking about the ongoing investigation.

              Snowden worked as a system administrator, a technical job that gave him wide access to NSA computer networks and presumably a keen understanding of how those networks are monitored for unauthorized downloads.

          But...

             

          "He was lying," Rogers said. "He clearly has over-inflated his position, he has over-inflated his access and he's even over-inflated what the actually technology of the programs would allow one to do. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do."
          And...  

             

          The criticism from the Intel leaders took a turn toward the personal Thursday, as Rogers and Ruppersberger questioned how the 29-year-old Snowden, who never graduated from high school, could have risen to a position to access such sensitive information.

                  "I hope that we don't decide that our national security interests are going to be determined by a high-school dropout who had a whole series of both academic troubles and employment troubles," Rogers said.

          But... the LA Times again:

               

          Officials said they still don’t know how Snowden got access to an order marked “Top Secret” from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or a highly-classified directive from President Obama authorizing a military target list for cyber attacks. Neither document would be widely shared, or normally available to a low-level NSA employee.
          Well, the above doesn't jive. Sorry Congressmen, but clearly Snowden was in the position to access highly classified directives and Top Secret documents of the FISA court. Examples have been published worldwide.

          "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

          by smiley7 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 09:30:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  or the people who (5+ / 0-)

      look to them as "authorities".

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

      by Deward Hastings on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:27:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Nation: Glenn Greenwald's Epic Botch? (22+ / 0-)
    The “crucial question,” as Fogel frames it in a blog post, is this: “Are online service companies giving the government fully automated access to their data,” as Greenwald says they are, “without any opportunity for review or intervention by company lawyers?” This is what the companies have been denying—in statements that critics have been interpreting as non-denial denials. (Apple: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.” So what if Apple et al. knew the formal name of the program? And what about indirect access? Or government contractors? And how are they defining “customer data”? Etc.)

    Fogel points out that a widely read post to this effect called “Cowards” from the blogg Uncrunched—“What has these people, among the wealthiest on the planet, so scared that they find themselves engaging in these verbal gymnastics to avoid telling a simple truth?”—is “mostly wrong.” He says, “It looks like Greenwald and company simply misunderstood an NSA slide [see image at the top of this post for the slide] because they don’t have the technical background to know that ‘servers’ is a generic word and doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as ‘the main servers on which a company’s customer-facing services run.’ The ‘servers’ mentioned in the slide are just lockboxes used for secure data transfer. They have nothing to do with the process of deciding which requests to comply with—they’re just means of securely and efficiently delivering information once a company has decided to do so.”

    http://www.thenation.com/...

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:25:26 PM PDT

  •  isn't it interesting? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kombema, stevemb

    that those who support the President pretty much unconditionally believe Snowden is a liar, a leaker, a traitor or a self-promoter or a jerk or whatever, and those who think the President is the anti-candidate Obama believe Snowden is a whistleblower?

  •  Agreed there is much to come out. (5+ / 0-)

    How much will be allowed to come out without various groups (ACLU,EEF etc.) winning court cases,remains to be seen.
    Btw,both Rogers & Ruppersberger just voted against preventing indefinite detention. Somehow I rather doubt they are going to be helpful in crafting a democratic surveillance state.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:35:33 PM PDT

  •  Snowden: This is what a Patriot looks like n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    randomfacts, PJEvans, deep info

    “... there is no shame in not knowing. The problem arises when irrational thought and attendant behavior fill the vacuum left by ignorance.” ― Neil deGrasse Tyson, The Sky Is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist

    by leema on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:38:20 PM PDT

  •  I think NSA, etc. are lying, not Snowden... (7+ / 0-)

    These programs are too secretive. We've seen this throughout US history. But government officials still have not learned. They keep attacking the revealer of the truth.
    In unveiling this octopus-like info program, Snowden has caused a world-wide conversation, which is healthy.
    It's always best to know more than less. We can at least make our own determinations now.
    I'm tired of Congress getting secret briefings & giving no info to the public who pay their salaries.  These super-secret programs are scooping up info on all Americans & foreigners & saving the info to be used in the future. That's not the way this country was created.

    I share a birthday with John Lennon and Bo Obama.

    by peacestpete on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:40:16 PM PDT

  •  I was suspicious of his claims to be able to get (10+ / 0-)

    access to POTUS's info, federal judge info etc, and doing so in a legal way.

