REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS

how we crept into the total surveillance society

POSTED BY: 1KIKI
UPDATED: Thursday, November 19, 2020 13:26
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Monday, July 1, 2013 12:56 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/20/fisa-court-nsa-without-war
rant




The bulk collection of domestic call records, as first revealed by the Guardian earlier this month, takes place under rolling court orders issued on the basis of ... section 215 of the Patriot Act.



Checking the internet for the particular text of law got me this:


Access to Certain Business Records for Foreign Intelligence and
International Terrorism Investigations under FISA. Section 602
inserts a new title V to FISA, authorizing access to certain types of
business records for foreign intelligence and international terrorism
investigations. The new title:

– includes pertinent definitions (sec. 501 of FISA);
Access to certain business records pursuant to court order.

– authorizes the Director of the FBI or his designee no lower in
rank than Assistant Special Agent in Charge to apply for an order
from a FISA court judge or a U.S. magistrate judge publicly
designated by the Chief Justice of the U.S. to hear applications
and grant orders on behalf of a FISA court judge authorizing a
common carrier, public accommodation facility, physical storage
facility, or vehicle rental facility to release records in its
possession for an investigation to gather foreign intelligence
information or an investigation concerning international terrorism
conducted by the FBI under Attorney General guidelines
approved pursuant to E.O. 12333 or a successor order.



So the procedure started when the government was allowed bulk collection of 'business records' on any common carrier, public accommodation facility, physical storage facility, or vehicle rental facility as long as it was related to fighting terrorism.

But



Top secret documents submitted to the court that oversees surveillance by US intelligence agencies show the judges have signed off on broad orders which allow the NSA to make use of information "inadvertently" collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.

The Guardian is publishing in full two documents submitted to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (known as the Fisa court), signed by Attorney General Eric Holder and stamped 29 July 2009 ...

The documents show that even under authorities governing the collection of foreign intelligence from foreign targets, US communications can still be collected, retained and used.

...The documents also show that discretion as to who is actually targeted under the NSA's foreign surveillance powers lies directly with its own analysts, without recourse to courts or superiors – though a percentage of targeting decisions are reviewed by internal audit teams on a regular basis.



And there's the trail of how we got where we are today. Despite our constitutional protections, it didn't take much.

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Monday, July 1, 2013 1:14 PM

NEWOLDBROWNCOAT


A more detailed analysis of the pre-FISA days, beginning Oct 4, 2001 can be found at:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/frame_game/2013/07/nsa
_history_how_bureaucrats_leaks_and_courts_tamed_government_surveillance.html


Saletan argues, of course, that "it started under Bush", but he has a fair amount of sympathy, and he argues that it "got better", i.e, there were more people reviewing it and more courts involved, under Obama.

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Monday, July 1, 2013 1:24 PM

BYTEMITE


Uhhhh... That's what the media is going with? I am disappoint.

This cloak and dagger shit's been going on since the Alien and Sedition Acts shortly after the constitution was verified. It's been festering passively under our skin ever since, let the government contract out to the Pinkertons in the middle 1800s, who became union busters along with the US Nat'l Guard when that was formed, and got really bad with Japanese internment in WW2. Then Hoover took power and a new level of black ops nonsense started up.

Where is gets ridiculous is that they admit to stuff and then redact it not five minutes later, like the "news" that our government was involved in black ops sabotaging Iran and their nuclear program was made public in 2007. But all of a sudden that's all classified, like how the PUBLIC RECORD stuff in the Patriot Act about all the surveillance is also suddenly classified?

What the hell is this? Are they losing track of what they've already leaked, are they that incompetent at cover-up, or is this some new gaslighting-style technique they've developed to discredit already known and verified information?

Whatever the case, they obvious don't have much respect for the attention span of the average population. Frankly, I'm offended they think so little of us.

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Monday, July 1, 2013 1:47 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/wyden-warns-clapper-americans-strai
ght-answers-spying-154640996.html


... in March ... (Senator) Wyden asked (Director of National Intelligence) Clapper: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" Clapper replied: "No, sir." Wyden followed up: "It does not." Clapper went on: "Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly."

In the aftermath of the revelation that the NSA vacuums up the telephone records of millions of Americans with near-routine frequency and has programs for the surveillance of Internet activity, Clapper has tried to banish the impression that he misled Congress.

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Monday, July 1, 2013 2:05 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/05/29-3

"The group of about 10 (anti-fracking) professionals - engineers, nurses and teachers - began meeting in the basement of a member's home. As their numbers grew, they moved to a local church. In an effort to raise public awareness about the risks of hydraulic fracturing or fracking they attended township meetings, zoning and ordinance hearings and gas-drilling forums. They invited speakers from other states affected by gas drilling to talk with Pennsylvania residents. They held house-party style screenings of documentary films.

Since the group had never engaged in any kind of illegal activity or particularly radical forms of protest, it came as a shock when GDAC members learned that their organization had been featured in intelligence bulletins compiled by a private security firm, The Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR). Equally shocking was the revelation that the PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY had distributed those bulletins to local police chiefs, state, federal and private intelligence agencies, and the security directors of the natural gas companies, as well as industry groups and public relations firms. News of the surveillance broke in September 2010 when the director of the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security, James Powers, mistakenly sent an email to an anti-drilling activist he believed was sympathetic to the industry, warning her NOT TO POST THE BULLETINS ONLINE.

(In another instance) Ben Kessler, a Texas-based activist, told the Post that the FBI had received an anonymous tip to look into his activities. ... About a month after he was approached by the FBI, Briggle received a notice from his employer, the University of North Texas, asking him to turn over all emails and other written correspondence "pursuant to City of Denton natural gas drilling ordinances and the ‘Denton Stakeholder Drilling Advisory Group,'" an organization Briggle founded in July 2011 whose mission is similar to that of GDAC. The university had received a request under the state's Public Information Act and Briggle was forced to hand over more than 1,300 emails. He was later told that the request had been made by Peggy Venable, Texas Director of AFP (Americans for Prosperity, a Koch brothers organization).

...

As early as 2004, in a report titled The Surveillance Industrial Complex, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) warned that the "U.S. security establishment is making a systematic effort to extend its surveillance capacity by pressing the private sector into service to report on the activities of Americans."

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Monday, July 1, 2013 2:15 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


http://news.yahoo.com/us-officials-long-denied-massive-data-trawling-1
93155111.html


Bush, Obama officials long denied massive data trawling

""When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry," Wyden said during a floor speech in May 2011. He added: "Many members of Congress have no idea how the law is being secretly interpreted by the executive branch, because that interpretation is classified.""



Bush, Obama officials long denied massive data trawling

During a March 2006 appearance at the City Club of Cleveland, Bush described the NSA effort only as "a program that will enable us to listen from a known al-Qaida person and/or affiliate from making a phone call outside the United States in or inside the United States out, with the idea of being able to pick up quickly information for which to be able to respond in the environment we're in." He added: "I believe what I'm doing is constitutional, and I know it's necessary. And so we're going to keep doing it."

Several top Bush administration officials adamantly insisted that the government was not engaged in mass data-trawling as part of its secret NSA programs.

After a New York Times expose raised concerns about NSA targeting Americans' phone records, Hayden told a National Press Club audience in January 2006 that there was no effort to cast a wide net over communications data.

"This is targeted and focused," said Hayden, the principal deputy director of national intelligence at the time. "This is not about intercepting conversations between people in the United States. This is hot pursuit of communications entering or leaving America involving someone we believe is associated with al-Qaida."

