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Whistleblower Claims NSA Spied On Everyone, Targeted Media

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the puzzle-palace dept.

Privacy 717

JCWDenton writes "Former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice, who helped expose the NSA's warrantless wiretapping in December 2005, has now come forward with even more startling allegations. Tice told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday that the programs that spied on Americans were not only much broader than previously acknowledged but specifically targeted journalists."

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First? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26562573)

Either I am first or the NSA is really on top of things.

Control the Media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563123)

And you control the minds of America. We're too busy to do our own thinking, after all.

Keith? (5, Interesting)

SputnikPanic (927985) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562635)

Why Keith Olbermann? Why not a less biased journalist? Any journalist at the Washington Post, Washington Times, etc would have been happy to get this information and run with it. Keith Olbermann's name brings with it a certain amount of partisan baggage.

Reactionary. (0, Flamebait)

FatSean (18753) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562673)

After all the bennies the outgoing failministration gave FoxNews, perhaps this guy felt that going to a more partisan journalist was a good thing. Does it matter who gets the story first, as everyone is on this?

Your concern smells trollish.

Re:Reactionary. (5, Insightful)

SputnikPanic (927985) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562787)

Why would it be a good idea to go to a partisan journalist? If you're going to blow the whistle on something and you want to be taken seriously, then doesn't it make sense to take it to a journalist who is generally respected regardless of one's political leanings?

Re:Reactionary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26562915)

I'm a fan of Olbermann, but really - if this was from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, would it be taken as seriously?

Re:Reactionary. (1)

Tiber (613512) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563101)

lolberman.

Lame (0, Flamebait)

geek (5680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562641)

Disgruntled ex-employee makes accusations with zero evidence. News at 11 I guess.

This guy was just an analyst, not some super high ranking official. The type of data he was privy too was low level and generic. He could say they were monitoring space aliens in Manhattan too and would be correct.

Some people just want to believe this stuff so much they'll grasp at any old straw that agrees with their narrow view of the government.

Re:Lame (3, Insightful)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562687)

Well, with a big enough claim, questions start getting asked. Big questions.

Is it true? Prove it!

Is it false? Prove it!

Either way learning happens, and that's a good thing right?

Re:Lame (2, Interesting)

geek (5680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562741)

"Either way learning happens, and that's a good thing right?"

Learning doesn't happen because it's all classified for one. Additionally, learning doesn't happen because it's mostly subjective to begin with, but add to that the obvious biases (Olberman is biased as it is but then take into account this whistleblower was FIRED and is obviously disgruntled about it) and you have nothing but a cesspool of name calling, propaganda and political positioning.

There is nothing to be learned here, just people to blame.

Re:Lame (0, Troll)

Michael O-P (31524) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562845)

Fascinating. Two (relatively) low numbers debating a point. I don't know how truthful this guy is, but the two of you have given me useful filters to examine the accusations. Biases exist everywhere, so there's a grain of salt with which I read things, but I have to agree that learning happens, regardless.

Re:Lame (5, Insightful)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562959)

Of all the biases exhibited here at Slashdot---and there are many!---the bias favoring low-id users is probably the most idiotic.

Re:Lame (4, Insightful)

Michael O-P (31524) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563181)

Why do you feel that way? The nerds that have stuck around tend to have very valid opinions, even if I don't always agree with them. We have been on the net longer than most, and have a better perspective on this issues that keep popping up. Granted, some of the arguments get really circular, but there is wisdom in the old-timers.

Re:Lame (1)

Obama (1458545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563291)

How about the username bias?

Proving allegations (3, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562923)

Well, with a big enough claim, questions start getting asked. Big questions.

Is it true? Prove it!

Is it false? Prove it!

It might be possible to prove these allegations are true. How would you go about proving they are false?

Re:Lame (3, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562771)

True, but in Sun Tzu's The Art of War [wikipedia.org] (as well as operation Ivy Bells [wikipedia.org] ), large-scale things often depend on the use of many small guys to unwittingly do the dirty work. Our intelligence services have to justify their elephantine budgets somehow, but I wouldn't mind seeing them follow suit and announce 10% layoffs ;)

Re:Lame (5, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562797)

"Some people just want to believe this stuff so much they'll grasp at any old straw that agrees with their narrow view of the government."

That might apply to you as well. You don't think its possible that the government might spy on journalists? It's been proven to have happened with at least one administration (Nixon) in my lifetime.

Re:Lame (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562853)

Seems like a pretty good way to test the new openness mandate recently enacted by Obama. Submit a FOIA request to the NSA for any records, information, recordings, etc made of you and see if they reject it. This would be especially interesting if a journalist for a major network (Olbermann himself perhaps?) were to submit the request for his own information, since they supposedly targeted journalists.

