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Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:09 AM

 

When it comes to civil liberties, apparently Democrats are just as bad as Republicans.

"President Barack Obama has signed into law a five-year extension of the U.S. government's authority to monitor the overseas activity of suspected foreign spies and terrorists.

The warrantless intercept program would have expired at the end of 2012 without the president's approval. The renewal bill won final passage in the Senate on Friday.

Known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law allows the government to monitor overseas phone calls and emails without obtaining a court order for each intercept."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/30/obama-fisa-warrantless-wiretapping_n_2385690.html

I remember back when Bush started pulling this crap, and we were justifiably outraged. Now, with Obama pulling the same shit, hardly a peep, or worse, defense of the indefensible. Sad, truly sad.

31 replies, 2850 views

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply When it comes to civil liberties, apparently Democrats are just as bad as Republicans. (Original post)
MadHound Dec 2012 OP
customerserviceguy Dec 2012 #1
Bluenorthwest Dec 2012 #4
customerserviceguy Jan 2013 #30
MadHound Dec 2012 #6
pscot Dec 2012 #11
zeemike Dec 2012 #15
pscot Dec 2012 #20
zeemike Dec 2012 #21
republika Jan 2013 #29
woo me with science Dec 2012 #2
Hotler Dec 2012 #8
Larry Ogg Dec 2012 #19
fredamae Dec 2012 #3
green for victory Dec 2012 #5
Hotler Dec 2012 #7
X_Digger Dec 2012 #9
JoePhilly Dec 2012 #13
gollygee Dec 2012 #10
Bad_Ronald Dec 2012 #12
Arctic Dave Dec 2012 #14
zeemike Dec 2012 #17
Dustlawyer Dec 2012 #16
stupidicus Dec 2012 #18
Old Troop Dec 2012 #22
villager Dec 2012 #23
forestpath Dec 2012 #24
Ian62 Dec 2012 #25
Ian62 Dec 2012 #26
davidn3600 Dec 2012 #27
zipplewrath Dec 2012 #28
Egalitarian Thug Jan 2013 #31

Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:19 AM

1. Unfortunately, history shows a number of examples of this

The most progressive President of the 20th Century, FDR, signed an executive order against citizens of Japanese ancestry who were living on the West Coast. This antiterrorism legislation is nothing compared to that.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:38 AM

4. I do not agree that this legislation is 'nothing'. The comparison is strained. The actual question

to ask is what would our leadership have done in FDR's actual position if 9-11 had, like Pearl Harbor, been followed by constant actual attacks on the West Coast, the occupation of an Alaskan Island, shelling of military base in Oregon, and the deployment of new explosive devices which had already been used to deliver biological weapons by the same enemy on another front? If our current enemies had submarines off California each day?
All of those things happened. We were in a World War, and the West Coast was wide open. What do you think GW Bush would have done had events followed one another like they did in FDR's time? Bush opened Gitmo, renditions and indefinite detentions, massive spying on everyone, and he invaded a nation that had nothing to do with 9-11. Like WW2, Bush opened two fronts, we are still waging one of those wars right now. WW2 was far shorter than the Bush Wars. Almost as if FDR wanted to win and these guys want to fight....
Pretty hard for me to say FDR did worse considering the context, the real events, and comparing what we in our times faced in terms of actual events and attempted attacks. As I recall, Bushco went raging through NYC frisking anyone who looked middle eastern, set up a huge security apparatus that functions in secret, and on and on. WW2 came to an actual, decided end. This thing, it just rolls on and you have people 'detained' for years and years, for the duration of an endless history....
What you call nothing sure sounds like something to me.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 05:20 PM

30. Spying on suspected foreign nationals overseas

is way less in my mind than actually locking up innocent US citizens, just because of what they looked like. By your logic, we should have imprisoned every Muslim after 9-11, which was an attack on US civilians on the US mainland, not an attack on a military base on a far-away US territory. We didn't lock up Americans of German descent.

