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When Spies and Crime-Fighters Squabble Over How They Spy On You

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the we-may-or-may-not-have-done-that dept.

United States 120

The Washington Post reports in a short article on the sometimes strange, sometimes strained relationship between spy agencies like the NSA and CIA and law enforcement (as well as judges and prosecutors) when it comes to evidence gathered using technology or techniques that the spy agencies would rather not disclose at all, never mind explain in detail. They may both be arms of the U.S. government, but the spy agencies and the law enforcers covet different outcomes. From the article: [S]sometimes it's not just the tool that is classified, but the existence itself of the capability — the idea that a certain type of communication can be wiretapped — that is secret. One former senior federal prosecutor said he knew of at least two instances where surveillance tools that the FBI criminal investigators wanted to use "got formally classified in a big hurry" to forestall the risk that the technique would be revealed in a criminal trial. "People on the national security side got incredibly wound up about it," said the former official, who like others interviewed on the issue spoke on condition of anonymity because of the topic’s sensitivity. "The bottom line is: Toys get taken away and put on a very, very high shelf. Only people in the intelligence community can use them." ... The DEA in particular was concerned that if it came up with a capability, the National Security Agency or CIA would rush to classify it, said a former Justice Department official.

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Well, duh, you never tell your secrets (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541077)

Just like I'll never admit what Slashdot account I'm using to farm karma with!

Re:Well, duh, you never tell your secrets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541157)

Why would you farm karma?..... that just sounds like the biggest waste of time.....damn that's just stupid.

Re:Well, duh, you never tell your secrets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541225)

Well, I tried to farm weed, but I'm not in Colorado.

Re:Well, duh, you never tell your secrets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47542707)

huh,huh,Silly Willie, most people farm crops and use Roundup to eliminate weeds. But , then most people farm where there is dirt and water too, so who is silly in Colorado? Answer: everyone who thought that the price of marijuana would drop when legalized.

Re:Well, duh, you never tell your secrets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47542811)

Bend over, I'm ready to plow.

Re:Well, duh, you never tell your secrets (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47541791)

Farm Karma so you can ... post vitriol anonymously?

Yeah, swell plan!

Ss? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541083)

What's the deal with the double esses on "ssometimes" in the ssummary and excerpt?

Re:Ss? (1)

holostarr (2709675) | about 5 months ago | (#47541097)

It appears timothy has developed a sstutter.

Re:Ss? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541131)

It's a logic thing, (s)sometimes means "some and only sometimes".

Re:Ss? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541147)

It's a logic thing, (s)sometimes means "some and only sometimes".

What you talkin' bout Willis?

Re:Ss? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 months ago | (#47541191)

I think he phoned it in.. literally, I think he submitted the article on his phone and the mistakes are common ones I see from texts and I make when I phone a post in.

Re: Ss? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47542401)

It's a joke on iff, google it.

Hey George Takei (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541089)

Sexual orientation is like a penis. It's fine to have one and it's fine to be proud of it, but please don't whip it out in public and start waving it around... and don't try to shove it down my child's throat.

Hey George Takei (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541113)

Nice.

Re:Hey George Takei (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541165)

Listen up, when your under-age daughter sucks my small, well-cleaned and quite beautiful penis, I will take all the measures to avoid shoving it to her throat as that would cause her to gag, and the beautiful moment would be ruined.

hm... "ssometimes" (1)

thieh (3654731) | about 5 months ago | (#47541093)

Yay for serpentspeak!

Re:hm... "ssometimes" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541121)

Given the subject matter I think it works perfectly!

The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541107)

They have no real oversight anymore, by design. Only between eachother is there any contention. What is legal no longer matters.
Stingray cell phone intercepts, for starters.

The list goes on into the infinite darkness your taxes pay for and for which your laws were expressly written to never allow.

Re: The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541233)

Bullshit they are the ones acting responsibly. Whenever the law becomes corrupt the good guys are all criminals. I'd rather take my chances against an extra judicial assassination squad, than a court of law where DA will either withhold, distort or make up evidence to get his 98. % conviction rate. Why do usians worry about Gitmo when we lock up more of our own citizens than any other country in the world. Law enforcement and government is at war with the usian citizen. The three letter agencies minus the FBI are the only ones involved in government who are not making a correct profit off the backs of the citizens.

Re: The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (1, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 months ago | (#47541299)

Usian.. that says it all

The rest of your dribble can be completely ignored seing how you cannot even get that correct. Maybe the reason people worry about Gitmo instead of locking our own citizens up is because the people complaining about it appear to be imbeciles using terms like usian instead of the proper American.

Oh, and before you say "but there are other countries" or "the continent", there are no other countries in the Americas (that right, plural because of two continents) that end their country's name with America and the continent as well as the geographical regions prefix America with North South, Latin and so on.

Re: The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541407)

Like it or not, Canadians are american, as are mexicans, columbians, brazillians and so forth.

Just because he had the courtesy of making the distinction between the peoples of the americas, does not make his point drivel. Instead, it shows insight which has obviously been lost on redneck sister fuckers such as yourself.

