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Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Committee Leaders 749

Posted by Soulskill
from the somebody's-pants-are-on-fire dept.
cold fjord writes "There are new developments in the ongoing controversy engulfing the NSA as a result of the Snowden leaks. From The Hill: 'Emerging from a hearing with NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), the senior Democrat on the panel, said Edward Snowden simply wasn't in the position to access the content of the communications gathered under National Security Agency programs, as he's claimed. "He was lying," Rogers said. "He clearly has over-inflated his position, he has over-inflated his access and he's even over-inflated what the actual technology of the programs would allow one to do. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do." ... "He's done tremendous damage to the country where he was born and raised and educated," Ruppersberger said. ... "It was clear that he attempted to go places that he was not authorized to go, which should raise questions for everyone," Rogers added.'" U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has also told the E.U. justice commissioner that media reports surrounding PRISM are wrong: "The contention it [PRISM] is not subject to any internal or external oversights is simply not correct. It's subject to an extensive oversight regime from executive, legislative and judicial branches and Congress is made aware of these activities. The courts are aware as we need to get a court order. ... We can't target anyone unless appropriate documented foreign intelligence purpose for the prevention of terrorism or hostile cyber activities." Meanwhile, Bloomberg has gone live with a report (based on unidentified sources, so take it with a grain of salt) saying that private sector cooperation with snooping government agencies extends far beyond the ones listed in the PRISM report. "Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said." Whatever PRISM turns out to be, the NY Times is reporting that at least Yahoo, and probably other tech companies as well, tried to fight participation in it. Other reports suggest Twitter refused to participate, though there's been no official confirmation.
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Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Committee Leaders

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  • Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by coId fjord (2949869) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:37AM (#44007507)

    I instantly believe you. It's not as if it's the government's fault that people are so distrusting of it or anything; it couldn't be!

    • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdotNO@SPAMjawtheshark.com> on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:44AM (#44007601) Homepage Journal
      Don't mind the man behind the curtain....
      • Dear Congress... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ZeroPly (881915) on Friday June 14, 2013 @04:47PM (#44011633)
        ... wait, let me start over. What I really meant to say was:

        Dear Shitbags,

        You might have noticed that your latest approval rating is 10%. This is a good example of why that has come to pass. When you repeatedly, emphatically state that every request for information goes through a judge, a sane individual does not assume that a single request consists of THREE TRILLION FUCKING PIECES OF DATA COVERING THE ENTIRE FUCKING US POPULATION.

        You are cretins. I would feel more comfortable if Snowden was on the intelligence committee than any single one of you idiots.
    • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:46AM (#44007633)

      I instantly believe you. It's not as if it's the government's fault that people are so distrusting of it or anything; it couldn't be!

      Funny, you instantly believed a 29-year-old who ran to Hong Kong to make outlandish claims about surveillance...

      • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by coId fjord (2949869) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:48AM (#44007657)

        Outlandish? We have people getting groped at airports because they want to get on a plane. You call spying in the name of terrorist "outlandish"? Please.

      • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by X0563511 (793323) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:49AM (#44007675) Homepage Journal

        It says something (sad) about the state of our government when I'll take the word of a 29-year-old who ran to Hong Kong over that of the government.

        • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by geekmux (1040042) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:10AM (#44007977)

          It says something (sad) about the state of our government when I'll take the word of a 29-year-old who ran to Hong Kong over that of the government.

          Uh, given that many of the most powerful positions within our government are still elected positions, I'd say you're only half right.

          It says a hell of a lot more about the apathy and ignorance of the voters who helped create it.

          And yes, of course it's too late to effect real change. This didn't happen overnight, didn't start with some guy named "Bush", and won't end with some guy named "Obama". That said, it seems that finger pointing creates headlines and generates click revenue these days, so back to our regular two-party mudslinging system we go, ironically in the name of capitalism.

          • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by interval1066 (668936) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:43AM (#44008421) Homepage Journal

            It says a hell of a lot more about the apathy and ignorance of the voters who helped create it.

