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Intelligence Director Claims NSA Surveillance Reports Inaccurate

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the nothing-to-see-here-move-along dept.

Government 262

Nerval's Lobster writes "James R. Clapper, the nation's Director of National Intelligence, claimed that recent reports about the NSA monitoring Americans' Internet and phone communications are inaccurate. 'The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,' he wrote in a June 6 statement. 'They contain numerous inaccuracies.' While the statement didn't detail the supposed inaccuracies, it explained why the monitoring described in those articles would, at least in theory, violate the law. 'Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States,' it read. 'It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.' Those newspaper articles describe an NSA project codenamed Prism, which allegedly taps into the internal databases of nine major technology companies: Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL, and Apple. Both publications drew their information from an internal PowerPoint presentation used to train intelligence operatives. Speaking to Slashdot, Google, Microsoft and Facebook all again denied knowledge of Prism; the Google spokesperson suggested he didn't 'have any insight' into why Google would have appeared in the NSA's alleged PowerPoint presentation. But many, many questions remain."

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Quick! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936387)

Quick! Look at this diversion. *runs away cackling*

google glass, anyone? (5, Funny)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936543)

James R. Clapper, the nation's Director of National Intelligence, issued the following statement:
"The NSA and FBI wish to thank wish to thank Google and the glassholes for contributing to the panopticon and bringing us real-time insights into the daily activities of terrorists and potential terrorists (the two categories of citizens) nationwide."

popup: are you sure? (5, Insightful)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937015)

This was my favorite part of the WaPo article:

There has been “continued exponential growth in tasking to Facebook and Skype,” according to the PRISM slides. With a few clicks and an affirmation that the subject is believed to be engaged in terrorism, espionage or nuclear proliferation, an analyst obtains full access to Facebook’s “extensive search and surveillance capabilities against the variety of online social networking services.”

so, you enter a name to access his full facebook profile, and there's a popup - are you reasonably sure he's a terrorist? yes/no" I'm glad to know there are safeguards in place!

Double-speak (4, Insightful)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936403)

"You are wrong, but I am not going to tell you HOW you are wrong"

From reading the Powerpoint, I came to a few conclusions. First, the news reports about the details of the program are accurate. Second, the Powerpoint is legitimate, albeit amateur for someone to disregard the standard stylistic guidelines for information that has classifications on it. Third, the full Powerpoint presentation will be declassified in 2037, so do not hold your breath for all the details.

Re:Double-speak (1)

auric_dude (610172) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936639)

"You are wrong, but I am not going to tell you HOW you are wrong"

As Christene Keeler once said "He would, wouldn't he?" I expect that her quote is just as apposite then as now.

Re:Double-speak (4, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936795)

"Second, the Powerpoint is legitimate"

I don't think so. Note the cost estimates for a program of supposedly massive scale: $20M/year.

That one number completely destroys the credibility of the slides. Even if you multiplied that number by 10 it would probably still be a bit on the low side.

Re:Double-speak (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43937003)

Not really. Once the system is developed, all it does is just accept information, tag it with metadata, and store it for later retrieval. 20M/year for a data archival system of that scope sounds reasonable.

Of course, that may be the reason why it's a fake.. No government IT project ever has "reasonable" costs. Hah!

Re:Double-speak (2)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937175)

To clarify, I meant the markings on the Powerpoint, not necessarily the information in the presentation. Classification markings and such.

Re:Double-speak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936823)

Second, the Powerpoint is legitimate...

And how exactly do you know that? Making a fake Powerpoint presentation is so utterly trivial that I cannot imagine how you can so boldly claim that the presentation is legitimate. Short of having first-hand knowledge of it's creation/use, you can't possibly know anything about its legitimacy.

Re:Double-speak (2)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936835)

Third, the full Powerpoint presentation will be declassified in 2037

Is this because Unix geeks who're card-carrying members of the EFF will use the impending Year 2038 bug as leverage to demand mass declassification before they agree to work?

Re:Double-speak (2)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937159)

First page of the presentation has a block that says "declassification date"

Cue the consiracy theorists.... (-1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936419)

... in 3... 2... 1...

Re:Cue the consiracy theorists.... (4, Interesting)

Bodhammer (559311) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936541)

In other news, George Orwell's "1984" was published 64 years ago yesterday.

