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Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Committee Leaders

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the somebody's-pants-are-on-fire dept.

Communications 749

cold fjord writes "There are new developments in the ongoing controversy engulfing the NSA as a result of the Snowden leaks. From The Hill: 'Emerging from a hearing with NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), the senior Democrat on the panel, said Edward Snowden simply wasn't in the position to access the content of the communications gathered under National Security Agency programs, as he's claimed. "He was lying," Rogers said. "He clearly has over-inflated his position, he has over-inflated his access and he's even over-inflated what the actual technology of the programs would allow one to do. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do." ... "He's done tremendous damage to the country where he was born and raised and educated," Ruppersberger said. ... "It was clear that he attempted to go places that he was not authorized to go, which should raise questions for everyone," Rogers added.'" U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has also told the E.U. justice commissioner that media reports surrounding PRISM are wrong: "The contention it [PRISM] is not subject to any internal or external oversights is simply not correct. It's subject to an extensive oversight regime from executive, legislative and judicial branches and Congress is made aware of these activities. The courts are aware as we need to get a court order. ... We can't target anyone unless appropriate documented foreign intelligence purpose for the prevention of terrorism or hostile cyber activities." Meanwhile, Bloomberg has gone live with a report (based on unidentified sources, so take it with a grain of salt) saying that private sector cooperation with snooping government agencies extends far beyond the ones listed in the PRISM report. "Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said." Whatever PRISM turns out to be, the NY Times is reporting that at least Yahoo, and probably other tech companies as well, tried to fight participation in it. Other reports suggest Twitter refused to participate, though there's been no official confirmation.

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749 comments

Of course. (5, Insightful)

coId fjord (2949869) | about 10 months ago | (#44007507)

I instantly believe you. It's not as if it's the government's fault that people are so distrusting of it or anything; it couldn't be!

Re:Of course. (1, Troll)

mozumder (178398) | about 10 months ago | (#44007625)

Yah the only people that seem to trust Snowden are other high-school dropouts & moronic Ron Paul libertarians.

The problem with guys like Snowden is that they stumble upon 5 PowerPoint slides written by PhD Mathematicians from MIT that now work for the NSA, and because of their libertarian ego that causes them to have a higher sense of self than what they're actually worth, decide they fully understand what these MIT mathematicians wrote and conclude it's bad.

We really need to do a better job of reducing the sense of self that libertarians have. It really is a problem in society, where too many people think of themselves, and not of others. Socialization really needs to be taught over individualism in our schools, but, unfortunately, we have way too many people that believe in themselves.

The correct answer is to know that the NSA is filled with professionals that fully understand rights and freedoms, and know exactly what Posse Comitatus is, which is pretty much their Prime Directive/First Rule of Fight Club.

If you do not trust them, then that is your problem of socialization. And, if you have a problem with socialization, you do not present yourself as someone that the rest of society need to support.

Remember, no one has freedom. That is because power disparity exists in society.

You still need to kiss ass to those with higher power than you.

Re:Of course. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007707)

Please don't mix up tinfoil hatters with actual libertarians. Thanks.

Yes, an actual libertarian decries the downside of a gigantic government bureaucracy, as well as the need to classify everything as Top Secret, but that doesn't make them act like this.

A real change for the better in this country is not going to come through some people breaking the law, it is going to come from educating people on what a world without an oppressive government would look like, and how they can make that happen gradually and peacefully.

Things like this and calls for revolution are just asking for the very real danger of replacing the Bad with the Worse.

Re:Of course. (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 10 months ago | (#44007771)

Uhm, that's a quote from the Wizard of Oz. What prompted this tirade?

Re:Of course. (2, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 10 months ago | (#44007795)

Uhm, that's a quote from the Wizard of Oz. What prompted this tirade?

Slashdot's awesomely terrible post filtering system hid the actual comment he replied to, making it look like he replied to yours.

Re:Of course. (5, Insightful)

techsoldaten (309296) | about 10 months ago | (#44007959)

At this point, this is not an issue of a lawbreaker. Until he's charged with something in a free and open court, Snowden is not a criminal.

An Australian general, addressing issues with sexual harassment in the military, had this to say about the values of an organization in a recent video:

"The standard you walk past is the standard you accept."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QaqpoeVgr8U [youtube.com]

This is a little more apropos for the situation. Someone saw something he felt was unconscionable and acted to try and correct it. This is in keeping with the highest values of ethical conduct, and most ethical scholars would agree people have an obligation to act in this way.

We will see what Snowden is ultimately charged with. But casting him as a criminal before he is charged with anything, and rushing to judgement about his guilt or innocence, shows a lot less respect for the legal process and rule of law than anything he has done.

Re:Of course. (5, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 10 months ago | (#44007829)

> If you do not trust them, then that is your problem of socialization.
> And, if you have a problem with socialization, you do not present yourself as someone that the
> rest of society need to support.

