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The NSA Wiretapping Story Nobody Wanted

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the since-privacy-is-such-a-minor-issue dept.

Privacy 144

CWmike writes "They sometimes call national security the third rail of politics. Touch it and, politically, you're dead. The cliché doesn't seem far off the mark after reading Mark Klein's new book, Wiring up the Big Brother Machine ... and Fighting It. It's an account of his experiences as the whistleblower who exposed a secret room at a Folsom Street facility in San Francisco that was apparently used to monitor the Internet communications of ordinary Americans. Amazingly, however, nobody wanted to hear his story. In his book he talks about meetings with reporters and privacy groups that went nowhere until a fateful January 20, 2006 meeting with Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Bankston was preparing a lawsuit that he hoped would put a stop to the wiretap program, and Klein was just the kind of witness the EFF was looking for. He spoke with Robert McMillan for an interview."

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The third rail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28739283)

Actually, that's social security, according to the old Washington, DC saying.

Re:The third rail (2, Informative)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741297)

True. But in the real world the military industrial complex has replaced social security. Look at the F-22. It's basically a nation-wide welfare and jobs program. It's never been flown in combat, the pentagon doesn't want any more, each one costs the equivalent of 11,000 family health insurance policies, and, apparently, it can't survive rain [washingtonpost.com] . But, fiscal conservatives are falling over each other trying to keep the program running.

Re:The third rail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28741507)

At least those who get the benefits are doing something useful and not sitting on a street asking for handouts. However useless the fighter is, it is more useful than the nothing that just handing out this money would create. Not to mention the inflation.

Re:The third rail (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741575)

If they are doing work which doesn't need to be done, then by definition it's not very useful.

How about we retask them to building out infrastructure or educating children? At least that way we get something useful for making life better, rather than another device we don't need to make it shorter.

The vast majority of welfare payments are actually some sort of unemployment or disability insurance payout, virtually none are for people who simply claim they can't find any work and don't feel like trying to either.

Not even Barack Obama (3, Insightful)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739325)

Apparently, even President Obama doesn't want to hear complaints about the warrantless wiretaps. The Computerworld story provides a convenient link titled "Obama administration defends Bush wiretapping [computerworld.com] "

While campaigning against President George W. Bush, Barack Obama had pledged that there would be "no more wiretapping of American citizens," but Obama's administration has continued to use many of his predecessor's arguments when it comes to warrantless wiretapping.

Ok, perhaps the reporter of that story got a few of the facts wrong. (George W. Bush != John McCain)

Seth

Re:Not even Barack Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28739369)

Ok, perhaps the reporter of that story got a few of the facts wrong. (George W. Bush != John McCain)

Bush was president. The buck stops there.

Or are you willing to concede that it is Hillary Clinton that doesn't want to hear complaints about he warrantless wiretaps?

Re:Not even Barack Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28739383)

While campaigning against President George W. Bush...

who was Obama running against?

Re:Not even Barack Obama (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740301)

McCain may have been the GOP candidate, but Obama was running against George W. Bush.

It was an excellent strategy, too. Since McCain was sort of the null candidate, running against an unpopular president with eight years of disastrous policies, who entered office with a surplus and left it with a deficit, who started two wars, who was on duty the day the United States was attacked by terrorists who flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

How could he lose? Hell, everything was thrown at him but the kitchen sink ("he's a terrorist, he's not a US citizen, he's a drug abuser, he smokes, he's a gay Socialist, hell, he's fucking BLACK!") and the American people still said "please, take over from this imbecile". "You got a college degree? You're in!"

He could have been a serial killing child molester and would have been able to successfully run against George Bush's record.

Re:Not even Barack Obama (2, Insightful)

maharb (1534501) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741531)

Bush. Obama probably talked more about the shortcomings of Bush than he argued against ... whoever that was. This election was not a vote for Obama, it was a vote of disapproval of Bush.

Re:Not even Barack Obama (0, Troll)

ppanon (16583) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741671)

Well it also helped a lot that John McCain picked Bush III as his running mate.

Re:Not even Barack Obama (1, Insightful)

tnok85 (1434319) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739433)

Ok, perhaps the reporter of that story got a few of the facts wrong. (George W. Bush != John McCain)

Obama did not have to defeat McCain - or whatever Republican got the nomination, for that matter - he only needed to defeat Bush.

Re:Not even Barack Obama (1, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739959)

With regards to the back flip carried out by Obama when he became president (where he changed from opposing the wiretaps to supporting them), the logical explanation is that when he became president the NSA showed him details of the wiretapping and possibly also showed him examples of things the NSA has intercepted via the wiretapping that has in some way benefited the national security of the nation or helped in the war on terror. Having seen that this wiretapping is actually producing beneficial results, he would then be more inclined to keep it going so it can keep producing these results.

Re:Not even Barack Obama (4, Insightful)

crazyjimmy (927974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740051)

With regards to the back flip carried out by Obama when he became president (where he changed from opposing the wiretaps to supporting them), the logical explanation is that when he became president the NSA showed him details of the wiretapping and possibly also showed him examples of things the NSA has intercepted via the wiretapping that has in some way benefited the national security of the nation or helped in the war on terror. Having seen that this wiretapping is actually producing beneficial results, he would then be more inclined to keep it going so it can keep producing these results.

Or perhaps the NSA offered to post transcripts of every embarrassing conversation Obama had ever had.

Re:Not even Barack Obama (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740181)

With regards to the back flip carried out by Obama when he became president (where he changed from opposing the wiretaps to supporting them)

There was no such flip. Obama ALWAYS supported warrantless wiretaps. How do I know? He voted for telecoms immunity. He had some bullshit excuse about it, but no excuse is possible. Believing Obama was ever against those wiretaps is fucking stupid. Check the voting record, understand that you have been duped, and move on.

Obama supported these wiretaps before [sfgate.com] becoming president:

The law that Congress passed last summer, with the support of then-Sen. Barack Obama, authorized the wiretap program and sought to dismiss lawsuits against companies that had participated.

Believing politicians' campaign promises only makes YOU an idiot. It says nothing about them.

Your just as guilty for leaving out information (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28740815)

"The bill also allows any warrantless wiretapping program to be reviewed by a secret federal intelligence court; requires a spy agency to purge any intelligence involving an American unless it gets a court warrant; and, for the first time, requires intelligence officials to get a court warrant if they wish to target an American living abroad. Read what's in the FISA bill [cnn.com] "

"Obama did vote for an amendment offered before the final vote by Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Connecticut, that would have stripped the immunity provisions from the bill, but the amendment failed."

