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US Senators: NSA Lies In Fact Sheets 295

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the extraordinary-americans-have-no-rights-though dept.
Bruce66423 writes "The Guardian reports that two U.S. senators have written to the NSA telling it to amend its 702 provisions fact sheet (PDF) which, they claim, contains inaccuracies. However they can't actually say HOW they are inaccurate, because they would be compromising classified information. So the U.S. government uses taxpayer money to lie to the people... there's a surprise!" From the letter: "In our judgment, this inaccuracy is significant, as it portrays protections for Americans' privacy as being significantly stronger than they actually are." But they go on to say "We appreciate your attention to this matter. We believe that the U.S. government should have broad authorities to investigate terrorism and espionage, and that it is possible to aggressively pursue terrorists without compromising the constitutional rights of ordinary Americans. Achieving this goal depends not just on secret courts and secret congressional hearings, but on informed public debate as well."
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US Senators: NSA Lies In Fact Sheets

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  • Since when (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jasper160 (2642717) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:11AM (#44099291)
    Do politicians follow the law?
    • Re:Since when (Score:4, Informative)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:23AM (#44099345)
      Since they get to win votes by looking like the good guys for once.

      Any opportunity to give the appearance of caring what the serfs think of them, at least until the next series of America's Top Next Factor Voice Brother starts and this whole mess can be forgotten.
      • Re:Since when (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mmcxii (1707574) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:26AM (#44099371)
        Looking like the good guy matters less by the day. "My party, right or wrong" has been the battle cry of American politics for a long while but the lengths to which this is take in the past few administrations has become insane.
        • In fairness, aren't these the guys who were warning about the secret interpretations for years? Not all politicians are cut from the same cloth. The problem here is that they knew the NSA was lying but knew if they blew the whistle (which is their fucking job, being representatives of the people) then they'd go to the slammer. A simple solution would seem to be to pass a law saying that any classified information can be revealed by elected representatives at any time, and doing so automatically declassifies

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, but "cold fjord" and the other government shills/retards will be here soon to tell us that it's all ok and for our own safety.

    • Re:Since when (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:34AM (#44099401)

      Since when does the NSA ever tell the truth? Basically all this letter says is "Your lies have been exposed, so make up some new ones." Meanwhile they're trying to throw the leaker of said lies into a prison for the rest of his life in hopes of discouraging anyone else from exposing the *next* set of lies.

    • Re:Since when (Score:5, Informative)

      by Seumas (6865) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:42AM (#44099445)

      Well, there's an important decision to be made.

      The OATH of the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES that he takes before the entire world during his inauguration clearly states that his duty in that position is "to protect and uphold the constitution of the United States".

      However, George Bush stated that his job was to be "The Decider".

      And Obama repeatedly states at every interview and speech that his "first priority and duty as president" is "to protect the American people".

      So.. no, they don't have "the law" (ie, the Constitution) anywhere in their realm of concern.

      Even though Obama is a fucking Constitutional lawyer, I believe.

      • Re:Since when (Score:5, Insightful)

        by causality (777677) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:53AM (#44099519)

        Even though Obama is a fucking Constitutional lawyer, I believe.

        The purpose of being a Constitutional lawyer is to perform mental gymnastics creating exceptions to clearly-stated language such as "shall not infringe" and "shall make no law".

        • Constitutional law is about arguing the constitution in court. -what arguments tend to succeed, what arguments tend not to. Unless the judge is receptive, it has nothing to do with normative truth.

      • And Obama repeatedly states at every interview and speech that his "first priority and duty as president" is "to protect the American people".

        Allegedly, the job of the US President was to serve the American people.

        Which is not the same thing at all.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          Have you even read the Constitution?

          The word 'serve' isn't even in it.

          And since you seem to be pretty clueless about the constitution:
          "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States"
          So, yeah to protect the American people is his top priority.
          http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/prespowers.html [umkc.edu]

      • by geekoid (135745)

        “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” G.Washing First inauguration. So yeah,. protecting and defending has been their all along. . but you go ahead with your ignorance.
        lest you have forgotten:
        We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the c

    • Re:Since when (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @09:23AM (#44099785) Journal

      "Is it legal" - Trade Federation

      "I will make it legal" - Darth Sidious

      This is the lie of the big government proponents. They love to cloak themselves in "legality", and skirt around the issue of whether or not something is right (correct, moral). Is Snowden a traitor or a hero? Well that depends upon whether you look at what he did as being legal or moral, because those questions result in two different outcomes.