And if you buy this line of BS, I have a bridge for sale in Manhatten at rock bottom prices, you will make a killing.

Seriously, if you trust secret government actions, based on secret policies, under the supervision of secret courts, which make secret interpretations of the law, then you have a terrible grasp of history. Power gets abused, period.

The entire point of the constitution was to put limits on government, serious limits. This sort of action is entirely beyond the pale. Its not like this is our first rodeo. Every time the government gets any sort of power that it has any ability to exercise in secret, it gets abused. If that doesn't happen here then it would be the exception.

Re:Of course. (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 10 months ago | (#44007869)

This database should not exist period.

It doesn't matter what kind of "controls" are in place. The next regime can just ignore those controls. How would we know really? We wouldn't until it's too late.

This thing should be dismantled and law enforcement should have to go back to begging companies for data when and if they need it.

Re:Of course. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007633)

I instantly believe you. It's not as if it's the government's fault that people are so distrusting of it or anything; it couldn't be!

Funny, you instantly believed a 29-year-old who ran to Hong Kong to make outlandish claims about surveillance...

Re:Of course. (5, Insightful)

coId fjord (2949869) | about 10 months ago | (#44007657)

Outlandish? We have people getting groped at airports because they want to get on a plane. You call spying in the name of terrorist "outlandish"? Please.

Re:Of course. (5, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | about 10 months ago | (#44007675)

It says something (sad) about the state of our government when I'll take the word of a 29-year-old who ran to Hong Kong over that of the government.

Re:Of course. (5, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | about 10 months ago | (#44007977)

It says something (sad) about the state of our government when I'll take the word of a 29-year-old who ran to Hong Kong over that of the government.

Uh, given that many of the most powerful positions within our government are still elected positions, I'd say you're only half right.

It says a hell of a lot more about the apathy and ignorance of the voters who helped create it.

And yes, of course it's too late to effect real change. This didn't happen overnight, didn't start with some guy named "Bush", and won't end with some guy named "Obama". That said, it seems that finger pointing creates headlines and generates click revenue these days, so back to our regular two-party mudslinging system we go, ironically in the name of capitalism.

Re:Of course. (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 10 months ago | (#44007705)

I can see skepticism, but the 29 year old put a lot on the line and will probably never lead a normal life again, while the the people on the House Intelligence Comity only have to worry about reelection and are unlikely to be all that personally impacted no matter what they say. So I would say their incentive to lie is currently greater.

Outlandish? (5, Informative)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | about 10 months ago | (#44007909)

It might actually seem "outlandish" IF WE HAD NOT BEEN HEARING THE SAME FUCKING THINGS FOR YEARS ALREADY

Report after report has come out from non-mainstream news sources such was Wired or CNet citing sources with similar stories, like the guy (Mark Klein I think) working for AT&T who discovered the secret room in SF with the NARUS box siphoning off all the Internet traffic to the NSA. Also several ex-NSA employees like William Binney have blown similar whistles.

Fuck the lies, and wake up. People are tired of the unjustified mission creep that has lead to such horrible violations of our rights. So your paycheck depends on violating your fellow citizens' Constitutional rights? How does that feel? Ever think about honoring your oath to uphold the Constitution? There are plenty of private-sector jobs that pay well enough and don't require violating anyone's rights.

Re:Of course. (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 10 months ago | (#44007997)

I instantly believe you. It's not as if it's the government's fault that people are so distrusting of it or anything; it couldn't be!

Funny, you instantly believed a 29-year-old who ran to Hong Kong to make outlandish claims about surveillance...

You mean the outlandish claim that millions of citizens had their phone "metadata" tracked and compiled by the NSA from Verizon? The outlandish claim that is so outlandish that the government sources actually had to say "Whatcha so upset about? We've been doing it for years!"

Re:Of course. (5, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 10 months ago | (#44007803)

Discredit the messenger to distract from the actual message:

He's a traitor, he's a rapist, people say bad things about him, he's a liar, he supports terrorists, he puts you and your loved ones in danger, you should hate him.

Re:Of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007933)

Oh, those magic words:
"supports terrorists"
You make me chuckle, TWiT

Re:Of course. (5, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 10 months ago | (#44007961)

I fully expect news to surface that he was into drugs, has been accused of sexual assault, a slacker and general no-good person. We already have the slacker/stupid angle (he didn't graduate high-school!). Maybe they can find somebody who said that he smoked pot at some point, and his girlfriend is probably going to be labeled a stripper, or at least her pole-dancing video is the only thing anyone is ever going to mention.

Re:Of course. (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 10 months ago | (#44007919)

Even if he is lying, the fact that there's any ambiguity at all is proof that there's not enough oversight.

Re:Of course. (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 10 months ago | (#44007927)

I instantly believe you. It's not as if it's the government's fault that people are so distrusting of it or anything; it couldn't be!

I do believe them, actually.