Of course, since the NSA tends to exist on the fringes of legality anyway, they'll probably just claim there's nothing there even if there is, but it could be an interesting exercise.

Re:Lame (2, Informative)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562983)

The type of data he was privy too was low level and generic.

From the FA, his job was to 'weed out' people. So he went to the folks gathering the intel and said "Ok, I'll need the stuff on persons X, Y, and Z next week. I just want to make sure you guys will cover that.". Response: "Oh sure. We're gathering everything on everyone".

(Obviously paraphrased for brevity)

So, despite being a "low-level" analyst, his story is at least plausible.

Re:Lame (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563087)

He's a little more hands on than that. He was more than likely directly over the guys gathering the intel (usually their title is translator) where he would sit with a team of 8 I believe and the translators would listen where he instructed them to and write down everything said. He would then write up a report based on what they had translated and written down. Anonymous for obvious reasons.

Vagina fly away (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26562643)

nb

Well, duh (1)

RiffRafff (234408) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562649)

Not news.

I mean, really, who didn't think the liberal media would be singled out? You kids were born too late to remember McCarthy, and Hoover's FBI, apparently.

Re:Well, duh (-1, Flamebait)

Prune (557140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562761)

As popular as it is to diss McCarthy, the guy's an American hero, and most of his accusations are now known to have been spot on: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=17401 [worldnetdaily.com]

Mod up (2, Informative)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562935)

The conventional wisdom here is flat-out wrong. At least read a different view, folks!

Re:Well, duh (0, Troll)

spikeb (966663) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562953)

LOL great source there, worldnutdaily

Re:Well, duh (1, Flamebait)

Prune (557140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563115)

The source is professor Arthur Herman and other scholars cited in the article, you cretinous imbecile. By the way, I suggest you look up argumentum ad verecundiam and ad hominem.

Re:Well, duh (4, Insightful)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563061)

No.

Even if his specific accusations were correct (and I'm not granting that they were), he's still not a hero. He used those accusations to create an environment where freedom of speech and association were curtailed. His House committee attempted to change the meaning of "American" from "supporting the Constitution" to "opposing Communism, even at the expense of the Constitution". Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed in the end, although it took too long and cost too much in terms of lives damaged. Altogether a sad blight on the record.

Re:Well, duh (-1, Troll)

Prune (557140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563133)

McCarthy paid dearly for his patriotism and this sacrifice is what makes him a hero. Read Herman's book.

Re:Well, duh (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563357)

fuck you. dissent is patriotic. anyone who disagrees with that should be deported!

Re:Well, duh (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563299)

His House committee attempted to change the meaning of "American" from "supporting the Constitution" to "opposing Communism, even at the expense of the Constitution".

I'm pretty sure it wasn't "His House committee", being that the person you're talking about was Senator McCarthy.

Re:Well, duh (1, Troll)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563111)

No, McCarthy is not a hero. He was a traitor. WorldNetDaily is the worst kind of Coulter-loving, Rush-smooching right wing wank-fest this side of freep. Don't trust anything you see on that site. The article you link to simply quotes another right wing crackpot organization, 'Accuracy in Academia,' a group dedicated to vilifying left wing teachers. Suck it, Prune. You conservative idiots had your chance, and you screwed it up so badly you nearly brought down the whole country. Just sit back and massage your ass until it stops hurting, the grown-ups are back in charge again.

Re:Well, duh (3, Insightful)

Prune (557140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563249)

The article cites prof. Herman's research and the book "Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator". The book's scholarship is impeccable.
Calling me a conservative idiot is not helping your case; anyone can throw around ad hominems and claim victory; that is not the sort of interlocution that should be on an intellectual site.
I have only started to vote Conservative in the past two years as the Liberals here in Canada have become a disgrace. But this is simply choosing the lesser evil; I hold no allegiance to a particular political ideology, and disagree with conservatives on social issues, for example. Trying to pigeonhole me is a lame tactic.

Re:Well, duh (0, Troll)

Prune (557140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563163)

Before you mod me down, I hope you'll consider the references cited in the link I posted. Or maybe that's too much to ask on Slashdot

Re:Well, duh (1)

purplepolecat (1108483) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563297)

Are you serious ? WorldNetDaily is a right wing crackpot publication. They have ads for Ann Coulter books and everything.

Re:Well, duh (5, Insightful)

Omestes (471991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563381)

Does it really matter if people were "commies"?

Its just a political ideology, and just like the rest of them, it has good points and bad points. Discriminating, or ruining peoples lives in this case, against people because you don't personally like their opinion is wrong. This man based his whole life and reputation on this, therefore I would say it okay to "diss" him.

