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

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 Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:37PM (#44022239) Journal

    BY THE WAY, they've been recording calls for a long time. Maybe not everyone's, but a lot of them. Right after 9/11, they admitted that in the aftermath they went into these recordings to find out vital information.

    This scary revelation was largely ignored at the time because of the go get 'em attitude in the nation as a whole, but I made a mental note of it.

  • phone-call metadata (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:38PM (#44022251)

    Tracking whom you called and when, goes the story, doesn't impinge on expectations of privacy.

    This is true under current 4th amendment interpretations, but severely curtailed by statutes that are still in force.

    Much of the law on the subject was developed in the 1960s and 70s over the use of pen registers [] and trap-and-trace devices, which would record a list of all incoming and outgoing calls (the numbers and times, but not the call contents). The Supreme Court ruled in 1979 [] that pen registers were not "searches" under the 4th amendment, because there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in phone-call metadata (as opposed to recording the call itself via a wiretap, which was held in 1967 [] to require a warrant).

    However, Congress added statutory restrictions on the use of pen registers and similar devices in 1986; the current statute can be found here [].

  • Telcos (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rick Zeman ( 15628 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:57PM (#44022367)

    ""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.""

    For those who don't read TFA, the missing context is huge:
    When the New York Times revealed the warrantless surveillance of voice calls, in December 2005, the telephone companies got nervous. One of them, unnamed in the report, approached the NSA with a request. Rather than volunteer the data, at a price, the “provider preferred to be compelled to do so by a court order,” the report said. Other companies followed suit.

    And then they got immunity.

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

    by cffrost ( 885375 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:02PM (#44022387) Homepage

    ACLU anti-surveillance petition: []

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:03PM (#44022389) Journal
    It's a good thing his running mate, the guy at the top of the ticket [] is completely opposed to warrentless wiretapping. It's like they're agreed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:38PM (#44022595)

    "When asked by Maine Senator Susan Collins if Edward Snowden's claim that he could he could tap into virtually any American's phone call or e-mails. True or false?" Alexander said, "False. I know of no way to do that. "

    The system is knowns as DCSNet, it lets them tap any phone in the country remotely:

    NSA general is fucking liar.

  • by buswolley ( 591500 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:41PM (#44022613) Journal
    TeaBagger: (slang, vulgar) A person who practices teabagging, the insertion of the scrotum into someone's mouth. (neologism, pejorative) An affiliate of the Tea Party movement, or a supporter of its protests "As a reference to members of the currently active Tea Party, the word has been used in speech and print by both liberals and conservatives. In this context, the term "teabagger" is a reasonably conceived informal name for an affiliate of the Tea Party, and as a word in the news, it earned a mention for the year 2009." -- "'Teabagger' Finalist For Oxford's 'Word Of The Year'", Huffington Post, 18 Nov 2009.
  • Re:At this point (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bartles ( 1198017 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:44PM (#44022639)
    The person in charge of the Executive Branch can stop this with the stroke of a pen. It could have been stopped by not renewing the Patriot Act in 2011. It could have been stopped by following through on promises made in 2008. It could have been stopped by holding the president accountable in 2012, for not following through on promises made in 2008. The time for blaming Bush is over. If you voted for this guy it's time to start blaming yourself.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 16, 2013 @02:41PM (#44023007)

    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...)

    No, he was always the same lying bastard. He bamboozeled the American People before the elections, and after the elections. He's the most reactionary, laissez faire, anti democratic president the US has had in its entire history. And he even got a fucking Nobel Peace Prize. It is even more ridiculous than the one given to Yasser Arafat.
    I can't wait to see dumped on the internet all the emails, calls, and what not from him, his wife and his family. Nothing brings the point home as being the object of "surveillance". It would be divine justice.

  • by meglon ( 1001833 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @04:37PM (#44023645)

    Thomas Jefferson was of the opinion that this should occur every 20 years or so, so as to keep Federal power in check and keep politicians in fear of We the People.


    Jefferson's quote that is very, very often used out of context to make silly (and wildly incorrect) points, was in a letter as an answer to the question of what he thought about the deaths during Shay's Rebellion. His opinion was that, reoccurring over time, is the propensity for people who because they're ignorant and uninformed, to "rise up" in rebellion. It is the nature of society, and the nature of the failure of people to stay informed.

    When it happens (which he said he wouldn't be surprised to have happen every 20 years, given the normal sequence of events happening in Europe), it was the governments role to pacify (kill) those who needed, and pardon the rest.... because their rebellion is based on ignorance. He was perfectly fine with those "rebels" being killed, because that's the governments role in a rebellion.

    He never promoted the idea that rebellion should happen, only that it was inevitable in society, especially when many seemed unwilling to stay informed.

    On the notion that this was meant (or that anything was, including the 2nd Amendment... like many people incorrectly say), to keep government fearful of the people.... it wasn't. People were not afraid of the government; they had a say in it's workings. As seen repeatedly in Europe, the risk came from the military overthrowing the government. That is why we started with a militia that was only to be called up in cases of insurrection or invasion, and were barred constitutionally from having a standing army for any length over two years without a direct consent from congress. This was notable (prior to being included later in the Constitution) at Valley Forge where the Continental Congress refused to continue funding the military. The only reason it lists having a navy was to protect our trade routes, and as forewarning to any enemy action (even they couldn't justify ignoring what they thought to be the inevitable invasions, a la Europe). People weren't afraid of the government, they were afraid of the military.

  • Re:We have failed (Score:3, Informative)

    by garyisabusyguy ( 732330 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @11:40PM (#44025855)

    I appreciate your fervor, but you really need to put your bullshit detector on full

    As of this point:
    "Update at 2:50 p.m. ET on June 16: We're pulling the plug on this story — (for clarification: ZDNet's story, not CNET's) — following Rep. Nadler's latest comments casting doubt on CNET's story. In a statement to our sister site, Nadler said: "I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant." We've left the amended article (post the previous update, below) intact for transparency, but corrected the headline." []

    It is becoming apparent to me that this issue is being propagandized into a wedge between 'young voters' and President Obama. This seems to be an expected reaction to the huge misalignment between the current gop platform and the expectations of most young people (apparently even young republicans). To whit, just piss the young people off at the other guys instead of amending their platform

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