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Eavesdropping Didn't Help Uncover Terrorist Plot

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the on-second-thought dept.

Privacy 290

crymeph0 writes "Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell asserted that the 'Protect America Act,' which frees the intelligence community from pesky things like judicial oversight while they eavesdrop on international conversations, was used to good effect in exposing the recently foiled terrorist plot to bomb US military facilities in Germany. Not so, according to other, anonymous, intelligence community officials. McConnell was forced to admit his errors in a phone call to Sen. Joe Lieberman. Turns out the military got wise to the bad guys months before the law was passed, simply due to alert military guards noticing odd behavior by some passers-by, a.k.a. good old fashioned police work."

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So what are you trying to say? (-1, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586193)

Is the hint that policemen (or worse, soldiers) should be on each street corner?

Would you rather have silent eavesdroppers or armed soldiers watching your every move?

Re:So what are you trying to say? (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586211)

Your user name is very appropriate.

Re:So what are you trying to say? (0)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586635)

As, I suppose, is yours.

Re:So what are you trying to say? (0)

Bozzio (183974) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586837)

Ba-doom PSHHH!

Re:So what are you trying to say? (4, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586245)

Would you rather have silent eavesdroppers or armed soldiers watching your every move?

I'd actually rather have them watching the bad guys' every move.

Re:So what are you trying to say? (0, Redundant)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586313)

I'd actually rather have them watching the bad guys' every move.

Tell me something. How would they be able to know who the "bad guys" were in the first place? How would they be able to decide that you or I am not worth monitoring because we don't pose a threat, but that Ahmed and Yasir and their connections are worth investigating?

Re:So what are you trying to say? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586399)

Tell me something. How would they be able to know who the "bad guys" were in the first place?

They have beards, goatees or moustaches. For examples see Roger Delgado as Dr Who's The Master, Ming the Merciless or Spock in the alternate universe. Continually stroking the beard is a dead giveaway.

How would they be able to decide that you or I am not worth monitoring because we don't pose a threat, but that Ahmed and Yasir and their connections are worth investigating?

Ahmed & Yasir aren't bad guys. ok, so they sold some bad meat one time... but their deli is the best value in town.

Re:So what are you trying to say? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586543)

They have beards, goatees or moustaches.

That's not true, though. They could just be fashion rejects from the late 90s.

It's called "behavioural profiling". (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586427)

Rather than watch everyone and keep adding names to the "people we don't think are terrorists today", they'd look for specific activities. "Follow the money."

In your scenario, what happens when the bad guy isn't doing anything bad during the time that he is being monitored?

We have over 300 million people here. The number of false positives in your plan would mean that we couldn't track any of the bad guys. We'd have spent all the money on following innocent people.

Re:It's called "behavioural profiling". (2, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586509)

So here's what you are suggesting.

1) That it is impossible to judge the menace of any particular person at any particular time because they may not give signs of their badness at the moment they are monitored
2) That bad people associate with bad people
3) That it is possible to decide who is bad by monitoring them and monitoring those who associate with them.

I hope you see the circular reasoning in step 3. Likewise, I hope you understand that bad people also interact with good people, especially with the knowledge spelled out in 1.

How can you behaviorally profile everyone without first monitoring everyone?

The answer is that you either make selections based on non-behavioral traits or you randomly pick someone to monitor until they do something bad (aha! a bad guy) or you give up any chance of catching them do something bad (bummer! probably a good guy).

Do you think that the random harassment of a few citizens is better than constant monitoring of all the citizens?

Re:So what are you trying to say? (5, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586795)

You don't know who the bad guys are when it comes to potential terrorists, any more than you know who is a wife-beater, a tax cheat, a rapist, or any other malfeasant character. When I walk down the street, how do I know the next person I meet isn't going to pull out a knife and stab me? Either you have to be paranoid, assume that everyone is guilty, then start exonerating/condemning people, or you have to assume everyone is decent, and start looking for overt signs that they are not. I say overt, because the 9/11 hijackers did a pretty good job blending in to their surroundings, and only certain aspects of their behavior (e.g. riding in a jumbo jet flight simulator and telling an instructor they only wanted to learn how to fly it, not land it) marked them as suspect. Whould surveillance have tipped anyone off? Sure... if anyone had actually known where they were.

Look, you have to pick your poison. I don't want to live in a police state. I don't like the idea that people I do not know and have no idea if I can trust are watching me, listening to me, judging me. I'm not the world's best person -- I do bad things. Does that make me a potential terrorist? No. But while someone in the government is busy wasting time watching me, the guy five cities away with a bomb-making factory in his garage is getting busy. The Oklahoma City Bombing should have taught us that ultimately it's futile to think you can see things like this coming. If someone is determined enough, fanatical enough, and smart enough, they will get past any kind of spying/surveillance you can think of.