When pressed to explain his change in position by an angry questioner Thursday, Obama defended his vote, saying he opposed the immunity for the companies but ultimately voted for the bill because he felt that the revisions to the intelligence law were necessary to protect the nation's security.

REF: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/11/obama.netroots/index.html [cnn.com]

Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (5, Informative)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741141)

Actually he voted against immunity for telecoms but the amendment failed (see the post below).

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/11/obama.netroots/index.html [cnn.com]

What's even more frightening is that they modded you informative when it's public record that he voted to strip the immunity provisions out although the amendment failed.

Yes, he did vote for the larger bill with the amendments that basically put the warrant requirements back in for any American they may have eavesdropped on whether on US soil or abroad.

Of course, this is Slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28741515)

This is Slashdot. Don't you know that everything Obama does is bad, no matter whether he in fact did it?

Re:Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741677)

What's even more frightening is that they modded you informative when it's public record that he voted to strip the immunity provisions out although the amendment failed.

What's sad is that you're such a dupe.

That amendment was NEVER going to pass, EVERYONE knew it. Except, apparently, you. Obama can safely be assumed to be not that stupid.

Nobody with two brain cells to rub together believed that shit about "but I'm so surprised the amendment didn't pass!"

Re:Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28742045)

Trolling, flaimbait, and CAPS all in one post. Impressive. The CAPS always help too...

Re:Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (1)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742107)

That amendment was NEVER going to pass, EVERYONE knew it. Except, apparently, you. Obama can safely be assumed to be not that stupid.

So, what, your position is that a good (but futile) deed does not count in a person's favor?
Not a big fan of "dreaming the impossible dream?"

Re:Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742245)

So, what, your position is that a good (but futile) deed does not count in a person's favor?

That is a gross misrepresentation of my position. My position is that Obama knew that amendment had no chance in hell to pass, and thus his act of voting for the bill when he knew that the telecoms would be granted immunity is not an act of good, but one of evil.

Not a big fan of "dreaming the impossible dream?"

I'm a realist, which means that while I might like to alter the current power structure to the point where it would be essentially unrecognizable, feed the hungry and save the whales, I know that the Republicans and Democrats are both essentially concerned about taking and holding power for themselves, not with actually making a difference.

Further, I believe the system is designed to prevent an idealistic president from actually making a large direct difference. The place where the president is in a position to influence the nation is not one of policy, in which he is typically forced to follow policy, but in attitude. First Lady Michelle Obama's installation of an organic garden [thehill.com] at the white house reminds me of past events [huffingtonpost.com] in a way that perfectly illustrates what I'm talking about here.

Let me just reiterate: Obama is not an idiot. He never believed that amendment would pass. You have been duped.

Re:Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28742515)

First you claimed he voted FOR giving the Telecoms immunity. Now your saying he's evil for voting to strip the immunity. You seem to be a little hard to please.

Re:Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742593)

First you claimed he voted FOR giving the Telecoms immunity. Now your saying he's evil for voting to strip the immunity. You seem to be a little hard to please.

I know I shouldn't feed AC trolls, but I guess I've gone defensive. I said no such thing. I said his act of voting for the bill was an act of evil, not an act of good. I was responding to a comment which implied that he was trying to do good, by voting for both the bill and the amendment which would modify it. I explained that he knew that the amendment would not pass, and so there was no attempt to do good, only a deliberate vote for evil.

You are either a clever troll who has succeeded in garnering a response you do not deserve, or a big fucking idiot. There's no third way. Voting for the bill is an act of evil. Voting for the amendment is simply misdirection. Lying about his intentions [dailykos.com] is an act of evil.

Re:Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28742739)

And I Quote: "There was no such flip. Obama ALWAYS supported warrantless wiretaps. How do I know? He voted for telecoms immunity."

Re:Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (1)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742635)

Further, I believe the system is designed to prevent an idealistic president from actually making a large direct difference. The place where the president is in a position to influence the nation is not one of policy, in which he is typically forced to follow policy, but in attitude. First Lady Michelle Obama's installation of an organic garden at the white house reminds me of past events in a way that perfectly illustrates what I'm talking about here.

I agree, and think it's for the best. If I don't agree with the current president's ideals, I certainly don't want him to advance them too far on his own. He'll have to sway the country and congress first.

So, what, your position is that a good (but futile) deed does not count in a person's favor?

That is a gross misrepresentation of my position. My position is that Obama knew that amendment had no chance in hell to pass, and thus his act of voting for the bill when he knew that the telecoms would be granted immunity is not an act of good, but one of evil.

A gross misstatement? Really? Obama knew the amendment wasn't going to pass, but he put it out there anyway. That's the good but futile deed. That specific amendment didn't pass, as expected, but maybe it helped inform the final bill, which had gotten better in some ways. Better enough for Obama to vote for it, anyway, and if you want to call that vote evil, that's fine, but it doesn't invalidate the earlier act of good, which you seem to be saying.

It's like, the final vote got Obama 5 "evil" points, but the amendment got him 1 "good" point. The net result is 4 "evil" points, which means he was less evil than what could have been.

Re:Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742961)

A gross misstatement? Really? Obama knew the amendment wasn't going to pass, but he put it out there anyway. That's the good but futile deed.

I disagree; you have to take intent into account. If he knew that there was no way it would pass, then it's not a good deed! It's neutral at best, and misdirection (i.e. a kind of lie) is a more likely description of what occurred.

Better enough for Obama to vote for it, anyway, and if you want to call that vote evil, that's fine, but it doesn't invalidate the earlier act of good, which you seem to be saying.

No, there is no act of good. My point is that there was no act of good. Obama even pledged to filibuster to support the amendment, and failed to do so. Voting for the amendment became an act of evil when he used it to excuse voting for the bill, because it made it clear that's why he voted that way: he could use voting for the always-doomed amendment as an excuse.

Re:Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (3, Informative)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742299)

Dodd made a proposal to filibuster the immunity and the other Dem candidates pledged support [dailykos.com] . Then Clinton, Obama, etc forgot their pledge as no such filibuster occurred. Dodd was left standing in the cold (I joined his email list because of his stance on this issue).

I can't say Obama's vote on a failed amendment counts as positive at all as there would be no need for such an amendment if he had lived up to his pledge. Weaseling out of a promise of support and then doing a less than half hearted attempt at saving face is politics as normal,wheres the change?

Re:Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28742421)

Obama's statement was for a bill drafted 5 months before that vote. The final version looked very little like the original one. If you look at his statement it is very specific.