            Yes, certainly this is part of the problem. But there comes a point when a government becomes a completely self-sustaining, mindless, autocratic system whose sole reason for being is to feed upon the country its supposed to serve and become bigger. We're well past that point, and past the point where our government can be steered to correctness simply by voting. Unless you're a large corporate entity with a lot of cash this government really has no use for you, you're fodder, a bug to be smashed by its own huge, lumbering wheels. Voting? Ha, that's just an ancient ritual that we practice becuase our ancestors did it. What would be the purpose of Prism? To prevent terrorism? So far, its not working all that well. All those phone records. Smells to me like a more efficient way of traking a suspect's activities up to the event, provide a chain of evidence that will lock him away easier than keeping Little Billy and Auntie Em safe. And that's what this country does, it puts even more people in prison than any other country in the WORLD. North Korea only has about 1.2 mil in those prison camps. Last figures I saw for incarcerated Americans was approching 2 mil.

            Its interesting to me that they claim to have stopped thousands of terrorist attacks, yet refuse to provide hard data in the name of national defense. Yet they were powerless to prevent the Boston bombings. I wonder what the excuse will be after the next terrorist attack? And remember kids, the best way to perpetuate the status quo is to keep your people under the yolk by setting up a standing emergency (terrorist threats) and keeping the country in a state of perpetual war. Keeps 'm guessing, that's what Pappy always said; "Keep 'm guessing and keep those arrest warrants secret."

            • by petteyg359 (1847514) on Friday June 14, 2013 @01:05PM (#44009329)

              keep your people under the yolk

              Yolks are soft and squishy. Those attributes do not make an effective restraint. I'd much rather have a yoke.

            • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by TsuruchiBrian (2731979) on Friday June 14, 2013 @01:46PM (#44009783)
              They may have prevented lots of terrorist attacks. They may have prevented 0. I don't know. I do know that the fact that the Boston attacks happened is not evidence that other terrorist attacks were not prevented. I would not expect even the best possible intelligence to be able to stop 100% of attacks, especially ones that where done by individuals rather than groups communicating electronically.
          • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by sjames (1099) on Friday June 14, 2013 @12:00PM (#44008589) Homepage

            The electoral process is captive and has been for a while. Every few years they trot out 2 candidates who call each other names and pretend they hate each other. But in the end, it doesn't seem to matter that much if you pick Tweedledee or Tweedledum.

          • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday June 14, 2013 @12:00PM (#44008591) Homepage Journal

            It says something (sad) about the state of our government when I'll take the word of a 29-year-old who ran to Hong Kong over that of the government.

            Uh, given that many of the most powerful positions within our government are still elected positions, I'd say you're only half right.

            It says a hell of a lot more about the apathy and ignorance of the voters who helped create it.

            And yes, of course it's too late to effect real change. This didn't happen overnight, didn't start with some guy named "Bush", and won't end with some guy named "Obama". That said, it seems that finger pointing creates headlines and generates click revenue these days, so back to our regular two-party mudslinging system we go, ironically in the name of capitalism.

            We really are seeing the logical outcome of the system we created where people now have more incentive to simply back the party that says the right things to them (it just feels so *good* to be right all the time) than to become informed and maybe come across information that challenges their viewpoint (which is downright uncomfortable, maybe even saddening.) Now that there is an entire political/media hierarchy in place for both popular worldviews (and innumerable more popping up on the internet) there really is no reason to ever think to yourself that maybe you are wrong about something, since you can just change the channel and *poof* the guy telling you about the world suddenly says you are right about everything!

          • Bingo (Score:5, Interesting)

            by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Friday June 14, 2013 @12:25PM (#44008855)

            That said, it seems that finger pointing creates headlines and generates click revenue these days, so back to our regular two-party mudslinging system we go, ironically in the name of capitalism.

            This is exactly why most (all?) of the founding fathers where against political parties; and so their fears have come to pass.

            Hell, Jefferson was against even allowing corporations! I suppose this is one reason why he is now willfully ignored by the right wing.

          • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Shagg (99693) on Friday June 14, 2013 @01:17PM (#44009461)

            It says a hell of a lot more about the apathy and ignorance of the voters who helped create it.

            You're right, Tweedledee is doing a terrible job. If only the voters had elected Tweedledum instead.

        • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sjbe (173966) on Friday June 14, 2013 @12:23PM (#44008839)

          It says something (sad) about the state of our government when I'll take the word of a 29-year-old who ran to Hong Kong over that of the government.

          Actually it doesn't even matter whose word we take because the important bit is that the activities of the NSA are now public knowledge. It is impossible to have a debate about the balance of security and civil rights if our civil rights are taken away in secret. To all appearances the NSA has lied to the American people about the scope, method and possibly purpose of their activities.

