NS surveillance, Snowden, Fisa, continued

alexranderJune 16, 2013

After not reading the news for a day I just can't keep up with the latest concerning Edward Snowden and the NSA, Congress, press conferences etc. including other topics here, such as "Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed"....

This past week, a 3 page document from NSA was released to intelligence committees saying what? That they have foiled terrorist activities all over the globe.. and that they only targeted 300 phones of Americans last year? What am I missing?(snip from the Guardian)

" The US intelligence community has written to Congress to confirm the existence of two sweeping surveillance programmes revealed by the Guardian, but defended their legality and usefulness in preventing terrorism.

In the fullest official account yet of how the US gathers domestic telephone data and overseas internet traffic, the document sent on Saturday claims that both programmes were authorised by Congress under section 215 of the Patriot Act and section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act."...

Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, told the Guardian on Thursday her "understanding" was that Fisa court approval is not required before a database query of Americans' phone records.
Another article from CNET states:

"Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week 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."

If the NSA wants "to listen to the phone," an analyst's decision is sufficient "....

Rep. Nadler's disclosure that NSA analysts can listen to calls without court orders came during a House Judiciary hearing on Thursday that included FBI director Robert Mueller as a witness.
Mueller initially sought to downplay concerns about NSA surveillance by claiming that, to listen to a phone call, the government would need to seek "a special, a particularized order from the FISA court directed at that particular phone of that particular individual."

Is information about that procedure "classified in any way?" Nadler asked.
"I don't think so," Mueller replied.

"Then I can say the following," Nadler said. "We heard precisely the opposite at the briefing the other day. We heard precisely that you could get the specific information from that telephone simply based on an analyst deciding that...In other words, what you just said is incorrect. So there's a conflict."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the head of the Senate Intelligence committee, separately acknowledged this week that the agency's analysts have the ability to access the "content of a call."

Now that is already being denied. Although the video of this exchange is all over the net. It was all just a mis-understanding, it was only about metadata, not content... Now, now we have an 'update;

Rep. Nadler in a statement to BuzzFeed says: “I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant.”


Meanwhile Edward Snowden spoke to the South China Morning post and now Hong Kong is in an uproar ...

Here is a link that might be useful: Update on NSA?,video of Nadler and Mueller and link to Cnet

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Here is the latest report from The Guardian:

"Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.

The revelation comes as Britain prepares to host another summit on Monday �" for the G8 nations, all of whom attended the 2009 meetings which were the object of the systematic spying. It is likely to lead to some tension among visiting delegates who will want the prime minister to explain whether they were targets in 2009 and whether the exercise is to be repeated this week."

Here is a link that might be useful: the guardian

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 5:49PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Reads like a story from the Cold War (or WWII spy novels). Spying on allies and enemies has long been practiced by governments. Our outrage is more related to our government spying on citizens without Constitutionally mandated restraints.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 6:14PM
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I'm thinking what I might have done if in Edward Snowden's shoes. If I was going to blow the whistle and claim that an analyst could listen in on phone calls, I would be seeking a way to prove my credability. I can't think of anything that would work better than recording a few calls between high ranking public figures.

A failure of Snowden to produce any recorded calls paints him as either dumb or a liar.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 7:52PM
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Begin quote: "There was a classified meeting for Senators wanting to learn more about the National Security Agency's PRISM program from the top security officials, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and NSA chief Keith Alexander, but attendance was sparse. Less than half of the Senate attended the meeting. "Only 47 of 100 senators attended the 2:30 briefing, leaving dozens of chairs in the secure meeting room empty,"the Hill reports. The meeting was classified so we don't know who, exactly, decided to play hooky. The only senator who confirmed their attendance was Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein. She really had no choice, given her position, and she was furious about the low turnout. "It’s hard to get this story out. Even now we have this big briefing -we’ve got Alexander, we’ve got the FBI, we’ve got the Justice Department, we have the FISA Court there, we have Clapper there - and people are leaving," she told the Hill. So that's one name down - only 99 more to go.

The Senate wrapped up its final vote around noon on Thursday. Apparently the majority of Senators opted to skip the classified briefing scheduled for a few hours later in favor of departing Washington for some extra family time during the long weekend. Many senators were scheduled for luncheons or events that day around Washington but it's next to impossible to verify whether they made it back on time for the meeting. Or, alternatively, if they went straight for the airport.

As the PRISM scandal racks up more and more headlines, and the President's critics get louder and louder, this meeting will likely become the focus of intense scrutiny. Speak out against the administration's surveillance techniques? You bet this meeting's attendance record will be cross-checked as a first line of defense. snip end quote

Thats our Senate at work - major 4th amendment crisis, big classified meeting with all the key players, and less than half of them are bothered to show up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gotta plane to catch, long weekend, and fund raisers

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 8:13PM
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Well althea, and David thanks for that good news for today. I am so proud of our Senators... I'm taking this really well and feeling positive, and I hope the Guardian website stays up for awhile.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 9:45PM
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"A failure of Snowden to produce any recorded calls paints him as either dumb or a liar."

Or a patsy. Maybe the whole "Snowden things" is a diversion.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:20PM
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Former Vice President Cheney, is calling Snowden a traitor and possibly a Chinese spy! LOL

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:25PM
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Yeah... Cheney's word is golden... (snicker, snort!)

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:38PM
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We're rapidly heading toward 1984.

Smile, you're....

"The faces of more than 120 million people are in searchable photo databases that state officials assembled to prevent driver’s-license fraud but that increasingly are used by police to identify suspects, accomplices and even innocent bystanders in a wide range of criminal investigations."

