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Trove of NSA Documents and FISC Opinions Declassified Thanks to EFF Lawsuit 110

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the what-is-truth dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Thanks to an EFF lawsuit, the office of the Director of National Intelligence is releasing declassified redacted versions of various documents relating to the NSA's domestic surveillance activities. The documents are being released on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks." The EFF is hosting the documents, which are searchable. A few initial findings were posted yesterday evening; they include (thanks to another anonymous reader) the NSA illegally using phone data for three years, and evidence that Clapper knowingly mislead the public about metadata collection.
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Trove of NSA Documents and FISC Opinions Declassified Thanks to EFF Lawsuit

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @12:07PM (#44820023)

    And he is us.

  • by Guru80 (1579277) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @12:09PM (#44820045)
    Releasing the information on the anniversary of 9/11 can't be completely coincidental. On a day national security is rallied behind by those in power to protect us from another such incident it comes across as just a PR move to lessen the outrage if possible of those that will be up in arms over their activities.
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @12:10PM (#44820049) Homepage

    the NSA illegally using phone data for three years, and evidence that Clapper knowingly mislead the public about metadata collection.

    Should we expect criminal charges, or will we find out that since he lied to protect the politicians they'll go soft on this do nothing?

    Because he's either committed a criminal act, or he's just a stooge covering up for someone else.

    • by Dracos (107777)

      Expect? Yes. Will happen? Of course not. Criminality and cover-up are not mutually exclusive.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Expect? Yes. Will happen? Of course not.

        In which case you're confusing 'expect' with 'hope for' -- I mean 'expect' as in a realistic chance it will happen.

        Criminality and cover-up are not mutually exclusive.

        Not by a long shot -- but when the people who determine criminality are part of the cover up, you more or less have to conclude nothing at all will happen.

        • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @12:51PM (#44820545) Homepage

          Do you expect the head of a spy service NOT to lie? This is at the top of the whole chain of problems with 'intelligence'.

          The basic safety valve in the US approach to government isn't 'democracy' (which we aren't) or some sort of special affinity by a magical deity. It is the concept and application of checks and balances. Nobody can ultimately be trusted. No institution can be trusted for any period of time. You MUST have the ability to check the scope and application of any government department's mission.

          An intelligence service beholden to no one with essentially unlimited funds is a scary monster indeed.

          • by PRMan (959735)

            Do you expect the head of a spy service NOT to lie?

            To Congress? Yes.

            • You must be new here.

              The NSA telling the 'truth' to the biggest pack of lairs in the country would bring up some scary philosophical issues.

    • by meerling (1487879)
      Of course, covering up for someone elses criminal act is itself a criminal act.
      I think that legally opens up 'conspiracy' charges as well, but ianal, so that's just a guess on my part.
    • by fritsd (924429)
      Maybe you Americans can impeach and convict him, and sentence him to become... a talkshow host!!!! [wikipedia.org]
    • How can those "stooge politicians"do anything? I mean, between the NSA and the DEA horizon program, it'll pretty much go like this:

      Politician: you know, I think our laws have been broken and the intelligence community needs to be reformed.

      NSA: that's nice. You know all those calls to your mistress? Want them leaked, because we've got them recorded. Heck we don't have them recorded, but since the public thinks we do, we could just splice together your previous conversations and make them sound damning enough

  • by TrumpetPower! (190615) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @12:10PM (#44820051) Homepage

    The news is full of all sorts of illegal shit that the NSA and its lackeys have been doing for years, yet I haven't heard a peep about any hints of prosecution.

    Where're the prosecutors with the balls to hold the watchers accountable?

    b&

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @12:14PM (#44820087) Homepage

      Where're the prosecutors with the balls to hold the watchers accountable?

      That of course assumes that the DoJ would have any interest in pursuing this, and that the politicians who should have damned well known this was happening want to do anything but sweep this under the rug.

      It's hard not to believe this was done without anybody in authority knowing it was happening -- at which point the only people who could prosecute for this are part of the problem.

      Is this 'rogue agency stepping outside of its mandate', or just part of a bigger problem where government has decided the laws don't really matter?

      • Except that there're virtually always young Turks or gadflies or other types looking to make a name for themselves or upset the applecart when those in power show signs of weakness.

        Am I really to believe that there's nobody in this country with a badge interested in doing the right thing, for whatever reason?

