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Expiring Section 702 of FISA Helped US Conclude Russia Hacked Election To Help Trump, NSA Chief Says (reuters.com) 390

Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: A top U.S. intelligence official said Thursday a controversial surveillance law that allows the broad electronic spying of foreigners played a major role in understanding Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. The statement from Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the U.S. National Security Agency, may bolster efforts by intelligence agencies to fully preserve the authority, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, before it expires at the end of the year. Privacy advocates have for years said Section 702 allows for excessively broad surveillance, including warrantless access to some American communications, and should be reformed to include new curbs. "I would highlight much, not all, much of what was in the intelligence community's assessment, for example, on the Russian efforts against the U.S. election process in 2016, was informed by knowledge we gained through (Section) 702 authority," Rogers said. Rogers said allowing the statute to expire on Dec. 31, unless Congress votes to reauthorize it, would degrade U.S. intelligence agencies' ability to provide "timely warning and insight" on a variety of criminal and national security threats.
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Expiring Section 702 of FISA Helped US Conclude Russia Hacked Election To Help Trump, NSA Chief Says

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  • by TimSSG ( 1068536 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @06:23PM (#54402723)
    Fake Headlines normally end with ? Tim S.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 11, 2017 @06:25PM (#54402735)

    Given that there's been no evidence provided, anywhere, of any sort of election hacking, and that Hillary lost the election not due to Russian interference but due to her own failure to campaign in her "blue firewall" combined with her many scandals, we can conclude that this Section 702 of the FISA provided no actionable intelligence and, in fact, did not help with anything. Sounds like it should be allowed to expire.

    • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @09:29PM (#54403489) Homepage
      First, of all, elections are won and lost not by single things but by collections. One can have more than one mistake or more than one event leading to an election win or loss. Second, the evidence that serious attempts at hacking Clinton did occur is overwhelming, and saying otherwise is simply ignoring the evidence. We even know the exact phishing attempts that lead to the hacks http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/310234-typo-may-have-caused-podesta-email-hack? [thehill.com]. Third of all, if you do want to actually point to other things that had an impact also, the statistical evidence that Comey's actions mattered is an almost complete slamdunk. See https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-comey-letter-probably-cost-clinton-the-election/ [fivethirtyeight.com]. Facts matter.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Okay, here are facts that matter. I fully supported Bernie Sanders. I contributed several hundred dollars to his campaign. I voted Obama over Hillary the last time she ran. I knew long ago the Clintons were shady and I couldn't support her in 2008.

        I was very upset when the DNC pushed Sanders out. I tried to come to grips on voting for Hillary. I thought it was laughable when Trump kept saying to the media to show the crowd. That was until he came to my state and when he came to my area, I went just to see t

    • by pedz ( 4127433 )
      But wait... we need to waterboard the data until it tells us what we know must have really happened!!!
  • Well that settles it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @06:30PM (#54402751)

    Trump is preparing to veto his first bill in defence of privacy!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, NSA bullshit doesn't matter, as long as Trump is involved. Raagh! Progressivism!!

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Trump has earned the consequences of a lifetime being a con artist, scammer, blowhard and fool.

        That he's made suckers out of the gullible, CONSERVATIVE, lemming train, is no reason to lambaste the rest of us for being skeptical of his claims and promises.

        Really, invented "prime the pump" ?

        C'mon, the guy is a buffoon.

  • Fake headlines (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 11, 2017 @06:35PM (#54402783)

    What a load of slashdot this one has. The headlines are pure bullshit and the article does NOT show any proof of ANYTHING.

    • What a load of slashdot this one has. The headlines are pure bullshit and the article does NOT show any proof of ANYTHING.

      From TFA:

      U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government orchestrated the hacks and disclosure of Democratic emails during the election in order to support Republican President Donald Trump and discredit his Democratic foe, Hillary Clinton. Russia has denied the allegations.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government orchestrated the hacks and disclosure of Democratic emails during the election

        Care to explain how that happened? The FBI has never forensically audited the DNC email servers, and the DNC has repeatedly refused to hand them over to investigate. And nobody has any idea with her illegal private email server because she scrubbed it.

  • Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @06:35PM (#54402787)

    If they had any evidence of Russian interference, they should have come forward with it.

    Rogers said allowing the statute to expire on Dec. 31, unless Congress votes to reauthorize it, would degrade U.S. intelligence agencies' ability to provide "timely warning and insight" on a variety of criminal and national security threats.

    Even if we believe they have info they're not sharing, how timely or insightful could it be? The election was half a year ago.

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @06:40PM (#54402817)

      This. We gave up privacy so they could sit on their hands? It appears we are only hearing about this so that they can keep their toy.