I believe the specific statements they are making right now ARE true. But these statements are pretty specifically crafted to attempt to draw people's attention from the significant parts of the accustations.

Did they come out and say "we don't have access to all the data on Google, Microsoft, and Apple servers"? Did they say the secret congressional slideshow was forged or innacurate? No - they said "the claim that we have unfettered access is wrong", and then talked about "extensive oversight". They say "Snowden didn't have clearance for that level of information", not that the information he provided is wrong.

It is pretty obvious they DO have complete access to all that data - and we already knew about the supposed "oversight" that we're not allowed to even know who is performing or what their directives are.

Snowden did his country a greater service than these people could ever dream of doing themselves. Hopefully, someday, they or their successors will figure that out.

Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Committee (5, Informative)

Bartles (1198017) | about 10 months ago | (#44007509)

*snicker*

Re:Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Commit (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 10 months ago | (#44007535)

Pot, Kettle, First.

Re:Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Commit (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 10 months ago | (#44007541)

Er....Second.

Re:Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Commit (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 10 months ago | (#44007673)

I think a title, "House Intelligence Committee" yup, never gets old. I believe that if a spy ever told the truth, I would be surprized. And because the NSA is peeking in on everything, how much will the NSA charge to get copies of what it collected given a messy divorce case?

Re:Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Commit (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#44007683)

but how is he doing serious damage then.

and how come they're admitting to prism just with their next breath, but saying that they have it under control because some judge, some senator and some chief at nsa reads a report now and then? "We can't target anyone unless appropriate documented foreign intelligence purpose for the prevention of terrorism or hostile cyber activities." too bad that includes fucking everything nowadays.

I'm really skeptical that the system has a security system so that it just can't be accessed without that documentation. how would that even work? the court would give one time passes to the executive branch?

Re:Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Commit (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | about 10 months ago | (#44007775)

They're taking some time to get to the 'this isn't really true' stage. At this rate, the smear campaign won't be cranked up to full for another 2 weeks yet.

Just what you'd expect (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 10 months ago | (#44007533)

That's just what you'd expect someone to say. Next step will be to accuse him of treason and put him to death before he can damage the country further while continuing to discredit him to make the issues he's brought to light irrelevant.

Nothing to see here people move along.

Re:Just what you'd expect (4, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | about 10 months ago | (#44007699)

Why are we even talking about this still?! Didn't you hear? Syria used chemical weapons and crossed the line Obama told them not to cross! Quick lets talk about Syria! They've got it coming now!

Re:Just what you'd expect (1)

jythie (914043) | about 10 months ago | (#44007765)

Yeah.. it would be easier to take the comity seriously if not for the long and (some of it now declassified) pattern of the interagency community using discreditation and slander as a way to silence someone, or at least get enough people not believing the person that the political fallout becomes negligible.

Now, it is completely possible that is is lying, but we have more of a history of organized slander then highly paid professionals torching their life for made up stuff. Next I expect to see 'ties to communists' or 'oh look he is a pedophile', both of which are classics.

Conformation != Confirmation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007547)

Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules?!

A typical case of the pot calling the kettle black (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007553)

Enough said.

Disgusting. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007555)

"There should be no [question] in anyone's mind that this person is a traitor to the United States of America, and he should be punished," Rogers said.

Who to believe? (4, Insightful)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | about 10 months ago | (#44007559)

A random internet stranger that claims to know more than the rest of us, or the Government institutions that we know will not hesitate to lie, cheat, steal, swindle, and torture to get their own way. Decisions decisions...

Re:Who to believe? (0)

polar red (215081) | about 10 months ago | (#44007595)

Government institutions that we know will not hesitate to lie, cheat, steal, swindle, and torture to get their corporate master's way.

FTFY

Re:Who to believe? (4, Insightful)

techsoldaten (309296) | about 10 months ago | (#44007711)

It's not so much a question of who to believe, but a statement about how much blind faith you are willing to put in government.

We know who Snowden is, he would not merit this level of attention if he did not have something to say. It could be argued we know more about him than what we know about the CIA and NSA.

We do not know much about the programs he described in the documents he had released. For someone to be saying they contain lies, when there are so few details contained, it makes me wonder why they need to deny it at all.

There's nothing random or stranger about this all though. The reactions of public officials are what are so revealing.

Re:Who to believe? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#44007963)

well the part that he says is a lie is that he would have had phone tapping program from his pc to almost any phone.

that might not be true on full level - for example if he would have needed to first put the tap on from some online form you could argue that he was lying, while in practice it amounts to the same thing.

I think he just made one big PR mess when he said he was lying without even specifying which part was a lie when he in the next paragraph is quoted as pretty much saying that PRISM is true but it's ok because it has oversight(in the form that you're not supposed to use it unless you have a permit! HAHAHA).

Re:Who to believe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007821)

They're not even denying most of his claims. They're just attempting to discredit him while repeating that there's sufficient oversight to make it acceptable.

