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(Talking Points Memo)   Al Franken: "The NSA isn't spying, they're defending us" I still don't get your comedy. This *is* comedy, right? YOU'RE NOT FUNNY   (livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com) divider line 96
    More: Sad, Al Franken, NSA, WCCO, comedy  
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752 clicks; posted to Politics » on 12 Jun 2013 at 8:48 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-12 07:40:46 AM  
Al Franken is the biggest hypocrite in the US Senate. Democrat party uber alles eh, Al.
 
2013-06-12 08:27:37 AM  
"I have a high level of confidence that this is used to protect us and I know that it has been successful in preventing terrorism," Franken said.

Other than the identity of the individual who said it, is there anything at all about this statement makes it any more or less worthy of derision than the myriad others who are saying the same thing?
 
2013-06-12 08:35:39 AM  

kronicfeld: "I have a high level of confidence that this is used to protect us and I know that it has been successful in preventing terrorism," Franken said.

Other than the identity of the individual who said it, is there anything at all about this statement makes it any more or less worthy of derision than the myriad others who are saying the same thing?


Well, Franken did once make a living in comedy, so one could hope it was a joke. Then again, he also did "Stuart Saves His Family," so "comedy" might be stretching it.
 
2013-06-12 08:43:19 AM  
this is exactly what his supporters voted him into the senate for.
 
2013-06-12 08:54:23 AM  
www.wearysloth.com
 
2013-06-12 08:55:23 AM  
Don't blame me, I voted for Lizard People.
 
2013-06-12 08:56:04 AM  
I don't want to alarm anybody, but lately I've been seeing a number of vehicles that appear to be both measuring vehicle exhaust, and recording the license plate of the vehicle - ALL WITHOUT A WARRANT! Not even a sniff of probable cause and they can use this information coupled with the (likely unconstitutional) database of vehicle registrations maintained by the state, and boom, I get fined.

Thanks ALOT, Snobamao!
 
2013-06-12 09:00:27 AM  
"I have a high level of confidence that this is used to protect us and I know that it has been successful in preventing terrorism," Franken said.

I agree, and I also believe it's not about spying on the American people. But that's not the point, the point is they're doing it.

And another point is that it could be used for those nefarious purposes.

So there are three points anyway and none of them discount each other. One person can safely hold all three positions.
 
2013-06-12 09:01:44 AM  

mikemoto: Al Franken is the biggest hypocrite in the US Senate. Democrat party uber alles eh, Al.


This is really, really simple. In 2005, the Bush Administration asked the telecoms to have a looksee at ALL the phone records. All complied except Qwest, who asked to see a subpoena or warrant. The Bush Administration never provided one, Qwest never released the records.

This time, the NSA had a warrant.

Now, if you want to tell me that the FISA process needs to be reviewed because it's entirely too easy to get a warrant, or even because the very idea of a 'Secret Court' is entirely unAmerican I'm all ears. But don't tell me there is equivalency, because there just isn't.
 
2013-06-12 09:04:00 AM  

MisterLoki: Don't blame me, I voted for Lizard People.


At least the shadowy conspiracy of Lizard People are more open and forthcoming about their goals and methods. With Lizard People you know that the erosion of your rights and government oversight is for a reason not just a slow decline of liberty in the name of safety by people who insist that they know what's best for you.

I know that next election I'll be voting Lizard. And maybe if we're lucky they'll lay eggs inside the chests of our leading politicians.
 
2013-06-12 09:04:40 AM  
Defending us from what?  Unless you have a very specific threat in mind, knock it off.
 
2013-06-12 09:05:01 AM  

Uranus Is Huge!: I don't want to alarm anybody, but lately I've been seeing a number of vehicles that appear to be both measuring vehicle exhaust, and recording the license plate of the vehicle - ALL WITHOUT A WARRANT! Not even a sniff of probable cause and they can use this information coupled with the (likely unconstitutional) database of vehicle registrations maintained by the state, and boom, I get fined.

Thanks ALOT, Snobamao!


You're almost as funny as Franken.  Almost.
 
2013-06-12 09:06:18 AM  
Frankly I'd expect more.

If the NSA is truly looking at the phone numbers and duration of all calls, they could ID telemarketers and scammers in a nanosecond.

With all that money, those very smart people in those black buildings (and elsewhere), you'd think that scammers calling everyone 10-20 times a day would be something they'd notice.

It might even help whatever else they do to eliminate the noise.
 
2013-06-12 09:08:53 AM  

MFAWG: Now, if you want to tell me that the FISA process needs to be reviewed because it's entirely too easy to get a warrant, or even because the very idea of a 'Secret Court' is entirely unAmerican I'm all ears. But don't tell me there is equivalency, because there just isn't.


in 2008 the FISA Amendments ACt made all of those actions Bush took perfectly legal.

And since FISA's entire thing is about retroactive warrants, the only real difference is the time frame in between the action and the FISA ruling.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/12/28/168220266/congress-ex te nds-fisa-wiretapping-act-to-2017-awaits-obamas-signature  About four paragraphs in.
 
2013-06-12 09:10:41 AM  

MFAWG: This time, the NSA had a warrant.


This. I don't think anyone's ever imagined that the Federal government couldn't crawl up your behind and dust for fingerprints until their fingers tickled your nose hairs once armed with a warrant, or if they did then they were living in a dream world. The NSA thing might be clumsy, but it's properly and legally signed off on clumsy. It deserves a conversation and oversight, not damnation - and despite the amount of startled looks in a Congress that's too stupid to understand what they've been given access to all the time, it even looks like it's been properly presented to and presumably vetted by multiple sessions of the legislature. So we could get in arms about the fact of it, or the fictional imaginings of it, but it's entirely bullshiat to imagine that this measured legalistic approach is in any way the same as the days following 9/11 when Bush and company were basically rewriting the playbook from the hip and daring someone to challenge them on it.
 
2013-06-12 09:11:21 AM  
Al Franken 2006

In an early 2006 AlterNet interview before he was officially running for Senate, Franken disparaged the Bush administration's NSA warrantless-surveillance program, laughing off a similar rationale to the one he's used in part to justify the current program:

They're trying to justify these warrantless wiretaps by saying, "Oh, it's al-Qaida!" One guy is saying it's just al-Qaida--the Hayden guy, and then on the other hand, you hear from the FBI that they were inundated with referrals on all kinds of stuff with these calls, so much so that they couldn't get to their real work, and that none of the referrals led anywhere.


I think it's a Roveian strategy: "We win on national security; we'll scare people, and then we'll just win."


2013

"I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people," Franken said. The senator also believes the data collection has saved American lives:

I have a high level of confidence that this is used to protect us, and I know that it has been successful in preventing terrorism.

