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(Talking Points Memo)   NSA director: PRISM disrupted "dozens of attacks", they can't tell you which ones, but you can trust them on this. Totes   (talkingpointsmemo.com) divider line 95
    More: Unlikely, prisms, NSA, totes  
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385 clicks; posted to Politics » on 13 Jun 2013 at 8:39 AM (44 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-13 09:33:53 AM

LasersHurt: Acting like we're not largely responsible for this ourselves is ridiculous.


I think our apathy is partly responsible, but I don't get briefings on these bills... do you?  If I would have brought up something like this prior to the leak I would have been mocked as a "conspiracy theorist."  It seems like both parties continue the march against our rights and the members of congress who do speak up get no traction.
 
2013-06-13 09:36:15 AM

BlippityBleep: clambam: I can't believe you people honestly believe there hasn't been a 9/11 level attack in this country since 2001 because... what? Al Qaeda has lost interest? They're saving it up for the Big One? I can well believe that dozens of potential attacks have been thwarted in the past twelve years, and that the NSA's surveillance has had a big part in that. I don't like it any more than you do but the fact of the matter is that taking this stuff public would be, and now is, disastrous. For instance, the recent spate of publicity has made one thing very clear to potential terrorists in this country--don't try to contact al Qaeda. If you do, you will be infiltrated and neutralized. The result? "Lone gunmen"s like the Tsarnaevs building home-made bombs out of easily obtained materials. Expect more of them. If the NSA checking lists of people who bought pressure cookers against lists of people who made large fireworks purchases (just as I'm sure they look out for people who bought large amounts of diesel fuel and fertilizer after Oklahoma City) prevents your teenager from having her legs blown off in an explosion at your local mall, I'm reluctantly in favor of it. Sorry.

ermm... there haven't been any attacks because we went over there and killed the shiat out of all of them.  and anybody thinking about it would probably conclude it's not a good idea because not only will they get blown up, but so will all of their comrades.  the whole risk/punishment thing.

you are aware that two wars were started over this thing, right?  do you watch the news?


Again, you really believe that? That the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan prevented or are preventing native-born or foreign terrorists already here from attacking? Given the level of naivete implied by your post, I hardly know how to respond.
 
2013-06-13 09:36:23 AM
If the program had to be secret to be effective, I assume they're formatting all of the hard drives now and unplugging the servers
 
2013-06-13 09:39:49 AM

LasersHurt: You also have no more reason to believe that this has ever hurt any innocent person than you do that it has


The probability is non-zero which is infinitely higher than what is required to offset any unproven benefit that's been claimed.

We're working from two different ends on this. You seem to be of the opinion that this could potentially be justified. I see no possible way that could happen. The "evidence" as to what's already been done is inconsequential to me because my position is that it's impossible to justify complete secrecy in this matter. I have little interest in what happened at this point unless what happened was actually illegal and those involved could be prosecuted (which seems highly improbable thanks to PATRIOT). Instead, I'd prefer we worry about how it can either be adapted in the future so that it's not just completely secret government spying on its own citizens or, better yet, completely dismantled.
 
2013-06-13 09:40:22 AM
This reminds me of the torture debate.   The ends don't justify the means even if you can demonstrate successes:  Also:

1) identifying plans does not necessarily equal thwarting attacks
2) who is to say the same thing could not have been accomplished with traditional legal warrants
3) who is to say the information could not have been obtained through other intelligence work
4) how many false leads being chased down does this approach generate
 
2013-06-13 09:42:37 AM

LasersHurt: Remember, we're ultimately responsible for the makeup of our government.


Since most people are functionally disenfranchised unless they live in a battleground district, that is not really all that true.
 
2013-06-13 09:48:55 AM
I didn't buy this line under Bush, and I'm not buying it under Obama.
 
2013-06-13 09:53:48 AM

lilplatinum: LasersHurt: Remember, we're ultimately responsible for the makeup of our government.

Since most people are functionally disenfranchised unless they live in a battleground district, that is not really all that true.


"Functionally" because? Because everyone votes for one guy no matter what he's done. Still a people problem.

skozlaw: LasersHurt: You also have no more reason to believe that this has ever hurt any innocent person than you do that it has

The probability is non-zero which is infinitely higher than what is required to offset any unproven benefit that's been claimed.