          I find it astonishing that they think that we would be ok with them gathering data on everyone in secret, storing and analyzing it indefinitely, while being supposedly overseen by a secret "court" which is equally unaccountable. The administration who is in charge of the NSA is basically making the argument that "we passed a law so it is legal" despite having never withstood independent judicial review. No one could challenge the NSA in court because it is impossible to prove standing or harm against something that you cannot prove exists. Congress won't do anything about it for fear of appearing weak on national security during their next election campaign.

      • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jythie (914043) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:51AM (#44007705)
        I can see skepticism, but the 29 year old put a lot on the line and will probably never lead a normal life again, while the the people on the House Intelligence Comity only have to worry about reelection and are unlikely to be all that personally impacted no matter what they say. So I would say their incentive to lie is currently greater.
        • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:14AM (#44008015)

          Probably never lead a normal life again only if you're talking about having no money and living in America. This guy isn't going to go to jail. He'll get a couple million bucks from donations and live happily in Hong Kong. I'm not saying he's lying, all I'm saying is that he has a lot to gain. He has more to gain from this than staying at his job. Both Assange and Manning have received lots of donations. Manning's problem was that he was within reach of the US. Assange has done it properly. He stays at arms length of the US and just pokes them when he needs headlines and cash. Snowden, may be, following in the footsteps of Assange. Get somewhere the US can't get you (China is a very good choice), and then monetize the public's fear of government.

          Again, I'm not saying he's lying. An ulterior motive doesn't automatically mean you aren't telling the truth. I'm just being honest that the guy has a lot to gain. Maybe during the years of the Pentagon Papers he wouldn't be able to live "a normal life again," but the modern day is different. He doesn't need to work; he'll get donations from the anti-government folks and live well.

          And yes, the government has a lot to gain from discrediting the guy, but that doesn't mean it is lying either (although most of slashdot seems to think this line of reasoning is rock solid when used against the government but not anyone else).

          Like most things, the truth is probably in the middle. The government was listening but probably not to the extent he says (either depth or without legal oversight). He bumped up what he says was happening to, amazingly, match anti-government groups worst fears to make the story pop and generate more revenue.

          Last, I know I'll be blasted for being so pro-government, but I personally wouldn't prosecute either Assange, Manning, or Snowden. We don't need 2nd Amendment remedies like the Tea Party wants, what we need is transparency (which Obama has failed completely at). I try to be even handed and tease out what actually occurred, but our government is so messed up mass leaks and information dumps are needed. We need to pull back the veil and disallow government secrecy in all but the most necessary circumstances. Nothing the three leakers did falls into that category. Let them go. The people should demand protections for people who expose the disease.

          • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday June 14, 2013 @12:11PM (#44008683) Homepage Journal

            Snowden, may be, following in the footsteps of Assange. Get somewhere the US can't get you (China is a very good choice), and then monetize the public's fear of government.

            Again, I'm not saying he's lying. An ulterior motive doesn't automatically mean you aren't telling the truth. I'm just being honest that the guy has a lot to gain. Maybe during the years of the Pentagon Papers he wouldn't be able to live "a normal life again," but the modern day is different. He doesn't need to work; he'll get donations from the anti-government folks and live well.

            He is going to get charged with enough computer misuse to put him away for a long time, and his donations might be seen as "ill gotten gains" that will be frozen by the global banking system (read: the US banking system). Hope he finds a lot of hotels willing to take BTC as payment. As for Assange, you do know he has been living for like a year in a single room in an embassy in Britain, right? He can't even get to Ecuador to lounge on the beach, he has literally not been outside of the building, trapped in "good enough prison" the entire time. Sounds grand, eh?

          • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Friday June 14, 2013 @12:39PM (#44009033) Homepage Journal

            Like most things, the truth is probably in the middle.

            I used to think so, but I realize now it is actually not the case. The game is to stir up a controversy with two sides argument from seemingly opposite positions, while both are actually working to obfuscate the real truth, which is never revealed and most don't even look for it. It's a clever slight-of-hand, a distraction from the real issue. Both sides are lying, but the truth isn't in the middle - it's off on a tangent that no one talks about.

