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Government Privacy United States

NSA Cheerleaders Discover Value of Privacy Only When Their Own Is Violated (theintercept.com) 267

Advocatus Diaboli sends this report from Glen Greenwald: The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the NSA under President Obama targeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top aides for surveillance. In the process, the agency ended up eavesdropping on "the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups" about how to sabotage the Iran Deal. All sorts of people who spent many years cheering for and defending the NSA and its programs of mass surveillance are suddenly indignant now that they know the eavesdropping included them and their American and Israeli friends rather than just ordinary people. The long-time GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and unyielding NSA defender Pete Hoekstra last night was truly indignant to learn of this surveillance.

In January 2014, I [Greenwald] debated Rep. Hoekstra about NSA spying and he could not have been more mocking and dismissive of the privacy concerns I was invoking. "Spying is a matter of fact," he scoffed. As Andrew Krietz, the journalist who covered that debate, reported, Hoekstra "laughs at foreign governments who are shocked they've been spied on because they, too, gather information" — referring to anger from German and Brazilian leaders. As TechDirt noted, "Hoekstra attacked a bill called the RESTORE Act, that would have granted a tiny bit more oversight over situations where (you guessed it) the NSA was collecting information on Americans." But all that, of course, was before Hoekstra knew that he and his Israeli friends were swept up in the spying of which he was so fond.

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NSA Cheerleaders Discover Value of Privacy Only When Their Own Is Violated

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  • Aww, poor babies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:17PM (#51213481)
    What, they thought they were special? they thought they were part of the untouchable elite? Fucking rubes, anyone championing the NSA's actions deserve what's coming to them. Retards, the whole lot of them.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:39PM (#51213579)

      Fucking rubes, anyone championing the NSA's actions, while working against US interests , deserve what's coming to them - FTFY

      • by Anonymous Coward

        But its Israel. Aren't Israeli interests the same as American interests? That's what our government keeps saying, and that's why we're always defending them, right? All those reporters who call them out on their neo-Apartheid policies are just anti-semitic, biased, Jew-haters.

        • Born-again Christians believe that The End of The World is going to happen really soon and they get to go to Heaven with Jebus v.20. But the catch is that in order for that to happen, Jews have to be in charge of Jerusalem. That's why crazy religious people are adamant that we've got to be unwavering in our support of Israel.

          You're not arguing against any kind of sane viewpoint w.r.t. politics, finances, etc. You're arguing against their religious beliefs.

      • Fucking rubes, anyone championing the NSA's actions, while working against US interests , deserve what's coming to them - FTFY

        That's still a pretty broad stroke. What are US "interests"? I'll bet I could find a problem with just about anything if I framed US interests in the right way.

  • Screw Em (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:17PM (#51213483)

    Nancy Pelosi, Mike Rogers, all of you who voted for safety over freedom - you deserve neither. - Ben Franklin

    Justin Amash - Thanks for standing for the constitution, specifically the 4th amendment.

    • Re: Screw Em (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 31, 2015 @12:43AM (#51213963)

      Am I the only one concerned that Israel and the Jewish community have such high reaching influence on our country?

      Maybe, just maybe, the influence they have and the power they weild is being used to convince us to fight wars that they benefit from but that cost us ruinously.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        nope you're not the only one.

        but israel has a good propaganda system. owns a lot of polticians. and has a built in victim excuse for all of it.
        and you can't disagree or you're a nazi or antisemite.

        you can really see their online social media efforts on some of the larger sites.
        anything negative to israel gets blasted.
        anything positive gets the circlejerk of the same users every time.

        Personally tho. I'm tired of seeing MY TAX MONEY end up going to israel every year. (4 billion this year.)
        I don't care

        • It's a giant wasteful corporate handout. And we're not gaining anything useful from the charade.

          I suppose that depends on your definition of useful. Israel not needing direct civilian and military aid every time the Palestinians get a wild hair up their ass and fire off rockets at population centers seems like a good thing to me.

          • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

            With their current arsenal, Israel can handle a hundred years of the overgrown firecrackers Hamas fires.

            In short: Israel is not the victim, and has not been the victim since the Six Day War.

            Mart

        • Re: Screw Em (Score:4, Informative)

          by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @10:34AM (#51215905)

          Personally tho. I'm tired of seeing MY TAX MONEY end up going to israel every year. (4 billion this year.) I don't care if we get most of it back when they buy our weapons. It's a giant wasteful corporate handout. And we're not gaining anything useful from the charade.

          I agree. especially since "we" don't get it back. Defense contractors get it. So really it's just laundered money for corporate welfare.

          • by judoguy ( 534886 )

            Personally tho. I'm tired of seeing MY TAX MONEY end up going to israel every year. (4 billion this year.) I don't care if we get most of it back when they buy our weapons. It's a giant wasteful corporate handout. And we're not gaining anything useful from the charade.