"The keyword here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink. Doublethink is basically the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them."

Re:Cue the consiracy theorists.... (3, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936937)

> Doublethink is basically the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them."

This, by the way, and probably deliberately, is the textbook definition of neurosis.

Re:Cue the consiracy theorists.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43937205)

We do not comment on intelligence matters.

is what the GCHQ said.
a non-admission admission, if there ever was one.

Re:Cue the consiracy theorists.... (5, Insightful)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936581)

just because you're paranoid doesn't mean the government isn't spying on all your activities.

Re:Cue the consiracy theorists.... (4, Insightful)

brxndxn (461473) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936697)

Seriously, what the fuck does it accomplish by calling anyone conspiracy theorists? It's in mainstream media now - and you're still calling them conspiracy theorists? It was leaked, reported on, and it is out there.. and it's even being shown on TV news in the US.

You're living uninformed and in a bubble if you cannot see the obvious direction the US is headed.. You're sitting there with your head in the sand calling the people that are most vocal about it derogatory names.

This is just what is reported.. A conspiracy theorist would say that most likely the actual truth is more damming.

no conspiracy - they're just doing it legally (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936883)

Conspiracy [wikipedia.org]

a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime at some time in the future.

You see, since 9/11, government has gained many legal powers to monitor citizens. Whenever someone challenges their powers, it eventually gets approved by SCOTUS. There is no conspiracy: they're just doing it because they can. And one day it WILL be abused. I have absolutely no doubt about that.

And these days with every company out there collecting data on people on every little detail of their lives, our spy agencies don't have to do anything. They just order the corp that is collecting the info they want to hand it over - or else.

And as for James R. Clapper, the nation's Director of National Intelligence, his JOB is to lie, obfuscate the truth, and do whatever it takes to do his job - as he thinks it should be done.

He's a liar until proven otherwise.

Re:Cue the consiracy theorists.... (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937011)

It's not theory when it turns out it's actually true. That mantra used against opponents of this administration is wearing very thin. A few more days of constant scandals and it will be gone.

Re:Cue the consiracy theorists.... (2)

cffrost (885375) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937061)

Whoops, sorry everybody... It was my job to cue the government apologists, but I was late, so don't blame mark-t for going ahead on schedule.

"No Insight" - What they really mean (4, Interesting)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936439)

Google, Yahoo, Skype... "We don't give the NSA access to your mail/chat". What they really mean is: "We let them take copies of everything via the backdoor API, before we even store it"

Re:"No Insight" - What they really mean (5, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936849)

Do also notice that they're only protesting that they don't spy on U.S. citizens; they never actually say they do not allow direct access to everyone from outside the U.S.

Re:"No Insight" - What they really mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43937027)

That wouldn't be illegal.

Re:"No Insight" - What they really mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43937091)

I interpret they're comments differently. The companies asked responded back with "I never heard of Prism". I would not expect everyone at the company to hear of it. The other response was along the lines of. We are only providing access and information as per what is legal.
Although that may be technically correct...what is the actual law and interpretation of it they are using?

A person working undercover as a drug informant or someone running guns actually sells real drugs and sells real guns to people. Those actions are technically illegal for an informant to do that but since he/she is working for law enforcement purposes, it is legal. Could the same be happening here?

Did they come and say there we've never worked with the NSA or FBI, they have absolutely no presence in our network and we only give them very limited information asked for by a conventional search warrant signed by a judge?

       

Re:"No Insight" - What they really mean (3, Informative)

void* (20133) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937247)

They are not protesting that they don't spy on U.S. citizens. They are protesting that they don't "target" U.S. citizens. Even if true, it does not mean that they are not spying on U.S. citizens. It means that they consider any spying on U.S. citizens as incidental, rather than targeted. "We're going to take the data on everyone, but it's ok, you're not the target" is not reassuring.

Great argument (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936467)

It would be illegal, so that can't be what happened.

Re:Great argument (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937191)

When the government does it, that means it is not illegal.

buggedplanet.info (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936473)

srsly, since when hasn't spy orgs been balls deep in this kinda stuff:

http://www.buggedplanet.info/ [buggedplanet.info]

Pick any two, or both (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936493)

Those in power are one of the following (with regards to this whole spying deal)

(1) Lying about something
(2) Bastards

Feel free to add your own.