What oversight? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007563)

Last time I checked, all oversight connected with these sorts of things consist of are guidelines for the users to follow. IF you come across personal data, you are SUPPOSED to report it so it get's cleaned.... that's just not enough. You can sift through personal data all day and just not tell anyone and there's a high probability nobody will ever know.

You are basically asked nicely not to abuse the power these systems give. There is no actual, active oversight nor are there any actual barriers in place.

Re:What oversight? (3, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | about 10 months ago | (#44007841)

That's not true at all. That's like saying that enforcing sexual harassment laws is just sort of a guideline. Sure, if enough people ignored it, it may go unreported for awhile, but the reality is that most people find that sort of behavior disgusting and would report it, even if the target of the abuse didn't.

All processes are based upon the fundamental need to have humans there to know the rules and enforce them. Collusion to break the rules will cause problems, it is true. That does not mean that there is no one who will step forward to deal with it.

There is some idea that anyone who works for these agencies has had their brain and conscience wiped. Of course, despite the fact that he broke the law, Snowden's misguided actions show that there are certainly people in the NSA who think about these sorts of things. There are many people who join agencies like this who are doing it because they want to protect fellow citizens, and not for some sort of power trip.

It is clear that when power is available like this, there will be unscrupulous people who are attracted to it, but that doesn't mean that the organization is Always Evil.

We can neither confirm nor deny (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007567)

This is one situation where saying an individual is lying about information allegedly sourced from the NSA (I believe someone confirmed it was authentic [washingtonpost.com] to the Washington Post, but nothing official) without proof to back you up just makes you look stupid. Attempting to discredit Snowden without providing an alternative explanation to what was going on that he objected so strongly to is a naked diplomatic move that isn't going to fly.

Re:We can neither confirm nor deny (4, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | about 10 months ago | (#44007769)

Everyone from the President on down basically spent the last week saying "yeah, we're doing this, but we're doing it to protect Teh Freedums".

And now they're suddenly not doing it? Pull the other one!

Other Whisleblowers (5, Informative)

aeranvar (2589619) | about 10 months ago | (#44007571)

... are confirming what Snowden says. I'm certain someone is lying, though.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/14/nsa-partisanship-propaganda-prism [guardian.co.uk]

Re:Other Whisleblowers (3, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#44007679)

There are definitely lies coming from the government, and I'm also fairly certain there is some extent of exaggeration from the whistleblowers. However, the facts of the program itself are problematic, not the semantics the government are trying to justify it with.

Re:Other Whisleblowers (1)

aeranvar (2589619) | about 10 months ago | (#44007783)

That's probably reasonable. Some of the claims the government are making, such as that the Whistleblowers may not have had a broad enough perspective to fully understand the systems in question, aren't that unreasonable. However, much of the speculation I'm hearing about the system sounds reasonable and accurate. The amount of information that one could infer through the collection of sender, receiver, duration, and a time-stamp is crazy... particularly if one had a known data set to train the system with.

Ordinarily, this guy is full of crap and his videos about guns are way off base. However, he has provided the best account of metadata and metadata analysis I've seen aimed at the layperson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o2djiZOxyA [youtube.com]

and in 10 years... (1)

tekrat (242117) | about 10 months ago | (#44007575)

And in 10 year it will come out that the government is lying.

But nobody will care, because most of us (that are awake) will be in government concentration camps by then. The Sheeple have never cared, and will continue to watch "Murican iDull".

Re:and in 10 years... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007789)

The same thing happened with Iraq and WMDs, yet no one really cares.

Which one is it? (5, Insightful)

EricWright (16803) | about 10 months ago | (#44007597)

He's lying, or he's the worst traitor in the history of the United States. It can't be both. If he's lying, then he didn't reveal any highly classified state secrets.

Typical gub'mint response. Talking out of both sides of their asses at the same time.

Re:Which one is it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007659)

If he is lying, then he is not guilty. So they should stop calling him a traitor.
They should therefore call off any attempt to bring him to "justice".

Re:Which one is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007767)

He's lying, or he's the worst traitor in the history of the United States. It can't be both.

Can't be both? Um, why?

Re:Which one is it? (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 10 months ago | (#44007915)

You can't be a spy without access.

They are essentially trying to charge him with espionage. Except instead of working for a foreign power, he was engaging in civil disobedience.

If it's a liar with no access, then he had no ability to commit a crime.

Re:Which one is it? (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 10 months ago | (#44007779)

That entirely depends on what he's lying about. He's most certainly lying about his authorized level of access. This should teach the NSA and CIA that it's a stupid Idea to have Contractors as your network admins, and it's a good way of letting Spy's into your network. IT is not something a spy agency should farm out. However, the power point slides he released are probably a legit document. It's entirely possible for him to be lying, and a traitor.

Re:Which one is it? (1)

ZouPrime (460611) | about 10 months ago | (#44007839)

In an interview earlier this week, Snowden mentioned how the NSA conducted cyber espionage operations on Hong Kong and China infrastructures. He even mentioned specific targets.