Re:So what are you trying to say? (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586939)

the 9/11 hijackers did a pretty good job blending in to their surroundings, and only certain aspects of their behavior (e.g. riding in a jumbo jet flight simulator and telling an instructor they only wanted to learn how to fly it, not land it) marked them as suspect. Whould surveillance have tipped anyone off? Sure... if anyone had actually known where they were.

The guy that they convicted of abetting the 9/11 hijackers -- I forget his name. They wanted to spy on him, but it was mostly hunch, not enough for a warrant. If they had been able to eavesdrop, they very likely could have gotten enough of a heads-up to stop it.

Re:So what are you trying to say? (2, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587119)

Assuming he wasn't lying about being the 20th hijacker because he was feeding his own ego. I have never seen or read anything that indicates the Government had phone records indicating that the 9/11 group communicated with each other by phone on a regular basis. If they did, they might have done it through pay phones. Even if you know who the bad guys are, it doesn't mean you're going to learn anything by listening to them.

Re:So what are you trying to say? (3, Insightful)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586463)

No he is saying the the system as it stands actually works. It does not need draconian powers.

Re:So what are you trying to say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586501)

I'd take the armed soldiers, because than I would know for sure liberty is dead and what to do about it.

Re:So what are you trying to say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586533)

I'ld rather have policemen or armed soldiers standing on every street corner - at least then I know when I'm being watched.

Re:So what are you trying to say? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586565)

I'ld rather have policemen or armed soldiers standing on every street corner - at least then I know when I'm being watched.

Q: How do you know when a politician is lying?

A: His lips are moving.

Q: Under a system of constant monitoring, how do you know when you are being watched?

Re: silent eavesdroppers or armed soldiers... (4, Insightful)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586581)

Interesting that you would mention both. In totalitarian regimes, the silent eavesdroppers call the armed soldiers. And are free to act however they want to without fear of reprisals. AKA Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Maoist China, Iraq under Saddam, and a host of other dictators.


Which is why Benjamin Frankin's statement about those who value security over freedom end will end up having neither is so prescient.

Re:So what are you trying to say? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586829)

Would you rather have silent eavesdroppers or armed soldiers watching your every move?
As GodFearing(TM) people with nothing to hide, why shouldn't we have both?

Re:So what are you trying to say? (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586871)

Oh come on. They were going after military people and military installations. I would fully expect to be watched by armed soldiers if I was sneaking around a military base or military people. I'm sorry but the only time the military/police isn't a good thing is when individual members are doing bad things, or in happy fantasy land where everyone holds hands and sings in perfect unison without finding ten million reasons to want to kill eachother.

Even the larger fiascos boiled down to a few individuals making piss poor decisions, and others not having the integrity to stand up to it. Which by the way, they do teach in the military, you only have to follow legal orders, so its your own damned fault if your commander tells you to do something illegal and you do it.

Re:So what are you trying to say? (1)

pedramnavid (1069694) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587381)

I'm sorry but the only time the military/police isn't a good thing is when individual members are doing bad things, or in happy fantasy land where everyone holds hands and sings in perfect unison without finding ten million reasons to want to kill eachother.
Maybe you can easily find ten million reasons to want to kill each other, but I can't. I also can't see excessive military/police presence on the streets as a good thing. For one, it instills fears. Nevermind that laws are not necessarily good merely as a result of being law. Plenty of laws have been enacted now that some might argue are unnecessarily restrictive. Plenty of laws have been repealed that, at one time, might have been considered best to enforce, but no longer are. The last thing the world needs is increased police presence and militarism. It leads to a culture of fear and paranoia and hinders human development. You can see that already in the US. You can see it in China. You can see it in Iran. People will always fight it but that's a reactionary attitude. Why not prevent it in the first place?

Re:So what are you trying to say? (1)

fredrated (639554) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586905)

Would you rather have silent eavesdroppers or armed soldiers watching your every move?

And how exactly did you establish that these are the only two alternatives?

It is not the eavesdropper that I object to. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587317)

it is the fact that ALL of the info is legally required to be shared with the DOJ and the president. And yes, they do turn over ALL of it. Don't u remember when the PATRIOT act was passed? About 2 months after that a major drug group from South America was broken up. How exactly do you think that it occured? Likewise, about 6 months after it passed a number of dems were being watched. Exactly how do you think that Jefferson was known to be tracked and caught?.But how many pubs were tracked even though they had an obvious network of illegal behavior that bordered on being an illegal gang. Every last one of those bastards were caught because of other means. No, the PATRIOT act is about as evil as they come. It needs to be stopped. The president and all the presidents men need to go to prison; preferably, Levinworth.

