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Former Head of NSA Calls For Obama To Reject NSA Commission Recommendations

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the not-what-you're-thinking dept.

United States 316

An anonymous reader writes that USA Today reports "Retired general Michael Hayden ... called on President Obama Monday to ... reject many of the recommendations of the commission he appointed to rein in NSA surveillance ... 'President Obama now has the burden of simply doing the right thing,' ... 'And I think some of the right things with regard to the commission's recommendations are not the popular things. They may not poll real well right now. They'll poll damn well after the next attack ...' ... The commission ... said the recommendations were designed to increase transparency, accountability and oversight at the NSA. Hayden ... oversaw the launch of some of the controversial programs ... He defended them as effective and properly overseen by congressional intelligence committees and a special court. 'Right now, since there have been no abuses and almost all the court decisions on this program have held that it's constitutional, I really don't know what problem we're trying to solve by changing how we do this,' he said."

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Lame duck President (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45827937)

He has no incentive to change anything. How it 'polls' is irrelevant. Someone with 2016 aspirations will need to make this their issue.

Re:Lame duck President (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828023)

This clown was "lame" the day he stepped into office. His inability to actually take a stand and act on it, without wheeling and dealing for 2 years to get a "consensus" that compromises every facet of the original stand, has made him as effective as most vice presidents.

He's going to gather "expert testimony", "listen to the people", and by the time he gets around to "gathering consensus", he'll have changed nothing. Just like Afghanistan, just like Iraq, and just like that gods-awful mess of an excuse for enshrining bureaucrats with permanent legacies called Obamacare.

Re:Lame duck President (1, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#45828033)

He still has incentive to keep his party in power. Politicans are loyal to themselves first, and their party and donors second. If it doesn't affect him, then he will do whatever is best for his party (not to be confused with his constituents) or his donors.

Re:Lame duck President (2, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 7 months ago | (#45828083)

I respectfully disagree.

Obama has the luxury of not seeking another term to guide whatever moral compass might remain within him.

He has an opportunity to make the reform of government surveillance an even greater legacy for his presidency than his ACA program.

Will he? Possibly not, but a newly elected POTUS will have even less incentive: any terrorist incident that occurs after a restructuring of the quasi-governmental snooping agencies will land at the feet of it's sponsor.

Re:Lame duck President (0, Troll)

Chas (5144) | about 7 months ago | (#45828109)

He's a Chicago Machine politician.

Moral compass?

He don't need no STEENKIN' moral compass!

Re:Lame duck President (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#45828217)

Politics is compliacted.

If Obama announced his intention to limit the powers of the NSA and impose more oversight from congress and the courts, then you can be confident that within a week there will be a republican-sponsored bill to remove what oversight they already have. It's a game of two sides: What one does, the other automatically opposes.

Re:Lame duck President (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828271)

If he imposed more oversight, he'd probably make a trip to a major city, and probably coincidentally go by a book repository and grassy knoll.

Re:Lame duck President (0, Troll)

ka9dgx (72702) | about 7 months ago | (#45828511)

Troll? - Who moderated this troll?

If Obama actually defended the constitution from domestic enemies, he'd be dead within a month. Don't kid yourself about this. We live in an oligarchy, at best.

Re:Lame duck President (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 7 months ago | (#45828383)

What you say is true, but many of these edicts that allowed the present system to run unchecked pre-Snowden seem to have been mandated by federal agencies. Perhaps for reasons of deniability, much of this has escaped whatever cleansing light that Congressional oversight might provide.

Public discussion of privacy versus security is at least being discussed now, and there may be some momentum that can be drawn upon.

Re:Lame duck President (-1, Troll)

Mashiki (184564) | about 7 months ago | (#45828187)

Obama isn't a lame duck president, he did everything he's wanted to do, including some illegally--as seen by the rulings of the SCC where he tried to introduce law by XO. What's he really is, is a partisan hack president, who believes that the only way to get anything done is the way *he* wants it done. That includes dumping all over your average american, and putting the squeeze on them(see the WH's direction on public memorials, and private businesses during the sequester).

Re:Lame duck President (3, Informative)

Drathos (1092) | about 7 months ago | (#45828215)

"Lame Duck" in politics means they're on their way out. Either they've already lost an election or, in this case, in his final term and can't run again. It has nothing to do with what he's done or what his goals are/were. It basically means he can do as he pleases and doesn't need to worry about what the voters think anymore.

Re:Lame duck President (5, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 7 months ago | (#45828287)

It took a very brave man, Edward R. Murrow ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_R_Murrow [wikipedia.org] ), to have the courage to stand up Senator Joseph McCarthy's communist witch hunt. Obama just isn't the man to do that. But you really can't blame him for that. Not everyone can be a superhero, and that is what the country needs to restore the NSA to what it once was. Old Cold War NSA retirees probably cry themselves to sleep every night when they think about what the NSA has now become. The NSA used to be very discrete, effective and restrained. Now they have gone entirely overboard and out of control. They need a military style stand-down to take an assessment of themselves. Discretion is the better part of valor. I'd like to see an NSA that we could be proud of again . . . not afraid of.