Yes, Bushco went as far as Congress let him in the aftermath of 9-11, and President Obama has still not backed us away from the semi-police state that it tried to create, but the legislation referred to in the OP is nowhere near either the Patriot Act, and it's especially not the violation of citizen rights that Executive Order 9066 represented. Sorry if my comparison was too extreme for you.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:12 AM

6. I disagree, this legislation isn't "nothing",

 

On its own, it is simply more destruction of our Constitution and civil liberties. But worse, it is another giant step down that slippery slope we really don't won't to travel.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:48 AM

11. You have it backwards

Roosevelt's action, however awful, was an isolated incident directed at a small group of individuals. What Obama has done institutionalizes the surveillance aparatus and can be used against any or all of us. It undermines the Bill of Rights in a fundamental and very dangerous way.

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Response to pscot (Reply #11)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:02 AM

15. Not only can be but was used.

Against OWS from the start...but not against the tea party though...they had the 1% behind them.
And this clearly shows us not only who is behind it but why....
I don't think Obama had any choice in the matter even if he knew it was wrong...cause he does not control this country like you think he does.

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Response to zeemike (Reply #15)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 02:49 PM

20. He may not control the country, but he can still speak out

and he has the veto power. If he knows it's wrong and not only remains silent, but actively abets what's being doneunder the guise of national security, what does that suggest about his values and/or his courage?

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Response to pscot (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 03:27 PM

21. Well there is a long history of what happens when you piss off the PTB

JFK proved that the president was not above the rules that the PTB set....if they want a war you had better give it to them.
When Jimmy Carter was asked about what surprised him the most about the presidency he said "how little power he actually has"

Our problems are fundamental and until there is fundamental change thing will not change.

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Response to zeemike (Reply #15)


Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:28 AM

2. I think the fantasy that we Democrats are all on the same side and fighting for the same things

perished long ago during Obama's first term. You still see those arguments as propaganda on discussion boards, but more and more the Third Way contempt toward traditional Democratic values and policies is quite blatantly expressed even here.

We elected more corporatism, more neocon foreign policy, and more police state, because those are the only choices offered to us now. That is what happens when we allow corporate money, power, and influence to purchase governments and electoral systems.

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:27 AM

8. It is not about protecting us. It's about......

protecting them and the PTB.

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:36 AM

19. You would think that the majority of people would somehow get a clue...

The biggest and best investments are made by unimaginably rich and powerful criminals who recycle Hundreds of Billions of Dollars into our elections, ensuring that most Americans will have no other choice than to vote for one of their hand picked venal sock puppets.

In other words, the owners pick and choose who we get to vote for.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:20 AM

3. See, they Can be Perfectly Bi-Partisan when

the majority of pols agree We, the people should Lose Rights.
And feinstein objected to Every Damned amendment that would have offered at least transparency and accountability with damned few protections for US citizens-all objections were based upon the "what-if's" and "could happen" scenarios without facts and evidence to show cause.
What does feinstein get back for her efforts is the big question.
At some point the Harms administered by the laws outweigh the threats by the absense of said laws when one isn't "free" regardless.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:38 AM

5. Cheer up! The people that will be the most upset haven't even been born yet

 

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:26 AM

7. Those fuckers (Both sides of the isle).....

they can't get a damn thing done, but when it comes to spying on us they are all over it and it didn't more than 20-minutes to get it passed.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:29 AM

9. No government will willingly give up power, once granted.

Doesn't matter if it's ours, theirs, or someone else's party in power.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #9)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:51 AM

13. Exactly what I told my now Tea Party friends way back when Bush obtained those powers.

Once you give the government that kind of power, good luck taking it back.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:35 AM

10. The problem with the loss of civil liberties

is that they are very easy to lose, in any presidency, and very difficult to get back, in any presidency.

And one president will take away more civil liberties, and get more power for the government, figuring that it's safe because they wouldn't misuse it, not realizing that once those civil liberties are lost and that governmental power is gained, it continues forever, no matter who is president in the future.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:49 AM

12. "I remember back when Bush started pulling this crap, and we were justifiably outraged"

 

But we all feel more "hopeful" since then.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:59 AM

14. Exactly.

 

All you have to do is ask yourself, "Who was President when the government cracked down on peaceful dissent"?