            I agree. especially since "we" don't get it back. Defense contractors get it. So really it's just laundered money for corporate welfare.

            Defense contractors get *some* of it. I wonder how much flows back as campaign contributions? Both funneled through the defense industry and directly as bribes to congress and presidents.

  • LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:23PM (#51213505)

    The government should NOT be spying on its own citizens, but spying on heads of state? That's kind of what they are for, right? I mean, if you're opposed to them spying on those guys, you're probably opposed to their existence in general.

    • Re:LOL (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:35PM (#51213555)

      Spying on active members of Congress is outside of the authority of the executive branch. Unless they had a warrant when they did this, they are doing exactly what Nixon was going to be impeached for.

      • Re:LOL (Score:5, Informative)

        by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:54PM (#51213631)

        These congresscritters only have themselves to blame since they laid the very foundation for this to happen with things like the Patriot Act. I'll shed crocodile tears for the lot of them.

      • Re:LOL (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @11:05PM (#51213673)
        Except that, technically, those congresscritters may have been violating the law themselves by engaging in direct diplomacy with foreign powers, which is a felony (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] ).

        Of course, members of both parties have violated it in the past, and it largely goes unenforced as no one has actually been prosecuted for it since 1803.
        • Re:LOL (Score:4, Informative)

          by alphatel ( 1450715 ) * on Thursday December 31, 2015 @09:01AM (#51215183)

          Except that, technically, those congresscritters may have been violating the law themselves by engaging in direct diplomacy with foreign powers, which is a felony (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] ).

          But did you know that Nixon did this while he was running for president (bargaining with South Vietnam), and Lyndon Johnson found out the night before the election, but couldn't reveal it because his source was the NSA, and therefore classified?

          Committing a felony, and protecting the felons - we're quite good at that!

      • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @11:07PM (#51213687)

        NSA is tasked with gathering signals intelligence from foreign sources. Communications originating and staying within the US is off limits (or used to be). Overseas phone calls to a foreign head of state to collude on how to sabotage a significant US bill in Congress are fair game. In fact, the FBI should be brought in to investigate those Congressional members for possible treason.

      • It's not even close to what Nixon would have been impeached for.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

          It's not even close to what Nixon would have been impeached for.

          You mean, being set up? True. This is much worse than what Nixon would have been impeached for. That was just spying on one honeypot. This is spying on the world.

      • Re:LOL (Score:5, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @11:31PM (#51213761) Journal

        Spying on active members of Congress is outside of the authority of the executive branch. Unless they had a warrant when they did this, they are doing exactly what Nixon was going to be impeached for.

        If the target of the surveillance is a foreign head of state (Netanyahu), it's not the NSA's fault that US legislators happened to be calling that foreign head of state to get their marching orders.

        In fact, members of congress dealing directly with foreign heads of state directly violates the Logan Act, and it would absolutely be appropriate for the NSA to be looking into this. Maybe Pete Hoekstra (R-Tel Aviv) should be answering some questions.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • Well, those congress members were committing treason, so I think it is pretty fair in this case.

      • Spying on active members of Congress is outside of the authority of the executive branch. Unless they had a warrant when they did this, they are doing exactly what Nixon was going to be impeached for.

        Nixon was forced to resign because he attempted to cover up the scandal, which was a poorly executed burglary of a democratic campaign office. No one knew what his involvement was at the time, simply that he felt he could not allow the office of the POTUS to be tainted by impeachment.

        Now nearly 50 years later after release of the majority of the tapes, we can clearly see that he not only directly orchestrated these coverups, payoffs and White House's politcal maneuvering around Watergate, but willingly c

    • Re: LOL (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is a complicated issue. Indeed, in the best case scenario, NSA's existence should be to let us know when another country is getting ready to go to war. However, lately they've been an increasing threat to domestic civil liberties, judicial process, as well as checks and balances / balance of power between branches of government, tipping the power toward the executive.

      That being said, here we have many congress people who seem to care more about what Israel thinks than the people they are supposed to

      • the reserve system we've been relying on for so long will not last much longer.

        With willing slaves, it can go on indefinitely.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Sun ( 104778 )

      I tend to agree. However, these days things seem to be a little more complicated than that.

      There is a Hebrew proverb that goes: A cat burned by boiling water will fear lukewarm ones.

      Pres. Obama made a promise not to spy on friendly nations. If we take him to his word (ha!), then we can deduct who he considers his friends and not. It seems like Israel and Turkey are in the later categories, which has now turned into a diplomatic matter.

      Another thing compounding this particular case was that the eavesdropping

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        Israel has pledged not to spy on the US. I know the Israeli leadership, as well as the security services, take this pledge very seriously

        Then again, Israel did leak internal details from the Iran negotiations, details that it was not officially exposed to. One has to wonder how those were acquired.