We're working from two different ends on this. You seem to be of the opinion that this could potentially be justified. I see no possible way that could happen. The "evidence" as to what's already been done is inconsequential to me because my position is that it's impossible to justify complete secrecy in this matter. I have little interest in what happened at this point unless what happened was actually illegal and those involved could be prosecuted (which seems highly improbable thanks to PATRIOT). Instead, I'd prefer we worry about how it can either be adapted in the future so that it's not just completely secret government spying on its own citizens or, better yet, completely dismantled.


You are assuming that this WILL hurt innocents, and I suppose you're assuming at a higher rate than traditional methods. I'm not sure I agree with that. If your complaint is that it's non-zero and you want zero, then all law enforcement is off the table, as there is no such thing.

As far as adapting to the future for safety, no complaints.
 
2013-06-13 09:55:28 AM
How many of those would have been stopped anyway by non-crazy enforcement action?
 
2013-06-13 09:56:22 AM
You can always tell when a high ranking government official is lying: their lips are moving.
 
2013-06-13 10:02:30 AM

LasersHurt: If your complaint is that it's non-zero and you want zero


My complaint is that it's non-zero and we have no way of knowing what non-zero number it is, when it happens, what the impact is, or why it happens.

It's the complete blackout on it. I will never accept that anything the government does is necessary or justifiable when it is completely blacked out from the public.
 
2013-06-13 10:06:46 AM

skozlaw: LasersHurt: If your complaint is that it's non-zero and you want zero

My complaint is that it's non-zero and we have no way of knowing what non-zero number it is, when it happens, what the impact is, or why it happens.

It's the complete blackout on it. I will never accept that anything the government does is necessary or justifiable when it is completely blacked out from the public.


Well gosh if only it had recently come to light and is now the subject of huge scrutiny.
 
2013-06-13 10:13:24 AM
My feeling about this whole thing is that if  PRISM works exactly the way NSA says it does, I really don't have that much of a problem with it.  It would be focused on seeing big patterns, and wouldn't really focus on individuals until the data led them there.

But that's a pretty farking big "if".  The huge problem here is how you know that that's what this program is, how you keep an eye on the NSA.  And I'm not really seeing a good way to do that yet.
 
2013-06-13 10:14:08 AM

LasersHurt: lilplatinum: LasersHurt: Remember, we're ultimately responsible for the makeup of our government.

Since most people are functionally disenfranchised unless they live in a battleground district, that is not really all that true.

"Functionally" because? Because everyone votes for one guy no matter what he's done. Still a people problem.


Functionally because we are an idiotic winner take all Weeners the post system that, due to Duverger's law, leads us to a two party system - meaning that unless you live in a certain place your vote simply does not count.  I spent most of my adult life registered in Texas and now in Brooklyn New York.   My vote is literally irrelevant to any but the very most local of races, so the "we" you stated certainly does not include me.
 
2013-06-13 10:15:06 AM
i.imgur.com

"Yeah, like attacks on my coolant port," said a voice from within the network.
 
2013-06-13 10:15:27 AM
Well there's this one: PRISM Stopped Najibullah Zazi From Blowing Up Backpacks in the [NYC] Subway

For some people, this may be enough. For others, not so much...
 
2013-06-13 10:15:27 AM

clambam: I can't believe you people honestly believe there hasn't been a 9/11 level attack in this country since 2001 because... what? Al Qaeda has lost interest? They're saving it up for the Big One? I can well believe that dozens of potential attacks have been thwarted in the past twelve years, and that the NSA's surveillance has had a big part in that. I don't like it any more than you do but the fact of the matter is that taking this stuff public would be, and now is, disastrous. For instance, the recent spate of publicity has made one thing very clear to potential terrorists in this country--don't try to contact al Qaeda. If you do, you will be infiltrated and neutralized. The result? "Lone gunmen"s like the Tsarnaevs building home-made bombs out of easily obtained materials. Expect more of them. If the NSA checking lists of people who bought pressure cookers against lists of people who made large fireworks purchases (just as I'm sure they look out for people who bought large amounts of diesel fuel and fertilizer after Oklahoma City) prevents your teenager from having her legs blown off in an explosion at your local mall, I'm reluctantly in favor of it. Sorry.


If there are terrorists that are dumb enough to think no ones watching their communication, we have one the war.  Sadly I don't think that's ALWAYS the case.  Canada's been able to stop every terrorist plot without the need for this, I don't see why America can't with it's trillion dollar army and intelligence agencies.
 
2013-06-13 10:16:58 AM

LasersHurt: Well gosh if only it had recently come to light and is now the subject of huge scrutiny.


