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NSA Chief Keith Alexander Takes His PRISM Pitch To YouTube 165

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-bad-not-terrible dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "There's definitely something strange about the video's attempt at looking/sounding like a NOVA episode. Alexander, who defended the agency at Black Hat this summer and recently announced his retirement next year, takes care to emphasize the agency's privacy compliance precautions and oversight. 'We have not had any willful or knowing violations in those programs,' he says referring to sections 215 and 702 of the Patriot Act, which relate to the telephone metadata and PRISM programs respectively. 'There have been [violations] in other programs, but not in those two.'"
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NSA Chief Keith Alexander Takes His PRISM Pitch To YouTube

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  • by Afty0r (263037) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @05:37PM (#45253725) Homepage

    All the lies and deceit that has come along from them so far means that WE. DO. NOT. TRUST. WHAT. YOU. SAY.

    Your words are pointless, because you are almost certainly lying. "How do you know when an NSA spokesman is lying?" "His lips are moving"

    • by houghi (78078) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @06:35PM (#45254105)

      Don't you get it? If they say it often enough, people will start believing it. All they need is enough people who believe it.
      It works for companies with advertising. It will work for them as well.

      This is your new and improved Freedom. Better then the old one.

    • So if they say nothing, you can sit there and whine that they have no transparency and refuse to even communicate about their operations, but if they do, then it's all bullshit. So really, it doesn't matter what they do at all at this point because you will say that it's all bullshit. In effect, you've given them every incentive to not change at all.

      • by sI4shd0rk (3402769) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @09:23PM (#45255049)

        In effect, you've given them every incentive to not change at all.

        No. I think people just want them to do more than just talk. I think people want them to stop what they're doing.

        • And how would they prove that they did more than talk? They can't. So, if they came out and said they were going to make a bunch of changes to eliminate illegal spying, you wouldn't believe it anyway. Lets just be honest here...it's a no-win situation for them no matter what. Lets not pretend otherwise.

          • And how would they prove that they did more than talk?

            By actually supporting policies that will help prevent nonsense such as this from happening to begin with.

            Lets just be honest here...it's a no-win situation for them no matter what.

            And they have only themselves to blame. Actually, people with a bit of knowledge of history are always cautious of the government by default.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by ahabswhale (1189519)

              Yeah I'm sure you'd believe them if they suddenly started supporting such policies.

              As for the "they have only themselves to blame", you're wrong. The government should have arranged independent oversight long ago.

              In any event, thanks for proving my point. They have no incentive to change at all. I sure as fuck wouldn't.

              • Yeah I'm sure you'd believe them if they suddenly started supporting such policies.

                You assume you know what I think in order to... make your point more valid? Can I start telling you what you believe? I'd rather not... because it's utterly ridiculous.

                If they followed up with actual, public actions, and caused real policies to be put into place that would greatly reduce the chances of something like this happening again, I'd be more inclined to believe them.

                As for the "they have only themselves to blame", you're wrong.

                They don't have themselves to blame for abusing their powers? Interesting.

                In any event, thanks for proving my point.

                I didn't prove any point of yours.

                They have no incentive to change at all.

                Of course they do. What th

      • What we see in that video, is an attempt at damage control. NSA has taken several hard hits over the past months, and they are "reaching out" in an attempt to lull the herds.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    when accused thieves an murderers are in the dock, they always assure us they are innocent too. "I may have done some minor thing, but not what I am accused of. Definitely not." And they generally believe it. Mental gymnastics should be an olympic sport.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Like you'd do anything but lie to us anyway.

  • by erikkemperman (252014) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @05:45PM (#45253783)

    So, just involuntary and ignorant violations, then.

    • by AftanGustur (7715) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @06:01PM (#45253903) Homepage

      So, just involuntary and ignorant violations, then.

      I see what you did here and more people should be doing this, listen to what words he uses and then think, "why is he using these words and could he be trying to sidestep the truth with the use of selected words."

      Because that's that he is doing!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Naturally, there's a clause in the constitution and bill of rights that says it's okay to violate basic human rights (all men are created equal, not just usaonians) as long as it's unintended or they are really really sorry and they mean it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Later on he could claim the opposite of what you think he meant.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The NSA thinks you are a child that needs their protection, and you don't know what is best for you. That's how they think of the people who vote.