Take a look at the Navy SEALS . . . the best fighting force in the world . . . but the US Army command does not send them off everywhere at a whim. And most of their operations we probably never hear about . . . because they are used very discretely and restrained. The NSA has expanded their surveillance to a point that the world is bound to discover what they are doing . . . because they just can't keep such massive operations secret any more.

If the Navy SEALS came under the command of the NSA, the NSA would deploy the SEALS everywhere to shoot up everyone. And instruct them to search through the dead bodies, to see if any of the dead were, in fact, terrorists.

Re:Lame duck President (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 7 months ago | (#45828625)

The NSA was corrupt then, and they created the FISA courts to resolve the abuses that were rampant. Now with the oversite of the FISA we see more of the same, just more political jockeying to codify their abuses as lawful and constitutional.

Re:Lame duck President (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828757)

The US "Army" does not send "Navy" Seals anywhere. They send, "Airborne", "Air Assault", "Rangers", and "Special Forces (aka Green Berets)".

This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (5, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 7 months ago | (#45827967)

They'll poll damn well after the next attack

The next attack will happen with or without illegal, unconstitutional domestic spying. I don't want you magic tiger protection rocks sir.

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (5, Insightful)

WolfgangPG (827468) | about 7 months ago | (#45827989)

I have to agree. The NSA may or may not have stopped any attacks with this snooping. They can of course point to attacks they claim to have stopped, but sadly we can't verify any of that. Instead we can point to the Boston Marathon Bombings where the US Government was informed by other countries to watch out for these guys and we still did nothing.

We also have the Fort Hood shooting. Where any Army person was using army computers to contact terrorists and went on to shoot up an army base. Where was the NSA there?

"Days after the shooting, reports in the media revealed that a Joint Terrorism Task Force had been aware of e-mail communications between Hasan and the Yemen-based cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who had been monitored by the NSA as a security threat, and that Hasan's colleagues had been aware of his increasing radicalization for several years. The failure to prevent the shootings led the Defense Department and the FBI to commission investigations, and for Congress to hold hearings."

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828035)

We also can't verify they wouldn't have been stopped anyway through other means.

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (4, Insightful)

ImOuttaHere (2996813) | about 7 months ago | (#45828265)

I have to agree. The NSA may or may not have stopped any attacks with this snooping... We also have the Fort Hood shooting. Where any Army person was using army computers to contact terrorists and went on to shoot up an army base. Where was the NSA there?...

Allow me to take this just a small step further. What good has the NSA spying been in preventing any mass shooting attacks [usatoday.com] on Americans?

Tell me about how the NSA prevented mass killings (of 4 or more people) in Sandy Hook, New York, Paris(TX), Tulsa, Callison, Terrell, Phoenix, Rice, Washington DC, Dallas, Clarksberg, Santa Monica, etc, etc, etc?

Please don't tell me that NSA spying is a matter of definition. Mass death is mass death, regardless of country of origin, skin color, or religious bent.

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about 7 months ago | (#45828715)

And in every one of those places, the NSA has no (well is not supposed to anyways) purview. Domestic issues are meant to be handled by the FBI.

The NSA and CIA mandates are to operate outside the US, so yes, I have no issues whatsoever with the NSA spying on everyone and there mother outside the US, just like those same countries spy on everyone else. We just got caught with our hands in the cookie jar. Operating within the US is supposed to be illegal, although it appears no one in power wants to enforce the mandates.

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828737)

The issue with your statement here is that the NSA does in fact only focus on foreign intelligence. Anything domestic that poses a threat, that they inadvertently collect, gets passed to the FBI to handle, and they have a very poor record at accomplishing anything. So really its on the FBI for not acting on those tips and intel, that info doesnt technically pass through NSA unless its collected through their means.

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (1)

KBehemoth (2519358) | about 7 months ago | (#45828021)

That tiger protection rock had a hidden microphone. We're going to have to take you in for questioning. What do you know about the Tamil Tigers?

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 7 months ago | (#45828075)

Also, he's demonstrably wrong: After the whole Boston Marathon bombing went down, the support for the NSA spying went down, not up. A logical reason for this: the NSA had clearly failed to catch terrorists despite all their willful violation of the rights of all Americans, so the benefits for all that intrusion were approximately 0.

Besides that, regardless of what the NSA does or doesn't do, your average American is about 15 times more likely to be killed by a drunk driver than a terrorist.