The fact that you have your head buried so far up your own ass that you are unable to admit that the term american is shared by countries other than our own, just goes to show how people like you allowed our country to become so fucked up through ignorant flag-waving patriotism, and trying to drown out all criticism by mindlessly chanting "USA! USA! USA!"

Go pop another Budweiser and shoot a defenseless animal while claiming you're a "real man". Leave the actual thinking to those with more than 2 brain cells to rub together.

Re: The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (1, Funny)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 months ago | (#47541477)

ike it or not, Canadians are american, as are mexicans, columbians, brazillians and so forth.

No they are not fool. They are North American or South American or from the Americas. Years of language use that supersedes probably your grandparents time in this world are not to be tossed aside in order to some pretentious idiot to feel good about themselves.

Just because he had the courtesy of making the distinction between the peoples of the americas, does not make his point drivel. Instead, it shows insight which has obviously been lost on redneck sister fuckers such as yourself.

Dribble, I did not say drivel. It shows he is a clueless moron and it seems like you are too.

The fact that you have your head buried so far up your own ass that you are unable to admit that the term american is shared by countries other than our own, just goes to show how people like you allowed our country to become so fucked up through ignorant flag-waving patriotism, and trying to drown out all criticism by mindlessly chanting "USA! USA! USA!"

No, it has never been until recently that people are so damn lazy they drop the North or South or Central or Latin from the American when talking about continental origins. It's intellectually dishonest and intellectually lazy. You can lie to yourself all you want but it does not make it correct and when you use the improper terms, do not be surprised if people think you are silly spouting silly things and worth little more than being ignored.

Go pop another Budweiser and shoot a defenseless animal while claiming you're a "real man". Leave the actual thinking to those with more than 2 brain cells to rub together.

If you could even put two brain cells together, you wouldn't be spouting this rubbish. It doesn't take much to think, you should try it and then apply it to what you are about to say some time,

Re: The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541567)

"Years of language use that supersedes probably your grandparents time in this world are not to be tossed aside in order to some pretentious idiot to feel good about themselves."

Actually centuries of usage, and they argue against you. American meaning indigenous to the Americas was in usage before there were English colonies for it to be applied to. Native Americans and Latin Americans were Americans first, and they still are.

USian is not a great word, it's true, but 'Western Hemispherian' is even worse.

Re: The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 5 months ago | (#47543033)

The Federal Government of the United States is (supposed to be) a shell for the business interests of the several united states. It would be more precise to refer to
a person of a state by the proper state derived name; Coloradan, Oklahoman,Georgian, New Yorker, Califuckhead, etc.
It distinguishes a person more closely to the culture they spring from like the difference between saying European or German( although it may be nice to break this subset down to their staadts as well.).
So, do we generalize and quibble or do we call a spade, a spade?

Re: The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 5 months ago | (#47543959)

It distinguishes a person more closely to the culture they spring from like the difference between saying European or German( although it may be nice to break this subset down to their staadts as well.).

The trend is just the opposite in the EU, though. I've been dealing with a lot of folks from France lately, and they almost universally refer to themselves as "European", or "from Europe".

Re: The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (1)

a_mari_usque_ad_mare (1996182) | about 5 months ago | (#47543309)

Not to defend the word 'USian', which is horrid, but this issue is not as clear and simple as you make it out to be. The word 'American' has several uses; someone from the USA is only the most common use.

First, what is the adjective (or demonym) for someone from the Americas? These guys [wikipedia.org] decided it was 'American'. Do you have a better answer?

Second, some people disagree on how many continents there are, with some people combining North and South America, or Europe and Asia. I think there's a stronger case for the second pairing, but using 'the Americas' to refer to a single continent is clearly wrong.

Third, what do we call the native people of the Americas? Historically, that word was American, as an analogue to African, Asian, and European. People make do with Native American, Amerindian, and a whole bunch of of other stuff, but its still kind of a mess. I added this one for historical perspective, but to be fair I have never heard anyone use American in this way.

The person you responded too was clearly a chump, but your refusal to aknowledge the ambiguity doesn't make it vanish. Words can carry a variety of meanings, and we depend on the context to make it clear.

Re: The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 5 months ago | (#47542935)

"Like it or not, Canadians are american, as are mexicans, columbians, brazillians and so forth."

Just goes to show how ineffective the Border Patrol really is....
Seriously, as Americans; Mexicans, Columbians and Brazilians deserve to be capitalized.
Not sure who started the mis-label Americans as applied to the U.S., but it does sound better than U.S.ers, which is pretty awkward at best.
Just call us "Chief" or "Sir" with the sort of respect that doesn't get your nose broken.LOL

Re: The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47543635)

USA, USA, USA:

signed,
Budweiser Fan

Re: The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (1)

sjames (1099) | about 5 months ago | (#47542637)

So you claim that the guys that import and sell the illegal drugs (CIA, proven) to fund illegal wars and the guys that use spy tech and then lie about it in court (DEA, parallel construction, proven) are good guys? I don't think so.

Corrupt government but they fight among themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541783)

The U.S. government is extremely corrupt, but when that is mentioned, U.S. citizens merely fight among themselves.