Which somehow justifies the last decade of abuse or means I should alter my expectations about how they might behave in the future? What's your unnecessarily sarcastic point here?

And I hate to break it to you and so many others, but this behavior didn't just "recently come to light". It's been known for more than a decade that the government is using a secret court as a broad basis to wiretap Americans. It's been publicly debated multiples times in Congress.

People just suddenly started caring again because somebody leaked some specifics about it.
 
2013-06-13 10:19:19 AM

links136: Canada's been able to stop every terrorist plot without the need for this


I'm not confident that Canada doesn't do the same thing.  Google "Echelon", "UK", & "Canada"

/Canadian
 
2013-06-13 10:20:11 AM

Pocket Ninja: You're being snarky, subby. Ha, ha, I get snarky. But to be serious for a moment, seriously, what you have to remember is that if there's a successful terrorist attack, that attack becomes an inspiration for other terrorists. Who then plan other attacks, and if they're successful those in turn become inspirations. So there's a ripple effect that ripples out like ripples from even a single event, see? So, realistically, once you factor in those and other extrapolatables, stopping even 1 attack is actually the equivalent to stopping ten, thirty, a hundred potential attacks. Hell, it could even be a thousand attacks if you really factor it out. Try to not be so cynical and maybe show some gratitude here; imagine if there had been 1000 terrorist attacks last year.


Lets be serious... if the NSA doesn't watch or do anything about the Tsarnaevs, even with other foreign intelligence agencies screaming bloody murder at them to do so... do I really believe that they do a better job with randomly picked up information? I mean, whether we're talking about the Boston Bombings, 9/11, or some of the other more brutal parts of our history with terrorism, the reality is that our intelligence communities seem to do a piss poor job and not utilize the intelligence they have... so giving up our fourth amendment rights with the belief that maybe if we deluge them with far more information, that maybe they'll do a better job next time just doesn't make any sense.
 
2013-06-13 10:23:06 AM

skozlaw: LasersHurt: Well gosh if only it had recently come to light and is now the subject of huge scrutiny.

Which somehow justifies the last decade of abuse or means I should alter my expectations about how they might behave in the future? What's your unnecessarily sarcastic point here?


My point is you're being a little too shirty about something that just came to light a few days ago, that's all (despite your valiant efforts for the last decade). Veruca Salt-y? "I want it Noooowww!"

Relax, everyone's with you. We want the info. There's a process. It's underway.
 
2013-06-13 10:23:18 AM

clambam: I can't believe you people honestly believe there hasn't been a 9/11 level attack in this country since 2001 because... what? Al Qaeda has lost interest? They're saving it up for the Big One? I can well believe that dozens of potential attacks have been thwarted in the past twelve years, and that the NSA's surveillance has had a big part in that. I don't like it any more than you do but the fact of the matter is that taking this stuff public would be, and now is, disastrous. For instance, the recent spate of publicity has made one thing very clear to potential terrorists in this country--don't try to contact al Qaeda. If you do, you will be infiltrated and neutralized. The result? "Lone gunmen"s like the Tsarnaevs building home-made bombs out of easily obtained materials. Expect more of them. If the NSA checking lists of people who bought pressure cookers against lists of people who made large fireworks purchases (just as I'm sure they look out for people who bought large amounts of diesel fuel and fertilizer after Oklahoma City) prevents your teenager from having her legs blown off in an explosion at your local mall, I'm reluctantly in favor of it. Sorry.


 By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away
 
2013-06-13 10:24:12 AM

TabASlotB: Well there's this one: PRISM Stopped Najibullah Zazi From Blowing Up Backpacks in the [NYC] Subway

For some people, this may be enough. For others, not so much...


Who is to say that court issued wiretap warrants could not have accomplished the same thing?

In almost every successful terrorist attack, evidence was available which with could intelligence/law enforcement work could have been used to thwart it.
 
2013-06-13 10:25:06 AM

TabASlotB: Well there's this one: PRISM Stopped Najibullah Zazi From Blowing Up Backpacks in the [NYC] Subway

For some people, this may be enough. For others, not so much...


Totally worth giving up the 4th amendment for.

Seriously, if we're just going to give up the things that matter the most to us, then what do the terrorists even matter.?
 
2013-06-13 10:25:55 AM

firefly212: Seriously, if we're just going to give up the things that matter the most to us, then what do the terrorists even matter.?