There are certain things that are appropriate for me to know that is not appropriate for the bad guys to know.



Link
 
2013-06-12 09:22:17 AM  

SlothB77: this is exactly what his supporters voted him into the senate for.


No we voted for him because he was a lot better then Coleman.
 
2013-06-12 09:28:38 AM  

hasty ambush: warrantless


Kind of important
 
2013-06-12 09:29:13 AM  
al franken is a piece of shiat.
 
2013-06-12 09:31:33 AM  
The joke is on the morons that elected him.
 
2013-06-12 09:41:13 AM  

Aarontology: MFAWG: Now, if you want to tell me that the FISA process needs to be reviewed because it's entirely too easy to get a warrant, or even because the very idea of a 'Secret Court' is entirely unAmerican I'm all ears. But don't tell me there is equivalency, because there just isn't.

in 2008 the FISA Amendments ACt made all of those actions Bush took perfectly legal.

And since FISA's entire thing is about retroactive warrants, the only real difference is the time frame in between the action and the FISA ruling.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/12/28/168220266/congress-ex te nds-fisa-wiretapping-act-to-2017-awaits-obamas-signature  About four paragraphs in.


Ex Post Facto only works one way? I honestly did not know that.
 
2013-06-12 09:47:31 AM  

Skleenar: hasty ambush: warrantless

Kind of important


Also, wiretaps.  There are a lot of people trying to imply that the NSA is listening in on all these calls.
 
2013-06-12 09:47:49 AM  

mikemoto: Al Franken is the biggest hypocrite in the US Senate. Democrat party uber alles eh, Al.


That's a bold claim.
 
2013-06-12 09:52:53 AM  

James!: Also, wiretaps. There are a lot of people trying to imply that the NSA is listening in on all these calls.


Well, to be fair to the cassandras, all we have heard about so far is data collection.  And the parts of the program that are subject to FISA warrants.  Now, there may be other news to come.  But so far this hasn't really hit me as anything new, unexpected, or illegal.

You'll note I did not use "appropriate", "necessary" or "justified".  There is certainly a discussion to be had on those points.
 
2013-06-12 09:53:31 AM  

mikemoto: Al Franken is the biggest hypocrite in the US Senate. Democrat party uber alles eh, Al.


FWIW, Franken signed on to a bipartisan bill to declassify FISA court opinions:

Link
 
2013-06-12 10:01:02 AM  

soakitincider: al franken is a piece of shiat.


elaborate, please. because of this statement regarding the NSA or because of other things.
 
2013-06-12 10:07:28 AM  

GanjSmokr: Uranus Is Huge!: I don't want to alarm anybody, but lately I've been seeing a number of vehicles that appear to be both measuring vehicle exhaust, and recording the license plate of the vehicle - ALL WITHOUT A WARRANT! Not even a sniff of probable cause and they can use this information coupled with the (likely unconstitutional) database of vehicle registrations maintained by the state, and boom, I get fined.

Thanks ALOT, Snobamao!

You're almost as funny as Franken.  Almost.


You're not.
 
2013-06-12 10:11:47 AM  
The amount of congressmen saying this type of shiat is scary.  "It's called protecting America" or "It isn't spying it is protection" is just as bad as "If you have nothing to hide you shouldn't care".
 
2013-06-12 10:28:11 AM  

Alphax: Defending us from what? Unless you have a very specific threat in mind, knock it off.


The thing about PRISM is, it's a database that no one can get into without a warrant. So there's passive collection going on constantly, but in order for anyone to have a look-see, they need to specify what they're looking for - with a warrant - and they (theoretically, this part of things I haven't looked into) only get a subset of the data.

By the time they get to the warrant stage, they've got a host of other data. FISA may approve 99.7% of them (same percentage as the "germs" killed by Ivory soap...*ominous music*), but it would seem that by time you're trying to look into PRISM, you would have to know what you need. The sheer volume of data in there would mean sifting through so much garbage from a broad search to find what you need that any investigation would be quickly mired in the sorting/mining.

// I'd also like to see stats on what prosecutions these data were used for - terrorism (not likely, as there are relatively few cases every year), vice crime, kiddie porn (I hope so) or "other"?
// none of this should suggest that I approve - the USG can compile what public info there is (your public FB profiel) if they really want, but passively collecting ALL phone metadata is creepy
 
2013-06-12 10:30:00 AM  
Franken, y u no derp?
 
2013-06-12 10:30:47 AM  
So do you know how your representatives to the House and Senate voted on the Patriot Act? Do you care? Because I know how mine voted and despite all of them being from the party I most identify with I will be voting against them in the mid-term elections.

Those of you who seem to care, who decry the spying there is one thing and one thing alone that you can do and that is vote against those representatives who voted for the Patriot Act. No matter what their party is, no matter what else you like about them, if this is the most important issue to you vote them out of office.

Of course you could just whine about it on the internet and expect somebody else to save you, you know like the pussy you are.
 
2013-06-12 11:11:15 AM  

FlashHarry: soakitincider: al franken is a piece of shiat.

elaborate, please. because of this statement regarding the NSA or because of other things.


He also got bought off by Monsantpo and voted their way, and they happend to contribute a nice chunk of cash to his campaign...but I guess he can draw the US map?
 
2013-06-12 11:22:31 AM  

Bartman66: He also got bought off by Monsantpo and voted their way, and they happend to contribute a nice chunk of cash to his campaign


that's a shame. i suppose you pick your battles. so far, he's been pretty good. certainly better than that sleaze coleman would've been.
 
2013-06-12 11:25:33 AM  

Bartman66: He also got bought off by Monsantpo and voted their way


so did tammy baldwin and elizabeth warren. i find those both shocking too.
 
2013-06-12 12:03:12 PM  
Between this, and his outspoken support of SOPA, Mr. Franken can go frank himself.
 
2013-06-12 12:03:22 PM  
There's two possible responses a progressive can have to Franken's statements:

1) Reassess what you know and what you're assuming about the NSA

2) Decide Franken has crossed over to the dark side and is now a puppet of the establishment

Gotta be 2.
 
2013-06-12 12:05:04 PM  

Bartman66: FlashHarry: soakitincider: al franken is a piece of shiat.

elaborate, please. because of this statement regarding the NSA or because of other things.

He also got bought off by Monsantpo and voted their way, and they happend to contribute a nice chunk of cash to his campaign...but I guess he can draw the US map?


He was also one of the driving forces behind COICA, the bill that eventually became PIPA/SOPA.

I respect the man, but no way in hell would I ever vote for him.  For anything.
 
2013-06-12 12:16:20 PM  
Skleenar
Well, to be fair to the cassandras, all we have heard about so far is data collection.

Well, yes and no. Everything the NSA deals with is "data". PRISM is purported to be a program of content interception, however.