      Show us the intelligence, and then show us proof it actually did some good. We know the answer to the second part already...

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @08:04PM (#54403113)

        No, you gave up your privacy so that they could collect everything about you, so that if in the future you step out of line, they can quietly remind you about things you did previously that would be SO embarrassing if they accidentally became public.

        THAT is why you gave up your freedom, never forget that.

        And that works pretty much all the way up - just look at the 'friendly' foreign governments bending over backwards for the US these days - do you really think its because they think its the best thing for their country? Or perhaps they have been quietly briefed on what the media would accidentally get leaked if they dont tow the line.

        After all, the US Is the world police right? And we have been nicvely educated that we have to accept corruption in the police, because, well, dont ask for reasons, its just accepted!

        And if you think they will give up their toy just because its no longer officially allowed? Oh dear...

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The NSA understands a lot of US party political groups keep data on computers that is not encrypted and is on networks that can be accessed by the internet.
      With its domestic powers the NSA could see the vast amounts of US plain text party political data been moved along the US internet in real time.
      Without such powers US data could move along US networks and no US clandestine service would ever know what party political US plain text data was moving around US networks or in the hands of US media.
      US staff
  • This is why, even though it costs more money, independent oversight of our agencies of government are important.

    If you can imagine a political group that you wouldn't trust in power, imagine what you'd want in order to provide responsible checks on their worst abuses of power.

    Those checks on power is what we've been getting rid of, along with a proportionally reduced healthy media.

    So, now that we have a raving lunatic, a living symbol of arrogance and greed as president, and a fully loyal set of henchmen el

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Up until your last sentence I thought you were talking about Obama.

    • If you can imagine a political group that you wouldn't trust in power, imagine what you'd want in order to provide responsible checks on their worst abuses of power.

      Qui custodiet ipsos custodes?

      For what it's worth, I can imagine a political party I wouldn't trust in power. The Democrats, the Republicans, pretty much all of them. Doesn't mean I trust a bunch of unelected, secretive yahoos to protect me from them.

      Note that my solution to the problem is the one New Texas chose (Lone Star Planet, aka Planet

  • The missing claim here is that Section 702 produced actionable intelligence (and I don't mean of the "blackmail politicians" type).

    Otherwise it's just more pointless spying on Americans. More meaningless waste of taxpayers' dollars.

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @07:04PM (#54402901) Journal
    What did the Russians do?
    Have thousands of embassy staff drive out into fly over states without the FBI noticing?
    Get deep into the different parts of the USA without people working on the US election reporting strangers asking questions and been in secure areas?
    Have US political leaders not give good speeches in parts of the USA that ensured people voted for them?
    Ensured US political parties selected unelectable candidates?
    Altered the locations speeches got given so one candidate did not fully cover the USA?
    The FBI was never able to detect any of the Russian embassy staff movements in the USA?
    Reworked speeches so one candidate did not appear electable? A US political party should have found a better candidate that was well liked all over the USA.
    Provided Russian advisors to a candidate so the US political party system made mistakes?
    Russian has thousands of trusted people pre positioned in the US election staff ready to alter US votes? The FBI is unaware of such massive human efforts?
    The US has computerised its entire election process and Russia flipped votes at a city, county, parish and federal level without anyone from any other party or the FBI seeing changes to the tally?
    Russian staff walked out to US paper and election computer networks to physically change results before a count?

    If a US party wants to win an election find a good candidate that can win in fly over states. Get them out to all parts of the USA and give speeches that win elections. Long speeches, interesting speeches, fun speeches, policy positions that people want to listen to and read about all over the USA.
    Ensure the candidate has the ability to talk all over the USA without any other issues over a long election cycle.
    Patronizing and boring speeches on the elite East and West coast do not win elections in fly over states.
    Did Russia make the speeches boring too?
    So with vast domestic spying powers and funding the NSA will hope to uncover what the all the FBI funding and FBI experts could not?
  • by Mike Van Pelt ( 32582 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @07:06PM (#54402919)

    Come on, show me some evidence of the Godless Rooskies(TM) actually hacking the election, as in changing the count of the ballots, as opposed to accusations (likely correct) that they had some involvement in releasing emails from Her sooper-seekrit mail server in her very secure linen closet.

    I mean, seriously, I didn't vote for that SOB either, but this hysteria sounds like Nixon justifying the Watergate break-in because "everybody knows" George McGovern is a commie.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by jader3rd ( 2222716 )
      When everyone says "Hacked the election", no one is saying that the Russians changed ballot counts. Think of it like the blog posts like "Hack your life, to get more job interviews". Russia intentionally disseminated false information to change how US registered voters would vote. That's the hacking.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Russia intentionally disseminated false information to change how US registered voters would vote.