        Doesn't the contradiction between those two statements imply that it's business as usual despite some recent pledge?

        • by N1AK ( 864906 )

          Doesn't the contradiction between those two statements imply that it's business as usual despite some recent pledge?

          To be fair, Israel may not have gotten that information by spying. Domeone with access deciding to give it to Israel for example.

        • by Sun ( 104778 )

          Doesn't the contradiction between those two statements imply that it's business as usual despite some recent pledge?

          I think you are mistaken as to when the pledge was made. It was not made when Polard was released. It was made when he was caught. Not recent in any way.

          As for the apparent contradiction, the simple answer is that I just don't know. Like others have pointed out, the information might not have come from outright spying.

          Like I said in my original message, I do believe that Israel does not employ full scale espionage effort, but I also don't believe it is as non-existent as some might have you believe. I do se

          • by dbIII ( 701233 )
            I've got a few reservations about your intelligence organisations after the Dubai death squad with Australian passports and other issues so I'll have to take their promises with a truckload of salt. As I tried to point out to you in an earlier discussion truth has been a very early casualty of war with the current situation and current administration.
            • by Sun ( 104778 )

              I've got a few reservations about your intelligence organisations after the Dubai death squad with Australian passports and other issues so I'll have to take their promises with a truckload of salt. As I tried to point out to you in an earlier discussion truth has been a very early casualty of war with the current situation and current administration.

              Intelligence organizations keeping secrets has nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinain conflict. All intelligence agencies anywhere keep their operations secret. This has nothing to do with our previous, for lack of a better word, discussion.

              Shachar

      • This article [haaretz.com] as well as many similar articles in previous years, says you're full of it, knowledgeable guy..

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      The executive branch spying on the legislative branch, this seems familiar. Where could I have heard of that before. Oh well, WATER under the bridge. No sense closing the GATE once the horse is gone.

      Of course, in this case, the legislative branch is also breaking the law.

  • The arrogance.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:23PM (#51213507)

    These people who routinely advocate for mass surveillance of the rest of us are outraged at being surveilled themselves? The arrogance and/or cognitive dissonance required must be astronomical.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:27PM (#51213517)

      The arrogance and/or cognitive dissonance required must be astronomical.

      Remember - we are talking about politicians here. It's part of the job description.

      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        The arrogance and/or cognitive dissonance required must be astronomical.

        Remember - we are talking about politicians here. It's part of the job description.

        Most of them are lawyers, a profession that is trained in cognitive dissonance and part of their profession. Perhaps the worst profession to be a politician though economist is up there too

        • by N1AK ( 864906 )
          Firstly cognitive dissonance isn't a characteristic it is a state you can be in. Lawyers aren't 'trained' in cognitive dissonance, nor are they trained specifically to resist the basic human urge to reduce the dissonance; though their training in general likely does do this. Furthermore being able to handle cognitive dissonance without needing to reduce it is an incredibly useful skill to have, and exactly the kind of skill a good leader or representative should have.
          • lawyers are trained to be in a state of cognitive dissonance. it is the only way you can defend a rapist, or other piece of junk human being.

            corporate lawyers have to do the same thing. telling their clients how to avoid legal penalties while doing things that should be illegal by the spirit of the law. (how to hide and shuffle money around legally so you don't pay taxes on it)

            that is the sort of person politicians come from.

    • Lets hold off on pointing out how worthless they are until maybe after they decide to defend themselves.

      This is a moment where we can use these morons to help, lets do that before we tell them they are morons and kick their ass to the curb.

      Oh who am I kidding, no one gives a shit about the spying cause we'd have already done something about it if we actually did. American's don't deserve the freedom we have, we're too stupid to defend it.

      • Send them to Gitmo to be gently questioned about this sabotaging a treaty business. Generally, treat politicians like a regular person and they'll quickly learn to treat others well (ha ha, just kidding they'll pass laws making special exceptions for themselves).

    • Sadly, this is probably the only way the NSA is ever going to be dismantled - when the biggest supporters and cheerleaders from the NSA realize their own conversations are being recorded.

      Hey NSA employees! Are you concerned about the overreach of the spying capabilities of your organization? Would you like to do something about it, but not face prison time like Manning, or live a live of exile like Snowden? Well here's your chance to start Operation Dirty Laundry! Find some juicy tidbits from import
  • Useful idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:26PM (#51213515) Journal

    They served their purpose.

  • Word of the day. (Score:5, Informative)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:30PM (#51213533)

    Dear Rep. Hoekstra,

    Here's your Word of the Day:

    Hypocrisy (noun) - The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform.

    Sincerely,
    The rest of us.