        I can almost see how the Justice Department could have been purged so effectively that no junior prosecutor is willing to stick his or her neck out for something like this. But even in all fifty states

        • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @12:37PM (#44820395) Homepage

          Except that there're virtually always young Turks or gadflies or other types looking to make a name for themselves or upset the applecart when those in power show signs of weakness.

          Sure there are, but since you'd be trying to prosecute the head of a federal agency (or near to it), you'd likely need the help of the Attorney General of the US.

          And if he's decided (or been told) that it's not in the national interest to do this, it simply won't happen.

          A junior prosecutor can't file charges his boss tells him he's not allowed to charge. He'd basically get fired or removed from the case.

          Don't get me wrong, I'm not disagreeing with you that someone should be charged -- I'm just of the opinion that as a practical matter it might be impossible for someone with the right jurisdiction to do anything about this to either have or exercise the will to prosecute.

          And I vaguely recall that the feds retain the right to basically say "you have no standing to sue because we said so". I have no idea of what entity could undertake this and be in any way free of being shut down by the feds who cite national security.

          The deck is unfortunately stacked against anybody who wants to prosecute this, since it could mean taking on the entire federal government.

          • That didn't stop Archibald Cox [wikipedia.org]....

            b&

          • And I vaguely recall that the feds retain the right to basically say "you have no standing to sue because we said so". I have no idea of what entity could undertake this and be in any way free of being shut down by the feds who cite national security.

            Yes, you are thinking of the Federal Tort Claims Act [wikipedia.org]. They're the dealer AND the house rolled up in one.

          • by sribe (304414)

            And I vaguely recall that the feds retain the right to basically say "you have no standing to sue because we said so".

            The general principle, inherited from common law, is called "sovereign immunity", and it means exactly what it sounds like--one could only sue the king if he agreed that one could do so.

            As the centuries creep by, the general trend in the U.S. has been toward a weakening of sovereign immunity. But it's a slow process, and in my opinion the concept should have been mostly discarded 100 years ago. (I say "mostly" because governments are big fat targets for lunatics, so I don't object to, say, an independent pa

          • by Bob9113 (14996)

            Sure there are, but since you'd be trying to prosecute the head of a federal agency (or near to it), you'd likely need the help of the Attorney General of the US.

            And if he's decided (or been told) that it's not in the national interest to do this, it simply won't happen.

            A junior prosecutor can't file charges his boss tells him he's not allowed to charge. He'd basically get fired or removed from the case.

            Perhaps we should do a Kickstarter -- raise $2m to compensate a DoJ prosecutor for risking throwing away

          • by z0idberg (888892)

            Add to all that that it will take someone with either a crystal clean history without a single secret they wouldn't mind being exposed to the world*, or someone with some massive balls to bring charges against people with the highest levels of access within the organisation that literally knows EVERYTHING about EVERYONE.

            Sadly there doesn't seem to be a person fitting either of those descriptions willing to put it all on the line.

            *Just thinking on that further. Not only must they have a crystal clean history

      • Is this 'rogue agency stepping outside of its mandate', or just part of a bigger problem where government has decided the laws don't really matter?

        Yes, it is.

    • Where're the prosecutors with the balls to hold the watchers accountable?

      They've all been mysteriously disbarred. By a secret ruling, of course.

      Seriously, none of these people can realistically prosecute anything. They have all been compromised and it would bring down the house of cards. And this is how things will remain as long as we continue to sell our votes in support of the current system.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The news is full of all sorts of illegal shit that the NSA and its lackeys have been doing for years, yet I haven't heard a peep about any hints of prosecution.

      Where're the prosecutors with the balls to hold the watchers accountable?

      b&

      Uh, you mean "head of the justice department" Attorney General "Fast and Furious" "repeated perjury before congress" Eric Holder? You don't really think he would want to act as if that kind of felony was considered objectionable and start prosecuting his fellow cronies?

      That would not just require balls but rather balls and chains.

      • I really wish we'd just prosecute Holder for his perjury and be done with it.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          I really wish we'd just prosecute Holder for his perjury and be done with it.

          We? The responsible person for prosecuting this kind of perjury is the Attorney General. He has investigated himself and let the matter drop.

          It would seem that you seriously underestimate the open cynicism with which this corrupt government is being run.

    • The second the trials start (if any ever do) I fully expect to see the Nuremberg Defense [wikipedia.org] in heavy usage. And in this case, the courts will almost certainly let that stand.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Where're the prosecutors with the balls to hold the watchers accountable?

      In private practice, most likely. It's not that they were fired from the DoJ per se, but they were told that it would be better for everyone if they just went away quietly.

