Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Privacy Politics Your Rights Online

NSA Chief Denies Claims of Domestic Spying 149

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the doubleplus-ungood dept.
AstroPhilosopher writes "Recently Wired, USA Today and other news outlets reported on a new spy center being built to store intercepted communications (even American citizens'). Tuesday, Gen. Keith Alexander testified in front of Congress refuting the articles. Alexander even went so far as to claim the NSA lacks the authority to monitor American citizens. It's an authority that was given to the NSA through the FISA Amendments Act signed into law by Bush and still supported today by Obama."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

NSA Chief Denies Claims of Domestic Spying

Comments Filter:
  • Wut? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlueStrat (756137) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @11:26AM (#39427881)

    A General lying about his intentions to the enemy?

    Say it ain't so!

    The problem here is that the US Government seems to regard it's citizens as "the enemy".

    Strat

  • by Gunfighter (1944) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @11:27AM (#39427889) Homepage

    IIRC, intercepting the communications from intercept points outside the U.S., regardless of whether they originated within the U.S., is how they justify spying on American citizens.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @11:29AM (#39427917)

    Listen to what government's balance sheet says.

  • Okay then... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @11:30AM (#39427919)

    If the NSA isn't spying on American citizens, then why are they so steadfastly opposed to EFF, EPIC, etc. trying to obtain that information from them in court?

    What is their explanation about the monitoring rooms in AT&T's facilities that tap into domestic fiber?

    They won't give us an explanation in a court room but they'll make promises that they aren't.

    Sorry, I can't trust the words of an organization that is vital to the interest of a dying empire.

  • Re:Wut? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by na1led (1030470) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @11:31AM (#39427941)
    The Government regards all of us as Lemmings. They want to control every aspect of our lives, and the NSA is just one tool to accomplish this.
  • Godwin. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @11:32AM (#39427953)
    When you lie, “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”. — Adolf Hitler
  • Re:Wut? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @11:40AM (#39428063)

    not an american-specific problem!

    do you honestly believe your own country (if not the US) doesn't also spy on its citizens? filter their information? tell them what to think?

    this is a wave that is engulfing the whole world. we are witnessing a human issue, here; not a nationalistic one.

    the sooner people (world wide) wake the fuck up, the better!

    YOUR gov does not exist for you. its always been the other way around. those in power know this. wake the fuck up, people! stop thinking 'its the other guy' who is wrong. its YOUR government, too. anyone who CAN, WILL. this much power is not possible to resist.

    the struggle of people against their 'rulers' is as old as the world. only the toys have changed, over time.

  • Re:Wut? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @11:43AM (#39428105)

    mod up.

    the biggest threat is that the local people will realize they've been 'had'.

    foreign threats pale compared to pitchforks and fires by the locals.

    all of those in power dance a delicate dance in keeping the oppressed down and giving them enough to live on (just barely) to avoid the pitchfork syndrome.

    world-wide, societies are collapsing and the rich get richer and the poor get pushed to the streets.

    but the answer? SPY ON YOUR OWN PEOPLE MORE!

    (sigh)

    I wish I had an optimistic view but I just don't, anymore. evidence is so strong that things just won't end well. probably in our lifetimes, too.

  • Re:Loophole (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PatentMagus (1083289) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @11:43AM (#39428109)
    Loophole no longer needed. Remember when Candidate Obama promised to end illegal spying on American citizens? Who would have dreamed he intended to end the illegality by making it "legal" (quote marks to indicate not tested in court). At least he addressed the issue. The other 2008 candidates thought it was just fine the way it was.

    It's kind of quaint to look back at how mad I was about the spying when I now tiredly shrug my shoulders about the assassinations and that "due process" now means there is a process instead of meaning a chance to defend yourself in court.
  • Re:Loophole (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Entrope (68843) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @11:54AM (#39428259) Homepage

    If you are going to do very infrequently do something that is morally questionable, it is usually better to get forgiveness than permission. In cases like illegal spying or torture, that would be through keeping the activities classified and issuing pardons as necessary. "Addressing the issue" by making it legal for the government to do morally dubious things is awful long-term strategy -- it indicates that the government will be doing that often enough to need advance permission.

  • Re:Wut? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Twanfox (185252) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @11:58AM (#39428329)

    Today, it's those 'new toys'. Back in history, it was 'divine birthright'. The tools have changed. The mentality hasn't, not for a very very long time.

  • Re:Wut? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by na1led (1030470) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @12:09PM (#39428469)
    You can't compare the world today with any time in history. Humans never had the capability to destroy the whole world. We are as alien to those people in the past, as we are to a civilization thousands of light-years from here.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @12:19PM (#39428611) Homepage

    If the NSA isn't spying on American citizens, then why are they so steadfastly opposed to EFF, EPIC, etc. trying to obtain that information from them in court?

    Replace that with:

    "If the CIA isn't spying on American citizens, then why are they so steadfastly opposed to EFF, EPIC, etc. trying to obtain the identities of their officers and front organizations?"

    "If federal law enforcement isn't running a side criminal organization for profit, they why are they steadfastly opposed to revealing who is in the witness protection program?"

    Really, people. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why the NSA wouldn't open up to the world under some notion of "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" even if they're lilly white on domestic espionage. Maybe it's because... well... no arm of the military (which they are) in their right mind just says "hey world, come take a look at our full operational capabilities and see just how awesome and scary we are!"