Forced to admit his error? You mean his lie... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586195)

If you honestly believe that McConnell didn't know he was full of shit when he made that statement, I have several bridges to sell you.

Where'd you get the bridges? (1)

OSPolicy (1154923) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586301)

Where'd you get the bridges?

Re:Where'd you get the bridges? (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587569)

Thats on a need to know basis...

Re:Where'd you get the bridges? (0, Flamebait)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587627)

From Minnesota.

Re:Forced to admit his error? You mean his lie... (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586339)

Exactly. This is a case of open mouth, insert foot. McConnell was lying deliberately because TPTB want this law badly, and they'd like it to permanent, thank-you-very-much. McConnell lied in his statement towards that end, without knowing that public statements had already been made, according to TFA, by American and German intelligence working the case. Once he was told, "uhhh, sir, but they already said they used old-fashioned police work!" he had to back-pedal.

They'll say anything to try to garner the support of Congress and the American people to have unwarranted spying going on this country. Pay attention people, this is your Constitional rights that they are messing with here. Write your Congresscritter. Write the newspapers. E-mail Robin Meade. Do whatever it takes to let them know that you don't want your Constitutionally-protected rights taken away from you.

Re: your sig (0, Troll)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586671)

You know, I was right with you in what you said -- until I read your signature line. If you look at his voting record Ron Paul is about as much for liberty and democracy as Kennedy is on the left, or the Gingrich types on the right.

You want liberty and democracy, you have to find a moderate.

Re: your sig (0, Troll)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586777)

Well, you know what? Looking at the other candidates, I think Ron Paul is better than anyone else one the list, including Fred Thompson, Hillary, Obama, and Giuliani. Hillary is a power-hungry sociopath, Obama is too wet-behind-the-ears to win, Fred is a Washington insider who's been in and out of the intelligence community for decades, and Giuliani is a hard right-winger.

Paul at least never voted for the war and Iraq, has been vocal about pulling troops out of Iraq, has never voted for a Congressional pay raise, and has never voted to extend the power of the executive branch. He's the closest thing to a libertarian (small 'l') that I've seen running. No, I won't vote for the Libertarian candidate, because, well, the Libertarian Party and I have parted ways on wayyyyy too many issues.

Re: your sig (1)

azrider (918631) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587435)

Paul at least ... has never voted for a Congressional pay raise ...
Is this a deliberate mischaracterization?

Congress has to vote to stop a pay raise. If no vote is taken, the pay raise is AUTOMATIC

Re: your sig (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586861)

Does his signature really invalidate what he said?

Any better suggestions for people to vote for?

Re:Forced to admit his error? You mean his lie... (5, Insightful)

will_die (586523) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586791)

What lie??
According to the dictionary "A lie is a statement made by someone who believes or suspects it to be false, in the expectation that the hearers may believe it." This is not the progessive definition where a lie is saying something and then later it proves to be wrong.
Actually reading the full report, requires multiple source since the MSNBC does not contain it, shows he said it, he was then corrected, he then informed Congress and the press(since the comment was made in a public forum) that he had made a mistake and what the correct response should of been. All in a timly manner without any method of tring to hide it.

Re:Forced to admit his error? You mean his lie... (2)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586923)

Oh, come on. You're telling me that you believe that the Director of National Intelligence, who has been on record has vehemently defending the unwarranted wire taps, didn't know how a long-term intelligence operation conducted in Germany with the help of the German government went down?

I live in Florida. I've got acres and acres of swamp land down South of me that I'd like to sell you.

Re:Forced to admit his error? You mean his lie... (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586807)

Pay attention people, this is your Constitional rights that they are messing with here. Write your Congresscritter. Write the newspapers. E-mail Robin Meade. Do whatever it takes to let them know that you don't want your Constitutionally-protected rights taken away from you.

Judicial oversight of spying is not a "constitutional right." To the degree that the spying is for military intelligence rather than criminal prosecution, the ABSENCE of judicial oversight is a "constitutional right."

Re:Forced to admit his error? You mean his lie... (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587057)

Judicial oversight of spying is not a "constitutional right." To the degree that the spying is for military intelligence rather than criminal prosecution, the ABSENCE of judicial oversight is a "constitutional right."
These are United States Citizens they are spying on, not foreign nationals! Here's the text of the Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Show me where it draws the line between "criminal prosecution" and "military intelligence." You can't because it doesn't. Colonials had their homes searched British soldiers. The law is clearly intended to apply to military action as well as police action against all U.S. citizens.