  • by Time_Ngler ( 564671 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:31PM (#51213537)
    For some reason, I read that as "NBA Cheerleaders Discover..."
  • by AaronW ( 33736 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:33PM (#51213547) Homepage

    How many times has Israel been caught spying on the US? All countries spy on each other. Senators conspiring with foreign heads of state though could be considered unamerican, however. It sounds like we were spying on Israel and some congress critters got caught up in it. In other words, the NSA was doing what it's supposed to be doing, monitoring and spying on foreign activity.

    • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

      How many times has Israel been caught spying on the US? All countries spy on each other. Senators conspiring with foreign heads of state though could be considered unamerican, however.../quote>

      It's not just un-american. It's quite possibly illegal. See the Logan Act.

  • We'll see your Jonathan Pollard [wikipedia.org] and raise.

  • by rebelwarlock ( 1319465 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:37PM (#51213573)
    Don't spill your bias so early, guys! At least trick me into reading the first paragraph before you pile on the politics.
  • by zuki ( 845560 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @11:52PM (#51213815) Journal
    It's "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game" by either Roxy Music, Grace Jones and whoever else recorded it.
    • It's "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game" by either Roxy Music, Grace Jones and whoever else recorded it.

      Apparently, it's a Smokey Robinson song [youtube.com]. I'm going to go ahead and declare the Massive Attack version to be the pinnacle, though. Clearly inspired by the Marvelettes version. I couldn't track down the Roxy Music cover, but I'm not a big fan to begin with.

  • Yeah (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 )
    I'm sure the NSA doesn't care about those steamy penis pics you've been sending to Netanyahu. At least, so long as the NSA continues to meet its funding goals.
  • "Ricker-racker, firecracker, sis boom bah!
    Anonymous collection of metadata, anonymous collection of metadata!
    Rah, rah, RAH!"

    (note to humor-impaired-NSA-hating moderators: it's just a joke :-)

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Thursday December 31, 2015 @12:44AM (#51213965)
    When did the US media start allowing publication of any kind of news that might reflect unfavourably on Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party? Isn't that grounds for immediate classification as a terrorist and transfer to some dark, ugly hole in the back of a Third World prison?
  • Will it make a difference at election time? Probably not. The regular 95% reelection rate is going to continue for the foreseeable future, and people will come back here and complain like it's not their fault that it does. We've been through this before. It's just another day in paradise. Go back to your drinks, and forget about it.

  • No need to watch us, just the terrorists!

  • Dictatorships are only fun if it's you who does the dictating.

  • Only want it for themselves. Who'd have thunk it.
  • by tinkerton ( 199273 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @06:35AM (#51214821)

    from the british newspaper The Independent [independent.co.uk]

    The paper submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Home Office asking for Home Secretary Theresa May’s browsing history for the last week of October (excluding any information relating to security matters).

    Their argument being: if Theresa May wants extensive access to the general public’s browser history under the new legislation, can we also have access to hers?

    Unsurprisingly, the request was denied by the Home Office, which said that the Independent was being vexatious – which is one of the key reasons to deny an FoI and in legal terms means “an action that is brought without sufficient grounds for winning, purely to cause annoyance to the defendant”.

  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @09:09AM (#51215235) Homepage

    My standard response to people cheering for new government powers (including NSA spying) is: Would you want these powers in the hands of someone on the opposite end of the political spectrum from you? If the person is a Democrat, imagine President Donald Trump with those powers. If the person is a Republican, imagine President Hillary Clinton with those powers. Rarely is the person fine with this situation, though they are perfectly willing for someone who shares their political philosophy to have those powers.

    This here is a real-life example of that response. These people are just fine with the NSA spying on people, but once that spying turns on them they find it a violation of their rights. Sorry, but you can't have it both ways. You can't declare that "all people like me are special and exempt from X." You either are for the NSA spying on everyone including you or you oppose the NSA spying.

    Here's hoping their outrage isn't short lived and instead turns into a swell of political opposition to NSA spying.

    • by khallow ( 566160 )

      My standard response to people cheering for new government powers (including NSA spying) is: Would you want these powers in the hands of someone on the opposite end of the political spectrum from you? If the person is a Democrat, imagine President Donald Trump with those powers. If the person is a Republican, imagine President Hillary Clinton with those powers. Rarely is the person fine with this situation, though they are perfectly willing for someone who shares their political philosophy to have those powers.

      What staggers me here is is that there are a bunch of people who can't even do that simple bit of reasoning. How many years was it again since someone you despised was in office? Why don't you ever think it'll happen again?

      More than anything else, this large scale willful ignorance is why I'm not full bore libertarian. There's too many people who just don't get the point of libertarianism and probably never will.

  • Aren't you actually happy to know what kind of back room deals the politicians are making and who's interests they are really serving?
  • ...we are all "ordinary people".

  • The vast majority of politicians don't give two shits about something unless it affects them personally, or else they're bribed to care. How did this make it into the news pile?

The decision doesn't have to be logical; it was unanimous.

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