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Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Posted by nikoleta (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 8, 13 at 10:15

Yesterday the president went before the cameras and announced that our lawmakers had been "fully briefed" on the government's secret, wide ranging data gathering.

But that cannot possibly be true.

Democrat Senator Dick Durbin explains that's not the way it typically works, and says he wouldn't have known how they DO work if Ron Wyden hadn't told him: "...they wouldn’t have known about the programs unless they were on an intelligence committee, attended special sessions last held in 2011 or specifically asked to be briefed " something they would only know to do if they were clued in by an colleague who was already aware."

"Durbin said he learned about the two programs himself only after requesting a briefing under “classified circumstances” after being urged to do so by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)."

Use your heads. Did Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence committee, sound like he had been "fully briefed" back in March when he questioned James Clapper about data gathering?

Wyden: “Does the NSA collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

Clapper: “No, sir. … Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly.”


Durbin, FTA: "Congressional leadership and intelligence committees had access to information about the programs, he said " but the “average member” of Congress likely wouldn’t have been aware of the breadth of the telephone and Internet surveillance."

FTA: "President Obama’s explanation allows him to sound a nothing-to-see-here note that paints the programs as both prosaic and innocuous. After all, if all 535 members of Congress knew about them, how bad could they really be?"

President Obama, FTA: "These are the folks you all vote for as your representatives in Congress, and they’re being fully briefed on these programs,” said Obama. “And if, in fact … there were abuses taking place, presumably those members of Congress could raise those issues very aggressively. They’re empowered to do so.”

FTA: "But as Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) complained to Attorney General Eric Holder during a Thursday hearing, the idea that Congress has been “fully briefed” on these programs is coming as news to many of the lawmakers themselves."


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Nothing has changed.

This same discussion/accusations took place several times during the Bush administration. And the same words were probably used - "Congress was fully briefed".

At that time it became clear that those words deserved to be in quotes because it was only rare secret briefings to a select few (administration friends) on the Intelligence committees.

It was also noted, at that time, that the FISA Court routinely approves all requests submitted to them, and that NSA does pretty much what it wants and saves everything, even if what they are doing is illegal.

And this

And this

Here is a link that might be useful: Link


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Telling the full Congress all the secrets would be easier by just telling the media because Congress as a whole has a reputation for leaking classified information as unattributed/anonymous sources. Might as well set the facts straight directly from those tasked to do secret things, right? We need full transparency in our secret security programs, right? The major intelligence agencies have struggled with keeping secrets while Congress has held the power of oversight and budgets.

The offended among Congressional critter are examples mostly of CYA.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Splitting hairs.

Sore losers are flailing once again in their vein attempt to score a blow on the two-time undisputed champion.

No President is beyond criticism from the opposition party, but the anti-Obummers and the Fox fiends have, in many cases, taken things too far. The daily rants have grown stale. Remember the boy who cried wolf too many times. The bottom line is this. If you are an American you need to accept the fact that President Obama is your President.
If you can't, just say so.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

I think the point that nik is making.....if you feel you have no need to brief all the congresspersons and don't, don't stand in front of the American people and claim that you did, and if you don't like it...take it up with your congress person.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

.if you feel you have no need to brief all the congresspersons and don't, don't stand in front of the American people and claim that you did

He didn't say he briefed "all congresspersons."


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

President Barack Obama’s chief defense of his administration’s wide-ranging data-gathering programs Friday: Congress authorized them, with “every member” well aware of the details.

Not so, say many members of Congress ��" Democrats and Republicans alike.

Really heri?

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Maybe it is not important to everyone but it is important to me that we are very clear on exactly what we are talking about.

The issue of gathering meta data from Verizon relative to phone calls was well understood by Congress who themselves passed the legislation that allows it . This is not a classified program , it is well understood by Congress and the Judiciary......in the form of FISA...and is in fact renews every three months and had been for 6 years.

PRISM on the other hand is...or rather was....a highy classified program and only the Intelligence Commitee was briefed. Which is how Congress set things up to be. It is totally unreasonable to think that all intelligence information should be divulged to every member of Congress.

However it is equally important that these things not be done in isolation which is why certain committees must be briefed by the Executive. It is thier job to represent the people and the House if they have any issues with what the Executive Branch is doing.

