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Snowden NSA Claims Partially Confirmed, Says Rep. Jerrold Nadler 337

Posted by timothy
from the they-deeply-care-about-privacy-violation dept.
bill_mcgonigle writes with this news from from CNET: "Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D NY) disclosed that NSA analysts eavesdrop on Americans' domestic telephone calls without court orders during a House Judiciary hearing. After clearing with FBI director Robert Mueller that the information was not classified, Nadler revealed that during a closed-door briefing to Congress, the Legislature was informed that the spying organization had implemented and uses this capability. This appears to confirm Edward Snowden's claim that he could, in his position at the NSA, 'wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president.' Declan McCullagh writes, 'Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, Nadler's disclosure indicates the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval.' The executive branch has defended its general warrants, claiming that 'the president had the constitutional authority, no matter what the law actually says, to order domestic spying without [constitutional] warrants,' while Kurt Opsahl, senior staff attorney at EFF claims such government activity 'epitomizes the problem of secret laws.'" Note that "listening in" versus "collecting metadata" is a distinction that defenders of government phone spying have been emphasizing. Tracking whom you called and when, goes the story, doesn't impinge on expectations of privacy. Speaking of the metadata collection, though, reader Bruce66423 writes "According to the Washington Post, the Bush administration took 'bulk metadata' from the phone companies under voluntary agreements for more than four years after 9/11 until a court agreed they could have it compulsorily." Related: First time accepted submitter fsagx writes that Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive has calculated the cost to store every phone call made in the U.S. over the course of a year: "It's surprisingly inexpensive. It puts the recent NSA stories (and reports from the Boston bombings about the FBI's ability to listen to past phone conversions) into perspective."
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Snowden NSA Claims Partially Confirmed, Says Rep. Jerrold Nadler

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  • by russotto (537200) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:29PM (#44022199) Journal
    There's precious little we can do about traffic analysis. But as for content, we can at least make the NSA work for it.
  • Gosh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:35PM (#44022227) Journal

    You mean to say that the initial story about Snowden just being a narcissistic traitor who couldn't possibly have known about those things that weren't happening in any case weren't entirely true?

    And that, despite Senator Pelosi, wicked witch of the west's, assertions, congress was not in fact clued in to what was going on?

    Color me shocked.

  • At this point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ganjadude (952775) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:35PM (#44022229) Homepage
    It is really sad but I simply assume anything that they deny in public, they are actually doing. they have no credibility at all about anything. Say what you will of bush, he opened the doors on this, but there is no way anyone should be able to support the over reaching, unconstitutional abuses of power that the current administration is doing.
  • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:38PM (#44022257) Homepage

    Biden believes that collecting metadata is extremely disturbing and provides huge opportunities for abuse:

    Biden in 2006 schools Obama in 2013 over NSA spying program [youtube.com]

  • by coId fjord (2949869) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:43PM (#44022277)

    A frightening number of people seem to have a 'It's okay if it saves lives!' mentality. We're supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, but supporters of this sort of nonsense never got the memo.

  • So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:46PM (#44022293)

    When will these taxpayer-funded criminals be arrested and prosectued?

  • Is that even true? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:48PM (#44022313) Journal

    'the president had the constitutional authority, no matter what the law actually says, to order domestic spying without [constitutional] warrants,'

    This quote suggests two (independent) things:
    1) that the constitution authorizes the president to order domestic spying.
    2) that congress can [in essence] make no law that the president must obey (short of modifying the constitution).

    Is that actually true? It would mean that when Bush (and Obama) made signing statements that they didn't need to follow certain laws, they were 100% correct. It means Reagan acted 100% legally in Iran Contra. It means that even if Obama directly ordered the IRS to harass certain groups, it was 100% legal. That's kind of scary.

  • Re:Actions to take (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:58PM (#44022379) Homepage

    On one hand you have the public backlash if/when an attack succeeds due to inadequate intelligence gathering.

    I don't know about this. Take 9/11 for example -- did GWB get voted out? Did he have his power limited? Did Congress refuse to let him do whatever wars he wanted?

    No. He was re-elected. He expanded executive power. And even Democrats like Clinton were not reading the Intelligence Estimate calling into question GWB's push for Iraq and falling all over themselves to start a pointless war. All those private contractors profited handsomely. The revolving door between cabinet posts and VP of this or that is lubed up and spinning.

    So, perhaps the opposite is true. Perhaps an attack results not in backlash, but in uplift for these DC fuckwads.

  • Re:Actions to take (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rick Zeman (15628) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:04PM (#44022393)

    On one hand you have the public backlash if/when an attack succeeds due to inadequate intelligence gathering.

    I'll take my chances. Statistically this century I've had a greater chance of drowning in my bathtub than being an American killed by a terrorist. And no, that's not evidence that the spying is working.