  • Re:Wut? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cellocgw (617879) <cellocgw&gmail,com> on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @12:23PM (#39428691) Journal

    You can't compare the world today with any time in history. Humans never had the capability to destroy the whole world.
    Well, considering that up until a couple hundred years ago, hardly anyone ever travelled or moved more than a couple miles from the town in which he was born, the subjective meaning of "destroy the whole world" becomes "destroy everyone in my town." As our worldview grew, so did our weapons.

  • Re:Loophole (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bartles (1198017) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @12:34PM (#39428817)
    Remember when there was still an evil republican in the white house, and people still acted like they gave a shit?
  • Re:Wut? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @12:36PM (#39428851)

    Okay, suppose we've "woken up". Now what? If you're advocating open revolt, then "you first". If you're advocating working from within the system, how do you propose to organize and push from the roots up?

    I always hear "wake up Sheeple!" in posts, usually from older guys, with a big, echoing, lack of substance after the waking up part, as if they're saying "now that you've woken up, you know what to do... I've done my part".

    Take the next step, my friend- Do it the right/hard way, organize properly, with people that have made enough of themselves to be respected & listened to AND be willing to lose it all. Unfortunately, you're not going to find many that fit in this category.

    Look at the founders of our Republic- A fair number of them were men of some means that put it all on the line, yet died in poverty after the revolution was successful- Where are you going to find people like that now?

    And don't waste your time going around blowing shit up or killing innocent people to convince yourself that you're "making a statement" so you can feel good about having done something- aside from little issues concerning morality and ethics, it has rarely if ever created a lasting difference, and sure as hell won't work now.

    If you are not willing to put everything you have and love, including your life, your fortune, and that of those of those you love on the line, please shut the fuck up.

  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JonahsDad (1332091) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @12:47PM (#39429029)
    Of course the NSA does NOT have the ability to do what Congress asked the general about. If they had that ability, they wouldn't need to build the Utah data center. Once the data center is complete, they'll have the ability. Just not right now.
  • Re:Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @01:24PM (#39429573)

    Do you think the world would be a better place without the US, the West, and the ability to project and protect principles of freedom and liberal democracy, even if imperfectly?

    At what point did the US project or protect liberal democracy? We are more concerned with the profitability of our businesses than with the rights and freedoms of foreign citizens (sometimes we are even more concerned about business profits than with the rights or freedoms of Americans). How are we projecting liberal democracy in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait? How are we projecting liberal democracy in South America? How about Africa?

    I know some people might be stunned to learn this, but the primary mission of the foreign intelligence agencies is FOREIGN intelligence.

    Why would anyone be stunned by it? The real question is not whether the NSA is gathering foreign intelligence, but what is being done with that intelligence. We know little because of the secrecy; what we do know is this:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/820758.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+REPORT+A5-2001-0264+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN [europa.eu]

    What is that? Foreign intelligence operations being used to promote the interests of US businesses and harm the interests of their foreign competitors? We are really pushing liberal democracy with that one, right?

    We only push for "democracy" when it coincides with favorable policies for US businesses, period. If a dictatorship is friendly to US corporations, we would never dream of trying to subvert the dictator or promote democracy. We put on a great show of things, criticizing censorship and other human rights abuses, but at the end of the day our foreign policy puts corporate interests first and foremost.

  • Re:Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:24PM (#39430627) Journal

    Do you think the world would be a better place without the US, the West, and the ability to project and protect principles of freedom and liberal democracy, even if imperfectly?

    I think the world would be a better place if the US actually tried to project and protect principles of freedom and liberal democracy. Hell, I think it would be great if we adopted them at home!

  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:32PM (#39430745)

    I don't deal with the spying aspect of spying. I'm more on the application of force side of the military industry, and I think one of the major issues I come across is a 'I don't care' attitude from a lot of the workers who are ex-military.

    Not that they 'don't care' in a lazy manner, but that they don't care because they are used to being in the military, subject to military life, and charged with fighting an enemy. To a lot of them, they don't care about the 'technicalities' or subtlety of our diplomatic face, they care about getting the job done.

    So when it comes to issues like the drone strikes, they don't care if we are launching attacks against targets which are constitutionally tricky. They care that the target was hit, and since he was part of the 'enemy' all that mattered was that the enemy was eliminated. The fact that the method was unsavory/illegal/unconstitutional/badPR etc, didn't matter to them.

    It's an interesting observation since I come from a background of having left the military due to philosophical differences. (The not forced, but highly 'encouraged' Christianity I experienced at the USAFA and later USAF brought me borderline to becoming a conscientious objector, in addition to my disillusionment at being hit with the extreme evangelism at a military institution. I understand it's since been corrected, but when I was there it was pretty heavy handed) It makes a LOT of sense that our military industry is staffed by ex-military because they have a lot of the experience of how these systems will be used, but our military has become exceedingly adept at adjusting the viewpoints of the people in the military (intentionally and unintentionally).

    Now, that's not exactly bad (I haven't run across 'bad' people, just a lot of very 'military' minded people)... I just worry that we tend to encourage a culture in the industry that lacks concern for the application of technology, or even goes so far to encourage technology that runs counter to our declared values. In the end, if I have a requirement to get a rocket to carry payload X and accuracy Y, I will design it, but that doesn't mean I don't also have an interest in seeing that when that rocket is launched, it is launched when there is no other choice but to launch that rocket.

"The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults." -- Peter De Vries

Working...