      Next time you here someone say "but they broke the law" ask them if Rosa Parks broke the law.

      Not all laws are just laws.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        What he did was illegal, and highly immoral.

        Something can be immoral, illegal AND right.

        • Re:Since when (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Nadaka (224565) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @11:19AM (#44100865)

          Its not immoral. He swore an oath for his security clearance. An oath like the president or any soldier. Its first clause to to protect and defend the constitution of the united states of America. The last is to perform the duties of his position.

          He was placed in the position where he could not simultaneously fulfill both parts of the oath. No matter what he did, he would be breaking part of it. So he sided with the constitution and the American people, and I think that makes him a hero.

    • Indeed. I thought that was one of the perks of being elected to higher office...not having to lie / cover up as much of the crime you commit as you normally do, because you're now immune to prosecution. ^_^

  • by mcvos (645701) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:11AM (#44099293)

    I'd rather they actually put a stop to it, but I guess we have to be happy that at least some senators are willing to address lies by the government.

    • Actually, generating public outcry is probably the best thing that they can do. There are only a couple good senators and representatives in the US congress and they're not going to overturn these awful laws by themselves. Instead, all they can do is call out the other legislators on their supposed claims of government oversight keeping these programs in check, because obviously that's not happening. The NSA, and probably all other US (and UK, and other) intelligence agencies have already been exposed several times for their lies to the public (and this goes back decades as well).

      So the best thing that these good guy legislators can do is expose the programs and discredit the people that support them. That will get a lot of people who are on the fence to fall on their side.

    • by TheP4st (1164315) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @10:58AM (#44100603)

      They did little more than slap the NSA in it's fingers saying "naughty boy!" while at the same time condoning the appalling concept of secret courts.

      "We appreciate your attention to this matter. We believe that the U.S. government should have broad authorities to investigate terrorism and espionage, and that it is possible to aggressively pursue terrorists without compromising the constitutional rights of ordinary Americans. Achieving this goal depends not just on secret courts and secret congressional hearings, but on informed public debate as well."

      • by TheP4st (1164315)
        It should of course have read "on its fingers..." And no! I am not under the delusion that some anal retentive asshat won't find something to whine about and declare that I am guilty of a crime of genocidal proportions due to my failure to double check before posting.
  • FTFY (Score:4, Insightful)

    by redback (15527) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:11AM (#44099295)

    "NSA Lies"

    FTFY

    • Rule One: The NSA Lies.

      I'll forgive the lies if they also have two hearts, a box that's bigger on the inside, and think bowties and fezes are cool.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Ah so lying is OK when it's 'your' people the lie. I got it.
        fucking hypocrite.

        • Um... It was a reference (attempt at humor) to "Doctor Who" (Rule One: The Doctor Lies), not an acceptance of what the NSA did.

    • by JRV31 (2962911)
      The only time a government ever tells the truth is when it is in it's own best interest.
  • I can't decipher how sad or pathetic this actually is.
    • Yeah, does seem a bit like the pot meeting the kettle.
  • It is important not to simply wonder on this. After all, in a way or another some had seen it commming. Now that the brown pieces have hit the rotating blades, the real issue is how to prevent this from happening in the future.
      The first thing that comes to mind is the word "Legislation". But then again, it is exactly that what gave rise to this situation in the first place.

    "I have a million ideas. They all point to certain death" - Marvin

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:24AM (#44099357)

      How about instead of creating new legislation, they repeal some old bills. Like the National Security Act of 1947.

      • I strongly wish that. When I mentioned "Legislation" by no means I was thinking adding only. The options could be as trimming, repealing, changing, trashing... in general, fixing. And moreover, the process of stopping this from happening again should encompass legislation, not be limited within its boundaries. For example, it might also involve necessity to inform the public and some line there reading "Non compliants will be taken out and shot". Ok, this is figurative but the idea is that there has to be

      • by Seumas (6865)

        Or The USA PATRIOT Act of 200X.

      • Re:Reactions to this (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Vintermann (400722) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @09:17AM (#44099705) Homepage

        Or the espionage act of 1917. Created with the noble intent of going after people who spoke against joining WWI.

