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NSA data-mining program under attack

  1. Apr 14, 2006 #1

    turbo

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    Some time back there was a thread in which the NSA domestic spying program was discussed. In breaking news, it has been revealed that the NSA has the ability to tap into every bit of data traversing AT&T's network, including phone calls, emails, Internet look-ups, etc. If the whistle-blower is telling the truth, those of us who believed that the NSA would gladly spy on all US citizens (not just the "bad" guys) have been proven right, and Bush has turned this country into a police state.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060414...E2b74Gs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3cjE0b2MwBHNlYwM3Mzg-
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2006 #2

    Hurkyl

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    How does that follow?
     
  4. Apr 14, 2006 #3

    Art

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    http://www.answers.com/topic/police-state

    If you equate the NSA to a secret police force then the statement seems perfectly valid to me.
     
  5. Apr 14, 2006 #4

    Hurkyl

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    He could equate pink fuzzy bunnies to a secret police state too. :tongue:

    And, of course, you forgot about the rigid and repressive controls bit.
     
  6. Apr 14, 2006 #5

    Art

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    err yes, whatever :rolleyes:

    Many people would consider having their private communications being monitored repressive and you can be sure the fear of attracting attention from the government affects what people say and do and thus the state are exercising undue control over the actions of it's citizens.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2006
  7. Apr 14, 2006 #6
    :biggrin: "Psychological impediment" in short :tongue2:
     
  8. Apr 14, 2006 #7

    Astronuc

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    Whistle-Blower Outs NSA Spy Room
    http://www.wired.com/news/technology/1,70619-0.html

    Whistle-blower says AT&T gave spy agency access to network
    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/nation/20060413-1443-ca-domesticspying-lawsuit.html

    Any warrantless wiretap would in theory be illegal because its violates FISA.
     
  9. Apr 14, 2006 #8

    loseyourname

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    It sure is making turbo and ten million other bloggers and internet forum posters wary of criticizing the Bush administration over the internet, isn't it?

    You guys sure do exasperate me sometimes. The FBI isn't about to start going out and rounding up all dissenters and put them before firing squads. This isn't frickin' Stalin or Hussein we're talking about here. This is bad and wrong for entirely different and better reasons that don't involve abject paranoia and hyperbole. Such as this:

    This is crap. If what they are saying is true, and the NSA is only tapping into calls by suspected Al Qaeda members, FISA would gladly give them warrants for that, I would think. Why on earth do they need to create this veneer of being above the law? This, combined with the new Bush defense that it's okay for him to out a covert operative because he can, at will, declassify whatever he wants for whatever reason he wants, is giving the president way more power than the constitution ever intended. If these things really are legal, then the laws need to change. If they're not legal, then Alberto Gonzales needs to be exiled to Cuba to work under Castro where he belongs.
     
  10. Apr 14, 2006 #9

    turbo

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    Somebody has to do it. It is silly to presume that the NSA would esablish these capabilities to dredge data in this fashion and not use it. It is also naive to assume that the party in power would not want to exploit this capability for personal/political gain. And I mean either party, although this particular administration has demonstrated a very sickening propensity to lie, obfuscate, and to retaliate against honest people who might hinder their agenda (Wilson/Plame).
     
  11. Apr 14, 2006 #10

    Astronuc

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    The issue is the secrecy, the justification for the secrecy, and the fact that the president claims that the power is 'implicitly granted by congress'.

    The constitution is very explicit about how powers are granted, and those power not explicitly given to the executive and legislative branches are reserved for the "People" - not the president and not congress. Congress may grant certain powers to the president (checks and balances) as long as they do not conflict with the Constitution, and most likely that would require an amendment to the Constitution.

    The president has gone outside the Constitution to claim an authority of which there is no provision.