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (5, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | about 7 months ago | (#45828211)

Besides that, regardless of what the NSA does or doesn't do, your average American is about 15 times more likely to be killed by a drunk driver than a terrorist.

Hell, on the roads, every month is September, 2001. Roughly a 9/11 worth of people die every single month in vehicle accidents.

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (2)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 7 months ago | (#45828409)

Also, he's demonstrably wrong: After the whole Boston Marathon bombing went down, the support for the NSA spying went down, not up. A logical reason for this: the NSA had clearly failed to catch terrorists despite all their willful violation of the rights of all Americans, so the benefits for all that intrusion were approximately 0.

Besides that, regardless of what the NSA does or doesn't do, your average American is about 15 times more likely to be killed by a drunk driver than a terrorist.

I thought the same thing. The next attack would show their ineffectiveness, not scare us all back into their arms. The powers that be will have to find something else with which to scare us all into compliance. This terrorism thing isn't working as well as it used to.

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (4, Interesting)

ImOuttaHere (2996813) | about 7 months ago | (#45828197)

The next attack will happen with or without illegal, unconstitutional domestic spying. I don't want you magic tiger protection rocks sir.

I can't imagine how (some? many?) Americans take a face value any comment that says NSA spying will prevent attacks on Americans when it was not needed in 2001. There was plenty of clear intelligence information leading up to the events of 9/11. No vast spying on Americans was needed to warn the Bush administration [cnn.com] that something big was about to happen.

"Here is a representative sampling of the CIA threat reporting that was distributed to Bush administration officials during the spring and summer of 2001:

-- CIA, "Bin Ladin Planning Multiple Operations," April 20
-- CIA, "Bin Ladin Attacks May Be Imminent," June 23
-- CIA, "Planning for Bin Ladin Attacks Continues, Despite Delays," July 2
-- CIA, "Threat of Impending al Qaeda Attack to Continue Indefinitely," August 3

The failure to respond adequately to these warnings was a policy failure by the Bush administration, not an intelligence failure by the U.S. intelligence community..."

It makes me wonder why the NSA is pushing so hard to keep unconstitutional spying programs in place. What are they really doing? What are they needing to justify? What snake-oil are they trying to sell the American people? What are they really afraid of? Who are they attempting to control?

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 7 months ago | (#45828499)

The next attack will happen with or without illegal, unconstitutional domestic spying. I don't want you magic tiger protection rocks sir.

I can't imagine how (some? many?) Americans take a face value any comment that says NSA spying will prevent attacks on Americans when it was not needed in 2001. There was plenty of clear intelligence information leading up to the events of 9/11. No vast spying on Americans was needed to warn the Bush administration [cnn.com] that something big was about to happen.

"Here is a representative sampling of the CIA threat reporting that was distributed to Bush administration officials during the spring and summer of 2001:

-- CIA, "Bin Ladin Planning Multiple Operations," April 20 -- CIA, "Bin Ladin Attacks May Be Imminent," June 23 -- CIA, "Planning for Bin Ladin Attacks Continues, Despite Delays," July 2 -- CIA, "Threat of Impending al Qaeda Attack to Continue Indefinitely," August 3

The failure to respond adequately to these warnings was a policy failure by the Bush administration, not an intelligence failure by the U.S. intelligence community..."

It makes me wonder why the NSA is pushing so hard to keep unconstitutional spying programs in place. What are they really doing? What are they needing to justify? What snake-oil are they trying to sell the American people? What are they really afraid of? Who are they attempting to control?

Well said. There have been a number of people who have come forward to say that the intelligence agencies knew something big was going to happen before 9/11/01. Yet that is not covered much by the Media. Condi Rice got a lot more exposure than Susan Lindauer ever will.

So it's no wonder to me that so many people still buy the bullshit. The Media generally can be counted on to keep a lid on uncomfortable information. The more uncomfortable it is, the less likely they are to actually tell their readers and viewers about it. They don't want to bring heat on themselves, or jeopardize their reputation or access. So we get bad or incomplete information by which to make decisions about our republic. This dynamic is not lost on those in power.

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828543)

I see two things:

1) They cannot admit they were wrong. To do so would to be admit they are failures and would damage the reputation of not only themselves, but their party and donors.

2) They know that we, the average citizen, are like livestock. We are powerless to stop them as they herd us around and use us to give themselves more power and money. It is not a big conspiracy that they benefit from invading our privacy; they can trade it to other nations for goods or services, they can sell it to corporations, they can steal from foreign corporations and give to ours to "strengthen" the economy, etc.. Our communication is their product, and they are operating like any business trying to maximize profit.

Of course they are going to keep pushing to keep the status qua. They have absolutely no benefit of stopping their illegal surveillance.