  • He lied ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @05:50PM (#45253825)

    ... to Congress. Why is he not in prison?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because that would make Barry look bad.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The DOJ is responsible for enforcement of that in Washington DC. Eric Holder, who has also recently lied to Congress, has informed the DC police to not prosecute just as he told them not to do the same to him before.

    • Re:He lied ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @06:14PM (#45253999)

      . . . because the NSA has collected enough poop on every member of Congress and blackmailed them. J. Edgar Hoover did this back in his days, as well.

      Congress is afraid of the NSA.

      • This is why we need a new Continental Congress to basically "overwrite" the current one. All of these assholes should be up against the wall for a cleansing ritual.

        • Re:He lied ... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday October 28, 2013 @12:49AM (#45256085) Homepage Journal

          You poor, clueless fool. A Constitutional Congress is the LAST THING we need right now. If one were convened, who in HELL do you think will actually sit at the table, to author the freaking documents? Do you really want representatives of RIAA to help author, then vote, on a new constitution? Think - that's what God gave you all that gray matter inside your skull for.

          What we NEED, is to get rid of all those judges who believe the Constitution to be a "living document". We NEED a lot more real conservatives in judge positions. And, by "conservative", I certainly DO NOT MEAN neoconservatives, corporate lobbyists, or representatives of the military industrial complex. I mean, real, actual conservatives. There are so few of them left today.

      • Source?

      • by artor3 (1344997)

        That's insane. Congress has the ability to shut down the NSA at a moment's notice. If they were all being blackmailed, they'd just get together and announce that the NSA is blackmailing them, that's it's anti-democratic, and so they're shutting it down. They can override any veto. If the NSA were to respond by releasing dirt on everyone, it would just prove Congress's point.

      • by antdude (79039)

        Can't Congress shut down NSA?

    • Why is he not in prison?

      Why would they send him to prison for doing what he's paid to do?

    • Re:He lied ... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Nyder (754090) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @08:31PM (#45254727) Journal

      ... to Congress. Why is he not in prison?

      Because whistle blowers get put in prison these days.

    • Re:He lied ... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday October 28, 2013 @12:39AM (#45256037)

      He lied to Congress

      It was Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper [slate.com] who lied to congress, not Alexander. At least not provably.

      It is important that we keep the facts straight, every stray bullet is an excuse for the pro-NSA types to discredit our position.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @05:53PM (#45253843)

    It's nice that you say so. The problem is: I don't believe you. I cannot. There is no oversight whatsoever concerning your actions. You say that no transgressions happen, that's nice. But let's say I assert that I'm no terrorist, does that mean you stop spying on me? No. Why? Because you cannot verify that I'm not.

    So why the hell should I believe you without any kind of evidence or any kind of ability to verify your claims?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget that they've been hard at work redefining everything from "what torture is" to "what does or does not count as a violation of the law".

      You're not violating anything if you've forced people to rewrite the rules for you.

      Except people, but it's quite obvious they've never cared about those.

    • So why the hell should I believe you without any kind of evidence or any kind of ability to verify your claims?

      Pffft .. because you're a gullible twit of course. You should definitely believe what the government tells you, after all .. you can trust the government.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There are times when you can trust the government. If we all give $100 to the government to build a road, the road gets built. They can't lie about the road existing. If the road doesn't get built, the politicians get voted out of office. Yes, there can be corruption, etc, but this isn't much different from the private sector.

        The big difference between conservatives and liberals is that the stuff the liberals spend money on can be audited. Security and defense, OTOH, is a gigantic black hole. Guess where mo

    • But let's say I assert that I'm no terrorist

      Exactly what a terrorist would say. You're going on the super-duper snoop list.

    • Assertion without evidence - dismiss without it
      It's nice that you say so. The problem is: I don't believe you. I cannot. There is no oversight whatsoever concerning your actions.

      In view of the first part of your statement, can you back up the claim that there is no oversight whatsoever? That seems to be an assertion without evidence.

      • Ohh, nice comeback!