    Sounds like an Impeachable Offense to me. :biggrin:
     
  12. Apr 14, 2006 #11
    Here is an exerpt from an essay I wrote recently (I screwed up some of the link addresses):

    Many think that the U.S. Government’s violation of privacy is a blatant disregard of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. They see it as the U.S. Government encroaching on a very basic right that all men are entitled to, regardless of race, age, or sex (www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/briefing/privacy.html). Though the invasion of privacy with wire taps may violate the Fifth Amendment the Constitution suggests that this is reasonable and history tells us to expect it. President Woodrow Wilson during WWI found it necessary to have a complete media blackout in order to support the American war-cause. This executive power to protect the Constitution and to issue Executive Orders is outlined in Article 2, Section 3, “…he [the President] shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed…” There are several other examples in United States history in which presidents in time of war used their executive power to undermine individuals’ rights for the better of the country. In fact, this same compromise of rights is laid out in the Constitution when describing the onset of martial law in Article 1 Section 9, “The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.” Habeas Corpus is the principle that the government may not hold a person unless for a valid reason. During Martial Law the government may be able to hold individuals without valid reason (www.usconstitution.net). It is obvious therefore that the Constitution advocates a philosophy known as Utilitarianism. This principle is the concept of the sacrifice of the few for the sake of the many. It is recognized by our own Constitution that in order to protect the lives of its citizens it may have to compromise several rights in times of war or crisis. Though these laws may affect the rights and lives of people, they are only temporary. The History of the United States shows us that wartime laws go out of effect when the war or crisis is over.


    Even if the constitution may condone sacrificing rights for the sake of people’s lives, what is keeping the powers that be from abusing the people’s rights? What is there to counterbalance the agencies that use the “national security blanket,” as Nixon’s administration once did. How is it possible to prevent these abuses from occurring and being taken one step further? Since 1974, there has been an act in effect known as the Freedom of Information Act. This allows citizens to access non-sensitive government documents. This free flow of information has allowed additional criticisms of past United States administrations such as President Nixon’s. During the Vietnam War, President Nixon allowed surveillance to be conducted on musician and activist John Lenin to see if he was doing anything that would legally allow him to be deported, since he was a very strong anti-Nixon element. Regardless of the fact that this and other situations make several government agencies appear criminal, this act allows the public to examine the government’s actions, critique them, and in turn respond to them. Despite being able to see what the government is doing, the declassifying of information generally takes several years and thus only allows an after-the-fact reflection (www.fas.org/syp/foia/citizen.html). Regardless, there are several laws in place which control and moderate government agencies, preventing another repeat of the Nixon Administration. In order to counter abuses of privacy such as that, the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act was passed in 1978. This law created a secret court which reviews the legitimacy of reasons for viewing suspects after the first 45 days of that suspect’s surveillance. This law allows for the secret agencies to act quickly gathering invaluable information, but it also allows the effective regulation of this power by seeing if the reasons for continuing surveillance are legitimate (“Wiretaps Require Warrants”). Besides this the United States consists of a system of checks and balances. Even though President Bush may desire more power for secret agencies such as the NSA; it can be and even has been refused by Congress. Even the Presidential Power of the Executive Order can be undone by Congress with 2/3 vote (www.thisnation.com). With the renewing of the Patriot Act, Congress has added several new provisions which further squelch any abuses. One of the new limitations on the Act is when people are given a subpoena demanding for information concerning their computers, library records, and medical records, they now have the right to take this to court and demand substantiation (“Bush Signs Patriot Act Renewal”). Though it is possible for the government to become like “Big Brother,” this is generally the biased vision of an opposing party.

    -scott
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2006
  13. Apr 14, 2006 #12
    I think we mentioned in another thread how this secret information could be used for political gain. And we do know Karl Rove's record on sabotaging political opponents. Put it together and it makes one dam scary sceniaro for the upcoming elections. This administration has given itself the power to do whatever it wishes. And it is legal because the Attorney General says so?:rolleyes: I think not.

    Fron another point of view this kind of information gathering could give a devious corporate entity a tremendous financial advantage.
     