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (1)

MrLint (519792) | about 7 months ago | (#45828573)

"It makes me wonder why the NSA is pushing so hard to keep unconstitutional spying programs in place"

CYA? Seriously, leadership never takes responsibility. When you dump every possible thing on the table for the leaders to look at, at no point can the phrase "we didn't know" be said honestly.

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828623)

you are right! I was part of a circle of museum/art historians who were going crazy about the threats to Bamiyan, the twin buddha images that got blown up. we were sending warning to any on and everyone we knew to take the threats seriously. None of that email traffic had an effect. So maybe NSA drowns in its own data and is not effective... but maybe that is not the data it is really looking for.....

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (1)

JWW (79176) | about 7 months ago | (#45828685)

Captain Hindsight is that you??

But you are right about one thing. If the NSA says they're doing what they're doing to protect us, but then an attack happens that proves they can't protect us, then their justifications for their spying are inadequate.

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828785)

That attack already happened in Boston.

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828255)

" illegal, unconstitutional"

It's not illegal. Everything has been approved by the Judicial branch. The same Judicial branch who's authority is defined in the Constitution. Congress passes law (including the Constitution) and the judiciary interprets the law (including the Constitution). Henceforth, their rulings are applied to the enforcement of law. To change it, Congress has to pass new laws. I know it's not the popular opinion and it's likely to fall on deaf ears here, but this is the reality.

Re: This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828307)

Dred Scott

Sometimes, the court mucks it up too

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (1)

hjf (703092) | about 7 months ago | (#45828261)

I read that as "Mr. President: you're dealing with powers you can't understand. It would be a shame if something bad happened to the country. CAPISCE?'

For those who can't read between lines: If the NSA gets questioned, they will attack the country (probably even kill the president).

I never believed the whole paranoid "9/11 was an inside job" theory. But what this guy just said.. wow.

Re:This just in, spy wants spy rules to stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828539)

"After the next attack". Surely he means "having prevented the next attack"?

Any chance we can act like adults this time? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45827983)

Painful truths:
NSA workers are not traitors that should be killed. Please look at the scum who cut off children's heads in CAR to understand what real tyranny is.

NSA will be changed but domestic surveillance will probably go to the DOJ (who has a stellar track record)

This has all happened before 20, 40, 70, and I think 150 years ago. It will probably happen again.

Now, please, can we talk about changes without devolving into fake revolutionaries? You're pissed off. We all get it. Now let's do something useful other than scream.

Re: Any chance we can act like adults this time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828073)

Ps. The DOJ comment was meant to be sarcastic. My apologies.

Re:Any chance we can act like adults this time? (4, Insightful)

freax (80371) | about 7 months ago | (#45828103)

I agree with this. I'm also really pissed that secret services refuse to create more transparency and do a lot of things that are not lawful (like dragnet surveillance, indiscriminate mass surveillance of ordinary law abiding citizens, economic espionage, etc).

That, however, doesn't mean that we'll have any progress by calling workers at the NSA traitors who should be killed or even heavily sanctioned. Processes should however be fixed.

I do think transparency and legality of their profession has to come back (by following the processes and requirements, and having a public debate on all this).

It's not a deal society can make to allow a surveillance police state (even if it's here already; it still doesn't make it OK for it to stay). The US can and should make legislation deals with the EU on this if the fear is that internationally laws and processes aren't worth a lot. It can make such deals even with China or Russia, and with other BRIC countries too. There is no need to have invasive non-targeted worldwide surveillance of ordinary citizens for America to be much more safe than before 9/11. Whoever in the US military and/or government who's telling you that is lying.

Right now, however, the US is showing absurd distrust in the rest of the world and actions done by your NSA as being seen in the population worldwide as military action against them. They are ordinary citizens with no intent to harm anybody in the US. But by invading their privacy so insanely massively you Americans ARE going to create a lot of nutcases for decades to come.

Stop it.

Oh please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828117)

NSA will be changed but domestic surveillance will probably go to the DOJ (who has a stellar track record)

Stellar track record?!

DOJ? YOu mean the FBI who were WORSE because not only did they spy, bu they actually have the guns to do something about it.

Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was being spied upon and many times falsely imprisoned for ...wait for it ... preaching peaceful protest.

Oh no! Someone who's preaching peace is such a threat to the US of A!

Even though John Lennon was never a citizen, he was spied upon for the same reasons.

And let's not forget all the abuses that Hoover committed when he used the FBI like the Stazi.

And as far as comparing us with folks who chop people's heads off, you are comparing us with a third world shithole and if things keep going the way they are going, we will end up that way.

Things won't change though because we the people get sucked into bullshit distraction issues like: abortion, gay marriage, "when life begins", who goes to church and what church, and other bullshit that is completely irrelevant to a functioning Republic.

Re:Any chance we can act like adults this time? (1)

minderaser (28934) | about 7 months ago | (#45828163)

Please look at the scum who cut off children's heads in CAR to understand what real tyranny is.

