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Reporter Phone Records Being Used to Find Leaks

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-so-confidential-informant dept.

971

jackbird writes "Brian Ross, Chief Investigative Correspondent for ABC news says a confidential source informed him that reporter's phone records are being used by the administration to track down leaks. Apparently reporters for the New York Times, ABC News, and the Washington Post are being scrutinized. The fact that ABC News journalists are even seriously wondering about whether the warning is connected to the NSA's domestic surveillance activities indicates just how anxious many people in Washington have become."

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971 comments

lives are at stake with leaks. (2, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337091)

If you're talking to government officials, and there are leaks that potentially endanger lives of agents, and collaterally other agents in the field, you're going to get more than a sideways look from the governmet, as well you should.

If you are a reporter, and you're exchanging calls with anyone on the "list" suspected of leaks why shouldn't the government take a peek. As reported in the article, there is no evidence the government is tapping or listening in to the calls, merely looking at who's talking to whom.

This smacks of journalists pompously elevating their self-importance to levels higher than they deserve. There are many examples of inappropriate treatment of journalists. This doesn't feel like one of them.

(shudder, I suspect I'm going to get hammered on this one)

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (3, Insightful)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337119)

This smacks of journalists pompously elevating their self-importance to levels higher than they deserve.

Most "leaks" are on purpose to manipulate the press into covering something the administration wants them to cover. It's pretty hypocritical for this same administration to then punish those members of the press who were doing their bidding.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (5, Insightful)

pcidevel (207951) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337128)

Yes, because punishing whistleblowers that uncover massive corruption in the government is good for all of us.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (0, Troll)

kalel666 (587116) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337343)

Divulging classified information is not "whistleblowing", no matter how you look at it. There are policies in place to report corruption or illegal activities in regards to classifired material. Leaking the info to reporters is not one of those procedures.

Honestly, people who who security clearance know better than this.

Whether or not a program is illegal or unconstittutional, leakers have to expect to take a hit. They are violating their oaths of secrecy.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (5, Insightful)

pcidevel (207951) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337424)

You are right, because the government will be completely trustworthy and will only abuse the power to tap reporter's phones when it's a matter of National Security. And we can use all those other cases where the government didn't lie to us as evidence of how trustworthy and wonderful they really and truly are.

Ohh hey, you have a bit of Kool Aid on your chin, might want to wash that off.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (0, Troll)

pcidevel (207951) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337374)

I bet the person that marked me as a troll just wishes Bill Clinton had this power, so that he could have stopped Linda Tripp from leaking private information about the sex lives of those in the White House..

Ohh wait.. it's only good when REPUBLICANS tap our phones..

For a second there I almost ran out of Kool Aid.. continue on..

Leaks have kept our government in check (1, Insightful)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337154)

If it wasn't for leaks, out government would have been capturd by corruption many more times than it has. Remember deepthroat? He helped get rid of the Nixon administration, which was responsible for one of the most embarrasing scandals of all time.

This is no different; leakers leak based on moral obligations to their people.

Apples and Oranges (1)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337249)

Remember deepthroat?

Yes I do remember. Watergate had nothing to do with classified information/national security. It was about election-year dirty tricks which embarrassed the administration so they tried to cover it up.

This case is about national security. Don't confuse the two.

Re:Apples and Oranges (2, Insightful)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337303)

a false sense of national security does not come before the law or the constitution

the government under bush is violating both

Re:Apples and Oranges (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337308)

And "DeepThroat" spoke up, not because of some feeling of patriotism. He spoke up for he same reason most of them did. He felt he was slighted and struck out.

(He felt that he should have become head of the FBI, when nixon named someone else, deepthroat was born...)

Re:Apples and Oranges (2, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337360)

This case is about national security.

Are you sure? I'm not.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (5, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337160)


So you'd rather that Watergate never happened because Deep Throat was thrown in jail?

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (2, Insightful)

Jamesday (794888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337232)

The Nixon Persidency would have preferred that result. It's fairly obvious that this administration considers the press to be their enemy and is willing to use harassment like this both as a weapon and to try to keep the lid on what has been done wrong.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (1)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337314)

So you'd rather that Watergate never happened because Deep Throat was thrown in jail?

No! I definitely believe leaks serve a purpose, and there's a certain quid pro quo around how leaks occur. Sometimes they come in cooperation with the government (e.g., get an idea into the public domain, run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes, without pulling the government into the limelight), sometimes they come out of true altruism (Watergate would be a good example).

I also think though there are times when a leak is out of whack with any motivations, and it's appropriate to scan the landscape and throttle it. I don't deign to outline what the rules should be, but I'm not surprised it's sometimes necessary to really find who's involved with a leak, especially if lives could be at stake.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (1)

Salty Moran (974208) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337439)

You "don't deign to outline what the rules should be", yet you know them well enough to make the statement you did at the start of this thread?