Dr Dreidel
The thing about PRISM is, it's a database that no one can get into without a warrant.

That's not what the whistleblower claims. In fact he claims that he could access it from his desk. Do you have some insider knowledge of PRISM, or are you just making stuff up?

FlashHarry
elaborate, please. because of this statement regarding the NSA or because of other things.

This statement doesn't help, but lets also remember his lame triangulation on SOPA.
 
2013-06-12 12:19:52 PM  
vygramul
There's two possible responses a progressive can have to Franken's statements:

1) Reassess what you know and what you're assuming about the NSA

2) Decide Franken has crossed over to the dark side and is now a puppet of the establishment


No. Here's #3:

3) The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Whatever the intentions are of the people who created and authorized these programs, they are too invasive to be compatible with a free and open society, create too much of a "chilling effect" on free speech and free association, violate the spirit if not the current judicial interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, put our populations' information at risk from foreign states who are pretty good at breaking into our highly secure computer systems, and create an infrastructure of tyranny that is simply too dangerous to exist should it ever fall into the wrong hands.

Remember what Hoover's FBI did to Martin Luther King?
 
2013-06-12 12:22:50 PM  

SlothB77: this is exactly what his supporters voted him into the senate for.


I figured it was sheer name recognition and his appeal to populism. Same for Ventura.
 
2013-06-12 12:25:00 PM  

mrexcess: vygramul
There's two possible responses a progressive can have to Franken's statements:

1) Reassess what you know and what you're assuming about the NSA

2) Decide Franken has crossed over to the dark side and is now a puppet of the establishment

No. Here's #3:

3) The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Whatever the intentions are of the people who created and authorized these programs, they are too invasive to be compatible with a free and open society, create too much of a "chilling effect" on free speech and free association, violate the spirit if not the current judicial interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, put our populations' information at risk from foreign states who are pretty good at breaking into our highly secure computer systems, and create an infrastructure of tyranny that is simply too dangerous to exist should it ever fall into the wrong hands.

Remember what Hoover's FBI did to Martin Luther King?


Franken was about as much an outsider and a progressive as one gets. His opinion should cause careful consideration, not knee-jerk reaction.
 
2013-06-12 12:25:23 PM  
Washington corrupts anyone faster than Palpatine ever could. If if it could take a clean-cut boy scout like John Glenn and turn him into a sleazebag member of "The Keating Five", there's no hope.

gerarddirect.com
 
2013-06-12 12:26:37 PM  

mrexcess: Well, to be fair to the cassandras, all we have heard about so far is data collection.

Well, yes and no. Everything the NSA deals with is "data". PRISM is purported to be a program of content interception, however.


I have not seen anything remotely "official" (as weak as that word is) that claims there is content capture going on--I was under the impression this is all about metadata, that would then be used in analysis.
 
2013-06-12 12:31:54 PM  

vygramul: mrexcess: vygramul
There's two possible responses a progressive can have to Franken's statements:

1) Reassess what you know and what you're assuming about the NSA

2) Decide Franken has crossed over to the dark side and is now a puppet of the establishment

No. Here's #3:

3) The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Whatever the intentions are of the people who created and authorized these programs, they are too invasive to be compatible with a free and open society, create too much of a "chilling effect" on free speech and free association, violate the spirit if not the current judicial interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, put our populations' information at risk from foreign states who are pretty good at breaking into our highly secure computer systems, and create an infrastructure of tyranny that is simply too dangerous to exist should it ever fall into the wrong hands.

Remember what Hoover's FBI did to Martin Luther King?

Franken was about as much an outsider and a progressive as one gets. His opinion should cause careful consideration, not knee-jerk reaction.


The fact that he's an outsider and progressive should not shield him from criticism, however, nor should we slavishly take his opinion as gold.  Again, I point to COICA.
 
2013-06-12 12:32:06 PM  
vygramul
Franken was about as much an outsider and a progressive as one gets.

Puh-leez. Franken is a sell-out establishmentarian and always has been. He is no Russ Feingold. And besides, if we're just going to make arguments to authority, we have sitting senators like Udall, Wyden, and Paul raising red flags on this. Why should we discount them in favor of the opinion of a SOPA cheerleader?

I'd also be interested to hear what you think of my reasoning in #3: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Whatever the intentions are of the people who created and authorized these programs, they are too invasive to be compatible with a free and open society, create too much of a "chilling effect" on free speech and free association, violate the spirit if not the current judicial interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, put our populations' information at risk from foreign states who are pretty good at breaking into our highly secure computer systems, and create an infrastructure of tyranny that is simply too dangerous to exist should it ever fall into the wrong hands.

Skleenar
I have not seen anything remotely "official" (as weak as that word is) that claims there is content capture going on--I was under the impression this is all about metadata, that would then be used in analysis.

Are you saying that Snowden is lying? Making stuff up? He claims it's content. If you're looking for "official corroboration" of that before you believe it, I can't help but wonder if you're intentionally setting the bar too high.
 
2013-06-12 12:41:03 PM  

mrexcess: Are you saying that Snowden is lying? Making stuff up?


Snowden claimed to have the authority to wiretap anyone at any time.  That sounds like hyperbole to me.  Now, this could have been a poor choice of words--He may have meant the "ability" to "gather metadata" or he could have been suggesting that he could use collected metadata to create a reasonable cause to apply for a FISA warrant to get a wiretap on anyone at any time.

But I really don't believe that the US Government is giving relatively low level operatives, working for government contractors, the authorization to indiscriminately wiretap citizens at will.

If evidence arises to the contrary, ie in the documents he himself has leaked, then I am happy to re-evaluate my position on his trustworthiness.
 
2013-06-12 12:44:12 PM  

vygramul: There's two possible responses a progressive can have to Franken's statements:

1) Reassess what you know and what you're assuming about the NSA

2) Decide Franken has crossed over to the dark side and is now a puppet of the establishment

Gotta be 2.


It does seem as though everybody who's actually been briefed on the relevant details comes around to thinking that it's not so bad.
 
2013-06-12 12:45:28 PM  
Skleenar
Snowden claimed to have the authority to wiretap anyone at any time.

No, that's exactly the opposite of the truth. Greenwald was explicitly clear about this during his interview on The Today Show. He claimed to have the technical ability and not the legal authority.

But I really don't believe that the US Government is giving relatively low level operatives, working for government contractors, the authorization to indiscriminately wiretap citizens at will.

Then you are calling Snowden a liar for no better reason than cognitive dissonance.
 
2013-06-12 12:45:47 PM  
Damn it  Al Franken! You aren't sticking to republican talking points!

Oh, right.
 
2013-06-12 12:50:08 PM  

mrexcess: He claimed to have the technical ability and not the legal authority.