A: Obama.

Hope and change my rear end. A more likable bush is what he is.

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Response to Arctic Dave (Reply #14)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:11 AM

17. Oh no, that goes way back

To Johnson and Nixon.
The FBI infiltrated anti war groups on a massive scale....and were even caught recording the Jury Room on a case against 7 anti war protesters in Florida....and a hell of a lot more that we never found out about.
The only difference between then and now is now they really don't give a shit if we know...they know we will do and say nothing about it cause we have been systematically condoned to accept it.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:07 AM

16. We have a bunch of politicians who have risen to power under a system of back room deals

For special interests. Republicans and Democrats alike. They do not represent us, we are not a "special, interest, we are common folk (at least in their eyes). We need to demonstrate to them who really has the power by coming together to demand,

COMPLETE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM (CCFR)!!!

This is the only way our interests will be properly represented. We currently do not have Representative Government, lets fix that. Help me spread the word for CCFR, you don't have to get arrested, just post and blog! Who is with me?

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:25 AM

18. Most of the bi-partisanship is of the FP/WOT kind

on the domestic front the dems have to occasionally give we dogs a bone for placation purposes and to maintain the illusion that they're with "we the people" instead of wallowing in the same putrid sewer/miasma of money their monied masters create/provide.

This is why I've long seen DC as a faux duopoly

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 04:03 PM

22. Does high office result in

paranoia that the rest of us don't feel? Woodrow Wilson felt the need to close newspapers and arrest their editors, jail dissenters, and harass African Americans to serve a war that was not, even in his own mind, existential to the US. Calvin Coolidge strengthened the FBI power of surveillance on average citizens. In addition to the infamous executive order to round up citizens of Japanese origin, FDR imposed massive censorship on media in the US, forced businesses to conduct themselves in accordance with his wishes (Pan Am directed to compete with German airlines in South/Central America), criminalized the ownership of gold. Eisenhower established CIA operations in the US as well as externally. This list goes on and on. And let's not even get started on Abraham Lincoln!

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 04:04 PM

23. Sadly so. We have two corporate statist parties, only one is insane. and we accept crumbs ...

...from the "sane" branch.

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Response to villager (Reply #23)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 04:12 PM

24. +1

 

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 04:29 PM

25. FISA, domestic surveillance & the NSA's new $2bn datacenter

 

Obama has just signed the continuation of FISA warrentless wiretaps into law.

EVERY single American is under surveillance.
VAST amounts of data are being collected.
EVERY email sent to/from America and within America.
The majority of mobile phone conversations.
A large proportion of google searches, facebook and twitter activity.
Electronic bank transfers and mobile phone bills and records.
A large number of other electronic transactions.

George Orwell was right. He was just 30 years early.

From the text below :-
"He explains that the agency could have installed its tapping gear at the nation’s cable landing stations—the more than two dozen sites on the periphery of the US where fiber-optic cables come ashore. If it had taken that route, the NSA would have been able to limit its eavesdropping to just international communications, which at the time was all that was allowed under US law. Instead it chose to put the wiretapping rooms at key junction points throughout the country—large, windowless buildings known as switches—thus gaining access to not just international communications but also to most of the domestic traffic flowing through the US. The network of intercept stations goes far beyond the single room in an AT&T building in San Francisco exposed by a whistle-blower in 2006. “I think there’s 10 to 20 of them,” Binney says. “That’s not just San Francisco; they have them in the middle of the country and also on the East Coast.” "