            There have recently been a flurry of scandals from DC, all showing up at a time when Benghazi was starting to be looked at very closely. Are they all a distraction from that, or something else. There was recently a "member of Al Queida" that claimed Stevens was the victim of a botched kidnapping attempt. I think that's probably true - but I don't buy that it was planned by Al Queida. You can speculate about who may have planned it, I won't do that here.

            The IRS scandal is pretty quirky, too. The issue has actually been known about for a couple of years, and all of a sudden the IRS agent in charge releases the admission in an unrelated conference call. What's that all about?

            You don't even hear about Fast and Furious anymore, even though it has come out recently that it may have actually been intended to arm the largest Mexican cartel in an attempt to eliminate all the smaller competition. With only one large cartel left to deal with, they could, in theory, be brought under control and reduce the loss of innocent life. That may be a laudable goal but who would be supportive of the method??

            I had a point to all this that I think I've lost. I guess it's just that you always have to look deeper AND at the bigger picture. Looking for the truth in the middle is a terrible strategy.

      • Outlandish? (Score:5, Informative)

        by SpaceManFlip (2720507) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:05AM (#44007909)
        It might actually seem "outlandish" IF WE HAD NOT BEEN HEARING THE SAME FUCKING THINGS FOR YEARS ALREADY

        Report after report has come out from non-mainstream news sources such was Wired or CNet citing sources with similar stories, like the guy (Mark Klein I think) working for AT&T who discovered the secret room in SF with the NARUS box siphoning off all the Internet traffic to the NSA. Also several ex-NSA employees like William Binney have blown similar whistles.

        Fuck the lies, and wake up. People are tired of the unjustified mission creep that has lead to such horrible violations of our rights. So your paycheck depends on violating your fellow citizens' Constitutional rights? How does that feel? Ever think about honoring your oath to uphold the Constitution? There are plenty of private-sector jobs that pay well enough and don't require violating anyone's rights.

      • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hawguy (1600213) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:12AM (#44007997)

        I instantly believe you. It's not as if it's the government's fault that people are so distrusting of it or anything; it couldn't be!

        Funny, you instantly believed a 29-year-old who ran to Hong Kong to make outlandish claims about surveillance...

        You mean the outlandish claim that millions of citizens had their phone "metadata" tracked and compiled by the NSA from Verizon? The outlandish claim that is so outlandish that the government sources actually had to say "Whatcha so upset about? We've been doing it for years!"

    • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TWiTfan (2887093) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:58AM (#44007803)

      Discredit the messenger to distract from the actual message:

      He's a traitor, he's a rapist, people say bad things about him, he's a liar, he supports terrorists, he puts you and your loved ones in danger, you should hate him.

    • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:06AM (#44007919) Journal

      Even if he is lying, the fact that there's any ambiguity at all is proof that there's not enough oversight.

    • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:06AM (#44007927)

      I instantly believe you. It's not as if it's the government's fault that people are so distrusting of it or anything; it couldn't be!

      I do believe them, actually.

      I believe the specific statements they are making right now ARE true. But these statements are pretty specifically crafted to attempt to draw people's attention from the significant parts of the accustations.

      Did they come out and say "we don't have access to all the data on Google, Microsoft, and Apple servers"? Did they say the secret congressional slideshow was forged or innacurate? No - they said "the claim that we have unfettered access is wrong", and then talked about "extensive oversight". They say "Snowden didn't have clearance for that level of information", not that the information he provided is wrong.

      It is pretty obvious they DO have complete access to all that data - and we already knew about the supposed "oversight" that we're not allowed to even know who is performing or what their directives are.

      Snowden did his country a greater service than these people could ever dream of doing themselves. Hopefully, someday, they or their successors will figure that out.

  • by Bartles (1198017) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:37AM (#44007509)
    *snicker*
    • by gl4ss (559668) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:49AM (#44007683) Homepage Journal

      but how is he doing serious damage then.

      and how come they're admitting to prism just with their next breath, but saying that they have it under control because some judge, some senator and some chief at nsa reads a report now and then? "We can't target anyone unless appropriate documented foreign intelligence purpose for the prevention of terrorism or hostile cyber activities." too bad that includes fucking everything nowadays.

      I'm really skeptical that the system has a security system so that it just can't be accessed without that documentation. how would that even work? the court would give one time passes to the executive branch?