"Senator Obama has serious concerns about many provisions in this bill, especially the provision on giving retroactive immunity to the telephone companies. He is hopeful that this bill can be improved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But if the bill comes to the Senate floor in its current form, he would support a filibuster of it."

That was in Oct 2007. The bill wasn't voted on until Feb of 2008, half a year later. These bills don't stay static that whole time. They are constantly being massed to make them more palatable to the majority. He stated as much himself that with the new warrant protections, he felt he could support the final bill, even if the immunity provisions were left in.

Re:Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (1)

plnix0 (807376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743197)

His was point was that it was "safe" for Obama to vote the amendment, since it wasn't going to pass anyway. Obama got the best of both worlds: the amendment didn't pass, and politically he looked good because he voted for it. This is a well known feature of how Congress operates.

Re:Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (1)

shma (863063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742871)

Do you even read the fucking articles you post before you lie about what they say? Or even the damn title?

Obama's surveillance vote spurs blogging backlash:Sen. Barack Obama's vote for a federal surveillance law that he had previously opposed has sparked a backlash from his online advocates, who had energized his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Money Quote:

The Senate voted Wednesday on the bill updating FISA -- which had a provision to shield telecommunications companies that had cooperated in the surveillance. Obama joined the 68 other senators who voted to send the bill to the president's desk.

I don't give two shits about what failed amendments he voted for. In the end he was asked to vote on a bill that offered immunity for telcos and he did. If he cared the least bit about keeping the telecoms accountable, he would have voted against the bill itself. End of discussion.

What's even more frightening is that they modded you informative when it's public record that he voted to strip the immunity provisions out although the amendment failed.

What's frightening is that there are 4 people who modded you up without reading the article you posted.

Re:Mis-information modded 'Informative'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743129)

So you would consider allowing someone to sue a telecom for allowing the government listen in on his or her phone conversations to grandma more important than the new protections put into the bill, namely requiring warrants for any American that happens to be wiretapped and putting the court back in the loop for said warrants?

That is essentially all that bit of the bill gained you. Letting someone get rich off of some imagined damage done by the government. I tend to think the larger new protections in the bill were far more important.

Re:Not even Barack Obama (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742901)

There was no such flip. Obama ALWAYS supported warrantless wiretaps.

It's definitely natural to look to the President to lead the way on this (or not), but it seems like people generally leave out the role of Congress. I'm no expert, but shouldn't congressional oversight be a major player (if not THE major player) in matters like this? I know the DoJ falls under the Executive branch, but Congress has appointed special investigators in the past, IIRC.

In any case, Congress definitely has a role to play. As the warrant-less domestic wiretapping was known for some time under Pres. Bush, and continues under Pres. Obama, I'm more likely to place blame on Democrats in the Legislature. I expect today's surviving Republicans to both stick to party lines and put national security ahead of constitutionality. More importantly, I know that they don't wield significant power at present.

Democrats are also prone to the security over constitutionality choice, of course. I don't have a party line behind this post. For both parties, political climate is a huge influence. I just think it's worth remembering that Congress has duties in government beyond passing laws and setting the budget; that's what all the committees are there for.

If we put all blame and expectations on Bush and now Obama, we make it too easy for Congress to not press important issues. It's part of the President's job to take blame and criticism, since they represent the entire country and can never expect to please everyone. Members of Congress, on the other hand, are individually much more answerable to us, theoretically anyway.

The bottom line is that arguing about Bush or Obama on Slashdot just wastes time and space in the discussion (this article is about the press, isn't it?). Writing your Senator or Representative, on the other hand, is a much better use of your time, if only to have the opportunity to gain insight into the canned response you will get back from their offices.

Re:Not even Barack Obama (1)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740335)

Having seen that this wiretapping is actually producing beneficial results, he would then be more inclined to keep it going so it can keep producing these results

Obama is bright guy but, Blackberry aside, let's not kid ourselves that he understands technology any better than the normal user. The national security apparatus is worth hundreds of billions of dollars a year and hundreds of thousands of jobs in the government, military, and private sector. You better believe they are skilled at scaring the shit out people, regardless of whether the threat is real or imagine nor the programs effective or not. A lot jobs, prestige, and profit statements depend on that ability.

Precious few people in Washington or anywhere else want to take on the intelligence community. There is very little political upside and a very dark downside. Outside of a brief couple of years in the 70s with the Church Committee, etc., they get their way eventually. And don't think for a second that in the back of their minds politicians, including presidents, don't fear there could be leaks about their girlfriends, "random" personal banking audits that turn up high priced hooker payments, a plane crash or a grassy knoll in their future if they step too far out of line.

With two wars, a collapsing economy, global competition, etc., it quite possible that even if Obama sees through the fear mongering he would conclude he doesn't want to deal with this crap.

Citation Needed (1)

P0ltergeist333 (1473899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741241)

Objection! Citation needed, and suspiciously close to empty right wing rhetoric. I think that it is much more likely that exposure of the illegal program would give operational details of legal, necessary programs. This would explain the actions of an obviously thoughtful man. Whatever the reason, he's still WRONG. The 4th amendment is non-negotiable and is VERY clear. I accept FISA as a necessary evil in cases of extreme national security (as defined in the Constitution; threat of invasion or rebellion).

Re:Not even Barack Obama (0)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741365)

and possibly also showed him examples of things the NSA has intercepted via the wiretapping that has in some way benefited the national security of the nation or helped in the war on terror.

Explain to me again how violating the Constitution increases "the national security of the nation"?

Re:Not even Barack Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28741965)

War on terror? Stop using that phrase.

You can't wage war against terror. You CAN try to wage war on terrorists or rather people who use terrifying techniques to "get what they want", but you can't defeat an abstraction.

I really would hope that no one uses that phrase ever again. The common use of it as an appropriate phrase boggles my mind.

Re:Not even Barack Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28740089)

That commenter on your blog may actually be working for the Israeli government

www.muzzlewatch.com/2009/07/14/that-angry-commenter-on-your-blog-may-actually-be-working-for-the-israeli-government/

The psychological need for power... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28740101)

"While campaigning against President George W. Bush, Barack Obama had pledged that there would be "no more wiretapping of American citizens," but Obama's administration has continued to use many of his predecessor's arguments when it comes to warrantless wiretapping."

The psychological need of a minority of people who seek power over other people, is independent of which group they join to work together to gain power over people. Therefore it is no surprise people who seek power over others will back the moves made by other previous people in power as they made their moves to gain ever more ways to control a population. Its not about parties its about power.