Bush's attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, also minimized the reach of the NSA data-gathering, telling a Senate Judiciary hearing in February 2006 that "this surveillance is narrowly focused and fully consistent with the traditional forms of enemy surveillance found to be necessary in all previous armed conflicts."

Bush administration officials were repeatedly pressed by Congress about the NSA efforts in 2005 and 2006, as the Senate and House debated whether to extend the Patriot Act and many of its provisions that gave the government broad power to conduct surveillance and data collection. But once the Patriot Act's main provisions were reauthorized and signed into law by Bush in March 2006, public congressional concerns over the NSA's authority seemed to dissipate.

It was not until May 2011, as the Patriot Act again faced another reauthorization, that the NSA's secret programs began to receive cryptic attention from two Democratic senators, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado. Hobbled by the classified nature of the secret programs, the two senators offered up only guarded warnings.

"When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry," Wyden said during a floor speech in May 2011. He added: "Many members of Congress have no idea how the law is being secretly interpreted by the executive branch, because that interpretation is classified."

Still hamstrung by the programs' security classification in 2013, Wyden pressed National Intelligence Director James Clapper at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in March about the NSA. "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" he asked.

"No, sir," Clapper replied. He added: "Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect but not wittingly."

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Monday, July 1, 2013 2:47 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


"The NSA is prohibited from spying on Americans or anyone inside the United States. That's the FBI's job and it requires a warrant.

Despite that prohibition, shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, President George W. Bush secretly authorized the NSA to plug into the fiber optic cables that enter and leave the United States, knowing it would give the government unprecedented, warrantless access to Americans' private conversations."



... interviews with more than a dozen current and former government and technology officials and outside experts show that, while Prism has attracted the recent attention, the program actually is a relatively small part of a much more expansive and intrusive eavesdropping effort.


Americans who disapprove of the government reading their emails have more to worry about from a different and larger NSA effort that snatches data as it passes through the fiber optic cables that make up the Internet's backbone. That program, which has been known for years, copies Internet traffic as it enters and leaves the United States, then routes it to the NSA for analysis.

Whether by clever choice or coincidence, Prism appears to do what its name suggests. Like a triangular piece of glass, Prism takes large beams of data and helps the government find discrete, manageable strands of information.

The fact that it is productive is not surprising; documents show it is one of the major sources for what ends up in the president's daily briefing. Prism makes sense of the cacophony of the Internet's raw feed. It provides the government with names, addresses, conversation histories and entire archives of email inboxes.

Deep in the oceans, hundreds of cables carry much of the world's phone and Internet traffic. Since at least the early 1970s, the NSA has been tapping foreign cables. It doesn't need permission. That's its job.

But Internet data doesn't care about borders. Send an email from Pakistan to Afghanistan and it might pass through a mail server in the United States, the same computer that handles messages to and from Americans. The NSA is prohibited from spying on Americans or anyone inside the United States. That's the FBI's job and it requires a warrant.

Despite that prohibition, shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, President George W. Bush secretly authorized the NSA to plug into the fiber optic cables that enter and leave the United States, knowing it would give the government unprecedented, warrantless access to Americans' private conversations.

Tapping into those cables allows the NSA access to monitor emails, telephone calls, video chats, websites, bank transactions and more. It takes powerful computers to decrypt, store and analyze all this information, but the information is all there, zipping by at the speed of light.

"You have to assume everything is being collected," said Bruce Schneier, who has been studying and writing about cryptography and computer security for two decades.

The New York Times disclosed the existence of this effort in 2005. In 2006, former AT&T technician Mark Klein revealed that the company had allowed the NSA to install a computer at its San Francisco switching center, a spot where fiber optic cables enter the U.S.

The Bush administration called it the "Terrorist Surveillance Program" and said it was keeping the United States safe.

"This program has produced intelligence for us that has been very valuable in the global war on terror, both in terms of saving lives and breaking up plots directed at the United States," Vice President Dick Cheney said at the time.

The government has said it minimizes all conversations and emails involving Americans. Exactly what that means remains classified. But former U.S. officials familiar with the process say it allows the government to keep the information as long as it is labeled as belonging to an American and stored in a special, restricted part of a computer.

The government doesn't automatically delete the data, officials said, because an email or phone conversation that seems innocuous today might be significant a year from now.

What's unclear to the public is how long the government keeps the data.

The Bush administration shut down its warrantless wiretapping program in 2007 but endorsed a new law, the Protect America Act, which allowed the wiretapping to continue with changes: The NSA generally would have to explain its techniques and targets to a secret court in Washington, but individual warrants would not be required.




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Monday, July 1, 2013 2:52 PM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


BYTE- You're right, this has been going on for decades. About ten years ago, environmentalists were finding GPS devices attached to the undersides of their cars. Thirty years ago, Nixon was following anti-war activists by satellite. The only thing that protected large numbers of people from the eye of Sauron was poor technology.

People are already forgetting about Snowden. Privacy means nothing to them, and protest is completely ineffective... so, why bother? I know people who are leftish but so trusting, or complacent, or something, that they think this is for their protection!. I've tried to tell them... hey, you think YOU'RE safe from this?? But, yanno, terrorism extends to causing financial harm so... what if you protest fracking or clear-cutting old-growth forests and cause a delay in activity? That's "financial harm", right? (Oregon is thinking of criminalizing timbering protests) Well, that's enough to get you on somebody's list, right? Or maybe you know somebody who knows somebody? Or you provide an analysis that tanks a corporation's stock prices? Or you provide whistleblowing information that wrecks a company's profits?

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Monday, July 1, 2013 2:53 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.



SNOWDEN IS A FUCKING HERO

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Monday, July 1, 2013 7:38 PM

PIRATENEWS

John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed PirateNew.org wooHOO!!!!!!







In Firefly the Alliance merged the US flag with the flag of Communist China

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013 1:55 AM

AURAPTOR

America loves a winner!




Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove they are insured... but not everyone must prove they are a citizen

Resident USA Freedom Fundie

" AU, that was great, LOL!! " - Chrisisall

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013 2:28 AM

M52NICKERSON

DALEK!


Younger generations don't see privacy the way past generations have. They have grown up broadcasting their lives to the world on Facebook and Twitter. The expectation of privacy is changing.

I do not fear God, I fear the ignorance of man.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013 4:56 AM

BYTEMITE


Just because some people my age are complete MORONS who think they can become famous via blog postings doesn't mean all of us are.

But even so, what we're talking about isn't JUST a privacy thing. We all have to be watched to make sure we're innocent and fuzzy and not committing any crimes, but the powerful and rich elite upper class who run this show get a free pass on that? Because it's for our own good and because it's national security and oh jeez, they CAN'T broadcast their activities to enemies and outsiders even if their intentions are so HONORABLE, that would be dangerous for everyone!

Surely if us average people are so well meaning there's no need for us to hide, just as there's every reason for our societal superiors to obfuscate everything THEY do. Why would anyone have a problem with this being entirely backwards on the basis of power wielded and the need for transparency about uses of said power? Why, they've been chosen by the greater public in a laughably dishonest shell game of a selection process, and being so chosen by the people, they're entitled to represent the nation's interests however they see fit without any input from any of us or any accountability.

Horray! Horray for these thieves and murderers and liars and hypocrites, that they can do what they need to uphold the law and keep us safe, up to and including breaking said laws to HARM US. How marvelous a system, how refined it's workings!



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Tuesday, July 2, 2013 5:05 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


How eloquent. Thank you, BYTE.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013 5:14 AM

M52NICKERSON

DALEK!


