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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during swearing-in ceremonies on the West front of the U.S Capitol in Washington, January 21, 2013.   REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS)
Speaking in Germany with Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Obama attempted to put German and American citizens at ease after revelations that the NSA has been collecting phone and internet data in a dragnet operation. He repeated the now familiar talking point from government officials that the programs had prevented more than 50 terrorist plots, and added the assertion that lives had been saved because of the surveillance.
Ultimately, he said, “lives have been saved” because of the cautious execution of the surveillance systems. “We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted” not just in the United States, but in countries around the world, including Germany. That number, which the administration has been using in recent days to defend its actions, includes plots thwarted by PRISM and by the National Security Agency’s scrutiny of phone metadata.
Among the specific foiled plots officials have talked about, none have included plots developed to the point where lives were actually saved, where a concrete plot to kill had been stopped. The New York Times Charlie Savage writes about those interventions in his report on Tuesday's House Intelligence Committee hearing.
One case involved a group of men in San Diego convicted of sending money to an extremist group in Somalia. The other was presented as a nascent plan to bomb the New York Stock Exchange, although its participants were not charged with any such plot. Both were described by Sean Joyce, deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, at a rare public oversight hearing by the House Intelligence Committee. [...]

As an example of how the domestic calling log database has been used, Mr. Joyce cited the case of several men convicted by a jury in February of raising and sending about $8,500 to Al Shabab, a terrorist group in Somalia. The N.S.A. had flagged the calling activities of one of the men as suspicious, he said. [...]

Monitoring a terrorist in Yemen, the N.S.A. discovered that he was talking to a man named Khalid Ouazzani in Kansas City, Mo. After applying for a separate warrant for Mr. Ouazzani’s communications, they identified two additional conspirators and discovered they were “in the very initial stages” of the stock exchange bomb plot, he said. [...]

However, Joshua L. Dratel, a lawyer for Mr. Hasanoff, called Mr. Joyce’s portrayal “astonishing” because none of the defendants was charged with the stock exchange allegation and there was no jury trial in any of the cases. Mr. Joyce also invoked two cases officials have previously linked to surveillance conducted under the FISA Amendments Act — a plot to bomb the New York City subway and the discovery that David Headley, a Chicago man, was working on a plot to bomb a Danish newspaper that published cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

The New York City subway plot, however, was thwarted by "old-fashioned police work" rather than dragnet electronic surveillance. That's according to public documents that show the tip-off came from British authorities who had arrested several suspected terrorists. They found the connection to American Najibullah Zazi, the would-be bomber, through those arrests, and through email correspondence between Zazi and his al Qaeda handler. The emails were targeted, though, by intelligence work, not by finding this needle in the haystack of swept-up data.

As far as David Headley is concerned, the DEA informant was caught before the Danish newspaper bomb plot could be carried out, but not before 168 people died in attacks he helped plot in Mumbai, in 2008. So that could be called a limited success, at best.

So far, the foiled plots that officials are talking about are a bit dubious, and the assertion that lives have been saved isn't proven by them. This would be just one issue in which Congress could start asking those questions the American public wants answered.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 11:40 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (44+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 11:40:25 AM PDT

  •  I'd bet most of these cases involved obtaining the (23+ / 0-)

    phone records of people who, for one reason or another, were already targeted by the NSA or the FBI. No statements by any of these apologists for NSA suggest that they needed the phone records of 145 million Verizon customers to break up these plots.

    What's wrong with getting the phone records of just the people that are suspected of wrongdoing?

      •  Tiny amounts of money. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BvueDem

        The annual budget for the PRISM program is $20 million.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:56:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yesterday, I read an article debunking (9+ / 0-)

        claims by the White House that NSA spying had been responsible for breaking up a large number of terrorist plots. When I tried to retrieve the article using a Google search engine, it kept marking out the negative words so that the query read "White House says NSA spying broke up terrorist plots." I tried rewording the query many times, but it still marked out the negative words and brought up the same results.

        If I was a conspiracy theorist I would be wearing a tin-foil hat right about now, but I'm not, and the really scary part to me is that many Democrats are buying the spin presented by the Obama administration.

        That is what is truly frightening...Democrats fighting to protect corporate sponsored policies when the end results are not in the average American's best interest.

        And if you have any doubt that a lot of this spying is corporate sponsored, then read the articles describing the British government's efforts to spy on members of the G20 conference...and that the information they gleaned was reported back to big business executives so they could gain an advantage during negotiations...and remember the US and the British share intelligence through the five eyes agreement.

    •  Think about how security cameras work. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kitebro, jl4851, BvueDem, Timeslayer

      They shoot a scene of everyone who walks by a store, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

      One day, somebody bombs something and the police identify Suspect Number One and Suspect Number two. The police then go back and look at that security camera footage, with all of those thousands and thousands of people, to see if Suspect Number One and Suspect Number Two are in them.

      They aren't spying on or looking for all of the other people in the footage. Those people are in the way, and if there was some way to, before the fact, only collect the images of the people who would later be  Suspect Number One and Suspect Number Two, they would.

      But they can't. They can only record the entire street scene, and then go back and pick out the needle from the haystack.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:55:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  of course, it's always been maintained that there (11+ / 0-)

        is no right to privacy in a public space --that's the difference.

        but with your emails, etc --you should have the right to privacy, and the potential for abuse is far too great.

        Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

        by greenbastard on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:59:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Remember, though, this is not about content. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BvueDem, Timeslayer

          We're talking about phone records being looked at without a warrant, not contents of emails. Looking at the contents still requires a warrant.

          I think we need to increase the level of protection for "transactional information" (the equivalent of what's on the outside of an envelope), because of what can now be done with data mining, but under longstanding Constitutional doctrine, you do not have a right to keep the address on the outside of an envelope secret if you hand it over to someone.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:05:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greengemini

          In United States v. Jones, a unanimous decision that found GPS tracking to be an illegal search, Alito argued that continuous monitoring of a person's movements for 28 days, due to the ease and relatively inexpensive use of GPS tools, was unreasonable. 90 day tracking of phone metadata (we still don't have an answer as to whether or not geographic information is included in the metadata) seems to me to fall into that same category.  And we do know that these 90 day orders are rolling, so its for an much longer time period.