      • by Whorhay (1319089) on Friday June 14, 2013 @01:15PM (#44009433)

        One of the most humorous things I keep hearing is that he was just a lowly so-and-so, he wouldn't have that kind of access. Who exactly do these people think is actually running their systems. For a system of this scale there are going to be hundreds of servers if not more and databases of epic proportions. They have to employ a small army of SA's and DBA's running all of that crap. Then you have all kinds of other folks that'll be performing other functions like security checks and such that will need access. I wouldn't be surprised if each of the servers in this system are accessible at the root level by at least 50 people or more whom these big wigs wouldn't even consider as having access. I've worked in places where I helped monitor dozens of different systems and not a one of them would likely have ever thought to list me as someone with 100% unfettered access to their data. Sometimes I think that these people live in a completely different reality than the rest of us, they seriously have no idea of the technicalities involved in the everyday running of their lives and pet projects.

  • Who to believe? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RoknrolZombie (2504888) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:42AM (#44007559) Homepage
    A random internet stranger that claims to know more than the rest of us, or the Government institutions that we know will not hesitate to lie, cheat, steal, swindle, and torture to get their own way. Decisions decisions...
    • Re:Who to believe? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by techsoldaten (309296) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:51AM (#44007711) Journal

      It's not so much a question of who to believe, but a statement about how much blind faith you are willing to put in government.

      We know who Snowden is, he would not merit this level of attention if he did not have something to say. It could be argued we know more about him than what we know about the CIA and NSA.

      We do not know much about the programs he described in the documents he had released. For someone to be saying they contain lies, when there are so few details contained, it makes me wonder why they need to deny it at all.

      There's nothing random or stranger about this all though. The reactions of public officials are what are so revealing.

  • Other Whisleblowers (Score:5, Informative)

    by aeranvar (2589619) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:43AM (#44007571)
    ... are confirming what Snowden says. I'm certain someone is lying, though.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/14/nsa-partisanship-propaganda-prism [guardian.co.uk]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by intermodal (534361)

      There are definitely lies coming from the government, and I'm also fairly certain there is some extent of exaggeration from the whistleblowers. However, the facts of the program itself are problematic, not the semantics the government are trying to justify it with.

  • Which one is it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EricWright (16803) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:44AM (#44007597) Journal

    He's lying, or he's the worst traitor in the history of the United States. It can't be both. If he's lying, then he didn't reveal any highly classified state secrets.

    Typical gub'mint response. Talking out of both sides of their asses at the same time.

  • Of Course.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mengel (13619) <mengel@users.sou ... t ['org' in gap]> on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:45AM (#44007609) Homepage Journal

    Of Course the Senator knows all about the computers at the contractors to the NSA and what they can do,
    while the guy who used to be a sysadmin there knows nothing about it.

    Uh huh.

    Because we all know that Senators know everything about technology.

  • Indeed. (Score:5, Funny)

    by cfsops (2922481) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:45AM (#44007613)
    This is the same, tired refrain. He couldn't possibly do what he claims because it would have to be "approved". Apparently "spy" computers have a small troll that leaps from the machine waving the constitution and wailing in disapproval if ever anyone tries to do something that's not "approved". Clearly it's a feature that works well to prevent abuse. I want one.
  • Quite a dilemma (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:45AM (#44007617)

    Do I trust (a) the people who supposedly work "for" me yet refuse to explain what work they perform, or do I trust (b) the guy who claims to expose what work they perform?

    In other words, do I trust the people who have already (repeatedly and continuously) proven their lack of respect for me, or do I trust the guy who hasn't yet had a chance to prove his respect (or lack of) for me?

    This is a tough one.

  • Holder?! (Score:5, Informative)

    Holder says he was lying?! Eric Holder? The attorney general whose office is responsible for Too Big To Jail? Who will not prosecute bankers. Who oversaw the Fast and Furious debacle? Who hounded Aaron Swartz to his death?

    Now I know Snowden was telling the truth.

  • 2GB per person (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:47AM (#44007651)

    They have a budget of $4 billion for General Keiths commercial spying. At $100 per TB (overestimate), 10% of their budget is 2GB per person on the internet per year.
    Think of all the data they can keep in 2GB and you see that Keith is lying. No different than when he pretended they didn't collect info on Americans.

    "is not subject to any internal or external oversights is simply not correct."
    We don't care if Bob the spooks approved John the spooks spying on our emails, fuck off. The US Constitution apples and the EU privacy law, and anything else you do is treason.