Quote:

Originally posted by BYTEMITE:
Just because some people my age are complete MORONS who think they can become famous via blog postings doesn't mean all of us are.

But even so, what we're talking about isn't JUST a privacy thing. We all have to be watched to make sure we're innocent and fuzzy and not committing any crimes, but the powerful and rich elite upper class who run this show get a free pass on that? Because it's for our own good and because it's national security and oh jeez, they CAN'T broadcast their activities to enemies and outsiders even if their intentions are so HONORABLE, that would be dangerous for everyone!

Surely if us average people are so well meaning there's no need for us to hide, just as there's every reason for our societal superiors to obfuscate everything THEY do. Why would anyone have a problem with this being entirely backwards on the basis of power wielded and the need for transparency about uses of said power? Why, they've been chosen by the greater public in a laughably dishonest shell game of a selection process, and being so chosen by the people, they're entitled to represent the nation's interests however they see fit without any input from any of us or any accountability.

Horray! Horray for these thieves and murderers and liars and hypocrites, that they can do what they need to uphold the law and keep us safe, up to and including breaking said laws to HARM US. How marvelous a system, how refined it's workings!





Not all of you, but a vast majority. Not that they think they can become famous, but they do post almost everything they do on social media. It should not be a surprise that others are going to look to use that data. Companies to sell you things, Governments to protect people and themselves.

The difference between you and I is that you see the system as rigged. While I see the problem as the people. I don't think the system is rigged, I think people are not paying enough attention. Folks in power get away with things because we let them.

I do not fear God, I fear the ignorance of man.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013 5:50 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


"Folks in power get away with things because we let them."

Well, that and a few billion that helps them keep what they do secret.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013 6:51 PM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Quote:

While I see the problem as the people. I don't think the system is rigged, I think people are not paying enough attention.
If you think the system ISN'T rigged, tell me how the average person, or a group of typical people, can stop government surveillance and corporate data-collection.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013 4:52 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

Not all of you, but a vast majority. Not that they think they can become famous, but they do post almost everything they do on social media. It should not be a surprise that others are going to look to use that data. Companies to sell you things, Governments to protect people and themselves.


And here I thought laws existed in part to protect people from their own stupidity.

Yes, that facebook and twitter and google were and are notorious dataminers is OBVIOUS. I've only been saying that since they appeared, and even refused to join social networking sites despite pressure from idiot friends my age because I KNEW this shit was going to be monitored. And everyone looked at me funny, laughed, and said I was paranoid.

It even became a running joke back in high school and college. "Hey, join myspace/facebook!" they'd say. "No way," I'd call back, "don't you know those sites are crawling with the Feds?" And we'd all have a good laugh: lawl lawl oh byte with her tinfoil hat conspiracy theories playing up to the crowd, ever the funny class jester.

Not ONE of them expected that their information might be gathered. They were NAIVE. It's not that they don't have the same concept of privacy, it's that they didn't think people would be violating their privacy to look at personal communications.

And you know what? Just because I wasn't naive, just because I was savvy enough to avoid some obvious pitfalls, laws against predatory business practices, unwarranted search and seizure, and abuse of government power aren't written for people like me. They're written for people like THEM. There SHOULD be a reasonable expectation of privacy for personal communications and for businesses with internet sales that have to gather credit card and shipping information.

To look at people who have been burned by this and just say they should have expected this not only doesn't solve the problem, it's making excuses for this stuff. What you're saying is that this is how it is, too bad, instead of asking yourself if this is good or bad.

The public should have shut down these business practices and investigation techniques a long time ago and are only just now waking up enough for there to be an outcry.

Better late than never, sez me.


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Wednesday, July 3, 2013 5:27 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Same here, BYTE. Only I'm telling people MY age. Not those on FB or Twitter, but those who think the Amazon and Google are their friends.

NICK- I repeat my question so it doesn't get lost: If you think that they system ISN'T rigged, tell me how an average person, or a group of typical people, can stop government surveillance and corporate data-collection.



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Wednesday, July 3, 2013 6:26 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


I heard Lawrence Lessig being interviewed the other day. Brief background - he is a "former board member of the Free Software Foundation, Software Freedom Law Center and the Electronic Frontier Foundation." WIKI

Why former, I wonder. Perhaps they had a parting of the ways due to his current liking of corporate data mining for your purchasing convenience. But even he draws the line at government data mining, or government use of data mined by others.



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Wednesday, July 3, 2013 11:13 PM

FREMDFIRMA



Couple of notes here.

First, the current intel crowd is essentially a bunch of ideological morons, cause the competent ones bailed out after Valerie got shafted, and most of the best tech folk would not work for the Feds cause of their very nature, leaving them with dregs and scum.

See, when you're looking for a needle in a haystack, adding more hay is the dumbest thing ever.

Second, because they are stupid and subcompetent, and obediant little drones of the just-following-orders type, it never occurs to them to even question whether some of the information they collect has been fed to them deliberately in order to poison the well with contradictory, confusing, or just plain false data, because they don't question - if they did they'd not be working for the Feds, so their blithe acceptance of all that they gather can be turned against them rather handily.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FeedTheMole

Just for reference.

-F

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013 6:18 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


The Ten Most Disturbing Things You Should Know About the FBI Since 9/11

By ACLU

08 July 13



Congress considers the nomination of James B. Comey to lead the FBI for the next ten years, lawmakers should examine measures to rein in a bureau that has undermined civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism. This is a false trade off: we can be both safe and free.

1. USA Patriot Act Abuse

The recent revelation about the FBI using the Patriot Act's "business records provision" to track all U.S. telephone calls is only the latest in a long line of abuse. Five Justice Department Inspector General audits documented widespread FBI misuse of Patriot Act authorities (1,2,3,4,5), and a federal district court recently struck down the National Security Letter (NSL) statute because of its unconstitutional gag orders. The IG also revealed the FBI's unlawful use of "exigent letters" that claimed false emergencies to get private information without NSLs, but in 2009 the Justice Department secretly re-interpreted the law to allow the FBI to get this information without emergencies or legal process. Congress and the American public need to know the full scope of the FBI's spying on Americans under the Patriot Act and all other surveillance authorities enacted since 9/11, like the FISA Amendments Act that underlies the PRISM program.



2. 2008 Amendments to the Attorney General's Guidelines

Attorney General Michael Mukasey re-wrote the FBI's rulebook in the final months of the Bush administration, giving FBI agents unfettered authority to investigate people without any factual basis for suspecting wrongdoing. The 2008 Attorney General's Guidelines created a new kind of intrusive investigation called an "assessment," which required no "factual predicate" before FBI agents could search through government or commercial databases, conduct overt or covert FBI interviews, and task informants to gather information about people or infiltrate lawful organizations. In a two-year period from 2009 to 2011, the FBI opened over 82,000 "assessments" of individuals or organizations, less than 3,500 of which discovered information justifying further investigation.



3. Racial and Ethnic Mapping

The 2008 Attorney General's Guidelines also authorized "domain management assessments" which allow the FBI to map American communities by race and ethnicity based on crass stereotypes about the crimes they are likely to commit. FBI documents obtained by the ACLU show the FBI mapped entire Chinese and Russian communities in San Francisco on the theory that they might commit organized crime, all Latino communities in New Jersey and Alabama because a street gang has Latino members, African Americans in Georgia to find "Black separatists," and Middle-Eastern communities in Detroit for terrorism investigations. The FBI's racial and ethnic mapping program is simply racial and religious profiling of entire communities.