      •  That's an inprecise (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee

        analogy.

        A better analogy using the same terms, to describe what the NSA is doing is to go back through the cameras and see who Suspect Number One spoke with. He asked Person of Interest A what time it was. They become Suspect Three, and walk into the dental office across the street. That office becomes Suspect Organization Four, and every person working there and customer contacted also falls into the steadily increasing dragnet.

        And its not a camera in front of a store where a bomb went off. It's every camera in the entire city, so they can track the movements and contacts of Suspect One and Two...every one which becomes a Person of Interest.

        Take the case that they are using as an example...a man in Kansas receives a call from a suspected terrorist in Yemen. He then proceeds to make a serious of calls to a number of other people to raise money. That means every person he made a phone call to is under suspicion now, which no doubt includes a number of entirely innocent people, who are now unaware that they are under suspicion, and have no recourse to clearing their names.

        Say they even need more than one suspicious call to "triangulate" the person as a suspect. Given a relatively tight knit or small community, it is entirely possible that they are still going to get "positive" confirmation of suspicious phone calls. Same schools, same doctors, same stores, same taverns, same cultural events being attended, people ARE going to be talking to the same people.  And now they are under suspicion because someone in their area received a call from a suspected terrorist in Yemen and tried to raise money.

        Now consider all of this where the bar for probable cause has been dropped to "relevant", and a "51% confidence rate is accepted, and warrants have been replaced with court orders given in secret with accompanying gag orders and no advocate for the suspect ever becoming involved.

    •  Yesterday was a banner day, as far as... (26+ / 0-)

      ...“assaults on democratic government” are concerned.

      (Checkout Kossack Richard Lyon's post on this: "Obama's Spreading Secrecy Net.")

      As both myself and others within the community have noted and formally cited, we live in a society where too-big-to-fail (TBTF) banks such as HSBC, Wachovia and Standard Chartered may launder, literally, many hundreds of billions (if not trillions) of dollars on behalf of Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and South American drug cartels knowing they’ll receive the financial equivalent of a wrist-slap and a get-out-of-jail-free card from the U.S. DoJ if they're caught doing same.

      Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security is providing security personnel for public appearances by folks such as JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, and, armaments along with related support for off-duty DHS and local law enforcement as they protect the Koch brothers.

      More “transparently,” our surveillance state just spent the better part of Tuesday lying to our face—and the mainstream media, along with the blogosphere in tow, parroted those lies throughout the land—as the grand masters of the military-intelligence/industrial complex propaganda (as noted in THIS LINK to a post from Wired, last night) attempted to spin the story of Basaaly Saeed Moalin,  a San Diego cab driver “…who was convicted in February of providing material support for a terrorist organization. Moalin raised money (a "whopping" $23,800--when compared to HSBC, Wachovia and Standard Chartered actions, seriously?) for the Somali militia group al Shabaab, which the State Department declared a foreign terrorist organization in 2008.”

      Also, from Wired’s excellent exposé on NSA propaganda last night (and there are other instances of documented spin in this piece, so I strongly encourage folks to read this), the case of Sabirhan Hasanoff, who “...supposedly plotted to blow up the New York Stock Exchange.”

      Justice Department Fought to Conceal NSA’s Role in Terror Case From Defense Lawyers
      By Kevin Poulsen
      Wired Magazine
      06.18.13   7:16PM

      …Hasanoff has pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists. But the government’s own sentencing memorandum shows that the defendants called off a proposed plot on their own, without any involvement from federal authorities, and over a year before being arrested.

      “There was no plot,” says Dratel. [Diarist’s Note: “Dratel” is Josh Dratel, Hasanoff’s lawyer, one of the leading lawyers in the U.S. when it comes to defending those “labelled” as terrorists by our government, these days.] “There was one guy was asked to check out a tourist site downtown. It was a year and a half before they arrested Hasanoff. So if they thought it was really a plot, what were they doing letting him run around?”

      The sentencing memorandum in that case, dated May 31, confirms Dratel’s statements. “Hasanoff relayed that the New York Stock Exchange was surrounded by approximately four streets that were blocked off from vehicular traffic and that someone would have to walk to the building. The Doctor [an undisclosed high-ranking al-Qaida operative] revealed that, although the information provided by Hasanoff could be used by someone who wanted to do an operation, he was not satisfied with the report, and he accordingly disposed of it.”

      “This casts suspicion on everything they say about these programs, and the efficacy of these programs,” says Dratel. “Their notion of transparency is so tired. They have to stop lying to everybody…”

      These are a few of the major terrorist events—based upon the past 24-hour news cycle--that our omniscient surveillance state’s eavesdropping “prevented.”...

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:09:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Even if you don't have a problem with (27+ / 0-)

    This government storing each and every citizens private communications (or metadata), other citizens DO have a problem with it.  And one of the fundamental things about my rights, is that you don't have the right to give my rights up.

    I do not consent.  And my reasons are not subject to your validation.  I don't have to answer to anyone who does not have a legally issued court order.  It says so right in the constitution.

    •  Who Have You been Asked to Answer To? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell
      I don't have to answer to anyone who does not have a legally issued court order.

      Too Folk For You. - Schmidting in the Punch Bowl - verb - Committing an unexpected and underhanded political act intended to "spoil the party."

      by TooFolkGR on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:05:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, to Verizon. (0+ / 0-)

        The "private" metadata is Verizon's information.  And it consented or at least, doesn't think there's a legal ground to stand on.

        I don't think people know what "private" means.  It doesn't mean your commercial transactions with Big Huge Phone Company.