Which is precisely why saying "Congress was briefed" is truthful

However none of this matters much when ones only agenda is to "get" the President.......


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

It is tiring, isn't it when the agenda is always "get the President?"


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Oh, a lot of us "get" the President.

He's made his agenda perfectly clear.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

ahhh chase, I'm so glad he got that straight with you. That when he said "every member" of congress was aware. You know that he only meant one program. Seems congress or the news media doesn't understand. Perhaps you can contact our congress people and media outlets and get them on the right track.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Here is the full text of the "every member of Congress" quote .....

"At a press conference on Friday, Obama said that every member of Congress had been briefed on the phone monitoring program. The president argued that the policy, which was implemented in 2007, struck the “right balance” between privacy and national security, and that it had been helpful in thwarting terrorist attacks.

Obama also noted that federal judges had to sign off on the data gathering requests, which did not encompass the content of phone calls, but only the phone numbers."

The President was referring to the phone data collection..if you have evidence to the contrary i would be interested.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Like I said chase...these congress people and news outlets are totally confused. They thought the prez meant one thing, and you say he meant something else. Straighten them out.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Mrs...did you read the content of the Presidents remarks ?

"At a press conference on Friday, Obama said that every member of Congress had been briefed on the phone monitoring program. "

If you can provide some information that refutes this I would be more than glad to understand......


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Did you even bother to read the link I posted chase? What was said by the president and what was said by congress?


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Chase, you missed the point that the Foxheads had reported on these proceedings in 2007 and 2008 very favorably but in the current uproar, fueled by the same crew, they are expressing outrage that none of this was ever reported. Are their news writers so stupid as to not review what every kid with google access can find? This is just shameless posturing.

That said, I was outraged then and I am outraged now at the loss of privacy and invasion of my rights of free speech and association, both of which is compromised by government spying on my communications. BS legalese parsing events does not cut it with me.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

You knew it marshall, wonderful. I didn't know it. Now, can you tell me with certainty that they are only mining data and not listening to our phone conversations, reading our emails? And I don't care if it's listening to me talking to my 94 year old mother about her drs. appt. It's my private phone calls, my private emails...prove to me that's not what they are doing. I certainly have no reason to believe them.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

That is why I am outrage because while I don't know for sure, I do know that the capacities are there and have been used since at least Bush's first term on intercepting foreign media traffic, basically spying on enemies and allies alike. The Europeans were outraged at the time but Washington would not agree to stop, all in the interests of collective security, of course. Got to protect us from the evil Islamists.

The principle of 3 degrees of separation (or is it 6?) means that you and I are linked to a person or group of interest and may not even know it through a third, fourth or fifth party removed. Guilt by association; that very important American value.


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I am sorry to say that Obama's reputation has been fatally tainted after such hopeful promise- if not Gitmo and drones, the latest spying through the likes of google (Prism) has really pissed me off royally (and of course, our lot are at it too).


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"At a press conference on Friday, Obama said that every member of Congress had been briefed on the phone monitoring program. "

Somebody is lying.


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I certainly hope that you believe that George Bush's reputation has also been fatally tainted, since this all started after 9/11 under the Cheney/Bush administration.


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Absolutely mom...this isn't about Obama, except he is no better than George Bush as you have just pointed out. This is about OUR government spying on us, who are the government.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

I certainly hope every committee was briefed about what evrey other committee was & is doing.
I get the feeling the nation is behaving like sleepwalkers feigned or real in some of the particulars.
I continue to be on the side of assuming when we were posting 2 years ago 6 years ago further back still on here about Echelon. That there was the requisite ho hum on the right & the lefties were always complaining.

A New story from last year.

BLUFFDALE ��" The $1.5 billion spy complex being built for the National Security Agency is becoming more conspicuous as construction advances at Camp Williams within sight of traffic on I-15.

But the agency building 1 million square feet of enclosed space, including 100,000 square feet of space just for computers that will gather and digest intelligence information, continues to do what it does best ��" keep secrets ��" when asked about the project.

The NSA sent a short statement to the Deseret News on Friday, but only after Wired Magazine compiled a voluminous story published the same day. The broadly researched story builds the skeleton of its story using information NSA released at its January 2011 groundbreaking and puts meat and skin on that skeleton with anecdotal data from the computer and information technology industries.