Re:Corrupt government but they fight among themsel (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 5 months ago | (#47543069)

Bingo, there it is!

Re:The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47542079)

They have no real oversight anymore, by design. Only between eachother is there any contention. What is legal no longer matters.
Stingray cell phone intercepts, for starters.

The list goes on into the infinite darkness your taxes pay for and for which your laws were expressly written to never allow.

You make some interesting assertions but do you have any citations?

Re: The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47543651)

Go look up the (rather disgusting) term "parallel construction" for all the evidence you need.

I never thought anything would ever make me side with the NSA about anything, but regular law enforcement has no business with any of these tools. None. Ever.

Re:The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47542851)

Knowing that most agencies are an independent administration away from defunding could make many reconsider their Repubmocrat tradition of party voting.
The CIA of course generates its own revenue and doesn't rely on tax dollars.

Fear (1, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47541137)

What they fear isn't the criminals finding out about it...

Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house To put his nest on high, To be delivered from the hand of calamity! You have devised a shameful thing for your house By cutting off many peoples; So you are sinning against yourself. Surely the stone will cry out from the wall, And the rafter will answer it from the framework.

Habakkuk 2:9-11

What's it going to take? (4, Interesting)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 5 months ago | (#47541149)

I remember that after 9/11, one of he big focuses of the Federal government was to get all of the various intelligence and law enforcement agencies - specifically the FBI and CIA - to work together and share intelligence. The fact that they weren't working together was one of the factors that contributed to the 9/11 hijackers being able to pull off their plot. This is the entire reason that the Department of Homeland Security was created, to bring all intelligence about threats to the United States under one body.

Now, it looks like they're splitting up again, just like they did before 9/11. What's it going to take for them to realize this is a bad idea?

Re:What's it going to take? (4, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | about 5 months ago | (#47541185)

It seems like there is a simple solution to this sort of problem: don't use advanced warrant-less surveillance technology for matters other than serious national security threats. The DEA doesn't need to tap every cell phone in LA, and so on.

If there is evidence that somebody has smuggled a nuclear bomb into NYC, then by all means tap whatever you have to tap until the bomb is recovered. However, this sort of approach shouldn't be the norm. If anything the NSA/etc are already going too far even in the pursuit of legitimate national security threats. There is no reason at all to be using these kinds of technologies to go after people like drug dealers.

Re:What's it going to take? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541213)

No, the simple solution is: Adhere to the Constitution.

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

mindcandy (1252124) | about 5 months ago | (#47541311)

You are forgetting that the having conduct ruled unconstitutional only precludes the recipient being prosecuted in the US criminal courts for it, assuming the transgressors get caught doing it, you weren't killed in the process, and you were on US soil when it happened.

Re:What's it going to take? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541361)

or amend it :)

Re:What's it going to take? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541423)

The problem is that the constitution is written with words and the meaning of words is subjective.
Take the first amendment as an example, it doesn't specify is 'free' should be interpreted as not-wearing-pants-free or as I-didn't-have-to-pay-subscription-fee-first-month-free.
On that note, the constitution is open to change. That is what article five and all amendments are about.

Re:What's it going to take? (4, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 months ago | (#47541503)

There is nothing in the constitution open to interpretation. All of it is to be understood in the language of when it was written and applied to the times of present. Free in the context of the first amendment means both, the government cannot prohibit or charge for the beliefs and practice of religion. There is nothing ambiguous about it when looked at in context.

I do agree that the constitution can and should be amended instead of ignored or technicality'd away. If whatever that is currently unconstitutional cannot survive the amendment process, it should not be practiced until it does.

Re:What's it going to take? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541533)

Free was just given as an example for being the low hanging fruit. Every word is open to interpretation.
Also, it doesn't specify that "free" is meant to be both, that is just your interpretation.

Re:What's it going to take? (3, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 months ago | (#47541641)

No word is open to interpretation. There is language and style that was in use at the time of writing the constitution and those are to be applied. Otherwise you could just redefine speech to mean a cracker and press to mean a candy bar and end up with Congress shall make no law: or abridging the freedom of crackers, or of the candy bars and do away with free speech altogether.

If you think that is a silly idea, you should because it is. You claiming it is open for interpretation is silly too.

Also, it doesn't specify that "free" is meant to be both, that is just your interpretation.

Only if you ignore logic, reason and have an inability to construct anything meaningful of either could you say as much. The US constitution grants and prohibits abilities to the federal government. When it prohibits the federal government from doing something, it prohibits it from doing all forms of that something. "free exercise thereof" can have only one meaning, that the federal government (and the states due to the 14th) cannot do anything that would make it non-free in that exercise.

Re:What's it going to take? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541861)

If you think that is a silly idea, you should because it is. You claiming it is open for interpretation is silly too.

It isn't a silly idea. Interpretation and meaning of words is a well established part of philosophy. What meaning words have varies a lot depending on the previous experience of the interpreter.
Heck, even the Supreme Court [supremecourt.gov] disagrees with you.
But whatever, it's not like it is their job to interpret the constitution.