4. Unrestrained Data Collection and Data Mining

The FBI has claimed the authority to secretly sweep up voluminous amounts of private information from data aggregators for data mining purposes. In 2007 the FBI said it amassed databases containing 1.5 billion records, which were predicted to grow to 6 billion records by 2012, or equal to "20 separate ‘records' for each man, woman and child in the United States." When Congress sought information about one of these programs, the FBI refused to give the Government Accountability Office access. That program was temporarily defunded, but its successor, the FBI Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force, currently has 360 staff members running 40 separate projects. Records show analysts are allowed to use data mining tools to establish "risk scores" for U.S. persons. A 2013 IG audit questioned the task force's effectiveness, concluding it "did not always provide FBI field offices with timely and relevant information."



5. Suppressing Internal Dissent: The FBI War on Whistleblowers

The FBI is exempt from the Whistleblower Protection Act. Though the law required it to establish internal mechanisms to protect whistleblowers, it has a long history of retaliating against them. As a result, a 2009 IG report found that 28 percent of non-supervisory FBI employees and 22 percent of FBI supervisors at the GS-14 and GS-15 levels "never" reported misconduct they have seen or heard about on the job. The FBI has also aggressively investigated whistleblowers from other agencies, leading to an unprecedented increase in Espionage Act prosecutions under the Obama administration, almost invariably targeting critics of government policies.



6. Targeting Journalists

The FBI's overzealous pursuit of government whistleblowers has resulted in the inappropriate targeting of journalists for investigation, potentially chilling press freedoms. Recently, the FBI obtained records from 21 telephone lines used by over 100 Associated Press journalists, including the AP's main number in the U.S. House of Representatives' press gallery. And an FBI search warrant affidavit claimed Fox News reporter James Rosen aided, abetted, or co-conspired in criminal activity because of his news gathering activities, in an apparent attempt to circumvent legal restrictions designed to protect journalists. In 2010, the IG reported that the FBI unlawfully used an "exigent letter" to obtain the telephone records of seven New York Times and Washington Post reporters and researchers during a media leak investigation.



7. Thwarting Congressional Oversight

The FBI has thwarted congressional oversight by withholding information, limiting or delaying responses to members' inquiries, or worse, by providing false or misleading information to Congress and the American public. Examples include false information regarding FBI investigations of domestic advocacy groups, misleading information about the FBI's awareness of detainee abuse, and deceptive responses to questions about government surveillance authorities.



8. Targeting First Amendment Activity

Several ACLU Freedom of Information Act requests have uncovered significant evidence that the FBI has used its expanded authorities to target individuals and organizations because of their participation in First Amendment-protected activities. A 2010 IG report confirmed the FBI conducted inappropriate investigations of domestic advocacy groups engaged in environmental and anti-war activism, and falsified public responses to hide this fact. Other FBI documents showed FBI exploitation of community outreach programs to secretly collect information about law-abiding citizens, including a mosque outreach program specifically targeting American Muslims. Many of these abuses are likely a result of flawed FBI training materials and intelligence products that expressed anti-Muslim sentiments and falsely identified religious practices or other First Amendment activities as indicators of terrorism.



9. Proxy Detentions

The FBI increasingly operates outside the U.S., where its authorities are less clear and its activities much more difficult to monitor. Several troubling cases indicate that during the Bush administration the FBI requested, facilitated, and/or exploited the arrests and detention of U.S. citizens by foreign governments, often without charges, so they could be interrogated, sometimes tortured, then interviewed by FBI agents. The ACLU represents two victims of such activities. Amir Meshal was arrested at the Kenya border by a joint U.S., Kenyan, and Ethiopian task force in 2007, subjected to more than four months of detention, and transferred between three different East African countries without charge, access to counsel, or presentment before a judicial officer, all at the behest of the U.S. government. FBI agents interrogated Meshal more than thirty times during his detention. Similarly, Naji Hamdan, a Lebanese-American businessman, sat for interviews with the FBI several times before moving from Los Angeles to the United Arab Emirates in 2006. In 2008, he was arrested by U.A.E. security forces and held incommunicado for nearly three months, beaten, and tortured. At one point an American participated in his interrogation; Hamdan believed this person to be an FBI agent based on the interrogator's knowledge of previous FBI interviews. Another case in 2010, involving an American teenager jailed in Kuwait, may indicate this activity has continued into the Obama administration.



10.Use of No Fly List to Pressure Americans Abroad to Become Informants

The number of U.S. persons on the No Fly List has more than doubled since 2009, and people mistakenly on the list are denied their due process rights to meaningfully challenge their inclusion. In many cases Americans only find out they are on the list while they are traveling abroad, which all but forces them to interact with the U.S. government from a position of extreme vulnerability, and often without easy access to counsel. Many of those prevented from flying home have been subjected to FBI interviews while they sought assistance from U.S. Embassies to return. In those interviews, FBI agents sometimes offer to take people off the No Fly List if they agree to become an FBI informant. In 2010 the ACLU and its affiliates filed a lawsuit on behalf of 10 American citizens and permanent residents, including several U.S. military veterans, seven of whom were prevented from returning home until the suit was filed. We argue that barring them from flying without due process was unconstitutional. There are now 13 plaintiffs; none have been charged with a crime, told why they are barred from flying, or given an opportunity to challenge their inclusion on the No Fly List.




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Monday, July 15, 2013 6:40 AM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


I just thought I'd tack this on:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/13/us-usa-banks-spying-idUSBRE9
2C12720130313




(Reuters) - The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.



The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. The plan, which legal experts say is permissible under U.S. law, is nonetheless likely to trigger intense criticism from privacy advocates.

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Monday, July 15, 2013 7:38 AM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/noam-chomsky-obamas-attack-civ
il-liberties-has-gone-way-beyond-imagination


Noam Chomsky: Obama's Attack on Civil Liberties Has Gone Way Beyond Imagination
April 26, 2013 |

Mike Stivers: Anyone following issues of civil liberties under Obama knows that his administration's policies have been disastrous.
The signing of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which effectively legalizes indefinite detention of US citizens, the prosecution of more whistleblowers than any previous president, the refusal to close Guantanamo, and the adoption of ruthless positions in trials such as Hedges vs. Obama and Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project
don't even encapsulate the full extent of the flagrant violations of civil, political and constitutional rights. One basic question that a lot of people seem to be asking is, why? What's the rationale?

Noam Chomsky: That's a very interesting question. I personally never expected anything of Obama, and wrote about it before the 2008 primaries. I thought it was smoke and mirrors. The one thing that did surprise me is his attack on civil liberties. They go well beyond anything I would have anticipated, and they don't seem easy to explain. In many ways the worst is what you mention,
Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project [4]. That's an Obama initiative and it's a very serious attack on civil liberties. He doesn't gain anything from it – he doesn't get any political mileage out of it. In fact, most people don't even know about it, but what it does is extend the concept of "material assistance to terror" to speech.

The case in question was a law group that was giving legal advice to groups on the terrorist list, which in itself has no moral or legal justification; it's an abomination. But if you look at the way it's been used, it becomes even more abhorrent (Nelson Mandela was on it until a couple of years ago [5].) And
the wording of the colloquy is broad enough that it could very well mean that if, say, you meet with someone in a terrorist group and advise them to turn to nonviolent means, then that's material assistance to terrorism. I've met with people who are on the list and will continue to do so, and Obama wants to criminalize that, which is a plain attack on freedom of speech. I just don't understand why he's doing it.