Re:Forced to admit his error? You mean his lie... (1)

dkarma (985926) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586971)

I'd like to agree with you but you're going to vote for that massive bigot Ron Paul which basically puts you in the same boat as the rest of this administration and their lackeys.

Re:Forced to admit his error? You mean his lie... (2, Insightful)

JudeanPeople'sFront (729601) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587099)

Excerpt from "101 Things To Do 'Til The Revolution" [billstclair.com] :

Don't write to your congresscritter Put down that pen! Close that word processing program! Forget all that happy crap you learned in civics class about sharing your views with your "representative." You don't have a representative any more. You merely have someone who thinks he or she is your "leader," unfettered by either your opinions or the Constitution.

Marx was wrong: religion isn't the opiate of the masses, in modern America, the drug that keeps us numb, dumb and well-behaved is a belief that we can still make a difference by politely voicing our views to our would-be rulers and owners.

Other quotes from the book, here [freerepublic.com] .

Selling bridges == supporting terrorism (2, Funny)

eknagy (1056622) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586551)

I hope you realize that by selling bridges, you authorize buyers to destroy them (they can destroy their property, right)?
Therefore, offering bridges that you do not own is supporting terrorism.

Re:Forced to admit his error? You mean his lie... (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587177)

If you honestly believe that McConnell didn't know he was full of shit when he made that statement, I have several bridges to sell you.
Well, there's suspecting someone is full of shit and then there's seeing that person peel off their skin on live television to reveal the shit golem lurking inside. There's suspecting and then there's knowing.

Eavesdrop this!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586203)

I'm bored ....I need to talk to spark my life up.
call me!!!
(740) 354-2095
(740) 352-0322 (Private Celly)

Mention my myspace page, and I just might show you my (.) (.)!!!!

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=108370887 [myspace.com]

Oblig. Insightful. Ha Ha Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586207)

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

--Benjamin Franklin

Re:Oblig. Insightful. Ha Ha Ha (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586471)

Sure keep quoting shit from a guy that used to take "air baths". Sorry Ben but I don't think a stiff breeze will wash away the stench of French whores!!

Did anyone really believe him in the first place? (2, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586213)

I said "yeah, suuure" the first time I read his statement that eavesdropping foiled a terrorist plot. Did any news outlets actually regurgitate his message without checking out the facts? Are those same news outlets now conveying the truth?

Re:Did anyone really believe him in the first plac (3, Insightful)

click2005 (921437) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586517)

I doubt this will get much media coverage. Not just because of the government ties with media, but unfortunately "Security staff doing their job" doesn't get viewers as much as "New law catches terrorists does". People would rather believe a lie that makes them feel a tiny bit safer than the truth that all the security in the world will not end terrorism.

Re:Did anyone really believe him in the first plac (5, Funny)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587001)

"New law catches terrorists does"

In his old age, Yoda's grammar worse and worse has gotten.

Lessons Learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586215)

"Would you rather have silent eavesdroppers or armed soldiers watching your every move?"

No, I want neither. I want the government to be able to protect me without stepping all over my rights as a person. It's too easy for Government officials, police, etc to sidestep the controls we have NOW.

America did learn a lot from WWI/WWII, they already make the Gestapo and the SS look like bloody amateurs.

Re:Lessons Learned (1)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587153)

America did learn a lot from WWI/WWII, they already make the Gestapo and the SS look like bloody amateurs.
Is America a 'pro' because we haven't generally shot people in the head out in the streets, or because the people are becoming less and less likely when the group being rounded up isn't their special interest group?

Cue leftist nonsense (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586221)

And of course, this PROVES that we shouldn't eavesdrop on foreign calls. It didn't work one time, and suddenly it's this grand failure. I wish leftists would apply that standard to everything they support, instead of everything they're against.

Re:Cue leftist nonsense (2, Funny)

Runefox (905204) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586263)

You're right. In fact, this just proves it hasn't gone far enough. What we need is a police officer in every household, whose board and food is paid for by the residents, who are under constant supervision with cameras, hidden microphones, and bugs on every line. That should keep those pesky terrorists at bay, and after all, if you have nothing to hide, why are you worrying?

Re:Cue leftist nonsense (1)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586415)

"What we need is a police officer in every household, whose board and food is paid for by the residents, who are under constant supervision with cameras, hidden microphones, and bugs on every line."

It is banned by the third amendment to the US constitution:

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Since we are fighting a war in Afghanistan, war in Iraq, war on terror, and a domestic war on drugs, they have to pass a law first.

Re:Cue leftist nonsense (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586487)

Since we are fighting a war in Afghanistan, war in Iraq, war on terror, and a domestic war on some drugs, they have to pass a law first.
fixed.