Well that's silly. I mean, police officers also have the "technical ability" to shoot babies in the head, but that fact in and of itself isn't something that sane people spend time worrying about.
 
2013-06-12 12:53:43 PM  
<b>Biological Ali</b>
<i>I mean, police officers also have the "technical ability" to shoot babies in the head, but that fact in and of itself isn't something that sane people spend time worrying about.</i>

The reason that we don't worry about that is because there are a billion-and-one checks and balances on this police ability... no real room for plausible deniability or hiding from the public eye, there. The public itself would quickly handle any case of police officers shooting babies. Not so with these NSA surveillance powers.
 
2013-06-12 12:53:53 PM  

Biological Ali: vygramul: There's two possible responses a progressive can have to Franken's statements:

1) Reassess what you know and what you're assuming about the NSA

2) Decide Franken has crossed over to the dark side and is now a puppet of the establishment

Gotta be 2.

It does seem as though everybody who's actually been briefed on the relevant details comes around to thinking that it's not so bad.


You mean "brainwashed". We "know" what the truth is, and that's all that matters. Amirite?

Sorry - I get kind of snarky in these low-information threads with people demonstrating high confidence in what's really going on.
 
2013-06-12 12:55:53 PM  

TV's Vinnie: Washington corrupts anyone faster than Palpatine ever could. If if it could take a clean-cut boy scout like John Glenn and turn him into a sleazebag member of "The Keating Five", there's no hope.

[gerarddirect.com image 400x182]


It's like Corruption Quicksand, the more you struggle against it the faster you sink.
 
2013-06-12 12:55:59 PM  
vygramul: Gonna ignore the points I made in favor of baseless snark, I take it. You could just admit you were wrong when you claimed that there were only two diametric responses, when in fact the third one I offered is much more reasonable than either of your two:

3) The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Whatever the intentions are of the people who created and authorized these programs, they are too invasive to be compatible with a free and open society, create too much of a "chilling effect" on free speech and free association, violate the spirit if not the current judicial interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, put our populations' information at risk from foreign states who are pretty good at breaking into our highly secure computer systems, and create an infrastructure of tyranny that is simply too dangerous to exist should it ever fall into the wrong hands.
 
2013-06-12 01:01:44 PM  

mrexcess: Dr Dreidel
The thing about PRISM is, it's a database that no one can get into without a warrant.

That's not what the whistleblower claims. In fact he claims that he could access it from his desk. Do you have some insider knowledge of PRISM, or are you just making stuff up?


This is what the disclosures have said, which is probably why that's what the media is reporting (WTOP, WaPo - the TOP report this morning included an interview with a "former NSA insider" who described the plan that way). It's entirely possible that NSA has bait-and-switched what plan they're talking about, or that they're being less than truthful about PRISM (or that Snowden is), but as described, that's what PRISM is.

In one of my jobs, I had access to many thousands of military medical records. Accessing any of them without a reason would have been grounds for a HIPAA-flavored lawsuit (and I think up to $5k or $50k in fines, per offense). So yes, I was ABLE to access records from my desk (based on my clearance and the access given me by DoD's IT), but I'd have been an idiot to do so.

// and I hope the NSA has better security on their sensitive applications than the Honor System, even for TS/SCI-cleared types
// wouldn't surprise me to learn they didn't, but I'd hope they did
 
2013-06-12 01:04:56 PM  

mrexcess: vygramul: Gonna ignore the points I made in favor of baseless snark, I take it. You could just admit you were wrong when you claimed that there were only two diametric responses, when in fact the third one I offered is much more reasonable than either of your two:

3) The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Whatever the intentions are of the people who created and authorized these programs, they are too invasive to be compatible with a free and open society, create too much of a "chilling effect" on free speech and free association, violate the spirit if not the current judicial interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, put our populations' information at risk from foreign states who are pretty good at breaking into our highly secure computer systems, and create an infrastructure of tyranny that is simply too dangerous to exist should it ever fall into the wrong hands.


OK, you made a point, and I failed to recognize it. That's fair. And you're right, the road to hell and good intentions could be a third point, depending on what particular aspect of Franken's statement we're discussing.

For example, whether something IS a violation of the principles embodied in the 4th amendment is a different question from whether such a violation is worth it. If Franken says it's not a violation, that's different from him saying that it's worth the violation. In the binary question of whether it's a violation doesn't have a third option, assuming we're starting with the premise that Franken is a smart man who understands the principle.

And note that point 1 didn't say you were obligated to reach a different conclusion. I said one must reassess one's assumptions in light of the contradictory evidence.
 
2013-06-12 01:06:38 PM  
<b>Dr Dreidel</b>
<i>This is what the disclosures have said</i>

No, it isn't. Snowden has clearly said that he had technical access to the PRISM information even without legal authority. Again, <a href="http://www.fark.com/comments/7793438/84768927#c84768927 ">see Greenwald's interview with The Today Show</a> where he makes this point explicitly.

As for that HIPAA "grounds for a lawsuit" stuff, you're being obtuse. How would a person ever learn that someone at the NSA had secretly accessed their communications? That's actually been a huge hurdle to cross for people who have tried to sue the NSA over similar programs: establishing standing.

<i>and I hope the NSA has better security on their sensitive applications than the Honor System, even for TS/SCI-cleared types </i>

I'm not willing to content myself with "hope" on something this serious. And even if I were, there's basically zero hope that foreign governments can't break into these systems.
 
2013-06-12 01:07:15 PM  

mrexcess: The reason that we don't worry about that is because there are a billion-and-one checks and balances on this police ability... no real room for plausible deniability or hiding from the public eye, there. The public itself would quickly handle any case of police officers shooting babies. Not so with these NSA surveillance powers.


There's plenty of room for plausible deniability. The guy could shoot the baby in the head and then claim that he was confronting a dangerous suspect - police officers in the US get a lot of leeway when it comes to the use of lethal force. An investigation may or may not turn up the truth; if there was an actual dangerous suspect known to be in the area, he could even get away with it.

Things like this could happen. But "could" by itself isn't something to worry about.
 
2013-06-12 01:07:46 PM  

kronicfeld: "I have a high level of confidence that this is used to protect us and I know that it has been successful in preventing terrorism," Franken said.

Other than the identity of the individual who said it, is there anything at all about this statement makes it any more or less worthy of derision than the myriad others who are saying the same thing?


Given that the man is a US Senator who sits on the Judiciary Committee (including the Terrorism subcommittee), I would say that his statements carry more weight than most people's as he has access to information that the average person (who doesn't have security clearance) does.
 
2013-06-12 01:08:36 PM  

Dr Dreidel: mrexcess: Dr Dreidel
The thing about PRISM is, it's a database that no one can get into without a warrant.