These are clearly "highly classified state secrets", unrelated to the domestic spying scandals. He had no reason to reveal that to the press, as it is completely unrelated to his whistleblowing claims.

So, he could be "lying" about domestic spying, and still be prosecuted for espionage.

Re:Which one is it? (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 10 months ago | (#44007943)

He had no reason to reveal that to the press

Except that the American people have a right to know.

Re:Which one is it? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 10 months ago | (#44007885)

He's lying, or he's the worst traitor in the history of the United States. It can't be both. If he's lying, then he didn't reveal any highly classified state secrets.

Or he lied about part of it, and revealed classified information in other parts (a classic time-"honored" tactic if your goal is to discredit an individual or institution, if that is Snowden's goal, although I have absolutely no evidence either way). This is not an either-or situation.

Re:Which one is it? (1, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | about 10 months ago | (#44007983)

Talking out of both sides of their asses at the same time.

False dichotomy. You're pretending that he can't be talking about stuff he does know about and had some access to and swore (under penalty of criminal prosecution) he wouldn't talk about, while also while not also being an Assange-like attention whore who is laying on a bunch of BS. He can be a reckless violator of his clearance and a delusional or fabricating BS-er at the same time. Which is looking more and more likely.

Re:Which one is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44008005)

Actually, that's not true.
He "DID" release certain classified information.
The problem is, he distorted the truth about it.
Now whether or not this was maliciousness on his part, or simply ignorance, since he "DIDN'T" have access to any actual data, nor did he have access to the information on how the system actually works...I don't know.

The fact is, Snowden was a contractor, and a fairly low level systems/network engineer at that, he may have thought what he was doing was morally correct, but he didn't have access to enough information about was the system actually did to know what it really collected and how it worked.

But that's not what the "Tin Foil" hat guys want to hear. So they'll blow this off as "government lies" because It's much easier to pretend that the government is out to get you, then it is to actually find out the truth for yourself.

So hey, you don't have to believe me, but why don't you put your money where your mouth is...there are plenty of job postings on the NSA's web-site. Go get a job there and find out the truth for yourself. If all of the ranter's are as morally self righteous and as smart as they think they are, they shouldn't have any trouble getting hired.

Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Committee (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007603)

Yeah, Right.

Of Course.. (5, Insightful)

mengel (13619) | about 10 months ago | (#44007609)

Of Course the Senator knows all about the computers at the contractors to the NSA and what they can do,
while the guy who used to be a sysadmin there knows nothing about it.

Uh huh.

Because we all know that Senators know everything about technology.

Indeed. (5, Funny)

cfsops (2922481) | about 10 months ago | (#44007613)

This is the same, tired refrain. He couldn't possibly do what he claims because it would have to be "approved". Apparently "spy" computers have a small troll that leaps from the machine waving the constitution and wailing in disapproval if ever anyone tries to do something that's not "approved". Clearly it's a feature that works well to prevent abuse. I want one.

Quite a dilemma (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007617)

Do I trust (a) the people who supposedly work "for" me yet refuse to explain what work they perform, or do I trust (b) the guy who claims to expose what work they perform?

In other words, do I trust the people who have already (repeatedly and continuously) proven their lack of respect for me, or do I trust the guy who hasn't yet had a chance to prove his respect (or lack of) for me?

This is a tough one.

This looks like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007635)

This looks like the usual spin, and can be safely ignored. In fact it flies right in the face of earlier revelations.

Moreover, the fact remains that the USoA is spying on bloody everyone, and that the USoA did lie about it, wholesale. There is no reason at all, at all, to surmise they suddenly stopped doing what they do best.

Just what you would expect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007639)

Trying to slander him so that he becomes either a laughing stock or more easy to kick to the curb and they can go on with their deny, deny, deny. Why would the government in this country ever tell the truth. We won't protest it or gather in large groups and picket washington to make them stop making this into a police state. Which is 100% guarenteed to happen at the rate we are going.

Holder?! (5, Informative)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 10 months ago | (#44007649)

Holder says he was lying?! Eric Holder? The attorney general whose office is responsible for Too Big To Jail? Who will not prosecute bankers. Who oversaw the Fast and Furious debacle? Who hounded Aaron Swartz to his death?

Now I know Snowden was telling the truth.

2GB per person (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007651)

They have a budget of $4 billion for General Keiths commercial spying. At $100 per TB (overestimate), 10% of their budget is 2GB per person on the internet per year.
Think of all the data they can keep in 2GB and you see that Keith is lying. No different than when he pretended they didn't collect info on Americans.

"is not subject to any internal or external oversights is simply not correct."
We don't care if Bob the spooks approved John the spooks spying on our emails, fuck off. The US Constitution apples and the EU privacy law, and anything else you do is treason.