Yea, good thing we don't have reactionaries calling for someone to be hanged without due process like this guy [arstechnica.com] (Former CIA director James Woolsey) or this guy [huffingtonpost.com] (Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton). (Yes, they're former ... do you really think their replacements are any better? That's what's really painful

That is the guy.... (5, Insightful)

jimpop (27817) | about 7 months ago | (#45827995)

..who was on guard duty before 9/11.... why should anyone listen to him?

His argument is false (5, Insightful)

bazmail (764941) | about 7 months ago | (#45828003)

He argues that it is legal because it is useful. Using that logic, I should be allowed use claymore mines to protect my property from intruders. Indiscriminate, illegal but probably effective. He should remember, if you subvert the constitution, you corrode the very fabric of the nation. We're becoming just another regime.

Re:His argument is false (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828025)

Some people do use Claymores [ar15.com] to defend their property.

Re:His argument is false (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 7 months ago | (#45828119)

What is doing is like putting claymore mines in all the city, and inside your house to protect it, yes, could be effective, or you or your children could hit one of your own claymore mines, or some thieves instead of stepping on one of them, just throw a pebble to it to make it explode and hurt you and your family. And don't forget that the people that installed the mines can dodge them and enter with no problem at your house anytime. Eventually your wife and children will leave you to not be with such risk for every step they take, you saved the pawn but lost the king.

Re:His argument is false (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 7 months ago | (#45828351)

He's a general and his job is to win a military victory, they're generally in the "All's fair in love and war" corner. Of course the US is not actually in a war, but generals are always preparing for one or he's taken the "War on Terror" to mean that the US is always at war against their enemies. He's thinking like on the battle field, if he thinks the enemy is hiding in a building he doesn't ask for a warrant he assaults it because good intent is enough. If there was collateral damage, well it was for the greater good and it was the enemy's fault that the situation started in the first place. I wouldn't be surprised if he'd like to do away with large parts of the Bill of Rights.

Failure polls well?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828009)

I fail to see how failure to prevent an attack via NSA dragnet surveilance could poll well.

Re:Failure polls well?!? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#45828051)

Just look at how much stuff people accepted after 9/11. As a people, we're brave and independent in the face of peace but we damn well want the government to do something if we feel threatened.

Re:Failure polls well?!? (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | about 7 months ago | (#45828251)

And that's why I don't have the balls to be President. Personally, I think the solution is keep the capability but somehow rigidly enforce a real, transparent review process. Demonizing Bush and Obama isn't helping here. We should be more mature than that. We should be fixing the problem.

Re:Failure polls well?!? (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 7 months ago | (#45828669)

They tried that 30 years ago when they created the FISA courts. To stop abuses in the NSA there was a transparent review process which is not working apparently as they are abusing it now as they did then. The power is not something they are capable and appropriate stewards of, and they shouldn't nor should anyone be entrusted with it.

Perhaps if the public new the truth... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828031)

I really like the part about "there have been no abuses". Perhaps Hayden would like to tell the US public the truth. Let's see how long it takes before he gets a bullet to the face, let alone a prison sentence.

Scumbags.

Re:Perhaps if the public new the truth... (3, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | about 7 months ago | (#45828045)

LOVEINT wasn't an abuse? The FISA courts taking about how the NSA was deceiving them wasn't abuse? What the fuck is Hayden smoking to be making such outlandish claims?

Formal fallacy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828043)

[quote]They may not poll real well right now. They'll poll damn well after the next attack ...'[/quote]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_probability

The key word is... (1)

portwojc (201398) | about 7 months ago | (#45828061)

In this comment "Right now, since there have been no abuses and almost all the court decisions on this program have held that it's constitutional, I really don't know what problem we're trying to solve by changing how we do this" the key word is... ALMOST.

Re:The key word is... (5, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about 7 months ago | (#45828085)

His claim about there being no abuses is a bald-faced lie. Why should anyone believe anything in that sentence after the first major lie?

Re:The key word is... (3, Informative)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 7 months ago | (#45828283)

"There have been no abuses"

What about LOVEINT?

http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/09/26/20709855-loveint-nsa-letter-discloses-employee-eavesdropping-on-girlfriends-spouses?lite

I'd certainly call using your "catch the terrorists super-spying" powers to eavesdrop on your girlfriend an abuse of power. Of course, he'd probably just hand wave that away as inconsequential because [super spooky voice]TERRORISTS!!!!!![/super spooky voice]

Re:The key word is... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#45828267)

No abuses?

One word:
Loveint

Re:The key word is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828339)

Yeah, with the new definition of "ALMOST". Usage example: Today I ALMOST traveled to Mars (hey, it was nice weather so I went for a walk outside!)