That's not what the whistleblower claims. In fact he claims that he could access it from his desk. Do you have some insider knowledge of PRISM, or are you just making stuff up?

This is what the disclosures have said, which is probably why that's what the media is reporting (WTOP, WaPo - the TOP report this morning included an interview with a "former NSA insider" who described the plan that way). It's entirely possible that NSA has bait-and-switched what plan they're talking about, or that they're being less than truthful about PRISM (or that Snowden is), but as described, that's what PRISM is.

In one of my jobs, I had access to many thousands of military medical records. Accessing any of them without a reason would have been grounds for a HIPAA-flavored lawsuit (and I think up to $5k or $50k in fines, per offense). So yes, I was ABLE to access records from my desk (based on my clearance and the access given me by DoD's IT), but I'd have been an idiot to do so.

// and I hope the NSA has better security on their sensitive applications than the Honor System, even for TS/SCI-cleared types
// wouldn't surprise me to learn they didn't, but I'd hope they did


His statement asserting the broad unsupervised authority analysts had was the one that I believe the least.

If you think about it, a government that wants to spy on its people without anyone finding out about it is going to be paranoid about letting some loose canon use the apparatus to spy on his estranged girlfriend lest it be discovered and ruin the entire goddamn program.

No, I guarantee you there was some strict oversight on what you could do just to make sure people only spied on the people government WANTED spied upon.
 
2013-06-12 01:09:33 PM  
vygramul
And note that point 1 didn't say you were obligated to reach a different conclusion. I said one must reassess one's assumptions in light of the contradictory evidence.

Franken's opinion isn't contradictory evidence of anything, as far as I'm concerned. Franken is and has for quite a while been a whore of the establishment. He has essentially zero credibility on civil liberties, particularly digital liberties.

We also have senators like Udall, Wyden, and Paul throwing red flags on this.
 
2013-06-12 01:10:24 PM  
Not a resident, but I had a lot of respect for Al when he first came in and grilled the establishment. Didn't think it'd take this long for him to become a part of it. Good luck in your next election, Al. You're gonna need it after that quote in this day and age.
 
2013-06-12 01:16:46 PM  
Biological Ali
There's plenty of room for plausible deniability. The guy could shoot the baby in the head and then claim that he was confronting a dangerous suspect

There are tons of safeguards in place to protect against that. Eyewitnesses, radio logs, ballistics, forensics, etc.

An investigation may or may not turn up the truth; if there was an actual dangerous suspect known to be in the area, he could even get away with it.

Almost impossible. And if he did, it would be because the public allowed it. That's key here. The public would know that an officer shot a baby in the head, whether he was later acquitted of wrongdoing or not. Not so, here.

Things like this could happen. But "could" by itself isn't something to worry about.

That is, frankly, the most boneheaded argument ever. Worrying about and preventing what "could happen" is exactly why our civil liberties exist. It was what the founders had on their minds when they created the Constitution. It is exactly the vigilance that is required to maintain a free society: not worrying about what the current trusted official can do with this or that power, but what a more dangerous or malicious official could do with them.

vygramul
No, I guarantee you there was some strict oversight on what you could do just to make sure people only spied on the people government WANTED spied upon.

Riiight. And I guarantee that if there's one thing our nation takes seriously, it's protecting our nuclear materials.
 
2013-06-12 01:30:04 PM  

mrexcess: Skleenar
Snowden claimed to have the authority to wiretap anyone at any time.

No, that's exactly the opposite of the truth. Greenwald was explicitly clear about this during his interview on The Today Show. He claimed to have the technical ability and not the legal authority.

But I really don't believe that the US Government is giving relatively low level operatives, working for government contractors, the authorization to indiscriminately wiretap citizens at will.

Then you are calling Snowden a liar for no better reason than cognitive dissonance.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaRvzQ887HM
3:37
 
2013-06-12 01:30:58 PM  

vygramul: There's two possible responses a progressive can have to Franken's statements:

1) Reassess what you know and what you're assuming about the NSA

2) Decide Franken has crossed over to the dark side and is now a puppet of the establishment

Gotta be 2.


Progressives /= Right-Wingers.  Exhibit A: Obama's first debate v. Romney.
 
2013-06-12 01:31:12 PM  

mrexcess: Then you are calling Snowden a liar for no better reason than cognitive dissonance.


I am not sure what your point is here.
 
2013-06-12 01:31:55 PM  

Rwa2play: vygramul: There's two possible responses a progressive can have to Franken's statements:

1) Reassess what you know and what you're assuming about the NSA

2) Decide Franken has crossed over to the dark side and is now a puppet of the establishment

Gotta be 2.

Progressives /= Right-Wingers.  Exhibit A: Our reaction to Obama's first debate v. Romney.


FTFM.
 
2013-06-12 01:33:49 PM  

vygramul: mrexcess: vygramul
There's two possible responses a progressive can have to Franken's statements:

1) Reassess what you know and what you're assuming about the NSA

2) Decide Franken has crossed over to the dark side and is now a puppet of the establishment

No. Here's #3:

3) The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Whatever the intentions are of the people who created and authorized these programs, they are too invasive to be compatible with a free and open society, create too much of a "chilling effect" on free speech and free association, violate the spirit if not the current judicial interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, put our populations' information at risk from foreign states who are pretty good at breaking into our highly secure computer systems, and create an infrastructure of tyranny that is simply too dangerous to exist should it ever fall into the wrong hands.

Remember what Hoover's FBI did to Martin Luther King?

Franken was about as much an outsider and a progressive as one gets. His opinion should cause careful consideration, not knee-jerk reaction.


This.
 
2013-06-12 01:35:48 PM  
Skleenar
I am not sure what your point is here.

My point is that you're claiming that Snowden's statements are untrue, without any actual reason for doing so except that his statements conflict with what you want to believe. Again, reference the Greenwald interview for The Today Show, he was *extremely explicit* in saying that Snowden had the technical authority, not the legal authority, to access these wiretaps.
 
2013-06-12 01:44:09 PM  

mikemoto: Al Franken is the biggest hypocrite in the US Senate. Democrat party uber alles eh, Al.


Citation?
 
2013-06-12 01:44:57 PM  

mrexcess: My point is that you're claiming that Snowden's statements are untrue, without any actual reason for doing so except that his statements conflict with what you want to believe. Again, reference the Greenwald interview for The Today Show, he was *extremely explicit* in saying that Snowden had the technical authority, not the legal authority, to access these wiretaps.


You're splitting hairs on an issue I didn't raise, the "legal authority" vs. "authority" angle in the Greenwald interview.

Sure, I don't believe that thousands of analysts working for government contractors are given authority by the US Government (legal or otherwise) to wiretap US citizens at will. I feel this statement raises questions of believability to Snowden's statements.