  • However they can't actually say HOW they are inaccurate, because they would be compromising classified information.

    diff those documents before and after amendment, see the classified information. I don't know if the senators are dumb or being subtly clever.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      diff those documents before and after amendment, see the classified information. I don't know if the senators are dumb or being subtly clever.

      After such an amendment, the information would have been declassified. Can't tell if you're cleverly dumb or dumbly subtle.

  • Who is in charge? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Subm (79417) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:17AM (#44099331)

    How long before Congress simply states "We aren't in charge anymore."?

    • by Danathar (267989)

      that happened years ago

    • by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:59AM (#44099569)

      As long as Congress controls the budget, Congress is in charge. That won't change any time soon.

      The question is, do enough of their colleagues agree with them to take action? Their view may be poorly justified.

      • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @09:24AM (#44099797)

        Even though they're "in charge," they might not set the rules due to a lack of political will (standing up to someone who wants to do something "to fight terrorists" or "in the name of national security" for fear of being portrayed as weak next election cycle) or due to money flow from lobbyists telling them what laws to write ("we're not bribing you, we're just giving you this expensive trip and a cushy position when you retire if you get this bill we wrote passed"). Having the authority to be in charge and actually being in charge are two very different things.

  • Half right (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SirGarlon (845873) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:23AM (#44099351)
    The senators said, in part,

    it is possible to aggressively pursue terrorists without compromising the constitutional rights of ordinary Americans

    My gut says this is plausible, but we don't really know - it's never been tried.

    • by pjt33 (739471)

      The other way of reading that quote is that it's not possible to aggressively pursue terrorists without compromising the constitutional rights of some (extraordinary) Americans.

    • The senators said, in part,

      it is possible to aggressively pursue terrorists without compromising the constitutional rights of ordinary Americans

      My gut says this is plausible, but we don't really know - it's never been tried.

      Let's look at history.

      Unlike the Soviet Union and other historical threats to the USA, "the terrorists" are not some big nation with a big military that we can "go to war against". We can't "invade Terrorstan" and "show them johnnies what's what" because (and I hate to break it to my common-sense neighbors), there's no such country as Terrorstan to invade.

      "The terrorists" are not a single country or alliance, they're hundreds of mostly-small groups, many of which hate each other even more than they hate us.

  • by MrMickS (568778) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:24AM (#44099361) Homepage Journal

    If they can't show the issues with it due to national security reasons would we be able to see a correctly amended version of the document? It seems odd to point out issues with a public document but not be able to point out what is wrong.

    If the document is corrected how will we know if its a true and accurate portrayal of the state of affairs? It seems to me that information will be held back, for national security reasons, and as such the document is bound to be inaccurate even if not deliberately misleading.

  • Obama stated that "These programs are subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate. And if there are members of Congress who feel differently, then they should speak up. And if in fact there was - there were abuses taking place, presumably, those members of Congress could raise those issues very aggressively. They're empowered to do so."

    But the only place Congress is legally permitted to speak up is in a classified hearing.. This means it's not just that memb

    • by moeinvt (851793) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:42AM (#44099443)

      If we had some people in Congress and the Senate who were genuine leaders with a modicum of courage and respect for the oath they swore on The Constitution, they'd go public. Let's see Big Brother arrest some of our elected officials for "treason" because they tell their constituents what the government is doing.

      After all of Obama's speeches telling us about how the programs have congressional oversight, I've been demanding that my elected asshats in DC tell me exactly who knows the details. No luck yet. I've suggested that it must be the intelligence committees, but my Rep. and Senators won't give me any specifics.

      • by Virtucon (127420)

        There is congressional oversight by the Intelligence Committees. However they're so caught up with shit all over their faces right now because they're the ones who tell their peers that "This is okay, approve it" when it comes to the acts and the budget.

        The way to kill all of this horseshit is to ultimately hold congress accountable and change the laws, de-fund it and get back to putting this country on the right track as opposed to worrying about middle-eastern shit for brains that have nothing better to

      • It would be nice if it was the powerful dissenters like Wyden who resorted to civil disobedience, rather than comparatively powerless like Snowden.

        Not that it would be without consequences, even for the powerful, to resist. But they're much, much better equipped to defend themselves.