Most of these people weren't "anti-American", they just had a different view of how the government should act, and possibly (justifiably) found the cold war a silly, destructive, thing.

Hell, being anti-American isn't even a crime, much less being communist, or socialist. What the hell does "anti-American" even mean, really? I hated Bush, his policies, his wars, his abuse of the constitution; does that make me anti-American? I really dislike much of our culture; does this make me anti-American? I'm a social libertarian; does that? I'm not a fan of our economic philosophies and our view that they are superior to everyone else's (or worse, that their sinonymous with democracy or freedom); am I anti-American?

Re:Well, duh (5, Insightful)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562825)

You kids were born too late to remember McCarthy, and Hoover's FBI, apparently.

That's why it is news. Sadly, every generation seems to need to learn first hand that the government that says "trust us and don't ask questions" can't be trusted and should be questioned.

Re:Well, duh (1)

RiffRafff (234408) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562893)

Should be interesting to see how much (or how little) things change under Obama, dontcha think?

Re:Well, duh (4, Insightful)

RabidMoose (746680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563065)

Considering that he's already signed an order to close Gitmo within the year (and immediately stop all ongoing trials there for at least 120 days), I'd say we're off to a good start.

Re:Well, duh (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563325)

Good start? You think the US Military just arrested those guys and had them brought all the way to Cuba for the fun of it??

Re:Well, duh (2)

tripdizzle (1386273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563141)

Especially when he campaigns against something, then gets elected and suddenly approves of it.

Obama: "Dick Cheney's advice was good, which is let's make sure we know everything that's being done... we shouldn't be making judgments on the basis of incomplete information or campaign rhetoric"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/15/AR2009011503149.html?hpid=opinionsbox1 [washingtonpost.com]

Re:Well, duh (2, Interesting)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563185)

Yeah real "liberal" media. You mean the New York Times and Judith Miller's breathless front page exposes on all that WMD in Iraq before the war? Or MSNBC's "Iraq Lowdown" with Lester Holt which was just shameless Bush cheerleading running up to the war?

Come on, just because one media outlet isnt Fox News, it doesnt make them liberal.

Spied on everyone? Oh noez! (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562651)

Gasp! They spied on everyone! No! My secrets!!!

Tice further explained that "even for the NSA it's impossible to literally collect all communications. ... What was done was sort of an ability to look at the metadata ... and ferret that information to determine what communications would ultimately be collected."

So... they didn't really spy on everyone in the sense that they listened to my conversations so much as they COULD have.

Scary stuff, but the /. headline is horribly misleading.

Re:Spied on everyone? Oh noez! (-1, Troll)

Prune (557140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562843)

This guy is a former colleague, and let's just say none of us that know him personally are surprised that he went all the way to the media to satisfy a grudge. The funniest part is that he never even had access on the level implied in this "story".

Re:Spied on everyone? Oh noez! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563103)

So wait - are you going deny his allegations? Or are you just spreading FUD about the whistle-blower.

Either way, your main point seems to be that you worked for the NSA...

Big. Woop. Dee. Doo.

You are amazing...or a troll (5, Insightful)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563263)

This guy is a former colleague, and let's just say none of us that know him personally are surprised that he went all the way to the media to satisfy a grudge. The funniest part is that he never even had access on the level implied in this "story".

Wow, in addition to being an atheist Muslim Canadian Joseph McCarthy loving stock analyst who uses SPICE in his circuit design work you're also a mid-to-high ranking spook at the NSA? And yet you still find time to post about it all on /.?

Amazing. Simply amazing. If true.

--MarkusQ

Re:You are amazing...or a troll (-1, Troll)

Prune (557140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563293)

Stalker much?

Re:You are amazing...or a troll (-1, Troll)

Prune (557140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563341)

By the way, calling me Muslim is the biggest insult I have received all my life. My views on Islam and the soft jihad they are waging on Europe and now Canada are aligned with those of the great Ezra Levant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezra_Levant#Human_Rights_complaint [wikipedia.org] http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=6n3SdV2cwn4&feature=channel_page [youtube.com]

Re:Spied on everyone? Oh noez! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563269)

I find it interesting that you can so swiftly chalk it up to a "grudge"...whether or not he's lying through his teeth or being completely honest, he's made basically the most powerful enemy on the planet.

I understand the concept of a "burden of proof" but how could someone so pathological as to turn the US Intelligence community against them merely for the sake of a "grudge" have gotten past the psychological screening process? Every defector/spy/etc case I've heard of involved money or blackmail or a combination of the two.

Re:Spied on everyone? Oh noez! (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562861)

It means they couldn't have listed or collected all communications because that wasn't technically possible. That doesn't mean they didn't listen to yours.