Re:Cue leftist nonsense (1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586731)

What makes you think that it would be impossible to pass a law like that? Other unconstitutional laws have already been passed, including the one that underlies the subject we're talking about right now. I'm sure that at some point down the road, as things continue to erode, it will become something that people might want in order to "feel safer". All that's really needed (in America, anyway, if recent history serves) is some sort of scare story.

Which piece of lefist nonsense said (2, Informative)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587031)

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

WARNING: Trick question.

Re: Cue leftist nonsense (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586419)

"Leftists"? At one time the right stood for a smaller, less intrusive government. Funny how things change, isn't it?

John dean and other conservatives from the 60's (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587643)

Mr Dean worked for Nixon and was part of the watergate consperacy. He is a tried and true conservative. Yet, he believes that most of today's "republicans" have more in common with Nazi's than they do with republican ideals. Considering that even Nazi's could balance the budget, I would say that they have more in common with the Soviets. Even the gulag, the deficits, the invasions because of resources, the lies, the spying, etc. is much more soviet than Nazis.

Doesn't Matter. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586225)

The big headlines were that surveillance helped beat the terrorists. This will not make headlines.

Mission accomplished: Americans are more likely to believe that the Bill of Rights is helping the terrorists win.

Remember to do something about this (4, Informative)

OSPolicy (1154923) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586229)

This seems like as good a time as any to remind ourselves about EFF's http://stopthespying.org/ [stopthespying.org] web site. McConnell did not just lie to the press. He had to call Senator Lieberman to "clarify" his testimony because he lied to Congress. It hardly needs to be restated to this audience that we can tell when these guys are lying because their lips are moving, but it is worth remembering that there's something that we can and should be doing right now, which is backing up the EFF efforts.

Another deceptive political operative (4, Interesting)

denissmith (31123) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586239)

This government (and not just this administration) has gotten very good at gaming the news cycle to mislead the citizenry into supporting some pretty vile stuff. The frustrating thing is that none of the things we have been led to do (warrantless wiretapping, waterboarding and Guantanamo) have been the least bit effective at actually solving crimes, preventing terrorist attacks or bringing the a guilty to justice. Every expert knows this, anybody who reads the experts knows this and a large segment of the population, the majority of the GOP presidential candidates, as well as Congressmen of both parties and 10% of the Slashdot community, won't believe the truth. The most effective solutions to the problem were already in place before 9-11. The failures were HUMAN failures, we already knew all the parts, we didn't connect the dots. Keeping a man in sensory deprivation for a month will break a man - it won't connect the dots. Filtering the internet traffic for keywords makes more dots, but it doesn't connect any. Over the last 6 years we haven't made ourselves any safer - only more depraved.

Re:Another deceptive political operative (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586401)

I suspect the intention of these laws was NEVER actually to fight terrorism, but to restore presidential power that the Republicans were forced to concede during the Ford administration, in wake of the Nixon and Pentagon Papers revelations. I think this has been something Republicans in general, and neocons in particular, have wanted for a long time.

Re:Another deceptive political operative (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586881)

There's more to that. When you look at the development of domestic spying of governments on its people, you can trace a very sharp rise in the whole plot right after the riots in Paris. That's pretty much what it's about, governments (and people in power in general) are scared of its own people. Especially the have-nots who become more and more by the day, and are pushed more and more into ghetto areas. These riots (and others in other towns in Europe) have been a wakeup call that there are those that are the big losers of the current social and economic development, and that sooner or later they will explode violently. Especially since the gap between rich and poor grows, and the number of the people on the poor side is on the rise.

In the past century, we shipped poverty to some backwater country in Africa or Asia. If people wanna riot there, who cares? We got cheap coffee, tea, metal, and everyone was happy here. The problem is that we now have to pay the price. Because of course jobs there are cheaper as well. And more and more jobs are shipped there now too, reimporting poverty.

I don't want to say that we're on the verge of a revolution not unlike the one in France of 1789, but I have a gut feeling that this won't go on that way much longer.

And that's where the total surveillance comes in. It does keep unrest manageable. For reference, see the GDR and its Stasi. You could tell by 1960 that the GDR is only held afloat by the suppression of its people. It managed to survive another 30 years until even the last person didn't care anymore whether he was imprisoned for being against the government.

And once this point is reached, when nobody cares anymore whether he's going to jail, a government has lost. You can't sustain a country only by your military and police. In other words, the whole surveillance crap will tide you over for a few years, when people actually still fear being seen doing something "illegal".

And that's what it's all about.

