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NSA Chief Denies, Denies, Denies Wired’s Domestic Spying Story

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  1. #1
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    NSA Chief Denies, Denies, Denies Wired’s Domestic Spying Story

    Im reading this article as we speak and it's heavy. Real heavy. They are able to hold yottabytes of data at the NSA's new facility in the middle of Utah. A yottabyte equals One quadrillion giggabytes. 10^24 zeros. A staggering amount of information of recorded emails, domestic and international phone calls. They have yet to come up with a name to follow a yottabyte.

    Everyone is an adversary in the NSA's eyes. Including you.

    NSA Chief Denies, Denies, Denies Wired's Domestic Spying Story | Threat Level | Wired.com

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    NSA chief General Keith Alexander faced tough — and funny — questions from Congress Tuesday stemming from Wired’s story on the NSA’s capabalities and warrantless wiretapping program.
    Congressman Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat, asked Alexander whether the NSA could, at the direction of Dick Cheney, identify people who sent e-mails making fun of his inability to hunt in order to waterboard them.
    Alexander said “No,” adding that the “NSA does not have the ability to do that in the United States.” Elaborating, Alexander added: “We don’t have the technical insights in the United States. In other words, you have to have [...] some way of doing that either by going to a service provider with a warrant or you have to be collecting in that area. We’re not authorized to do that, nor do we have the equipment in the United States to collect that kind of information.”
    That statement seemingly contradicts James Bamford’s story, The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say), as well as stories from The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times,USA Today and Wired, which collectively drew a picture of the NSA’s post-9/11 foray into wiretapping the nation’s telecommunication’s infrastructure to spy on Americans without getting warrants.
    Bamford writes:
    In the process — and for the first time since Watergate and the other scandals of the Nixon administration — the NSA has turned its surveillance apparatus on the US and its citizens. It has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. It has created a supercomputer of almost unimaginable speed to look for patterns and unscramble codes. Finally, the agency has begun building a place to store all the trillions of words and thoughts and whispers captured in its electronic net. And, of course, it’s all being done in secret. To those on the inside, the old adage that NSA stands for Never Say Anything applies more than ever.
    But in testimony Tuesday in front of the House Armed Services subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Alexander responded to questions about the program, saying the NSA did not have the capability to monitor, inside the United States, Americans’ text messages, phone calls and e-mails. He added that if the NSA were to target an American, the FBI would take the lead and fill out the paperwork. (That’s an odd statement, since the process for targeting an American by the intelligence services is for the NSA to fill out the paperwork, submit it to the Justice Department and then send it to a secret court, according to statements by former Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell.)
    Alexander and Johnson both mispronounced Bamford’s name as Bashford (a Freudian slip). But it’s an odder mistake by Alexander, given that Bamford is the premier chronicler of the NSA.
    It’s hard to tell here whether Alexander is parsing the questions closely, misspeaking or telling the truth. The heads of the intelligence service have a long tradition of misspeaking or telling untruths that advance their agenda. President George Bush himself on the re-election campaign trail said that no American had been wiretapped without a warrant, which was plainly false, according to numerous news stories and the government’s own admissions of the program.
    In the aftermath of those half-truths, the Congress passed, and Bush signed into law, the FISA Amendments Act, which re-wrote the nation’s surveillance laws to give the NSA a much freer hand to wiretap American infrastructure wholesale.
    Court challenges to the program, brought by the EFF and the ACLU, attempted to argue that even allowing the NSA to harvest Americans’ communications alongside foreigners into giant databases violated American law and the US Constitution. However, those challenges have never survived the Bush and Obama administration’s invocation of the “state secrets” privilege to have them thrown out of court.
    Which is another way of saying that Americans have no idea what’s going on. Given the choice between an administration official saying nothing is going on and a respected reporter with inside sources saying something wicked this way comes, I know where my trust would lie.
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    the people at the top of the food chain really do take everyone to be a fool. but you can't change history.