        By that measure, so did both the Democratic and Republican parties.

        That is not "hacking". That is called campaigning.

        • Yes, something domestics can do and foreigners can't. That said, I'd love to see the US pass laws preventing itself from attempting to influence foreign elections.

        • by Kiuas ( 1084567 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @02:35AM (#54404245)

          That is not "hacking". That is called campaigning.

          Well, yes, sure. But it should still be alarming to you that foreign powers are 'campaigning' - rather successfully it seems - for one side. You can already see the effects as the Trump administration seems to want to do everything to divert attention and discussions from the Russians. The Russians helped them bring Hillary down with the hacks, but that also means that they probably have the means to bring Trump.

          I'm not American, I'm a Finn, and as such I'm acutely aware of the Russian mentality of indirect control. During the cold war we were not a Soviet satellite exactly, but as the threat of soviet invasion was quite real, there was widespread self-censorship. Fearing the reaction of the Soviet leadership, both politicians and the media avoided in public saying anything that could be deemed too critical in Moscow and be used to justify either disrupting trade (of which we did a lot with them) or military action. This was so characteristic of Finnish politics during the cold war that the term is now named after us: finlandization [wikipedia.org].

          As I look at the way the white house behaves currently, it does resemble this to an extent: while there's obviously no need for the US to fear direct Russian invasion so the media can still freely discuss about these issues, there's been a noted change in tone towards Russia already. The 'alternative media' seems to be pushing a narrative according to which this whole investigation is in fact due to 'the mainstream media' disliking Russia purely because Hillary/dems are against Russia and want to drive a wedge between US-Russian relations, I was watching a video yesterday about the joking comment Lavrov made when asked about the firing of Comey (he said: "He was fired? You're kidding?!" barely containing his laughter) and one of the top comments on the video was; "CNN won't be happy until we nuke Russia or they nuke us." Think about what this implies: it implies that by reporting on these events, the media is guilty of provoking the Russians. It implies that Lavrov and the Russians' motives/actions should never be questioned because the mere act of questioning jeopardizes peace and stability and puts you in risk of war. The Trump-base has been effectively sold the idea that this whole deal is in fact not the fault of Russians seeking political influence over the US leadership, but a conspiracy to tarnish the good and friendly, peace-loving Russians,

          Think if this has happened in the Bush or Obama eras; how different would the reaction of republicans have been if Obama was under investigation by the FBI over ties to Russia (or any other country) and he'd have sacked the director? You think they'd have been as calm about it as they're now? This is exactly what the Russians are looking for with this trick: they don't care about how they're perceived, they don't care that you guys bombed an airstrip (and warned them in advance), it's trivial for them. They care about positioning themselves in such a way so that the ruling party cannot act unilaterally on any issue important to Moscow without considering first whether or not the Russians will retaliate by leaking evidence (real or fabricated) about their possible collaboration with the administration and hence bringing about significant political damage. Furthermore this allows them to disrupt US domestic politics: the more infighting, confusion and paranoia there exists in Washington over whose side everyone is on and who can be trusted, the better for them, In the end they probably won't bother to even try and 'save' Trump if he's impeached, in fact they may do the opposite and help throw him under the bus, because they can then amp up the above mentioned rhetoric and convince Trump's base that he's been a victim of a massive conspiracy by the establishment and 'mainstream media' and further increase chaos and division in american politics. The more divided a country is int

      • You mean true information, right?
        Intentionally disseminated true information....

        Dont forget that part, its kind of important, even if you didnt like the information much.

        But of course, how DARE they!

        • You mean true information, right?

          No, most of it wasn't true. Some of it may have been true, from a certain point of view. Some of it would have been true, but they made mountains out of mole hills with it. Typical scaremongering.

        • It was asymmetric. Looking in one sides dirty laundry hamper and not the others isn't an unbiased exercise.

          • It was asymmetric. Looking in one sides dirty laundry hamper and not the others isn't an unbiased exercise.

            This is just a dressed-up way of saying "but Trump does bad things too!"

            It's not like it was any secret to anyone that Hillary was going to come with a mountain of dirty laundry. The smart thing to do would have been to nominate a better candidate.

            You want someone to blame? Try the voters in the primary election. And of course, the DNC, who colluded to get the absolute worst candidate possible nominated.

            This whole thing about "Russian hackers" is just a way to deflect attention from how badly Hillary's c

      • When everyone says "Hacked the election", no one is saying that the Russians changed ballot counts.

        We don't know that they didn't. Florida anyone?