Ironically political power tends to differentiate into two power bases opposed to each other as joining other smaller groups is less likely to lead to power. Therefore the people who seek power over others tend to follow the two most powerful, yet opposed groups, as each person wants power for themselves. As a result, countries tend over time to oscillate between these two main power groups, after their population get tired of the relentless grabs for power each side makes and all the personal gain that grab for power brings them and their loyal friends.

This same pattern, driven by the relentless need for power exists throughout history and in so many countries. (Sometimes one of the sides gains such power they can suppress (and even kill off) opposing groups so the oscillation stalls for a while, but history shows eventually new groups emerge in opposition to the group in power).

The rest of us who don't seek power, unfortunately get caught up in this endless struggle for who wants to be in power and we even get dragged into wars and can even die in our millions all to decide which of the groups gains power, with both sides trying to move the population behind them with ideas of fear to convince the population to fear the opposing power group side while also selling concepts of a desire for a better life if you follow their side. Yet ultimately power is for the benefit of the people in power. After all, the very act of seeking power over someone else is to decide how they must live their life and ultimately that power gives personal gain for the people in power over others.

Ironically the only winning move is not to join a side but keep both power groups in balance able to distill out the most extreme moves. Democracy tenses to give this more than other political systems as its stochastically sampling their extremes over time. But one thing it cannot stop is the relentless grab for ever more power and its here we have a growing problem.

Ever improving information technology presents a growing danger we are just starting to see. The ever better information gathering technology gives ever greater power to ever more micro manage everyone else's lives (and that gives ever more ways to earn money from exploiting that power over everyones lives) and people who seek power are not going to stop technology that gives them what they want the most. Ever more power.

Unfortunately most people don't comprehend just how driven the people who do seek power are in their goal for ever more power simply because most people are not so driven to seek power themselves, but its even worse that this. The fight for power over others is completely relentless because if anyone in the power hierarchy fails to take a move for more power, others will take that move gaining extra power for themselves and will then be able to use that extra power to climb higher having move influence. Therefore the most driven seek to the top in any power hierarchy. Its therefore no surprise they then seek to exploit ever more technology that gives them what the way, which is power. Ironically the one thing they all fear is the loss of power so they are determined to hold onto power themselves.

Re:Not even Barack Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28740627)

What is the big deal about wiretapping. Does someone think that a human being will be listening to their conversation if they are tapped. The CIA would need 10s of millions of agents to do that! Conversations are obviously processed for key words like "bomb". So, if you're talking about a bomb you deserve to be personally listened to.

Futile (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739333)

Poor CWmike. He took an effort to write such a nice summary and now no one is going to read it. Hey, did I just see a see a new article? Must be my eyes playing tricks on me...

Myth busters proved that it is safe (0, Offtopic)

Cur8or (1220818) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739375)

to urinate on the third rail or slash, if you will. Slashdot, knock yourself out...

I question a key point from TFA (3, Interesting)

Alaska Jack (679307) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739431)

TFA:

"Secretly authorized in 2002, the program lets the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) monitor telephone conversations and e-mail messages of people inside the U.S. to identify suspected terrorists."

Hmm. I don't think this is accurate, in the sense that it implies that *intra-U.S.* calls were subject to monitoring. If I understand correctly, it was calls *coming in* to the United States, from individuals or organizations believed to have ties with terrorism.

I'm not certain about this though. If I'm wrong, feel free to set me straight.

    - AJ

Addendum: As I read further, I see this guy is the kind who is going to have a lot of fans on /., but I wonder. This, for example: "I was very worried. The Bush administration was capable of very crazy things and illegal things. I knew they were doing torture. And I knew they had taken into custody and jailed people who were citizens of the United States ... and just thrown them away in a brig with no trial and no charges. "

The Bush administration was not, to my knowledge, grabbing Americans off the street and "disappearing" them. Was this in fact the case, outside this guy's fevered dreams?

Re:I question a key point from TFA (1, Funny)

tnok85 (1434319) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739439)

Dude, you'd better be careful with this stuff. I know a guy named Jack who got "disappeared" in Alaska recently after posting some controversial stuff on /.

Re:I question a key point from TFA (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28739491)

That was a lie promulgated by the Bush administration [youtube.com] . The device copied _all_ communication that traveled through this facility, [eff.org] domestic and foreign. There is good evidence also that this wasn't the only place were AT&T, or other carriers, were imposing dragnet surveillance.

Re:I question a key point from TFA (5, Insightful)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739501)

You're right on both parts, essentially. I think they also were monitoring calls originating in the US that were made to foreign numbers they believed to have ties with terrorism, too, but honestly it's hard to really figure out what the truth is and was with so much fear-mongering and hyperbole going on.

Oh, and the program itself wasn't really new, it's been around forever. Bush & Co. just tweaked the rules around a little bit -- a move that I think was less about invading the privacy of Americans (which they've been able to do for several decades now) and more a matter of removing a bottleneck. The whole secret wiretap deal has to be approved by a secret court, I think there's a 24 or 48 hour window in which they can start a wiretap and then seek approval by this secret court. Well, in the wake of 9/11, they were using this quite a bit, and I'm of the belief that they circumvented the court not because they wanted to be Big Brother but because they knew that most these wiretaps would NOT result in any information but felt that at the time it was best to cast as wide a net as possible, immediately, and later worry about narrowing things down from "possible" to "likely".

The secret court, of course, only would be able to review so many requests for secret wiretaps at once, and if you're looking at a list of 1,000 possibles and you think 100 of them are pretty likely, let's say it would take a week for a court (and you) to go through and decide which of those 1,000 were the ones you wanted.. well, I believe the idea was simply to not worry about the time limit due to the huge volume and keep all the wiretaps in place until some sort of review could be done, rather than potentially miss out on valuable information because of a paperwork bottleneck.

Not that I really care for the idea of secret courts or meetings or wiretaps or anything, but overblown fearmongering and fingerpointing pisses me off even more. Especially when it's hypocritical fingerpointing. It's not like the democrats in power were oblivious to what was going on (see also, criticism of the information on WMDs before the Iraq War from the democrats when in fact they had access and agreed with the intelligence reports at the time.. fucking i'll-have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too bullshit).

Re:I question a key point from TFA (0, Redundant)

adfasdfsadfasdfsadfs (1600653) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739567)

That was a lie promulgated by the Bush administration [youtube.com] . The device copied _all_ communication that traveled through this facility [eff.org] , domestic and foreign. There is good evidence also that this wasn't the only place were AT&T, or other carriers, were imposing dragnet surveillance.