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (2, Insightful)

cplusplus (782679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337188)

This smacks of journalists pompously elevating their self-importance to levels higher than they deserve.
Journalists are incredibly important now a days. They are the last line of defence from a completely secret (and thus unaccountable to the public) government. I, for one, don't want a government that can do anything it wants without the people's consent or knowledge. Congress doesn't seem to be doing a good job of oversite lately, so about the only way the public is going to get to know what's going on is good investigative reporting.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337350)

Yep. Journalists are really important. The fearless reporters who investigate every dark corner of the government. The ones who ask the hard questions and make the politicians squirm. Yep, thank goodness for journalists.

Know any?

Wrong. (3, Insightful)

TheNoxx (412624) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337192)

Dead wrong. The reason we have journalistst and freedom of the press is because we can't trust the government. 99% of the time, the leak is someone who can't take whistleblower status but wants to tell the public about wrongdoing in the government. Should gool ol' dubya have been allowed to keep the leak about the secret CIA prisons from escaping? Absolutely not. But it's okay for him to out an active CIA agent, Mrs. Plame?

Read the fucking constitution and look up some judicial records before you open your big, dumb mouth please. The law is very specific about protecting journalistic sources, there is supposed to be no way around it.

Re:Wrong. (2, Insightful)

User0x45 (530857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337338)

Your statistic "99%" is baseless.

The word 'leak' is a poor choice to describe
this phenomena. These leaks are techniques
to do politics. These are conscious choices
to sway opinion and politics toward the goals
of the leaker.

There is also the noble libertarian overworked
underpaid (slashdot reader) government employee
who stands up and 'outs' nefarious government
actions.

Mostly this second type is found in movies. Most
leakers are trying to furthering their own goals,
objectives, and careers.

--User0x45

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (5, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337199)

Lives aren't at stake. The reporters aren't giving out troop movement and defence plans. They're reporting about things like highly illegal wire tapping and domestic surveilance. THis is a heavy handed attempt by the administration to scare whistle blowers out of telling the American people things they need to know. We have laws to protect these people for a reason, the US goverment is flaunting them.

Mod abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337346)

The parent post is most certainly NOT a troll.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337208)

As it is becoming more and more obvious that this administration leaked exactly such information, isn't it ironic that they are using phone records to find leakers? Do you think they will be the teensiest bit selective about what leakers they go after? Most leaks aren't about agents, but about government corruption. Another common type of leak is actually government propaganda, disguised as reporting.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (1)

3D-nut (687652) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337213)

It might be proper, if a crime were alleged to have been committed, for a prosecutor or law enforcement agency to subpoena phone records to try to find evidence. It would certainly not be proper or lawful for some servant of the executive branch to be getting phone records to find leakers. If that is in fact what is going on, it is yet another crime that Bush and company should be impeached for.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337221)

I'm not gonna hammer you, you make good points. I just have a question.

If the information that an agent has is so secret that his leaking it could endanger lives, why isn't he under surveilance already and his phones being traced as a security measure?

This being the case we would only need to corroborate the journalists phone records with the agents to get the investigation pointed in the right direction, then we can quit analyzing our civilian citizens.

While I understand that there is no proof that our phone conversations are recorded, there is a disturbing trend in the current administration being found conducting themselves a little outside of what they said they were. And in the case of trying to find leaks to the press, there is a possibility that these leaks and reporters could be stopped before they could report on our conversations being recorded if they actually were being recorded.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (1)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337397)

this:

While I understand that there is no proof that our phone conversations are recorded, there is a disturbing trend in the current administration being found conducting themselves a little outside of what they said they were.

I very much agree with. I find only small comfort is government disclaimers about what is actually being monitored. And, I don't know ultimately where that goes.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (1)

Poppler (822173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337243)

If you are a reporter, and you're exchanging calls with anyone on the "list" suspected of leaks why shouldn't the government take a peek.

Because the government will most likely abuse that power. What makes you think that the government will have enough restraint to refrain from monitoring reporters who are critical of them, under the guise of national security?

Leaks Save Lives (1, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337250)

The part of you that's shuddering is your conscience, which is doing its best to protect you.

The only way Americans have to get important info from our government that officials don't want to release because it reveals their wrongdoing (eg. negligence, crimes or both) is from leaks to the press. We've got entirely too little government disclosure to the press, and press publication.