Re:Pick any two, or both (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937195)

(3) Blackmailed
(4) In some cases, opposed to it (at least publicly). Of course, one could argue that just because they're senators and such doesn't mean they're part of "Those in power".

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Watchmen? (5, Insightful)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936499)

Of course the NSA doesn't spy on American citizens. That's against the law.

What they do is allow friendly foreign agents -- like the UK -- to spy on American citizens, and then they share the data together. [guardian.co.uk] It's totally different and completely legal.

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Watchmen? (4, Informative)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936563)

If you read the Powerpoint, you will notice that the PRISM program was classified as TOPSECRET//SI//ORCON//NOFORN . The NOFORN part means that other agencies, from the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand [wikipedia.org] , do not have access to that information. GCHQ may have had access to the data acquired, but based on the NSA's own documents, the GCHQ was not privy to the source or method of collecting that data.

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Watchmen? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936661)

That's not strictly true. The NOFORN indicates the slides themselves are not allowed to be released to foreign citizens and governments, it says nothing about the program and the program's capabilities. It would not be unusual for a briefing slide to be classified differently than a the program itself.

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Watchmen? (2)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936729)

Because each line did not have a classification marking (lazy contractors, I assume), it is impossible to tell which parts exactly are NOFORN or not. However, that means that all information within the slideshow is considered to be of the security level of the Powerpoint as a whole.

At least that is how it is supposed to work. I am going to assume some lazy Lockheed Martin contractor threw these slides together 10 minutes before some meeting, therefore their accuracy could easily be in question. I mean, the classification marking are supposed to be centered. How hard is it to click one button?

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Watchmen? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936967)

Because each line did not have a classification marking (lazy contractors, I assume), it is impossible to tell which parts exactly are NOFORN or not. However, that means that all information within the slideshow is considered to be of the security level of the Powerpoint as a whole.

At least that is how it is supposed to work. I am going to assume some lazy Lockheed Martin contractor threw these slides together 10 minutes before some meeting, therefore their accuracy could easily be in question. I mean, the classification marking are supposed to be centered. How hard is it to click one button?

if it's supposed to be so classified that nobody outside is going to see them anyways, why bother with formatting.

hell, I barely bother with formatting for my slashdot posts and everyone can see them!

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Watchmen? (2)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936689)

GCHQ may have had access to the data acquired, but based on the NSA's own documents, the GCHQ was not privy to the source or method of collecting that data.

They don't need to know where the data comes from in order to share it with the NSA. This is how the NSA spies on American citizens, by laundering the data through foreign agencies. The foreign agencies don't have to know or care where the data comes from. In return they're probably sharing data with the NSA in the same way, to spy on citizens in their own country.

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Watchmen? (3, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936983)

Does NOFORN mean "Foreign intelligence agencies are not involved in the activities described by this document" or "Foreign intelligence agencies should not be shown or given access to this document"?

My guess would be the latter. Why would GCHQ be given a copy of this PowerPoint slideshow? Would they even need it?

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Watchmen? (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936603)

Of course the NSA doesn't spy on American citizens. That's against the law.

What they do is allow friendly foreign agents -- like the UK -- to spy on American citizens, and then they share the data together. [guardian.co.uk] It's totally different and completely legal.

they can spy on everyone.

they can't just spy on person x. but everyone is free game.

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Watchmen? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936825)

I wonder if there's about to be a raging business in non-US-hosted free email.

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Watchmen? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936969)

I wonder if there's about to be a raging business in non-US-hosted free email.

What could possibly be the point of that? Anyone using email needs to presume that while in transit, anyone can see (and store for later) the message contents. Given this, the notion that the NSA (or anyone else interested) has access to it is a foregone conclusion. What we have here (if true) is merely a more organized way for them to search through the data. If you are concerned about this, you don't need a foreign email box, you need a foreign residence.

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Watchmen? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937185)

Really? Then the NSA can read this...