  14. Apr 14, 2006 #13
    Scott, don't take this the wrong way, but you really need to work on your research ability. This essay is riddled with errors and inaccuracies - just a few: FOIA was passed in 1966, not 1974 as you claim; in particular it was passed before the Nixon administration! Utilitarianism is not "sacrifice of a few for the many" - where did you learn that? And *.net* web pages are never acceptable sources. Why do you expect people to read what you wrote, if you won't put in the minimum effort to verify it yourself?

    Incidentally, Lenin was a Soviet revolutionary, not a Beatle.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2006
  15. Apr 14, 2006 #14
    Rach3, John Lenin, the beattle was involved in the peace movement and was a threat to the Nixon Administration. The orginal FOIA was passed in 1966, but the current act was revised in 1974, an error on my part. According to my work in Lincoln-Douglas Debate that is an acceptable definition of a priciple of Utilitarinism. I was not aware of other parts of the concept, but that is one priciple. I'll give you that the idea was over simplified. This was not a very serious essay. I only posted this because it had some relevant cited information. I would call it a research paper if it was.
    -scott
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2006
  16. Apr 15, 2006 #15
    There are a lot of companies involved besides AT&T and the spying began much earlier than has been revealed by the Bush administration. They began before 911 yet failed to protect us. Are they really protecting us now?

    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011306Z.shtml
    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB24/nsa25.pdf
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2006
  17. Apr 15, 2006 #16

    BobG

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    You mean John Lennon. (You must be young - otherwise, how could you not know how to spell one of the Beatles' names?)

    Using the 1974 Freedom of Information Act vs. the original date is a trivial mistake, except that using the wrong date gives the impression that the FOIA was passed in response to Nixon's actions (Nixon's actions probably did give the act a higher profile).
     
  18. Apr 15, 2006 #17

    Astronuc

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    It would seem someone in the NSA was prepared prior to 9/11.

    Was the initial NSA surveillance conducted in compliance with FISA?

    It was pointed out by someone, that one justification of the Bush administration is that if they had had the special power then they could have thwarted the 9/11 plot!

    However, the NSA did have a place under surveillance and they apparently had recorded Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi talking with a then 'suspected' terrorist site in Yemen or Saudi Arabia. But the NSA did not share intelligence with CIA or FBI. So there was an opportunity, but the system blew it.

    Makes one wonder what Bush or others in his administration are really up to.
     
  19. Apr 15, 2006 #18

    turbo

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    Here is a FAQ about the AT&T case from EFF, the non-profit organization that brought the class-action suit against AT&T for the illegal data-mining of US residents.

    http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att/faq.php
     
  20. Apr 15, 2006 #19
    The initial surveillance had to be in compliance.

    They had the oportunity to thwart 911. They didn't listen to FBI agents in the field. What was passed up the chain of command was ignored by the Administration. Red flags had been flown by the agent in Phoenix and by the agent who was tailing Zacarias Moussaoui. Both were ignored.

    Could it be that they were ignored because the Administration was so heavily involved with the NSA spying that they were blinded by their own illusions of superiority?

    Personally as far as protecting Americans from low tech attacks, I don't see where anything has changed except that they are trying to filter through more information. The Dept. of Homeland Security only adds another layer of bureaucracy to stumble over.

    That is the scarry part.:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2006
  21. Apr 15, 2006 #20

    turbo

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    Not necessarily. There is a public government that feeds us lies and tries to keep us all in line while they plunder the country's wealth. Then there is a government that is not only not open to public scrutiny, but it is not open to the scrutiny of our elected Congressional representatives. The NSA is part of this black government and they are answerable to practically nobody. We may never find out the magnitude of their domestic spying over the years.

    The Bush administration models itself after these black agencies, operating in secrecy, lying, leaking "classified" information that they know to be inaccurate in order to support the lies, ignoring the law, both domestic and international, and using personal attacks to bring down people that refuse to toe the party line. Nixon would be proud.
     
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