Where's the evidence for these leaks endangering lives of agents, or any other real security problem, that overbalances the security gained from publishing stories of inside government problems? The best-known one is the Plame leak, by the Cheney, Rove, Libby crew, to attack an ambassador whose investigation showed Bush was lying in the State of the Union about fake Niger uranium going to Iraq. We need more disclosure of how those officials leaked their attack to the press, not less. If more Bush administration people who knew Bush was determined to go to war in Iraq, even at the expense of stopping the Qaeda and bin Laden (where is bin Laden?), leaked the truth to the press, we might not be down thousands of killed Americans, tens of thousands of gravely wounded Americans, and even more killed and wounded Iraqis. Or facing the prospect of many times that amount of deaths, if the Iraq catastrophe even stays at the current unacceptable scale of killing.

What can I say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337426)

freedom of the press is essential to the freedom of the people.

There's no excuse or explantion otherwise - yes, I'm dogmatic about the Constitution. When we start restricting people's righs - for whatever reason - we reatrict ALL of our rights!

In other words - mod PARENT UP!

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337257)

(shudder, I suspect I'm going to get hammered on this one)

Puzzle me this - the administration is so concerned about who is talking to who to uncover "leaking" that they have now obtained the phone records of everyone in America.

But when it comes to "leaking" the CIA agent operative (whose lives are really at stake) as a form of political retribution, there is no investigation, no accountability, no taking responsibility.

Let the hammering commence.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (5, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337270)

As reported in the article, there is no evidence the government is tapping or listening in to the calls, merely looking at who's talking to whom.

...and since it's a secret program with no apparent oversight, you can be damn certain that there never will be any evidence of the government tapping or listening to the calls, unless somebody were to leak that information.

The story used to be that we were conducting surveillance by using the FISA courts. Then, it came out that we were actually doing some surveillance without FISA warrants, but it was all overseas. Then, it came out that only one end of a conversation had to be overseas in order for them to perform surveillence without a FISA warrant. Then, it came out that well, we're actually monitoring the telephone traffic of several tens of millions of Americans, but we've got a dang good legal basis that can do fifteen loop-de-loops and a quadruple lutz, depending on what your definition of "is" is--but don't expect us to ever actually justify that in a court of law, because these programs are so very classified that the prosecutors can't be granted the clearance necessary to pursue the cases, sorry.

If you're still willing to give the administration the benefit of the doubt on this matter, I have one helluva deal on a bridge for ya.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337271)

Whether you agree or disagree with the overall actions of this administration, I'm sure you can agree that this sort of monitoring clearly has a chilling effect on freedom of the press. No matter how you look at it, any such chilling effects on the press are harmful to the spirit of democracy.

In my opinion, there can be no freedom where there is no transparency of government. That's not saying the military has to be, nor the specific details of ongoing investigations, but in the end, it is all supposed to eventually become public record, and for the most part, government actions are supposed to -immediately- be public record. A clandestine government agency hunting for leaks strikes of an intense desire to keep as much of the operation of the government hidden from the public as possible. This is completely contrary to the principles of democratic governance.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of journalists to use common sense in their reporting. If a leak seems like it would put someone's life at risk, it is the journalist's responsibility to not publish it, and the journalist's neck if he/she does. Monitoring journalists to catch and prevent any and all leaks borders on prior restraint, which is unconstitutional and wrong. If this is truly happening, the courts need to get involved.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (2, Interesting)

gaspar ilom (859751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337276)

The leakers are mostly pointing out *illegal acts* that are being carried out by our government. Don't we live in a democracy?

The sad fact is that the current adminiistration is often simply trying to hide their illegal/immoral acts by labeling them as "classified."

I would argue that these people who who say they are "defending" America -- have actually helped kill more Americans than the attacks on 9/11.

Think: disaster planning and relief, health care, and more generally: economic policies that affect any number of "quality of life" or even just "life" issues impacting a majority of Americans.

They have carried out many policies (in lieu of known, better alternatives) that had predictable results ahead of time; therefore, their negligence is willful and "deliberate," and not "accidental."

Who is the "we" that is constantly being pointed to as requiring freedom, security, and justice -- and who is actually getting it?

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (2, Insightful)

On Lawn (1073) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337286)

I was going to say, with hundrends of million telephone numbers up for sale for anyone to find information [blogspot.com] on, why here why now and why this program? But then I read this article, and of course its the media who's concerned projecting onto the populace. And then it all made sense.

There has been a media uproar that just didn't take hold on the populace when it was reported earlier this month that the government agencies were posing as citizens to gain the information. It isn't admissible to the court, but does give good leads and they can always get a warrant later. And it seems people didn't care.

Whether or not I'm comfortable with my phone conversation data being up for sale to the public or government, the uproar makes more sense now. It isn't about national security it is about protecting anonymous sources -- for the media. While I have some reaction to being jerked around by them I'll just continue to take a calm look at what is going on and decide for myself. Now more than ever.

