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Member of President Obama's NSA Panel Recommends Increased Data Collection

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the not-so-fast dept.

Privacy 349

cold fjord writes "National Journal reports, 'Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA and a member of President Obama's task force on surveillance, said ... that a controversial telephone data-collection program conducted by the National Security Agency should be expanded to include emails. He also said the program, far from being unnecessary, could prevent the next 9/11. Morell, seeking to correct any misperception that the presidential panel had called for a radical curtailment of NSA programs, said he is in favor of restarting a program that the NSA discontinued in 2011 that involved the collection of "meta-data" for internet communications. ... "I would argue actually that the email data is probably more valuable than the telephony data," ... Morell also said that while he agreed with the report's conclusion that the telephone data program, conducted under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, made "only a modest contribution to the nation's security" so far, it should be continued under the new safeguards recommended by the panel. "I would argue that what effectiveness we have seen to date is totally irrelevant to how effective it might be in the future," he said. "This program, 215, has the ability to stop the next 9/11 and if you added emails in there it would make it even more effective. Had it been in place in 2000 and 2001, I think that probably 9/11 would not have happened."' — More at Politico and National Review. Some members of Congress have a different view. Even Russian President Putin has weighed in with both a zing and a defense."

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WTF?! (5, Funny)

killfixx (148785) | about a year ago | (#45766811)

*speechless*

Re:WTF?! (5, Insightful)

careysb (566113) | about a year ago | (#45766845)

Seeing as how I haven't really heard anything to the contrary, this is what I expect will happen. And even if I had heard something to the contrary, this is what I would expect.

Re:WTF?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45766873)

We knew you would say that, even if you thought you wouldn't... you would have O.o

Re:WTF?! (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about a year ago | (#45766999)

Seeing as how I haven't really heard anything to the contrary, this is what I expect will happen. And even if I had heard something to the contrary, this is what I would expect.

Well, there was an earlier report in which there were actually some remarks to the effect that "maybe this is a bit much". On the other hand there was also the impression that a lot of it was less about curtailing NSA and more about preventing future whistleblowers.

And now with this guy's statements.. Yeah, all is once again as I would have expected from a panel full of ex-intelligence types.

I'm still hoping some major campaign contributors will start bitching about how this nonsense is affecting their bottom lines... Because the people nor their representatives seem willing to actually do much about it.

Re:WTF?! (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45767151)

I'm a trifle surprised that a former CIA director apparently doesn't know how 'empiricism' works: "I would argue that what effectiveness we have seen to date is totally irrelevant to how effective it might be in the future"...

Yeah, there's somebody you'd give a job related to intelligence gathering to...

Re:WTF?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767303)

“Past performance is no guarantee of future results.”

Re:WTF?! (5, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#45766861)

It's a double-down! When you're in over your head there are two things you can do. Apologize, admit you were wrong and hope people forgive you and don't throw you in jail. Or you can double-down on the crazy! They obviously opted for the double-down. Oh, and it's a good one, too. You need huge fucking steel balls to double-down like that!

Re:WTF?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45766955)

So is the Tea Party, the group that wants to severely cut the Federal Government, sill a bunch of idiots. Or have they been right the entire time and the rest of you are finally catching on.

Re:WTF?! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767141)

So is the Tea Party, the group that wants to severely cut the Federal Government, sill a bunch of idiots. Or have they been right the entire time and the rest of you are finally catching on.

The Tea Party like the rest of the Republicans doesn't give a flying fuck about curtailing the so-called surveillance society.
What they want is to eliminate people's rights by cutting any kind of economic support the government has for its citizens.
But when it comes to curtailing the military industrial complex oh you're so naive. These guys would spend trillions of $ to expand the military while at the same cuting the already strained social safety net. As if weapons were more important than people.

Re:WTF?! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767337)

So is the Tea Party, the group that wants to severely cut the Federal Government, sill a bunch of idiots. Or have they been right the entire time and the rest of you are finally catching on.

Obama in his own words [youtube.com] , worse even then Bush. Everyone try to see past their partisanship and their racial justice "payback". Obama is dangerous, to everybody.

The Tea Party like the rest of the Republicans doesn't give a flying fuck about curtailing the so-called surveillance society.

Concern about civil liberties is not a partisan matter. Statism is the enemy, not the RP, and the DP is at least as bad as the RP on civil liberties (not to be confused with civil license).

What they want is to eliminate people's rights by cutting any kind of economic support the government has for its citizens.

There is no "right" to use the govt to force one group of people to economically support another group. That's vote buying with tax dollars, not freedom. Besides no one of any consequence is even talking about eliminating all govt charity programs.

But when it comes to curtailing the military industrial complex oh you're so naive. ... As if weapons were more important than people.

Weapons protect you and your lifestyle. If you don't understand that, then you are a child.