  • The biggest damage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:04PM (#44022397) Homepage Journal
    they are turning private life into something illegal. And like drugs, or in the past alcohol, its turning the environment where you can have privacy into fertile ground for crime. So you have a catch-22, or don't have privacy and be caught by sneezing in public or equivalent things, or think that have, but while doing so being in the neighbourhood of real criminals, so you become a prey for both groups.
  • Re:At this point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:07PM (#44022417) Journal

    Bush bears his share of the blame; but he was still a hard-drinking, draft-dodging, daddy's boy when the US clandestine services were already in up to their eyeballs in seriously dodgy shit.

    The Church Committee and the Rockefeller Commission(both reactions to things that had already been going on for some time, but had begun to seep out to the point where they couldn't be ignored) were ~1975. On the domestic side, the FBI was squelching 'radicals' more or less the moment Hoover oozed onto the scene. And, of course, almost as soon as WWII ended, we started up the Cold War secrecy-and-ethically-troubling-activities division in a serious way, and never really recovered.

    Bush certainly contributed his push in the wrong direction, when his turn came; but the rot goes a lot deeper.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:12PM (#44022449)
    There was no reason to hide it. It's perfectly reasonable to subpoena a person's phone records if they're the subject of an investigation and there is a decent reason for the subpoena. Collecting the phone records of everyone in the country is a whole different story.
  • by osu-neko (2604) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:17PM (#44022473)

    Now now, don't confuse Senator Obama with President Obama. They're entirely different people...

    (I'm not sure to what extent I'm joking...)

  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:18PM (#44022479) Homepage Journal

    Now now, don't confuse Senator Obama with President Obama. They're entirely different people...

    (I'm not sure to what extent I'm joking...)

    Senator Obama was made up. President Obama is the real person.

  • by AlgUSF (238240) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:19PM (#44022489) Homepage

    So much for "Hope and Change". I was looking forward to the end of the Patriot Act, and the closing of Guantanamo Bay.

    I say this as the United States Government is staging "advisors", on the border between Syria and Jordan. I guess our Government didn't learn much from Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Remember, the enemy of our enemy isn't necessarily our "friend".

  • by craigminah (1885846) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:25PM (#44022509)
    ...and if I were a dumb ass I'd make comments stereotyping people who believe in the Constitution and in limited government...
  • by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:33PM (#44022555)

    'the president had the constitutional authority, no matter what the law actually says, to order domestic spying without [constitutional] warrants,'

    This quote suggests two (independent) things: 1) that the constitution authorizes the president to order domestic spying. 2) that congress can [in essence] make no law that the president must obey (short of modifying the constitution). Is that actually true? It would mean that when Bush (and Obama) made signing statements that they didn't need to follow certain laws, they were 100% correct. It means Reagan acted 100% legally in Iran Contra. It means that even if Obama directly ordered the IRS to harass certain groups, it was 100% legal. That's kind of scary.

    No, it's not the least bit true. The fact is that the Constitution specifically forbids spying without a warrant, and that the Congress can remove a President if they find his exercise of power to be illegal. But it's also a fact that unless Congress acts the President as a practical matter can and will flout the law.

  • Re:Telcos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bartles (1198017) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:52PM (#44022717)
    The additional missing context, is that these corporations are heavily regulated by the same federal government that is compelling them to provide data. There is a conflict of interest here, and this reeks heavily of Fascism.
  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @02:01PM (#44022779)

    What stereotype? I didn't write down any stereotypes

    You use a derogatory term to refer to anyone that would suspect Democrats of abusing the national security apparatus for political ends, while stating that it is nonetheless reasonable to suspect future (presumably non-Democrat) administrations. If you study history, you will learn that the most dangerous authoritarianism is that which is cloaked in righteousness.

  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @02:19PM (#44022881) Journal

    Isn't it odd that the one and only thing Obama, McCain, Feinstein, etc etc can all agree on is the importance and legality of these programs....

  • Article X (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaveAtFraud (460127) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @02:47PM (#44023047) Homepage Journal

    Mr. Obama and company need to review article X of the U.S. constitution:

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    This is understood to mean that just because there isn't a specific prohibition on some action doesn't mean that the action is allowed. Thus, there is NO constitutional authority that allows the President (or any one else) to ignore the constitution and, especially, 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.

    I'd say that's pretty clear to me but I'm not a lawyer.

    Cheers,
    Dave

  • Re:Actions to take (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rene S. Hollan (1943) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @02:49PM (#44023065)

    Yes.

    I've lived 51 years, most of them O.K., and a few very well.

    I'd be quite willing to die on my feet rather than live under tyrany on my knees. Somehow, either beats becoming infirm and dying of old age. On this issue, I thinks heads should roll. The responsible people (all, of them, Republican and Democrat alike), should be found out, tried for treason, and if found guilty, commensurately punished, to send a message to future politicians about who serves whom.