One thing the Utah Data Center is not likely to run short of: really big numbers.

Related:
U of U considering curriculum with NSA's spy center in mind
Talks with the National Security Agency may lead to a new University of Utah curriculum that would prepare students for jobs in the massive data center the spy agency is building at Camp Williams.
Wired postulates that in order to monitor global Internet traffic for intelligence-gathering purposes, it would need to digest the work of 2.7 billion Internet users and have the ability to store 500 quintillion pages of text. That's 500 followed by 18 zeroes.

The Wired story also draws from an interview with William Binney, one of the two co-founders of the NSA's Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center. Wired says Binney was at odds over the constitutionality of the agency's Stellar Wind program and its scope of eavesdropping on domestic phone calls and the inspection of domestic email.

"According to Binney ��" who has maintained close contact with agency employees until a few years ago ��" the taps in the secret rooms dotting the country are actually powered by highly sophisticated software programs that conduct 'deep packet inspection,' examining Internet traffic as it passes through the 10-gigabit-per-second cables at the speed of light," the magazine says.

The NSA statement says only that "many allegations have been made about the planned activities of the Utah Data Center. What it will be is a state-of-the-art facility designed to support the intelligence community's efforts to further strengthen and protect the nation. NSA is the executive agent for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and will be the lead agency at the center."

Those of us who are privileged to be a part of this great institution, NSA, see firsthand that our nation is indeed becoming safer as a result of our hard work, dedication and the collaboration across the entire intelligence community.
��"-NSA Statement
Like the anchor store at a shopping mall, the Utah Data Center is seen as having the potential to benefit a continually growing portfolio of information technology businesses, like the under-construction technology complex Adobe is building across the freeway in Lehi. Both Brigham Young University and the University of Utah have their eyes on the data center because of the potential for future jobs for its students. The U. has already developed curriculum with the data center in mind.

The NSA has not responded directly to questions about technology offshoots. Nor has it addressed nagging questions about whether the data center makes it a target that presents dangers to surrounding communities. The statement released Friday sends the signal the NSA intends to maintain a posture of being vague.

"We are not going to dissect any particular news story ��" especially one that relies in part on the speculation of former officials and several unnamed sources," the NSA statement says. "Those of us who are privileged to be a part of this great institution, NSA, see firsthand that our nation is indeed becoming safer as a result of our hard work, dedication and the collaboration across the entire intelligence community."


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

For those of you needing or wanting a brief history of data spying, domestic, see the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: How America Became Orwellian: A Short History of Big Brother Sam (ProPublica)


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

"I read intelligence carefully, and I know that people are trying to get to us," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "This is to ferret this out before it happens. It's called protecting America."

She handed out letters she and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the top Republican on the committee, wrote to their colleagues in 2010 and 2011 explaining how the program worked, and urging that they support it. Congress did so.

"This is nothing particularly new," Chambliss said. "Every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this, and to my knowledge we have not had any citizen who has registered a complaint relative to the gathering of this information."

I guess that's not the same as being briefed ...? Maybe they can't read their mail.

Here is a link that might be useful: source of course


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

And I don't care if it's listening to me talking to my 94 year old mother about her drs. appt. It's my private phone calls, my private emails...prove to me that's not what they are doing.

I suggest you get two empty coke cans and some string. Why doesn't it bother you that every time you go on the internet you are being tracked? Did you ever notice that every time you search for something, somehow miraculously a slew of ads pop up with just that the thing you are looking for? You are using someone else's airwaves - the corporation you are renting the air from. There is a certain naivete about your take on privacy and I am quite surprised because I thought this was all cleared up when Bush was president (since he was the one who passed these laws). .


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Oh Mom, Dubya's rep couldn't be any lower in my eyes.....but I do see why people might feel a bit betrayed (and nope, I am not naively going after the pres, but the buck has to stop somewhere) - we are seeing massive inroads in our civil liberties and I had hoped for a brighter future. Obviously, I am looking across the pond because our own crew are mired in a bubble of privileged blindness - gotta find a reason to hope somewhere.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

It's very disappointing.

I'm sure the people who run these programs are very skilled at "selling" it to whoever needs to be convinced of their importance. And they did a good job selling it to President Obama, or his national security crew, who sold it to him.