Another Quick Post By CIA PsyOps, Mod parent down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337296)

nt

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337356)

If you're talking to government officials, and there are leaks that potentially endanger lives of agents, and collaterally other agents in the field, you're going to get more than a sideways look from the governmet, as well you should.

As opposed to merely reporting something which makes the administration look all the more like corrupt asses?

The current administration is trying to make sure that people who are whistleblowers against companies are protected, while at the same time making it illegal to point out they are doing things which are illegal and unconstitutional.

That whole 'rendering' program, for example. Domestic spying. Stuff like that.

They want the appearance of this being a law-an-order issue while wanting the freedom to violate laws at will without anyone telling on them. This is just about supressing dissenting views.
As reported in the article, there is no evidence the government is tapping or listening in to the calls, merely looking at who's talking to whom.

Using your security apparatus to chase after your allegedly free press. It goes to how much domestic spying they're supposed to be able to conduct without warrants. If they've collected this information without proper legal support (and not an opinion from Gonzales), then they are breaking the law in order to define how the information is presented.

Freedom is being replaced with national paranoia and thin justifications.

Re:lives are at stake with leaks. (5, Informative)

syphax (189065) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337371)

(shudder, I suspect I'm going to get hammered on this one)

I hope you do. Am I the only one that remembers Nixon's enemies list [wikipedia.org] ?

The primary issue with all of this news regarding government snooping is oversight. Don't give me this "we're at war," "why do you care if you aren't doing anything wrong" crap. We should have a goverment of checks and balances, which were designed to limit the (almost invariably corrupting) concentration of political power. What happens when the Administration alone gets to decide what constitutes what is "wrong?"

First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
-Martin Niemoller [wikiquote.org]

I feel like an alarmist raising the specter of the creep of Totalitarianism [wikipedia.org] in the U.S., but how else do you explain this? Don't feed me the war on terror talking points; consider:

"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."


The "I" here is Gustave Gilbert; the respondent is Hermann Goering. [snopes.com]
I realize that by Godwin's Law I've lost this argument already, but if Goering's comments from 60 years ago don't make your spine tingle, what does?

Good stuff! (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337093)


Send all these freedom-hating reporters who seek the so-called "truth" to Gitmo!

Re:Good stuff! (4, Funny)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337215)

Who needs the truth when you have truthiness!

Down with Old Men! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337095)

The world is controlled by old men: ayatollahs, mullahs and rabbis, pedophile priests, warlike presidents, and spooky controllers tottering along the corridors of power held up by their mental zimmer frames. If you want to get up the ladder there is always a committee of stuffy bankers or fundamentalists up ahead of you ready to make sure you'll not be offering any contradictory ideas. The world of old men is a curse upon us. It is so stale and violent and dogmatic; elitism and hate are old-fashioned.

Re:Down with Old Men! (2, Insightful)

apflwr3 (974301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337226)

Neat. Of course these "Old Men" you speak of were your age once, and you will be one of them one day, so, you know, there you go.

The most worrying part... (4, Insightful)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337100)

Without reading the article, it's not obvious at first glance which country the summary's referring to...

Re:The most worrying part... (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337157)

> Without reading the article, it's not obvious at first glance which country the summary's referring to...

In Soviet Russia, people listen to their government!

Re:The most worrying part... (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337312)

In facist US, people listen to their government- or they go to gitmo!

Haha.. (-1, Flamebait)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337102)

Looks like the commies are going to get owned.

Every time the New York Times or the Washington Post leaks about some secret program that is used in the war on terror, therefor invalidating it, I wonder to myself if they will take responsibility for the next terrorist attack.

Re:Haha.. (4, Informative)

crotherm (160925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337131)


You mean how Bush outed Plame and thus caused the undercover company that watched Iran's nukes to fold? That kind of leak?

Re:Haha.. (3, Insightful)

swngnmonk (210826) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337158)

I'm calling BS - name one story broken by any media organization that precipitated a terrorist attack.

Plain and simple, this is a way for the powers-that-be to clamp down on news that makes them look bad.

Re:Haha.. (5, Insightful)

Spytap (143526) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337167)

Looks like the commies are going to get owned.

Every time the New York Times or the Washington Post leaks about some secret program that is used in the war on terror, therefor invalidating it, I wonder to myself if they will take responsibility for the next terrorist attack.


God Forbid the terrorists be blamed for the attacks. Much better to use the fear of terrorism to fight against whatever political beliefs you disagree with, right?

Man, they've sure taught you well haven't they...

Re:Haha.. (5, Insightful)

flooey (695860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337175)

Looks like the commies are going to get owned.