        "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

        by Inland on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:51:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Jones v. Maryland (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          conniptionfit

          Did not conclusively decide that metadata is not considered private information. What they concluded was there were two tests: 1)Did the suspect take reasonable steps to ensure the phone call was private and 2)Would society consider there to be a reasonable expectation of privacy? They decided in that case that the second critera was not met because society couldn't hold that expectation when the phone company routinely uses that data for billing purposes.

          But technology has changed since then, and Verizon, among others, now sells encrypted services, expressly marketed to keep your communications and data private. If consumers are buying a product for privacy, and it is being marketed for that benefit, then societal expectation of privacy has changed enough that the second criteria in Jones v. Maryland has been met.

          •  Have you read your agreement with your company? (0+ / 0-)

            I know I didn't.  Still haven't.  You find me someone who has, and we can discuss that one person's expectation of privacy, because none of the other's have any for sure.

            "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

            by Inland on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 08:44:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am not sure (0+ / 0-)

              what you mean with your reply, but if you are questioning whether there is an expectation of privacy for using encryption services, I think that is going to be a resounding yes. Purchasing the service is a pretty clear indication that you have an expectation that it will do what it says.

    •  The problem is that (4+ / 0-)

      the people that decide what the constitution means (the SC) has said that since you shared that information (the numbers you called) with the phone company it's no longer secret and no longer belongs only to you. It's no more protected than the addresses on the outside of envelopes you mail, by their rulings.

      That's what needs to change, the idea that for stuff to be private it must be secret. Secrecy has always been the linchpin for determining what requires a warrant and what doesn't.

      47 is the new 51!

      by nickrud on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:23:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And the corporate dataminers, who nobody seems (3+ / 0-)

        to be bothered by.  Google has saved every search they've ever done, for all of us, for example.  It's much worse than just the NSA.  

        How bad can this non-government spying get?  Here's Monsanto hiring Blackwater to spy on anti-GMO activists.  http://english.ruvr.ru/...

        We need a lot of rational discussion about all this, and new laws protecting privacy.  

      •  That was in 79 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nickrud

        Technology has changed. Today Verizon, and most of the others, actively markets encrypted services specifically citing privacy of data and communications as one of the benefits. The underlying assumptions in Jones v. Maryland no longer hold, namely that society would hold that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for the metadata relating to their calls. If society is paying for that privacy, it seems pretty clear that they do indeed have a reasonable expectation of privacy pertaining to their calls now.

        •  interesting point (0+ / 0-)

          but since it hasn't been adjudicated yet the ruling still stands.

          I'm not arguing in favor of it, just trying to make people aware that it's not covered by the 4th, yet.

          47 is the new 51!

          by nickrud on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:09:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It still stands (0+ / 0-)

            But the ruling is what set out the two tests for there to be an expectation of privacy. What I am saying is that under the ruling, there is reasonable expectation of privacy.

            The question that was asked in the majority opinion was, does society believe there is an expectation of privacy? They then went on to say no, because the phone companies routinely used that data for billing purposes, etc. I am saying if you ask that question today, especially for someone using encryption services, the answer is yes.

  •  Trying to bullshit your way out of this certainly (33+ / 0-)

    helps your case, Mr President.

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 11:59:07 AM PDT

  •  Same thing could be said for weed (9+ / 0-)

    but yet somehow I dont see the government pushing for that.

  •  except among true believers (29+ / 0-)

    his credibility is collapsing.

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

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:18:02 PM PDT

  •  America: It's your weapons or your privacy (0+ / 0-)

    Choose.

    At this point, we all know Americans are far too crazy and violent to be trusted with the kind of weaponry they have access to.

    So as a person who doesn't believe in arming a society in the way we do, I want my government spying on their crazy asses.

    I gladly give up my privacy in a country that's given up on keeping my family's kids safe in their own neighborhoods.

    So you go, Obama. Spy on those crazy fuckers, and then spy on them again. And spy on these gun totin' Kossacks just for good measure.

    My belief on this issue goes from the scale of guns all the way up to nukes. As long as people demand such dangerous weapons in our world, it will be necessary to spy on people crazy enough to demand them. And rightly so.

    So yeah, let's stop spying... OK.

    Then disarm yourselves, at every level. Otherwise nobody (especially in America) gets my sympathy - bunch of crazy violent people.

  •  how many lives were lost (11+ / 0-)

    protecting the 4th amendment and the constitution and freedom

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:22:29 PM PDT

    •  At what price freedom? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc

      if you have to ask, you can't afford it.

      Our snoops are not legally authorized to snoop without legal authorization. Of course, if they were legally authorized to snoop without legal authorization, that would constitute legal authorization. Do you feel better yet?

      by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:56:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How many untold lives have been lost (10+ / 0-)

    due to national security state persecution of progressive movements, such as anti-Iraq War protestors?

  •  how many lives were lost due to monies (19+ / 0-)

    not being spent on important science, social programs, functional government regulation, functional law enforcement,  and better education?

     

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:38:59 PM PDT

  •  What it's all boiling down to (9+ / 0-)

    is how much trust we have in our government, embodied by the current administration, to govern under the rule of law and in those gray areas that always exist, to do the "right thing."

    To date, the scorecard isn't encouraging.  Some choose to ignore that the "banksters" haven't been prosecuted, that Holder seems less than interested in upholding the law, and so on.  

    I'd rather be free, have my privacy, and take my chances with "domestic terrorists" than turn over my soul to people who've already proven themselves not to have the majority's best interests at heart.

    The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante Alighieri

    by Persiflage on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:58:44 PM PDT

    •  2 further points to that . . . (8+ / 0-)

      1.  Obama will not be President forever. How many of those cheering for this now will still be cheering for it when President Jeb or President Rubio gets to decide.

      2. The NSA that tells us today that it would never break the law or lie about, already has done exactly that.  Back in the 70's, they spied on American citizens even though they knew it was illegal, and lied to their Congressional "oversight" about it. The US Senate Church Committee wrote an entire volume detailing the whole story. So I think we can be forgiven for being just a tad skeptical of their claim that they would never ever do, uh, all those things they have already done.