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

pla (258480) | about 5 months ago | (#47542781)

Heck, even the Supreme Court [supremecourt.gov] disagrees with you. But whatever, it's not like it is their job to interpret the constitution.

Believe it or not, the USSC does not have that as part of their job description - The constitution just sets it up as essentially the highest appellate court in the land. Not until John Marshall's tenure, and particularly starting with Marbury v. Madison, did they claim the power to overrule Congress in "interpreting" the legality of a law.

That said, I generally don't agree with sumdumass, but on this one, he has it nailed. We can reinterpret the applicability of the constitution to the modern world, and if necessary, amend it; But the words themselves must of necessity retain their original meaning even as the common use of those words may change. Anything else leads to exactly what the GP described - crackers and chocolate, to some degree.

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 5 months ago | (#47543119)

You mean like the freewheeling misinterpretations of the Supreme Court for the last century?
Perhaps you would like a look... http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/G... [gpo.gov]
You would think they had no command of the language at all, no recollection of history, or any idea of the intent of the founders.
How's that for "just putting the head in"?

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 5 months ago | (#47542587)

i know right? hell im not even sure what the definition of "is" is anymore!

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

houghi (78078) | about 5 months ago | (#47541821)

People get back to a paper that was written a few hundred years ago, The Constitution, but unless you enfrce it, it is just that: a piece of paper.
Or for the more modern person:
The constituaton: use it or loose it.

Re:What's it going to take? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47541807)

The Constitution starts to become a little like the Bible: Once a pretty good idea, born out of its time and back then a great set of rules to live by to ensure that everyone can survive and thrive.

It's just that times change, stuff gets invented and certain things ain't as simple as they used to be, while others got way simpler. Plus in both cases people who kept reading the stuff over and over trying hard to find loopholes and, of course, finding them to subvert the original idea.

In other words, rules and regulations have to keep up with time. Else they become a relic and a tool for mocking them.

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 5 months ago | (#47542109)

The Constitution starts to become a little like the Bible: Once a pretty good idea, born out of its time and back then a great set of rules to live by to ensure that everyone can survive and thrive.

It's just that times change, stuff gets invented and certain things ain't as simple as they used to be, while others got way simpler. Plus in both cases people who kept reading the stuff over and over trying hard to find loopholes and, of course, finding them to subvert the original idea.

In other words, rules and regulations have to keep up with time. Else they become a relic and a tool for mocking them.

Except that the US Constitution is based on a set of basic and nearly-timeless principles of human nature and how they interact with and within governments that have proved themselves over history spanning from biblical times until the 1700s when it was written.

Human nature and the nature of government corruption and politicians' lust for ever-more power & control have not changed since the 1700s.

There is already a process included in the Constitution for any necessary modifications. That's what the Amendment process is. It's slow and difficult, and requires an overwhelming majority of people to approve for good reason. If it can be changed by whatever short-term political winds that blow, then it become useless as a standard and/or as protection against government oppression of citizens.

Strat

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 5 months ago | (#47542607)

except the problem is there are rules in place to keep it updated, its called amending the constitution. something people learn in 3rd grade. yet somewhere along the line the feds forgot 3rd grade civics

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 5 months ago | (#47543131)

No, bullshit, it's even worse than you think. Have a look. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/G... [gpo.gov]

Re: What's it going to take? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47543743)

Interesting notion, the wrongness of which is precisely many of the founders were against including the Bill of Rights. They were, correctly it seems, afraid that people would take that as an exhaustive list. You see this a lot, as in "the Constitution doesn't say you have a right to ". Too many believe that though, and that authoritarian misbelief that you need permission to do something or think something has poisoned this country.

There should be no "car exceptions", "airport exceptions" etc to the 4th Amendment because it says specifically what the government must do and how it must do it when searching for evidence of crimes. Laws permitting otherwise are unconstitutional, period. Same with spying on citizens, roadside checkpoints, fishing expeditions with cellphones, drug dogs, etc. All enacted wrong and/or decided wrong by people who have trained you to believe the Constitution is something it is not and denying what it really is.

The Constitution doesn't need replacing, it needs ENFORCING as the document it is--a limitation on the powers of government to interfere with the liberties of the people.

Re:What's it going to take? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541335)

There is no reason at all to be using these kinds of technologies to go after people like drug dealers.

Drug dealers have killed more people that all the terrorists combined.

I'm more concerned about federal prosecutors making up stories. I personally sat threw a trial watching it happen a couple years ago.

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 5 months ago | (#47542613)

citation or stfu

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 5 months ago | (#47543147)

McDonalds Cheesburgers have killed more people than all terrorists combined. Send the NSA undercover to the drive-throughs.

Re:What's it going to take? (3, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 5 months ago | (#47541479)

If there is evidence that somebody has smuggled a nuclear bomb into NYC, then by all means tap whatever you have to tap until the bomb is recovered.

You're perpetuating the myth that the NSA and others want us to believe -- that if only they could collect enough data from all of us, they could stop the bad guys. The problem is that the bad guys already know that someone may be listening, so when they smuggle in their nuclear bomb, they aren't going to call their contact and say "The nuclear bomb is in position, it's in Times Square and will detonate at 4am instead of 1am". Instead, they are going to post a message on Facebook that says "Aunt Nelly is on her way to Tacoma, she's running late and not arriving until the 4th instead of the 1st ".