    • They're too busy chasing after precocious people with libertarian ideals that could threaten the establishment and bullying them into suicide.
      • by Guy Harris (3803)

        They're too busy chasing after precocious people with libertarian ideals that could threaten the establishment and bullying them into suicide.

        As well as going after Aaron Swartz [aaronsw.com] and bullying him into suicide. (Or by "libertarian ideals" do you mean "ideals supportive of civil liberties" rather than "free-market ideals"?)

    • by Fnord666 (889225)

      Where're(sic) the prosecutors with the balls to hold the watchers accountable?

      They've all been sent mp3s of their latest phone calls to their bookie/mistress/whatever as a reminder.

    • by PRMan (959735)
      So let's elect a president that will select a DOJ that will prosecute these guys.
    • by Bob9113 (14996)

      The news is full of all sorts of illegal shit that the NSA and its lackeys have been doing for years, yet I haven't heard a peep about any hints of prosecution.

      Oh, come on, now, that's an exaggeration. Surely you've heard the politicians calling for Edward Snowden to face charges.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Actually, the percentage of illegal 'shit' the NSA does is turning out to be very tiny overall. Less than 1%

      It should be stopped, but let's not go on like that's all they do.

      • by whoever57 (658626)

        Actually, the percentage of illegal 'shit' the NSA does is turning out to be very tiny overall. Less than 1%

        Actually, we probably know about 1% of the illegal shit that the NSA is doing.

        FTFY

  • Oh look (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @12:19PM (#44820145)

    NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/11/nsa-americans-personal-data-israel-documents

    • by neo-mkrey (948389)
      Well, we are all good and totally fucked now, aren't we?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I write pig fucking erotica and now the jews know about it. Dammit!

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @12:22PM (#44820189) Homepage Journal

    I'm not sure how they, or anyone, can claim they weren't, and aren't now, siphoning every phone call and email yet are somehow able to target specific individuals or look for keywords.

    If you're looking for keywords, then obviously you have to search everything. If you're looking for a specific word in a document, you have to search the entire document. You can't pick and choose.

    The same with digital communications. Unlike a copper wire to someone's house where you can place a tap or read mail destined only to their address, you have to look at all traffic and then filter. Thus, you have to look at everyone's email and listen in on every phone call to find what you are looking for.

    I barely qualify as geeky let alone as an expert, but even I know you can't claim to somehow, miraculously, target one individual's traffic in the stream while ignoring everyone else.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I run a email spam filter. The server looks at every email body/envelope I receive and learns from it to identify spam. All major email providers do it and no one ever accused them of spying. Google even goes one step further and offers ads based on the email context.

        Is spam filtering spying? Is it bad?

      • by Uberbah (647458) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @01:56PM (#44821235)

        Will a Google SWAT team show up at your house based on emails about hydroponics? No, but one from the DEA might.

        Facebook and Google want to sell ads. Whereas the government wants to prosecute people with illegally gathered evidence, as when the NSA feeds data to the DEA. Pretty fucking serious difference.

    • Well, I could envision a system where all the data is collected, searched through, and anything that didn't contain certain target phrases (or was to/from target individuals) was ditched. This would mean that the data was collected but not stored. Slightly better than the "collect and store everything" that apparently the NSA has done. Not by much, mind you, but a bit better.

      Of course, any such system would also need to have real checks and balances in place to prevent abuse. Not "Court Rubber Stamp" bu

      • Of course, any such system would also need to have real checks and balances in place to prevent abuse.

        There can't be any effective checks and balances to such a system. In fact, such a system shouldn't exist at all.

      • If the police came to your house and walked through looking for drugs and then told you it wasn't a "search" because they hadn't found what they were looking for... would you agree that wasn't a search? This is unconstitutional in every way.

    • by stanlyb (1839382)
      How do you think the router works? No, don't tell, the router does not miraculously target the one individual's traffic....it happens by magic.
      • The router does not look at the contents of each packet, only the headers. The router doesn't care where the packets are going to, or where they are coming from, it just finds the best path to the next router (if necessary).

  • Declassifed when they're redacted!
  • A real treasure trove [artlex.com] we got here...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    is if we re-enact public executions for our politicians.

  • Misled. FU author of published piece. Tell me, if you 12 year old daughter was brutally raped by 3 men would you say her 'date' wasn't all it was hoped to be. Bastards like this that need a tazed to the pants for this BS coverage. Get it through your heads, or fed can not manage this without the support like this.

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