In its April cover story, Wired has an exclusive report on the NSA's Utah Data Center, which is a must read for anyone who believes any privacy is still a possibility in the United States: "A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks.... Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.”... The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013." In other words, in just over 1 year, virtually anything one communicates through any traceable medium, or any record of one's existence in the electronic medium, which these days is everything, will unofficially be property of the US government to deal with as it sees fit.
The codename of the project: Stellar Wind.
As Wired says, "there is no doubt that it has transformed itself into the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever created."
And as former NSA operative William Binney who was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician, and is the basis for the Wired article (which we guess makes him merely the latest whistleblower to step up: is America suddenly experiencing an ethical revulsion?), and quit his job only after he realized that the NSA is now openly trampling the constitution, says as he holds his thumb and forefinger close together. "We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state."
There was a time when Americans still cared about matters such as personal privacy. Luckily, they now have iGadgets to keep them distracted as they hand over their last pieces of individuality to the Tzar of conformity. And there are those who wonder just what the purpose of the NDAA is.
In the meantime please continue to pretend that America is ademocracy...
Here are some of the highlights from the Wired article:
The Utah Data Center in a nutshell, and the summary of the current status of the NSA's eavesdropping on US citizens.
Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.

But “this is more than just a data center,” says one senior intelligence official who until recently was involved with the program. The mammoth Bluffdale center will have another important and far more secret role that until now has gone unrevealed. It is also critical, he says, for breaking codes. And code-breaking is crucial, because much of the data that the center will handle—financial information, stock transactions, business deals, foreign military and diplomatic secrets, legal documents, confidential personal communications—will be heavily encrypted. According to another top official also involved with the program, the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the US. The upshot, according to this official: “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”

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.


...Shrouded in secrecy:
A short time later, Inglis arrived in Bluffdale at the site of the future data center, a flat, unpaved runway on a little-used part of Camp Williams, a National Guard training site. There, in a white tent set up for the occasion, Inglis joined Harvey Davis, the agency’s associate director for installations and logistics, and Utah senator Orrin Hatch, along with a few generals and politicians in a surreal ceremony. Standing in an odd wooden sandbox and holding gold-painted shovels, they made awkward jabs at the sand and thus officially broke ground on what the local media had simply dubbed “the spy center.” Hoping for some details on what was about to be built, reporters turned to one of the invited guests, Lane Beattie of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. Did he have any idea of the purpose behind the new facility in his backyard? “Absolutely not,” he said with a self-conscious half laugh. “Nor do I want them spying on me.”

Within days, the tent and sandbox and gold shovels would be gone and Inglis and the generals would be replaced by some 10,000 construction workers. “We’ve been asked not to talk about the project,” Rob Moore, president of Big-D Construction, one of the three major contractors working on the project, told a local reporter. The plans for the center show an extensive security system: an elaborate $10 million antiterrorism protection program, including a fence designed to stop a 15,000-pound vehicle traveling 50 miles per hour, closed-circuit cameras, a biometric identification system, a vehicle inspection facility, and a visitor-control center.

Inside, the facility will consist of four 25,000-square-foot halls filled with servers, complete with raised floor space for cables and storage. In addition, there will be more than 900,000 square feet for technical support and administration. The entire site will be self-sustaining, with fuel tanks large enough to power the backup generators for three days in an emergency, water storage with the capability of pumping 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day, as well as a sewage system and massive air-conditioning system to keep all those servers cool. Electricity will come from the center’s own substation built by Rocky Mountain Power to satisfy the 65-megawatt power demand. Such a mammoth amount of energy comes with a mammoth price tag—about $40 million a year, according to one estimate.
Presenting the Yottabyte, aka 500 quintillion (500,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text:
Given the facility’s scale and the fact that a terabyte of data can now be stored on a flash drive the size of a man’s pinky, the potential amount of information that could be housed in Bluffdale is truly staggering. But so is the exponential growth in the amount of intelligence data being produced every day by the eavesdropping sensors of the NSA and other intelligence agencies. As a result of this “expanding array of theater airborne and other sensor networks,” as a 2007 Department of Defense report puts it, the Pentagon is attempting to expand its worldwide communications network, known as the Global Information Grid, to handle yottabytes (1024 bytes) of data. (A yottabyte is a septillion bytes—so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude.)