72651 04221 57480 36464 22525 40806 05364 14888 73443 61065 32107 16870 77711 12052 06500 04650 70146 10816 6875_ 71226 20225 47026 84820 28613 30081 06324 02407 11828 58346 87235 20223 58001 50600 71347 84678 57723 46612 70361 82155 74777 74278 20526 72357 64288 21638 15603 58165 58402 63367 62220 22608 20885 65201 72057 65888 36350 68002 21641 22320 06835 11518 21735 52250 24440 31376 27533 73066 23686 12450 08427 77208 13760 88521 54711 34826 66451 13104 01557 60551 31751 80744 71074 21113 02488 27537 68677 57737 53671 21120 62551 75221 41020 68682 67712 87376 44030 46878 67127 64322 52711 77216 12833 26521 13334 31062 86553 66630 55710 34424 88616

The NSA can not break civilian grade Open Source encryption.

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Watchmen? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937097)

Yeah! I'll move to a mail service in the UK! The government *never* spies on you in Britain!

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Watchmen? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937163)

Non US or US ally hosted encrypted communication channel email? Yes.

What you suggested? nope.

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Watchmen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936851)

Intelligence laundering

Inaccurate, sure... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936527)

But only because the reality is worse!

Or did people forget about how the FBI uses Carnivore [wikipedia.org] and its successors, or that the NSA has had Echelon [wikipedia.org] in continuous operation? The companies that are protesting that they don't willingly hand over the data are probably right, the NSA is probably tapping the datacenters and ISPs directly without telling anyone concerned (see the fiasco at AT&T [wikipedia.org] for instance).

what gets me... (3, Insightful)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936533)

is that the news outlets are saying it was a secret.

Is there really anybody out there who didn't know the government has been doing this?

Re:what gets me... (2)

intermodal (534361) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936617)

There's a reason people have been cracking jokes for years about merely saying certain things getting them "on a list" without having to specify and everybody knows what they are referring to...

Re:what gets me... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936933)

I went to an Iraq War protest with my oldest son back in the day. Next time my wife went to print the family's boarding passes for a domestic flight, two passes wouldn't print.

Mine, and my youngest son.

Coincidence? If it was because of the protest, they did get the wrong boy, so maybe...

But I went to that protest fully expecting some kind of retaliation, and was not disappointed. I can board planes easily now, at least until they track this message back to me. Don't think the AC is going to fool them, based on these latest reports.

Re:what gets me... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43937037)

Unless they refused to print your passes because you were on the No Fly List, it's likely just a system malfunction.

Otherwise what would happen is that they would print your passes but tag SSSS on them for secondary screening. There is a national database of people, below the threshold of being forbidden from flying, who get an extra gate-raping when they go fly.

Re:what gets me... (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936671)

Is there really anybody out there who didn't know the government has been doing this?

We all knew it because it was the obvious simpleton path for the government to take in response to 9/11. But we didn't have proof. Now we have proof.

Re:what gets me... (1)

Pulzar (81031) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936799)

But we didn't have proof. Now we have proof.

Those cheesy powerpoint slides are the proof?

Re:what gets me... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936785)

Suspicion is one thing, confirmation is quite another. It's going to make the next ICANN meeting more interesting, given that it's no longer politically neutral for any part of the internet's infrastructure to be hosted in the US.

Re:what gets me... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936875)

Before the leak: "Yeah whatever, put your tinfoil hat back on"
After the leak: "Cool story bro. We've all known this all along. Why are you making such a fuss"

Re:what gets me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43937009)

Is there really anybody out there who didn't know the government has been doing this?

Sadly there are quite a few people, very well educated and established people, who will even now continue to vocally disbelieve that any such activities are occurring. They will automatically throw out the "P" word.. "Paranoid".

Seemingly they are too afraid to even consider such a reality. People like that are what allow such things to keep going on...

Re:what gets me... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937215)

Yes, the 90% of sheeple that though that the PATRIOT act was a good thing.

Wait What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936545)

1- Deny It
2- Let it die out
3- ????
4- Hey come here... 1X34's sister is taking a bath...god bless kinetic

Verbal loophole (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936569)

That is very well crafted response. Look at what he says "'It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen...." - INTENTIONALLY target is key there. They aren't intentionally targeting anyone. They are doing a broad sweep of everyone's data, then analyzing it, at which point they an argue for probable cause and then intentionally target an individual within the scope of the law. Words matter

Re:Verbal loophole (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936701)

If I had to guess, personally, based on what I've heard and what I've seen. I'd say that they are building a network of contacts. They want to be able to see who talks to who, how often, at what times of day and night, and over what mediums. When they identify a suspect, they want to be able to quickly identify who else they should be looking into. To a lesser extent, they want to look for unusual patterns that could indicate something nefarious is going on, most people's contacts to not follow a rigid hierarchy. Most people's contacts aren't segregated into groups that have little to no contact between them.