    So, without further ado, and to certainly attract the attention at the good folks at the Secret Service:

    What to do about a treasonous president

    1. 218 (50%+1) of the 435 representative members of congress vote to imeach.
    2. 67 (2/3) of the 100 Senators vote to convict.
    3. 1 President is removed from office and is now subject to criminal prosecution.
    4. 23 members of a grand jury indict him to stand trial for treason (Benghazi certainly qualifies: ordering troops to stand down when Americans are under attack?).
    5. 12 members of a jury convict and sentence him for treason.
    6. One disgraced, former president.

    Rinse, Lather, Repeat with all the other traitors, and send a message to "politicians".

    It's an easy process to remember: 218 67 1 23 12, almost like a phone number: (218)671-2312.

    I am not afraid, of criticism, of torture, or of death.

  • by geogob (569250) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @04:08PM (#44023481)

    When you sit in the chair, you'll never be the one you wanted to be while looking up to it. And it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

    There's a simple reason while politician change and change their speech once they get (re)elected. It's only then that they are faced with reality, whereas all the speeches before are totally disconnected from it. In the end, it's the same person, but facing different realities. I don't excuse them really for it... it rather have candidates saying the things how they are, but that won't get them elected.

  • by BlueStrat (756137) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @04:10PM (#44023501)

    You must be one of the Dominionists who believe that the Constitution is the inspired Word of God.

    No. I believe that the Constitution is a giant leap forward in human civilization. It is the first time in 5,000 years of human history where men rule themselves by common agreement and their natural rights recognized and protected, and where the government is the servant and answerable to the people it governs. When it dies, it may well be another 5,000 years before it happens again.

    I would like you to cite where Jefferson says that hangings "should occur every 20 years or so".

    Maybe what you're thinking of is that Jefferson wanted, every 20 years or so, for the whole Constitution to be thrown out and rewritten by future constitutional conventions.

    ""I do not know whether it is to yourself or Mr. Adams I am to give my thanks for the copy of the new constitution. I beg leave through you to place them where due. It will be yet three weeks before I shall receive them from America. There are very good articles in it: and very bad. I do not know which preponderate. What we have lately read in the history of Holland, in the chapter on the Stadtholder, would have sufficed to set me against a Chief magistrate eligible for a long duration, if I had ever been disposed towards one: and what we have always read of the elections of Polish kings should have forever excluded the idea of one continuable for life. Wonderful is the effect of impudent and persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, and what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20. years without such a rebellion.[1] The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusets: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen yard in order. I hope in god this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted." - Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, Paris, 13 Nov. 1787

    BlueStrat, I think you have a childish, mythical view of what the Constitution is and does.

    I think you have a solipsist and cynical view of what the Constitution is and does, and are all too ready to allow whatever re-interpretation allows government to do whatever it wants as long as it's "your team" in power.

    The Constitution was written in plain language and does not require advanced education to understand the plain meaning of it's words. All the tortured re-interpretations that seek to redefine the plain meaning of the Constitution are attempts to circumvent the Constitution and avoid the Amendmen

  • Re:Actions to take (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lightknight (213164) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @04:19PM (#44023539) Homepage

    Was I drunk the day that everyone signed away their freedoms? Did someone forge my signature on various documents to give rise to these monstrosities? When did I exchange freedom for security, and call it a fair trade? What is with these weak spirited responses condoning the yoke that beckons to the grave?

    The home of the brave indeed. More like the home of the scared. The home of the frightened. The home of adult children threatened by the dark shadows cast by the bogie men they conjured up in the first place to protect them, bogie men that many of them never wanted. What happened to this country, that started off so strong, with such valiant leaders, only to end up like this...I fear it would take the resurrection of your forefathers to restore some valor to those frames. Yes, yes, we know you can fight wars, and win them...but it's been a while since you've fought one for the right reason. So here's one that you're scared of -> fighting one of your own creations, not on a battlefield filled with foreign enemies that you know nothing about, but on the court grounds of the land that you love so dear, over the laws that were setup to protect you if you but say the word 'No,' and yet, sadly, many of you cannot. You're scared, because you're not sure you can win this battle, when every other battle, until now, has been ducks in a barrel; you have to take a stand, if only on an issue, and there might be some repercussions for it. Better to choose the cowards way out, and remain silent, right? Then you can celebrate with everyone else after the battle has been won, without ever exposing yourselves...

  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @04:22PM (#44023555) Homepage Journal

    Oh I'm not surprised at all. He's a product of the dirtiest political machine of the country, Chicago's. I called this before his first election.

  • Re:Actions to take (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sociocapitalist (2471722) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @04:37PM (#44023633)

    Yes.

    I've lived 51 years, most of them O.K., and a few very well.