  •  The only confirmed liars in this fiasco... (13+ / 0-)

    Are James Clapper, The Obama Administration, the NSA, other government operatives and agencies, and the corporations with whom they colluding.

    If this isn't the single most obvious case of shoot the messenger to distract from the real issue at hand, I don't know what is. It's not as if they're even saying he's lying about the program, they're just trying to discredit his claims of access.

    And what of the rep who said this is "just the tip of the iceberg?" Gone off message perhaps?

    What a joke.

     

    Slap happy is a platform.

    by averageyoungman on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:47:20 PM PDT

  •  Shoot the messenger at all cost (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    randomfacts, Kombema, Lujane, fran1, deep info

    That was their marching orders after their secret meeting with the director of the NSA.

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:47:25 PM PDT

  •  Given we know the Agencies lied (7+ / 0-)

    to the Senate's face, I will take what the good General said with a major grain of salt.

    And transparency and a good audit will prove all this one way or the other.  Let's get to it.

    He who would trade liberty for security deserves great customer service.

    by Publius2008 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:51:03 PM PDT

  •  How do Snowden's supporters justify (8+ / 0-)

    his comments to the HK newspaper re alleged United States practices re hacking foreign computer (assuming, as seems very likely, that any knowledge he had of such practices would be top secret)?  

    "Save it for 2050." -- Mark Penn (on Obama's electability)

    by throughaglassdarkly on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:53:57 PM PDT

  •  Let's just say for a second (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, Loge, Onomastic, Lefty Ladig, SoCalSal, Sylv

    that the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    What if Snowden believes with all of his heart that what he has means what he says it means.  In his soul he believes he is saving the nation's soul.

    What if the PowerPoint he got ahold of doesn't mean what he thinks it means?

    What if he doesn't really KNOW know but is sure in his heart that he knows what is going on and it needs to come out.

    He doesn't have to be a "liar" to be wrong.  

    And wow, what if he's wrong and all we've done is repeatedly claim tinfoil hat C.T. about "marching orders" and "shoot the messenger".

    Enough folks in congress have NOT "shot the messenger" that it's pretty obvious they are not receiving or following "marching orders".

    Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

    by delphine on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:57:01 PM PDT

    •  We already knew (9+ / 0-)

      that the NSA was doing data sweeps off the fiber optics in at least a few places back in 2007. Technology has only gotten better on keeping data on people. You order a book or kitchen appliance off Amazon and every web page you go to thereafter is full of ads for what you just purchased. That's what makes Google a player in this. So we know that data sweeps were done prior to 2007, the technology is even better now. If there is any mistake about this, it's probably just misidentifying the exact hardware, and it's also likely that different things are being done in different places. Snowden adds to the notion about the privatization of the work (although AT&T was involved in 2007 per Klein). I'm an attorney, so I realize that the details matter for any particular case, how it could be proved, but none of this changes the constitutional argument. Also, re-watch the old Democracy Now show off the link I put above. The NSA loves to claim how much they protect us with this data, but the original use of the data was before 9/11. If you want to talk about an epic fail, how about that?

      Using my free speech while I still have it. http://www.ellenofthetenth.blogspot.com/

      by ebgill on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 09:04:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  there's more than one 'program' (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Onomastic, deep info

      and the main user is NCSC, which they haven't even mentioned - yet.
      All of them are very carefully choosing their words so as to not speak the whole truth, and to avoid mentioning anything that would indicate just who gets which (and how much) data.

      Assume they're lying until proven truthful.

      (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

      by PJEvans on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 09:29:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Real questions re technical accuracy of the claims (8+ / 0-)

    See the great Kevin Drum:

    http://www.motherjones.com/...

    "Save it for 2050." -- Mark Penn (on Obama's electability)

    by throughaglassdarkly on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:57:01 PM PDT

    •  'The great Kevin Drum' (5+ / 0-)

      lists himself as a political blogger, not an IT guy.  I can think of several ways to interpret 'direct access' that do not necessarily mean 'the NSA can root around in google's database'.

      Mirrored info, for instance, provides essentially the same service without actually letting anyone into the main servers, just the slaved ones.  I'd rather hear what actual IT people have to say about the technical accuracy, not just political bloggers.

      •  This entire piece is an important (9+ / 0-)

        read. It's one of the best analysis I've read and gets right to the heart of things.