When you spend all day every day immersed in paranoia, it's not hard to justify, at least in your own mind, that no one can be trusted. Good people learn how to balance that paranoia with reality, looks like there haven't been any good people in any administrations since 2001.


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It would be Interesting to see his take on it as a constitutional law professor some time in the Future.
Just as it was interesting to see Scalia's position last week on DNA evidence.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

So no comments on what I posted that indicated Congress was briefed?

Posted by esh_ga z7 GA (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 9, 13 at 13:35

"I read intelligence carefully, and I know that people are trying to get to us," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "This is to ferret this out before it happens. It's called protecting America."

She handed out letters she and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the top Republican on the committee, wrote to their colleagues in 2010 and 2011 explaining how the program worked, and urging that they support it. Congress did so.

"This is nothing particularly new," Chambliss said. "Every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this, and to my knowledge we have not had any citizen who has registered a complaint relative to the gathering of this information."


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"....we have not had any citizen who has registered a complaint relative to the gathering of this information.""

How about because nobody knew they were having all this data collected about them?


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So someone is lying esh. Do you know who?


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Frankly given the fact that Feinstein and Chambliss are handing out copies of what they distributed in 2010 and 2011, sounds like the liars are the ones saying they were not briefed ....

Unless we need to redefine the definition of "briefed".


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

"briefed" means really paying attention to doing your job. Not gonna happen when their focus is on the size of their own bank accounts. Threaten that and they'll sit up and take action.

I believe, right now, spying on suspected terrorist or trolling to find the terrorists, is a legitimate reason. However, I can easily see it all falling into the wrong hands, i.e., the next administration, or the one after that.


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From esh's link:
"This is nothing particularly new," Chambliss said. "Every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this, and to my knowledge we have not had any citizen who has registered a complaint relative to the gathering of this information."

So we know that the Senate knew. But I was disappointed that there wasn't a copy of that briefing as I would like to read it. Also, if the Senators knew, they should have reported something about it to their constituents, dontcha think? We want transparency, but it seems we're never going to get it unless more Edward Snowdens appear.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

You'd have to be specific as to which specific briefing as this has been a cumulative process. FISA, AUMF, PATRIOT ACT, Protect America Act, FISA AMENDMENTS ACT of 2008.
Some of this stuff got pushed through quickly & interpretation & challenge hasn't happened in the Supreme Court yet. This event may bring that about. Who will bring suit?
The Military Commission also came about during this time but that was defeated in the Supreme Court, now we have the new improved (sarcasm) Obama version which I have gone on about on here for the last couple of years.
It's as defective as the previous one was but hasn't been challenged in the courts yet.
The executive & Intelligence in the US changed radically in the last 13 years & the supposed oversite by congress is a joke as most of them would have a nodding acquaintance with FISA warrant but not what they could gulp down with a single warrant.

When the NY Times broke the story in 2005 about relentless eves dropping by that administration. The only hurry was to fix it so it could be legal & that was the 2008 Fisa Amendments Act.
"of 1,789 applications, the FISA court did not deny any applications in whole or in part.” What fantastic oversight (1789 is, ironically, the year the Constitution was ratified). The court did “modify” 40 of those applications ��" less than 3% ��" but it approved every single one. The same was true of 2011, when the DOJ submitted 1,676 applications and the Fisa court, while modifying 30, “did not deny any applications in whole, or in part”.

Now you would or could assume that a warrant might cover a single individual not necessarily so it can be warrants for whole blocks of data.

Police can get phone records without a warrant thanks to Smith v. Maryland, a 1979 Supreme Court ruling, which found that the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure doesn't apply to a list of phone numbers. The New York Times reported last November that New York's police department "has quietly amassed a trove" of call records by routinely issuing subpoenas for them from phones that had been reported stolen. According to the Times, the records "could conceivably be used for any investigative purpose." The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress expanded in 2001 when it passed the Patriot Act, also allows the FBI to apply for a FISA court order to get “any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items),” including phone records. For example, the court order obtained by the Guardian covers all records from April 25 to July 19, which Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said was much more expansive than a typical warrant or subpoena. “I’ve never seen a subpoena that broad,” he said. The Verizon order covers “telephone metadata … for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”

This post was edited by labrea on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 11:10


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

It get really slippery particularly after listening to Barton Gellman last night describe how a single warrant can cover an entire years of content from a server

I will say it again I've been saying it for ages the congress & the Senate entrusted the Executive & The various Security branches with unending authority through all of these acts. This authority has not been challenged in Supreme Court save for the Military Commission. It must be Non partisan (that's not going to happen) reigning in of this authority & nailing down definitions.