The problem with that kind of analysis is that it will never be accurate enough to be useful, simply because of the numbers involved. A .01% false positive rate will completely swamp out a 90% true positive rate, when you are looking at hundreds of millions of people looking for just dozens of potential terrorists.

Re:Verbal loophole (3, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936971)

Actually its a temporal loophole. See, they can collect the data now, under the auspices of national security and with paper thin protections that restrict their usage. The problem is.... the system exists now. So if they change that rule, oops... the system already exists.

This means we have to not only trust that they are not now, secretly, misusing the data beyond their claims (whether the claims are bull or not is another question, and whether the claims being true justify it, also another matter), but we have to trust that every future group will do the same, through the future administrations, future panels of judges, future NSA administrators.

So this is a temporal loophole.... we setup a system that makes it look ok to many people now.... but then we have it so all we have to do is change policy and its already too late.

Re:Verbal loophole (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937035)

They are intentionally target everyone, which is inclusive of anyone.

The NSA is an Existential Threat to Freedom (1, Insightful)

Phoenix666 (184391) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936571)

The NSA, Congress, and the Whitehouse represent an existential threat to the freedom of the American people, the most dire in the history of the country. The Constitution is the law of the land, not just some "damned piece of paper." If the government, in all its organs, branches, and bodies, conspires to violate that Constitution then the American people have the right and duty to take up arms to defend it. As the oath goes, defend it against "all enemies, foreign or domestic." And this is a domestic enemy of the Constitution.

Let's set aside this Left vs. Right bullshit and take our country back, Americans.

Re:The NSA is an Existential Threat to Freedom (2, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936741)

If the government, in all its organs, branches, and bodies, conspires to violate that Constitution then the American people have the right and duty to take up arms to defend it.

Right? Possibly. Duty? Hell, no. I and most of the population are not going to start shooting people and risking our own deaths just because someone with a stricter interpretation of the American political process got his panties in a bunch. Violation of perceived rights would have to much, much deeper before inaction is no longer a moral choice.

Re:The NSA is an Existential Threat to Freedom (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936747)

I think literally "taking up arms" is premature and would be counter-productive, but parent is right. I'm writing to my Congressional representatives tonight to let them know that I vote and my next vote will be heavily influenced by their response to this revelation. I think I'll also write to my national political party office (I'm registered with a major party) to tell them the same thing. It's also a good time to consider joining/contributing to an organization that advocates for privacy and civil rights.

False hope (2)

Aerokii (1001189) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936573)

You know... I really wish I could believe him.

But I don't. "It must be wrong because all that is illegal" is a mighty poor excuse, even if the "illegal" part is quite true. I've stood by my country despite many, MANY bad decisions, but... this? I just can't support this.

You have been tricked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43937051)

You know... I really wish I could believe him.

But I don't. "It must be wrong because all that is illegal" is a mighty poor excuse, even if the "illegal" part is quite true. I've stood by my country despite many, MANY bad decisions, but... this? I just can't support this.

Based on TFS:

'They contain numerous inaccuracies.' While the statement didn't detail the supposed inaccuracies, it explained why the monitoring described in those articles would, at least in theory, violate the law.

Note that saying "the articles contains inaccuracies" does NOT imply they didn't do it, the "inaccuracies" could mean the truth is worse than reported. Then saying the monitoring would violate the law is just another statement, which does NOT imply they aren't doing it either.

Consider a murderer saying that the reports of his crime "contained inaccuracies" (which could be having inaccurate time of murder), and then he go on to say "murder is against the law". Both statement are true, but doesn't mean he is saying he didn't commit the murder.

NSA is lying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936619)

Let's face it: The NSA has a history of lying about their spying [youtube.com] . It's part of an undemocratic system unworthy of a free people.