These guys would spend trillions of $ to expand the military

No one of any consequence is even talking about expanding the military by trillions of dollars.

while at the same cuting the already strained social safety net.

The social safety net is not strained. Spending on govt handout programs is dramatically up across the board in the last 7 years. The govt runs adverts to try to get more people to sign up for the programs. Of course, every dollar spent on handouts is taken out of the private sector and taking money out of the private sector reduces job opportunities so the best way to keep from straining the safety net is to quite spending so damn much money on it. If govt spending is not reduced, then the country will soon be bankrupted, there will be widespread civil unrest and a police state will be instituted in order to restore order. It may be hard for some to accept, but that is exactly what Obama and his backers want. Obama isn't intent on releasing a bunch of convicted criminals from prison for nothing - every would-be dictator recruits a private army from low-level street criminals, people devoid of conscience, willing to brutalize the law-abiding and live off them like parasites.

Re:WTF?! (4, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#45766961)

The double-down works because it's focused on denying anything was done wrong in the first place. To apologize means admitting guilt. To continue but more so is an active statement that no law was broken.

Re:WTF?! (2)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#45767045)

Sadly, doubling down on the crazy is generally the best political move. Apologizing or admitting you were wrong almost never works.

Re:WTF?! (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#45767103)

You need huge fucking steel balls to double-down like that!

Actually, you only need need to compare the current loss to the new possible loss and the new possible win.

If, as I think happens in this case, current loss to new possible loss and current loss possible win, you need only commons sense to double-down.

Even when the argument of your double down is as stupid as "Terrorists!" or, the only slightly more infantile "pinky swear!".

Re:WTF?! (2, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | about a year ago | (#45766969)

This program, 215, has the ability to stop the next 9/11 and if you added emails in there it would make it even more effective. Had it been in place in 2000 and 2001, I think that probably 9/11 would not have happened.

This is what the terrorists want.

Re:WTF?! (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#45767047)

This program, 215, has the ability to stop the next 9/11 and if you added emails in there it would make it even more effective. Had it been in place in 2000 and 2001, I think that probably 9/11 would not have happened.

This is what the terrorists want you to believe.

FTFY, for certain values of the word, "terrorists."

Re:WTF?! (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#45767115)

This is what the terrorists want.

That's what a terrorist would say.

Or a traitor!

Are you a terrorist? Or are you a traitor. (Or are you dancer)

Re:WTF?! (0)

donscarletti (569232) | about a year ago | (#45767137)

This program, 215, has the ability to stop the next 9/11 and if you added emails in there it would make it even more effective. Had it been in place in 2000 and 2001, I think that probably 9/11 would not have happened.

OK, assume for a minute he is right.

Then from this, take a further leap into wild and fanciful speculation and assume that:

"Had this not been in place in 2012 and 2013, then another 9/11 would have befallen us".

What can we now infer?

If these systems were not in place in 2012 and 2013, 3,000 people would be dead and 317 million people would be free from government surveillance.

Compare this to US involvement in WWII where 418 thousand Americans died and managed to free France, Scandinavia, the Low Countries, South Korea and some of South East Asia (just over 200 million people all up), with the rest being taken by equally-oppressive Communism and it sounds like incredibly good value for human life.

Re:WTF?! (2)

MonkeyDancer (797523) | about a year ago | (#45767305)

Compare this to US involvement in WWII where 418 thousand Americans died and managed to free France, Scandinavia, the Low Countries, South Korea and some of South East Asia (just over 200 million people all up), with the rest being taken by equally-oppressive Communism and it sounds like incredibly good value for human life.

Weapons are great for the people who own them.
Using your WWII analogy, imagine Adolf Hitler have the powers of the NSA today!

Re:WTF?! (3, Insightful)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year ago | (#45766987)

You mean "free speechless".

Re:WTF?! (1)

wooferhound (546132) | about a year ago | (#45767001)

That can't be true
that's not right
I think it is telephony data . . .

Re:WTF?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767011)

The best defence is a good offence. Didn't you know?

Re:WTF?! (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#45767167)

why would you be speechless? does this REALLY actually surprise you at all?

Re:WTF?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767245)

> Member of President Obama's NSA Panel Recommends Increased Data Collection

"1 out of 5 Dentists surveyed...."

Keep going (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45766833)

And expect steady revenue drops for US tech companies.

Re:Keep going (2, Interesting)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#45767211)

There's no such thing as "US" tech companies.. They're all multi-national. In fact, for them "nations" don't exist at all. It's just banks and factories, located wherever they find the most benefit to the portfolio.

Encrypt everything... (1, Informative)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about a year ago | (#45766839)

Nuff said.

Re:Encrypt everything... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45766887)

Need a crypto method that randomly inserts "FUCK YOU NSA" in cleartext.