Well, that is Fucked. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828071)

I'm not an America, although I am a citizen of one of the 5eyes - the one with a fundamentally criminal past.

Freedom is about being about being able to live your life as you choose. Freedom is about disagreeing with other peoples' choices as to how they live their life, yet accepting that choice, as long as it doesn't to detrimentally affect yours.

"O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

Question mark is very well placed. The question mark was in the positive for around 200 years, however I think it is conclusive now. The answer is "Nope."

There is no question about America now about being home of the free and the brave. Terrorism won, because terrorism is about causing terror, and therefore ridiculous levels of measures against it.

(heh, this post will probably get me on the NSA list, but I'm probably already there anyway.)

Re:Well, that is Fucked. (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#45828285)

You could still call it the 'Land of the free-er-than-most.'

There isn't really much to judge the 'brave' on any more. No domestic wars in living memory, no wilderness in need of conquoring, no natives left to forceibly display. Life is quite comfortable for most, so there just isn't any need for brave.

Re:Well, that is Fucked. (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 7 months ago | (#45828505)

You could still call it the 'Land of the free-er-than-most.'

Is this what the US aspires to now? To be slightly better than average? What happened to the "best country in the world"?

Re:Well, that is Fucked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828609)

Freedom is about being about being able to live your life as you choose. Freedom is about disagreeing with other peoples' choices as to how they live their life, yet accepting that choice, as long as it doesn't to detrimentally affect yours.

Those are the byproducts of freedom, not a definition of freedom itself. Freedom itself is a simple concept: it is the total absence of coercion (of any variety, "official" or not). Where coercion exists (theft, fraud, physical force or threat thereof), freedom cannot. Nothing more needs to be said.

Digging deeper, freedom is the difference between voluntary association and coercion, the two polar opposite modes of human interaction. Freedom requires voluntary association, and in essence, *is* voluntary association. Coercive association is the opposite, and the two concepts are mutually exclusive (unlike what government teaches you).

Yeaaaaaaaahhhhh, right (1)

MikeLip (797771) | about 7 months ago | (#45828097)

NSA/TSA//WTF-SA This guy is presupposing NSA is going to be able to stop an attack, assuming anyone is planning one. The only results they have to show are nulls - "All these horrible things didn't happen because we were watching! What horrible things? We can't tell you. It's secret. But truly, they didn't happen. Remember, all that bad stuff that didn't happen? That was all us! So we don't need anyone to watch us, just trust us. We won't turn on the webcam on your teenagers laptop, we pinkie-swear!"

Record of Prevented Attacks (5, Insightful)

Phoenix666 (184391) | about 7 months ago | (#45828101)

The record of prevented attacks, according to the official report, is zero. The surveillance programs the NSA runs have prevented no attacks. They have, however, fundamentally undermined our Constitution and the entire rule of law in the United States of America. The citizenry has been watching, stunned, while the Congress, Whitehouse, and courts in DC have been wiping their collective behind with our foundational document, and are now looking at each other, waiting to see who's gonna pick up the gun and put the mad dog down. The criminals in DC and Wall Street misread the apparent lack of reaction with acquiescence or agreement. It's not. It's the entire mass of the country, who already have their hands full with many, many deep problems, discovering this massive systemic betrayal and trying to process what the best course of action is. If DC does not act now to channel things into productive reform, they will explode to the detriment of all, but especially to the detriment of DC and their masters on Wall Street.

Re:Record of Prevented Attacks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828185)

Congress, Whitehouse, and courts in DC have been wiping their collective behind with our foundational document

Something tells me they are much more interested in justifying a multi-billion dollar cash flow than "wiping their behinds on our freedom". In government, the name of the game is money, not idealism. Idealism is merely the smokescreen that hides their true goal: money.

Re:Record of Prevented Attacks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828297)

They're also, and unfortunately, quite profitable. Access to the illicitly gathered *commercial* intelligence is used both for planning treaties, and for planning commercial deals for companies on "good terms" with the NSA. The NSA is built around supporting trading, on a global scale.

And brother, there is *money* in that, and big donations to election campaigns.

Re:Record of Prevented Attacks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828457)

The citizenry has been watching, stunned, while the Congress, Whitehouse, and courts in DC have been wiping their collective behind with our foundational document, and are now looking at each other, waiting to see who's gonna pick up the gun and put the mad dog down. The criminals in DC and Wall Street misread the apparent lack of reaction with acquiescence or agreement. It's not.

Yeah, it's more like the quiet passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 before the announcement of "Let's Roll". Obama is asking "Is that it? Shall we finish it off?", and Michael Hayden is responding with "No. Not yet. When they all come, we finish it off."

Is that a threat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828125)

"They'll poll damn well after the next attack"

That kind of situation always reminds me of Puzo's Fourth K. The right dose of sloppiness and the attack happens.