The NDAA suit, of which I'm a plaintiff - it mostly codifies existing practice. While there has been some protest over the indefinite detention clause, there's one aspect of it that I'm not entirely happy with.
The only protest that's being raised is in response to (indefinite) detention of American citizens, but I don't see why we should have the right to detain anyone without trial. The provision of the NDAA that allows for this should not be tolerated. It was banned almost eight centuries ago in the Magna Carta.

It's the same with the drone killings. There was some protest over the Anwar Al-Awlaki killing because he was an American citizen. But what about someone who isn't an American citizen? Do we have a right to murder them if the president feels like it?

On Obama's 2012 election campaign web site,
it clearly states that Obama has prosecuted six whistleblowers under the Espionage Act [6]. Does he think he's appealing to some constituency with that affirmation?

I don't know what base he's appealing to. If he thinks he's appealing to the nationalist base, well, they're not going to vote for him anyway. That's why I don't understand it. I don't think he's doing anything besides alienating his own natural base. So it's something else.

What it is is the same kind of commitment to expanding executive power that Cheney and Rumsfeld had. He kind of puts it in mellifluous terms and there's a little difference in his tone. It's not as crude and brutal as they were, but it's pretty hard to see much of a difference.

It also extends to other developments, most of which we don't really know about, like the surveillance state that's being built [7] and the capacity to pick up electronic communication. It's an enormous attack on personal space and privacy. There's essentially nothing left. And that will get worse with the new drone technologies that are being developed and given to local police forces.

That expansion of the surveillance state, do you see that as another facet of expanding executive power?

It's an enormous expansion of executive power. I doubt that they can do much with this information that's being stored. I've had plenty of experience with the FBI in simpler years when they didn't have all this stuff. But they had tons of information. They were just drowning in it and didn't know how to use it. It's sort of like walking into the New York Public Library and saying "I want to be a chemist." You've got all the information there, but it's not doing any good.

Might that change with enhanced technology and search capabilities?

There will be new ways of combing through the data electronically to pick up things that look like suspicious connections, almost all of which will mean nothing, but they may find some things. It's kind of like the drone killings. You have what's called "intelligence." Sometimes it means something; other times it means nothing. It also means that if you have suspicions of somebody for some reason, whatever it is,
you can go in there and find all sorts of incriminating stuff. It may not be legally incriminating, but it will be used to intimidate people - threatening to publicize things people meant to be private.

Do you think nonviolent, verbal dissent could eventually be criminalized?

It could be criminalized. Anybody who has looked at law enforcement at all knows that one of the techniques is to try to force confession or plea-bargaining by just using material that the person doesn't want publicized. That's very common. You can threaten to expose something even if it didn't happen, or it's just a rumor. That's a powerful weapon to get people to cooperate or submit, and I suspect we're going to see a lot of that. We already do see a lot of it in the criminal courts. Most cases don't come to trial. They're settled. And a lot of them are settled in this way.

There's an alarming quote from Chris Hedges in reference to the NDAA suit. He said, "If we lose [the suit], the power of the military to detain citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military prisons will become a terrifying reality." How much weight does this case hold?

We've already lost that right. If you look at the criminal systems and the truly oppressed populations, like the black male population, for them, due process is sometimes existent, but overwhelmingly they just don't have it. You can't hire a lawyer; you don't get a decent defense and you don't have resources. That's how the prisons are filled.

Do you think the left in general could become another oppressed population in the future?

I don't think there's much of a threat there. I doubt that there'll be anything like what there was in the 60s. We're nowhere near the days of COINTELPRO. That was the FBI, and it was pretty harsh. It went as far as political assassinations. Again, the worst of which was directed towards blacks. It's harder to attack privileged whites.

It's the same with the drug wars. The police can go to downtown Harlem and pick up a kid with a joint in the streets. But they can't go into the elegant apartments and get a stockbroker who's sniffing cocaine.

You can see the same with incarceration rates, which are increasing outrageously. That all started with Reagan. He started a race war. There's a great book by Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow [8]. She points out, and she's quite right, that it's very analogous to what happened after reconstruction when slavery was technically eliminated, but it just turned into criminalization of black life. You ended up with a large part of the black, mostly male population in jail, and they become slave labor. This runs deep in American history. It's not going to be easy to extricate. Privileged whites on the left will never be subject to this, though. They have too much political power.

How do the military-industrial complex and market forces in general perpetuate these systems of injustice?

Very much so. Just look at the incarceration rates now. They're driven by privatized prison systems. The development of the surveillance technology like drones is also highly commercialized by now. The state commercializes a lot of this activity, like the military does. I'm sure there were more contractors in Iraq than soldiers.

Is there any way that political economic reform - like, say, overturning Citizens United - might rein in these industrial complexes?

Well, I don't think Citizens United is likely to be overturned, and it is, of course, a rotten decision, but it does have some justifications. And there are some civil libertarians like Glenn Greenwald who more or less supported it on free speech grounds. I don't agree with it, but I can see the argument.

On the other hand,
things like detention without trial, well, that strikes right at the heart of Anglo American law dating back to the 13th century. That's the main part of the Charter of Liberties, the core of the Magna. Now that had a narrow scope; it was mostly limited to free men.

It's interesting to see the way in which due process is being reinterpreted by Obama's Justice Department in regards to the drone killings. Attorney General Eric Holder was asked why the administration was killing people without due process. Well, there was due process, he said, because they discuss it within the executive branch [9]. King John in the 13th century would have loved that.

In two years, we're going to get to the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, and it'll be a funeral. Not just this, but every other aspect. Take rendition, for example. One of the provisions of Magna Carta is that you can't send someone across the seas for punishment. Much of the world participates in rendition now.

Is there potential for legal redress in cases like Hedges vs. Obama? How viable is that strategy?

Well, I was asked by Chris Hedges to participate and I'm one of the plaintiffs. I think it's a viable strategy. But NDAA is not the worst of it by far. Holder vs. Humanitarian Law is certainly worse. Legal strategies are certainly worth pursuing, and they can achieve results. Our system of law is flawed. But it's still a system of law. It's not Saudi Arabia.

There has been considerable outrage towards the Bradley Manning case - what do you make of the campaign to support him [10]?

Bradley Manning is another case of radical violation of the Magna Carta. Here's a guy, an American citizen. He's been held in prison without trial for about a year and a half, a large part of it in solitary confinement, which is torture, and he's never going to get a civil trial.

It's pretty remarkable to see that things like this are acceptable and not even worthy of comment. And Bradley Manning isn't even the worst case. Take, say, the first Guantanamo prisoner who went to what's called "trial" under Obama. Omar Khadr, his name is. Take a look at his history. He's a 15-year-old boy in his village in Afghanistan. Soldiers invade the village, so he shoots at them, trying to defend it. That makes him a terrorist. So he was sent to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, which is worse than Guantanamo. There's no Red Cross, no supervision, no nothing. He was there for a couple of years, and then sent to Guantanamo for another couple of years. Finally there came a chance to have a hearing before a military tribunal. This is mostly under Obama, for the record. His lawyers were told, You have two choices: You can plead guilty and you get another eight years in Guantanamo. Or you can plead innocent, in which case, you're here forever. So those are the choices his lawyers were given, practically in those words. So they told him to plead guilty. He's actually a Canadian citizen, and though they could have gotten him out anytime they wanted, Canada finally had the courage to step on the master's toes and asked for him to be released, though he remains imprisoned. [11]

The point of this is that we accept it. There's virtually no protest over the fact that a 15-year-old child is treated this way.

Is it possible that we might see a revival of the global justice movement of the 1980s to launch large-scale movements against these practices and policies?