Re:Encrypt everything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45766941)

How does encrypting data prevent the NSA from knowing who you are emailing and calling?

Re:Encrypt everything... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#45766975)

On its own, it doesn't. Though it can make their job a little harder. But when you've got many people communicating via encrypted channels to a single server, like a web forum or mailing list, it gets much harder to figure out who is talking to who.

Re:Encrypt everything... (5, Insightful)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about a year ago | (#45767105)

Yes but that's the scary thing about this whole metadata thing. If they tapped every backboned and could archive every packet it would effectively not matter you encrypted it along the way. They'd still know who you're talking to, where you surf online, the whole bit. Also, given how much crap snowden found, the scary question is what is so classified he didn't find it?

lol? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45766855)

Fire him. It's the only sane option.

cold_fjord, where are you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45766863)

...when we need you most?

Re:cold_fjord, where are you? (2)

crashcy (2839507) | about a year ago | (#45766871)

Our resident NSA shill is the submitter. I expect he'll be here all day.

Re:cold_fjord, where are you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767019)

Our resident NSA shill is the submitter. I expect he'll be here all day.

Well, they, er "he" have to harvest all the crimethink postings so they can put them on the secret surveillance upgrade list, like their, er "his" signature threatens. Not to be confused with the regular surveillance list. Everyone's on that one.

Once upon a time, this was tinfoil hat talk. Not anymore.

Re:cold_fjord, where are you? (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45767309)

Our resident NSA shill is the submitter. I expect he'll be here all day.

It is interesting that you use the word "shill" since 4 out of 5 of your last comment posts* have been to disparage me, not even really discussing elements of the story. Does that make you an "anti-Cold Fjord shill?" It would seem so. The interesting question is, "why?" Do you not want the stories discussed or reported? The stories get voted on by Slashdot readers and selected by the editors, are you suggesting I control them? Where are the stories that you want to see posted? You don't seem to be making a positive contribution.

*You have to follow one of them to see he is replying to me.

A key member of Hitler's panel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45766865)

...recommended killing more Jews too.

That was unexpected (1, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45766889)

Putin: I Envy Obama In Light Of NSA Revelations ‘Because He Can Get Away With It’ [cbslocal.com]

Russian President Vladimir Putin defended the U.S. National Security Agency, and even said he envies President Barack Obama in light of the NSA revelations “because he can get away with it.”

Putin’s comments at a Thursday news conference reflected support for the NSA surveillance as a necessary tool to fight terrorism, but added that government rules should “limit the appetite” of the data-collecting agency, CBS News reports.

Keep in mind that Putin knows the NSA spies on Russia too. What is the world coming to? That really is an interesting development.

Well, maybe if Russia's security agencies got their hands on the NSA tasking list that Snowden took they now feel much less vulnerable. They would be right.

Re:That was unexpected (3, Insightful)

some old guy (674482) | about a year ago | (#45767009)

Great. We now have a ringing endorsement of our current intel policy from a KGB man.

Of course, there's no telling how many former KGB and FSB are actually advising Clapper and Alexander.

As V.V.P. is fond of saying, there is no such thing as a former Chekist.

No. More than expected. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767031)

Remember that the crooks on both sides have always been allies.

Re:That was unexpected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767057)

The US government isn't concerned about Russia, and Russia isn't concerned about the US. China isn't a concern either.

The US citizen, though, is a cause for constant concern for the US government, and the Russian government is afraid of the Russians. China, too, is terrified at what its populace might do in its whims.

So the governments collude to keep their respective citizens in check.

Think about the future, not now (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45766893)

Before anyone pipes up with "oh, this doesn't affect me, I'm just a nobody", then try thinking further ahead than the next quarter.

You may be one among, say, millions of students, but what about 5-10 years from now when you do or invent something important and it's in conflict with what the government of the day wants you to do ?

That's the point at which your student past is dug up and it's explained to you that unless you play ball your past will be revealed.

Even if you are the most boring person in the world, then what about the people one or two steps removed from you, ie: members of your class. Guilt by association and all that.

I really dislike it when people think about where they are today instead of where they may be a few years from now. People like these will sleepwalk into this future without realising it until it's too late.

Re:Think about the future, not now (1, Troll)

koan (80826) | about a year ago | (#45766937)

It's worse than that, you get pulled over by a cop they run your license and it comes back as "pirate" and "copyright infringement" which by this time is such a serious crime because the FBI and DoD privatized their data and now it's copy written.... for national security.

Straight to work camp.

Re:Think about the future, not now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767229)

Even if you or no one you know are affect, what about the people who are? These people who think that it doesn't matter because it probably affect them seem just a tad bit selfish to me. In a country founded on a distrust of government that's often referred to as "the land of the free and the home of the brave", this sort of attitude is exactly the opposite of what I'd expect. I'd expect people to reply to this and say, "Freedom is more important than safety. What you are doing and suggesting is absolutely disgusting and intolerable."