After the next attack? (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 months ago | (#45828129)

"After the next attack"

Wait a second - you mean that you admit the NSA is not able to prevent the attacks? OK, so explain again why it is a necessary, nay, "vital" government agency?

Re:After the next attack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828393)

He's using the horrible rationale that if we take away the NSA's power, we will get attacked. Then, if we do get attacked, we will cry out for the NSA to start spying on us again. It's a non sequitur, because being spied on by my government does not protect me from foreigners who are trying to take us out.

In any event, Michael Hayden loves to blather on about Cyberterrorists and other buzzwords. He's convinced the enemy is not only at the gates, but in our backyards (and apparently our MMOs too, because the NSA is spying there as well). He's a relic of the past, the kind of person that never learned from the Cold War that the "enemy" isn't everywhere and trying to tear us down.

Re:After the next attack? (4, Insightful)

aviators99 (895782) | about 7 months ago | (#45828561)

The NSA *is* the "next attack". It's an enemy combatant's dream. They have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

What (3, Insightful)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 7 months ago | (#45828131)

"They may not poll real well right now. They'll poll damn well after the next attack ..."

So... these things aren't popular now... but the next time they fail to stop an attack... Americans will be glad the NSA was here to fail to stop the attack?

The sad part is he's probably right, the public actually is that stupid.

Because of "OOH SKEERY!" (4, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | about 7 months ago | (#45828149)

He's right in one way. It's probably not going to change.

And then he pulls the boogie man out of his pocket.

"The next attack."

"The next attack."

So we're supposed to just huddle up in a corner and live in fear for the rest of forever. Just so that, MAYBE, some day, they catch another underpants bomber?

Uhm...

Not to put too fine a point on that, FUCK NO!

At some point, reality sets in and people need to realize that The Real World (not the stupid "reality TV show") is NOT a safe place. And NO amount of watching will curtail EVERY attempt.

Nor will throwing away our rights like a hot potato make us any safer.

Re:Because of "OOH SKEERY!" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828369)

It's a very mean/evil thing to say, but I sometimes feel that what the US needs is a _real_ war, on US soil. So that the general populace gets a grip and learns what works like "terror", "danger" etc. _actually_ mean.
Though I guess it would be enough if the media just owned up to its job and said things like "In the US cows kill more people than terrorists, who will do something about the cow threat?", or just simply "terrorists are not a threat in the US. None whatsoever". If said often enough it might actually sink in.

Bullshit (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828153)

Looking at it from the outside, i.e not being a US citizen:

1. You piss of everybody else on the planet, so do not expect any goodwill.
2. There were abuses, please do google loveint.
3. Snowden walked ot of NSA with *all* their goodies, so how says that that did not happen before ? He was just the first to go public with the abuses.
4. How can any US citizen still talk about the "land of the free", that is totally ridiculous and hypocrite at the same time.
5. You do have the best democracy that money can buy

Re:Bullshit (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#45828337)

Snowden wasn't a high-up NSA officer. He was a lowly contractor, and could only sneak out so much of that little he did have access to. For all that he has revealed, it's almost certainly just a tiny fraction of what the NSA is up to. There are probably all manner of even worse things they were so secret about Snowden didn't have access. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were involved in manipulating elections around the world to favor US-friendly politicians, or stealing commercially sensitive information from non-American companies and handing it over to American (we all know China does the same!), or such scandalous activities as that.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828401)

> How can any US citizen still talk about the "land of the free"

That's the part you chose to complain about? How about the "home of the brave"? There still seems to be some freedom left, but bravery certainly isn't to be found anywhere, you just have to shout "terrorist" and everyone seems to jump off the nearest bridge. There doesn't even have to be any danger involved!

I can see where he's coming from. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828161)

A central agency that can protect the people against major threats is all well and good, but a population that can protect themselves against everyday threats is BETTER.

Me thinks the former NSA director is missing the forest for the trees.

Call for him to he arrested and tried (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 7 months ago | (#45828167)

Since many of these atrocities started on his watch. He is responsible for untold abuse of power.

Would not have helped even 911 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828201)

As far back as 911, professional terrorist knew enough not to any sort of electronic communications and the NSA knew it. Yet they still spied on us. Why? Because it is a powerful tool to suppress and blackmail political enemies and the press. In addition it is useful for manipulating the markets.

The cherry tree in my garden ... (2)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 7 months ago | (#45828213)

is why I have not had an elephant knock my fence down. The evidence is there - my fences have stood strong after I replaced them in the gales a couple of years ago. If I were to cut the tree down I would run the risk of damaged fences; it is far safer to keep the tree.

Likewise: we know that if the NSA had not been snooping then there would have been worse attacks than the Boston bombers, etc. They just have to deny their achievements to protect their effectiveness. If they are reined in they will loudly tell everyone how it could have been prevented when the next attack happens.