    "The courts are aware as we need to get a court order."
    And the court orders say "give everything to NSA for 3 months" and is signed by 1 judge in secret. Fuck off.

    "saying that private sector cooperation with snooping government agencies extends far beyond the ones listed in the PRISM report."
    You leaked the SWIFT data, so you've been giving the NSA financial data too, including presumably all the IRS stuff, bank data and all.

    "Whatever PRISM turns out to be, the NY Times is reporting that at least Yahoo, and probably other tech companies as well, tried to fight participation in it. "
    Good for them, Snowden risked his future freedom to leak that, you guys shut up and gave them the data.

    Secret laws and secret judgements run by the military have no place in a democracy. So you're not a democracy. And judging by the fear we see in European politicians, neither is Europe. We all work for the military now. Try not to get shot by the fucking liars.

  • Credibility (Score:5, Insightful)

    by intermodal (534361) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:48AM (#44007655) Homepage Journal

    The reality of PRISM is that if the program described exists at all, trying to claim what Holder and Rogers are about oversight does not change the fundamental constitutional problems associated with the programs they are running. You'll notice that there are no credible denials here, just declarations that Snowden is exaggerating and assertions that the existence of oversight on how the data is accessed and used is somehow justification for the data collection in the first place. If the program exists at all, it's either without a warrant or under the exact kind of general warrant the Fourth Amendment was written to prevent.

  • Tough one (Score:5, Funny)

    by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:48AM (#44007667)

    I just don't know who to believe.

    A techie who believes what he says enough to basically call out the most secretive, nastiest intelligence agencies of one of the most powerful countries in the world

    or

    a pack of politicians.

    Oh, man, it's difficult. Maybe I should just flip a coin?

    • Don't forget— (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aussersterne (212916) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:01AM (#44007859) Homepage

      a pack of politicians with some of the historically lowest levels of public regard and trust in the history of their nation, though to be incompetent or crooks by 9 out of 10 individuals.

      • Re:Don't forget— (Score:4, Insightful)

        by geekmux (1040042) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:17AM (#44008075)

        a pack of politicians with some of the historically lowest levels of public regard and trust in the history of their nation, though to be incompetent or crooks by 9 out of 10 individuals.

        And yet they are repeatedly voted into office.

        When trying to figure out who should wear the dunce cap, perhaps we should start with the ones putting crooks in positions of power.

    • by cellocgw (617879)

      I just don't know who to believe.

      A techie who believes what he says enough to basically call out the most secretive, nastiest intelligence agencies of one of the most powerful countries in the world

      or

      a pack of politicians.

      Oh, man, it's difficult. Maybe I should just flip a coin?

      Why not use the same criteria that the NSA has openly admitted their ops use when determining whether a communication is "foreign" ,i.e. "greater than 51% probability." ? I'd love to see how they generate their Bayesian estimates...

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:51AM (#44007703)

    The *last* entity I'm going to give any credibility to is the one with the worst track record with civil liberties, money laundering, bank bailouts, misuse of power, outstanding privacy issues (Hello AT&T from room 641A), corruption, bribery, cronyism, etc.

  • by pla (258480) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:51AM (#44007715) Journal
    If Snowden lied, then he didn't commit a crime by leaking classified information.

    So, Mr. Rogers (hehehe), why do we currently have a worldwide manhunt - Including calling in favors from our 51st-state lapdogs - For someone who didn't commit a crime?

    You'll forgive me, of course, for presuming you as completely full of shit and trying to salvage your precious unconstitutional spying campaign.
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:52AM (#44007721)

    It's always parsed wording. Kinda like Apple said it was unaware of the government's Prism program. Now, of course they were aware they were piping private info out to the Feds. They just didn't know the program name.

    I also love the irony here. So, Snowden devastated US intelligence with this leak, but he's completely wrong and lying and exaggerating about what he knows?

  • Sure... (Score:5, Informative)

    by milbournosphere (1273186) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:53AM (#44007737)
    Just in March, Clapper testified to congress that such a program didn't even exist. On March 12th:

    [Wyden]"Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"
    [James Clapper]"No, sir."
    [Wyden]"It does not?"
    [Clapper:]"Not wittingly. There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps, collect -- but not wittingly."

    There have been too many lies and half truths for me to believe anything that the NSA, Obama administration, or upper congressional committees have to say on the matter.

