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NID Admits ATT/Verizon Help With Wiretaps 299

Posted by samzenpus
from the they-can-hear-you-now dept.
Unlikely_Hero writes "National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell has confirmed in an interview with the El Paso Times that AT&T and Verizon have both been helping the Bush Administration conduct wiretaps. He also claims that only 100 Americans are under surveilance, that it takes 200 hours to assemble a FISA warrant on a telephone number and suggests that companies like AT&T and Verizon that "cooperate" with the Administration should be granted immunity from the lawsuits they currently face regarding the issue."
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NID Admits ATT/Verizon Help With Wiretaps

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  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @07:06AM (#20328549)
    We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company.
  • Unless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chuckymonkey (1059244) <charles.d.burton ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday August 23, 2007 @07:09AM (#20328561) Journal
    The President grants executive powers to do what he wants. Seriously though, it shouldn't even really be one U.S. citizen that they do this with. When does the fear mongering to get broad reaching government powers end? I'm so damned tired of it, and this country has slid so far downhill in the last 5 or so years due to it. Just about every other nation looks at the U.S. in a bad light these days because we're prudish, invasive, annoying, and hipocritical. I'm getting to the point where I want to purge the entire administration from the lowest congressman all the way up and start over. Take out the special interest groups, no corporate sponsorships for campaigns, and get rid of the all the harpy lobbyists. I'm just so sick of it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by QuantumG (50515)

      purge the entire administration
      Like Stalin did?

      I think I hear the Secret Service calling you...

    • Re:Unless (Score:4, Funny)

      by monk.e.boy (1077985) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @07:19AM (#20328647) Homepage

      Hey, fed up with [windows|USA] why not try [Linux|UK]?

      ...and I bet this is never nodded funny by the Americans ;-P

      • by sconeu (64226)
        You mean the place where they have cameras on every corner, throw you in jail for anti social behavior (google for ASBO), and can throw you in jail if you forget your encryption keys?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by anti-human 1 (911677)

      I'm so damned tired of it, and this country has slid so far downhill in the last 60 or so years due to it.
      Fixed. Remember the Red Scare? Shit, Prohibition? How far back should we go? Hell, we were probably fearmongored into breaking away from the British Empire.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm just so sick of it.
      And I'm going to sit here on my ass and whine to Slashdot until things improve!
    • Re:Unless (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MMC Monster (602931) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @07:35AM (#20328735)

      The President grants executive powers to do what he wants. Seriously though, it shouldn't even really be one U.S. citizen that they do this with. When does the fear mongering to get broad reaching government powers end? I'm so damned tired of it, and this country has slid so far downhill in the last 5 or so years due to it. Just about every other nation looks at the U.S. in a bad light these days because we're prudish, invasive, annoying, and hipocritical. I'm getting to the point where I want to purge the entire administration from the lowest congressman all the way up and start over. Take out the special interest groups, no corporate sponsorships for campaigns, and get rid of the all the harpy lobbyists. I'm just so sick of it.
      It's not that the government shouldn't wiretap their own population. Of course, they should be able to. The FISA courts are secret so that they can get warrants to do this sort of thing. It's when the government doesn't bother getting the warrants that things get illegal.

      No company should surrender private communications to the government without a warrant. And if they do, the public can sued them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2007 @07:10AM (#20328571)
    Several sys admins I know tell me that they routinely get phone calls from folks in the law enforcement community asking for copies of emails and other surveillance. When they ask for a warrant or a national security letter, they never hear back again. How cooperative are we supposed to be? I realize that 200 hours is a lot of work, but how else can we stop freelance investigations and abuse?
    • by Saint Aardvark (159009) * on Thursday August 23, 2007 @08:09AM (#20329057) Homepage Journal

      I'm stealing this from training I went to at LISA [sage.org] last year: you tell the LEO (law enforcement officer) politely, but firmly, that as company policy you're happy to help, but all such requests must be directed to the legal department.

      The legal dep't will look at it and decide what to do, and then you do it. They know their job, you know yours; they don't make decisions about storage capacity or OS support, and you and I don't make decisions about constitutionality or legality. And if/when you've got the information they're looking for, you pass it back to the lawyers and they hand it over to the LEO.