In fact, it's part of a longer history of illegal and abusive state operations [wikipedia.org] , like trying to get Martin Luther King to commit suicide. Let's face it: The US government grabs for the maximum amount of power it can get, no matter what the consequences. (Notwithstanding that, the private sector sector is just as bad. Fuck you Cisco, for enabling dictators)

The law is irrelevant and does not apply (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936621)

The NSA will do what it wants, and that's that. Discussing the law is mental masturbation. If you want it to stop, you know what you have to do. Since I don't see any progress on our part, all this talk about crimes committed by the authorities is in an infinite loop, with the same thing being said over and over.

At least try to vote the bums out to see if they will vacate the office peacefully.

Re:The law is irrelevant and does not apply (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936819)

all I see is a two party system where both sides are 99% fascist bitches of mega-corporations. vote for the bum of your choice?

Re:The law is irrelevant and does not apply (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936877)

all I see is a two party system...

Take off the cheap sunglasses, and look beyond what's on the TV. Only then will you see the great abundance that surrounds us all.

Re:The law is irrelevant and does not apply (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937005)

Nonsense, on some issues for some of the time we have one or two people who do the right thing as long as its inconsequential and as long as they're generally kooky enough that it probably does more harm than good to have them associated with us.

Imagine that! (1)

jeffclay (1077679) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936643)

Imagine that; the government denying that it's doing something illegal. Maybe he was narrating a comic strip or something and they only thought it was a press release.

Verizon Wireless ads, Can you hear me now? (2)

atom1c (2868995) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936653)

VZW Engineer on lover's lane: Can you hear me now?
NSA Technician: Check.

VZW Engineer across the street from a Meth lab: And now?
NSA Technician: Check.

VZW Engineer in the depths of FBI (Hoover Building): Can you hear me now?
NSA Technician: Check.

VZW Engineer in the Pentagon data center: How about now?
NSA Technician: Check.

VZW Engineer in the NSA data center: How about now?
NSA Technician: No comment.

FAIL (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936655)

Courts have established that the police/government may not record conversations, even if they are not listened to, without a warrant. In effect, Clapper is arguing that the FISA order was a warrant to tap every phone line based on "probable cause". Bullshit. FISA/Patriot act as crap as it is still requires reasonable suspicion.

Intentionally (1)

Dan East (318230) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936695)

'It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.'

So what has happened is someone talked a judge into interpreting this to mean it's okay for any amount of data to flow through the NSA, as an implementation requirement, as long as they don't store the data they aren't supposed to. But in order to know what data they are allowed to access they have to look at it first, and some judge ruled that's okay as long as the NSA doesn't act on data they aren't allowed to access.

Re:Intentionally (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937071)

Someone gave the order to press the enter key that turned on the system. At that point they intentionally targeted everyone, which includes all of the above.

What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936713)

Do people really care that much if their call records or internet activity are fed into a support vector machine or whatever? What's the harm in this?

Just playing devil's advocate...

Aha (1)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936759)

"It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen"

So that's why they don't target anyone in specific. They just grab all the communications and treat us all like terrorists.

Re:Aha (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937087)

All includes any.

Words echo in my head (4, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936769)

"I'm saying that when the President does it, it's not illegal!" - Richard Nixon, 1977

No problem (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936797)

He can just disclose everything about this secret surveillance program, thereby easily disbanding any of these 'false' rumors with the truth!

You know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936801)

If you do not want to be monitored, don't make phone calls, don't email, don't IM, don't Text. Nobody is forcing you to do any of that.

Re:You know? (1)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936873)

If you do not want to be monitored, don't make phone calls, don't email, don't IM, don't Text. Nobody is forcing you to do any of that.

Yep. My paycheck is also conjured from the ether too.

Re:You know? (1)

thisisnotreal (888437) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936919)

truly an insightful comment. and realistic too. Are you saying this is like no free speech, 'at the mall', where you can't do it, because it is private property? sigh

Re:You know? (1)

fazey (2806709) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937043)

Also, dont go to any government buildings, dont get within eye shot of public property, dont patron any business that the government might be involved with... and we might as well add... dont walk out of the shade, because the drones will see you. So just stay home and twittle your thumbs quietly and the government wont spy on you.

Trust Nothing and No-One (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936829)

A good rule of thumb for dealing with digital privacy issues. It'll never let you down.