"A copy of data"
 
2013-06-13 10:27:52 AM
As someone whose job it is to actually read the content of peoples private emails all day, I'm really getting a kick...

Also my work totally stopped terrorists.

/not national security related
//but, hey, it might have, you don't know
 
2013-06-13 10:28:05 AM
Translation: "We need complete secrecy, but you don't any."

Just who are they concerned about keeping secrets from?
 
2013-06-13 10:28:55 AM

mrshowrules: TabASlotB: Well there's this one: PRISM Stopped Najibullah Zazi From Blowing Up Backpacks in the [NYC] Subway

For some people, this may be enough. For others, not so much...

Who is to say that court issued wiretap warrants could not have accomplished the same thing?

In almost every successful terrorist attack, evidence was available which with could intelligence/law enforcement work could have been used to thwart it.


Certainly. I didn't register my opinion on the topic, but did want to provide a counter to the assertion that no attack disruptions have been publicly attributed to this program. As I said, the mileage will vary wildly from person to person on this claim.
 
2013-06-13 10:32:11 AM

clambam: I can well believe that dozens of potential attacks have been thwarted in the past twelve years, and that the NSA's surveillance has had a big part in that.


I remember reading about the NSA's expanding capability in the late 1990s.
And because I have read about this off and on for a few years, I view their capabilities as a series of advancements not a sudden expansion.

So have to ask, what did you think of their capabilities pre 2001? Were you as supportive then as you are now?
 
2013-06-13 10:33:34 AM
Well, if it turns out that legit plots were thwarted and people's lives were saved and it's succinctly tied to this program, then great, let's keep the program.  But short of that, wtf government?
 
2013-06-13 10:37:01 AM
I'm sure the people of Boston are happy to know this program prevented a terrorist attack.
 
2013-06-13 10:37:56 AM

LasersHurt: There's a process. It's underway.


Say the people who kept it secret for the last decade.

LasersHurt: just came to light a few days ago


And why do you keep saying that when it's patently false?
 
2013-06-13 10:39:59 AM
In the track White Lines Grandmaster Melle Mel raps, "Ounce for once its costs more than gold!"

Is he talking about:

a) Cocaine
b) Diamonds
c) Inkjet Printer Ink
 
2013-06-13 10:43:22 AM

LasersHurt: firefly212: Seriously, if we're just going to give up the things that matter the most to us, then what do the terrorists even matter.?

"A copy of data"


Privacy
Open Government
Freedom from unreasonable searches

The reality is that no internet-connected database is secure... so when the farkers get hacked and spill your sensitive data on to the open internet, who are you gonna blame?
 
2013-06-13 10:44:33 AM

skozlaw: LasersHurt: just came to light a few days ago

And why do you keep saying that when it's patently false?


Unless you think nothing has changed recently regarding public awareness of this, you know exactly what I mean.

firefly212: so when the farkers get hacked and spill your sensitive data on to the open internet, who are you gonna blame?


The hackers, who could have gotten the information more easily by just hacking the source, most likely?
 
2013-06-13 10:45:32 AM
Yep we have to monitor everyone in the country (world) in order to stop attacks by people so dangerous we can't possibly put them on trial.
 
2013-06-13 11:07:15 AM

Flargan: clambam: I can well believe that dozens of potential attacks have been thwarted in the past twelve years, and that the NSA's surveillance has had a big part in that.

I remember reading about the NSA's expanding capability in the late 1990s.
And because I have read about this off and on for a few years, I view their capabilities as a series of advancements not a sudden expansion.

So have to ask, what did you think of their capabilities pre 2001? Were you as supportive then as you are now?


They are reactive, but the are effectively reactive. I've already mentioned fertilizer and diesel fuel. Wonder why there haven't been any McVeigh style bombings since then? Because if you buy a bunch of fertilizer and diesel fuel, you get the immediate attention of the NSA and the FBI. Nobody's flying planes into buildings these days either. It's not because they don't want to, it's because they get shut down immediately if they take the first steps. As I said, I don't like it but it's better than the alternative.
 
2013-06-13 11:07:21 AM

TabASlotB: mrshowrules: TabASlotB: Well there's this one: PRISM Stopped Najibullah Zazi From Blowing Up Backpacks in the [NYC] Subway

For some people, this may be enough. For others, not so much...

Who is to say that court issued wiretap warrants could not have accomplished the same thing?