      This covers your ass, your company's ass, and the LEO's ass (assuming you or your friends aren't being socially engineered). Any LEO should be happy to talk to the lawyers.

      Now, all that said...I realize that this leaves out questions of conscience. If Mark Klein [wired.com] hadn't had spilled the beans, we'd have been a lot longer finding out about this problem. But as a rule, I think those situations are rare; most law enforcement stuff is <handwave>your garden variety stuff -- robbery, fraud, yadda yadda</handwave> (sorry, no citation to back that up) -- and the odds of being involved in something truly offensive is pretty slim. I hope it stays that way.

  • Due Process.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lionchild (581331) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @07:11AM (#20328579) Journal
    There's a reason it takes over 200 hours to assemble what you need to get a wiretap warrant. Due proccess is meant to insure that honest people have privacy preserved, and that the resources we have are being focused on those who really are potentially criminial.

    Is it perfect? No, probably not. But it's what we have setup now and short-cutting due process isn't the answer to finding a better way.
    • Re:Due Process.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by downix (84795) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @07:20AM (#20328659) Homepage
      Indeed. Due process is a concept often forgotten in this day and age, but it was one of the foundations that the United States were founded on. Do things right, or don't do them at all I say.
    • short-cutting due process isn't the answer to finding a better way.

      When did we the people give permission to a company (ANY company), the right to spy on us? IANAL but my god everything I do know about law treats a corporate entity as a person when it comes to political speech, etc... How can one person legally spy on another? Short answer: They CAN'T!!

      This is NOT about due process at all, this is about constitutionally protected RIGHTS! Where is the outrage? How can we be sitting here on /. eve
  • 200 hours? I bet he's just simply lieing or uses some bullshit metric.
    • He probably means 200 man-hours, like 20 people working 10 hours. BFD!
    • Re:My guess.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AtariDatacenter (31657) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @09:11AM (#20329877)
      Despite your typos, I'd mod you up if I had the points. I didn't see them specifiy if it was wall clock hours or man hours. (I suppose you could further argue that they don't specify if any part of the man-hours are counted again for a different warrant, or if these were dedicated and discrete man hours to this. Much less how far down into the indirect support roles are included.)

      So 200 hours could mean that someone entered something onto a screen in a computer system in five minutes and it was done. But they go back and count the time it takes to maintain the system, the techs to actually do the work, the approval process with multiple people, etc etc.

      Or it could mean that from the time the process started, it takes 8 days for the wiretap to be in place.

      Either way, I think this is a number used to create an impression rather than to convey any meaningful information.
  • Um, wha? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by downix (84795) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @07:18AM (#20328641) Homepage
    200 hours to get a FISA warrant? No, the FISA system is pretty well documented. If you come to the judge with the right level of evidence, it takes a matter of a pen stroke.

    They might be claiming it takes 200 hours to get that level of evidence but that is very misleading. It took less than 14 hours for the FBI investigators persuing Zacarias Moussaoui to apply for his FISA warrant.
    • Re:Um, wha? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by OpenGLFan (56206) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @07:36AM (#20328745) Homepage
      Agreed. They're not doing 200 hours (or even 200 man-hours) of paperwork -- it shouldn't take a Master's Thesis to get a FISA warrant.

      In fact, the admission that they have to spend an additional 200 hours gathering evidence is a clear admission of wrongdoing on their part. Our Constitution provides security against arbitrary searches and seizures; if it takes 200 additional hours to gather enough evidence to form a mere suspicion of wrongdoing, then the initial justification for the wiretap must be fairly flimsy.

      • by moxley (895517)
        I agree. The 200 hours is probably how long it takes to distort/twist or even fabricate (as this administration has been caught doing before) the evidence, (or torture it out of someone).

        In fact, to me this whole interview/release of information was done as damage control; it reeks of it. I think the entire purpose of the interview was to get that one line out there, about how it's "less than 100 people" - but since we know that they are recording and data mining ALL communications, I think that is bullshit
  • by Sunburnt (890890) * on Thursday August 23, 2007 @07:20AM (#20328657)

    Even as he shed new light on the classified operations, McConnell asserted that the current debate in Congress about whether to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act will cost American lives because of all the information it revealed to terrorists.

    "Part of this is a classified world. The fact that we're doing it this way means that some Americans are going to die," he said.