Re:Another deceptive political operative (1)

dragonsomnolent (978815) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587519)

Especially when you think about this: Karl's vision has always been, in his own words, a "permanent Republican majority." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jackson-williams/karl-roves-permanent-re_b_60219.html [huffingtonpost.com] there is plenty more where that came from if you google it. It's downright scary, and something out of 1984 (when Winston is reading the book that was supposedly written by Goldstein about how Big Brother came to be). Maybe I'm just paranoid anymore.

Re:Another deceptive political operative (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586823)

The frustrating thing is that none of the things we have been led to do (warrantless wiretapping, waterboarding and Guantanamo) have been the least bit effective at actually solving crimes

This is the Bush administration we're talking about here, results are not relevant. The people implementing the things that didn't work got promoted! ROFL! I'm surprised 'ol Brownie didn't get promoted to replace Chertoff.

The right wing in this country is sick. Conservatives have abandoned their values.

Re:Another deceptive political operative (2)

techpawn (969834) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586839)

Whenever someone says things about waterboarding I'm reminded of a line from Reservoir Dogs:

If you fucking beat this prick long enough, he'll tell you he started the goddamn Chicago fire, now that don't necessarily make it fucking so!

So "If we don't fight them in Iraq... (1)

objekt (232270) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586241)

...we will have to fight them at home" is a lie too?

Or does Germany not count because it's not US soil?

Re:So "If we don't fight them in Iraq... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586379)

Having turned Iraq into a conflict zone does not magically suck all the terrorists there. At best the less committed, less capable thuggish types that are happy if they can shoot a bullet at a US soldier. Meanwhile, the more clever, capable type get to hone their skills with practical applications while staying out of the crossfire.

All we did is took a third party, Iraq, to our conflict with Al Qaeda and turned it into a bait trap. Which was pretty damn evil thing to do to Iraq.

Re:So "If we don't fight them in Iraq... (2, Informative)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586529)

Had you not invaded Iraq,and it is plan now that the rest of the world was right and there was no reason to, you would not be fighting terorists there now.

politics (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586251)

The developments were cited by Democratic critics on Capitol Hill as the latest example of the Bush administration's exaggerated claims--and contradictory statements--about ultrasecret surveillance activities

One guy who works for the intelligence agency stated something that was false (either being an idiot by too quick to want to state something or possible boldly lying about it)and 4 people from the intelligence agency corrected him. So by that standard the "Bush Administration" is more truthful on the order of 4 to 1.

I'm just waiting for folks at MoveOn.org to take out a full size political add in a major American newspaper, subsidized mostly by said newspaper, claiming that Bush himself told this guy to claim it was the "Protect America Act".

When will there be politicians worth voting for?

yOUR homegrown terrorists biggest threat to.... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586271)

all of us.

meanwhile, back at the debacle we lovingly call man'kind', yOUR fearful corepirate nazi, southern baptist 'leaders' continue to develop more&more cruel & unusual ways to create additional debt & disruption for most of US, while our fellow humans across the water continue to explode by yOUR $hand$.

infactdead corepirate nazis still WAY off track
(Score:-1, Offtopic)
by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 01, @09:35AM (#20433195)
it's only a matter of time/space/circumstance.

previous post:
mynuts won 'off t(r)opic'???
(Score:-1, Offtopic)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 30, @10:22AM (#20411119)
eye gas you could call this 'weather'?

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8004881114646406827 [google.com] [google.com]

be careful, the whack(off)job in the next compartment may be a high RANKing corepirate nazi official.

previous post:
whoreabull corepirate nazi felons planning trips
(Score: mynuts won, robbIE's 'secret' censorship score)
by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, @12:13PM (#20072457)
in orbit perhaps? we wouldn't want to be within 500 miles of the naykid furor at this power point.

better days ahead?

as in payper liesense hypenosys stock markup FraUD felons are on their way out? what a revolutionary concept.

from previous post: many demand corepirate nazi execrable stop abusing US

we the peepoles?

how is it allowed? just like corn passing through a bird's butt eye gas.

all they (the nazi execrable) want is... everything. at what cost to US?

for many of US, the only way out is up.

don't forget, for each of the creators' innocents harmed (in any way) there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/US as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile will not be available after the big flash occurs.

'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious life0cidal glowbull warmongering execrable.

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

Ok (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586283)

I am glad the plot was stopped. However why is it assumed that when I use someone else's network that my conversation is secure? If I hand someone a sheet of paper with stuff written on it what guarantee do I have that the person transporting it for me will not sneak a peek at what is written on the sheet of paper. Why is the phone company any different it is their network. Does it make it right that the phone network hands over control to the government not exactly. However if you are put in that position of telling the government no, and then 3000 people dieing because of your choice could you handle that? I know they should have to ask permission before listening to people's phone calls but I doubt we have the man power to listen to everyone. Also who passed this law because I thought the Democrats control congress.