    • You got to wonder what Wyden thinks to himself, when he sees his own president brazenly say stuff like this while simultaneously forbidding him by force of law from speaking up.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        That isn't the case.
        A) The president was address the ludicrous claim that congress was kept in the dark.
        B) Not being able to speak of specific matters of security is not the same as not being able to speak up.

  • by csumpi (2258986) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:27AM (#44099379)
    "So the [put any country's name here] government uses taxpayer money to lie to the people... there's a surprise!"
  • Since when did /. become an aggregate of the Daily Show? News for nerds... stuff that matters?

    • Since when did /. become an aggregate of the Daily Show? News for nerds... stuff that matters?

      It's very difficult to screw around with the Internet/technology/communications without it being news for nerds or stuff that matters.

  • Secret courts? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @08:34AM (#44099403)

    Achieving this goal depends not just on secret courts and secret congressional hearings

    What's the goal -- having a police state? There NO place for secret courts and secret Congressional hearings in a free society.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I think having a nuanced view of these issues requires us to consider the possibility that such things might sometimes be justified.
      Spies and terrorists do exist. The levels of these threats may be different from what they are portrayed to be, but they're not completely fictitious.
      Is it completely unreasonable to ever need to keep secrets in the investigation and handling of spies and terrorists?

      • by Greyfox (87712)
        Pretty sure the secret courts were one of the gripes our founding fathers had with England. Of course, in England's eyes, our founding fathers were terrorists, so there you go.
        • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

          by cold fjord (826450)

          From the perspective of the Crown, the Americans were rebels, not terrorists. Big difference.

      • by Bucc5062 (856482)

        The base issue is not so much about keep secrets in the ongoing investigations, not telling bad guys we know where you are is understandable. The issue is that agencies like the NSA are usupring the Constitution in order to try and hook bad guys, pontetially invading privacy of US citizens that have no connection with any bad guys. Consider this statement:

        "Any inadvertently acquired communication of or concerning a US person must be promptly destroyed if it is neither relevant to the authorized purpose or evidence of a crime."

        There is no implied statement there, the NSA is processing general communications in the hopes of find a bad guy, but doing so by digging into private c

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        They are never justified, NEVER.

    • by mu51c10rd (187182)

      Secret courts are important..depending on their purpose. FISA is useful as it grants a small group of judges security clearances instead of the entire federal bench corp. Security clearances are necessary to vet people who will see information to protect sources and methods...it is not supposed to be protecting information (beyond that which would reveal sources and methods). I see FISA as a necessity, but it appears that Snowden has revealed how abused the FISA court now is. FISA should not have the author

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by cold fjord (826450)

      There NO place for ... secret Congressional hearings in a free society.

      That is a popular if completely unserious view. Do you really believe that in the modern world today that a republic of 300,000,000 people will have no secrets that have to be maintained, and that you personally should have access to everything at your whim? If you do, then you fundamentally misunderstand the nature of representative government.

      There NO place for secret courts ... in a free society.

      The US FISA court isn't a secret trial court that tries suspects for guilt or innocence. It is a court that handles classified information and requests for warran

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Of course there is, don't be stupid.

  • I think we actually need an NID [wikia.com] now. Not the plot device, but a real civilian oversight agency. The real question is how do we staff it without getting people just as corrupt as the rest of the government?

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      no we need Amercians that are not lazy idiots.

      Call, Write, FAX and email your senators and demand they work to repeal the PATRIOT act now. and get others to do it as well.

      • by pecosdave (536896)

        That works for actual good politicians.

        The elite Feinstein, McCain and other top of the of parties people are going to keep pushing their own personal agenda on the people regardless of what the people want, and they're proving it time and time again with their statements which would bite them in the ass hard were they not state media darlings.

        Who keeps re-electing the fucktards?

  • "I could tell you what is wrong, but then I'd have to kill you."

  • ...and that it is possible to aggressively pursue terrorists without compromising the constitutional rights of ordinary Americans.
    Achieving this goal depends not just on secret courts and secret congressional hearings,

    These last two statements are in direct opposition to one another. They are mutually exclusive. Pick one. And by pick one I mean the former.