It needs that capacity because, according to a recent report by Cisco, global Internet traffic will quadruple from 2010 to 2015, reaching 966 exabytes per year. (A million exabytes equal a yottabyte.) In terms of scale, Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO, once estimated that the total of all human knowledge created from the dawn of man to 2003 totaled 5 exabytes. And the data flow shows no sign of slowing. In 2011 more than 2 billion of the world’s 6.9 billion people were connected to the Internet. By 2015, market research firm IDC estimates, there will be 2.7 billion users. Thus, the NSA’s need for a 1-million-square-foot data storehouse. Should the agency ever fill the Utah center with a yottabyte of information, it would be equal to about 500 quintillion (500,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.
Summarizing the NSA's entire spy network:


Before yottabytes of data from the deep web and elsewhere can begin piling up inside the servers of the NSA’s new center, they must be collected. To better accomplish that, the agency has undergone the largest building boom in its history, including installing secret electronic monitoring rooms in major US telecom facilities. Controlled by the NSA, these highly secured spaces are where the agency taps into the US communications networks, a practice that came to light during the Bush years but was never acknowledged by the agency. The broad outlines of the so-called warrantless-wiretapping program have long been exposed—how the NSA secretly and illegally bypassed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was supposed to oversee and authorize highly targeted domestic eavesdropping; how the program allowed wholesale monitoring of millions of American phone calls and email. In the wake of the program’s exposure, Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which largely made the practices legal. Telecoms that had agreed to participate in the illegal activity were granted immunity from prosecution and lawsuits. What wasn’t revealed until now, however, was the enormity of this ongoing domestic spying program.
Luckily, we now know, courtesy of yet another whistleblower, who has exposed the NSA's mindblowing efforts at pervasive Big Brotherness:
For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail. William Binney was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network. A tall man with strands of black hair across the front of his scalp and dark, determined eyes behind thick-rimmed glasses, the 68-year-old spent nearly four decades breaking codes and finding new ways to channel billions of private phone calls and email messages from around the world into the NSA’s bulging databases. As chief and one of the two cofounders of the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, Binney and his team designed much of the infrastructure that’s still likely used to intercept international and foreign communications.

He explains that the agency could have installed its tapping gear at the nation’s cable landing stations—the more than two dozen sites on the periphery of the US where fiber-optic cables come ashore. If it had taken that route, the NSA would have been able to limit its eavesdropping to just international communications, which at the time was all that was allowed under US law. Instead it chose to put the wiretapping rooms at key junction points throughout the country—large, windowless buildings known as switches—thus gaining access to not just international communications but also to most of the domestic traffic flowing through the US. The network of intercept stations goes far beyond the single room in an AT&T building in San Francisco exposed by a whistle-blower in 2006. “I think there’s 10 to 20 of them,” Binney says. “That’s not just San Francisco; they have them in the middle of the country and also on the East Coast.”

The eavesdropping on Americans doesn’t stop at the telecom switches. To capture satellite communications in and out of the US, the agency also monitors AT&T’s powerful earth stations, satellite receivers in locations that include Roaring Creek and Salt Creek. Tucked away on a back road in rural Catawissa, Pennsylvania, Roaring Creek’s three 105-foot dishes handle much of the country’s communications to and from Europe and the Middle East. And on an isolated stretch of land in remote Arbuckle, California, three similar dishes at the company’s Salt Creek station service the Pacific Rim and Asia.
In other words, the NSA has absolutely everyone covered.
We now know all of this, courtesy of yet another person finally stepping up and exposing the truth:
Binney left the NSA in late 2001, shortly after the agency launched its warrantless-wiretapping program. “They violated the Constitution setting it up,” he says bluntly. “But they didn’t care. They were going to do it anyway, and they were going to crucify anyone who stood in the way. When they started violating the Constitution, I couldn’t stay.” Binney says Stellar Wind was far larger than has been publicly disclosed and included not just eavesdropping on domestic phone calls but the inspection of domestic email. At the outset the program recorded 320 million calls a day, he says, which represented about 73 to 80 percent of the total volume of the agency’s worldwide intercepts. The haul only grew from there. According to Binney—who has maintained close contact with agency employees until a few years ago—the taps in the secret rooms dotting the country are actually powered by highly sophisticated software programs that conduct “deep packet inspection,” examining Internet traffic as it passes through the 10-gigabit-per-second cables at the speed of light.