One graft from a current Pew research Poll.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Durbin had no credibility in his home state. He doesn't just talk out of both sides of his mouth, he has two mouths. One just for lip service to voters. He's a corporate pawn, just like the rest of them. Elections have to be fixed for Durbin to keep getting reelected. Have to be.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

They did NOT explain "how the program worked." They provided a letter about what they called the "substance" of the program. There was a specific room senators had to go to in order to see the classified documents.

There is nothing about senators being allowed to take notes or make copies of anything. If they're using nothing but their aging memories to conduct this supposed "oversight" it's even more laughable than I thought:

June 3, 2013, Wikipedia
Senators by age
70s......22
60s......35
50s......30
40s......11
30s........1

Question: Do you know how many of your Senate colleagues have actually looked at the classified information?

Feinstein: I do not. Certainly the Intelligence Committee should have. We’ve had long discussions. This has been argued on the floor. Mentioned in the article are two senators who’ve had concerns about it. Obviously when the second amendment came up there was considerable argument on the floor about this. The vote was taken and the measure passed and was continued. That’s the business records section.

Question: To be clear: This isn’t just Verizon, this is records generally with large phone records, right?

Feinstein: I can’t specifically answer that, maybe David [Graniss, staff director of Senate Intelligence Committee]. Graniss, do you know?

David Graniss: We can’t answer that question.

Feinstein: We cannot answer that. Fortunately, I don’t know.

Question: One thing that has changed a lot since these letters is there’s a climate that you feel more concerned about civil liberties, the IRS, drone strikes. Is it time to revisit some of the rules and measures you’ve put in place?

Feinstein: Let me put it from my point of view, and then the vice chairman will speak. I read intelligence carefully, and I know that people are trying to get to us. This is the reason why we keep TSA doing what it’s doing. This is the reason why the FBI now has 10,000 people doing intelligence on counterterrorism. This is the reason for the National Counterterrorism Center that’s been set up in the time we’ve been active. It’s to ferret this out before it happens. It’s called protecting America.

Look, I’m concerned about the use of drones as much as anybody, and with some degree of knowledge as to how they’re used. We are trying to put something together in an authorization bill to deal with this, but that’s a ways, a month or so, off right now. One doesn’t necessarily follow the other. I think people want the homeland kept safe, to the extent we can. We understand " I understand " privacy. Senator Chambliss understands privacy. We want to protect people’s private rights. And that’s why this is carefully done. That’s why it’s a federal court of 11 judges who sit 24/7, who review these requests and then either approves them or denies them.

Chambliss: Let me just add to what the chairman said. The Intelligence Committee takes its oversight authority and obligation very seriously. We review every program within the intelligence community on a regular basis, including this program. That’s why we took the liberty of explaining to our colleagues the substance of the program in the two “Dear Colleagues” that we handed out. And we’re going to continue to do that. Where we find abuses, we’re going to take corrective action.

Question: Do you guys know what the information is being used for? What is the government doing with the information?

Feinstein: If there is reasonable, articulable belief that this metadata would figure in a terrorist investigation, then they can examine it. Phone numbers.

Question: Why does it need to be so sweeping? What possible investigation could require all of the phone records?

Feinstein: Well, because they then have what’s a telephone book of the numbers and if, through another way, information comes to the FBI that there is reasonable suspicion that a terrorist act, conspiracy, planning, carrying out, is going on, they can access those records. The records are there to access. This is not something, I think, that we don’t view with extraordinary caution. We do. As you know, both Senator Wyden and Senator Udall have concerns. This was widely debated on the floor when the section of the code was discussed. It was widely debated in the Intelligence Committee when we considered the business records section. So this is simply, it’s renewed every three months, they must go into court, and this is that renewal.