  • by n2hightech (1170183) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @09:21AM (#44099755)
    Essentially the constitution means nothing if they say the magic words "National Security". You think you have rights sorry we think you are a threat to "National Security" we can lock you up. No evidence. No judge. No jury. No Press. No rules apply to us we are protecting "National Security". This is the same logic every dictatorship has used throughout history. How big a threat is Al Qaeda and the Talaban really? In all their attacks on the US through out all history they have killed 4400+/- people. And 4488+/- of our troops in their country. So less than 10,000 US deaths due to Al Qaeda and the Talaban over the last 17 years give or take depending on when you say Al Qaeda formed. So the average death tole is 588 US citizens per year due to Al Qaeda and the Talaban actions. How does this compare to other threats to "National Security" From the CDC Report on death statics http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_04.pdf [cdc.gov] This ranks right up there with accidental deaths from firearms and a bad case of the flu. Don't get me wrong. I believe those responsible for acts of violence should be punished and a military response to 911 was the right thing to do. When you look at the actual impact based on the death toll the security of our country was not and has never been at stake. I do not feel less fearful today or more free today. I am much more fearful of loosing my rights and freedoms to actions of our government than I am to those of Al Qaeda, the Talaban and terrorism in general.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      "In all their successful attacks on the US through out all history they have killed 4400+/- people"

      It's about prevention, not revenge.

      "I am much more fearful of loosing my rights and freedoms to actions of our government than I am to those of Al Qaeda, the Talaban and terrorism in general."
      which is stupid, statistically speaking.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @09:23AM (#44099787) Homepage

    Step 1 when you have a leak. Discredit the source.

    the NSA knows they need to lie through their teeth hard to discredit this as fast as possible and hope that the bulk of the population believes them.

    Step 2 is demonize the source in the eyes of the people. That one is currently underway.

  • The media (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @09:37AM (#44099907)

    So... up until this NSA/Snowden incident, I believed the media was incompetent. Not malicious... just out to make a buck and real news was expensive to do research on. But now it's clear. The coverage on this entire affair by CNN, CBS, NBC, etc... is flat out propaganda. There is no question that what the NSA is doing is unconstitutional. It is, without a doubt, a violation of our rights. Snowden really is a political activist. The US would be applauding such behavior of a Chinese citizen, and we would provide them asylum in a heartbeat. The presidents that allowed this to continue (Bush and Obama) should be charged in criminal court for this. Obama, at the very least should be impeached. The courts involved, the members of congress that were aware, they should all lose their offices at the very least. The NSA should be shut down permanently. We still have a chance to save the republic... but it's a small one. Everyone in this country needs to vote 3rd party going forward. If you vote R or D in any election in the future, you're a traitor to your country and we should all be ashamed of you.

    • by meta-monkey (321000) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @02:17PM (#44103165) Journal

      1) There are a very few not-awful ones (Rand Paul, Ron Wyden) who are on the right side of this issue. Yes, I know they are bound to, under scrutiny, have character flaws and some positions one does not like. This is because they are men, and men are imperfect. If you're holding out for the perfect hero, well, that ain't gonna happen. I only heard about one perfect guy and about 2000 years ago he said "hey everybody, let's be nice to each other" and the rabble nailed him to a tree.

      2) Let's be careful with the "T" word (traitor, that is). We seem to have outlawed reasonableness. Suggesting those who pull an R or D lever are "traitors" is just as wrong as any of the other recent manglings of language. Perhaps instead say they are "those who love their government more than their country."

      In general, this absolutism stuff needs to stop (is that an absolute statement?), because we seem to be constantly demanded to make all or nothing, hyperbolic judgements, that will obviously, inevitable fail to pass scrutiny because the choices given are both wrong. "Snowden: hero or traitor?" Um, how about neither? How about man, who has multiple motivations, some of which are more self-interested than others. That's part of the distraction machine (in addition to the fact that we're talking about the man as much as the message). When those are the only two options, people who only think in binary terms (which seems to be most Americans) just wind up in a confused tailspin. "He's a hero! He stood up to the government!" "But he ran away and heroes don't run!" "Oh no, then he must be a traitor!"

      I have no idea how I'd be judged under such standards. Well, I guess I do. "Goes to work to provide for his wife and family! American everyman hero." "Spends time posting on Slashdot at work. Lazy slacker traitor." Couldn't I just be...a guy...who does some things right and some things wrong?

  • Upon trying to access the PDF fact sheet:

    Internal Server Error - Read

    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    Reference #3.767ffea5.1372167766.16d1687b

  • " contains inaccuracies" does not mean 'lies'.
    Also, I can'[t help but notice that it]s people in the government that are shedding light on this issue.

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