      •  and how many of them (0+ / 0-)

        resigned in protest over the Bush crimes?  The ones still employed are the ones who didn't.

        Our snoops are not legally authorized to snoop without legal authorization. Of course, if they were legally authorized to snoop without legal authorization, that would constitute legal authorization. Do you feel better yet?

        by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:57:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Even if lives HAVE been saved, why does that (18+ / 0-)

    matter more than protecting the Constitution?

    What was your oath, Mr. Obama?  Was it to save lives, or was it to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution?

    I heard on RT television that Obama's speech was attended by only a very small audience, much smaller than for his Berlin speech in 2008.

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:21:01 PM PDT

    •  Apparently, just 4,500 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AnthonyMason2k6, Mr Robert, Dallasdoc

      turned up for this particular example of speechifying.

      Even his words aren't very compelling anymore, let alone his actual actions.

      Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

      by Bollox Ref on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:48:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  that is not (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, Dallasdoc

      to be wondered at. In 2008, the whole world laid a nobel prize at his feet practically begging him to be the antithesis to Bush. That is a long time gone.

    •  Isn't this the argument used for those against (0+ / 0-)

      stricter gun laws?

      Even if lives HAVE been saved, why does that matter more than protecting the Constitution?
      Just sayin'.
    •  I find it ironic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inland

      that this sounds just like the arguments against gun regulation.

      The threat to our way of life comes from corporations, and the solution is to shrink corporations while freeing government from corporate control.

      by gbaked on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:51:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  or against (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc

        outlawing leftist organizations, or against stop and frisk, or against torture... take your pick.

        Our snoops are not legally authorized to snoop without legal authorization. Of course, if they were legally authorized to snoop without legal authorization, that would constitute legal authorization. Do you feel better yet?

        by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:59:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It is the argument against gun regulation. (0+ / 0-)

        I don't know why the left feels the need to crib arguments from the right wing, much less the worst ones.

        "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

        by Inland on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 03:01:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's not unconstitutional, so thankfully we don't (0+ / 0-)

      have to choose between people dying and the constitution.

      Really, if you're going to be sanguine about people being killed....ten, twenty, thirty, a million, whatever.....you should at least address the premise of the constitutionality of the action, which, as Holmes said, is not a suicide pact.

      "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

      by Inland on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 03:00:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, one thing for sure about POTUS' speech, (14+ / 0-)

    it's a vigorous effort to save some asses.

    •  Yup. (0+ / 0-)

      You can't say he never get into the fray.  

      Our snoops are not legally authorized to snoop without legal authorization. Of course, if they were legally authorized to snoop without legal authorization, that would constitute legal authorization. Do you feel better yet?

      by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:59:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  even if true, so what (17+ / 0-)

    Lives would be saved if we all had GPS chips implanted in our heads to track us 24 hours a day, too.

    With enough security, we can make the entire country absolutely safe and protected.  But we'd end up with a society that isn't WORTH protecting.

    I don't want to live in that society, and I'm entirely willing to take the 1 in 2000,000,000 chance of being blown up by a terrist oh noez !!!!!, to avoid living in that society.

    •  Yeah, it's a terrible argument (3+ / 0-)

      It's actually quite pathetic that the military-industrial complex, having run this program for years, can't produce a single convincing example of a plot it thwarted.

      But even if it did, the implication is that the end always justifies the means. Does the unconstitutional become constitutional just because we can trot out some story in the media?

  •  Ends justify the means? (10+ / 0-)

    I didn't think that was how law was supposed to work.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:28:38 PM PDT

  •  Mr President go back to the the families of (0+ / 0-)

    Krystle Campbell
    Martin William Richard
    Lingzi Lu

    http://www.boston.com/...

    and tell them that piece of fiction......

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

    by JML9999 on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:28:47 PM PDT

  •  I believe less and less (15+ / 0-)

    Of what my President says.  It's been a heartbreaking evolution for me.

  •  I believe him. (6+ / 0-)

    The only way to prove the Prism program saved lives is to produce documents of the entire process, which would include who what when where why and how.

    News flash: some secrecy IS necessary. "Classified" isn't by default some nefarious cover-up.

    Does anyone here think they're so important the POTUS wants to read your emails? Why would the President or the NSA want to dedicate so many resources and manpower to maintain a program that is ineffective?

    Please proceed, Governor.

    by USArmyParatrooper on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:31:38 PM PDT

    •  no (9+ / 0-)

      but I do think that if you were to become important enough to get on the radar, say by organizing, then a future US administration certainly would want to read your emails.  And they'll blow kisses at the portrait of former President Obama when they do.

      YEs, some secrecy is needed for sure, but the wide scale, largely unchecked spying on Americans is not.  

      Why is is that saving thousands of lives by means of clean air environmental regulations is "too expensive" for Obama, but saving at most a dozen lives a year from terrorism (probably far far fewer in fact)  means sparing no expense and running the risk of dismantling our democracy?  That is so illogical I can't even begin to unpack it all.

      Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

      by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:42:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It reminds me of a recent thought I had ... (7+ / 0-)

        ... in relation to this whole "keeping us safe" argument:

        Why is is that saving thousands of lives by means of clean air environmental regulations is "too expensive" for Obama, but saving at most a dozen lives a year from terrorism (probably far far fewer in fact)  means sparing no expense and running the risk of dismantling our democracy?
        In the context of something like 45,000 Americans dying unnecessarily every year because of inadequate health coverage (i.e. the equivalent of more than one 9/11 every month, over years) ...

        Where are the billions beings spent to save those Americans' lives?  Where's the urgency and concern for them?

        Who should I really be fearing in this country?  It's not terrorists who are spying on all my phone calls and internet use.  

        It's not terrorists who are killing 45,000 Americans every year by sitting on their butts and not doing what it takes to stop those unnecessary deaths.