        But Greenwald and MacAskill reported more than what the published slides claim. They reported direct and unilateral access to company data. The slides don’t actually conflict with the company and NSA statements, once you take into account that “the servers” doesn’t necessarily mean the company’s central servers, and could instead mean the kind of secondary digital clean room described in The New York Times’ account.

            This is not a pedantic point.

        The difference between these two explanations isn’t some nuanced distinction that only tech geeks should care about. This is the difference between companies voluntarily giving the government direct and unilateral access to arbitrary customer data and companies merely complying with the law in a technically efficient way that doesn’t change the nature of the data received by the government. If Greenwald and MacAskill have documents or detailed statements from Snowden that provide illumination on this point, they should share this information. Because as it stands now, the only way their story is true is if all the companies involved are lying, and the NSA is lying, and Senators Feinstein and Rogers are lying, and the President is lying, and the New York Times’ sources are lying.

            Everyone but Greenwald’s source would have to be lying.

        https://medium.com/...

        There's much more and I highly recommend it.

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

        by Onomastic on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 10:49:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well here's an IT guy. (8+ / 0-)

        https://medium.com/...

        And anyone who cares about this entire issue really needs to read that article.

      •  I think Drum is off base here: (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        deep info, Armando, ebgill, Onomastic
        There's a huge difference between (a) Google giving NSA unfettered access to all of its user data whenever NSA feels like looking at something, and (b) Google agreeing to set up a secure method of transferring data that NSA has obtained a court order for. It's night and day.
        Conversely, a story about how companies transfer information to NSA after they get a court order is a complete nothing.
        It's not a huge difference, a night and day difference between (a) and (b). It's hardly any meaningful difference at all.

        Also, Prism isn't (a).

        Brennan Center says this:

        When it comes to Section 702, the law cited for PRISM, the FISA court’s role is more limited. Even though Section 702 does not allow the intentional surveillance of U.S. persons, the government is not required to go before the court to obtain individual surveillance orders. Instead, the court approves the “targeting” and “minimization” procedures described above to limit the amount of information about law-abiding Americans that is intercepted, retained, and disseminated.

        Government Surveillance Factsheet

        EPIC says this:
        Per usual procedure, a FISA Court ("FISC") issues a "FISA warrant" upon a demonstration of probable cause that the target is a foreign power or agent thereof, but there are numerous exceptions to this procedure. Of particular importance is Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 ("FAA"), codified as 50 U.S.C. 1181a, which allows the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence ("DNI") to authorize jointly the targeting of non-United States persons for the purposes of gathering intelligence for a period of up to one year. 50 U.S.C. 1881a(1). Section 702 contains restrictions, including the requirement that the surveillance "may not intentionally target any person known at the time of acquisition to be located in the United States." 50 U.S.C. § 1881a(b)(1). The Attorney General and DNI must submit to the FISC an application for an order ("mass acquisition order") for the surveillance either before their joint authorization or within seven days thereof. The FAA sets out a procedure by which the Attorney General and DNI must obtain certification from FISC for their program, which includes an assurance that the surveillance is designed to limit surveillance to persons located outside of the United States. However, the FAA does not require the government to identify targets of surveillance, and the FISC does not consider individualized probable cause determinations or supervise the program. The FAA permits interception of the communications of United States persons so long as the surveillance program was not designed to target those persons but rather the foreign actors with whom they communicated.

        Clapper v. Amnesty Int'l USA

        This is essentially Armando's point, I think.

        Whether the data is acquired by direct hookup, replication server, FTP, or rowboat doesn't matter.

        What matters is that Prism is an implementation of Section 702.

  •  I'm in a holding pattern... (15+ / 0-)

    not ready to condemn anybody...but also not jumping on anybody's train...yet.

    I will commit to saying programs like these need oversight...that has been and always will be a battle.

    and definitely...100% hate that we are relying on private contractors to do our intelligence...or wars, schools, prisons, etc...


    We are not broke, we are being robbed.

    by Glen The Plumber on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 09:07:40 PM PDT

  •  They could be correct, in part or in full. (6+ / 0-)

    But listening to Clapper earlier, I'm not sure he had the IT chops to understand just how much a database guy can do, and I'm certain most of the intel committee is just as clueless about database work.

    Still, even so, I have to agree that some of his claims raised my eyebrows as well.

