dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
   
spc
story category
NSA: It Violates Citizen Privacy to Acknowledge Our Spying
Wait, What?
by Karl Bode 12:58PM Tuesday Jun 19 2012
The NSA's denial of domestic surveillance has always been amusing, but the agency recently took it to new laughable levels by swearing before Congress that they even have the ability to spy on domestic e-mail or SMS. The NSA has been dodging increasing questions by Congress about their domestic surveillance activities, and their latest excuse for being unable to come clean on their activities is that informing Americans they're being spied on would violate their privacy rights.

From an NSA response to Senators Wyden and Udall, both on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who asked the agency to calculate just how many American citizens they spy on:
quote:
The NSA IG provided a classified response on 6 June 2012. I defer to his conclusion that obtaining such an estimate was beyond the capacity of his office and dedicating sufficient additional resources would likely impede the NSA's mission. He further stated that his office and NSA leadership agreed that an IG review of the sort suggested would itself violate the privacy of U.S. persons..
So according to the NSA, they not only lack the capability to spy on Americans, they lack the ability to calculate how many Americans they spy on. Even if they could calculate those numbers, they refuse to do so because it would somehow violate citizen privacy rights. The reality of course is that the NSA has systems in place that have been spying on everyone for years (pdf) -- so they're never going to come clean because it would illustrate their total disregard for the law.

It's interesting that Wyden and Udall realize Congress has little real power or oversight into our own intelligence agencies, but it appears they're not making much progress in getting the NSA to acknowledge much of anything. If anything, it just seems like the NSA is mocking them with ever-increasingly obnoxious commentary as if to illustrate how little power Congress actually has.

view:
topics flat nest 
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC

5 recommendations

Try rephrasing the question...

How many Americans don't they spy on?
dmelling

join:2009-02-26
New Paris, OH

Re: Try rephrasing the question...

If this had a "Like" button, I would hit it!
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC

2 recommendations

Re: Try rephrasing the question...

Hehe, try "actions", then "Ignore author"... I mean "approval for the post".

WHT

join:2010-03-26
Rosston, TX
kudos:5
said by axus:

How many Americans don't they spy on?

Yeah...That would be a much shorter list.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
as far as I know there is nobody they cannot spy on.

I bet the big telcos beyond AT&T even feed them data directly.

But I have stopped being too worried because I know there is nothing one can do besides encryption that wont cause you to "disappear".
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Spying on Americans not illegal; using it in court is

People keep confusing spying vs using results in court. There are laws limiting what can be used in court as a result of spying. There are virtually no laws or rules limiting what the NSA can collect. The Congress, in authorizing the NSA, gave them carte blanche to spy on everything. It also doesn't prevent the NSA and those they share info with(CIA, FBI) from using that info to take actions to defend the US from bad actors(foreign or domestic). Any info that the FBI gets after a heads up has to follow the usual court rules on evidence if they plan on prosecuting someone.

A simplified example. NSA spying ID's someone worth investigating. They pass that tip to FBI. FBI then starts investigating and follows usual procedures and obtains warrants to collect evidence. The original tip by the NSA doesn't enter in to the court record.

P.S.>> Just like J. Edgar Hoover had the dirt on all the congresscritters, so now does the NSA. The mostly corrupt semi-criminals in Congress know not to bite the hand that knows all their dark, dirty secrets. Congress will do nothing to rein in the NSA. They are all too vulnerable to risk being exposed.
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC

Re: Spying on Americans not illegal; using it in court is

Fourth amendment to the constitution?

I do agree that blackmailing politicians is one side effect of this kind of spying. The problem is, what if the current administration used it to suppress only Republican candidates?

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Spying on Americans not illegal; using it in court is

said by axus:

Fourth amendment to the constitution?

Gutted for electronic surveillance by FISA amendments.
»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepting_v._AT%26T
»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FISA_Amend···_of_2008
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO
All agencies, no matter how big or small, were created by congress to off load their duties and as such are ultimately accountable to congress.

How and why any agency can actually not fully disclose information and evade direct questions of congress is beyond me.

No agency should be above the law of the constitution nor the accountability to congress and ultimately to it's people.

elios

join:2005-11-15
Springfield, MO
accept when it matters like 9-11
when the FBI agent attached to NSA asked for them to turn the info over and the NSA wouldnt turn it over so the FBI could stop them

kinda fail

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Spying on Americans not illegal; using it in court is

said by elios:

accept when it matters like 9-11
when the FBI agent attached to NSA asked for them to turn the info over and the NSA wouldnt turn it over so the FBI could stop them

kinda fail

Hence, all the new laws on sharing info since 9-11

elios

join:2005-11-15
Springfield, MO

Re: Spying on Americans not illegal; using it in court is

only now they collect so much information they dont have the man power to do any thing with it

GG NSA

CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
But then - 9-11 proves more spying on US citizens was not needed. What was\is needed is more cooperation between agencies.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain

Camaro
Question everything
Premium
join:2008-04-05
Westfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by FFH:

P.S.>> Just like J. Edgar Hoover had the dirt on all the congresscritters, so now does the NSA. The mostly corrupt semi-criminals in Congress know not to bite the hand that knows all their dark, dirty secrets. Congress will do nothing to rein in the NSA. They are all too vulnerable to risk being exposed.