Domestic traffic too (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28739629)

From EFF.org [eff.org]

The undisputed documents show that AT&T installed a fiberoptic splitter at its facility at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco that makes copies of all emails, web browsing, and other Internet traffic to and from AT&T customers, and provides those copies to the NSA. This copying includes both domestic and international Internet activities of AT&T customers. As one expert observed, "this isn't a wiretap, it's a country-tap."

Of course, we may never know all the details thanks to Bush, Obama and all the other assholes that voted for FISA2008 [wikipedia.org] :

  • Prohibits the individual states from investigating, sanctioning of, or requiring disclosure by complicit telecoms or other persons.
  • Protects telecommunications companies from lawsuits for "'past or future cooperation' with federal law enforcement authorities and will assist the intelligence community in determining the plans of terrorists."

Re:I question a key point from TFA (3, Informative)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739669)

I've spoken to a cop who was ordered to systematically search any Arabic persons and arrest any who didn't have proper ID in the months following 9/11. So yes, this was happening.

Re:I question a key point from TFA (3, Informative)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739891)

The ironic part of it is, all the 9/11 terrorists had proper ID along with full and legal documentation. So even if every law enforcement officer in the US been given those orders BEFORE 9/11 happened, they still would not have caught the hijackers.

This just shows the general incompetence of government, and how the larger a government is the more likely it is to attract incompetents to it's rolls.

Just another argument for the conservative ideal of smaller, more local, limited government.

Re:I question a key point from TFA (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741289)

This just shows the general incompetence of government

No, it shows the general incompetence of law enforcement. So, are you proposing the government get out of the law enforcement and national defense business? Because that's pretty extreme even for you libertarians.

how the larger a government is the more likely it is to attract incompetents to it's rolls.

Huh? How does the failure of law enforcement in this case prove that "larger government .. is more likely ... to attract incompetents"? Unless you're comparing this failure with the failure of a past, smaller government, finding that the current government is more incompetent, I'd say you're just injecting ideals in absence of facts.

Heck, let's do that comparison. If the libertarians are to be believed, the government was smaller 50 years ago, right? And yet, 50 years ago the US was struggling with the Red Scare, dragging innocent people before a tribunal in a truly flagrant violation of everything the US stands for, actions that, at least in my humble opinion, dwarf anything that was done to Arab Americans in the aftermath of 9/11.

So... at least on first blush, it seems to me that your supposition is entirely *incorrect*. Of course, I don't actually believe that... the truth is that, small government or large, if you place law enforcement and national security in the hands of the government, as virtually everyone believes should be the case, then those powers can, and sometimes will, be abused.

Re:I question a key point from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28741423)

Our governments ability to prevent terrorism is only limited by the demands of its citizens for rights such a privacy...a right which is not defined in the constitution BTW.

Smaller, more localized governments (what a concept, I think they're called STATES) operating independently of each other would be no more effective in terrorism prevention...more likely than not they would be less effective due to the limited authority outside of their localized area (borders) and limited resources (money to buy prevention technology like fiber taps and the hardware to process all that data).

Everyone hates the government knowing what they are up to until a policy/technology like blanket communications monitoring prevents a disaster, but how quickly we forget those successes...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/10/AR2006081000152.html

Re:I question a key point from TFA (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741963)

This just shows the general incompetence of government, and how the larger a government is the more likely it is to attract incompetents to it's rolls.

Yeah, nothing but top-rate individuals working for the governments of Somalia, Kenya, etc.

Surely there's NEVER been any small-city government officials that were incompetent or corrupt... NEVER!

Re:I question a key point from TFA (1)

kkissane (1029384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739983)

Who gave these orders? Some local commander who overstepped his/her bounds? or was this a national program?

Re:I question a key point from TFA (3, Informative)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740425)

I've spoken to a cop who was ordered to systematically search any Arabic persons and arrest any who didn't have proper ID in the months following 9/11. So yes, this was happening.

Yuhuh. And Jesse Macbeth supposedly took part in the murder and rape of entire Iraqi villages. Of course, upon actual review of his record, it turns out he got booted out of the military before even completing basic training. He wasn't the only one, either - there are multiple examples of people claiming to be soldiers in order to tell insane stories about all the horrible things they've done. Not only are there at least 3 examples I can name off the top of my head, but those 3 are just the ones who managed to get enough media attention for everyone to hear about them. There are tens of thousands of people doing similar things who don't make the news.

The moral of the story - don't believe everything you hear. Lots of people seek attention by pretending to be something they're not.

Re:I question a key point from TFA (2, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740623)

Wow... Double Hearsay that we're supposed to believe without any evidence because... uh... we assume that Bush personally ordered individual cops all over the country to arrest people!

A better explanation is that eihter: 1. you're just lying because you know it will get upmodded on Slashdot; 2. The cop was lying to you to make himself sound more badass; 3. Even if the cop wasn't lying, his police chief issued the order and was not operating under orders that came from Cheney's deathstar, despite what you would like to believe in conspiracy land.

How can I say this? Well, if I haven't heard about all these muslims being arrested on Olberman's show, the daily show, the daily kos, huffington, moveon.org, or I hate Bush so much I don't mind if innocent people die to make me feel self-righteous.com, then it likely never happened. Considering all the stuff they make up, I'm sure they'd jump on anything that actually happened.

Your daily instructions are ... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28739757)

Bash Bush.

We will contact you again tomorrow for your next assignment but you should assume that
tomorrow you will do the same as today, Bash Bush.

Signed,

MoveOn.org

Re:I question a key point from TFA (3, Interesting)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739841)

Then you need to expand your knowledge. "The Dark Side", by Jane Mayer would be a good start, though I doubt highly that you will expend the effort, because it would threaten your narrow and comfortable view of the world.

Your assumption that the Bush administration did not wipe it's ass with The Constitution of the United States deserves all the derision it is likely to get here on /., for it is utterly without supporting facts. Indeed, more than one U.S. citizen was detained and denied their rights as citizens with nothing more than the disingenuous process of a handful of lawyers drafting documents telling the President he could do pretty much anything he wanted when it came to "terrorists". Add to these few, (most of which, BTW, are probably quite guilty of the crimes they were suspected of), the thousands of other so-called "enemy combatants" who have also been denied their rights under U.S. and international law and you have an episode in U.S. history that is cause for national shame.