Re:Spied on everyone? Oh noez! (2, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562929)

I understood what it meant, my point was that it was different from what the headline said (or at least implied.)

To make a pointless car metaphor, it's like if you're trying to sell a junked car, and you put in the ad "will run like new!" when it doesn't have an engine, your rationale being it will run like new once you put a new engine in it.

This is not the NSA spying on everyone, this is the NSA being ABLE to spy on everyone. They could have spied on me, yes, but as he pointed out in the article, they didn't spy on EVERYONE.

Re:Spied on everyone? Oh noez! (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563321)

This is not the NSA spying on everyone, this is the NSA being ABLE to spy on everyone. They could have spied on me, yes, but as he pointed out in the article, they didn't spy on EVERYONE.

I don't know about that. I've always suspected that New Hampshire is simply a front for the NSA's spying operations on the rest of the US.

Re:Spied on everyone? Oh noez! (5, Insightful)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563145)

No, they didn't actually read every e-mail. They didn't even read a significant fraction of them. But, they did categorize every one by who sent them and who received them and then archived them for future use. That's the part that should scare everyone. Even if you happen to like/trust the current administration (or happened to like/trust the previous one), you and your descendents are going to live through many more presidencies. The legal red-tape that people like Bush & Cheney worked to eliminate wasn't, necessarily, meant to stop them it was meant to stop the true monster that will, inevitably, get into office someday. It's almost a guarantee that, some day, someone on the order of Hitler will sneak his/her way into office (Note: This isn't a Godwin as I'm not trying to suggest that Bush & Co. are like Hitler themselves.). When that happens, those limitations on government power are the only thing that has a chance of stopping them. The more we water them down, the more we guarantee his/her future success at destroying this country.

Even in the short term, this kind of illegal invasion of privacy can, easily, lead to lots of people being hurt. Just look at the improper/illegal attorney firing in the Department of Justice under the Bush administration. They went through and fired anyone they thought had connections with political/social views they didn't like. People lost their source of income and the government became much more politically polarized. The kind of info archived by a program like what this guy is suggesting could be used to make similar, illegal/improper, witch-hunt much more "efficient".

Obigatory... (1)

tychovi (1221054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562663)

Nice, first post! Ask the NSA, they can verify it...

Re:Obigatory... (1)

thhamm (764787) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562731)

ssssh! don't talk about it here ...

Re:Obigatory... (1)

tychovi (1221054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562773)

OK, I need a faster connection... ...that doesn't run through that locked room right next to AT&Tevil's main switch room... :(

not surprised. illegal. destroy it all. (0)

swschrad (312009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562677)

and a few folks need to go to jail for a very, very long time.

Is anyone shocked? (2, Insightful)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562685)

Is anyone shocked by this revelation? I'd be more surprised if investigations and prosecutions actually occur. Somehow, I have a feeling the Obama administration will want to try to move past Bush's abuses of power as soon as possible in the name of "change," rather than focus on all the bullshit that went on during the past eight years.

Re:Is anyone shocked? (1)

Prune (557140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562783)

I'm not shocked at the article, just at your reason for not being shocked (which is the wrong one). This is simply a disgruntled ex-employee dissing his former bosses. Of course, for conspiracy theorists like you, Ockham's razor never applies *rolleyes*

Ockham's Razor (1)

anonymousJUGGERNAUT (909643) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563195)

After everything else we've seen out of Bush's administration, you think the most parsimonious explanation for this story is that this guy's going public with a made-up story in order to get some sort of revenge, and no wrongdoing ever took place? Applying Ockham's Razor doesn't mean forgetting everything you know about the context and just picking a convenient story.

Re:Is anyone shocked? (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563135)

Focus on the bullshit? Now that Bush and his cronies are out of power, its time to prosecute them for whatever laws they broke. Letting them go just gives the message that the office of president is a consequence free temporary dictatorship.

Can I get a Duh? (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562693)

The taps that were set up for the NSA were at the backbones, where they had access to all communications, incoming and outgoing. Since it is impossible, even for the NSA, to know with 100% certainty who was at the end of each communication, they would have had to collect everything, as well as store everything. At that point, it is irrelevant what they said they did with the mountains of data they collected.

Finally, it is also impossible to create a classification system that just happens to ignore american citizens during its training/creation phase. Again, it means that it is guaranteed that the NSA would be able to classify the groups involved in the communication. And again, it is irrelevant that the NSA said "Trust us, we're ignoring all of that."

The only real news is that the NSA didn't even internally pretend that they were only interested in communications with or between foreign agents. Everything else has been predicted the instant it became apparent that wiretaps were being done without oversight.