Question: Is it true, then, that this data has been used proactively to have as a hold, so that they’ll have this data in case they want to research and go through it later … as opposed to looking for something specific and then asking for the data? They’re getting this data so they’ll have it so that they can go back to it if they need it?

Feinstein: I have to get for you the information, because this just came up a few minutes ago, how long the data can be kept.

Question: But they’re sort of logging this data so they can hold it if they need it later, as opposed to knowing that they need it and getting it.

Feinstein: Well, you can’t know that you need it at the time. You have to go to it and see if there is the link that you’re looking for.

Chambliss: The information that they’re really looking for is on the other end of the call. It’s: Are they in contact, is somebody in contact with somebody that we know to be a known terrorist? And that’s why it’s metadata only and it’s what we call minimized. All these numbers are basically ferreted out by computer, but if there’s a number that matches a terrorist number that has been dialed by a U.S. number or dialed from a terrorist to a U.S. number, then that may be flagged. And they may or may not seek a court order to go further on that particular instance. But that’s the only time that this information is ever used in any kind of substantive way.

Feinstein: That is our understanding I’m glad you said that, thank you. That is our understanding.

Question: You say this is not new. All of us were here when you debated reauthorizing FISA a few weeks ago. What is new is that it’s now public. Should there be an investigation into who leaked this information?

Feinstein: Well, you have to give me a little time. I first saw this maybe an hour ago, so I haven’t had an opportunity to do due diligence and I assume that the same is true for Senator Chambliss.

We will put out a joint statement.

(End of press conference)

I still don't understand this from Sen. Chambliss:

"That’s why it’s a federal court of 11 judges who sit 24/7, who review these requests and then either approves them or denies them."

Is this a reference to FISA?

How do you know that?

If so, what do FISA judges approve, "24/7?"



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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Sounds about right!
Take that half a step further with half the terms in any explanation provided to the Senators might have multiple meanings assuming license to act by those (special meanings) greenwald was on Morning Joe. It was interesting & accurate to hear that there is no court ruling on the legality of any of this. He did make it clear that the current administration was doing all it could to keep the courts from ruling on it.
It being section 215 of the Patriot ACT.

This post was edited by labrea on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 16:24


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

"He did make it clear that the current administration was doing all it could to keep the courts from ruling on it. It being section 215 of the Patriot ACT."

What would the White House fear from a judicial ruling?


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Elected officials are obligated to understand what they voting on - if that means that they have to seek out additional information after being told about it, then they should. They have paid staff to help them research this. YOUNG people.

Age of the elected official is inconsequential. They have a JOB to do. They are PAID to do it. They are trusted to get it done.

If we have elected officials that are too OLD to get the job done, they need to be let go, not re-elected.

nik, you make laughable excuses for the poor performance of any elected official that would dare to hide behind such pathetic reasons.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

"Age of the elected official is inconsequential."

The notion that there aren't age related differences in the amount of new, technical information individuals can read, process and memorize is preposterous.

Out of 100 US senators, 12 are under the age of 50.
That leaves 87 senators in their fifties, with most considerably older.

Being given all the information they can memorize is not a system for oversight, especially for this age group.

"Elected officials are obligated to understand what they voting on - if that means that they have to seek out additional information after being told about it, then they should. They have paid staff to help them research this. YOUNG people."

Ron Wyden explained why staff is rarely able to stand in for the elected official. Had you done your homework, you would understand why not.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Had you done your homework...

Thank you Nik. The irony of that statement made me chuckle out loud.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

What would the White House fear from a judicial ruling?
One wonders why a President would ask for debate on the topic. I told you all a month ago to have your prepared lines ready for something like this.
Perhaps it's to have a ruling before the next administration comes to power, to put a time limit on this open ended Security nightmare.
That's a Perhaps but would it erase the AUMF which gave birth to all these problems & their various acts to remedy the legal failings!

Cat's cradle!
An age old complaint!

This post was edited by labrea on Fri, Jun 14, 13 at 8:49


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

If old people can't get the job done, they should not be elected. Period.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

"If old people can't get the job done, they should not be elected. Period."

You've completely missed the point.

To say people who "can't get the job done shouldn't be elected" gets us nowhere.

Do you not understand? We have a growing problem with UNELECTED people inside the judiciary and executive branches, along with unaccountable employees working in other agencies. The American people never agreed to transfer power on such a massive scale.