Ours is a nation of laws. Those laws, and the principles of liberty and justice that are their underpinnings, recognize no exigency that justifies a government official systematically ignoring those laws. No, not one. And before you dream up some Jack Bauer hypothetical, ticking-clock scenario, read the first sentence in the paragraph again and note the word "systematically". I rather doubt that history nor the courts would judge anyone to harshly for taking whatever action was necessary in such a far-fetched scenario, but that facts are that such was not the scenario. There was only the realization that, despite abundant intelligence that would have pointed the way, the intelligence and law enforcement arms of our government failed badly in the days leading up to 9/11. With this realization came the almost paranoid conviction that "they will hit us again" and the panic-driven actions of a powerful few to prevent that at any cost. The subsequent list of failures to defend, and insults to, The Constitution are well documented and far too many to list here, but the do most certainly, include the illegal interception of the private communications of U.S. citizens. Seriously, put down the neo-con fanboy kool-aid, stop watching Fox News, and see for yourself.

Re:I question a key point from TFA (2, Insightful)

GearheadX (414240) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740083)

You assume every administration doesn't wipe its ass with the Constitution in one way or another.

Re:I question a key point from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743041)

Ours is a nation of laws.

No, we're a nation of men, not a nation of laws. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. Theoretically, we're a nation of laws, but the difference between theory and practice...

Those laws, and the principles of liberty and justice that are their underpinnings, recognize no exigency that justifies a government official systematically ignoring those laws. No, not one. [...]

...is a lot bigger in practice than it is in theory.

By your own admission, ours is no longer a nation of laws. Let's just admit it and stop pretending otherwise. For better or worse, we're a nation of men, not a nation of laws.

Re:I question a key point from TFA (4, Informative)

anegg (1390659) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740067)

"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/José_Padilla_(prisoner)" This was an American citizen grabbed off the street and "disappeared."

We know all about this guy *now*, but we didn't when he was first grabbed... I'm more conservative than liberal, I voted for Bush both times, but I am not a fan of ignoring the foundation of American government, the Constitution of the United States of America. The Bush administration vastly overstepped the powers given to the Executive Branch of the federal government in the Constitution.

Re:I question a key point from TFA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28742719)

How can you complain?

You got exactly what you voted for.

Thanks

Re:I question a key point from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28740199)

Actually years ago an engineer-turned-whistle blower at AT&T in San Fran took photo's of a rack in a locked room within a central-office (switching station) which showed several high-end Sun boxes with a large device which he was asked to help install...the device was a fiber tap. He was asked by upper management at AT&T to assist a "contractor" who was installing the device (the contractor did not do a good job of hiding the fact he was NSA).

They have been watching - at least a small portion of people living in America - for a decade or more.

I wish I had a link for you, but this was back in the days of hacking BBS's when directories of community uploaded community information was replicated nightly over the phone. I'm sure now that the WWW is around those photo's would have been online a matter of hours before they were ordered to be removed by similar "contractors".

Re:I question a key point from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28741087)

You are correct. In addition, the equipment in "the room" had nothing to do with spying on Americans. In fact, it was to secure POPs from public connections to DoD networks (for instance, where NIPRNet & DSN connected to the Internet & PSTN). But that's boring, so a more exciting story must be concocted by folks like the TFA's writer.

Re:I question a key point from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28741215)

And you won't hear about it--because you're not supposed to. If you want to find out, you have to start being paranoid.

Don't mod me humorous--I mean it.

Start writing scripts to spider the web--make yourself a word list, find interesting phrases--see how long it takes some of the sites to get taken down. I haven't seen a *person* disappear in over a decade since the first bush--but there are blogs that disappear on a weekly basis.

Re:I question a key point from TFA (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741713)

The Bush administration was not, to my knowledge, grabbing Americans off the street and "disappearing" them. Was this in fact the case, outside this guy's fevered dreams?

Does it make you feel better that he has disappearing and torturing people in other countries instead?

The worst part is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28739445)

This isn't the only place or type of issue where nobody wants to hear about it.
In my experience it goes both ways, sometimes government agencies don't want to hear about illegal activity going on in the private sector either.
Look at the Madoff scandal, SEC didn't want to hear about it.

Re:The worst part is (1)

BarefootClown (267581) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740645)

Look at the Madoff scandal, SEC didn't want to hear about it.

If by "didn't want to hear about it" you mean "investigated him repeatedly and couldn't pin anything on him." Occasionally, criminals are crafty enough to dupe the police.

of course they didn't want it (5, Insightful)

dnwq (910646) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739563)

Think about it this way. The news is public, now. Do you see any frothing outrage, outside of a few fringe activist groups? Outside of Slashdot? No?

There doesn't seem to be any real interest now, so there definitely wouldn't be any then, in the with-us-or-against-us environment in the years immediately after 9/11. So how would a newspaper or media outlet gain by breaking the story? It'll just instantly lose all its government contacts, but not gain any new readership. Why would anyone publish it?

They had no choice "not to want it" (4, Interesting)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739659)

how would a newspaper or media outlet gain by breaking the story? It'll just instantly lose all its government contacts, but not gain any new readership

How would it deserve keeping its present government contacts (while putting them to no use, let alone snitching whistleblowers to them!) and readers by holding back The News?!
(Assuming a residual journalistic ethos defines the latter as more than "just the stuff to fill the space between the ads", as allegedly a Fleet Street media baron once put it...)

Even with an anti-terror spin (and possibly actual arrests), e.g. of eavesdropping only on the bad guys (and "inevitably" listening in on everyone else in the process as well), the founders considered this issue important enough to merit a Fourth Amendment, which doesn't leave much leeway (or should we say: "weasel way"?) for a paper (especially with the profession's self-image of a Fourth Estate as part of democracy's "checks and balances") to decide on making it "non-news".

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.

Henry Louis Mencken

Re:They had no choice "not to want it" (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740359)

How would it deserve keeping its present government contacts (while putting them to no use, let alone snitching whistleblowers to them!) and readers by holding back The News?!

"Deserve"? What has that got to do with anything? Do you assume business practice is moderated by some kind of moral clockwork that encourages High Morality and discourages the Low? As we all know, business is far from that. You sell the people what they want to read. That may not be The Highest and Best Use of newsprint, but it will sell papers. Printing what they don't want to read puts you out of business. The course of action becomes relatively clear.

Re:They had no choice "not to want it" (1)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742295)

And yet, the toadies of the media barons keep telling us that they deserve massive handouts to survive, because they are so important as a check on government with their objectivity.