    This is ridiculous. It seems reasonable that shadowy international criminal figures assume that their conversations are being monitored. Presumably they know that they're targets of one of the world's most technologically advanced intelligence agencies. That's not even counting the fact that most recent incidents of terrorism [wikipedia.org] have been homegrown, and as likely to be about abortion [cnn.com] or good ol' anti-government paranoia [wkrn.com] as they are about U.S. support for Israel. [cnn.com] If it's taking you 200 hours to get a warrant, Mike, then perhaps the government could find some wasted money [wikipedia.org] that might be better spent fixing our overburdened legal system.

    Every time the courts point out that the Constitution might have some bearing on this administration's actions, the "dead Americans" flag gets waved. Nothing new here.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Richthofen80 (412488)
      This is ridiculous. It seems reasonable that shadowy international criminal figures assume that their conversations are being monitored.

      Wait, so because potential terrorists know their conversations are monitored, we shouldn't bother monitoring them? that's a pretty weak argument. Yes, terrorists and their funders/enablers etc code their conversations [counterterrorismblog.org], but the codes can be cracked. Conspirators and criminals still need to communicate, and it would hurt, not help, an investigation to not monitor them.

      During
      • by Sunburnt (890890) *

        Wait, so because potential terrorists know their conversations are monitored, we shouldn't bother monitoring them? that's a pretty weak argument.

        That's not my argument at all, so I don't see why it's relevant.

        Where, exactly, did I say that we should not be monitoring potential terrorists? There is already a mechanism for doing so (that doesn't fall afoul of the Constitution). We should be using that, and if it's taking Mike McConnell's people too long to do their jobs, then maybe it's time for competent

    • Members of the FISA think Bush has done more harm than good [cbsnews.com].

      Federal Judge Resigns From Spy Court, Three More 'Deeply Upset' ... The Bush administration's decision to sometimes bypass the secretive U.S. court that governs terrorism wiretaps could threaten cases against terror suspects that rely on evidence uncovered during the disputed eavesdropping ... unprecedented resignation from the government's spy court by U.S. District Judge James Robertson as an indicator of the judiciary's unease over domestic wi

  • ...if I was in his position (National Intelligence Director). Unfortunately, if they promise one thing and then do the opposite, telecos are going to be sued. That's pretty obvious, I should think.

  • You can trust us.
  • He also ... suggests that companies like AT&T and Verizon that "cooperate" with the Administration should be granted immunity from the lawsuits they currently face regarding the issue.

    Yes, of course. Putting big business above the law is a tried and tested way to ensure their continued complian^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hgood behaviour and respect for the law.

    (My current sig feels particularly appropriate today.)

  • by E++99 (880734)
    FTA:

    But when the ruling had to be renewed in the spring, another judge saw the operations differently. This judge, who McConnell did not identify, decided that the government needed a warrant to monitor a conversation between foreigners when the signal traveled on a wire in the U.S. communications network.

    This is insane. Besides the fact that no sane individual would come to that conclusion, no one but the legislature has the legitimate power to make that decision. The administration has sworn a duty to d

    • by jfengel (409917)
      I'm not so sure it's insane. The way we guarantee that the NSA isn't spying on us (as opposed to the FBI, who is allowed to spy on us) is by saying, "You don't tap wires anywhere within the US, period." If you start letting them tap wires within the US and they wink and say, "It's OK, we know that there are only foreigners on the line" it's a lot harder to verify that the NSA is following the rules.

      The concern isn't really about whether or not they're allowed to spy on foreigners. We're all pretty happy
  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @07:46AM (#20328819)
    Any Bush supporters out there? Ok, asking for a Bush supporter on Slashdot is probably like walking into a Microsoft board meeting and asking how many people run Linux. ;-)

    Still, every time this subject comes up, I ask the same series of question and I have yet to get a reply from any Bush supporters (even when there are Bush supporters replying to the topic). The question is: Would you like the next administration to have unsupervised warrant-less wiretapping capabilities? What if the administration was run by Hillary Clinton? Would you trust her to use it properly and not abuse it.