    February 27, 2001: Qwest CEO Refuses to Cooperate with NSA in Alleged Domestic Wiretapping Program
    Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio meets with NSA officials in Fort Meade, Maryland, to discuss two topics of mutual interest: a $100 million infrastructure upgrade that Qwest, one of the US’s largest telecommunications firms, can perform for the agency, and another topic that remains classified. (The meeting will be revealed in heavily redacted court documents released six years later—see October 12, 2007). Observers believe the discussion is about the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program of US citizens, which the government will conceal for years (see December 15, 2005), and which the Bush administration will insist did not come about until after the 9/11 attacks (see December 17, 2005). Nacchio meets with NSA officials to discuss the agency’s “Groundbreaker” project (see February 2001), which the NSA will later claim is merely a modernization and upgrade of its technological infrastructure. A June 2006 lawsuit against AT&T over that firm’s cooperation with the NSA alleges that “Groundbreaker” is part of a secret domestic surveillance operation. According to the court documents, Nacchio and the NSA are unable to agree on an unrevealed topic of discussion; after that disagreement, the NSA will withdraw its “Groundbreaker” contract from consideration for Qwest. Nacchio, according to the documents, believes that the unrevealed topic of discussion involves illegal and inappropriate actions. He asks the agency officials whether “a warrant or other legal process had been secured.” The NSA officials, according to the documents, have a “disinclination on the part of the authorities to use any legal process,” leading Nacchio to conclude that “the requests violated the privacy requirements of the Telecommunications Act.” When Nacchio refuses to cooperate with the NSA, the agency withdraws its offer of the “Groundbreaker” contract. [Raw Story, 10/12/2007; Marketwatch, 10/13/2007] James F.X. Payne, the former chief of Qwest’s government business unit, will later tell investigators, “There was a feeling also that the NSA acted as agents for other government agencies.” [National Journal, 11/2/2007] In 2007, the New York Times will reveal that Qwest refuses to give the NSA access to its most localized communications switches, carrying largely domestic phone calls. The arrangement would have permitted neighborhood-by-neighborhood surveillance of phone traffic without a court order. [New York Times, 12/16/2007] The NSA has more success with other companies—and has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Qwest as well.

    December 17, 2005: Bush Acknowledges Authorizing Warrantless Wiretapping by NSA, Accuses Media of Jeopardizing National Security by Reporting Illegal Surveillance
    President Bush acknowledges that he issued a 2002 executive order authorizing the National Security Agency (NSA) to wiretap US citizens’ phones and e-mails without proper warrants, and accuses the New York Times of jeopardizing national security by publishing its December 15 article (see Early 2002 and December 15, 2005). Bush says he was within the law to issue such an order, which many feel shatters fundamental Constitutional guarantees of liberty and privacy, but accuses the Times of breaking the law by publishing the article. Bush tells listeners during his weekly radio address that the executive order is “fully consistent” with his “constitutional responsibilities and authorities.” But, he continues, “Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk.” He admits allowing the NSA to “to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al-Qaeda and related terrorist organizations” in a program designed to “detect and prevent terrorist attacks.” Under the law, the NSA must obtain warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court, but after Bush’s executive order, it was no longer required to do so. Bush justifies the order by citing the example of two 9/11 hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, who, he says, “communicated while they were in the United States to other members of al-Qaeda who were overseas, but we didn’t know they were here until it was too late.” Because of the unconstitutional wiretapping program, it is “more likely that killers like these 9/11 hijackers will be identified and located in time, and the activities conducted under this authorization have helped detect and prevent possible terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad.” Bush also admits to reauthorizing the program “more than thirty times,” and adds, “I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al-Qaeda and related groups.” [CNN, 12/16/2005] Bush fails to address the likelihood that the domestic surveillance program began well before 9/11 (see Late 1999, February 27, 2000, December 2000, February 2001, February 2001, Spring 2001, July 2001, and Early 2002).
    William F. Buckley describes a conservative as, "someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop." - and then proceeds to drag civilization back to times best left in history's dungheap.

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