  •  To be clear (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indie17, deep info

    I'm not saying I support each and every claim this guy has made. I'm only saying that to the extent that he corroborates other earlier whistleblowers, and his story indicates an expansion of the old program into areas that seem like natural expansion areas from the old program, and to the extent no one ever said any of this stopped after 2007, and the courts provided cover for all of it by dismissing all cases on standing, and because the ACLU is in fact suing again (the case has already been filed), it is likely that the basics of the original claims made to Greenwald have some truth to them, if perhaps some of the technical details are incorrect--and we do not know for sure that they are incorrect. As for the later claims, the China stuff, and the hacking, I have no idea, and wonder why Snowden is sticking his neck out farther than it already is to no good end. Perhaps all this is a bit too much for him, inexperienced, lacking a broad liberal education, or good advice.

    Using my free speech while I still have it. http://www.ellenofthetenth.blogspot.com/

    by ebgill on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 09:41:52 PM PDT

    •  I like the way (4+ / 0-)

      you put that all together.  And I see you are a lawyer.

      My background is tech (CSE), and I work as a Sr. Consultant to businesses.

      The technical details provided by Greenwald are incorrect, and that's a fairly big deal.  I've already posted a link to this, and so have others, but that link explains it the best that I've seen.

      https://medium.com/...

      The NSA is using court orders to get specific slices of internet data from the ISPs and companies like Google.  I have read enough confirmation of that to believe it's fact.

      That's about the Prism issue.

      Now, on to phone call metadata.

      My assumption has always been that the govt has still been keeping phone call metadata, as reported in this article from 2006:

      http://yahoo.usatoday.com/...

      The legal issue of whether the Verizon metadata is legal (that Armando wrote about) is the sticky point, IMO.  This would be true for all of the phone companies and phone call record data, and it's been going on since before 2006.  

      Several claims made by Snowden are laughingly false, and absurd on their face.  I think I am going to write a diary, so won't go all into it here, but I'll give you this one as an example:

      "Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector. Anywhere. I, sitting at my desk, had the authority to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal email."

      There is simply no way that the technical ability to wiretap anyone is available to any analyst.  Period.

      •  On the contrary. (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think you understand the implications of the NSA's hoovering up of data indiscriminately.

      •  Thanks for the kind words and I agree in part and (0+ / 0-)

        disagree in part. I should mention I have a masters degree in information systems, and was a data base and Internet systems analyst for several years, albeit with far less sexy technology.

        I understand what they are saying Snowden got wrong. I just don't think that's the only game out there.

        Klein told everyone in 2007 that the NSA is indiscriminately taking the data right off the fiber optics. Technology moved forward and changed the game, but the Internet is still basically an bunch of servers and routers and wires, and now wireless. I would be very surprised if the original projects ended. They most likely expanded and adapted. Klein also said that data was being taken in sweeps, not from specific people for specific circumstances, and explained that there was really no way to completely isolate any particular calls, emails etc. That I believe is still true. Like there were never any "smart bombs" that only blew up the exact target, there is no way to completely isolate the data of the bad guys, particularly if you don't know exactly when and where, and where the routers felt like sending it that day. And, to that point, doesn't the data pass through the system in pieces?

        It is possible that Snowden got a lot wrong, and that not mean his claims are all false. It could mean that Snowden doesn't really understand just how bad this is.

        Sure, NSA could be using the courts for some data collection (what a great cover), but they don't have to use the courts to do a lot of things, and we were told they were intercepting and sweeping, and the courts protected all of it by denying based on standing in the circular argument that you have to know exactly what happened to make the case, and the case is about how all the information about these programs has been hidden.

        I know that people in technology can pull a lot of what Snowden said apart. I'm just saying I think this has to be looked at in the bigger picture. More than one thing can be true at the same time. I think the Obama Administration, and its defenders, are very motivated to knock holes in the story, and rely on the ambiguities to quiet the public down on it. I'd rather they tell us what's going on and what they're using the data for, and why we have privacy laws, and HIPAA when none if it means a hill of beans anyway.

        Using my free speech while I still have it. http://www.ellenofthetenth.blogspot.com/

        by ebgill on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:41:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Snowden is a liar, a traitor, and a fink. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devis1, stevemb, ebgill

    But clearly everyone ELSE who has access to those databases can totally be trusted not to abuse that kind of power.