"in theory, violate the law" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43936833)

The US government has violated the law so many times in the last 10 years that a
"theoretical" violation would to them almost be praiseworthy.

LOL "violate the LAW"? (4, Insightful)

moeinvt (851793) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936855)

"the statement didn't detail the supposed inaccuracies, it explained why the monitoring described in those articles would, at least in theory, violate the law."

This scumbag is arguing that the allegations in the stories are inaccurate because the actions they describe would be in violation of THE LAW?

Since when does the government give a damn about following the law or holding its employees accountable for violations?
The Bush wiretapping program was blatantly illegal under the original FISA law, the OTS helped banks back-date deposits to mask their insolvency, the ATF smuggles weapons to the Mexican drug cartels. The government openly murders U.S. citizens without charge or trial.

This guy is arguing that government would NEVER violate the law, therefore any allegations of criminal activity by the government must necessarily be false? LOL

Misdirection (1)

enabran (1451761) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936891)

The Post/Guardian articles didn't claim that PRISM was being used officially to spy on Americans. They pointed out that its stated purpose was to spy on people thought to be foreign (probability of 0.51 or greater that the target is not a US citizen), and mentioned that some American citizens get spied upon "incidentally" and that this data is supposed to be removed - but also that it's not considered a big deal if American citizens are spied upon.

Additionally some of the communications of foreign targets can involve a US citizen, even if they're not the target of the spying.

Remember also that the intelligence community uses its own private definitions which make it easier to misdirect the public.

denial was in paragraph 1 subsection 1 (1)

thisisnotreal (888437) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936893)

i'm pretty sure, were all this stuff true, that denial as having signed on would have been condition 1 in the documents, so again this is more slashdum this site is a shadow of what it once was. where is the new slashdot, did i miss the memo? i don't read those anyway. ,grumble, mubm.le,

All these comments are logged... (1)

thisisnotreal (888437) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936951)

and will be sent to the NSA promptly for analysis. prism. echelon smarmalon. this is for your protection! wake up sheeple. i don't even know what i mean anymore, so don't worry.

NSL (1)

fazey (2806709) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936981)

All of the companies probably received an NSL as well.

ignore the man behind the black curtain (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a year and a half ago | (#43936995)

nothing to worry about, move along you commoners.

Better social (1)

hey (83763) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937055)

This is a great opportunity to make (or promote) a better social network that is decentralized.

Lack of CNN coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43937105)

Anyone else notice the lack of coverage about this or any other story about the NSA on CNN's homepage?

Re:Lack of CNN coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43937239)

CNN is a liberal rag as slanted as fox is the other direction. If it looks bad upon the master it will not show on cnn.

dammit (1)

caiocaiocaio (2883871) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937143)

gosh dammit why did rms have to be right about something again? I hate it when that guy is right. Also I guess I'm going to have to start using crappy duck duck go and running a mail server, dammit.

Re:dammit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43937229)

duck duck go is run by a jew in silicon valley which means all the nsa has to do and show up and say they need your searches for the sake of israels security and he'll hand it over. better to switch to yandex which is run by russians in russia.

IMPEACH BLACK BUSH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43937187)

obama must go

the key word is "targeting" (1)

atfrase (879806) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937217)

Yes, sure, "it cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen" -- but a sweeping dragnet that intercepts and logs every private communication of every citizen of the United States isn't exactly "targeting" any particular citizen, is it? Of course to us, that makes it worse and not better, but to the agents of the modern US surveillance state it is a lovely loophole indeed.

Quote Judge Dredd (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year and a half ago | (#43937245)

"I am The Law!" - Judge Dredd and the NSA

The Patriot Act needs to go! Join the EFF Today! [eff.org] and start writing you your Senators and members of congress [opencongress.org] now to get this horrid piece of legislation repealed. The only way it will stop is if we tell them both in writing and in the voting booth that we want this violation of our privacy to stop.

We have a huge hidden intelligence network that has ballooned since 9/11 and it just feeds on data and money. It's largely ineffective and couldn't actually target a couple of brothers that were directly warned by the Russians [washingtontimes.com] , leading to the bombing of the Boston Marathon. If you think the current administration is in support of your privacy rights, Think Again!" [businessinsider.com]

“All it takes for evil to succeed is for a few good men to do nothing...” - Edmund Burke

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