(The fact that I live in urban England is surely irrelevant on the absence of elephants in my garden.)

No abuses? (5, Informative)

godless dave (844089) | about 7 months ago | (#45828223)

"Right now, since there have been no abuses..."
NSA employee spied on nine women without detection [theguardian.com]
NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds [washingtonpost.com]
No abuses, General?

Re:No abuses? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 7 months ago | (#45828293)

Wait... is the general trying a Jedi mind trick on us? *waves hand* There have been no NSA abuses of the spying system. *waves hand* You WANT the NSA to spy on everything you do. *waves hand* Give the NSA more money to spy on more people. *waves hand*

Re:No abuses? (4, Interesting)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 7 months ago | (#45828647)

"Right now, since there have been no abuses..." NSA employee spied on nine women without detection [theguardian.com] NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds [washingtonpost.com] No abuses, General?

See, that's the problem right there. We know he has lied to us. He has no credibility. If he told me the sky was blue, I'd look up to be sure. As we all know, once you have lost trust, it doesn't matter if you're right or wrong; no on will listen to you. It's not just Hayden. So many government officials and spokespeople have lied to cover their asses, or hide wrongdoing, I just can't take their word for anything anymore.

Re:No abuses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828707)

While I, and any normal english speaking person would agree with you, we have to remember that the NSA redefines the terms it uses to be very specific and therefore outside the bounds of what anyone else in the world would understand them to mean. I suspect the following definitions...

- Vital government agency: NSA
- abuse: violation of the law done by someone outside the NSA

Care for the mentally ill (1)

anmre (2956771) | about 7 months ago | (#45828235)

By my count, more folks (including dozens of children) have been slaughtered in recent years by young American men who were clearly deranged, than by any well-coordinated "terrorist" attack. Where is the POTUS commission on that?

...since there have been no abuses... (2)

PoochieReds (4973) | about 7 months ago | (#45828245)

Doesn't LOVEINT count?

Even if it doesn't, that's not the point.

I think we can all agree that having these sorts of communications records is a despot's wet dream. The fact that it hasn't been abused yet is immaterial. It's too tempting a tool for those with the wrong motives.

Polls? So what? (2)

sfsp (655361) | about 7 months ago | (#45828259)

They'll poll damn well after the next attack ...

And they'll STILL be wrong.

I've got a tip for Mr. Hayden: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828273)

Just mount the next attack. That'll teach them!

It's just for the Good of the USA!

This would all be new and innovative... oh, wait.

Re:I've got a tip for Mr. Hayden: (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 7 months ago | (#45828667)

Just mount the next attack. That'll teach them!

It's just for the Good of the USA!

This would all be new and innovative... oh, wait.

It's been done before. And if people think it couldn't happen in America, they need to study some history.

This cock-sucking vial douchebag (1)

fredrated (639554) | about 7 months ago | (#45828321)

need to be hung by the neck until dead-dead-dead.

"They'll poll damn well after the next attack" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828353)

Fuck you and your fear, uncertainty, and doubt, Michael Hayden. Freedom is much more important than safety. I will sacrifice safety for freedom. And yes, I know you know who I am despite posting AC.

"They'll poll damn well after the next attack"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828413)

"They'll poll damn well after the next attack"?
Wait... by NSA logic, if there's a NEXT attack, doesn't that mean all the surveillance didn't work anyway? Shouldn't they poll even worse after that?

...after the next attack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828429)

Are you threatening us?

They'll poll damn well after the next attack (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 7 months ago | (#45828433)

Sounds like a threat, like he knows there will be an attack. Perhaps he is correct, because he has inside info.

This is what happens... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828443)

This is what... happens when... we let Captain James T Kirk... submit stories to Slashdot...

Grr (2)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 7 months ago | (#45828605)

"far safer and privacy is far more secured with NSA holding the data than some third party."

This data is not safe for long term storage ANYWHERE.

More threats from the government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828607)

They'll poll damn well after the next attack

You mean the next attack that will happen because Mr. Hayden's post-9/11 security measures were utter shit that failed to stop it? The NSA has quite a racket going for it. During peacetime they're "working effectively", during an emergency they simply didn't have the resources.

"since there have been no abuses" (1)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | about 7 months ago | (#45828611)

and no successes either....it seems the NSA is an expensive boondoggle (insert link to pics of Keith Alexander's Star Trek Bridge) and should therefore be culled to 10% of the current size.

We Know (2)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 7 months ago | (#45828725)

'I really don't know what problem we're trying to solve by changing how we do this,' he said.

We know you don't, pudding. Now go sit down and be quiet.

Problem is, there's no polling in the police state (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45828731)

Problem is, there's no polling in the police state which this sort of uncontrolled surveillance enables.

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