In almost every successful terrorist attack, evidence was available which with could intelligence/law enforcement work could have been used to thwart it.

Certainly. I didn't register my opinion on the topic, but did want to provide a counter to the assertion that no attack disruptions have been publicly attributed to this program. As I said, the mileage will vary wildly from person to person on this claim.


I see parallels with the torture argument.  For me, even if you could show it works and prevents terrorism (which it doesn't), I still would not support it.

Obviously privacy is not a absolute right.  Warranted wiretaps are just wrong and even if you could show it foiled a hundred terrorist attacks last month, my response would be how else this could have been accomplished while still maintaining the spirit of the 4th amendment.
 
2013-06-13 11:18:06 AM

LasersHurt: regarding public awareness of this


You seem to be conflating renewed interest with new awareness. That is not the case. People have been reminded of it, but it is not new. There have been public discussions and even public polling on this program numerous times since 2001.

The only thing that's really new and of any great significance is the companies that are participating.
 
2013-06-13 02:56:32 PM

clambam: BlippityBleep: clambam: I can't believe you people honestly believe there hasn't been a 9/11 level attack in this country since 2001 because... what? Al Qaeda has lost interest? They're saving it up for the Big One? I can well believe that dozens of potential attacks have been thwarted in the past twelve years, and that the NSA's surveillance has had a big part in that. I don't like it any more than you do but the fact of the matter is that taking this stuff public would be, and now is, disastrous. For instance, the recent spate of publicity has made one thing very clear to potential terrorists in this country--don't try to contact al Qaeda. If you do, you will be infiltrated and neutralized. The result? "Lone gunmen"s like the Tsarnaevs building home-made bombs out of easily obtained materials. Expect more of them. If the NSA checking lists of people who bought pressure cookers against lists of people who made large fireworks purchases (just as I'm sure they look out for people who bought large amounts of diesel fuel and fertilizer after Oklahoma City) prevents your teenager from having her legs blown off in an explosion at your local mall, I'm reluctantly in favor of it. Sorry.

ermm... there haven't been any attacks because we went over there and killed the shiat out of all of them.  and anybody thinking about it would probably conclude it's not a good idea because not only will they get blown up, but so will all of their comrades.  the whole risk/punishment thing.

you are aware that two wars were started over this thing, right?  do you watch the news?

Again, you really believe that? That the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan prevented or are preventing native-born or foreign terrorists already here from attacking? Given the level of naivete implied by your post, I hardly know how to respond.


4.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-06-13 08:33:47 PM

Pocket Ninja: extrapolatables


+1
 
2013-06-13 08:47:13 PM

clambam: I can't believe you people honestly believe there hasn't been a 9/11 level attack in this country since 2001 because... what? Al Qaeda has lost interest? They're saving it up for the Big One? I can well believe that dozens of potential attacks have been thwarted in the past twelve years, and that the NSA's surveillance has had a big part in that. I don't like it any more than you do but the fact of the matter is that taking this stuff public would be, and now is, disastrous. For instance, the recent spate of publicity has made one thing very clear to potential terrorists in this country--don't try to contact al Qaeda. If you do, you will be infiltrated and neutralized. The result? "Lone gunmen"s like the Tsarnaevs building home-made bombs out of easily obtained materials. Expect more of them. If the NSA checking lists of people who bought pressure cookers against lists of people who made large fireworks purchases (just as I'm sure they look out for people who bought large amounts of diesel fuel and fertilizer after Oklahoma City) prevents your teenager from having her legs blown off in an explosion at your local mall, I'm reluctantly in favor of it. Sorry.


It's because of airport security.

Duh.
 
2013-06-13 08:48:18 PM

mrshowrules: Obviously privacy is not a absolute right.  Warranted wiretaps are just wrong and even if you could show it foiled a hundred terrorist attacks last month, my response would be how else this could have been accomplished while still maintaining the spirit of the 4th amendment.


WarrentLESS, I imagine?
 
2013-06-13 10:25:12 PM
And how many of those attacks were instigated by the FBI?
 
2013-06-13 11:10:27 PM

Fail in Human Form: To believe otherwise is to adopt the position that government employees and contractors are above reproach. History, recent history even, show this to be unimaginably naive. Their attempt to hold up the FISA court as the safeguard is laughable at best.


The government has the ability to read your emails (if they have a warrant).
This is way too much power!

The government has the ability to destroy mankind with hydrogen bombs.
Crickets.

That's a fine sense of proportion you got there.
 
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