Re:What's it going to take? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541681)

... they could collect enough data from all of us, they could stop the bad guys ...

One also needs to examine the corollary result: If the NSA doesn't know who the bad guys are, then surveilling random actors will not increase intelligence.

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 5 months ago | (#47543167)

You mean Baldwins and Sheens can't save the day?!

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 5 months ago | (#47543085)

Well, it isn't a myth so much as an untested hypothesis. If you posted on your facebook page "Aunt Nelly is on her way to Tacoma, she's running late and not arriving until the 4th instead of the 1st" and you don't have an Aunt Nelly who has some reason to be in Tacoma that would be suspicious.

My main beef with the technology is that it is getting applied to all kinds of things other than serious threats of mass-casualties, and that when there is a serious threat of terrorism/etc we don't give the terrorists a proper trial.

Perhaps we can capture terrorists without all this surveillance, and perhaps we should not bother to try. Whether the surveillance actually works is a bit hard to say without actually having access to the data.

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 5 months ago | (#47543373)

Well, it isn't a myth so much as an untested hypothesis. If you posted on your facebook page "Aunt Nelly is on her way to Tacoma, she's running late and not arriving until the 4th instead of the 1st" and you don't have an Aunt Nelly who has some reason to be in Tacoma that would be suspicious.

Ah, but what kind of actionable intelligence do you gain from the millions of "suspicious" posts that would be detected every day? "Ok boys, be on the lookout for something or something called Nelly on it's way to Tacoma on the 4th or 1st... oh, and here are a list of a million other things to watch out for today". This is why collecting and analyzing "everything" on everybody is the wrong thing to do [computerweekly.com] -- separating out the relevant data is nearly impossible when the data collection is not targeted. Even if you can build out perfect relationship graphs that map to real-world relationships for every Facebook user to let you know when he posts something out of the ordinary, thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of new users join and accounts go dormant every day, and there have been so many password hacks that it would be trivial to take over someone's valid, but little used account. And that's only for Facebook - instead of making a facebook post, the terrorist might post a picture of a clock at Times Square [kzarts.com] on Instagram (or one of millions of other blogs and other sites) to tip off his co-conspirators.

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 5 months ago | (#47543157)

When I was in grade school, a kid in New York researched and BUILT an atomic bomb sans uranium. All he got was a good grade in school, the bomb taken away, national attention and probably a pretty cushy job in a government funded lab somewhere.

Still searching instructables......

Re:What's it going to take? (0)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 5 months ago | (#47541799)

don't use advanced warrant-less surveillance technology for matters other than serious national security threats.

Don't use it at all.

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 5 months ago | (#47543067)

don't use advanced warrant-less surveillance technology for matters other than serious national security threats.

Don't use it at all.

The only problem with this is the asymmetry of modern warfare/terrorism/etc.

Suppose a terrorist manages to get their hands on a nuclear bomb, and you believe they intend to destroy a city.

Which is the lesser evil? Tapping lots of phones simply to capture the terrorist, or letting them blow up a city?

It certainly is a slippery slope. What if the target is a bus, or an individual, or corrupting a minor with drugs, or sleeping with somebody of the wrong gender?

However, I think that it is a legitimate debate.

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

strikethree (811449) | about 5 months ago | (#47543477)

It seems like there is a simple solution to this sort of problem: don't use advanced warrant-less surveillance technology for matters other than serious national security threats.

BINGO! We have a winner here folks. Chuck, tell our contestant what he has won...

A night in luxurious GITMO near to relaxing beaches and refreshing Caribbean air. Back to you strikethree...

I got nothing.

Splits are good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541223)

Having intelligence agencies doing internal policing is ALWAYS bad. Having internal law enforcement agencies trying to do international spying tends to turn out poorly too. I'm comforted that certain TLAs are unwilling to participate in law enforcement.

Re:What's it going to take? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541229)

Now, it looks like they're splitting up again, just like they did before 9/11. What's it going to take for them to realize this is a bad idea?

How did you get modded up? This is *good*, not bad. Unless you want a police state, police (including the FBI) have to obey the law. Which means they get warrants, etc.

They already get tips produced by illegal means. What else do you want? CIA + FBI + NSA + (related) = KGB. So unless you want KGB style police state, with much more advanced capabilities than the old Soviets, then you certain do not want FBI to have anything to do with CIA. They were separate for very good reasons. One tends to disregard the law.

Re:What's it going to take? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541399)

Now, it looks like they're splitting up again, just like they did before 9/11. What's it going to take for them to realize this is a bad idea?

A unified budget.

You bought the cover. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541457)

If you search for objective evidence the Gov't knew the 9/11 attack was going to happen, you might be surprised what you find. Try search terms like, stock puts 9/11, Israel warned US 9/11, actor James Woods 9/11, Israeli firm broke lease in world trade center 9/11, Bush and Bin-laden connection, FBI told stop investigating Bin-ladens before 9/11.