    Even if you ignore any current abuses of the system (as I'm sure Bush supporters do) and assume that Bush just has our best interests at heart, you can't say the same about the next administration. Or the one after that. To give any branch of government unchecked power is extremely dangerous. It's not a matter of *will* it be abused, but *when will* it be abused. That's why the Constitution set up 3 houses of power (Congress, President, Courts) and gave them the ability to check each other's power. (e.g. Congress can make a law, President can veto it, Congress can override the veto, Courts can strike it down, Congress can pass it as a Constitutional Amendment.) Unsupervised warrant-less wiretapping is unconstitutional and the only way it's being pushed forward is through major FUD. (Americans *WILL DIE* if you don't let us do whatever we want to do!!!!)
    • Bingo. I don't like what Bush has done -- but I would not trust anyone, including myself, with that kind of power. I've got my political heroes, but I'd be just as nervous about giving them this ability.

    • Only WITH the FISA, they'll get to die of torture/self-inflicted starvation while wearing an orange jumpsuit in Club Gitmo while under "suspicion of terrorism". It's much nicer. I mean, who the hell woudl think that the FOreign Intelligence Suveillance act would need to stay restricted to surveillance of FOREIGN nationals? By the way, War is Peace and we have always been at war with Oceania....
    • by workindev (607574)

      The question is: Would you like the next administration to have unsupervised warrant-less wiretapping capabilities? What if the administration was run by Hillary Clinton? Would you trust her to use it properly and not abuse it.

      Absolutely. While I may fundamentally disagree with Hillary Clinton (along with most of the other Democratic contenders), I do believe that she had good intentions and wants the best for the country. I don't think she would abuse it, just as I don't think that the Bush administrati

    • by hacker (14635)

      (Americans *WILL DIE* if you don't let us do whatever we want to do!!!!)

      Gosh, I hope so... seriously.

      Millions of Americans have died over the last 300+ years defending the liberties and freedoms that make this country great. I certainly hope more people will put their lives on the line to preserve it (and I don't mean the soldiers fighting in Iraq, who are just warm bodies being put into the oven over there to stoke the War Furnace).

    • No, the issue, which is commonly misunderstood, is that:

      - Monitoring for foreign communications does not require, should not require, and will never require, a warrant, which brings us to:

      - Monitoring of foreign communications where both ends are outside of the United States, but where the passage of the traffic through equipment within the United States is incidental should not require a warrant;

      - Monitoring of communications where the target of said monitoring is (reasonably* believed to be) outside of th
  • by Spamsonite (154239) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @07:47AM (#20328839)
    There is understandably a tremendous amount of misunderstanding by the American people about how collection targets are designated, and there is a large body of law that governs how the process must take place. While it is true that almost any transmission of data, voice or otherwise, through this country can be monitored, the sheer scale of daily communications quickly renders random sampling useless. Call records are not call recordings - can you imagine just how much storage would be required to save for posterity the billion or so phone conversations that happen each day in this country? Even running a simple query on a database containing recent activity (not the conversation, just the fact that a call happened) can take hours. It is simply not done, both for time and practicality reasons - and because collecting on a non-designated target is very highly illegal.

    Every intel collector and analyst is trained from day one in the law, whether they be military or civilian. They can all quote the name and contents of the document that governs the ways the NSA and our government may designate intel targets both within and without our own borders. Anyone who collects on a target that has not been sanctioned from on-high, even if it is his or her own phone number, is on a fast track to prison.

    The targets that are being monitored within our own borders are so because the trail from overseas led back here. Known terrorists, affiliates, fund raisers, materials providers, etc., made calls to people here in the USA, or people in the USA called them. The foreign phone would already be under surveillance, and of course the connection to the USA should raise questions for any sane law enforcement agency. The law provides for monitoring US citizens in this and other very narrowly-defined cases, though they must still be officially designated as targets, which is not a simple process. Even the warrantless taps only give a day or so of leeway, the government must prove in a hurry that they really need to be listening in or all data must be purged.

    And perhaps the most important reason that you can go through your day without worrying if someone is listening in to you asking your Aunt Bea to bring her special blueberry pie to the family reunion is that analysts are Americans and have Aunt Bea's too, and they have the same expectation of privacy that you have. If they participate in a big-brother system that monitors our populace at a whim, then it's only a matter of time before that system grows and starts to eat its own.