        But it's trivial to assert that there is no oversight: I really have none. If you do, please present it to me. That's a bit different from the NSAs inability to prove their claim since it's unlikely they'll be opening their books unblackened.

      • by fritsd (924429)

        In view of the first part of your statement, can you back up the claim that there is no oversight whatsoever? That seems to be an assertion without evidence.

        That's a good point. I haven't paid good attention to the primary sources of information here. In my mind, the past months of news have coagulated to an impression that mr. James Clapper was questioned by the US Government oversight committee of the security apparatus (I don't know the official name, or whether that's Senate or House of Representatives

  • Surprise (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    A pathological liar telling lies. You should be scared shitless that slime like this have so much power.

  • by guanxi (216397) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @06:05PM (#45253923)

    Doesn't this amount to the Department of the Defense propagandizing directly to the U.S. public? What is acceptable and what is not?

    I can see press conferences, announcements, and factual information, but when does it become an attempt to persuade the public?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They are just trying to win your hearts and minds :P~

    • by HiThere (15173)

      Didn't you notice that he'd retired? So he's not (officially) a government spokesman.

    • by BlueStrat (756137)

      Doesn't this amount to the Department of the Defense propagandizing directly to the U.S. public? What is acceptable and what is not?

      I can see press conferences, announcements, and factual information, but when does it become an attempt to persuade the public?

      Oh, you didn't hear? They repealed the law that forbade the US government from using it's (formerly) foreign propaganda tools and assets domestically against US citizens.

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130715/11210223804/anti-propaganda-ban-repealed-freeing-state-dept-to-direct-its-broadcasting-arm-american-citizens.shtml [techdirt.com]

      http://reason.com/24-7/2013/07/15/with-ban-repealed-us-aims-propaganda-mac [reason.com]

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/07/17/1224321/-U-S-Government-Repeals-Ban-Opens-Floodgate-to-Mass-Agitprop-Me [dailykos.com]

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I get propaganda from both sides in my mailbox on a daily basis. The left's arguments appeal to one's intelligence, the right appeals to emotion. However, when you think about it, both sides want the same thing: Working government, a safety net should shit happen, protection against crime, raising their kids in a better place than they were raised in, and so on.

        However, the education system in the US is pitiful and corrupt. Doing like France and going to a voucher system is one idea, but what it would r

        • by BlueStrat (756137)

          I get propaganda from both sides in my mailbox on a daily basis. The left's arguments appeal to one's intelligence, the right appeals to emotion.

          Hmm, well, I find exactly the opposite. There was a study done by a prestigious university (Yale, IIRC) here recently that I'm too lazy to Google that shocked the Yale professor conducting the study, that revealed that TEA Party members score higher on science knowledge than the average, and above those who self-identify as Left/Democrat.

          In any case, the politicians in both parties want the same things, just not the things you mentioned so much. They want to protect their incumbent position. They want to in

  • by Rigel47 (2991727) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @06:13PM (#45253985)
    Secret program approved by secret courts run by a guy who has no qualms about lying under oath. Sorry but your credibility will only return once you get rid of FISA courts and replace yourself with someone who doesn't consider people who disagree with mass surveillance as being filthy, disobedient children. Massive ass that you are. And yes, he did make that comparison. [theverge.com]
  • We have not had any willful or knowing violations in those programs,' he says referring to sections 215 and 702 of the Patriot Act

    That's good news. It's just the NSA spying on me. I was getting worried for a moment.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27, 2013 @06:25PM (#45254051)

    How about that for starters? It's about time to end martial law after 9/11!

    The patriot act is about as patriotic as the Federal reserve is federal...

    • This [slashdot.org] sort of thing can add tinder to starting wars. The NSA along with a few other organisations are actually serious liabilities to a peaceful and prosperous US.

      So, this right to bear arms in order to keep the government in check... when are you going to start threatening to use them?
      Or are you being stopped because the NSA is monitoring and stifling anyone who makes such noises?

      Go ahead, flame me. But my question still stands... when are the people of the US going to make a stand (though preferably wi

      • The last lot that tried to agitate for political change had the full brunt of the NSA come down on them [startpage.com]... anyone remotely connected with the leaders got fired if they had jobs, put on the do not fly lists and do not employ lists. Yes, NSA used for stifling the democratic process and a political movement.
  • "We have not had any willful or knowing violations in those programs"

    Just violations caused by incompetence.