"The courts are aware as we need to get a court order."
And the court orders say "give everything to NSA for 3 months" and is signed by 1 judge in secret. Fuck off.

"saying that private sector cooperation with snooping government agencies extends far beyond the ones listed in the PRISM report."
You leaked the SWIFT data, so you've been giving the NSA financial data too, including presumably all the IRS stuff, bank data and all.

"Whatever PRISM turns out to be, the NY Times is reporting that at least Yahoo, and probably other tech companies as well, tried to fight participation in it. "
Good for them, Snowden risked his future freedom to leak that, you guys shut up and gave them the data.

Secret laws and secret judgements run by the military have no place in a democracy. So you're not a democracy. And judging by the fear we see in European politicians, neither is Europe. We all work for the military now. Try not to get shot by the fucking liars.

Credibility (5, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#44007655)

The reality of PRISM is that if the program described exists at all, trying to claim what Holder and Rogers are about oversight does not change the fundamental constitutional problems associated with the programs they are running. You'll notice that there are no credible denials here, just declarations that Snowden is exaggerating and assertions that the existence of oversight on how the data is accessed and used is somehow justification for the data collection in the first place. If the program exists at all, it's either without a warrant or under the exact kind of general warrant the Fourth Amendment was written to prevent.

Define External (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about 10 months ago | (#44007661)

"The contention it [PRISM] is not subject to any internal or external oversights is simply not correct. It's subject to an extensive oversight regime from executive, legislative and judicial branches and Congress is made aware of these activities."

International != External

America! Fuck yeah!

Tough one (5, Funny)

c (8461) | about 10 months ago | (#44007667)

I just don't know who to believe.

A techie who believes what he says enough to basically call out the most secretive, nastiest intelligence agencies of one of the most powerful countries in the world

or

a pack of politicians.

Oh, man, it's difficult. Maybe I should just flip a coin?

Don't forget— (4, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | about 10 months ago | (#44007859)

a pack of politicians with some of the historically lowest levels of public regard and trust in the history of their nation, though to be incompetent or crooks by 9 out of 10 individuals.

How about the President (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007967)

He (Obama) said the TWO programs being discussed in the press were legal and had been renewed by Congress since 2007.

So even the politicians have confirmed it, at no time did the President dispute one slide of that PRISM presentation, he simply argued it was legal and pointing the blame at Congress.

Snowdens a fucking hero.

The Government is run by bumbling fools (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007669)

except when it comes to constructing giant clandestine mechanisms to spy on people and process data. In those situations they operate with insidious intent and flawless execution.

Ok, Mr. Rogers. (1)

briancox2 (2417470) | about 10 months ago | (#44007691)

Let's say what you say is true. Snowden is a liar.

Would you kindly tell us if he is lying about the SUBSTANCE of his claims and not some trivial manner? Why are you attacking his curiousity and not attaching WHAT HE SAID you are doing?

Ignore the man behind the curtain, right? (3, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 10 months ago | (#44007703)

The *last* entity I'm going to give any credibility to is the one with the worst track record with civil liberties, money laundering, bank bailouts, misuse of power, outstanding privacy issues (Hello AT&T from room 641A), corruption, bribery, cronyism, etc.

If A, then B; If not B, then not A. (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 10 months ago | (#44007715)

If Snowden lied, then he didn't commit a crime by leaking classified information.

So, Mr. Rogers (hehehe), why do we currently have a worldwide manhunt - Including calling in favors from our 51st-state lapdogs - For someone who didn't commit a crime?

You'll forgive me, of course, for presuming you as completely full of shit and trying to salvage your precious unconstitutional spying campaign.

Re:If A, then B; If not B, then not A. (3, Informative)

oGMo (379) | about 10 months ago | (#44007861)

Sadly while this was my first thought, they're claiming "well we have this system so he committed treason, but he lied about it being bad". Yeah. Right.

Pay close attention to how they say he's lying (4, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 10 months ago | (#44007721)

It's always parsed wording. Kinda like Apple said it was unaware of the government's Prism program. Now, of course they were aware they were piping private info out to the Feds. They just didn't know the program name.

I also love the irony here. So, Snowden devastated US intelligence with this leak, but he's completely wrong and lying and exaggerating about what he knows?

Sure... (4, Informative)

milbournosphere (1273186) | about 10 months ago | (#44007737)

Just in March, Clapper testified to congress that such a program didn't even exist. On March 12th:

[Wyden]"Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"
[James Clapper]"No, sir."
[Wyden]"It does not?"
[Clapper:]"Not wittingly. There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps, collect -- but not wittingly."

There have been too many lies and half truths for me to believe anything that the NSA, Obama administration, or upper congressional committees have to say on the matter.