There is a global justice movement, and it does important work. But it doesn't conform to the prevailing doctrinal system of the powerful, so it doesn't make it into the public view. There was an interesting report published recently by the Open Society Institute, "Globalizing Torture [12]." There were some very interesting aspects to that. It wasn't commented on much, but Latin American analyst Greg Grandin at New York University wrote a comment on it that was very important [13]. He said that if you look at the map of countries that participated in the US torture practices - which remember, is a violation of Magna Carta - most of the world participated. Most of Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. But there was one striking omission: Latin America. There wasn't a single Latin American country that participated. Which is striking because Latin America used to be under the thumb of the United States. They did what we wanted or else we would overthrow their governments. Furthermore, during that whole period, Latin America was one of the world centers of torture. But now they've liberated themselves enough, so they're the one area of the world that didn't participate. That helps explain the passionate hatred of Chavez and Morales and others who have taken Latin America out of the US's reach. Those are very important changes. It shows that things can be done.

In your time as an activist and writer, do you see states on a trajectory toward more openness, transparency and accountability, obviously with movements pushing that, or do you see them as more opaque, unaccountable and exclusive?

These things are always going on in parallel. In many respects it's more open and transparent. But there's a backlash to try to restore obedience, passivity and power structures. That struggle has gone on throughout history. Over hundreds of years, they do move toward openness, freedom and justice. Like Martin Luther King said, the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice. It's very slow, and it often bends backwards and that's true of basically any movement you can think of. Civil rights, women's rights, freedom of expression, etcetera. And we should remember that, in a lot of these movements, the United States has been a global leader. Freedom of speech is protected in the US beyond any country I know - certainly more than the European countries in all sorts of ways. And it's not in the Bill of Rights, incidentally. It comes mostly from Supreme Court Cases of the 1960s, some of them in the context of the civil rights movement. That's what large-scale popular movements do. They push things forward.

Do you see potential for a movement like that in response to recent policy and practice in regards to surveillance?

There should be. Nobody could have predicted what happened in the 60s. In the 50s, things were totally dead. I lived through it, so I know. There was very little activism going on. Then, all of a sudden, things started to happen. Unpredictably. A couple of black kids sat in at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. It could have ended there. Cops could have come and thrown the kids in jail and it would have been over. But it grew into a huge popular movement. That could happen again.


See more stories tagged with:
noam chomsky [14],
civil liberties [15]
Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/noam-chomsky-obamas-attack-civ
il-liberties-has-gone-way-beyond-imagination


Links:
[1] http://www.truthout.org
[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/mike-stivers
[3] http://www.alternet.org/authors/noam-chomsky
[4] http://www.aclu.org/national-security/supreme-court-rules-material-sup
port-law-can-stand

[5] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7484517.stm
[6] http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/05/obama-campaign-bra
gs-about-whistleblower-persecutions

[7] http://www.constitutioncampaign.org/blog/?p=10190
[8] http://newjimcrow.com/
[9] http://www.salon.com/2012/03/06/attorney_general_holder_defends_execut
ion_without_charges
/
[10] http://www.bradleymanning.org/
[11] http://rabble.ca/news/2013/04/why-omar-khadr-still-jail
[12] http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/reports/globalizing-torture-cia-
secret-detention-and-extraordinary-rendition

[13] http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175650/
[14] http://www.alternet.org/tags/noam-chomsky
[15] http://www.alternet.org/tags/civil-liberties
[16] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B color>

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Monday, July 22, 2013 5:29 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


In Midst of Scandal, NSA Gets New Mega-Warehouse for Data
Fri, 06/14/2013 - 7:00am
Associated Press, Brady McCombs



An aerial view of the NSA's Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah – the nation's new billion-dollar epicenter for fighting global cyberthreats. Image: AP Photo, Rick BowmerAn aerial view of the NSA's Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah – the nation's new billion-dollar epicenter for fighting global cyberthreats. Image: AP Photo, Rick BowmerThe nation's new billion-dollar epicenter for fighting global cyber threats sits just south of Salt Lake City, tucked away on a National Guard base at the foot of snow-capped mountains. The long, squat buildings span 1.5 million square feet, and are filled with super-powered computers designed to store massive amounts of information gathered secretly from phone calls and emails.

Two small, weathered signs in the sagebrush greet interlopers to this place with a stark warning: "Military reservation. No trespassing." But there is no visible marker bearing the facility's name and operator: The Utah Data Center, brought to you courtesy of the National Security Agency.

When it opens this fall, the facility will be the NSA's largest data storage center in the U.S. Just don't ask Utah officials, and certainly not the residents of tiny Bluffdale, just north of the new center, to tell you exactly what will go on inside. They either don't know, or aren't saying. And the NSA is famously tight-lipped.

"We know it's a spy center. But who are they spying on?" sais Connie Robbins, an upholstery shop owner who lives in Bluffdale, a community of 8,000 some 25 miles south of Salt Lake City that is known for its rodeo and annual Old West Days.

The dearth of information has perpetuated a mystery that has spawned dozens of theories and a spoof website that even includes a phony code name for the facility: "Bumblehive," a play on Utah's nickname of the "Beehive State."

Last week's revelation that the NSA is collecting millions of U.S. phone records along with digital communications stored by nine major Internet providers illustrates how aggressively personal information is being congregated and analyzed – and shines a brighter light on what will be going on in secret at the Utah facility, scheduled to open in October.

NSA officials say the center will play a key role in the nation's effort to protect national security networks, and allow U.S. authorities to monitor for potential cyberthreats. In an email, agency spokeswoman Vanee Vines writes that "many unfounded allegations have been made about the planned activities" of the center.

"NSA would like to confirm, on the record, that the Utah Data Center is a state-of-the-art data facility designed to support the U.S. intelligence community's efforts to further strengthen and protect the nation. Its operations will be lawfully conducted in accordance with U.S. laws and policies," Vines writes.

She provided no additional details, however.

Richard "Dickie" George, who retired from the NSA in 2011 after 40 years, said the facility isn't nearly as interesting or mysterious as some think. He calls it little more than a giant storeroom. Inundated with increasing volumes of secretly taped phone calls, intercepted emails and poached records of online purchases, the NSA needed a mega-warehouse to put it all, he said.

"It's just a big file cabinet out in the Western area," said George, once a senior technical leader at the agency. "There is no spying going on there."

NSA agents elsewhere will comb through the data stored in Utah as the agency attempts to understand how terrorist groups operate and who plays what roles, George said. Emails, articles, websites and videos on the Internet may hold clues about such activities, he said.

James Bamford, the author of several books on the NSA who last year wrote about the Utah center in Wired magazine, asserts that the facility will serve as the central depository for everything the NSA intercepts, functioning as the agency's "cloud." Analysts at NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., and other agency sites will be able to access the information by way of secure, fiber-optic cables, he said.

The mammoth center, which cost some $1.7 billion, will allow the agency to store more and, perhaps more importantly, keep information for much longer. Bamford theorizes the facility will be able to hold a so-called yottabyte of information, the largest measurement computer scientists have. A yottabyte is equal to 500 quintillion pages of text, said Bamford, who believes the Utah center will store those phone records NSA gathered from Verizon Communications.

"Every day you pick up a telephone and call your grandmother or call your sons and daughters and mothers and fathers and whoever, records of those calls will be all kept in there – and may be kept in there forever. Who knows?" Bamford said.

In response, NSA spokeswoman Vines stressed that the agency is not "unlawfully listening in on, or reading emails of, U.S. citizens."