Re:Think about the future, not now (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#45767307)

Exactly. It's similar to when people of a political party back increased powers for the branch of government that they control but then act aghast when the opposing party gains control and uses those powers. If you think Government Agency/Branch X should have a certain power, ask yourself how you'd feel if someone completely opposite of you in politician orientation gained control of that agency/branch. How would they use the powers? How might they misuse them? What checks would there be on the power-use/misuse? How would you react to their use/misuse?

If you are perfectly fine with someone with a political ideology completely opposite of yours misusing those powers unchecked, then go ahead and support granting those powers. If not, then perhaps you'd better rethink supporting those government powers.

brilliant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45766901)

Because terrorists are so stupid as to use plaintext email to plan their nefarious plots

Re:brilliant! (2)

koan (80826) | about a year ago | (#45766921)

Well... to be fair the "terrorist" that the FBI groomed, armed then arrested are that stupid.

Laugh (3, Insightful)

koan (80826) | about a year ago | (#45766911)

"He also managed the staff that produced the Presidential Daily Briefings for President George W. Bush. Morell was Bush’s briefer during the September 11, 2001 attacks, and has been quoted as saying, "I would bet every dollar I have that it’s al Qaeda."

So this was one of the people, that ignored the 9/11 warnings, and then went even farther to lie about who did it.

Not what I heard on NPR (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45766923)

from Richard Clark (the one who warned Bush on possible Al-Qaida threats pre-911) who was also on the panel. His line was that many of the NSA's programs are useful, (phone meta data not so much) but the program need more judges (to handle all the requests properly and perhaps a civilian advocate.

Re:Not what I heard on NPR (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45767321)

Well yes, but that's a rational response. We don't like those much here.

If the NSA's stopped this time, the CIA will be running the operation next time, and of course every other country is running their equivalent programs while chastising the US for getting caught. As Bruce Schneier so often has pointed out, modern technology presents incredible power, but we must be careful how that power is used. In my opinion, we should use this situation to establish a baseline procedure for modern surveillance of any kind. Gathering information on an individual is no longer a major undertaking, and that individual isn't really inconvenienced at all. There is little reason to prevent the initial gathering, but we must have restrictions on how the collected information may be used later.

Change you can believe in! (5, Interesting)

lophophore (4087) | about a year ago | (#45766927)

Obama is Bush 2.0, even though he led us to believe he was the anti-Bush. We all thought he was going to undo the draconian actions of the Patriot Act, to restore personal liberty and freedom, but that's sure not what we got, is it?

Re:Change you can believe in! (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#45767005)

Not quite.

There are certain semi-agreed 'debate issues' in US politics. Things that the parties have informally (Or possible, conspiratorially) decided are going to get a lot of attention, be a subject of intence R-v-D warfare and generally decide elections. A lot of these are things that won't actually have a great impact on most of society, like abortion or gay marriage.

There are also certain semi-agreed 'off the table' issues, where both sides have decided that drawing attention to them would be a bad thing for both sides. This includes defence spending and civil rights, along with such issues as corn subsidies and copyright reform. Rarely do you find a politician daring to even acknowledge these as issues, and any that do risk a backlash from their own party.

This is one of the 'off the table' issues. If Snowden's leaking hadn't forced it to public attention, it would never have been allowed to come up, and right now both parties are just hopeing it goes away again.

formal, written agreements for campaign debates (3, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#45767179)

> parties have informally (Or possible, conspiratorially)

We know they formally agree to what questions will be asked in campaign debates. They are open about that. So at least it is "sometimes conspitatorially".

Re:Change you can believe in! (2)

Kojiro Ganryu Sasaki (895364) | about a year ago | (#45767249)

Abortion and gay marriage ARE civil rights issues.

Aside from that, I agree.

Re:Change you can believe in! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#45767255)

I managed even more spelling errors in that post than I usually do.

Re:Change you can believe in! (2)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year ago | (#45767315)

Agreed 100%. I find it perplexing when people hate on Bush, yet praise obama, even tho he has done everything bush was doing but moreso. Deportations are higher with Obama than with Bush, even tho he promised immigration reform. DEA raids on legal dispensaries are higher than with Bush, even tho he promised an end to DEA raids in states where marijuana is legal. The Patriot Act and its bretheren have become worse and worse under Obama as well, yet people still praise him as some anti Bush political gamechanger.

A policeman's job (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45766959)

"A policeman's job is only easy in a police state"

When Putin approves... (5, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#45766963)

... you know your doing something wrong.