If you think the Gov't would never do such a thing to spur the population to war, search pearl harbor attack foreknowledge, gulf of tonkin incident, Israel attack USS Liberty.

What the leaders of the military industrial intelligence complex got out of 9/11 was their wet dream... 2 wars, the TSA and a ban on anonymous travel, warrant-less searches, every communication logged and searchable. So, perhaps they think why NOT another 9/11, and why not tee-up plausible deniability for the next round? One morning the world will be different in a very bad way, we will be bloodied and shocked, and the hawks will be waiting at the front of that parade again.

Re:You bought the cover. (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | about 5 months ago | (#47542467)

I think it was Nova that did a very interesting piece on the intelligence failures around 9/11 that made the most sense to me. The short story is that the CIA was actively investigating some of the hijackers and suspected they were on the verge of doing something. The CIA was very interested in actually getting the bust for whatever cock waiving reasons. So when the suspects entered the USA and the CIA should have brought the FBI on board instead they just decided to wait and hope that they didn't do something in the US. There was actually an FBI agent on the CIA team who was threatened with having his career wrecked if he notified his FBI superiors. So basically the nations worst terrorist attack was allowed to happen because some jack asses didn't want to share any credit with another agency on a career making bust.

Re:What's it going to take? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541493)

You forgot the part where they got to create a brand new govenment agency. And the patriot act. You think ATT is the only one to pull this stunt?

Re:What's it going to take? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541707)

The fact that they weren't working together was one of the factors that contributed to the 9/11 hijackers being able to pull off their plot.

How - exactly - is that a fact? No, I do not believe a missle hit the towers or that explosives were planted (not even in tower 7!!!!!!!)!!!

What goal does "working together" imply? Are we safer when they are "working together"? Do you feel safer when the DAs and police are "working together"?

This is the entire reason that the Department of Homeland Security was created, to bring all intelligence about threats to the United States under one body.

Is that even possible? How is it desirable? At the least you ought to agree that "domestic" crimes like drugs ought never have been folded into terrorism. Once you mix judicial law enforcement (try not to laugh) with international terror prevention, the game is up.

What's it going to take for them to realize this is a bad idea?

What is the bad idea? Homeland Security? Working together? Not working together? They all seem like crap sandwiches buy my preference is for no Homeland Department and no "working together".

Captcha: adultery (As in, "The local police should not learn of my adultery by 'working together' with the NSA!")

Re:What's it going to take? (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | about 5 months ago | (#47543975)

This is the entire reason that the Department of Homeland Security was created, to bring all intelligence about threats to the United States under one body.

That's not true... The DHS absorbed INS, USCIS, Customs, Border Patrol, Coast Guard, Secret Service, and probably some other notable stuff I'm too lazy to look up. If you need help spotting the theme, it's enforcement.

There may be more collaboration between members of the intelligence community, which DHS is a party to [dhs.gov] but that's not the reason DHS was created.

ame old ory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541159)

Until we get rid of the national ecurity defene that the government ue in court, thi kind of tuff will jut keep happening.

My Story (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541183)

Coming back from Kubal with a bunch of rag heads headed for GITMO, I spied a cute boy in the back of the jet. I took him behind a cargo pallet and plowed his ass until I unloaded about a gallon of jizz.

Nice boy and he knew all about it. The Putens have what they call "Party Boys". Females are "dirty" and only good to make babies. Sex is with cute boys. I LIKE IT!

I have an idea (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 5 months ago | (#47541227)

Lock them all up in prison and hand each a copy of the constitution to read over and over again for a few decades.

Re:I have an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541473)

They know the constitution by heart, but have you heard government officials and NSA representatives argue for their sake? Words doesn't mean the same to them as it does to us.
The constitution is a meaningless piece of paper as long as the words are open to interpretation.

Better than nothing? (3, Interesting)

mindcandy (1252124) | about 5 months ago | (#47541267)

So, can I claim this as a victory under the "enemy of my enemy" philosophy?

Of course what goes without mention here is that "high shelf" just means they have to go through the trouble of getting the trial itself declared a matter of national security, meaning they can classify the entire charade (pfft, speedy and public what?).

Re:Better than nothing? (1)

swb (14022) | about 5 months ago | (#47542859)

You'd like to think this means something good, like maybe the spy guys have some moral disdain for spying on citizens for law enforcement purposes but I think that's just wishful thinking.

My guess is that at best, this is about the spy guys not wanting to lose any advantage they have over high-value, careful adversaries who will walk away from a communication system if they think it could be compromised.

At worst, it's bureaucratic one-upmanship, with national security types wanting to keep their status over mere criminal law enforcement.

The downside is that it leads to parallel construction where law enforcement just uses the techniques anyway and then builds a legal case from evidence they wouldn't have been able to link together otherwise, burying the secret info along the way.

This may also encourage the spies to help law enforcement if they think their techniques may be used but otherwise obscured by the parallel case.

So why aren't they proposiing an Amendment? (4, Interesting)

Endymion (12816) | about 5 months ago | (#47541393)

A law enforcement agency invented or discovered a new technique, that can help them in their job? Great! It's good to hear that they are exercising their creatived talents and advancing their field. As long as the new methods are legal and constitutional, there is no problem. If, on the other hand, it croses the constitutional limits in small ways, that's understandable - time change, and if the proposal is reaonable, the constitution can change with it.