Re:Ok (3, Insightful)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586349)

However why is it assumed that when I use someone else's network that my conversation is secure?

That question is irrelevant. The question should be, "However why is it assumed that when I use someone else's network that my conversation isn't monitored by the government without a warrent?". And the answer to that question is: the Constitution.

Re:Ok (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586439)

The Constitution says the government cant search my stuff with out a warrant. If I throw out the trash they can search my trash because I have discarded the trash. I am handing someone else my conversation (phone call) what they do with it is their choice. So under your thinking my IT department at work should not be able to read my e-mail or this post before it lets the network traffic be sent to /.? It is my works network, if my work then decides to hand that network traffic over to the federal government there is nothing I can do except find another job or another carrier.

Re:Ok (1)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586537)

So under your thinking my IT department at work should not be able to read my e-mail or this post before it lets the network traffic be sent to /.?

Your IT department can read it all they want, but the government (even if given the data by your IT department without being asked) would need a warrent to read it.

At least this is what decades of legal precedent have said. There have recently been moves to roll back that protection which is what many (including myself) are against.

Re:Ok (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586627)

So if my neighbor murders his wife and throws the gun in my pool. The cops can not use that gun as evidence because they did not have a warrant for it when I brought it to them? Unless the phone company has written in their contract that they will not share their network traffic with anyone I am given no assurance that they will not and they can do what they want with the traffic.

Re:Ok (2, Informative)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587549)

why is it assumed that when I use someone else's network that my conversation is secure? If I hand someone a sheet of paper with stuff written on it what guarantee do I have that the person transporting it for me will not sneak a peek at what is written on the sheet of paper.
FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! It's a federal crime to open someone else's mail, you gorram sheep!

When your government says "bend over", stop asking "how deep?"! Seriously, you're arguing AGAINST your own rights! What the hell is wrong with you?

Ah, the /. I've grown to love (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586285)

Given the reasoning here [slashdot.org] it is now safe to say that enough data has come out about the whole thing to be finally worth kdawson's time to put it up on the front page.

I like a lot of the science/tech stuff kdawson puts up but the finger in the politics/yro side is far too slanted for my taste. And I don't mean looking with a critical eye or even looking through colored-glasses. It's downright looking through a kaleidoscope.

Suggestion: we can filter editors in our preferences: can we gain functionality to filter out on a criteria of (editor & category) instead of just a blanket editor?

Basic justification for Patriot act is misreported (2, Insightful)

sco08y (615665) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586309)

"which frees the intelligence community from pesky things like judicial oversight while they eavesdrop on international conversations,"

The core of the Patriot act is not intelligence gathering but sharing. This was prompted because different agencies had information about 9/11 which, had they been able to share that information, they would have been far more likely to prevent the attack. There were situations where one person down the corridor from another couldn't share their notes.

Lacking hard evidence to go by, let's give privacy advocates the benefit of the doubt and say that in principle Patriot overreaches. The fact remains that the core of it is reform of our intelligence operations that was prompted by a very real attack and any reforms need to preserve the codification of that hard won lesson.

Re:Basic justification for Patriot act is misrepor (5, Insightful)

BVis (267028) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586587)

So if I understand you correctly, you're saying the USA PATRIOT act isn't all bad, that there are some babies in it that shouldn't be thrown out with the collective bathwater?

If that's the case, then I agree with you in principle. Information sharing in this case is most likely a good thing, provided that the information was gathered ethically and legally in the first place. Sadly, while the current gang of idiots is running things, that cannot be assured, and therefore IMHO the whole thing should be scrapped in favor of a new act that explicitly defines what kinds of information can be shared and how said information should be acquired.

What needs to be remembered here is that with every erosion of our civil rights, those who would seek to destroy our way of life through acts of terror realize a victory without ever 'firing a shot', so to speak. Privacy, while perhaps not explicitly laid out in the Constitution (and that's debatable under some interpretations of the Fourth Amendment) should be protected in the name of Americans who have fought, bled, and died to ensure our rights (not to mention the civilians caught in the crossfire, both domestically and abroad).

Re:Basic justification for Patriot act is misrepor (1)

crymeph0 (682581) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586967)

This particular issue isn't about the Patriot Act, it's the "Protect America" act. And it's not about intelligence sharing between agencies. Actually the U.S. military shared intelligence pretty well with German authorities, not even a domestic agency, in this case. This issue is about the government overreaching its constitutional limits in eavesdropping on private conversations.