    •  Prism... (0+ / 0-)
      News flash: some secrecy IS necessary. "Classified" isn't by default some nefarious cover-up.
      Of course.

      Skepticism of govt? Fine.

      Anti-Govt paranoia akin to the Tea Party? Not so fine.

      "Patients are not consumers" - Paul Krugman

      by assyrian64 on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:48:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it already has (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert

      For a period of over fifteen years.

      Read the US Senate Church Committee Report.

      Read it twice.

    •  Well, having been in the intelligence (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      niemann, Mr Robert

      community, I can assure you that way too much stuff is classified. Classification is used to obfuscate and to avoid accountability, and the "reading" of our mails, etc. is not a manpower issue at all. The real danger lies in the fact that they are having machines do it and they're even worse readers than the tons of dummies you'd have to hire to do the job.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

      by achronon on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:54:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, but when "Classified" is watered-down ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert

      ... and cheapened, repeatedly, in so many ways -- such as to hide trade negotiations, to hide incompetence, etc. -- then any use of the classification becomes suspect.

      And that's what has happened.

      Does anyone here think they're so important the POTUS wants to read your emails? Why would the President or the NSA want to dedicate so many resources and manpower to maintain a program that is ineffective?
      Even granting that it's effective -- which I'm not ready to do until they're willing to back that up with something more than "Trust us!" --  it's still probably illegal and unconstitutional.  

      And it doesn't help that they did it all in secret so that no one would be able to challenge it's legality or constitutionality.

      And I can think of LOTS of reasons why they would want to read everyone's emails, other than effectiveness in national security:  giving individuals' data to their big corporate masters;  spying on political opponents;  spying on big corporations' competition;  spying on potential threats to power ... etc.

      •  My understanding... (0+ / 0-)

        Is that it is an after-the-fact mechanism they can use to go back in time and retrieve data with a warrant.

        It's no different than using a court order to retrieve phone records from the phone company (which WILL include records of conversations from people who are not of interest). The same with retrieving past emails from Yahoo or Microsoft.

        I do want to know more, and frankly I don't just take Snowden at his word. Unfortunately everyone seems to be taking everything he says as the word of God. Even so-called "whistle blowers" could have ulterior motives. They could be outright lying or exaggerating, or they could just be plain wrong on some things. I'm not saying any of those things are definitely the case, but their claims still need to be scrutinized just like anybody. I have yet to see Snowden take a hardball question.

        I know from talking with Intel guys from our brigade S2 shop that the intelligence community is very a stingy about communicating - even with each other. Everything is on a need to know basis. I find it odd that some short-time employee of a private contractor claims to know so much about how the entire NSA operates.

        Please proceed, Governor.

        by USArmyParatrooper on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:13:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Now this should be a Proud Moment: (6+ / 0-)

    President Obama, head of the Democratic Party, defending his NSA's illegal spying on Americans.

    Remember when Bush was caught doing these things?

    So happy we have a Constitutional Scholar in the White House.  Things have really improved and changed, haven't they?

    /sarcasm

    How much more?  What will it take for enough people to wake up and enforce the (so far) rhetorical whisper for accountability?

    The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:43:40 PM PDT

    •  What illegal spying? What same things? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gbaked, Jerry056, dasboot, BvueDem

      Neither of those assertions is defensible. The surveillance was done in accordance with the law, and was not the same thing that Bush was criticized for doing (warrantless wiretapping targeting USA persons).

      I'm happy we have someone in the White House who actually gets his facts correct before coming to an opinion. There are far too few of those.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:48:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bullshit (4+ / 0-)

        the law allows government to obtain business records relevant to terrorism investigations.  NOT records for every single American.  

        Our snoops are not legally authorized to snoop without legal authorization. Of course, if they were legally authorized to snoop without legal authorization, that would constitute legal authorization. Do you feel better yet?

        by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:04:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're misstating the law. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BvueDem

          Records - the "who called whom when and for how long" information - have never required a warrant.

          Listening in on phone calls (the content of emails) requires a warrant. The law makes a distinction between what is on the outside of an envelope and what is inside.

          If the police wanted to, they could walk into the post office and look at the outside of every single envelope passing through the place that day, without a warrant.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:08:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  from the hearings yesterday (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mr Robert, Johnathan Ivan

            Confirmed: NSA Analyst doesn't need a separate court order to query database. Analysts can decide what is "reasonably suspicious."

            Confirmed, no court review of individual queries. Rest of the checks are inside the DOJ — this is not oversight!

            http://www.dailykos.com/...

            wapo article with the slides that show allt he data being swept up

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

            Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

            by greenbastard on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:19:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Phone records still require a court order. (0+ / 0-)
            Although nothing in the Fourth Amendment prevents law enforcement officers from requesting an individual’s phone records or prevents a phone company from complying voluntarily
            with such a request, federal statutory law limits the disclosure of such records to officers. These
            federal restrictions apply to all service providers in the United States, and state prosecutors and
            officers, just like federal prosecutors and officers, must follow the procedures proscribed (sic) in the
            statutes for obtaining access to phone records.
            Under 18 U.S.C. § 2702(c), service providers may not disclose subscriber records to governmental entities, such as officers and prosecutors, absent specific lawful authority
            If you want to be pedantic, it's a subpoena and not a warrant.  But the point is, NO, police cannot get phone records without a lawful court order.  This court order was issued under the authority to obtain business records relevant to terrorism investigations ONLY, and is thus an absurd overreach.

            Our snoops are not legally authorized to snoop without legal authorization. Of course, if they were legally authorized to snoop without legal authorization, that would constitute legal authorization. Do you feel better yet?

            by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:41:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Thank god we have a constitutional scholar (0+ / 0-)

          on this blog, right?  Otherwise we'd never have a well reasoned argument like "bullshit".

          "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

          by Inland on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:41:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  if it's not unconstitutional (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnathan Ivan

            you can ignore the fact that it's a violation of federal statutes right?