    I'd be quite willing to die on my feet rather than live under tyrany on my knees. Somehow, either beats becoming infirm and dying of old age. On this issue, I thinks heads should roll. The responsible people (all, of them, Republican and Democrat alike), should be found out, tried for treason, and if found guilty, commensurately punished, to send a message to future politicians about who serves whom.

    So, without further ado, and to certainly attract the attention at the good folks at the Secret Service:

    What to do about a treasonous president

    1. 218 (50%+1) of the 435 representative members of congress vote to imeach.
    2. 67 (2/3) of the 100 Senators vote to convict.
    3. 1 President is removed from office and is now subject to criminal prosecution.
    4. 23 members of a grand jury indict him to stand trial for treason (Benghazi certainly qualifies: ordering troops to stand down when Americans are under attack?).
    5. 12 members of a jury convict and sentence him for treason.
    6. One disgraced, former president.

    Rinse, Lather, Repeat with all the other traitors, and send a message to "politicians".

    It's an easy process to remember: 218 67 1 23 12, almost like a phone number: (218)671-2312.

    I am not afraid, of criticism, of torture, or of death.

    It's never going to happen because too many of the people in (1) and (2) of your list are complicit.

  • We have failed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @07:00PM (#44024515) Journal

    Look at yourselves. Go on, look at you. People of the United States, you've been had. Hoodwinked! Bamboozled! Run amuck

    If it were people of Turkey or people of any banana republic, I can't fault them, not even a bit, for human beings are very easily bamboozled

    However, for the Americans - I am one of them - THERE IS NO EXCUSE !!

    The founding fathers had repeatedly reminded us, in their writings, of the dangers of letting the government runs amok

    The founding fathers had even outlined what could went wrong, and what did went wrong in their time, and what they had done to rectify the wrongs

    So many of our ancestors sacrificed so much in their struggle to regain their liberties, and yet, look at us

    Are we even fit to call ourselves "AMERICANS" ??

    We have failed

    We have failed to uphold the spirit of America

    We have failed the founding fathers

    And more importantly, we have failed our children, and their children, in giving away our country and our liberties to the scoundrels

  • by Pseudonym (62607) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @11:43PM (#44025865)

    Senator Obama was made up. President Obama is the real person.

    That's at best partly true.

    The American people thought they were voting for an idealist constitutional scholar, but actually voted for a politician. Not a career politician, admittedly, but still a politician. That's the true part.

    The untrue part is that they are different people. Actually, Senator Obama is just as real as President Obama; they are the same person working under different conditions.

    We know this because the psychological forces are extremely well-understood. When you are in a position of great responsibility, the temptation is always there to bend your ethics just a bit in response to a true moral dilemma. The job of POTUS involves weighing up the lesser of multiple evils, and you don't get to punt the choice to someone else. You have to compromise your ethics one way or another.

    When you break the rules, even ostensibly for the greater good, you run the risk of becoming desensitised to breaking rules. Eventually, you can get to the point where you know that you only ever break the rules in the service of a good cause, so any rule-breaking you do must be in the service of a good cause. The logical extension of this is the Nixon theory of the legality of the exercise of presidential power.

    That's if you don't have a check on your conscience like, oh, a culture of pervasive over-broad secrecy and being surrounded by yes-men.

    TL;DR Senator Obama == lawful good. President Obama == chaotic good.

  • Re:We have failed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @11:58PM (#44025937) Journal

    What you say should be paid attention too. But the problem is that most Americans no longer know their history or the reasons is happened. We constantly find people claiming the constitution is a 200 year old document that has no relevance to modern time (this usually comes out when talking gun control).

    The founding of the country, the whys and whatnot simply aren't being taught in any significant ways in schools now. When they are, they are brushed over with political slants mostly leading to conclusions used to shape the next generation of voters for a political party.

    People claim the federalist papers are meaningless but they go a long way in explaining a lot of the hows and whys the constitution of the government was in such a way. After all, it was a public discussion that expressed the concerns of people as well as explaining the intent and reasons of some parts of the constitution. Yet, I'm not aware of any high school that has it as part of the curriculum and people who bring it up are often dismissed as kooks.

    I guess my question is how long will this continue before something is done and if and when something is done, will anyone like the results. A lot of political power is spent making the state we are in today and a lot of power will be spent on keeping it that way.

  • by kermidge (2221646) on Monday June 17, 2013 @03:48AM (#44026887) Journal

    I've long thought it funny, in a perverse way, that one can get arrested for speaking the truth but never elected for doing so. Screwy system - our hypocrisy of demanding honesty of our elected yet refusing to vote for truth-tellers. We vote for a daddy who'll kiss the boo-boo and make it better, but woe betide the adult who tries to tell us the facts of life. Just as scary, we vote for people who want the job - which by rights ought to disqualify them.

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