 

And to think... this is what they let you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45766965)

Imagine what plans they're keeping secret from you. This kind of jabber from "the most transparent administrations ever" should really knock your socks off.
 
So Bloomberg wants us to live in a shoebox like the Chinese slaves do, you can't walk your dog down a public street without breaking some kind of health code, speak your mind publicly and become a target for some special interest group and God forbid you attempt to have any private life lest the government let its IRS dogs loose on you.
 
This is some future we've elected for ourselves. Wouldn't you agree?

I'm not american, but just to remember... (5, Insightful)

Parker Lewis (999165) | about a year ago | (#45766971)

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Will this "War on Terrorism" ever end . . . ? (3, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#45766981)

I could understand that after 9/11, drastic measures were necessary to fight terrorism at the time. But now . . . ? We seem to be hunkering down, and assuming that we will need all of this surveillance and security . . . forever.

All this stuff is purely defensive in nature: trying to prevent terrorist attacks. Despite all these security measures, it is just a matter of time before another attack succeeds anyway . . . like in Boston.

I'd like to see a plan to reduce these threats forever . . . so we can go back to our normal ways, before the war. Now, it seems that we are preparing for an endless war on terrorism. A permanent state of war is not good for any society.

Has the "War On Drugs" ever ended? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767075)

I'd contend that after 9/11, no measures were necessary to fight terrorism. In fact, it would've been far better to shrug and move on.

Think about it: What better move to show the world that you won't budge to terrorism by showing you aren't intimidated, and what better way to do that than to just ignore the whole thing, except for mourning your dead and putting the building back together?

You can always get your own back later. But nooo, you had to fight. Right away. And give up scads of freedoms to do it. And everyone else's too. And wage two wars that have now destabilised the entire area. Destabilisation that is causing yet more people to die and more terrorism to leak back into the rest of the world. These drastic measures have compounded the problem several orders of magnitude. So really, you're reaping what you've sown.

Instead, what was necessary was to fire every last single intelligence agency in its entirety and rebuild from scratch. For they've been at it for sixty-odd years, had their feelers in every network, and... didn't see this one coming. And they still don't. But in the meantime they've grown that much more in size, power, budget, influence, access, hunger for data, you name it. The intelligence community is completely out of control. So the only fix is still, only much more so, to get rid of it entirely. That, or we'll have to get rid of the entire state of the USoA. Or we'll indeed end up with a permanent state of war.

Anthrax this! (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#45767205)

Indeed. It's called TERRORism because it's intended to make people scared. The way to render it ineffective is to refuse to live in fear. One of the best anti-terrorism efforts was the "Anthrax this!" cover, a clear statement that we will not be terrorized.

Re:Will this "War on Terrorism" ever end . . . ? (4, Insightful)

Shagg (99693) | about a year ago | (#45767077)

A permanent state of war is not good for any society.

It's good for the people in power. What makes you think that they care whether or not it's good for society.

Re:Will this "War on Terrorism" ever end . . . ? (1, Insightful)

broken_chaos (1188549) | about a year ago | (#45767081)

How do you 'win' against a concept?

Terrorism isn't a person, it isn't a nation, it isn't even a religion. There is nothing to win a war against, so you cannot ever have a traditional end to a war against terrorism. If those in power wish, it's a 'war' that can go on forever, quite easily.

Re:Will this "War on Terrorism" ever end . . . ? (1)

some old guy (674482) | about a year ago | (#45767163)

We've always been at war with Eastasia.

Re:Will this "War on Terrorism" ever end . . . ? (4, Insightful)

module0000 (882745) | about a year ago | (#45767101)

I don't think the powers that be would like it to ever end. The expression "War is Peace" sums this up...as long as there is a constant threat of war(in this case, "terrorism"), the populace can be made to accept nearly any unreasonable demand in the name of that defending against that threat.

Imagine if you are the commander of a military force - would you rather a mediocre budget because of peacetime? Or would you rather have a "buy anything and everything no questions asked" mandate because of the imminent threat of war? This also appeals to the sense of power the government leaders have - it allows them a constant state of martial law, effectively letting them act with impunity while "defending us" from war(or in this case, imminent terrorism).

Re:Will this "War on Terrorism" ever end . . . ? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45767123)

Given the costs of a permanent state of war, and the ghastly security apparatus that will happily metastasize in such an environment, why wait for 'a plan to reduce these threats forever' before backing the hell away as fast as we can? If we wait for the plan (and assume that the plan won't involve "build a giant orwellian database and use it to direct our killbots"), we'll be waiting a long time.

Terrorism just isn't that serious a threat (outside of a few rather ghastly neighborhoods where things classified as 'terrorism' are routine, mostly because there is a low to medium intensity war going on and they are part of that), and our fancy panopticon seems notably inept at, say, stopping a couple of nobodies with approximately zero resources from just bombing a major sporting event, or anybody who feels like it from grabbing their AR-15 and heading to school.