Credibility (4, Funny)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562711)

Over the next several months, however, Tice was frustrated in his attempts to testify before Congress, had his credibility attacked by Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, and was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in an apparent attempt at intimidation.

That says it all. If Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly can't believe him, then who else in their right mind would.

Re:Credibility (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563047)

That says it all. If Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly can't believe him, then who else in their right mind would.

I believe, sir, that you have an extraneous "else" in line 1.

I'd Authorize Spying on the NY Times (1, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562753)

If papers start reporting on our efforts to do surveillance of al Qaeda agents in this country communicating outside and their flow of money, I would start tapping all of the calls going in and out of the NY Times.

FDR, Lincoln, and any serious President would do the same thing.

Re:I'd Authorize Spying on the NY Times (-1, Flamebait)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563161)

FDR, Lincoln, and any serious President would do the same thing.

Lincoln? Lincoln!?!? The worst president ever and you use him as an example of a serious president? The guy divided the country in two, suspended due process and more or less made a mockery of the position he held and you count him as a serious president?!

Re:I'd Authorize Spying on the NY Times (1)

anonymousJUGGERNAUT (909643) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563307)

I'd never vote for your crazy ass. The abandonment of the rule of law is causing more harm to this country than al Qaeda ever has, or probably ever could. And FDR and Lincoln were dealing with much, much, much larger threats.

Well (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26562765)

I really don't bomb think that some like planes this is possible c4. The amount of suitcase manpower that would be need infiltrated is so vast that smuggle I just can't 747 see it happening.

Where is the surprise ? (5, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562769)

The person bush & co appointed to department of justice screened fifty applicants and more for their political views. people who told even positive stuff towards gay rights, abortion, any liberal issues even on the internet were screened with the help of a 'special software'.

dont believe me ? well, the woman confessed to all this and more in front of senate committee investigating the issue. 'i have made a mistake' she said. mistake, fifty times.

it would be utterly stupid for any person with a brain cell to believe that an administration which is capable of doing that would not exploit wiretapping for their own political purposes.

Re:Where is the surprise ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563121)

Exactly. Look what great political capital the previous administration has! They have left the White House with so much political power it clearly has been gotten by nefarious means.

Oh, good (5, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562813)

There's an email from a old friend I accidentally deleted. Maybe I could get a copy from the NSA?

Re:Oh, good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563019)

No harm in asking, maybe you could get those missing Whitehouse emails while you're at it!

Surprised? not really. (2, Insightful)

squoozer (730327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562817)

It is a sad state of affairs but if you adopts the view that everything you say and do may be monitored by the government without redress then your view is probably not far from what is happening.

The problem with this monitoring is that it's almost impossible to stop or control because by it's very nature it's kept very secret.

I imagine in the future we will end up with a revolution and lots of people will die, that's typically what happens when the ruler is doing something the majority of the populace doesn't agree with. Before you shout that the majority of the population are sheeple and just "think of the children / terrorists" I think the real problem is that they aren't well informed and very time poor and if they knew what was going on and they would disagree strongly.

the NSA has been spying on everyone (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562891)

since before it existed

Who was it that said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26562911)

If you are innocent, then you have nothing to worry about. That's a pretty wise assessment.

The fact that people are SO worried around here makes me wonder what the hell you are all up to?

Re:Who was it that said... (2, Insightful)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563043)

Considering the fact it can be illegal to carry a lobster smaller than a certain size is illegal. Anything [dumblaws.com] is considered illegal. So why did you post this as anonymous coward? What are YOU afraid of?

Re:Who was it that said... (1)

Simmeh (1320813) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563049)

And that logic sets us up for big brother. Someone else said "Knowledge is power" - that power can be used against you by the corrupt and immoral.

Re:Who was it that said... (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563289)

Yeah, that's a wise assessment if you trust your government completely, which you shouldn't. If you're a journalist trying to break a big story about government corruption, this allows the bad guys in our government to spy on you. Grass roots activist trying fight some corporation? They chat with some congressman they own and your phone is tapped. Rival political party? Tap their HQ.

There's so many ways this can be abused, and if you think that will never happen you're incredibly naive. Domestic spying without oversight is an invitation to totalitarianism.

What's next? Chime in (5, Insightful)

jamie (78724) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562945)

Political cartoonist Tom Tomorrow [thismodernworld.com] reminds us about

that oddly specific moment where Andrea Mitchell, in the course of interviewing New York Times reporter James Risen about his reporting on the NSA and government wiretapping, asked if he knew anything about the administration spying on Christiane Amanpour â" a question the network promptly scrubbed from the transcription.

I'd forgotten about that incident [americablog.com] .