NSA officials have said the agency chose the Bluffdale location over 37 others because electricity is cheaper here, and land more easily available. The center will constantly use 65 megawatts of power – enough to power 33,000 houses.

The secrecy and security surrounding the facility are necessary because the center will store classified information, and the code-breaking and spying activities of its staff are also highly classified and a target for foreign spies, said a former U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the program publicly.

The official said the Salt Lake City area is ideal because of a high concentration of Mormons who have served overseas missions and learned foreign languages. The NSA relies on non-English speakers to translate communications from around the world, and Utah provides a pool of employees that meets this need, said the official.

There is another facility in Utah where the NSA has analysts who translate intercepted communications, but there will be no such analysts at the Bluffdale center, the agency said. Most of the 150 to 200 workers instead will be technicians charged with keeping the power on and the computers chilled and working.

George said the agency probably doesn't need to be as hyper-secretive as it is but said such precautions are meant to avoid letting slip any insight that could tip off terrorist organizations and those who may wish harm upon the U.S.

"It's just not in your best interest to be talking about what you are doing," he said.

It's that air of uncertainty that has unnerved residents who live and work near the facility, located on the Camp Williams National Guard base. Some worry the center could become a target of terrorists if it holds so much valuable information.

"Say they were collecting data somebody didn't want, say a terrorist," said Shannon Neilson, a convenience store manager whose house is just miles from the center. "What if that's a target for a plane hitting that, destroying everything?"

Late last month, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the center to mark work being finished on the exterior. The celebration, however, was closed to the public – an exclusive, invitation-only gathering that barred even the mayor of Bluffdale. The NSA also rejected a request by city officials to take a group of visiting Utah mayors on a bus tour of the outside of the facility. The agency said all tours – even of the exterior – are prohibited.

At the Univ. of Utah in Salt Lake City, educators are creating a certificate program that they hope will produce students ready to work at big data centers such as the Bluffdale facility. The NSA helped reviewed the curriculum, offering suggestions and plans to offer internships to students, said Valerio Pascucci, director of the Center for Extreme Data, Management, Analysis and Visualization.

The program is designed primarily for undergraduate students studying mechanical or electrical engineering and computer science. So far, the Utah Data Center has yet to post jobs, Valerio said. "We are building a new expertise that obviously is going to be in growing demand in the future.”

Bluffdale City Manager Mark Reid said he hopes the NSA center serves as a magnet for other, privately run data centers to the area. Unlike the NSA facility, those would be required to pay property taxes. Reid will travel to a data center conference in Washington, D.C., this month to promote Utah's cheap power and ideal workforce. But if attendees ask about the new NSA facility, he'll be short on answers.

"I know very little," Reid said. "We just deliver the water."

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Monday, July 22, 2013 7:18 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


What does "collect it all" mean? Exactly what it says - Alexander took a "collect it all" surveillance approach originally directed at Iraqis in the middle of a war, and thereafter transferred it so that it is now directed at the US domestic population as well as the global one.

... as he did in Iraq, Alexander has pushed hard for everything he can get: tools, resources and the legal authority to collect and store vast quantities of raw information on American and foreign communications."

"'He is absolutely obsessed and completely driven to take it all, whenever possible," said Thomas Drake, a former NSA official and whistleblower. The continuation of Alexander's policies, Drake said, would result in the 'complete evisceration of our civil liberties.'"

That is the definition of a ubiquitous surveillance state - and it's been built in the dark, without the knowledge of the American people or people around the world, even though it's aimed at them. How anyone could think this should have all remained concealed - that it would have been better had it just been left to fester and grow in the dark - is truly mystifying.



http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/424-national-security/18421-th
e-crux-of-the-nsa-story-collect-it-all


The Crux of the NSA Story: 'Collect it All'

By Glenn Greenwald, Guardian UK

15 July 13



The actual story that matters is not hard to see: the NSA is attempting to collect, monitor and store all forms of human communication.


The Washington Post this morning has a long profile of Gen. Keith Alexander, director the NSA, and it highlights the crux - the heart and soul - of the NSA stories, the reason Edward Snowden sacrificed his liberty to come forward, and the obvious focal point for any responsible or half-way serious journalists covering this story. It helpfully includes that crux right in the headline, in a single phrase:

What does "collect it all" mean? Exactly what it says; the Post explains how Alexander took a "collect it all" surveillance approach originally directed at Iraqis in the middle of a war, and thereafter transferred it so that it is now directed at the US domestic population as well as the global one:

"At the time, more than 100 teams of US analysts were scouring Iraq for snippets of electronic data that might lead to the bomb-makers and their hidden factories. But the NSA director, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, wanted more than mere snippets. He wanted everything: Every Iraqi text message, phone call and e-mail that could be vacuumed up by the agency's powerful computers.

"'Rather than look for a single needle in the haystack, his approach was, 'Let's collect the whole haystack,' said one former senior US intelligence official who tracked the plan's implementation. 'Collect it all, tag it, store it. .?.?. And whatever it is you want, you go searching for it...

"It also encapsulated Alexander's controversial approach to safeguarding Americans from what he sees as a host of imminent threats, from terrorism to devastating cyberattacks.

"In his eight years at the helm of the country's electronic surveillance agency, Alexander, 61, has quietly presided over a revolution in the government's ability to scoop up information in the name of national security. And, as he did in Iraq, Alexander has pushed hard for everything he can get: tools, resources and the legal authority to collect and store vast quantities of raw information on American and foreign communications."

Aside from how obviously menacing and even creepy it is to have a state collect all forms of human communication - to have the explicit policy that literally no electronic communication can ever be free of US collection and monitoring - there's no legal authority for the NSA to do this. Therefore:

[E]ven his defenders say Alexander's aggressiveness has sometimes taken him to the outer edge of his legal authority."

"The outer edge of his legal authority": that's official-Washington-speak for "breaking the law", at least when it comes to talking about powerful DC officials (in Washington, only the powerless are said to have broken the law, which is why so many media figures so freely call Edward Snowden a criminal for having told his fellow citizens about all this, but would never dare use the same language for James Clapper for having lied to Congress about all of this, which is a felony). That the NSA's "collect it all" approach to surveillance has no legal authority is clear:

"One Democrat who confronted Alexander at a congressional hearing last month accused the NSA of crossing a line by collecting the cellphone records of millions of Americans.

'What authorization gave you the grounds for acquiring my cellphone data?' demanded Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), waving his mobile phone at the four-star general."

I know this is not as exciting to some media figures as Snowden's asylum drama or his speculated personality traits. But that the NSA is collecting all forms of electronic communications between Americans as well as people around the world - and, as I've said many times, thereby attempting by definition to destroy any remnants of privacy both in the US and globally - is as serious of a story as it gets, particularly given that it's all being done in secret. Here's another former NSA whistleblower, from the Post article, explaining why that is:

"'He is absolutely obsessed and completely driven to take it all, whenever possible," said Thomas Drake, a former NSA official and whistleblower. The continuation of Alexander's policies, Drake said, would result in the 'complete evisceration of our civil liberties.'"

Numerous NSA documents we've already published demonstrate that the NSA's goal is to collect, monitor and store every telephone and internet communication that takes place inside the US and on the earth. It already collects billions of calls and emails every single day. Still another former NSA whistleblower, the mathematician William Binney, has said that the NSA has "assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about US citizens with other US citizens" and that "estimate only was involving phone calls and emails."

The NSA is constantly seeking to expand its capabilities without limits. They're currently storing so much, and preparing to store so much more, that they have to build a massive, sprawling new facility in Utah just to hold all the communications from inside the US and around the world that they are collecting - communications they then have the physical ability to invade any time they want ("Collect it all, tag it, store it... ...And whatever it is you want, you go searching for it").