You clearly believe a guy you've never met, and have no prior experience with other than his recent rise to fame.

Both of us are working with an incomplete data set on which to base our assumptions.

Snowden has released documents, and if these support your position, then I would happily change positions on this matter.  I don't think I am being illogical or blinded.  I just feel it is more probable that this individual is making statements that are somewhat hyperbolic to generate media buzz than it is that the US is granting broad, unfettered surveillance powers over domestic citizens to thousands of analysts working in and out of the Government.
 
2013-06-12 01:52:20 PM  
Skleenar
Sure, I don't believe that thousands of analysts working for government contractors are given authority by the US Government (legal or otherwise) to wiretap US citizens at will. I feel this statement raises questions of believability to Snowden's statements.

Right. You disbelieve Snowden's statements, for no reason other than that you don't want to believe them.

You clearly believe a guy you've never met, and have no prior experience with other than his recent rise to fame.

I believe the direct statements of a patriotic whistleblower who has sacrificed his career, his reputation, his freedom, and his personal safety to reveal programs that he had first hand knowledge of, and believed violate the Constitution. Yes.

You believe, without any basis at all, that he's telling lies, why? So that the NSA can pull a few journalists in a room, show them that he's lying, and totally discredit his story, making all his sacrifices in vain? Riiight. Has the NSA even disputed this claim? No, they haven't. Yet you choose to believe a fantasy you've concocted of fanciful internal oversight mechanisms and unevidenced accountability for employees over the evidence.
 
2013-06-12 01:55:26 PM  

mrexcess: <b>Dr Dreidel</b>
This is what the disclosures have said

No, it isn't. Snowden has clearly said that he had technical access to the PRISM information even without legal authority. Again, <a href="http://www.fark.com/comments/7793438/84768927#c84768927 ">see Greenwald's interview with The Today Show</a> where he makes this point explicitly.


Yes, it would seem that Snowden is saying different things than the NSA. The program, as described by the NSA (and the TOP report this morning), is as I put it above. The program, as Snowden puts it, is like a corporate-intranet app where you need only supply a password to open it and look around at everything there.

As for that HIPAA "grounds for a lawsuit" stuff, you're being obtuse. How would a person ever learn that someone at the NSA had secretly accessed their communications? That's actually been a huge hurdle to cross for people who have tried to sue the NSA over similar programs: establishing standing.

How could they know? Internal IA reports, external IA reports, internal/external access-log reports, internal/external security audits...there are systems set up in sensitive contracts to head these things off. Is it perfect? Absolutely not - again, I also had "technical access" to 10,000+ military-medical data (some of it for active-service personnel), but to abuse the access privilege would have brought Uncle Sam down on me like that Night in Paris. I guess we'll also have to take it on faith that the USG would jealously guard/protect against unauthorized access to mil-med data?

The problem is that it's Booz' and NSA's job to police themselves (the nature of secret work). Anyone else's standing is a bit trickier (apparently) - even though they collected data, they haven't (as far as anyone knows or will say) disclosed it or used it unlawfully, so no "harm" done, and no standing to sue. At least as far as the courts are concerned.

You and I assume that this data isn't sitting passively somewhere, but the nit-picky legal system wants you to show actual harm done before they let a lawsuit go forward. I want all 320 million of us to file a gigantic lawsuit over this, for Congress to explicitly make this kind of "intelligence"-gathering illegal, for the Courts to start issuing rulings and examining whether laws were broken (legal ass-covering memos or not), and for the Executive to wind it up - but as far as what I think will happen based on what I know, I'm not optimistic about anything.
 
2013-06-12 01:55:54 PM  
Skleenar: What if I told you that an octogenarian nun and two equally decrepit old hippies had broken into one of the nations most secure nuclear material storage locations with nothing more than hand-tools available at Wal-Mart, where they sat screaming and banging hammers on the wall of a building that housed highly enriched uranium, trying to get arrested for more than three hours before being apprehended?

Would you continue to believe in the uber-competence, trustworthiness, and elite skills of our nations' TOP MEN, or would you believe me?
 
2013-06-12 02:01:56 PM  
Dr Dreidel
Yes, it would seem that Snowden is saying different things than the NSA.

And let me get this straight: you're taking the word of the agency run by the guy who just got caught lying to Congress about this very thing over the whistleblower who literally put his own ass on the line to inform the public about what he's seen of these programs?

The program, as Snowden puts it, is like a corporate-intranet app where you need only supply a password to open it and look around at everything there.

Sounds pretty believable, doesn't it?

How could they know? Internal IA reports, external IA reports, internal/external access-log reports, internal/external security audits...

How many notifications have you received that your own HIPAA data was accessed? Do you know what the NSA's internal affairs division is like? How solid or un-solid their reputation is? How many NSA employees have been caught snooping where they weren't supposed to? How sophisticated the mechanisms and rules are? No, you don't. Yet you assume they're better than HIPAA, which is violated constantly and does a terrible job at protecting your privacy, but an excellent one at keeping checkbox-marking auditors in business.

to abuse the access privilege would have brought Uncle Sam down on me like that Night in Paris

Would it have? Or did they just want to intimidate you into thinking that it would have?

The problem is that it's Booz' and NSA's job to police themselves (the nature of secret work).

That's not inherent. There are oversight mechanisms that could be designed around the secrecy requirements. We just haven't done so.

I want all 320 million of us to file a gigantic lawsuit over this

The ACLU is putting together a class action right now.
 
2013-06-12 02:06:13 PM  

mrexcess: I believe the direct statements of a patriotic whistleblower who has sacrificed his career, his reputation, his freedom, and his personal safety to reveal programs that he had first hand knowledge of, and believed violate the Constitution. Yes.


You are making assumptions about this man's motivations.

mrexcess: Yet you choose to believe a fantasy you've concocted of fanciful internal oversight mechanisms and unevidenced accountability for employees over the evidence.


Not giving unlicensed authority is not a fanciful internal oversight mechanism.
 
2013-06-12 02:07:57 PM  

mrexcess: Would you continue to believe in the uber-competence, trustworthiness, and elite skills of our nations' TOP MEN, or would you believe me?


You are putting words into my mouth.
 
2013-06-12 02:12:07 PM  

Alphakronik: mikemoto: Al Franken is the biggest hypocrite in the US Senate. Democrat party uber alles eh, Al.

Citation?


As if his option is based on those pesky "facts" you want.
 
2013-06-12 02:13:40 PM  
Skleenar
You are making assumptions about this man's motivations.

No I'm not, this is what he's said directly about what he's doing.

You are putting words into my mouth.

No, I'm characterizing your statements, which clearly indicate that you believe that these government agencies that operate in secret are extremely competent, trustworthy, elite, are realistic about threats, and have their priorities straight.
 