Yeah, because media that's critical of the government is a cornerstone of communist regimes.

Re:Haha.. (2, Insightful)

Dis*abstraction (967890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337200)

Every time America angers the Middle East with its hypocrisy by torturing terror suspects or by denying them human rights at Gitmo, I wonder if the Bush administration will take responsibility for the next attack they provoked.

Re:Haha.. (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337284)

some secret program that is used in the war on terror

Oh shut up. It's not like all these phone taps are going to save anyone's life. You want my phone records? I called pizzahut and ordered a pizza. How many thousands of my tax dollars were spent so that the government could find out I like pepperoni?

Maybe if the government focused their money on a working border control policy rather than admitting that they have no fucking clue who the terrorists are (if there are any) in the country and are instead simply spying on everyone in hopes that they get lucky, then Bush might have kept his 51% approval rating.

Yawn.... (0)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337105)

Investigative techniques being used to investigate?
Why is this even a story, save for the fact that it's yet another leak?

I (heart) Big Brother! (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337129)

Those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear.

Of course, having an inside contact at the government is something to hide.

Hmmm, need to update that a little bit. "Those who have no criticism of the government have nothing to fear."

Re:I (heart) Big Brother! (2, Insightful)

Jamesday (794888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337280)

Having a contact inside the government isn't something to hide. This is a way to intimidate contacts and discourage entirely legal contact with the press. Perhaps you're forgetting that phone calls have innocent content most of the time and that most relationships have nothing at all wrong in their conduct?

I got $20 that says Fox News won't be checked. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337378)

Having a contact inside the government isn't something to hide.
You would think so, wouldn't you?

I mean, I'm sure that there are a lot of calls made to "reporters" at Fox News. But I'll bet $20 that we're not going to hear about any phone records of Fox News "reporters" being checked.

Makes you wonder, eh?
This is a way to intimidate contacts and discourage entirely legal contact with the press. Perhaps you're forgetting that phone calls have innocent content most of the time and that most relationships have nothing at all wrong in their conduct?
That's why I put in the "Those who have no criticism of the government have nothing to fear."

If you're "reporting" a "leak" that hurts Bush and Co's political opponents ... no problem.

If you're "reporting" a "leak" that says Bush and Co are doing good ... no problem.

If you're reporting a leak that says Bush and Co are doing something that may be illegal ... expect an investigation from the FBI, CIA, NSA and a speech from Bush saying that you're a traitor and hurting our troops and our security and helping the terrorists.

Re:I (heart) Big Brother! (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337422)

Haha! Thank you for my new sig.

Of course I will remove this sig if it offends any officials in the NSA, FBI, CIA, Executive, Judicial, or Legislative branches, the military, the police, local government, Freemasons, Royal Order of the Moose lodge, the school principle, or any other entity who may view this message via Carnivore, DCS-1000, Echelon, or any other eavesdropping program.

Great! (-1, Troll)

wclacy (870064) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337133)

About time they figure out who is leaking top secret information to the press! I hope they find the traitors and put them in jail for disclosing secret information that could put our troops in danger.

Re:Great! (2, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337190)


Every time a Marine babykiller is wasted in Iraq, Allah's cock goes just a little deeper up Jesus' ass.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337335)


+10000, Funny!

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337252)

I hope they find the traitors and put them in jail for disclosing secret information that could put our troops in danger.

Like, the fact that there's oil there, as well as people who aren't eating McDonalds or drinking Coke? Information like that tends to prove fatal to lots of our troops.

Re:Great! (1)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337261)

Any how exactly are top secret, illegal activities supposed to be exposed? Whistle blowers are the only way.

Re:Great! (1)

StillDocked (471133) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337302)

You are kidding, right? The NSA collecting call data (and maybe monitoring traffic) without a warrent is a violation of federal law. Seeing that this is domestic, how could it be putting our troops in danger?!?

Honestly, if you are worried about the troops and their safety, work to bring them home. The madman who was selected (not elected) has put more of them in harms way out of some sense of Dr. Evil-esque vision than any reporter asking the questions that need to be asked in a democracy.

Yeah! (0, Flamebait)

gaijin99 (143693) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337344)

You're talking about the leak from the White House that outed a covert CIA agent endangering both her, her contacts, and possibly her husband, right?

where's the al-queda connection? (4, Insightful)

ActionAL (260721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337138)

I thought the u.s. government was only supposed to be looking at calls to/from al-queda persons. At least that is what they keep repeating in defending their nsa spying on u.s. citizens fiasco. I guess it's just another lie.

Re:where's the al-queda connection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337288)

Leakers are terrorists! Why do you hate America?