I actually do agree with you that our agencies need to share more intelligence more efficiently. After all, if the CIA sees J.Q. Terrorist get on a plane in London headed for the U.S., shouldn't they inform the FBI of the potential threat he now poses inside their jurisdiction?

Is ti confirmed? (0, Flamebait)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586315)

The real question isn't whether he was forced to admit it, the real question is whether Fixed News has reported this If they didn't report it then it's simply the left-wing media trying to undermine our security by supporting the terrorists.

Re:Is ti confirmed? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586931)

There's left wing media? Where?

Re:Is ti confirmed? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587121)

According to Faux News there is. The New York Times, NBC and its offshoot MSNBC, they're all left-wing, America-hating, surrendering-is-the-only-option left-wing media.

I mean, an organization which has a tag line of "Fair and Balanced" can't be lying, can it?

Sources. (4, Funny)

Dausha (546002) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586319)

"McConnell was forced to admit his errors in a phone call to Sen. Joe Lieberman."

Thus say anonymous intelligence community sources who were eavesdropping on the phone conversation. It has been confirmed that eavesdropping doesn't work.

I remember when... (-1, Flamebait)

ej0c (320280) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586323)

Slashdot was better than liberal rags like Newsweek.

Re:I remember when... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586395)

trollin' trollin' trollin'!!!!

POS (0, Troll)

moseman (190361) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586335)

kdawson FUD FUD FUD FUD FUD - straight from the DNC.

I Assert My Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20586371)

...to odd behavior, anywhere, anytime. There is no reason to suspect me of anything.

Dammit, this is the slippery slope to fascism!

Next thing you know I'll be asked to show my papers when I behave oddly.

Police state, here we come. No one can safely act odd again.

In Soviet Russia the Odd ask for your papers!

Oh...and this is all Bush's fault.

Is there anyone in this administration (-1, Flamebait)

fredrated (639554) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586425)

that isn't just a lying whore?

Re:Is there anyone in this administration (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586831)

There is an old chemical observation usually attributed to the arab alchemists of the middle ages.

"Like dissolves in like".

Considering that their greatest friend and ally was known as Tony Bliar waddaya expect?

Re:Is there anyone in this administration (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586943)

I don't think the Bush family dog lies about where he shit on the lawn. But I could be wrong.

Re:Is there anyone in this administration (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586979)

But of course! C'mon, if you look close enough you'll see, some are stealing too!

Told You So (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586459)

I told you [slashdot.org] so:

Those German wiretaps didn't need to go around the FISA law that protected us from them without warrants. They didn't need the FISA law weakened last month by Congress the way Bush wanted. McConnel is lying [rawstory.com] , and the NY Times knows it, though it didn't report that.

Now I want to know why, though the NY Times knew McConnell was lying, it didn't report that in that important original story.

And what will Lieberman, the Republican pretending to be a Democrat, do to a lying spook like McConnell? There's got to be a punishment for being a bad liar, even if we expect spooks like McConnell to lie. We expect them to do it competently. This clown is just another Bush chump who can't even lie straight.

So let me get this straight.. (1, Insightful)

scubamage (727538) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586467)

You mean the government lied to the American people to garner support for its policy!? NO WAY!!!! OMG LRN2CANADA!

ah man (0)

AbbyNormal (216235) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586503)

" a.k.a. good old fashioned police work."

When I read that I heard in the voice of Chief Wiggum: "That's some good work, Lou!"

Re:ah man (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586689)

aw, chief...

The German response (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586549)

In Germany, Schäuble and his accompanying professional paranoiacs saw this as the clear reason that implementing the total surveillance system he has in mind for the net is the key to foiling terrorist plots.

One reporter dared to be so indiscreet to ask the question whether the fact that that attack was avoided isn't proof that the current ways of dealing with the threat are adequate.

And there was silence. Next question please?

It's funny that this avoided terrorist attack proves both, that the (questionable) systems implemented are good for us, and that the (questionable) systems they want to implement are critical because current systems are just not enough. Now, which one is it?

You know how I know a politician is lying? (2, Informative)

killmenow (184444) | more than 7 years ago | (#20586765)

His mouth is moving...

No, really. This is why there is ZERO point listening to what these people say about anything. When they talk, I just think:

Get out of here! Go on! I don't believe it. You don't say! Really?! Get out of here! Go on. I don't believe it. You don't say? Get out of here! I told you that bitch crazy!!!

Appropriate Tags For This Summary: (-1, Flamebait)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587537)

letsblamebush
screamingbushrage
theimpotentrageoftheleft(makesmelaugh)
howsthatimpeachmentcomingalonghahaha
cantblameroveanymore
slashkos

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