The Bush administration has its own list of scandals, of course. But just as significant a scandal may be the way that our so-called media hid from its audience the true scope of government wrongdoing. Recall that the New York Times sat on the NSA wiretapping scandal for a year before it thought it was time to let us citizens know. If it turns out that the industry that was supposed to be keeping the public informed about things like violations of the Constitution by top elected officials was deliberately concealing that information, it may be time to reconsider whether we have a press in America that's worthy of the name, and what we can do about it.

Anyway, Tom Tomorrow asks what other revelations about the Bush administration are likely to follow. Anyone have any ideas?

Hoisted By Your Own Petard? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563069)

Christiane Amanpour Ã" a question

Any plans to fix the problem with quotes, dashes & other characters in the posts, Jamie? I don't think it's always been like this but will you explain to me what the Ã" means in your quote?

You have no idea how annoying it is to pick through a copy/paste of something to find these damned "non-ascii?" characters. You seriously can't handle these characters or scrub/translate them for users? Very annoying and ugly.

Re:What's next? Chime in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563285)

The Times may have been sitting on the story for that length of time to be sure it's getting credible information. Not to mention gathering up evidence from its sources. Personally, I'd rather them put out a more complete story than do it piecemeal.

I'm not saying that's what they did, just my own guess.

Re:What's next? Chime in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563295)

J.P. Morgan bought controlling interests in the press so he could control public opinion almost a century ago and it was hardly a new strategy then. Only a decade ago, I'd be dismissed as a conspiracy nut for saying that the heads of media conglomerates sit on the CFR. Now everybody knows it's true but that's only scratching the surface.

  1. Look for reporting that contradicts the official line de jour (see: Iraqi WMD)
  2. Pressure the editor or parent company not to publish
  3. Profit

Re:What's next? Chime in (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563355)

Tom Tomorrow asks what other revelations about the Bush administration are likely to follow. Anyone have any ideas?

Well, one thing we can be pretty sure about is that, unless they come out with evidence of George W's sexual activity with staffers, nobody but a few wonks will care and there will be no repercussions.

So far, all the signs are that the Bush Gang has got away with it all, and nobody will ever be brought to account in the courts.

We might start thinking about what sort of precedent this sets for subsequent American administrations.

/. sponsored by AlJazeera (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26562949)

This is just pathetic.

GOOD (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26562981)

"Tice told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday that the programs that spied on Americans were not only much broader than previously acknowledged but specifically targeted journalists."

The Pecking order for paradise at the bottom of the ocean-
1) Lawyers
2) Journalists
3) Terrorists

    We have too many of all of the above and culling the herd is way overdue!

That's the whole point (5, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562997)

And, under the current law and the August 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review ruling, it is explicitly legal.

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 [wikipedia.org] , passed by a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress, allows for foreign intelligence collection on non-US Persons without a warrant, no matter where the collection occurs. The longstanding Smith v. Maryland, 442 US 735 (1979) [findlaw.com] , allows for the collection of communications metadata, i.e., "to" and "from" information, without a warrant. The FISC ruling [fas.org] explicitly finds legal such collection under the now-sunset Protect America Act [wikipedia.org] and, thus, the current FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

In order to determine which traffic content may be collected for foreign intelligence purposes, the traffic metadata must be examined. Even when a target in question is a specific non-US Person of foreign intelligence interest, traffic metadata must first be examined in order to target that person! Because examining traffic metadata was found explicitly legal and Constitutional three decades ago by the United States Supreme Court, doing so in order to target legitimate foreign intelligence collection is allowable under the law.

The major issues for foreign SIGINT were twofold:

- A lot of traffic is now digital versus analog, and cannot be targeted by aiming a directional antenna at a particular geographic locale. It is now traveling largely via things like fiber optic cables, intermixed with all manner of other communications. In order to target the collection, it is no longer a case of sitting on a Navy vessel offshore from some area of interest between individuals talking on two-way radios; it's finding that traffic in a sea of global digital communications.

- Foreign communications of non-US Persons physically outside of the US was increasingly traveling through the US. Previously fair game for foreign intelligence collection throughout the history of such collection in the United States, it suddenly became off-limits without a warrant because it was incidentally routed through locations in the United States. Foreign intelligence collection on non-US Persons outside of the US does not require a warrant, and fundamentally still shouldn't simply because their traffic happens to enter the US.

This was a case of changing technology necessitating an update to a law. A supermajority of both houses of Congress agreed.

Unfortunately, this discussion is so mired in politics, personal grinding of axes, confusion about early NSA programs (like the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program, or TSP, which was not renewed after January 2007), and isolated examples of legitimate abuse or misconduct, that not many seem interested in having any real discussion about how foreign intelligence can be reasonably conducted in the digital age. Instead it is a sea of frantic arm-waving and breathless blogging about how the Constitution is being shredded, when the mechanisms of law and judicial oversight have explicitly established the activities as legal.