It won't be long before EVERY single move you make will be recorded and stored away. I walk into Walmart and there's cameras recording my every step. I walk into Lowe's. I walk down the street.

There exists car license plate reading technology out there.

My credit card tells you where I've been. My cell phone calls.

We really have no privacy whatsoever. NONE at all.

The advice from Mayor Bloomberg on the topic:

"Get used to it."


    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 11:42PM
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I agee Marshall, that article does read like vintage WWII.

For those interested in taking your questions straight to the source, Edward Snowden will be available for questions today at 11 a.m. EST today.

Here is a link that might be useful: the guardian

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 10:01AM
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I usually trust Nadler he's my Congressman.
This kettle of fish is a pretty stinky one & not at all appetizing. I believe there was also an offer of the US to provide English Security with intelligence that it would be illegal for them to collect on their own

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 11:55AM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

A blast from the past: 2003 and the U.S. v the United Nations.

Revealed: US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war The United States is conducting a secret 'dirty tricks' campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favour of war against Iraq.

Details of the aggressive surveillance operation, which involves interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of UN delegates in New York, are revealed in a document leaked to The Observer.

The disclosures were made in a memorandum written by a top official at the National Security Agency - the US body which intercepts communications around the world - and circulated to both senior agents in his organisation and to a friendly foreign intelligence agency asking for its input.

The memo describes orders to staff at the agency, whose work is clouded in secrecy, to step up its surveillance operations 'particularly directed at... UN Security Council Members (minus US and GBR, of course)' to provide up-to-the-minute intelligence for Bush officials on the voting intentions of UN members regarding the issue of Iraq.

The leaked memorandum makes clear that the target of the heightened surveillance efforts are the delegations from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Mexico, Guinea and Pakistan at the UN headquarters in New York -- the so-called 'Middle Six' delegations whose votes are being fought over by the pro-war party, led by the US and Britain, and the party arguing for more time for UN inspections, led by France, China and Russia.

And a brisk breeze from the past: 2009 [reported in 2010] and the U.S. v. United Nations - again.

US diplomats spied on UN leadership Washington is running a secret intelligence campaign targeted at the leadership of the United Nations, including the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon and the permanent security council representatives from China, Russia, France and the UK.

A classified directive which appears to blur the line between diplomacy and spying was issued to US diplomats under Hillary Clinton's name in July 2009, demanding forensic technical details about the communications systems used by top UN officials, including passwords and personal encryption keys used in private and commercial networks for official communications.

It called for detailed biometric information "on key UN officials, to include undersecretaries, heads of specialised agencies and their chief advisers, top SYG [secretary general] aides, heads of peace operations and political field missions, including force commanders" as well as intelligence on Ban's "management and decision-making style and his influence on the secretariat". A parallel intelligence directive sent to diplomats in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi said biometric data included DNA, fingerprints and iris scans.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 1:00PM
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An iris scan from the ambassador to the UN from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Now thats the sort of useful information we pay some private military/industrial/information/security/contractor $millions, who in turn pays people like Snowden $200,000 a year to keep on file.

Because, well, you never know when that iris scan might come in handy.

/they collect these iris scans by using a high-tech fake kaleidoscope they leave lying around the General Assembly Room at the UN.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 1:09PM
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Jerzeegirl had some doubts in the Edward Snowden thread;

'Posted by jerzeegirl 9 (My Page) on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 18:18

Turns out that he salary was $122K not $200K according to the company he worked for, which fired him today. He had been with the company for less than 3 months.
There's suddenly something about Snowden's story that's not adding up for me.


"However, in the note that accompanied the first set of documents Snowden said he has had "a very comfortable life" that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves. Why did he not tell the truth about his salary? Frankly, $122K would have impressed me just as much as $200K."

Today's Q&A with Snowdon


"Did you lie about your salary? What is the issue there? Why did you tell Glenn Greenwald that your salary was $200,000 a year, when it was only $122,000 (according to the firm that fired you.)


I was debriefed by Glenn and his peers over a number of days, and not all of those conversations were recorded. The statement I made about earnings was that $200,000 was my "career high" salary. I had to take pay cuts in the course of pursuing specific work. Booz was not the most I've been paid."


    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 2:05PM
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This is good (from today's interview):

" Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.

Was Cheney the one who outed Valerie Plame? I can't remember.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 2:50PM
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No it was Scooter Libby , Cheney's aide and adviser....

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 5:52PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

No it was Scooter Libby

... who did the deed. (And shielded his boss from inconvenient jail time as Mr. Cheney always has 'other priorities' when it comes to distasteful obligations.)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 6:16PM
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May I add some levity? This from the New Yorker..

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) "Americans sent over a hundred million Father’s Day messages on Sunday, the National Security Agency reported today.

The hundred-million number, while robust, falls short of the hundred and twenty million Mother’s Day messages collected by the N.S.A. in May....

..The N.S.A. director added that the agency had not foiled any terror plots over the weekend but did uncover between thirty and forty thousand extramarital relationships."

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 11:54PM
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Ha! Funny.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 7:28AM
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I'm beginning to understand the workings of some of this - I take no sides because I just don't know enough to decide- but it is interesting... likely legal but dubious... Glen Greenwald's recent article for the Guardian helped a lot...

"The principal purpose of the 2008 law was to make it possible for the government to collect Americans' international communications - and to collect those communications without reference to whether any party to those communications was doing anything illegal. And a lot of the government's advocacy is meant to obscure this fact, but it's a crucial one: The government doesn't need to 'target' Americans in order to collect huge volumes of their communications."

Here is a link that might be useful: Fisa oversight- Link

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 12:54AM
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