  • Whistleblower laws.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:53AM (#44007751) Homepage Journal

    are useless if you need to blow the whistle on the persons making up the laws who argue _in a secret court_ that their actions are lawful because of *secret reasons*.

  • by sideslash (1865434) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:58AM (#44007807)
    The government's denials appear to follow a pattern of avoiding the question of machine gathering of raw intelligence products, and just focusing on the humans sifting through them. People are concerned about the former (raw data), whereas the denials seem to be focused on the manual human aspect, which of course misses the big point. I suspect this is partly related to people not understanding how computers and data storage/archival work.

    Best example of this: Still waiting for Hayden to go to jail for lying under oath to a congressional committee, when he claimed that intelligence wasn't being collected on millions of Americans, then had to walk it back later, and claim that he was just talking about people preparing actionable reports. There's no question in my mind that all that data trawled from the internets is still sitting there waiting to be queried at the snap of a bureaucrat's fingers.
  • besides his boss and himself.

  • Sorry.. ummm.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gQuigs (913879) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:18AM (#44008089) Homepage

    If he was able to hack into Prism, that's a worse controversy for the US government. Not a better one.

  • by dtjohnson (102237) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:23AM (#44008173)

    We will see senior officials repeatedly make the claims that 1) Snowden is lying, 2) Snowden is mentally unbalanced, and 3) Snowden has ulterior motives (greed/ideology - take your pick) for what he says. Of course, there is no way we can ever personally corroborate anything that Snowden or the senior officials says so we have to decide who to believe...and Snowden is more creditable. Here's why. First, he contacted the Guardian news organization and provided documentation for what he claims long in advance of publication. Second, there is no dispute that he was employed as a highly-paid intelligence analyst with a high security clearance which means that his background, mental health, and credit were thoroughly investigated by the FBI over a long period of time. Third, Snowden has correctly identified numerous secret activities that no one (other than those close to them) were aware of such as PRISM. Obviously, the government loves these programs because access to such a huge amount of personal information represents enormous power. But...power in the United States rightfully rests in the hands of its citizens. Most of us would prefer to take our chances with the terrorists but would prefer that the government officials stay out of our emails, cell phone conversations, and internet searches unless we are actual suspects in a real investigation with a fixed objective and timetable. The damage that the terrorists do will be far, far less than the damage that an omnipotent 'big brother' style of government monitoring would do. Any elected official that cannot recognize that should be removed from office via the ballot box at the next election.

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:37AM (#44008353)

    I question first why the program is hidden at all. Those who spy on people to catch "terrorists" are quite fond of saying "if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide", implying that if you want to "hide" things, you are doing something wrong.

    So why, then, is the surveillance program so secret?

    Life is changing. I realize that our standards are going to have to change, to tolerate increase recording and scrutiny simply because there is no way to stop it. But it should be a two-way street - we need, and deserve, more transparency from the government now than ever before.

    Civilization is built upon balances of power - revolution, war, even most crime, are all caused by imbalances of power. Balances between nations brought us through the Cold War relatively undamaged. Balances between branches of government prevent coups. And, most importantly, a balance between the citizens and the government is essential - on one hand, a government with too much power will oppress its people, on the other, a government with no power cannot maintain order.

    Power takes many forms. Military power. Economic power. Media power. And one that is only now being recognized - information power. That is where we have a new imbalance of power. It used to be that we had relatively little insight to what the government was doing, but they had relatively little information on us, and what they had was disconnected and incomplete. Now, they have comprehensive, connected databases, and are pushing towards even more surveillance of us. But, perversely, we are granted less and less insight into what they're doing.

    You want to spy on us, record every email and phone call we make? Fine - but in return, I want every email sent to or from an elected official's or a government employee's account, I want cameras placed on every police officer broadcasting in the open 24/7 with felony penalties for tampering with it or disabling it, and I want a complete report of every cent spent by any city, county, state or federal agency.

    After all, if you are doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide, now, do you?

  • Yeahbut... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo (77928) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:41AM (#44008387)

    The courts are aware as we need to get a court order.

    The FISA court is secret and accountable to nobody, and it's not like we didn't hear about this before as "Total Information Awareness."

    TIA got shouted down publicly, but I'm not betting it ever went away. Black budgets and all that.

    Even if Snowden is lying and that he exaggerated his authority, the evidence to the contrary of what the politicians are saying is pretty much overwhelming, taken as a big picture.

    --
    BMO

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.

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