2013-06-12 02:19:54 PM  

mrexcess: And let me get this straight: you're taking the word of the agency run by the guy who just got caught lying to Congress about this very thing over the whistleblower who literally put his own ass on the line to inform the public about what he's seen of these programs?


No, I'm relating what I heard on news reports. Read again.

mrexcess: [The program, as Snowden puts it, is like a corporate-intranet app where you need only supply a password to open it and look around at everything there.]

Sounds pretty believable, doesn't it?


Not based on what I had to do to get to that application (which wasn't half as secret as PRISM, but access was VERY tightly controlled), no. Or, you'd have to be inside the NSA's network (hard-line or VPN, but they'd be really stupid to have even a VPN line to the PRISM DB), be inside whatever office (assuming you couldn't digitally break in) and spoof access or hack in.

Not impossible, but not very likely at all.

mrexcess: How many notifications have you received that your own HIPAA data was accessed?


By law, the record holder MUST inform you when they know of an unauthorized access/disclosure of any HIPAA-covered info. Thankfully, I've never been notified, but I'm also not military (so I wouldn't have shown up in the DB I worked on).

That doesn't tell us anything about NSA, I just used HIPAA as an analog for "info that is very carefully guarded". The alternative to HIPAA was...nothing (except a patchwork of state laws that made getting out-of-state treatment REALLY difficult in some cases), which is why they wrote it in the first place.

mrexcess: [to abuse the access privilege would have brought Uncle Sam down on me like that Night in Paris]

Would it have? Or did they just want to intimidate you into thinking that it would have?


Are you serious? They probably would have wrist-slapped me over a single violation (assuming it wasn't malicious and hadn't e-mailed it to Kim Jong-Un or whatever), but a violation as big as Snowden's involving military medical records, and I'd be feeling the long arm of the law touch the backs of my molars.

mrexcess: There are oversight mechanisms that could be designed around the secrecy requirements. We just haven't done so.


Absolutely, and if the single good thing about this disclosure is to tighten and redesign the secrecy rules, I'll consider it a good lesson learned.

// and I hope the ACLU is more successful this time than last, but I think they'll run into the same harm/standing problems again
 
Bf+
2013-06-12 02:51:09 PM  
Say it ain't so, Al, say it ain't so.
 
2013-06-12 03:00:28 PM  
Franken, if you don't want to get reelected, just quit.
 
2013-06-12 03:14:24 PM  

FlashHarry: Bartman66: He also got bought off by Monsantpo and voted their way

so did tammy baldwin and elizabeth warren. i find those both shocking too.


You're right . Eventhough I was not a big fan of his I am bit shocked that both of them got bought off so easily. I guess you can say whatever to get elected is something that we will always be stuck with.
 
2013-06-12 03:47:38 PM  

mrexcess: vygramul
No, I guarantee you there was some strict oversight on what you could do just to make sure people only spied on the people government WANTED spied upon.

Riiight. And I guarantee that if there's one thing our nation takes seriously, it's protecting our nuclear materials


If you want me to say that human institutions are perfect, you're going to have a long wait. But there's a difference between bad IMPLEMENTATION of procedures and outright authority. Snowden claimed the authority - and that is what I had an issue with.
 
2013-06-12 03:48:14 PM  

Rwa2play: vygramul: There's two possible responses a progressive can have to Franken's statements:

1) Reassess what you know and what you're assuming about the NSA

2) Decide Franken has crossed over to the dark side and is now a puppet of the establishment

Gotta be 2.

Progressives /= Right-Wingers.  Exhibit A: Obama's first debate v. Romney.


Wut?
 
2013-06-12 04:54:19 PM  

mrexcess: Skleenar
You are making assumptions about this man's motivations.

No I'm not, this is what he's said directly about what he's doing.


Why are you giving me and my words more of a 3rd degree than his?  We've probably interacted far more in the past than you and Snowden have.  Why are you biased to believe he is a straighter shooter than I am?


You are putting words into my mouth.

No, I'm characterizing your statements, which clearly indicate that you believe that these government agencies that operate in secret are extremely competent, trustworthy, elite, are realistic about threats, and have their priorities straight.


That poor, poor strawman.  Never saw it coming.
 
2013-06-12 06:05:58 PM  

Alphakronik: mikemoto: Al Franken is the biggest hypocrite in the US Senate. Democrat party uber alles eh, Al.

Citation?


http://reason.com/blog/2013/06/11/how-al-franken-learned-to-stop-wor ry ing
 
2013-06-12 07:00:37 PM  
Dr Dreidel
No, I'm relating what I heard on news reports. Read again.

Oh, so you're not taking the NSA's word over Snowden's... you're taking the word of... the reporters who have reported the NSA's claims... over... Snowden...

Riiight. That's totally different, then.

Not based on what I had to do to get to that application (which wasn't half as secret as PRISM, but access was VERY tightly controlled), no.

OK, look, I'm not sure what sort of s00per security they had around this medical data app you supposedly had access to, but the assumption that the security around the NSA's data is somehow at that level is really nothing more than that. I can dream up some pretty fancy security designs, too, but that doesn't mean anyone's actually using them. All reports indicate that PRISM was accessible remotely. Believe your fantasies if you want, but that's reality as it has been reported.

Or, you'd have to be inside the NSA's network (hard-line or VPN, but they'd be really stupid to have even a VPN line to the PRISM DB)

Welcome to really stupid world. In all, he was carrying four computers that enabled him to gain access to some of the US government's most highly-classified secrets.

Are you serious?

Yes, I'm serious. How many HIPAA lawsuits have been filed by that organization against employees gaining unauthorized access to data?

vygramul
If you want me to say that human institutions are perfect, you're going to have a long wait. But there's a difference between bad IMPLEMENTATION of procedures and outright authority.

There is no meaningful difference between bad implementation of procedures and the technical (note: explicitly not the legal) authority to access this type of information. Snowden never claimed that he had the legal authority to browse through the PRISM database, he claimed that the way the system was set up, it allowed him to do so on a technical level. That's a serious threat to our privacy, even for those of you who are willing to accept the mass collection of all your private communications.

Skleenar
Why are you biased to believe he is a straighter shooter than I am?

I have no such belief, but you are choosing to believe known liars who have every reason to lie over someone who is not one and has no sensible reason to.

That poor, poor strawman. Never saw it coming.

It's not a strawman! You've taken the line that the NSA's system is just so good that what Snowden is saying couldn't possibly be true.
 
2013-06-12 07:37:42 PM  

mrexcess: There is no meaningful difference between bad implementation of procedures and the technical (note: explicitly not the legal) authority to access this type of information. Snowden never claimed that he had the legal authority to browse through the PRISM database, he claimed that the way the system was set up, it allowed him to do so on a technical level. That's a serious threat to our privacy, even for those of you who are willing to accept the mass collection of all your private communications.