Whistleblower laws.. (3, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#44007751)

are useless if you need to blow the whistle on the persons making up the laws who argue _in a secret court_ that their actions are lawful because of *secret reasons*.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007753)

So a senator from my state knows all about the systems the nsa uses, what their levels of access are, what the level given to contractors are, and knows that all this info is false, but can't figure out a way to stop the threat of invading fucking carp in to the great lakes????? Yeah I am sure he "knows" all about what Snowden had access to, or at least that's what the teleprompter told him too.

Lying (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 10 months ago | (#44007755)

Someone is lying ... that is for certain. I'm leaning more towards government because government has a long and sordid history of covering up things through lies and excuses. I remember when the secret CIA flights were exposed and government accused those of discovering it as lying.

How Pathetic (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about 10 months ago | (#44007805)

Never in the history of the world have men like Holder or Rogers ever proven to be honest. Time and time again when given the chance government has betrayed and abused its citizens and in every case the responsible officials lie and smear people to cover it up. Do you people think that we are stupid? That we haven't read our history, that we have no ability to judge the character of the people we see before us? Of course Snowden had the access that he claims. Of course the NSA etc routinely carries out arbitrarily intrusive surveilance of whomever they please, and for whatever reasons they see fit. Of course they feel no need or desire to be overseen or to answer to anyone, nor to limit their activities to what some other persons, us, might feel is fit. Like anyone put in this kind of position they feel that their own aims, opinions, and desires are paramount and that whatever they do is right and aught to be continued unfettered. Why else would they be there doing what they're doing? Its infinitely easy to justify each little step, and soon when your actions become monstrous and destructive you've long since talked yourself up to doing no wrong and brooking no limits. 'Patriotism' and 'security' will ultimately justify anything.

Let me just tell you men, your pathetic lies are utterly transparent. I don't know if there are 100 or 1000 or 0 more Edward Snowden's out there, but I hope there are many, and I'll certainly help to see that they get the respect and honor that they deserve, and that your little footnote in history is a dirty one.

Too much nuance here (4, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | about 10 months ago | (#44007807)

The government's denials appear to follow a pattern of avoiding the question of machine gathering of raw intelligence products, and just focusing on the humans sifting through them. People are concerned about the former (raw data), whereas the denials seem to be focused on the manual human aspect, which of course misses the big point. I suspect this is partly related to people not understanding how computers and data storage/archival work.

Best example of this: Still waiting for Hayden to go to jail for lying under oath to a congressional committee, when he claimed that intelligence wasn't being collected on millions of Americans, then had to walk it back later, and claim that he was just talking about people preparing actionable reports. There's no question in my mind that all that data trawled from the internets is still sitting there waiting to be queried at the snap of a bureaucrat's fingers.

Do you really want us to believe you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007809)

If Snowden didn't have the access he claimed to have, he either created masses of data, consistent enough to fool many people, or the program is that huge, he just got a glimpse on it. As you don't argue the data are rotten I tend to believe the program is far bigger than Snowden thought.

Iran vs US (2)

larry bagina (561269) | about 10 months ago | (#44007823)

Iran is in the news today for their Presidential election, which reminded me of an interesting parallel.

Iran has a nuclear program. Critics insist they're trying to build nuclear bombs. Iran insists it's for nuclear energy. But take their word on it because they won't let inspectors anywhere near it.

Which brings us to the NSA and surveillance state. What information are the collecting? What are they doing with it? They won't tell you because it's secret. And anyone who leaks information is a liar. But trust them, they won't do anything illegal or unconstitutional. And you know that because they said so.

Can't They do better than that? (1)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about 10 months ago | (#44007827)

Is it just me or does anyone else read Ruppersberger's comments ("He's lying" followed immediately with "He attempted to go places that he was not authorized to go") as "Snowden's is not telling the truth when he says he has information that proves our wrong-doing, and also he wasn't supposed to be able access to that information in the first place."

It seems like the sort of obvious double-speak only an dictator in a bad Hollywood movie would make. It's cliche and cornball. I mean, if our politicians are going to LIE to us, at least can they put some effort into it? I'm sort of insulted that they think people won't see through such obvious tactics.

Then again, maybe they are taking guidance from somebody [wikipedia.org] who knows all about this sort of stuff:

"In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation."

bloomberg is obviously full of shit (0)

sribe (304414) | about 10 months ago | (#44007833)

providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said.

Really? The NSA is now handing out classified intelligence to corporations like party favors??? No, I don't think so.

One Politician say this the other that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007857)

And just the other day a Congressperson came out of closed door briefing and said the collection of data goes WAY beyond what is being reported in the media.

The (non)Facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007865)

America is less secure now
  - True: Now the international community realizes that it perhaps isn't such a good idea to trust American companies with their data, since the company must adhere to US regulations and laws. Since the US is now known for having its intellegence agencies spy on American companies, the massive data flow to the US will decrease significantly over time. International treaties with the US may also suffer due to this.

The programs leaked by Snowden were Top Secret
- If so, then why did I know about these programs 2 years ago.. and before that, I knew that they would come into existance when the Patriot Act was enacted. What.. the name of the program was TS?