Why wait for a plan that will never arrive? Just say 'Fuck it.' and walk away.

Re:Will this "War on Terrorism" ever end . . . ? (4, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#45767195)

Actually, the "drastic measures" were largely a reaction to the events. As a country, we went into shock and some people took advantage of this to push security theater that would make them rich and/or would score them votes.

All that was really needed was three things beyond pre-911 security:

1) Lock and reinforce the cockpit doors so a terrorist couldn't burst in and take over.
2) Instruct pilots that, in the event of a terrorist trying to take over, they are to report it, fly to the nearest airport, and make an emergency landing. They are NOT to unlock the cockpit doors no matter how many people the terrorists kill. Pilots would be shielded from being sued for the loss of life while they tried to make an emergency landing. After all, if the terrorists get into the cockpit, everyone might as well be dead.
3) Passengers were not to simply "do as the terrorists say" as they did in pre-911 times. Back then "hijacking" meant you go to some other location, spend some tense hours being captive, and then more likely than not get returned home safe and sound. As long as you just cooperated. Now, "hijacking" means you are dead if you don't stop them. Passengers will now rise up and oppose the terrorists. Even if they die doing it. (See Flight 93.)

If we were to reduce airport security to pre-911 levels with the above exceptions, we'd be just as safe from terrorists as we are today and wouldn't be sacrificing as many freedoms.

Re:Will this "War on Terrorism" ever end . . . ? (1)

n3tm0nk (2725243) | about a year ago | (#45767223)

Around the same time the "For The Children" excuses end.....

Re:Will this "War on Terrorism" ever end . . . ? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year ago | (#45767251)

I could understand that after 9/11, drastic measures were necessary to fight terrorism at the time.

Then that is where you fail. I do not believe freedoms should be sacrificed in exchange for safety (real or otherwise), and certainly not so after something like the 9/11 attacks.

Why? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#45766989)

What could possibly be of such interest to go to such lengths? Power? Political corruption? Racial/Religious superiority? The lengths to which they are going bear similarity to some very historic, oppressive regimes.

Improving security (4, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#45766993)

Also were suggested to put all americans in maximum security prisons, to avoid to be attacked by foreigners. They could keep working from jail for their safety, but their salaries will have a cut to maintain the jail system safe for them.

Other options like killing all the americans to avoid them to be killed by terrorists, and killing everyone with a doomsday device to avoid the same, if well would be effective for the security of american goals, were discarded as, for now, excessive.

Re:Improving security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767059)

There is actually a rather awesome science fiction novel about your idea. It's called 'le successeur de Pierre' (pun on Peter's successor and the stone successor).
In the book everybody lives in a coccoon in which they voluntarily decided to live because they were too scared (diseases and maybe terrorism).
I wish there was an English translation that I could recommend to non-French speaking friends...

Re:Improving security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767065)

While we're at it, I don't understand why we're stopping at emails ...

1) Collect DNA from everyone born in the USA, entering the country, or visiting a hospital
2) All cellphone GPSes are required to send information directly to the NSA
3) All emails are required to be BCCed to the NSA
4) Every home must have one webcam outside with a dedicated feed going back to the NSA (we'll give you free wifi!)

Want to complain? Stop 911 ... blahblahblah ... what do you have to hide ... blahblahblah ... must be a ... blahblahblah

refresher needed? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767013)

For those with the short memory a reminder is needed: currently email headers and selected contents is collected. Please review once again NSA slides if you need refresher.

So this basically represents parallel construction of justification: ahem.... we, NSA, should consider collecting emails (even though we already do).

Somehow they magically think that the public will forget that that collection of emails has been going for the decades and will believe that somehow in 2011 collection stopped.

In other news... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767015)

Mafia argues payment of "protection" money is needed for good of community.

Drug Cartels argue drug wars are a cleansing force for society, ridding country of evil doers.

Chinese defend organ harvesting of prisoners as necessary to save lives of important people.

Scientists determine it is possible to find an argument that any force of evil is actually for good.

Story at eleven.

place we can submit data calls email voluntarily? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767023)

save time & trouble, we have only imaginary 'secrets' anyway. free the innocent stem cells never a better time to discover momkind our spiritual centerpeace.

free the innocent stem cells. ask to be in the interrogation witness program

Snail mail (2)

pauljlucas (529435) | about a year ago | (#45767029)

This program, 215, has the ability to stop the next 9/11 and if you added emails in there it would make it even more effective.

So terrorists will simply use snail mail. I don't think they're in that much of a hurry.

YALIN OSGB (1)

yalinosgb (3472521) | about a year ago | (#45767043)

If the U.S., Russia, the former acquired the power business will move into other dimensions.