    The intel community is a very paranoid place - both about what others are doing, but incredibly more so about that activities of its own members.
  • wHY ADMIT? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by redelm (54142) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @07:51AM (#20328883) Homepage
    Do you think the NID just let this slip? Of course not. He's whining and preparing an excuse for the next missed intelligence.


    The fundamental problem is that civil liberties are barely permit after-the-fact punishment of criminals. Many get off because their liberties were violated. That's OK, because the criminal justice system doesn't need to convict everyone, it just needs to act as a deterrent.


    Using the criminal justice system to prevent wrongdoing [terrorism] is not what it was designed to do. Preventative vs investigative. Airtight vs failure-tolerant. It requires unusual actions and far greater intrusion into liberties (esp privacy). Some [frightened] people are willing to sacrifice others liberties (and perhaps their own). Others are not. A fundamental conflict between different people. Politicians can exploit this and choose whichever side they wish.


    Personally, I will not give in to the terrorists. I will not become fearful.

    • Man, I wish I had mod points... I think that is the most insightful comment I've seen in the entire debate about the "war on terror", and the subsequent erosion of civil liberties.

      You last sentence is the root of the whole issue:

      Personally, I will not give in to the terrorists. I will not become fearful.
      I think you've hit the nail right on the head... and I think I just found a great slogan for a protest sign (and a new .sig)
      • Thank you for the kind words.

        I've come to think of terrorism as trojan exploiting a bug/feature in homo-sapiens wiring/OS:

        For thousands of generations as gatherer-hunters, homo sapiens has been optimized in an information-impoverished environment. So we react quickly and strongly to news of any threat. Those that didn't, didn't survive.

        Terrorism is a modern (~100 yrs) invention. It was not as effective in antiquity simply because far fewer people would hear of the fear-inspiring event. Electronica has c

  • by kwandar (733439) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @08:02AM (#20328989)
    ... put their executives in jail. I wouldn't stand by and acquiesce to illegal activities, why should they be allowed to, irrespective of who asked?
  • Who are these Americans that are under surveillance? What a load of crap. No America citizen should be under surveillance by the government unless they got these people on film building bombs or something or records proving they plan to commit terrorist acts.
    Nixon pulled this when he was in office. Misusing the FBI and CIA to spy on Americans who did not agree with the Republican party.
    I cannot say the Democrats are any better. Clinton used the IRS to harass those he hated as well.
    I said it before
  • HEEEELLLLLLL NO! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spikedvodka (188722) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @08:08AM (#20329049)

    suggests that companies like AT&T and Verizon that "cooperate" with the Administration should be granted immunity from the lawsuits they currently face regarding the issue."
    If a company illegally gives information (hypothetically about me) to the government, as part of an illegal plan. Not only should I be able to sue their pants off (to the point where I can pay not only for my kids' college education through to 5 PHDs, but also afford to pay to have an OC-3 line run right to my house) but they should be brought up on criminal charges.

    Enough already with this "You so something bad for us and you're safe" bit.

    Soap (check) -> Ballot (Check) -> Jury (Forbidden by Law) -> Ammo?

    I'm not one to advocate for violence, but ya'know... when you have eliminated the impossible (or ineffective in this case) whatever remains...

    this makes me mad
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by E++99 (880734)

      If a company illegally gives information (hypothetically about me) to the government, as part of an illegal plan. Not only should I be able to sue their pants off (to the point where I can pay not only for my kids' college education through to 5 PHDs, but also afford to pay to have an OC-3 line run right to my house) but they should be brought up on criminal charges.

      Based on what damages? I'm just curious. If you found out that AT&T helped the NSA listen to your phone calls, would that cause you $1 mi

      • Based on what damages? I'm just curious. If you found out that AT&T helped the NSA listen to your phone calls, would that cause you $1 million in emotional damage or something?
        Based on the theory that civil rights are priceless
  • The NID & his cronies have layed down a lot of depositions & testemony in court where they've claimed that confirming/denying these allegations would aid terrorists. So do we get to charge them with purjury since the NID just confirmed it within a week of spouting the line in court, or do we get to send the NID to Gitmo for aiding terrorists?
  • The ones that think that this is ok disgust me. You say we must prevent the next attack, we must save innocent lives. News flash for you we are all going to die. Another news flash for you in America you are thousands of times more likely to kill yourself because of your poor eating, poor lifestyle, no exercise habits then you are by a terrorist.