Ironically, Tice's interview is spot-on. He says, "What was done was sort of an ability to look at the metadata ... and ferret that information to determine what communications would ultimately be collected," and adds, "we looked at organizations, just supposedly so that we would not target them."

"Supposedly?"

That's the whole point. So here's an example of someone explaining more or less what is happening, namely, that traffic metadata is examined to determine whether or not it constitutes a foreign intelligence target, and that measures were undertaken to not intercept the content of communications of entities which are not legitimate targets, even before the legal situation was clarified. None of the news coverage or associated debate seems able to make the connection that this activity is exactly what is described is explicitly legal under:

- The temporary Protect America Act of 2007, which was in force from August 5, 2007 to February 17, 2008,
- The FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which became Public Law 110-261 on July 10, 2008, and is in force at present,
- The FISC ruling

The cornerstone of the current law and the FISC decision is the protection of the privacy and rights of United States persons. The current law is even more stringent with respect to US Persons than previous law: an individualized warrant from FISC is required to target a US Person anywhere on the globe; before, US Persons did not enjoy the same explicit protections under the law outside of the US.

What monitors this? The same oversight and processes that we trust, by proxy, to monitor the activities of the Intelligence Community. Namely,

- The intelligence oversight committees of both houses of Congress
- Legal counsel for all Intelligence Community components
- The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
- The Department of Justice
- The Executive Branch

In fact, FISA Modernization is listed as the number one major milestone [dni.gov] of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence under the tenure of Mike McConnell.

In sum, as I have said before:

1. A warrant is not required to collect intelligence when the target is not a US Person, regardless of where the collection occurs, including within the US.

2. A warrant is always required to collect intelligence when the target is a US Person, whether inside or outside of the US (more strict than previous law).

3. This requires determining which traffic content can be lawfully collected without a warrant, sometimes with the assistance of telecom operators in the US. In order to determine which traffic can be lawfully collected without a warrant, basic information about the traffic, such as its source and destination, must also be examined. Such examination of traffic -- a "pen register" -- also does not require a warrant.

The job of our foreign intelligence services is to collect information on the activities and plans of US adversaries. This activity has never required a warrant, because non-US Persons outside of the US are not protected by the Constitution of the United States.

The path traffic takes shouldn't prevent us from doing this job.

The only real issue is the questionable legal landscape that existed from 2001 to 2007 and briefly again in 2008 after the expiration of the Protect America Act.

These are questions which even DNI McConnell acknowledged may never be answered. Namely, the President's authority under Article II of the Constitution in conjunction with the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). NSA and the Community had a legal opinion about the legality of the activity -- there is always a legal opinion. The incoming Attorney General agrees that the President has inherent, intrinsic authority under Article II that cannot be impinged upon by any statue; whether the above activity is explicitly one of those authorities is a legal question that may never be answered, because the programs in question ceased, and the activities described by Tice are legal under present law.

Tice's activities at NSA were all 2005 and earlier, and he makes no distinction about what programs he may or may not have been involved in. Since the activities he describes are all explicitly legal at present, and were also affirmed by the FISC decision with respect to PAA and the current law, is it productive to go back and prosecute individuals who were acting in good faith in a rapidly changing legal landscape, when it hasn't even been established that the specific activity was "illegal"?

I wonder if anyone in the media is interested in having this discussion, or if it's all going to be accusations from whistleblowers, with no consideration of the associated challenges for foreign SIGINT in a digital world?

I also wonder what it's called when you "blow the whistle" on legal activity...?

Re:That's the whole point (4, Insightful)

jamie (78724) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563129)

The only real issue is the questionable legal landscape that existed from 2001 to 2007 and briefly again in 2008 after the expiration of the Protect America Act.

So you're saying the only real issue is that the President of the United States broke the law from 2001 to 2007.

Re:That's the whole point (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563259)

So you're saying the only real issue is that the President of the United States broke the law from 2001 to 2007.

No, I'm saying the question of whether any of that activity was illegal isn't answered, and may never be. These were simply interpretations of US law that might or might not have withstood the scrutiny of the courts.

But thank you for ignoring the meat of my post, which is that the exact activity that Tice is trying to get everyone up-in-arms about is explicitly legal at present, and will likely remain so under President Obama.

Re:That's the whole point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563279)

Hats off to you, Dave Schroeder! Never have I seen such an avid & thorough apologist. Really, you should look into politics or political astro-turfing.*



*That is to say if you haven't been doing that already.