Why stop there? (3, Informative)

Subm (79417) | about a year ago | (#45767063)

> "He also said the program, far from being unnecessary, could prevent the next 9/11."

Why stop there? If you put everyone in jail you'll prevent attacks too.

And give us all tracking collars and big bonuses for yourself and your crony pals for the contracts to fulfill all the work.

As long as we don't consider unintended consequences, history, or conflicting interests like the Constitution and public opinion, expanding surveillance makes a lot of sense.

Then again, the slightest thought to any of these things makes him sound like a total idiot, if not a traitor.

Re:Why stop there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767299)

Or you could just kill EVERYONE. Then no one would kill.

This just in... (2)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#45767067)

Wolves vote to keep eating sheep for dinner.

What Really Is Needed Is This (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767069)

Require ALL citizens to report weekly to a local board. While there, each will strip, bend over, and have a water hose inserted anally. This is meant to cleanse the evil out of the citizen. This not only will prevent the next 9/11, it will prevent the next 9/12 too!

tracking for all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767073)

Just require all tracking information be public and easily data-mineable. Let’s see those connections between congresscritter and bankers, defense contractors, the RIAA, etc. IT'S THE FISHBOWL FOR EVERYONE!

Snowden's response... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767083)

NATIONAL Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has criticised the presidential panel reviewing US surveillance programs, saying it was a hand-picked group by the government that only suggested cosmetic changes, according to a Sunday Brazilian TV report. "Their job wasn't to protect privacy or deter abuses, it was to restore public confidence in these spying activities. Many of the recommendations they made are cosmetic changes," Mr Snowden said in an email to the Globo TV channel.

According to the Globo report, Mr. Snowden said the NSA hasn’t produced evidence to suggest the disclosures have caused harm. He said U.S. law doesn’t distinguish between a whistleblower revealing illegal programs “and a spy secretly selling documents to terrorists.”

The biggest offense one can commit in the U.S. isn’t to damage the government, but rather to “embarrass it. It’s clear that I could not possibly get a fair trial in my country,” he said, according to the report.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/12/22/snowden-criticizes-u-s-panel-overseeing-surveillance/ [wsj.com]

In Other News (3, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#45767093)

Chief of Security Wolf vows his pack will personally guard the Hen house

Private prison owners: "The country needs stiffer drug penalties"

FBI: We need surveillance to help keep you safe from the people we keep radicalising and arming!

Lurking danger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767095)

A program like the one suggested is a lurking danger to democracy.

Inadequate justification (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#45767117)

Had it been in place in 2000 and 2001, I think that probably 9/11 would not have happened.

Because "YOU THINK"? That is a good enough reason to rape Americans' of their privacy?

And if we station armed soldiers at every interstate entrance and exit, every state border, every entrance and exit to every major cvity, to interrogate all travelers, strip search everyone driving -- demand to see and record the "metadata" (identification of all vehicle passengers, and their reported origin and destination) --- just maybe we stop the next 9/11 or carbombing too.

The terrorists will just have to use a different technique...

Uh... right... (4, Insightful)

ImOuttaHere (2996813) | about a year ago | (#45767119)

Let me see if I get this right: Three letter agencies refuse to work in compliance with the Constitution and pre-Bush era FISA law... where few people can remember why the original FISA was passed (look it up, it has everything to do with illegal three letter agency data collection on US citizens during the early to mid-20th century, very much like what we're facing now)... where people forget that NSA lawyers were directed by Darth Cheney to find every means of justifying to the secret court (what? a secret court in America? really???) four (that we know so far), count 'um, four illegal spying programs... which the aforementioned secret court accepted with few, if any limits!... so Baby Bush could wave a court signed piece of paper that granted his illegal spy programs legitimacy... and that anti-American "socialist" Obama continually supports... where citizens of the Formerly Great Country of the USA demand safety in nearly gleeful exchange for freedoms... and not one single person involved in these clearly illegal activities has been put on trial... while the US Government hunts those who might reveal aforementioned illegal activities...

Problem? What problem? Oh. Right. Ice cold Busch and NASCAR await. Gotta go...

Dunno what this guy looks like... (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about a year ago | (#45767145)

...but I'm picturing Walter Matthau in 'Fail Safe'.

.

Prevent Another 9/11? (0)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#45767147)

You know what else would prevent another 9/11? Let the police burst into any home/business/etc at any time, without a warrant, and based on the barest of suspicions. Let them arrest people based on "looking like they might be a terrorist" or "possibly helping terrorists" or simply "wasn't patriotic enough when we broke down their door." Also let the police stop random people on the street to ask for their citizenship papers, where they are going, and why. If the officer doesn't like the answers, allow him to arrest the person. Track the movements of every citizen and arrest anyone even slightly outside of the norm. I guarantee that terrorist attacks will drop to zero if we put this in place.