Wrong drip. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337139)

"Brian Ross, Chief Investigative Correspondent for ABC news says a confidential source informed him that reporter's phone records are being used by the administration to track down leaks."

The administration would have better luck tapping the plumbers of America.

---
The "are you a script" word for today is victims.

Ah Ain't No Crook (5, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337147)

If the President were to wake up tomorrow morning and decide that Howard Dean needs to be monitored because the President believes Mr. Dean may be the recipient of leaked information, what is there to stop him from ordering the NSA to do just that, no questions asked? If the monitoring turned up all sorts of politically interesting information but no ties to terrorists, what stops the President from simply taking whatever information was gathered and using it for political gain?

Is there any oversight of this program whatsoever?

MOD PARENT UP (5, Insightful)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337207)

This is exactly the point of checks and balances... and it is something all the other posts about 'they should stop leaking programs that help us fight terrorists' are missing.

There is not reply to this other than 'we don't think the president would do this'

Well... "conservatives"... this wasn't the point of founding this country What about the next president, or the one after that... still trust them?

Re:MOD PARENT UP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337415)

You seemed to have missed the appropriate course of action that the leaker should have pursued. Informing congress was the thing to do, not the press; checks and balances were side-stepped by the egotistical journalist.

Re:Ah Ain't No Crook (4, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337258)

I'm sure GW Bush is an excellent person and can be trusted with anything at all. But to the 29% that think GW Bush is a great president I ask you: How are you so sure that the NEXT president is going to be as trustworthy as the current president?

Ah, OK, Now I see how you know the trustworthiness of the next president. I forgot about that. Diebold. LOL.

Re:Ah Ain't No Crook (5, Insightful)

the_demiurge (26115) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337267)

That's the scariest part of the whole thing. There is no oversight whatsoever unless Congress manages to do something personally.

The justice department attempted to investigate the NSA spying program, but they were denied a security clearance [msn.com] . With this sort of political climate, the public has to rely on leaks from people inside to even know what's going on.

Re:Ah Ain't No Crook (0, Troll)

Nimey (114278) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337292)

Of course there is. Fuckwad talks to his God all the time, y'know.

Re:Ah Ain't No Crook (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337347)

> If the President were to wake up tomorrow morning and decide that Howard Dean
> needs to be monitored because the President believes Mr. Dean may be the
> recipient of leaked information, what is there to stop him from ordering the NSA
> to do just that, no questions asked?

If the President can get away with starting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq then there's really no need for speculation or conspiracy theories about stuff like phone taps. They'll just do whatever they want, regardless of US law, internation law/conventions etc until they're voted out of office or impeached - not that the next lot are going to be remotely different.

All of the progress that's occurred (minimum wages, worker's rights, votes for women/blacks etc) has been pushed past the government/big business by the people - it's not like Government is this democratic institution that's doing what's best for the majority of people.

If you want to change things, don't piss about with shit like `who's ordering the NSA to bug phones` or whatever. Instead, work out in whose interests the phones are being tapped - the general population/freedom/democracy? Or the usual suspects?

Ignorance is Strength (5, Funny)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337150)

[searing sarcasm]
If leakers are allowed to reveal to reporters how incompetent, corrupt, and dishonest our leaders are, the terrorists have won.
[/searing sarcasm]

Re:Ignorance is Strength (1)

moochfish (822730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337295)

Last I checked, we didn't need leakers to know how incompetent our leader is. ;D

Sheesh! Has Orwell taught you nothing?? (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337420)

Remember kids:

War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength

Nothing to see Here.... move along (0, Troll)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337194)

From TFA:
Our reports on the CIA's secret prisons in Romania and Poland were known to have upset CIA officials. The CIA asked for an FBI investigation of leaks of classified information(my emphasis) following those reports.

People questioned by the FBI about leaks of intelligence information (my emphasis) say the CIA was also disturbed by ABC News reports that revealed the use of CIA predator missiles inside Pakistan.


Leaking classified information is a crime. Obviously, the FBI is going to investigate a (potentially criminal) leak of classified inforomation, because it is part of the FBI counter-intelligence and law enforcement missions to do so. It is standard police procedure in a criminal investigation to subpoena or to get a search warrant for telephone records. Nothing new or sensational to see here, move along.

Re:Nothing to see Here.... move along (5, Insightful)

steveargonman (183377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337291)

It is standard police procedure in a criminal investigation to subpoena or to get a search warrant for telephone records.

Exactly.. when you have a warrant or subpoena. Neither of which they have now.

Re:Nothing to see Here.... move along (5, Insightful)

moochfish (822730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337330)

It is standard police procedure in a criminal investigation to subpoena or to get a search warrant for telephone records. Nothing new or sensational to see here, move along.