He DID claim that. Watch the video tape. He said that he or any other analyst, straight from their desktop *on their own authority*, was able to request anyone's information.
 
2013-06-12 08:02:45 PM  

mrexcess: Why are you biased to believe he is a straighter shooter than I am?

I have no such belief, but you are choosing to believe known liars who have every reason to lie over someone who is not one and has no sensible reason to.


If by "know liars" you mean the NSA, bear in mind that Snowden worked for them.  And for their subcontractors.

That poor, poor strawman. Never saw it coming.

It's not a strawman! You've taken the line that the NSA's system is just so good that what Snowden is saying couldn't possibly be true.


That's not what I said.  You must be confusing me with someone else
 
2013-06-12 09:39:57 PM  
vygramul
He DID claim that. Watch the video tape. He said that he or any other analyst, straight from their desktop *on their own authority*, was able to request anyone's information.

Again, refer back to Greenwald's interview on The Today Show. He clarifies, emphatically, that Snowden was referring to technical authority, as in system privilege, and explicitly not legal authority. In other words, he had the technical capability to access information that he did not have any legal right to see, because the system was not designed with very fine-grained permissioning systems.

Skleenar
If by "know liars" you mean the NSA, bear in mind that Snowden worked for them. And for their subcontractors.

Sure, but he wasn't one of their PR people or their leaders - the people who've been caught lying on behalf of the agency. In fact, whatever his past association with the organization, he's turned away from the sort of toe-the-line loyalty that leads those other people to lying out of the demands of his conscience.

That's not what I said. You must be confusing me with someone else

You're playing games, at this point. I think my point is made: you're electing to believe a bunch of known liars with every reason to lie and no fear of consequences, over a whistleblower who literally ruined his own life to bring the truth out in the open. That speaks for itself.
 
2013-06-12 10:08:37 PM  
What happened to you, Al? You used to be cool.
 
2013-06-13 08:15:42 AM  

mrexcess: You're playing games, at this point. I think my point is made: you're electing to believe a bunch of known liars with every reason to lie and no fear of consequences, over a whistleblower who literally ruined his own life to bring the truth out in the open. That speaks for itself.


No, literally you are attributing to me statements and thoughts I have not ever put forward in this thread, so either you are confusing me with someone else, or you are simply building a strawman to attack.  While, simultaneously, attributing a whole slew of laudable motivations to Mr. Snowden on simply your interpretation of his own characterization of his actions.

Now, first off, let me say at this point I hold no grudge against Mr. Snowden.  I don't think he's a "traitor", and, quite frankly, I think it is good for our system for there to be people like him that periodically attempt to bring daylight to the secrecy surrounding "national security".  Nor do I have any good idea of what his motivations are.  However, many other motivations, besides simple love of freedom and country, could be at play.  To be blunt, he could be being paid by a foreign government in an attempt to embarrass the US.  He could be an attention whore.  Heck, he could be being paid by the US government in an elaborate ruse to attempt to drive terrorist communications to more and more inconvenient or inefficient means.

I think you show far less discrimination in your characterization of Mr. Snowden than I do in my faith in the incorruptibility or capability of US intelligence services.  Because I have no such faith.  I simply stated that I think it is unlikely that low level operatives are given blanket authority to wiretap US citizens at will.  It's a pretty small point.  But from that you seem to have built a crystal edifice of my unshaking faith in the infallibility of the NSA and all of their contractors.  It's a pretty silly extrapolation, but you've stuck by it.
 
2013-06-13 09:14:35 AM  

mrexcess: Dr Dreidel
No, I'm relating what I heard on news reports. Read again.

Oh, so you're not taking the NSA's word over Snowden's... you're taking the word of... the reporters who have reported the NSA's claims... over... Snowden...

Riiight. That's totally different, then.


I'm not taking anyone's word over anyone else's. I relayed what I heard on the news. Read again - I'm not lending more credence to one side than the other.

[Not based on what I had to do to get to that application (which wasn't half as secret as PRISM, but access was VERY tightly controlled), no.]

OK, look, I'm not sure what sort of s00per security they had around this medical data app you supposedly had access to, but the assumption that the security around the NSA's data is somehow at that level is really nothing more than that. I can dream up some pretty fancy security designs, too, but that doesn't mean anyone's actually using them. All reports indicate that PRISM was accessible remotely. Believe your fantasies if you want, but that's reality as it has been reported.


If you have "technical access" to the system, you have the ability to abuse that access. No one watched over my shoulder when I accessed the DB, because that's the point of the clearance - they clear you (in part) to access the system as part of your work. Could that access be better? Sure.

Or, you'd have to be inside the NSA's network (hard-line or VPN, but they'd be really stupid to have even a VPN line to the PRISM DB)

Welcome to really stupid world. In all, he was carrying four computers that enabled him to gain access to some of the US government's most highly-classified secrets.


PRISM specifically? I often took my laptop home, meaning I was able to access some tightly-controlled shiat as well. Getting unauthorized access to a DoD VPN - and they probably have many - could be pretty bad regardless, but putting that thing on a network-accessible line...yeesh. If that's accurate (and again, for the valence-imparied, that's an IF), the whole NSA should be rebuilt from Brick 1.

Yes, I'm serious. How many HIPAA lawsuits have been filed by that organization against employees gaining unauthorized access to data?

DoD is slightly different (military command structures not being subject to civilian rules and all) - so the USG may not have had any over that DB. My employer, AFAIK had zero (though we did have some potentially-unauthorized-disclosures that needed examination by an IRB). An "unauthorized disclosure notice" isn't the same as a lawsuit. (Just by-the-by, My physician's office probably had zero over that same time as well. Part of HIPAA training is making damn sure all your people know how to keep shiat under wraps.)

I'm not sure what this line of inquiry is for. Why does it matter?
 
2013-06-13 10:12:18 AM  

mrexcess: over a whistleblower who literally ruined his own life to bring the truth out in the open. That speaks for itself.


He ruined his own life to do something, what that something is we don't know. There are many reasons to ruin your own life: attention-whoring (like that guy who claimed he killed JenBenet Ramsey), psychological disfunction, to cover for another more heinous crime (such as selling secrets to the Chinese)... to take it one way or another is to take it on faith.
 
2013-06-13 06:53:04 PM  

MeanJean: What happened to you, Al? You used to be cool.


He became a Senator. Responsible for the protection of his constituents.
Additionally, he is privy to information that you are not.

Based on his responsibility and this information he made a responsible and informed statement.

However, his degree in Political Science from Harvard is not nearly as authoritative as the GED in Law possessed by the average farker.
 
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