That is the most simple and accurate answer that describes it's history I have heard in awhile.

Also this a isn't news maybe ten or twelve years ago it would be but not in 2012.

cableties
Premium
join:2005-01-27

We'd like to...

invoke State Secrets your honor.

And that's all she wrote...
--
Splat

ctceo
Premium
join:2001-04-26
South Bend, IN

Re: We'd like to...

The funny thing is, though you'd be looked at funny by everyone in the courtroom, you could as a citizen claim the same thing in your own defense and.....likely not get away with it though it would be purely legal to do so.
InfinityDev

join:2005-06-30
USA

1 recommendation

I used to think this kind of stuff was funny

but now it just gets me angry.

»www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.0···tml#four

Ringtone: Call Connected Through The NSA.

AzDragonLord

join:2003-10-21
Florence, AZ

uh huh...

...and it's considered stealing only if you get caught.
--
Praise the Gods, Do Good, Act Bravely.

XANAVirus
Premium
join:2012-03-03
Lavalette, WV
Reviews:
·Callcentric
·Comcast

Re: uh huh...

This is exactly what I expected would happen.

Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

You give someone/something 'carte blance' to perform their operations, sooner or later it *will* be abused.

It's human nature; and frankly that annoys me to the core.

Rogue Wolf
Mourns the Loss of lilhurricane

join:2003-08-12
Troy, NY
To paraphrase the Traveling Wilburys: "In Jersey Congress anything's legal, as long as you don't get caught"
--
I may have been born yesterday, but I've spent all afternoon downtown.

our rights

@rr.com

our rights

We need to take our country back
mythology
Premium
join:2002-10-16
Seneca, SC

1 recommendation

Re: our rights

Nothing short of a armed revolution can restore the constitution. History shows us that men in power do EVERYTHING they can to retain their power. Lie, Steal, Cheat and Kill. This country is lost and our children are doomed.

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEorxBT0bcM

Rogue Wolf
Mourns the Loss of lilhurricane

join:2003-08-12
Troy, NY

1 recommendation

Remember....

The big bad TERRORISTS hate us for our freedoms. The wicked, horrible TERRORISTS want to destroy our freedoms. We will defeat those evil TERRORISTS by destroying our freedoms before they can!
--
I may have been born yesterday, but I've spent all afternoon downtown.
old_wiz_60

join:2005-06-03
Bedford, MA

NSA is

just an American version of the Gestapo. No one should be surprised at what they do, legal or illegal, and they will get away with it anyway.

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:4

Paranoia will destroy ya...

.

CommonSense

@acsalaska.net

Occam's razor

Power of the purse. Congress holds the authority to defund agencies that grow too large or abuse their power. If Congress wanted to stop the NSA, CIA, or TSA they would just cut funding. Unfortunately, the revolving door of corruption and kickbacks between Government agencies, private industry, and Congressmen has prohibited any intervention from taking place.

ctceo
Premium
join:2001-04-26
South Bend, IN
Reviews:
·Virgin Mobile Br..

Re: Occam's razor

Everyone knows what happens to people who "cut funding" to agencies such as the NSA, or CIA...

You end up with dirt on the cutters flying everywhere from unknown sources and were usually left with an even shadier handful of individuals than before as the ones who kept their mouth shut get to keep their jobs and lives.
djoropallo

join:2003-10-20
Maple Shade, NJ

The NSA Is Building the Country's Biggest Spy Center

There was an article in Wired a few months back about the new center NSA is building to listen in on us all. Huge building, more here for anyone interested:
»www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/0···acenter/
MyDogHsFleas
Premium
join:2007-08-15
Austin, TX
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Mediacom

1 recommendation

Framework for understanding what's going on here

Essentially this is political theater.

The senators asking these questions at an open hearing know very well the classified details of what the NSA is actually doing under established law and interpretation, which the Obama administration supports, carried over from the Bush administration which initiated all this after 9/11. (Not that I personally know any of these classified details, just to be clear.).

They just don't agree with those laws and interpretations. But they know they can't win repeal outright (far from it, actually). So this campaign is an attempt to reframe the discussion and to generate media attention by trying to drag classified details into the open in a back door way.

"But it's such a simple request! Just tell this committee, in an open hearing, details about how many Americans were involved in intercepted communications?"

Really? That's not going to happen. And, THEY KNOW THAT.

So they force an answer like the one they got. Then they can fire up the media just like you see happening.

Don't get spun by this. Understand the true nature of this campaign. Whether you agree with these Senators goals, or not. Debate the issues on their merits, not some ginned up "controversy".