    Yet we will sacrifice your rights and others to be protected from the slim chance of dying via terrorist but if anyone then wants to stop you from eating bad
    • by knewter (62953)
      Because fuck you, it's my big mac.
      • by Spad (470073)
        And fuck *you*, they're my rights
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by knewter (62953)
          Yeah, if it wasn't clear I was pro-individual-liberty with my big mac comment, I guess I'll just try to state that unequivocally. I feel strongly about your rights. I would fight for them, not because I love you but because I love truth and justice. Similarly, I would fight for your or anyone else's right to eat a big mac if you'd like. That is all.
  • Amendment IV [cornell.edu]
    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.
  • BAD SUMMARY? (Score:3, Informative)

    by AtariDatacenter (31657) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @09:03AM (#20329787)
    The truth gets lost when you try to reword officials in this adminstration. I can't find links to what was actually said, but here is what The Washington Post [washingtonpost.com] and other sources have reported. My emphasis added:

    "Law enforcement officials are targeting fewer than 100 people in the United States for secret court-approved wiretaps aimed at disrupting terrorist networks, the top U.S. intelligence official said in an interview published yesterday."

    Given the clever wordplay of the Bush administration, should we assume that there have been 100 wiretaps, or should we believe they're being clever with their words (again) and there are 100 wiretaps aimed at disrupting terrorist networks, but an unknown number of warrantless wiretaps for other purposes?
    • wiretaps aimed at disrupting terrorist networks

      Oh c'mon (i know it's not your argument, but it's ridiculous). The govt detected Osama's activity way ahead of time, don't tell me they relied on wiretaps for all their intelligence. And yet, they let it happen all because of stupid paperwork. What the US needs is smart people in the agencies, not more paranoid wiretapping laws.

      Besides - wiretapping hasn't stopped drug traffic and we know how heavy it is. Do they expect us to believe that by allowing wiretappin
  • I guess I am too boring for them to listen in on my calls.

    AT&T and Verizon cooperate, eh? What if the terrorists use a different long distance network instead?

  • Whew.... did I say that in time? I'd hate to be that 100.
  • Lawsuits (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phoenixwade (997892) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @09:22AM (#20330031)
    I don't really care if the lawsuits go through or not.... But, I do believe that if we REALLY cared about these lawsuits, we'd change providers. Nothing is going to tell the business world we want our rights respected like taking our money from those that do not to those that do.

    This is the reason the current administration is so secretive, they feel that the American people wouldn't stand for some of the things they are doing if it was known.

    They feel that they have to do it whatever way they are doing it to do it right.

    Therefore, the American public doesn't need to know.

    Although I don't agree, I have to say there is some merit to this idea. This is our fault, though, not the administrations. We, as a whole, have a lemming mentality. The group is easily manipulated by fear, and by spin. It's too much to ask for, I suppose, that the average American spend as much time thinking about personal rights and freedoms as they do on a new car purchase. Come to think of it, I don't want that either. I was looking for an example of something the average Joe would think on a lot before making a purchase, and the realization hit me that we, again as gross averages, buy cars, hire doctors, buy food.... All on impulse.... I'm so depressed....

    My girlfriend just pointed out that we spend a lot of time thinking about Celebrity sex. I could use that as a comparison.... Now, I'm REALLY depressed...
  • by Mercano (826132) <mercano@gma i l . c om> on Thursday August 23, 2007 @09:31AM (#20330147)
    Wait, there's really an NID? I thought it was just something they made up for Stargate and staffed with former Star Trek cast members.
  • by toddhisattva (127032) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @10:28AM (#20330975) Homepage
    From the article,

    McConnell also revealed that fewer than 100 people inside the United States are monitored under FISA warrants.
    From the submission,

    He also claims that only 100 Americans are under surveilance
    The submitter assumed, or purposely misinterpreted, "100 people inside the United States" to mean "100 Americans." The first is a sloppy mistake, the second is a deliberate lie.

    There are many people inside the United States who are not Americans. The communications laws (IIRC from my work and play in the industry) use the broadly expansive category "US persons" which means anybody physically in the country.

    There are green card holders and other legitimate workers, resident aliens of all kinds, and illegal aliens, just to name a few.

    Other non-American inside the USA include students, tourists, and Democrats.

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