Mart

Re:of course they didn't want it (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740757)

There doesn't seem to be any real interest now, so there definitely wouldn't be any then, in the with-us-or-against-us environment in the years immediately after 9/11. So how would a newspaper or media outlet gain by breaking the story?

If US media actually reported stories like this one, I would read US newspapers. They don't, which is why anybody with a brain goes to overseas media like The Guardian, The Independent, or BBC News. Which, in turn, is why US newspapers are going bust.

Re:of course they didn't want it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28741773)

Yes, this is the reason. It may be important, but people don't care. There have been similar stories in the past, and even a quite extensive and well documented report that basically showed that pretty much everyone is doing it, but it never reached the papers and if you tell people about it* they go blank. Not because they don't believe you, but because they really don't care. They so much don't care that they don't even start to evaluate it, in other words they so much don't care that they don't even care whether or not it's true.
*Ironic how people are always very enthusiastic to enter political conversations and to talk about nasty things politicians do, but then don't want to go any deeper than "America is evil (which I don't believe is true in general) and bread is more expensive (which it isn't, the price has gone down by ~30%, you'd think people would notice that)."

Re:of course they didn't want it (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742095)

It'll just instantly lose all its government contacts, but not gain any new readership.

Well that's quite a bold prediction without any backup. There are several critical American reporters that disprove your prediction. Seymour Hersh, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, and more. There will always be political actors anxious to talk, just as there will always be journalistic suckups like David Gregory.

Suffice it to say that the government needs the press more than the press needs it.

Re:of course they didn't want it (1)

dreamer.redeemer (1600257) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742561)

There are still a few news outlets that publish real news regardless of what any government or corporation might think. I highly suggest Harper's magazine (harpers.org). Fairly often they publish something that has me frothing at the mouth and ready to riot. Even for more benign stories they have some astounding journalism going on.

Mainstream media won't cover their flaws. (1)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742965)

Because it is journalism's job to tell us important things and keep telling us important things, regardless of popular interest. These stories aren't important because of commercial market response. Placing commerce ahead of stories like these is what gets us to where we are now.

The contacts mainstream media covets aren't worth much to begin with. Being a stenographer to power isn't doing journalism and as more media cover-ups, lies, and dismissals are exposed the public has no reason to trust the reports they receive from these organizations. The New York Times both helped push the invasion of Iraq based on cover story lies co-written by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon, and the NYT carried David Barstow's Pulitzer-prize winning expose on how the Pentagon propaganda campaign recruited over 75 retired military officers to appear on TV as "analysts" before and during the Iraq war.

Barstow couldn't get the mainstream media interested in his prize-winning story either for being a scathing expose or because he won a prestigious prize for his investigative journalism. Democracy Now! invited him on the air [democracynow.org] for what became an exclusive interview:

AMY GOODMAN: I think what's so interesting about this story is not only what the Pentagon has done; it's the lack of reporting on this by the networks. Of course, you know, that is your subject here, how the networks use them. How many times have you been invited on the networks--you just won the Pulitzer Prize for this investigation--to explain this story of the networks' use of these pundits?

DAVID BARSTOW: You know, to be honest with you, I haven't received many invitations--in fact, any invitations--to appear on any of the main network or cable programs. I can't say I'm hugely shocked by that.

On the other hand, while there's been kind of deafening silence, as you put it, on the network side of this, the stories have had--sparked an enormous debate in the blogosphere. And to this day, I continue to get regular phone calls from not just in this country but around the world, where other democracies are confronting similar kinds of issues about the control of their media and the influence of their media by the government.

So it's been an interesting experience to see the sort of two reactions, one being silence from the networks and the cable programs, and the other being this really lively debate in the blogosphere.

To date there has been no serious expose of NYT's lies during the run-up to the Iraq invasion. We know they're capable of such an act: they did it for Jayson Blair's stories which were far less important lies that could be framed so as to appear largely the work of one person. Back then there was a full color spread about Blair, his stories, and a follow-up discussion in an auditorium with an audience (CSPAN carried it). But back in 2004, Goodman put the NYT's Iraq run-up lies in perspective [commondreams.org] as well.

'It's a paper's duty to print the news&raise h (5, Interesting)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739565)

Klein: I really was panicking because [...] the government knew everything and probably knew my name, but I didn't have any publicity.
IDGNS: The media merit a full chapter (entitled: 'Going Public vs. Media Chickens'). What happened there?
Klein: [...] They were the first entity I'd given all the documents to. Then they talked to the government about it, and it turned out they were talking to not only the NSA director, but the director of national intelligence

That much for the sad state of "the Fourth Estate, more important than them all" (Edmund Burke) ...

It is a newspaper's duty to print the news and raise hell.

Wilbur F. Storey, 1861

Re:'It's a paper's duty to print the news&rais (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740537)

"If it bleeds it leads."

And why, raising hell doesn't get done.

They were not looking for terrorist... (3, Interesting)

3seas (184403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739599)

... there is no way to detect common phrases and other seemingly normal communications that only the sender and receiver know the true meaning of.

This common phrases and normal communications has long been used in such a manner of hiding the true meaning of communication. Even during slavery days there was teh underground rail road that used sing song in the cotton fields to pass messages along...

The wiretapping went further than email and phone conversations but into tracking credit card purchases and other financial transactions.

Given the ease of codifying communication so to be undetectable by the NSA (not to mention we don't have the computing power for analysis of the mass amount of such ongoing), there is one thing that could most certainly be done, instead.

To determine what the public attitude was regarding such things as the war on Iraq and other bullshit and public reaction to the real pounding terrorizing acts by the Bush administration against and on the American public and Media (anthrax threats to whip the media into submission and "Clear Channel" network used)..

If you know what the public is really thinking and you have control over the media to influence the public, you can pretty much control the public and even gain their support for the wrongs you intend to do and this is clearly evidenced with the Exposure of much of the crap the Bush Administration was up to.

Its about time. (0)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739649)

Holy shit coverage. I've been wondering what happened to this story.

It seems like every time we get into position to do something about government abuse of the people all coverage suddenly stops.

Re:Its about time. (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740223)

It seems like every time we get into position to do something about government abuse of the people all coverage suddenly stops.

Nobody in the US fucking cares. If this kind of thing happens in Spain or France (two nations with terrible records on privacy) then you'll see people rioting in the streets and throwing bricks through telecom windows.