So the simple solution is to see if an Amendment can be passed to allow it. Worries about criminals finding out aren't relevant - you can' t use it in a court anyway. As for worries about the NSA or CIA flying in to classify it, well, it's a LOT harder to put that geenie back in the bottle once amendment debates start happening. Even in the worse case where this particular case is ruined from the public disclosure, the investment towards free use of a new category of tools in the future could easly be worth the setback.

Now, I'm sure a lot of you are thinking I'm being sarcastic (or delusional). It's not like such an amendment would ever have a chance at passing, right? Well... that's hard to say. I would probably be against it as initially proposed, but that's not relevant - by making the proposal, and opening up the topic for public discussion and public input, instead of working in secret, maybe we - the citizens - can negotiatiate with our neighbors and figure out a way to allow this new law-enforcement technique. How can we know how such a debate would go? Yes, it's a risk, but so is working in secret, hoping nobody finds out about some new technique.

Maybe it just needs some ground rules about when/where it can be used. Maybe we could allow it if it had some sort of oversight/watchdog group. Maybe we can invent some new type of social compromise; after all, it's a new technique - maybe it needs a new way of fitting into our legal system.

On the other hand, maybe...

...it only needs a warrant.

So why aren't they proposiing an Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541485)

A law enforcement agency invented or discovered a new technique, that can help them in their job? Great! It's good to hear that they are exercising their creatived talents and advancing their field. As long as the new methods are legal and constitutional, there is no problem. If, on the other hand, it croses the constitutional limits in small ways, that's understandable - time change, and if the proposal is reaonable, the constitution can change with it.

So the simple solution is to see if an Amendment can be passed to allow it. Worries about criminals finding out aren't relevant - you can' t use it in a court anyway. As for worries about the NSA or CIA flying in to classify it, well, it's a LOT harder to put that geenie back in the bottle once amendment debates start happening. Even in the worse case where this particular case is ruined from the public disclosure, the investment towards free use of a new category of tools in the future could easly be worth the setback.

Now, I'm sure a lot of you are thinking I'm being sarcastic (or delusional). It's not like such an amendment would ever have a chance at passing, right? Well... that's hard to say. I would probably be against it as initially proposed, but that's not relevant - by making the proposal, and opening up the topic for public discussion and public input, instead of working in secret, maybe we - the citizens - can negotiatiate with our neighbors and figure out a way to allow this new law-enforcement technique. How can we know how such a debate would go? Yes, it's a risk, but so is working in secret, hoping nobody finds out about some new technique.

Maybe it just needs some ground rules about when/where it can be used. Maybe we could allow it if it had some sort of oversight/watchdog group. Maybe we can invent some new type of social compromise; after all, it's a new technique - maybe it needs a new way of fitting into our legal system.

On the other hand, maybe...

...it only needs a warrant.

maybe I opened the wrong can of worms there; maybe not.
on one side:
this kind've demonstrates a lack of trust from the top-down, an almost mutinous lack of trust imb.
on the other side,
it explains the lack of amendment and all the secrecy.

The problem is that the constitution is written with words and the meaning of words is subjective.
Take the first amendment as an example, it doesn't specify is 'free' should be interpreted as not-wearing-pants-free or as I-didn't-have-to-pay-subscription-fee-first-month-free.
On that note, the constitution is open to change. That is what article five and all amendments are about.

i don't think the constitution was intended for lawyers and lawyer speak,
but that's my own subjective opinion.

So why aren't they proposiing an Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541487)

for instance,
the constitution wasn't written by wigs or for wigs or in wigs.
it was written like the declaration of independence,
to for and by the common man,
no matter how uncommon and dignified our venerable fathers were.

Re:So why aren't they proposiing an Amendment? (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 5 months ago | (#47541511)

Constitutional is not the topic. A normal warrant reveals the capability regardless. A trial revealing the evidence just the same.

They don't want the bad guys to know what to protect themslves against. They want to collect evidence that they have no intention of presenting at a trial.

The amendment you incoherently fail to express would be clarifying that only citizens are constitutionally protected. Problem solved. And secret warrants for the rest, because information travels faster these days. Or sealed for a number of years so the method has a shelf life.

You have no head for politics, as much as you prefer rhetoric to content you should be a shoe in.

A note: What is allowed changes as tech changes.anything sufficiently novel gets a pass until it is challenged. These methods are likely not unconstitutional yet. How many people have been imprisoned through means that were later found to be infringing?

Re:So why aren't they proposiing an Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541577)

I'm sure that's a classified figure.
top-down, again

Re:So why aren't they proposiing an Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541595)

anyways, this 'spying' - may or may not affect constitutionally protected rights.
GOD GIVEN RIGHTS
the fisa 'act', and that's what this all is - an act.
is a LAW not an amendment to our unalienable rights.

Re:So why aren't they proposiing an Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541629)

Problem solved.

so 1) you admit there's a problem
and 2) we have a potentional solution.

p.s. i have zero head for politics, you seem to be quite adept.

