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One World Trade Center. October, 2011. Photo by: joanneleon


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Huge document dump yesterday thanks to ACLU and EFF, though the Obama administration would have you think it was a result of their magnanimous generosity, honor and transparency.  Ah... no.  Yesterday was perhaps the biggest "drink from a fire hose" day ever with the document dumps, Obama speech, Syria war and new diplomatic proposal, House Armed Services committee hearing (another Kerry, Hagel, Dempsey dog & pony show), more NSA revelations, NYC mayoral primary election, eve of the first anniversary of the Benghazi attack and the eve of the twelfth anniversary of 9/11.  I probably missed some other big things.  It's going to take a number of days to wade through the most important information from all of those.

Here's Clapper's announcement of the document dump and the list of PDF documents.

DNI Clapper Declassifies Intelligence Community Documents Regarding Collection Under Section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)

Cover Letters for Congressional Submissions
March 5, 2009 -- Cover Letter to Chairman of the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees
September 3, 2009 -- Cover Letter to Chairman of the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees

Docket Number BR 06-05
May 24, 2006 -- Order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Docket Number BR 08-13
December 12, 2008 -- Supplemental Opinion from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
January 28, 2009 -- Order Regarding Preliminary Notice of Compliance Incident Dated January 15, 2009 from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
February 12, 2009 -- Memorandum of the United States in response to the Court's Order Dated January 28, 2009, with attachments:
(Tab 1) Declaration of Lieutenant General Keith B. Alexander signed February 13, 2009
Attachment A:  Internal NSA EmailAttachment B:  NSA Interim ProceduresAttachment C:  Former Process for alert list processAttachment D:  Internal NSA EmailAttachment E:  NSA Inspector General ReportAttachment F:  Letter from the NSA Inspector GeneralAttachment G:  NSA, Signals Intelligence Directorate Office of Oversight and Compliance Response to the IG ReportAttachment H-J:  Withheld from Public Release

February 26, 2009 -- Notice of Compliance Incident
March 2, 2009 -- Order from the Foreign Intelligence Court

Docket Number BR 09-06
June 22, 2009 -- Order

Docket Number BR 09-09
August 19, 2009 -- Report of the United States with attachments:
June 25, 2009 -- Implementation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Authorized Business Records FISA

Docket Number BR 09-13
September 3, 2009 -- Primary Order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
September 25, 2009 -- Order Regarding Further Compliance Incidence from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Docket Number BR: 09-15
November 5, 2009 -- Supplemental Opinion and Order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

emptywheel has been plowing through the documents.  As we suspected, if you have enough selectors/identifiers (people) that you do searches on, using 3 hops, you end up grabbing everybody's meta data, so effectively NSA hoovers up everything.  And that doesn't even count the other ways they hoover up all the content from the pipes and switches.  She is running a fundraiser this week, so swing on over and do a donation if you can.  The italicized first paragraph below is a link to her fundraiser post.  If you know me, you know I'm not big on the begging for money thing, but I'll go out of my way to help emptywheel raise money to show appreciation for what she, Jim and bmaz do and because she's a national treasure, she hardly ever asks for a penny  and we need to keep her in business as an independent operator.  
How Many People Are Included in Contact Chaining with 27,090 Numbers?

I’ve decided that if I could have a nickel for every time I’ve said “I told the apologists so” as I’ve read these documents, I’d be Warren Buffet. But I don’t get a nickel for predicting the NSA is as bad as it is. So I could use your help to keep doing what I do.


This appears to mean the NSA could (they don’t say whether they did) conduct chaining two or three degrees deep on all these potential maybe might could be terrorists.

If those 27,090 talked to 10 people in the US, and those 270,090 people in the US regularly talked to 40 people in the US, and those people talked to 40, then it would potentially incorporate 433 millio–oh wait! That’s more people than live in the US!

That is, there’s a potential that, by contact chaining that many people, this actually represented a comprehensive dragnet of all the networked relationships in the US until the days before Obama became President.

And they lied to Reggie Walton about it as they got their first real legal review of the program.

But honest, all this was really just unintentional.

Update: Later in the filing, the government admits they were doing more than 3 hops until early 2009.

The NSA machine: Too big for anyone to understand

WASHINGTON (AP) - The surveillance machine grew too big for anyone to understand.

The National Security Agency set it in motion in 2006 and the vast network of supercomputers, switches and wiretaps began gathering Americans' phone and Internet records by the millions, looking for signs of terrorism.

But every day, NSA analysts snooped on more American phone records than they were allowed to. Some officials searched databases of phone records without even realizing it. Others shared the results of their searches with people who weren't authorized to see them.

It took nearly three years before the government figured out that so much had gone wrong. It took even longer to figure out why.

In 2009, the FISA Court Shut Down an NSA Program for 6 Months Because It Had "Frequently and Systemically" Violated the Rules

Last month we learned that in 2011 a FISA judge slammed the NSA for "the third instance in less than three years" in which an NSA surveillance program had been misrepresented to the court. Today, the Obama administration released a set of documents that describes one of the previous instances. It involves the NSA's collection of phone records, which are supposed to be governed by strict minimization procedures that prevent analysts from illegally accessing the records of U.S. persons who are not reasonably suspected of terrorist ties. But it turned out that for three years, from 2006 to 2009, NSA had been routinely breaking its own rules; had been routinely providing false affirmations to the court; and apparently had no one on their staff who even understood how their own systems worked. Here is Judge Reggie Walton's conclusion:

In summary, since January 15, 2009, it has finally come to light that the FISC's authorizations of this vast collection program have been premised on a flawed depiction of how the NSA uses BR metadata.  This misperception by the FISC existed from the inception of its authorized collection in May, 2006, buttressed by repeated inaccurate statements made in the government's submissions, and despite a government-devised and Court-mandated oversight regime. The minimization procedures proposed by the government in each successive application and approved and adopted as binding by the orders of the FISC have been so frequently and systematically violated that it can fairly be said that this critical element of the overall BR regime has never functioned effectively.

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