            Bullshit is as polite as I can muster.

            Our snoops are not legally authorized to snoop without legal authorization. Of course, if they were legally authorized to snoop without legal authorization, that would constitute legal authorization. Do you feel better yet?

            by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:45:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I tend to ignore made up "facts" altogether, so (0+ / 0-)

              yeah.

              "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

              by Inland on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:58:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Here ya go... (0+ / 0-)

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

        Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed on Thursday that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed "simply based on an analyst deciding that."
        I'm sure it's all okay though - because hey!  President Obama is a Democrat, it's all good and legal.

        And even if it isn't?

        The Republicans made him do it.

        He was tricked.

        No one told him.

        He's not a King, just the President.

        He'll fix it when he gets time to focus on it.

        Obama inherited an awful (R) mess!

        And of course.. everyone's favorite Apologencia Excuse:  You're a Purist for pointing out how Obama advances the same policies as a Rethuglican!!

        The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

        by Johnathan Ivan on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 12:16:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You're making shit up. (0+ / 0-)

      Really, if you're going to call for accountability, don't do it after making shit up on a blog for which there is no reckoning for lying.

      "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

      by Inland on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:39:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My oh, my... (0+ / 0-)

        What a difference it makes when a (D) does it.

        Remember those hilarious political pics labelled "It's not Fascism when We Do It?" - clearly aimed at Republicans?

        That shoe really fits well on the "left" doesn't it?

        You want some facts?  Irrefutable, unquestionable facts about our Constitutional Scholar, head of the Democratic Party, and President?   Have at it:

        Obama:

        -- Three different Banksters, starting with Rahm, as Chief of Staff

        -- Placing Monsanto Executive Michael Taylor at the FDA over "Food Safety" (talk about comedy gold!)

        -- Creating, via Executive Order, a Deficit Commission stacked with anti-social program (read: anti-working class) zealots & co-chaired by that Social Security hating Alan Simpson

        -- Publicly stating "Corporate Taxes Are Too High"

        -- Publicly Defending & Praising Wall Street Predators as "Savvy Businessmen"

        -- Publicly Singling out JP Morgan & its Predator Asshole CEO Jamie Dimon for particular praise

        -- Pushing through the Free Trade Job Off-shoring / pro-1% Deals with Columbia, Panama, and S. Korea

        -- Pushing through in secret the odious Trans Pacific Partnership

        -- Publicly calling on Congress to renew the odious Patriot Act

        -- Publicly stating his policy position to cut, er I mean "save", Social Security

        -- Pushing the meme of "Shared Sacrifice" (well, cause you know the working class just hasn't sacrificed enough over the past 30 years)

        -- Bernanke, Summers, Geithner, Holder

        -- Obama's DOJ publicly stating they can't "go after" Wall Street due to "National Security" concerns

        -- Arne Duncan at the Department of Education

        -- Obama White House public statement affirming their position against bringing back Glass Steagal

        -- Obama asserting the President has the authority to maintain secret kill lists (in all fairness he does agonize over who gets put on the list)

        -----------------

        How's that for some irrefutable easily verifiable facts about President Obama, head of the Democratic Party?

        To think that people actually wonder why there hasn't been any change.

        The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

        by Johnathan Ivan on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:44:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Love the arguments defending Obama: (0+ / 0-)

      Basically - and in a nutshell - the same ones used to defend Bush.

      And clearly Bush didn't violate the law - otherwise, our "Constitutional Scholar" wouldn't have advocated "looking forward" and not "backward".

      Waking up yet?  

      Or shall we head back to the Kabuki Theater of the Absurd and clap louder for yet another predictable performance?

      Obama:  Rhetoric the Working Class Can Starve On,
      Results the 1% Can Bank On.

      The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

      by Johnathan Ivan on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:52:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So let's apply same logic to fighting regular crim (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, Mr Robert

    Obama is full of shit.  Sure, not much harm has been done so far. But what if we have a Cheney type as a President and he starts to abuse this power and some official threatens to leak  potentially embarrassing information about an activist to blackmail him or her.

    It's interesting how these libertarians were so muted when this stuff started under bush. I am glad at least some of us here are being vocal about calling Obama on his bullshit. He has done some good stuff. But when it comes to Wall Street  and NSA, he hasn't been any better than Bush.

  •  He's telling the truth, you paranoid schizos (0+ / 0-)

    The program has saved the lives of countless crooks.

    "The stream of commuters heading into the city, the caravan of tractor-trailers pulling out of the rest stop into the dawn’s early light, speak a deep-throated Yes to the sum total of what’s going on in our collective life." (Garret Keizer)

    by Couch Activist on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:45:38 PM PDT

  •  “lives have been saved...” (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BradyB, Kevskos, Mr Robert, triv33

    Even if that's true--big if, considering the President is relying on the word of spies who are paid to lie--that's not the only consideration.

    Preserving life is a great virtue... but it's not the only one.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:45:57 PM PDT

  •  The plots were prevented too soon? Really? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BvueDem

    Your argument is that preventing terrorist attacks doesn't save lives if the plots are interrupted too early in the process?

    That's...not entirely convincing.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:46:27 PM PDT

  •  Spend as much on Food safety and healthcare (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wolf10, Nattiq

    instead of spying on Americans.

  •  Lies by a lying liar. (5+ / 0-)

    "America is the Terror State. The Global War OF Terror is a diabolical instrument of Worldwide conquest."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:48:02 PM PDT

  •  But have lives been saved by keeping the legal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, shaharazade

    reasoning behind judicial orders a secret?

    I don't believe the issue is that the NSA should never ever be able to eavesdrop on anybody.  The issue is whether that eavesdropping is sufficiently circumscribed to avoid needless surrender of individual rights.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:48:21 PM PDT

  •   “We know of at least 50 threats..." (5+ / 0-)

    "...that have been averted."

    Wasn't Occupy considered a terrorist threat (or something like that)?