      • Correct. No one is saying it. They're desperately hoping people will draw that conclusion though, otherwise they'd use different language when making allegations of Russian influence.

  • lies, damn lies (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @07:13PM (#54402941) Journal

    "I would highlight much, not all, much of what was in the intelligence community's assessment, for example, on the Russian efforts against the U.S. election process in 2016, was informed by knowledge we gained through (Section) 702 authority,"

    I would like to see one piece of evidence they gained from the 702 authority. From the report they released, [motherjones.com] there was not one piece of evidence they presented that required special authority. There was not one piece of evidence thy presented that was new, or unknown by the security community up to that point. Never trust an NSA spokesperson, or an FBI spokesperson.

    That is, trust them, but verify. Which means don't trust.

    • Agreed. When the National Security Agency claims they are unwilling or unable to obtain the kind of evidence that JOURNALISTS were able to obtain regarding Russian interference in US elections without resorting to panopticon tactics and pervasive domestic surveillance, that is either an outright lie, or a display of egregious incompetence. Which one is it, then? Is the NSA really saying they are too stupid to figure out how the Russians have infiltrated the US government? Because that's exactly what th

  • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @07:34PM (#54403011)

    The Russians *tried* to mess with the election, sure.. But they messed with both sides as I recall... Sure, the exposure of the internal democratic committee's E-mails through WikiLeaks seems to have a bit more effect on the outcome, but only because of how damming they where... Who knew the democrats where the nasty cheating so and so's their E-mail showed? I sure didn't dream they where that kind of folks... In a way, they sank themselves, albeit with Russian help.

    There should have been no way Trump could win, she should have toasted him by more than double digits and walked away with nearly every electoral vote out there, But, even though she out spent, out ground gamed, had more experience and had a less contested primary and thus a less fractured party base, she didn't win.

    Face it, she gave this election away... SHE lost it all by herself. The Russians didn't take it, Comey didn't take it, The Donald didn't take it (how could he?), she just lost it. The Russians didn't do her any favors, nor in the long run did Comey, but as heavily favored as she was going into this, there is no other place to put the blame.

    Until democrats get off this "The Russians Hacked the Election and that's why Trump won" kick, they are never going to get anywhere useful..

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Clinton was ahead by double digits and it looked impossible for Trump to win, a few weeks before the vote. Then those emails leaked out, and then the FBI started another investigation a week before the vote... That's when Trump made up the huge gap.

      Correlation is not causation, but in this case so much was made of her emails it seems hard to think the leaks and investigation had no effect.

  • Russia Hacked Election To Help Trump

    True or not, what does the statement mean? How would you — or anyone — "hack elections"? What has been done to us in 2016, that did not happen in 2012, for example, and does not happen in any free speech-country in a run-up to elections?

  • by OYAHHH ( 322809 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @07:54PM (#54403073) Homepage

    What idiot in their right mind would think Russia would not attempt to impact our elections. Even if it were just for kicks and giggles.

    So, of course Russia "hacked" our elections. But, did they change a single solitary vote? Did they hack into any ballot machines and change the totals?

    Getting your hair raised over Russians meddling in our elections is a bit much while you do not utter a peep when Hillary Clinton brags about overthrowing Qaddafi, Obama attempts to overthrow Assad, Obama meddles in Israeli elections, Obama spies on Merkel, and Obama spied on journalists and hacked their computers.

    The only Russians who actually and truly impacted our elections were those Russians in the United States who actually cast votes.

    The reason Donald Trump was elected was because Middle America was fed up. And they directed that anger at Hillary Clinton who was the epitome of "politics as usual."

  • What good does it do if we know we were hacked if nothing's done about it? I'd rather keep our privacy, the result is the same either way.

  • Since they can't accept that Trump won the election, they employ a convenient yet false scapegoat.

  • by Sir Holo ( 531007 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @10:39PM (#54403749)

    FTA: "Rogers said allowing the statute to expire on Dec. 31, unless Congress votes to reauthorize it, would degrade U.S. intelligence agencies' ability to provide "timely warning and insight" on a variety of criminal and national security threats."

    But Mike, the statute FAILED to provide any "timely warning and insight". It did not help.

  • Just a reminder that that the technical term for an unnamed source discussing information obtained through FISA is "Felon".

    Also, so far the only crime known to have occurred during this fiasco is the leaking of Flynn's name. That is a felony too.

  • What I do not understand is why the US political elite has always been trying to change a regime here or there, but if someone attempts to do something similar in return, media freaks out.

    The teaching of the prophets (Matthew 7:12) is: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", isn't it?

    I do not get a logic of it. If one starts playing say a hokey it is reasonable to expect that the opposing teams would play back.

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