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We heard in bobswern's diary how Glenn Greenwald claims private contractors can spy on trillions of emails and defied the NSA to deny his claims.

“The NSA has trillions of telephone calls and email in their databases. What these programs are are very simple screens, like the ones that supermarket clerks or shipping and receiving clerks use, where all an analyst has to do is enter an email address or an IP address, and it does two things: it searches that database and lets them listen to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you’ve entered; and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or connected to that IP address do in the future. And it’s all done with no need to go to a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst.”

Immediately afterwards, Sen. Saxby Chambliss appeared on the same program , to dismiss any concerns about the NSA (or its contractors) spying on citizens and resulting loss of Constitutionally guaranteed privacy.

 • The NSA has lots of oversight

“The right kind of oversight is absolutely necessary,” Chambliss said. “We’ve got oversight now of this program, by the Department of Justice, by NSA, by the FISA court, by the intelligence committees, by the Judiciary Committee. Let me tell you, there is no other program in the intelligence community that has as much oversight as this one.”
The NSA, overseeing the NSA. The FISA court appointed by John Roberts. The Judiciary Committee which held a hearing when it found out about the spying from Edward Snowden. And the secret court that made mass spying legal with no oversight:
However, it's done more than just rubber-stamp whatever it was the government asked for. Through its decisions (which, of course, are secret), it has created a body of common law that gives the NSA and other government agencies powers that exceed anything covered by the laws that should govern their operation.
•  In fact he just met with the NSA last week and they told him they can't spy on people's emails. So there!
“I was back at the NSA just last week,” Chambliss said. “Spent a couple hours out there with high-level and low-level NSA officials, and what I had been assured of is that there is no capability at NSA for anyone without a court order to listen to any telephone conversation or monitor any email. In fact, we don’t monitor emails. That’s what assures me that what the reporting is is not correct. Because no emails are monitored now. There used to be, but that was two, three years ago. So I feel confident that there may have been some abuse, but if there was it was pure accidental.”
Oh, okay then.

For some reason some emails accidentally got spied on but that was years ago and it hasn't happened again, since it is impossible to do so without a court order. And 'if' it did it was 'pure accidental'. So, Sen. Chambliss how did emails accidentally get spied on? Did it fall into that NSA contractor's lap somehow? And if it happened 'accidentally' before, why won't that ever happen again?

Does he really think the American public is stupid enough to believe this nonsense? Or is he stupid enough to believe that this is somehow reassuring? He certainly is displaying a willingness to remain as ignorant as possible of the situation else he might have to do something about it.

I for one, am not reassured.

Originally posted to Heavy Mettle on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 07:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kos Georgia.


Should Saxby Chambliss take the NSA at their word?

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