    "Watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal..."-7.75, -5.54

    by solesse413 on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:52:56 PM PDT

  •  The proof is in the pudding (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rithmck, whenwego, Mr Robert, shaharazade
    He repeated the now familiar talking point from government officials that the programs had prevented more than 50 terrorist plots, and added the assertion that lives had been saved because of the surveillance.
    How many of the plotters and planners of these attacks have been arrested?  

    My guess is none.  Why?  Because if people have definitive proof, they present it almost immediately.  

     

  •  Reminds me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, whenwego, Mr Robert

    of a French children's book my mom used to read me about the faithful dog preventing dragons from lurking under the bed. "Have you seen any dragons?" asks the dog.
    "No," the child says.
    "Then I am obviously doing a good job."

    Il n'y a pas de dragons sous mon lit.

    You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

    by northsylvania on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:56:26 PM PDT

  •  The Supremes found in '79 in Smith v. Maryland.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quetzalmom

    that the installation of a pen register at central office did not fall under 4th amendment protection. Therefore, did not require a warrant. Fast forward to today, and the same process is being used in the form of meta-data mining of phone records. If in fact, certain numbers are being called, that information is being used to justify a search warrant. This is not new, this pre-dates the Patriot act, and george bush.
    The Patriot Act does allow intelligence agencies to wiretap phones, email, etc.. without a warrant, outside the US, to include conversations that connect to US citizens, on US soil.
    Not saying its right or wrong, but lets not be right wing hyperbolic nuts. Let's rationally, without emotion, analyze whats happening here. Afterall, its this ability (coupled with intelligence) that separates us from the right wing brethern.

  •  So don't trust Obama trust his haters? No way. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quetzalmom

    Can the diarist prove that what President Obama said is just a "talking point"? Are we now like the Right when we label information we don't like as "talking points".

    The government is lying but you can trust the guy who has given classified information to China and Russia?

    Oh, and the more we learn, the more we see that there is no illegality here (except for the guy who stole the info). No evidence of abuse and that there has been some seriously shoddy journalism practiced on this entire story.

    This story has quickly devolved into an exercise in click and link-baiting, opportunistic fund-raising, confirmation bias, and a giant distraction away from more urgent issues.

    Progressives to those still hurting in this economy:drop dead-the government is coming for our civil liberties!

    The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

    by sebastianguy99 on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:06:30 PM PDT

  •  If he wanted to save lives (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nattiq, whenwego, greenbell, Mr Robert

    he wouldn't be drone bombing, killing, torturing, renditioning, occupying imprisoning and turning the terrorist bloody spooks and covert special forces lose on the people they decide are a threat. Not only does it kill people but it creates and endless supply of so called 'terrists'. What a lame excuse for dismantling the Bill of Rights and flagrantly violating universal human and civil rights. Passing new laws both, secret and unconstitutional  and reinterpreting old law based on an absurd GWOT does not save lives it takes away the real protections that humans have developed over centuries.

    The recent NDAA that passed in January makes indefinite detention legal and further expands the executive power.  No due process, secret courts, secret laws and secret military security agencies who are collecting our data to thwart pre-crimes and to profile terrorist's extremist militant's, aiders and abettors or enemies of the state isn't saving lives. Who's going to protect us from the real terrorist here the freaking war criminals and neocons with their geopolitical endless war. We the people are now the potential enemy that needs to be watched or detained or imprisoned if we dare to resist their sick wet dream of world domination which is setting the world on fire.          

  •  Try this experiment. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, pundit, greengemini

    I did the other day, and it freaked me out:

    Walk around in public, in your neighborhood, say, looking at everyone you see, and at every house you pass.  

    Observe how many people are on their smart phones.  Imagine how many people are on their computers or phones in those houses right at that moment.

    And then realize that every single one of those phone calls and internet communications going on right in front of you is being secretly watched and spied on by the government.

    Seeing it right in front if me, in concrete terms, viscerally changed my whole feeling of living my everyday life in the U.S -- probably forever.  It really made me feel like I was living in 1984.  Nothing we say over the phone or on the internet is safe.  We have to second-guess everything we say, knowing we are being watched..  Big Brother IS watching us -- here in the United States.

    And Obama -- our Democratic president -- is defending this state of things.

  •  The more they talk, the less (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whenwego, Mr Robert

    I believe them.

    Can we stick to the issues? Please!

    by AnthonyMason2k6 on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:11:28 PM PDT

  •  Obama at his most Bush-esque (0+ / 0-)

    Obama, even at his lowest, is way, way better than Bush.

    Still, I think most of us expected better from him than this kind of murky and politically convenient misstatement.  

    50 plots become 10 U.S. plots.  The NY subway bombing plot claimed thwarted by the NSA becomes actually thwarted by normal police work.  

    "Lives saved" gets reduced to dudes caught sending money to questionable terrorism-linked charities overseas.

    One of the things we had hoped to end with our vote for Obama was this type of slippery, intentionally duplicitous language to justify questionable acts.  

  •  This Guardian columnist (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nattiq, whenwego, Mr Robert

    going through DOD (the NSA is a part of the DOD) documents found the number one threat to the government is civilian unrest due to energy and environmental crises. This isn't about saving American lives. It's about saving corporate asses.

    http://guardian.co.uk/...

    "...on the (catch a) human network. Cisco."

    by hoplite9 on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:17:14 PM PDT

  •  I suggest Obama read... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell

    ...the statement by Justice Earl Warren in US vs Robel, 1967:

    "Implicit in the term 'national defense' is the notion of defending those values and ideas which set this Nation apart.  It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of ... those liberties ... which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile."

    I really don't think any more need be said.

    Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power -- Benito Mussolini

    by drcraigphd on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:31:56 PM PDT

  •  Dear folks in the White House bubble (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, greenbell, TheMomCat, jfern

    Lying doesn't work, nor does it help the President's reputation.

    It's time to come clean on this issue, whether James Clapper, John Brennan and Keith Alexander want to or not.