    On a more serious note; doesn't the leaking of the very existence of the programs count as a willful and knowing violation of the program?

  • by hazeii (5702) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @06:36PM (#45254119) Homepage

    Outlived his usefulness, and being allowed to hang himself in the court of public opinion.

    Check the like vs dislike counts on youtube (157 vs 9,993 at the time of writing).

  • Not convinced (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    When Comrade Alexander posts the full log of his phone calls and visited websites for the past year he might earn credibility amongst the proletariat. No harm done, because it's only metadata, right?

  • It's very nice of you to take the time and sit down and try to explain your actions. It's clear that you believe that the NSA has a set of duties and those duties require or even demand the sort of wide-spread surveillance that has, willfully or not, broached a very core aspect of your own self-worth. In trying to defend your actions, you make it patently clear that you know you've done something wrong. Unfortunately, the position you are in does not inherently give you the perspective on why so many peo

    • by gweihir (88907)

      Nice. But don't expect too much. The psychopath that had this position before is still justifying abduction and torture and seems to even be proud of them. The real problem is of course how anybody in power can step so far outside of common human decency and not be called out on it.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        The real problem is of course how anybody in power can step so far outside of common human decency and not be called out on it.

        Who watches the watchmen?

        In this world, no-one. Which is why they don't care.

    • by TheP4st (1164315)
      I commend you for your well written message to Keith Alexander but believe the chance of him ever taking it to heart being slightly less likely than the coming true of a prayer to the Flying Spaghetti Monster that he will be trampled to death by a elephant in musth. [wikipedia.org]
  • by gweihir (88907) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @07:32PM (#45254403)

    Somebody seems to be lying here. Maybe the guy that thinks his agency is perfect, despite massive evidence to the contrary?

  • At 16:17 in the video notice that Alexander says, "no content in the metadata program." He could have said, "no content" to the question of collecting phone content. Instead he had to add, "in the metadata program." This begs the question: Is there some other program under which the NSA is collecting the content of our phone calls?
  • and be done with it. Its all lies anyway.

  • Of course he denies any law or constitution violation : he will be accountable for them.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Article [IV]

    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.

  • Just a reminder: Heart Disease and Accidents cause more deaths every single year than over four hundred 9/11's. It's been over a decade now... That's more than 4000 September 11th sized attacks. Are you scared to eat and/or drive now? That's how fucking pathetic the fear narrative is.

    This is America. We drive fast cars to fast food restaurants without a second thought. You want me to continue to ALLOW an expensive totalitarian spying apparatus to protect us from 0.00025 the danger we face from cars and cheeseburgers? What the fuck can the ineffectual terrorists do? If the NSA wanted to protect us they'd be making tastier health food and building self driving cars or the Hyper-Loop.

    Fucking "intelligence" bullshit; Protip: All government labels mean the opposite. "PATRIOT Act", yeaaah. "Intelligence?" hahah... oh man. No wonder the basement dwelling NSA stinks so bad. If they're afraid of terrorists, just imagine how they feel about the many times greater threat of falling down in the bathtub!

  • I like his quote, "When people die, those that leaked information should be held accountable... I think there’s irreversible and significant damage to this nation. " But what is more important than people? When does the military send people in to harm's way and maybe even to their death's? They do it to protect the Nation and The Constitution. When The President is sworn in he takes an oath to " preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" Not individuals. So I think that an exc
  • FTA:

    Keith Alexander, director of the NSA and commander of US Cyber Command, comes off as a weird dude and, you know, a literal tool.

    Am I the only one that find the description of Keith Alexander in the article uncannily applicable to cold fjord?

  • What hit me like a mac truck carrying 39.5 tons of bricks all those peoples at Defcon applauding Alexander's various statements. They get paid by industry and governments to play cat and mouse games they are essentially on the same side.

    It just isn't TLA overreach that is my enemy it's significant entrenched interests profiting off the sorry state of heavily used technologies while throwing wrenches or at least making no effort of any sort to correct underlying issues.

    As for PRISM pitch there is nothing to

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