    What are you doing to fight the dangerous and counterproductive error of treating dirtbag terrorist criminals as though they were comic book supervillains? I can't believe we still have to argue this shit, let alone on Daily Kos.

    by happymisanthropy on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 10:21:18 PM PDT

  •  Ok time for the Idiot to speak (5+ / 0-)

    The farming of our data by the government is NOTHING compared to the farming of our data by the corporations who own our government.

    But the majority of the people in the USA are SHEEP, not wolves. Not Worth Tracking By The Government. At All. We are not the revolutionaries we think we are, and the dangerous shit (and even the potentially dangerous) shit has been and will continue to be  well gamed out, tracked, monitored and controlled mostly by non-dramatic methods like infiltration of certain groups, getting potentially violent types to buy weapons, the guy who looks like a plant at a OWS meet up, etc.

    Snowden is a foolish ass. He really did put this country in a  further fucking bind, because our security apparatus is not secure when we have to tell the American people about procedures and methods, because that is the Same Fucking Thing Our Enemies/Competitors Want To Know (and they will be listening harder, and taking actual notes, and getting more out of it). But the fucking bind started because we started farming out intelligence contracts to corporations.

    IMHO we need to worry about the way government shares the access and responsibility for its data.

    Because you never know when a guy like Snowden could make a buck off sharing  information he may or may not really know about.

    And thus force our government to do the equivalent of revealing  the size, types, frequency, methods and overall robustness of its security-sex life to prove it is "not beating its citizen-wife".....

  •  NSA script for congress critters to follow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deep info

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    NSA Talking Points Issued By House Intelligence Committee Instructs Lawmakers On Defending Programs

    WASHINGTON -- The Huffington Post has obtained talking points instructing members of Congress on how to defend two controversial surveillance programs operated by the National Security Agency. The talking points originate from the Democratic side of House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) serves as ranking member.

    The programs, detailed in exposes published by The Guardian and The Washington Post, have alarmed civil liberties advocates for collecting a wide range of information about citizens who are not suspected of having committed crimes.

    The talking points are divided into two documents, one dedicated to a program that allows the U.S. government to collect the phone call records of all American citizens, including the telephone numbers involved and length of calls. The other document is dedicated a program that collects mass metadata on Internet activities, including email, that relate to matters the NSA deems a foreign threat to the United States.

    Both documents assert that the programs are not secret. But the programs have alarmed Americans because most citizens were unaware of their existence prior to the recent articles, and the programs were authorised by a special Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose rulings are, in fact, secret.

    http://www.docstoc.com/...

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 11:24:10 PM PDT

  •  I'm wondering that too. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beach babe in fl, Cedwyn, Eyesbright
    Rogers said investigators are also trying to determine whether Snowden has any relationship with foreign governments — something national security officials don't know yet, he said.
    We're in a spat with China over their cyber-spying and this guy just happens to fall into their lap? It's a hell of a coincidence.

    Seems he could have either been working for China and they called him home when things got hot or he went to China and started talking about the US spying on China in order to get protection.

    Either way, he certainly has a relationship with China now.

  •  He & Greenwald Claimed NSA Had "Direct Access".... (0+ / 0-)

    to the entire contents of servers like Verizon, AT&T & South Bell for millions & millions & millions of American citizens.  If so, they should be able to replicate that direct access.  No?  So far, it hasn't happened.  

    It's thought it was "a dropbox".... not quite the same access.

    The program has been in operation for over 6 years.  Lawsuits?  Plaintiffs?  When are people going to come forth w/ evidence of NSA's use of telephone numbers
    harming them and/or infringing on their 4th Amendment
    rights?

  •  Or... (0+ / 0-)

    Are government officials lying?  The government clearly has something they want to hide from U.S. citizens.  

    I will consider Snowden's claims to be plausible, until there is some kind of hearing that I have access to, complete with some actual verifiable facts, verifiable copies of the agreements with the companies they are collecting data from, corroborating witnesses, etc.  

    As long as the government continues to conduct it's activities in secret, I will assume that it is doing things that it doesn't want U.S. citizens to know about, or sue them about, and therefore, that it might, in fact, be illegal.

  •  I am not convinced (0+ / 0-)

    I am not convinced that our nation is doomed unless we let the government do whatever it wants to do in total secrecy.

    I am, however, convinced that if we let the government do whatever it wants to do in total secrecy, then our nation IS doomed.

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