Subpeona? Search warrant? Crime or no crime, this article makes no mention of those. Have you been reading the news lately?

Re:Nothing to see Here.... move along (0)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337353)

Do you know that they don't have a warrant? Are you somehow privy to classified investigations?

Re:Nothing to see Here.... move along (1)

moochfish (822730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337407)

Do you know that they have a warrant? Are you somehow privy to classified investigations?

Like I said. Have you not been reading the news lately? First there was the WARRANTLESS wiretapping. You think its is a COINCIDENCE that this news surfaces not even a week since the phone-record-dragnet news came out? Did you not read about 10 BILLION dollar lawsuit against the phone companies for violating customer privacy laws **without proper warrants**?

Standard Police procedure (5, Insightful)

Aexia (517457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337333)

It is standard police procedure in a criminal investigation to subpoena or to get a search warrant for telephone records.

Somehow, I doubt the administration bothered with technicalities like "warrants".

Wrong again. (1)

TheNoxx (412624) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337340)

Er, and when the CIA has been using our tax dollars to violate international treaties and laws, as with the secret torture prisons, what then?
Does any agency just get blanket permission to do whatever the fuck it wants by calling what it does classified information?

The CIA needs to be held to a greater degree of oversight, but it isn't. Leaks are important to keep them from going hog wild. Who gives a flying fuck if we know that they used some CIA bullshit "predator missiles" in pakistan? You know that's not the real reason why the FBI is investigating. The FBI is trying to scare any would-be whistleblowers from leaking information that could severely damage (further) the reputation of the agency and/or the administration.

Re:Wrong again. (1)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337403)

Oversight is the constitutional responsibility of Congress. They have intelligence committees for that purpose. If you don't think they are doing their job, vote and write your congressman. Just because somebody disagrees with a policy, does not give them the right to break the law by leaking classified info. Also, every agency has an Inspector General for internal investigations. Disclosure to Congress and IGs are protected activities under federal law. Leaking to reporters is not.

Indeed!??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337373)

Leaking classified information is a crime. Obviously, the FBI is going to investigate a (potentially criminal) leak of classified inforomation, because it is part of the FBI counter-intelligence and law enforcement missions to do so.

And the president has clearly decreed that leaking information about the government listening to domestic phone calls and trolling through telephone Call Detail Records is illegal. In other words, illegal search and seizure is A OK but, disclosing such activities is a crime against the state?

It is standard police procedure in a criminal investigation to subpoena or to get a search warrant for telephone records.

Since the NSA is not a police organization I suppose that you excuse their total disregard for warrants, subpoenas and constitutional due process?

Call me unAmerican. Call me a traitor. Call me whatever you like but, I am still unwilling to give up the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. I'm sorry that you are so eager.

Re:Nothing to see Here.... move along (1)

syphax (189065) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337406)


Subpoenas? Warrants? We don't need no stinking warrants!

Re:Nothing to see Here.... move along (1)

Silent sound (960334) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337419)

Leaking classified information is a crime.

Unless the White House does it, you mean?

What about Wii (0, Offtopic)

AndyG314 (760442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337203)

It seems like this artical is predicting a good run for Nintendo. Their console lacks all the problems that this artical is talking about, no HDTV, resonable pricetag (at least thats what we hear so far). Maby the Wii does have a chace...

"There is no crime in the Soviet Union" (5, Insightful)

hirschma (187820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337204)

That was the first line of the first college lecture I ever had. Although the absolute veracity of the statement is likely untrue, the blunt assertion was given to make one point: Give up your rights, have more "security".

The point is this: leaks, crime, terrorism, etc. are a REQUIRED side effect of freedom. Americans will never get that, and will be happy to toss liberty away in order to prevent nebulous bad things from happening.

The United States is truly starting to resemble the old Soviet Union in so many ways. The Soviets had official state media; we have totally co-opted media outlets. The Soviets had strong controls on copy machines; we have DRM'd/watermarked copy machines (and output devices). The Soviets had one party rule; we have outright one party rule right now, which stemmed from effective one-party rule of the past (seems that the Democratic-Republican party has split, and one side came out on top). The Soviets had no expectation of privacy... and soon, neither will we.

The big difference is that the Soviets used an iron fist, as opposed to the USA's velvet glove, to smother freedom. The net result is the same.

A shock? (2, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337224)

Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.

Come on. Brian Ross, big time investigative journalist for ABC News, didn't realize that this was an issue until now? Even before the revelations about the NSA it would have been prudent to avoid using the samephone to contact informants or have them contact you. Pay phones, throwaway cell phones, heck even courtesy phones in hotel lobbies -- I could see them using all sorts of phones to get in touch with people, so as not to leave a visible trail. After all, phone records are accessible legally by the cops, and they could certainly pull phone records for a reporter if they thought the reporter was involved in something nefarious, though I believe they require a warrant (IANAL).