Re:Its about time. (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741647)

But that rioting can't be accomplishing too much, because they are back next year doing it again. Granted I don't live in those countries so it's hard to judge the results, but throwing bricks just seems to be form of recreation in more socialist societies tolerated and maybe even encouraged by the government as a temporary outlet of frustration. The football riots seem to be more spirited than the political ones.

and hardly anyone seems to be commenting here.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28739833)

So anyone have details of the system they used? What analysis they did? Anyone know where I can buy this book in the UK?

Re:and hardly anyone seems to be commenting here.. (2, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740697)

Anyone know where I can buy this book in the UK?

Be very careful: In the UK, you can be arrested for knowing where to buy the book

thnx (1)

web-tasarim (1557263) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739871)

Perde [jaluziperde.net] :thanks for informatin.

it's just me... (2, Insightful)

Mr_Nitro (1174707) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740045)

or the amount of comments about this story it scarily low?? this is seriously disturbing ppl... you are being wiretrapped all the way warrantless like sheeps.. and you dont move a finger? that's really twisted imho. Remeber what good old Ben Franklin said about security and freedom.... We must be one of the most stupid type of 'thinking' alien specie tho... the one that lives in the same mudball and can't communicate because we don't even speak the same language (think of the embarrassment at the galaxy council)... and we fight our own specie's immaginary enemies....and even more we witch-hunt within the same faction... This is just plain dumb. Human beings should start to behave....

Re:it's just me... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740347)

Maybe its because if they are looking for terrorist then those who are not, have no concern.

Or maybe its not about terrorism at all and thats the problem with low response. Due failure to tell whats it's really about.

Now if Americans knew the spying was so to manipulate Americans through the media (the wiretapping as the feed back mechanism)... then it might gather more attention.

But when was the last time you read the "Declaration of independence"?
As it says teh people will tolerate up to a point, such wrong doings by government.
   

Re:it's just me... (1)

Mr_Nitro (1174707) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741621)

oh please...do you seriously still believe all this terrorism bs?? soviet russia has fallen and now they need a new enemy...plain and simple. All this makes trillions of dollars move... and that's enough for many to lie and deceive unfortunately. The point after which ppl should start to rebel is passed since quite a while imho, what else do you need? a fully functional precrime dept? no thanks..

It's only going to get worse. (2, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740745)

While I do think there are benefits to this type of surveillance the risks for abuse are far too great. It's all too easy to take this sort of thing way too far, and unfortunately I think it's going to happen whether we like it or not. The government will simply be far more secretive about it. I think Obama is the sort of guy who will engage in these kinds of activities just as intensively as Bush, the difference is he'll be a lot more careful about keeping it quiet.

The real concern I have is how people have grown extremely tolerant of what the government is doing now that we have a democrat as president. People who were rabidly anti-Bush for engaging in these activities, among other things, now blindly adore Obama and everything he does. That's the real danger, to blindly follow any leader and embrace everything he does because you believe he's on your side. When there are so-called journalists out there comparing Obama to god [youtube.com] I think there's cause for concern.

New Rally Cause (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740999)

Ok, Slashdotters, put your money where your mouth is and start lobbying Slashdot to use https globally. I'll remain highly skeptical of all the talk talk talk around here until we actually do something about it.

Re:New Rally Cause (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741787)

Or better yet, send your money to the EFF (see my sig), who DOES pay attention to abuses like illegal wiretapping.

We could have prevented 9/11 if we had it earlier! (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741389)

Either that or the FBI could have bothered to check the phone book for the names and addresses of wanted terrorists that they knew to be living in the US.

Nobody interested? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741663)

Of course not. If someone contacts you ("you" being a member of the press) with information that just might be covered by secrecy/espionage laws, you'd be insane to look at it. The government could come down on you harder than the person who actually, stole, copied, or otherwise originally obtained the documents. Even if you have no idea what the status of that info is, the feds take the position that "you should have known better".

In fact, the person who originally made off with said information may be in a better negotiating position to defend himself. The gov't is scared sh*tless that such people might have other information that might be released to the public or, worse yet, make it into the public record through a trial. So he can negotiate a "get out of jail free" card. You, the press, cannot.

There's only one solution: Wikileaks [wikileaks.org] . Eventually, the gov't is going to realize that, giving the press some ability to publish such documentation would be better for all. At least, they'd have some ability to negotiate a few redactions of stuff that ws actually sensitive. Rather than just sitting on an entire story because its embarrassing. Until then, if you've got your hands on some interesting stuff, just post it and let the NSA wish that, in a better world, they could have negotiated.

Meanwhile, you kids keep your damned black helicopters off my lawn!

No big deal. Foreign spies operate with impunity. (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741867)

This is why spy agencies co-operate with each other. If the CIA/FBI/NSA/??? want some information and they cannot get it legally, they can always get it from a foreign agency.

Re:No big deal. Foreign spies operate with impunit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28742747)

Absolutely correct. And the origin [globalresearch.ca] of all this is DISTURBING [gwu.edu] .

QWEST Said No (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742141)

GodJesusBuddhaAllah help me, but I have to give the snakes over at Qwerst some credit. They are the only arm of the FCC's oligopoly who refused to set-up the monitoring services on their equipment/property.

Strange things happen by random chance, I guess. Or maybe they thought it was a blatant trap/sting... they were new foreign owners taking over after a major scandal.

Old news, but still not known (1)

tchdab1 (164848) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743119)

Read "The Puzzle Palace", the first book by James Bamford (and then you can read the rest of them). He's made a career of exposing the NSA. This first book was written at a time when congress critters would not even admit publicly that the NSA existed. Bamford provides a history of eavesdropping and spying by the USA and shows that illegal listening has been going on ever since there has been anything at all to listen to.
For example, I recall that the first Western Union offices, those that were the terminations of the Transatlantic cables, and others in NYC, had secret government offices right next door where the cables were spliced and terminated for us to spy on transmissions as soon as they arrived.
Do you recall an item in the news about 15 or so years ago regarding a backdoor in Windows NT? Some security expert in, I think from memory, one of the major gov research campuses (Los Alamos or Livermore) was quoted as saying in a security overview seminar, rather casually, that there was a backdoor to the mil-spec security in NT, and that the government had the keys. Having read that book, this made complete sense to me.

The fact that this is "same as it ever was" does not mean that we should not be aware of it. It matters a great deal. My opinion is that some of this access is necessary "for a free and functioning democracy" in this world of ours. We want to know if some extremist asshole (no matter what the persuasion) is planning to set off a nuke anywhere. But much of the rest of it can be exploiting us, it can be used by people against their political enemies or for their individual profits, for purposes that has nothing to do with the well-being of the world. And we can keep an eye on which is which only if we know it's going on in the first place.

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