As a side benefit, companies will make lots of money building new city-sized prisons to hold all the potential terrorists the police will round up. It's a win-win.

Does it seem like the NSA runs the Government ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767155)

instead of the other way around?

Or is that just me?

Not only invasive, but pointless. (1)

Last_Available_Usern (756093) | about a year ago | (#45767171)

Any "terrorist" with half a brain assumes the NSA is looking at all standard comms now. To keep tapping these mediums is beyond pointless.

Erich Honecker's Stasi is alive & well (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#45767175)

Our wonderful government has learned from tyrants very well indeed. Make your citizens afraid, very afraid.

They are ALREADY collecting our emails (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45767189)

What part of the NSA is collecting everything we do online, don't we understand!?! They are already listening on the pipes, intercepting all port 25 traffic on the internet backbone. Just for good measure, they've got backdoors in all the popular webmail services. They ALREADY are slurping down all available data on you and storing it for perpetuity as they are bound by NO laws. They PRETEND they have boundries and ask for increases in what they are legally allowed to do, but Snowden has proven they LIE about the scope of their current data collection activities. In other words they are only asking for permission for what they have already been doing for the past decade!

Who would.... (2)

CimmerianX (2478270) | about a year ago | (#45767219)

So wouldn't the terrorists just resort to dropbox and notepad? Maybe everyone's dropbox contents should be indexed....just in case. Besides, what terrorist would continually use the same email address anyway.... seems like a pretty stupid terrorist would... that's who.

TSA-quality thinking (2)

drstevep (2498222) | about a year ago | (#45767285)

This is exactly the level of thinking the TSA uses to design its so-called security protocols. Figure out what was done. Design something that looks like you are looking at it. Then do it.

Meanwhile, terrorists move ahead to different protocols, different targets. Such as (as has been written), using Google Mail and cross-editing mail drafts to pass information. The drafts are never sent. They are an ongoing, live document. Let me repeat, the drafts are never sent. No emails are generated.

So all that we are left with is a bloated, monstrous governmental organization that monitors the citizenry but not the terrorists. And justifies its own existence and growing expense.

Life by fear.

The advisors (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about a year ago | (#45767311)

Seems Obama's advisers are his worst enemy.

There will be no next 9/11 (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#45767313)

Why does the public let go unchallenged the claim that there will be a "next 9/11" to prevent?

The 9/11 attacks were the most ambitious terrorist attacks in history. They certainly terrorized the United States, and government officials obviously remain terrorized to this day. So in that sense, they were kind of a success. They also had massive blowback that Al Quaeda might not be keen to repeat.

Before 9/11, bin Laden was a folk hero in some parts of the Muslim world because he fought the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. After the atrocity he masterminded, most of his financiers and sympathizers dropped him like he was radioactive. Middle Eastern governments that had formerly turned a blind eye to Al Quaeda started shutting down its finance network and jailing its contributors, raiding training camps and arresting radical clerics. Then there is the US armed response, which was deeply misguided in important ways but which undeniably brought ruin on Al Queada and the Taliban government of Afghanistan. Since at least the battle of Tora Bora, Al Quaeda has been struggling to survive. It's hard to see how redoubling American resolve, just now when the public is war-weary, cynical, and worried about the war debt, would advance the aim of a global Caliphate.

It has also been said that the 9/11 attacks were self defeating in the sense that exactly because they were so devastating and well-planned, they are nigh impossible to surpass. Next to them, just bombing an embassy looks like small time. So the effectiveness of typical terror attacks may actually have been diminished because the public's expectations have been raised.

So, even if any organization could pull off "another 9/11", I seriously question whether they would want to. I believe the radicals' current objective is to get the US out of Afghanistan so they can rebuild their safe haven there. In other words, to pick up the pieces from the blowback from 9/11 and get back to where they were on Sept. 10, 2001. There is considerable doubt whether this is possible: the US will definitely pull out, but its drones will still rain Hellfire missiles from the sky day or night, and the US-backed Afghan army is in a position to keep the pressure on for a good long while.

Which brings me back to why preventing the "next 9/11" is something we should be worried about. If bin Laden had 9/11 to do over again, knowing the consequences for his organization and his agenda, would he go for it? I have to go with "no." Why can't any politician stand up and say that? Claim some credit for the progress in the "war on terror" instead of jumping at shadows?

Of course, I can answer my own question. The bogeyman of terrorism serves the authoritarian purposes of the government, so they refuse to abandon it. But please, let's start calling them on it.

Dear Mr. Morell, (1)

trongey (21550) | about a year ago | (#45767345)

No, no, and just in case you're having trouble keepin up, NO!

... and the horse you rode in on.

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