    Independent investigation that crosses multiple administrations and the power to get to the truth--that's what's needed.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:32:45 PM PDT

    •  On what basis do you accuse him of lying? (0+ / 0-)

      Also, motivation does he have to allocate resources to a controversial program that doesn't work?

      Please proceed, Governor.

      by USArmyParatrooper on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:43:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The report above laid out very clearly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mr Robert

        ...where the assertions that NSA data helped prevent deaths was a complete fabrication.

        Motivation? Military spending is the economic program he can get pass the Republicans in the House.  It doesn't matter is the spending is for a multi-billion-dollar boondoggle.

        50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

        by TarheelDem on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:52:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Weak. (0+ / 0-)

          It doesn't even make the case it claims. One example,

          They found the connection to American Najibullah Zazi, the would-be bomber, through those arrests, and through email correspondence between Zazi and his al Qaeda handler. The emails were targeted, though, by intelligence work, not by finding this needle in the haystack of swept-up data.
          They know this HOW? Because the public report didn't cite a classified program called Prism?

          Please proceed, Governor.

          by USArmyParatrooper on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:59:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well let's have an independent investigation (0+ / 0-)

            ...and find out instead of sweeping up the communications of everyone on the planet without suspicion.

            Can I assume that you are part of an official "truth" squad?

            50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

            by TarheelDem on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 03:04:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm all for an investigation. (0+ / 0-)

              I just don't feel the need to compromise our methods and sources by making it public.

              Please proceed, Governor.

              by USArmyParatrooper on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 03:19:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am all for an investigation as long as we (0+ / 0-)

                can't know the details of the investigation

                THat's just the kind of loopy bat shit logic I've come to expect

                And no, your comment doesn't make any sense if anyone takes a half a second to think about it

                •  You are the one who needs to think about it (0+ / 0-)

                  Instead of just reacting.

                  So what is your method of producing this public, very detailed report without compromising legitimately sensitive information that could be harmful if it got out?

                  Or are you under this pie in the sky illusion that literally nothing should be classified?

                  Please proceed, Governor.

                  by USArmyParatrooper on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 03:51:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  If I keep asking questions like this (0+ / 0-)

                    if I don't watch it, i  may wake up one day "with a mushroom cloud over American city"

                    See, I see what you are doing here. Its called fear mongering.

                    Chenney did it better that you when he delivered the above line when the moderator was asking two many questions during his VP debate

                    I don't  need to figure out the "big picture" Of your question

                    There isn't one

                    Its just vague threats

                    •  Don't be such a drama queen. (0+ / 0-)

                      It's not fearmongering, it's common sense. Just like you lock your car doors, not because you're afraid, but because it's sensible.

                      How about you discuss substance instead personalizing the debate?

                      Please proceed, Governor.

                      by USArmyParatrooper on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:26:11 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Look at your article again: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    USArmyParatrooper
    That's according to public documents that show the tip-off came from British authorities who had arrested several suspected terrorists.
     Anyone know how the British authorities got around to arresting several suspected terrorists?

    Nope.  They could have been tipped off by the USG using the NSA program.

    Therefore, there's nothing ruling out the NSA program being instrumental.

    And before anyone says it, let me pre-but by noting that it isn't false just because the government says it, and thanks for all your help in areas like health care reform and gun control that require an active, trusted government.

    "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

    by Inland on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:45:56 PM PDT

  •  It comes down to trust, this isn't going anywhere, (0+ / 0-)

    the people who matter in Congress are on board as are the  courts, if you want total privacy, don't go online.

  •  Duh. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, TheMomCat, Nada Lemming

    So when can we expect kos to break his silence like he did for Politico?

    Markos Moulitsas, founder of the liberal blog Daily Kos, said he doesn't "anticipate anything" being said by either Biden or Clinton on this front in the foreseeable future - unless issues like old interviews force the matter, and even then, only rhetorically.

    "Both have presidential designs, and no president (or wannabe president) willingly gives up executive power," Moulitsas, who has been deeply critical of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for defending the NSA programs, said in an email.

    In a signal of the difficulties facing any presidential hopeful who isn't a governor, Moulitsas added, "Rather than be outraged by this gross violation of our constitutional freedoms, Congress has, in mostly bipartisan fashion, decided to lecture us on how they are only lying to the public for its own good. I just wish we had more whistleblowers, and more U.S. companies talking about what the government is trying to make them do."

    Or is he too good for the likes of us?
  •  blah, blah - probably save some (0+ / 0-)

    pooties and woozles too.    Just who in the hell does he expect to believe him?   Wolf!  Wolf!  

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Elizabeth Warren 2016

    by dkmich on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 03:27:28 PM PDT

  •  The main problem with the state is that (0+ / 0-)

    even if true, it doesn't represent a justification for extreme approach that is taken

    Likes think about this from a law enforcement angle

    There are all sorts of police state like tactics that the system could engage in that would make the police extremely effective

    We don't allow that

    Why?

    Because we live in a democracy. That doesn't come without risks

    The implication here is that all means necessary including police state like tactics are okay so long as he can sort, of kind of may be claim that thy helped

    This is not only a question of honesty. This is a question of does he believe in democracy?

  •  Please Mr. President trust us more don't (0+ / 0-)

    with hold programs for years only to have them outed by young patriots.  We need to be more on the partnership level than hero-leader and the people level.

  •  I don't believe anything Obama says. (0+ / 0-)

    That's incredibly miserable to admit.

    I definitely don't believe anything he says about the NSA surveillance.

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.-Bertrand Russell

    by Timaeus on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:22:01 PM PDT

  •  By the way, I think the government is doing (0+ / 0-)

    big-scale lying when they claim they can't hear the phone calls and read the emails, etc., of all American citizens.

    THEY'RE LYING, from Obama on down.

    This is so incredibly disgusting and discouraging.

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.-Bertrand Russell

    by Timaeus on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:23:46 PM PDT

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