The leaks give aid to terrorists
- What? If I knew about the programs from "common IT sense", then you can be damn sure that educated / well sponsored terrorist networks (the ones we should all be worried about), knew about them too. Its the terrorists that don't know these things that are not really much of a threat.

The NSA does not have direct access to corporate DB's
- False, there are 2 ways for the NSA to access corporate DB's:
  1) If we can insert an agent into a foreign government to spy for us, we can damn sure install an agent to install a backdoor into a company
  2) MITM / 0-day hacks: If a 13 year old kid in his parents basement can do it, I am certain, although not 100% certain, that the NSA can do the same.

The NSA gets a court order to get information, thus it is legal.
- This is a True/False statement.. the NSA does get a court order.. after they get the information and needs to either inform the FBI/CIA or other authorities. The illusion of legality.

The NSA is reading our email / snooping
- Perhaps, but likely not. However, there are 2 aspects to the 4th amendement. Illegal search (ie: snooping) and SEIZURE (archiving / storing).

My thoughts? Well, every federal government offical needs to get kicked out of office and impeached (if they had direct knowledge of the programs) due to no-faith. The ones responsible and those that used Prism should be brought up on CFAA charges. Just because you are a policeman, doesn't mean you can go around shooting people. As an US citizen, you are bound to US law. It doesn't matter if you work for an intellegence agency or not.

"go back to sleep, sheeple" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007889)

Read a little history, people. EVERY top-heavy regime spies on its own citizens as its major priority, in order to control that population and keep it empowering the monsters that rule it. This strategy is so engrained, whole civilisations have fallen to external threats because their elites were too busy focusing on the potential 'threats' that could arise from the people themselves.

The great South America cultures died this way, when tiny Spanish forces arrived. The empires of China fell to the primitive Mongol hoards for the same reason. England was terrorised by small numbers of Northmen waving axes because weak English Kings were determined their people would be largely unarmed and untrained in self-defense to avoid uprisings.

Of course, the USA, unlike the examples above, is an evil AGGRESSIVE empire with an active program of military actions across the planet. In this light, the NSA spying is actually a planetary activity, concerned with controlling and limiting every possible Human

Shills constantly tell the sheep that they are "far too unimportant as individuals" to be of concern to the government, but nothing could be further from the truth. Every real danger faced by the ruling elite of a power like the USA arises from amongst the 'ordinary' people. One element of NSA spying is to identify such 'threats' before the individuals themselves are even aware they are about to become leaders of grass-roots movements. These people can then be targeted for co-opting (the body responsible for co-opting such citizens in the UK even has a public-facing name, COMMON-PURPOSE- the name, of course, is no coincidence but was chosen with maximum obvious vindictiveness by Tony Blair).

Another purpose of mass spying on the populace is to 'read' the mind of the populace in near real-time. For instance, as sites like Slashdot push the lie of Syrian government use of chemical weapons, Team Obama wants to know the effectiveness of this propaganda operation. It is, after all, a declaration of war against Syria (and by extension, a declaration of War against Syria's partner, Russia), so Obama needs to know if this is going to prove to be a 'step too far' at this time. NSA spying on your electronic chatter, by text and by voice, will give him this guidance.

PS for those of you so very dumb you do not believe Obama would declare war against Russia, it happened recently when American trained, funded and armed forces in Georgia, under the control of American 'advisor', launched a sneak attack against Russian peace-keepers on the opening day of the Olympics. Of course, the Russians were prepared for this, and in a few short days exterminated EVERY American built military facility across Georgia, completely destroying the military machine so carefully built up by America.

In reality, although Tony Blair claimed in public to support Georgia and the USA, Blair had been working in alliance with Putin to create a geo-political situation that would win back Russian control of the Ukraine. The fallout from the Georgia war achieved exactly this. The games played by the monsters that rule run are far more devious than 99.99% of you ever dream, even though they are the exact same games played throughout Human history, and well documented.

The ultimate goal of NSA spying is to ensure you stay asleep while the world is moved, step-by-step, to a new World War.

how stupid is this? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 10 months ago | (#44007921)

"Other reports suggest Twitter refused to participate, though there's been no official conformation."
What terrorist organization communicate on twitter? Or Yahoo mail? Or Facebook? This is obviously just plain spying for political opinions, hate speech, statistics, etc.

Tremendous Damage! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44007941)

Re: "He's done tremendous damage to the country where he was born and raised and educated," Ruppersberger said

Yeah, between Snowden & Manning, the USA may never recover, my anonymous cowardice sez facetiously! Of course, the business activities which brought about the recent recession did no damage at all, affected no one at all, disrupted nothing, etc. & so forth & on & on...

Meanwhile the congresspersons walk on down the hall to their next lobbyist meeting to talk over a little campaign finance. No damage being done there. Of course not, business as usual, nothing to see here.

(thanks for reading...:-)

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