And for those of you naive enough to believe that because all the NSA is getting is phone numbers, perhaps the phrase "reverse lookup" has not passed your ear recently, but nowadays you can even do it through Google. Privacy is tissue-paper compared to what it used to be. I suspect an unlisted number isn't even really unlisted anymore.

RTFA (2, Interesting)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337238)

"A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we (Brian Ross and Richard Esposito) call in an effort to root out confidential sources."

That should make a chill go up your spine! So much for the 1st Amendment.

This has NOTHING to do with protecting undercover agents as someone put it. If it was, then why isn't Robert Novak behind bars! Why hasn't Robert Novak's phone records been confiscated!! He was the one that outed Valerie Plame-Wislon. Oh and the Scooter Libbey case clearly shows the Bush Whitehouse passed along her information so she can be exposed to the public. Thus why are you pretending that this is anything more than trying to prevent the people from finding out about illegal spying activities of the Bush Administration.

Nice job comrade!

That didn't take long.... (1)

size1one (630807) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337251)

That didn't take long for intelligence gathered to "fight terrorists" be used for another purpose. "Its ok because im not a terrorist" has now become "Its ok because im not in the media."

We study history to prevent the same mistakes of the past

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Remember When . . . (2, Insightful)

Badgerman (19207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337253)

. . . we supposedly had no worries over calls being tracked inside the country? That it was only suspected terrorists. Apparently that was, no surprise, a lie.

Though leaking classified information is obviously somehting to be concerned about, this sounds more like someone's casting a wide net to try and catch a few fish. It's the kind of thing that's ripe for abuse, and smells like an unwarranted search and siezure (of data).

So, what will next week bring? All our phones are tapped? It seems every week or so things get worse . . .

Hmm, Johnny-come-lately (1)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337326)

wonder if they're reconsidering their uncritical coverage of the Bush agenda? maybe they're finally catching up to where most of us have been since 2 years before Bush was selected president the first time around, ie. that their agenda portends nothing good for the future of the American republic and human rights generally?

republican majority delenda est...

"America" is over. (0, Flamebait)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337363)

Get out while you can.

Get a court order (1)

chazzzzy (238911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337375)

If these taps are important for national security, then GET A COURT order for them! This is not an issue of the media being sour pusses.. this is a matter of the country self-destructing in the name of protecting ourselves from supposed terrorists.

What a surprise... (5, Insightful)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337393)

Boy, I never saw this one coming. The government using their phone number records to investigate things that aren't related to terrorists. I sure thought they were going to stick to protecting us from terrorists with this data.

I have no problem with the government obtaining a warrant to get this information. But that's not what they've done. What they've done is about as good as tapping phones. Anyone who sees it differently has WAY too much trust of the U.S. government.

And I know that they'll argue that these leaks somehow put us in danger of a terrorist attack. I mean, if the subject had been something as mundane as outting a CIA operative, then of course, they'd be sure to overlook it, particularly if the leak came out of the offices of the President and Vice President.

It amazes me that people aren't yelling and screaming about this and marching in front of the White House. People in this country have become too complacent and they're going to lose the freedoms that so many people have died to protect over the years. And when it comes to that, we'll have nobody to blame but ourselves.

We can blame Bush and his administration, but when it comes down to it, they're not to blame. Because we know what they're doing and we're not kicking their asses out on the street.

Nixon was an amateur (5, Insightful)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337410)

I mean, he only spied on ONE HOTEL ROOM.

How awfully nice to have the technology to spy on everyone in the country at once, and sufficiently rabid supporters to shout down anyone who questions the practice.

Control the information... control what we know. (1)

10100111001 (931992) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337412)

Who ever controls the present controls the past. - Orwell

If we don't know the past, it is like we were born yesterday. - Zinn

Who ever controls the past controls the future. - Orwell

The media never misses an opportunity to panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337437)

This seems like a non-story to me, timed to fan the flames of the NSA phone record debate.

If I was running some classified program and information was leaked to the press, you can bet I'd check my department's phone records to see if there were any calls placed to the reporters in question. Hell, if I was running a business and a competitor started turning up my trade secrets, the first place I'd look so espionage would be my phone bills and caller ID records to see if my guys had been in communication with them.

TFA only hints at the actual methodology (on purpose, no doubt, because readers will assume that it's part of some massive data-mining operation) but it's very likely that this was exactly what I just described: Government agencies looking for correlations in their own phone records between their employees and the journalists reporting the leaks.
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