Electeds have multiple responsibilities, not just one "job." Unnecessary barriers to their access to information about what government is doing impedes their ability to provide the oversight that is SUPPOSED to keep our government accountable to us.

Did you notice that once caught, government snoops decided some information can and will be declassified after all? Have you thought about what that might indicate?

Do you see NOW how the "memory only" notion of "oversight" could actually serve to exploit the limitations of older electeds?

The electeds aren't the problem.

The set up is the problem. Do you think maybe more electeds should be participants in deciding what needs to be classified in the first place? Or are you cool with leaving that call to unelected, unaccountable entities?


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Given the marginal quality of many of the elected and the fact that many of them come from "safe" districts so they achieve seniority and therefore leadership positions....

What could go wrong with giving them control over what is to be classified and not classified?

Given that most elected rely on unelected staff to do most of the preparations and advising for these elected...

What could go wrong with giving unelected staff control over the flow of material to be classified or declassified?

Given that so much of intelligence and security is already outsourced to private contractors whose staffs seemingly hold higher security clearances than many elected...

What can go wrong with giving these contractors such control over State secrets and access to the most powerful metadata collecting/collating system in the world?


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

I know you think I am not getting your point. But I happen to think that you are not getting mine either.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Hi Marshall,

I think we could all spend more time asking ourselves "What could possibly go wrong???" when we consider government policies.

I understand and agree with you that it would be a bad idea to declassify everything so every elected sees everything. That is why I asked "Do you think maybe more electeds should be participants in deciding what needs to be classified in the first place?"

Ron Wyden has been pleading with the administration to declassify some of the information it has been holding back. He warned that people would be "stunned" when (not IF) they learned what government was up to. And as we've seen in the past week, he was absolutely right.

Our constitution calls for three branches of government. It doesn't permit the executive and judicial branches to operate in secret, away from the people's representatives on the grounds of "keeping us safe."


Of course the most powerful nation on earth needs to keep some secrets. But secret laws run out of the White House and Justice Department, while our legislative branch is largely ignorant of those laws? We can do better than that.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

But secret laws run out of the White House and Justice Department, while our legislative branch is largely ignorant of those laws?

You should have been more concerned when the Patriot Act was being passed. It's too late now.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

Specifically which laws are you referring to as being secret? I don't understand how a law can be secret.....

I may be mistaken but I'm fairly certain that only Branch empowered to enact legislation is Congress If your elected officials are unhappy with the laws they enacted then they should change them.

There is a very big difference between knowing what the laws are and the specifics of how it is applied. If Congress needs to do a better job on oversight of the laws they enact then it is incumbent upon them to do so. Certainly it is apparent that they don't understand the laws they have passed.....and that should be very worrisome.

Edited to correct an incorrect reference on my part to the post I am addressing

This post was edited by chase on Mon, Jun 17, 13 at 11:09


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

The issue is not secret laws but laws that the Administration interprets in secret ways, thus altering the manners in which such laws are applied. The Executive Branch, at least those agencies associated with Dept. of Homeland Defense, is under much criticism for failing to educate even legistative oversight committees as to these secret interpretations.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 18, 13 at 9:36

I'm guessing that some law makers wear boxers.


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RE: Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed

"The issue is not secret laws but laws that the Administration interprets in secret ways, thus altering the manners in which such laws are applied. The Executive Branch, at least those agencies associated with Dept. of Homeland Defense, is under much criticism for failing to educate even legistative oversight committees as to these secret interpretations."

I take your point, Marshall, but I see that as a difference without a difference. Government can distort a law into whatever it wants with "secret interpretations," or it can start out with a secret law that means whatever it says it means from the getgo. The administration took the path of least resistance, given the second approach wouldn't have been popular with most Americans.

The minute Wyden asked about how much spying was really going on, Clapper started lying. If the administration had been operating within the boundaries of "the law" as our legislators and the public believed, he didn't need to lie. He could have said "that's classified" or something like that. But Clapper chose to lie about a question he was told the day before to expect. He never amended his official remarks when offered that opportunity. That makes no sense to me.

Gotta run. Gen. Alexander is going to clear things up for congress.

Here is a link that might be useful: legislative push back


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