That is the definition of a ubiquitous surveillance state - and it's been built in the dark, without the knowledge of the American people or people around the world, even though it's aimed at them. How anyone could think this should have all remained concealed - that it would have been better had it just been left to fester and grow in the dark - is truly mystifying.

Perhaps the coining of a punchy phrase by the Washington Post to describe all of this - "collect it all" - will help those DC media figures who keep lamenting their own refusal to cover the substance of the NSA stories begin to figure out why they should cover the substance and how they can. The rest of the world is having no trouble focusing on the substance of these revelations - rather than the trivial dramas surrounding the person who enabled us to know of all this - and discussing why those revelations are so disturbing. Perhaps US media figures can now follow that example.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013 3:06 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.



There is a timeline they've drawn up https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying/timeline with interesting facts like: "Department of Justice Confirms NSA Does Not Need Court Order Every time it Searches Databases of Americans' Calling Information"

This gives a fair summary:

Last night, we received confirmation from a report in the Guardian that the National Security Agency (NSA) is currently collecting the call records of every Verizon customer in America. The NSA order forces Verizon to provide "on an ongoing daily basis" all call records for any call "wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls” and any call made "between the United States and abroad."

And that’s not all. Today, the Washington Post and the Guardian published reports based on information provided by a career intelligence officer showing how the NSA and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies. The government is extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.

Mounting Evidence of the NSA Warrantless Surveillance

EFF has so much evidence of the surveillance now that we've created a timeline.

In brief, America first learned about the secret surveillance in a 2005 New York Times exposé which disclosed one aspect of the NSA’s domestic surveillance program. We learned that the Bush Administration had been illegally tapping phone lines in the U.S. without warrants or court permission immediately following the 9/11 attacks. President Bush himself admitted at least some of what the government was doing.

In early 2006, EFF received photos and blueprints from former AT&T technician Mark Klein. These undisputed documents show that AT&T installed a fiberoptic splitter at its facility in San Francisco which sends copies of all AT&T customers’ emails, web browsing, and other Internet traffic to the NSA.

Later in 2006, USA Today and a number of other newspapers published a story disclosing that the NSA had compiled a massive database of call records from American telecommunications companies, which included AT&T, Verizon, and Bell South. This was confirmed by a number of members of Congress.

Information has continued to trickle out over time. In 2009, the New York Times reported the NSA was still collecting purely domestic communications in a "significant and systematic" way after the FISA Amendments Act was passed in 2008.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Verizon

The news of the last few days has confirmed the records portion of the surveillance, and gave us some additional hints about the government’s arguments in support of its actions. The secret court order issued to Verizon was a Section 215 order (50 U.S.C. sec. 1861), a controversial legal instrument greatly expanded when George Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act into law on October 26, 2001. It allows the government to seek "any tangible things" in connection with an authorized investigation and is often known as the "business records" provision of FISA.

Section 215 allows for secret court orders to records that are "relevant" to a government investigation – a far lower threshold and more expansive reach than a warrant based on probable cause. The list of possible "tangible things" the government can obtain is seemingly limitless, and could include everything from driver’s license records to Internet browsing history.

We've long suspected that the government has been using Section 215 to conduct dragnet surveillance. Now we have incontrovertible evidence. Senator Ron Wyden has warned that "when the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry."

Senator Wyden is right.

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Sunday, August 4, 2013 7:04 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


Some of you may recognize the speaker.




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Saturday, February 1, 2014 6:17 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


One of the most important points was they said that there was not a single instance where the evidence or the information obtained by NSA help prevent a single instance of terrorism or actually help any terrorism investigation.

So, here you are spending billions of dollars and the exact result is absolutely zero. So you have got this massive intrusion and violation of privacy rights, you have got a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States which protects against unreasonable search and seizure, you need a judicial warrant to do that and it has not even stopped a single instance of violence or terrorism. The whole program is hundreds of billions of dollars spent and the return is absolutely zero which is mind-boggling.

Another report came out to say that really what the NSA is after is looking for material to blackmail people to force them to do things. When you are spying on Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany and other world leaders, this is offensive towards friends but also very dangerous and certainly illegal and it is going to create all sorts of problems for people.

Another report came out to say that the NSA is in fact also doing industrial espionage on behalf of American companies. So they are spying on industrial for trade purposes in secret.

They are also spying on government negotiations with regard to beans and agricultural products. This has got nothing to do with terrorism or national security but everything you do about illegal spying and getting information through improper sources.

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Sunday, February 2, 2014 7:30 AM

FREMDFIRMA


Quote:

Originally posted by 1kiki:
So, here you are spending billions of dollars and the exact result is absolutely zero.


Bingo.
They exist for themselves, of themselves, and will do literally ANYTHING to maintain that sweet flood of largesse... just ask John Kennedy, oh, wait, you CAN'T, oh well...

Which begs the question of who really runs this fucking country, yes ?

Were it me, I would put a 50KT tactical into Langley, Quantico, and Ft Meade, posthaste, and consider the collateral a necessary price, because the gravest threat our country has ever faced, is from our own so-called-protectors.
Quote:

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
-James Madison


-Frem

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Sunday, February 2, 2014 11:07 AM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.



Which begs the question of who really runs this fucking country, yes ?

I've been wondering that myself.

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Sunday, February 2, 2014 11:13 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Well, it sure isn't us.


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Thursday, October 29, 2020 5:53 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN

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Friday, October 30, 2020 3:48 AM

WISHIMAY


We need more surveillance just to keep up with the Right Wing Terrorism in this country.

TRUTH.

I have no problem with it. bring on more cameras, thanx


https://refusefascism.org/

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Friday, October 30, 2020 11:23 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by WISHIMAY:
We need more surveillance just to keep up with the Right Wing Terrorism in this country.

TRUTH.

I have no problem with it. bring on more cameras, thanx


https://refusefascism.org/



Nilbog loves Big Brother.


Seriously. In a very stupid year, I'm voting this the dumbest thing that anybody has said in the real world in 2020.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Friday, October 30, 2020 3:40 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
Quote:

Originally posted by WISHIMAY:
We need more surveillance just to keep up with the Right Wing Terrorism in this country.

TRUTH.
I have no problem with it. bring on more cameras, thanx
https://refusefascism.org/

Nilbog loves Big Brother.

Seriously. In a very stupid year, I'm voting this the dumbest thing that anybody has said in the real world in 2020.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

More cameras for that purpose just means gobs of deleting and editing all of the Lefty BLM and Antifag violence.

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Friday, October 30, 2020 6:42 PM

WISHIMAY


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:


Nilbog loves Big Brother.




I'd trust our spooks more than I would ever trust a lazy nazi like you

I've never done anything I'd have to worry about


https://refusefascism.org/

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Friday, October 30, 2020 7:01 PM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


It loves Big Brother.

Quote:

"I've never done anything I'd have to worry about"


It plagiarizes Orwell.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Saturday, October 31, 2020 2:22 AM

WISHIMAY


I'll love Big Bro more when the Orange Turd is under constant guard in prison


https://refusefascism.org/

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Saturday, October 31, 2020 8:47 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


It blames its problems on everybody else.

It is delusional.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Thursday, November 19, 2020 1:26 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.



Hm. Good question, LATimes:

Lazarus: Do you really want Amazon’s new drugstore knowing your medical condition?

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-11-19/column-amazon-pharma
cy-privacy

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