Watch those dangerous journalists! (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563001)

You can't really fault them for wanting to keep on eye on people like Geraldo Rivera [cnn.com] , can you?

lost booksmarks and passwds. pls chk logs n gimme (2, Funny)

ranjeet.walunj (1356155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563005)

ohh gr8 ... was looking for my lost bookmarks and passwds for last few months ... can someone from NSA team check their logs and pass it to me pls ?

If there was any justice in the world... (1, Funny)

Sayshu (1459189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563057)

Then Katie Couric would be in Gitmo as a result of this program.

Re:If there was any justice in the world... (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563365)

Yes, someone who stood in the way of President Palin should definitely be classed an "unlawful combatant".

Send a message to President Obama (2, Interesting)

jdp (95845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563059)

Get FISA Right is collecting messages on FISA to give to President Obama. Our "asks" were just presented to Macon Phillips at a National Press Club event, and we're running a new video ad "Congratulations, President Obama, please get FISA right". If you'd like to add your opinion (or see the video), please check out Get FISA Right launches new pro-Constitution video on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, and Comedy Channel [wordpress.com] on our blog.

Naomi Wolf (5, Informative)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563097)

Didn't Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot [tinyurl.com] say that she had significant evidence that she was being bugged and her mail being intercepted? I distinctly recall hearing her say this at the Revolution March in DC on July 12, 2008.

I think I got it on video--I'll have to find the video tonight and put it on YouTube.

Slashdot: News For Morons +4, Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563099)

Stuff's That's Very Old .

I asserted N.S.A. spied on everyone and was MODDED down.

Slashdot is DEAD. Use
  Google News [exiledonline.com]

Yours In Communism,
Kilgore Trout

People are surprised? (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563207)

I would expect the NSA to spy on everybody.
I would just expect anything they find to never in anyway be admissible in court.
They are an intelligence agency, little or nothing they do should involve law enforcement or the courts.

Investigation or Intelligence Source (3, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563219)

    Monitoring journalists is actually a smart move, for an organization that wishes to gather intelligence.

    Journalists write about the news. They're sent out on great breaking stories, as well as little crappy ones. They may have one piece of a much bigger story, and never know about it.

    Think about this. A guy steals a car in New York. Not big news, right? But someone is bound to cover it. The police only have so much manpower to investigate things. Now, an investigative reporter finds that it's a little old lady, and wants to make it news. It's a fluff story, but maybe someone will have some sympathy for her.

    The reporter goes to some neighboring houses. They ask "did you see anything." "What can you tell me about the little old lady." Oh, she's nice, tends to her flowers every day, and has 14 cats. Big deal. That is, until you find that one of the neighbors was actually a person of interest.

    The neighbor of interest normally lives in California, but is now in New York. Another person of the same organization had flown into New York (found through the airline reservation systems). Another was stopped crossing the Canadian border because he had a forged passport. Documents in his bag indicate he was going to ... you got it, New York.

    I won't agree that it's nice that they record all my calls, emails, and movements. Their job isn't to be nice. Theirs, for the most part, is to gather intelligence. By monitoring journalists, that would put an extra 50,000 eyes and ears out there (according to ASNE [asne.org] ) every day. Add that to the more traditional resources, like other law enforcement agencies and their own agents, and now you get a much clearer picture.

    They can't depend on the news that does make it. Plenty of stories are written and rejected. The journalist trying to make the story about our little old lady, her 14 cats, and stolen car, will probably never see the light of day. It'll be superseded by any more interesting story.

    Do I know that any of this happens? No. But, it would make a lot of sense. I know my own news site is read on a regular basis by just about every intelligence agency there is. I know when I write a story about being flagged as a security risk at the airport, I'm not flagged again. Really, if they monitor everything I do, they're bored out of their minds, but they do know, I'm not a risk. I know if I look through my logs, I get a good glimpse of what they're willing to let me see (the occasional IP from their agency). I know that's not the whole story either. I just think of it as their way of saying "hi".

       

MSNBC? Keith Olbermann? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563241)

Let me know when /. decides to balance this "story" with something from Chris Wallace and Fox News. As a newsman, Keith Olbermann is a very mediocre sportscaster. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do question the source on this one, just as I question Fox News.

The first shoe to drop (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563331)

Just wait till it comes out that they spied on Senators from the opposition party.

"this program" (2, Interesting)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563361)

I always wondered about how when Gonzales, Bush, Hayden, Cheney were defending warrantless wiretaps on americans by saying "this program only eavesdrops on americans domestically if they are one end of a conversation with someone outside the U.S linked to Al Qaeda/terror" whether the "this program" implied that there were other programs that did not have that restriction.
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