Re:So why aren't they proposiing an Amendment? (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 5 months ago | (#47541809)

There's no need for a constitutional amendment. The government has far too much power as it is, and if an amendment were to be made, it should be one that more explicitly limits the government's powers and closes the 'loopholes' that they like to use; I don't really think they're loopholes, but making things more clear for these crooks and the people fooled by them can't hurt.

Safety is simply not relevant. In the 'land of the free and the home of the brave,' safety is far less important than fundamental liberties.

Re:So why aren't they proposiing an Amendment? (2)

Endymion (12816) | about 5 months ago | (#47542027)

You may want to read that last line again...

I'm not actually advocating an amendment; I'm suggesting that if powers were *actually needed* (then the public would likely be willing to work with the intelligence and law-enforcement communities. The fact that it's so obviously NOT an "actual need", that these unamerican cowards don't even TRY the lawful route and instead jump straight to dissembling and obfuscation betrays their guilty mind [wikipedia.org] . A "proof-by-contradiction", more or less.

Secret evidence for secret trials (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541433)

Doesn't sound very constitutional to me. What have we become?

Re:Secret evidence for secret trials (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541525)

Neither the trials nor the evidence are secret.

Apparently what we have become is illiterate.

Re:Secret evidence for secret trials (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 months ago | (#47542059)

Re "Doesn't sound very constitutional to me. What have we become?"
In the past the GCHQ would do everything it could to stay out of court closed or open. No methods, no logs, no experts with no pasts to confirm documents as found, decrypted.
Any information gathered would have to be undergo parallel construction by other services or methods to remove any signal or decoding aspects.
The problem for the US is the very public talk of " all the phone records into a lockbox" to be reconstructed anytime over a persons life.
Within the US there is limited access to the top political policy setting. Other groups within the US domestic and more international law enforcement may not like a signals conversation with the public.
What the GCHQ only had to fend off every few decades in the UK with policy makers is now very public in the USA - total mastery of global telecommunications network with generational storage.
Slowly the other aspect is becoming more public too: "European Court Says CIA Ran Secret Jail in a Polish Forest" (July 24, 2014)
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters... [nytimes.com]
Its the age old use of signals intelligence - never tell the public and it is perfect. The problem for the USA is so many groups are now using signals intelligence that they all want the big wins in public and closed trials.
The problem is once signals intelligence gets out in court at a city, state, federal level - the magic stops. Every court connected member of the press, legal profession, law enforcement suddenly has a story to sell, tell or whisper.
Anybody who needs to know about crime and signals intelligence can then just buy the methods and drop out.
What did the UK learn early on? Dont give political leaders raw information about the Soviet Union - ever. Dont go to court over spies - ever. Dont go to court over leaks, whistleblowers or tell all books or for peace activists.
The UK knows the stories then just drop away from the front pages and drift off into academic books with very limited print runs.
The real unknown is the US cyber industrial complex with products to sell, rent and look after in every city and state if lobbied.
The West has become one big signals intelligence marketplace and laws need to be relaxed to enjoy new sales :)

If they have done nothing wrong ... (2)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 5 months ago | (#47541507)

then what have they got to hide ?

At least: that is what we are being told. So if that is good enough for us, why is it not good enough for them ?

I've really, really had enough (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | about 5 months ago | (#47541627)

These cocksmokers are worse than the criminals.

Re:I've really, really had enough (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 5 months ago | (#47542481)

So you are saying they are worse than themselves?

Clearly a job for the FSF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47541643)

Smart people just have to make better software and methodologies for spying on other people than the NSA and CIA can think up and put them in the public domain. The secret that they have etc. capability becomes meaningless when someone else independently comes up with that same capability and makes a how-to article available to the entire world. Then they can quit squabbling over who has the best toys and go back to taking classified photos of one another's sting operations.

Lots of "SS's". Did I Nazi what you did there? (1)

kosty (52388) | about 5 months ago | (#47542011)

"ssometimes strange, ssometimes strained."

Lots of 'SS" going on. Did I Nazi what you did there?

Beating aroud the bush (5, Insightful)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about 5 months ago | (#47542209)

This article sounds like it is beating around the bush, alluding to but never mentioning the discovery of "Parallel Construction". Its a policy whereby illegal evidence is snuck into court by using it to find other evidence and not informing the courts, defendants and sometimes not even prosecutors where the initial leads came from. An example would be there is a suspected drug runner, NSA intercepts are used to tap his phone & internet communications. They find what they believe is a date and time where the runner will be carrying some drugs in their car, they then have some officers make up an excuse to pull them over and search their car. They conveniently "forget" however to tell anyone outside the law enforcement/intelligence community that their initial lead was based on warrant-less searches. And apparently many have the gall to say that it is a "It's decades old, a bedrock concept.", something tells me that if government agencies have to keep it secret from the courts its almost certainly illegal.

What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47542671)

There is no need for so many of these agencies. They could quite easily be departments or sections of one bigger agency. Alas all the dick swinging that has established itself between the separate branches mean that they will never be merged.

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