The software, created by a company called Narus that’s now part of Boeing, is controlled remotely from NSA headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland and searches US sources for target addresses, locations, countries, and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases in email. Any communication that arouses suspicion, especially those to or from the million or so people on agency watch lists, are automatically copied or recorded and then transmitted to the NSA.
Everyone is a target.
The scope of surveillance expands from there, Binney says. Once a name is entered into the Narus database, all phone calls and other communications to and from that person are automatically routed to the NSA’s recorders. “Anybody you want, route to a recorder,” Binney says. “If your number’s in there? Routed and gets recorded.” He adds, “The Narus device allows you to take it all.” And when Bluffdale is completed, whatever is collected will be routed there for storage and analysis.

After he left the NSA, Binney suggested a system for monitoring people’s communications according to how closely they are connected to an initial target. The further away from the target—say you’re just an acquaintance of a friend of the target—the less the surveillance. But the agency rejected the idea, and, given the massive new storage facility in Utah, Binney suspects that it now simply collects everything. “The whole idea was, how do you manage 20 terabytes of intercept a minute?” he says. “The way we proposed was to distinguish between things you want and things you don’t want.” Instead, he adds, “they’re storing everything they gather.” And the agency is gathering as much as it can.

Once the communications are intercepted and stored, the data-mining begins. “You can watch everybody all the time with data- mining,” Binney says. Everything a person does becomes charted on a graph, “financial transactions or travel or anything,” he says. Thus, as data like bookstore receipts, bank statements, and commuter toll records flow in, the NSA is able to paint a more and more detailed picture of someone’s life.
Can you hear me now? The NSA sure can:
According to Binney, one of the deepest secrets of the Stellar Wind program—again, never confirmed until now—was that the NSA gained warrantless access to AT&T’s vast trove of domestic and international billing records, detailed information about who called whom in the US and around the world. As of 2007, AT&T had more than 2.8 trillion records housed in a database at its Florham Park, New Jersey, complex.

Verizon was also part of the program, Binney says, and that greatly expanded the volume of calls subject to the agency’s domestic eavesdropping. “That multiplies the call rate by at least a factor of five,” he says. “So you’re over a billion and a half calls a day.” (Spokespeople for Verizon and AT&T said their companies would not comment on matters of national security.)
In fact, as you talk now, the NSA's computers are listening, recording it all, and looking for keywords.
The NSA also has the ability to eavesdrop on phone calls directly and in real time. According to Adrienne J. Kinne, who worked both before and after 9/11 as a voice interceptor at the NSA facility in Georgia, in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks “basically all rules were thrown out the window, and they would use any excuse to justify a waiver to spy on Americans.” Even journalists calling home from overseas were included. “A lot of time you could tell they were calling their families,” she says, “incredibly intimate, personal conversations.” Kinne found the act of eavesdropping on innocent fellow citizens personally distressing. “It’s almost like going through and finding somebody’s diary,” she says.
There is a simple matter of encryption... Which won't be an issue for the NSA shortly, once the High Productivity Computing Systems project goes online.
Anyone—from terrorists and weapons dealers to corporations, financial institutions, and ordinary email senders—can use it to seal their messages, plans, photos, and documents in hardened data shells. For years, one of the hardest shells has been the Advanced Encryption Standard, one of several algorithms used by much of the world to encrypt data. Available in three different strengths—128 bits, 192 bits, and 256 bits—it’s incorporated in most commercial email programs and web browsers and is considered so strong that the NSA has even approved its use for top-secret US government communications. Most experts say that a so-called brute-force computer attack on the algorithm—trying one combination after another to unlock the encryption—would likely take longer than the age of the universe. For a 128-bit cipher, the number of trial-and-error attempts would be 340 undecillion (1036).

Breaking into those complex mathematical shells like the AES is one of the key reasons for the construction going on in Bluffdale. That kind of cryptanalysis requires two major ingredients: super-fast computers to conduct brute-force attacks on encrypted messages and a massive number of those messages for the computers to analyze. The more messages from a given target, the more likely it is for the computers to detect telltale patterns, and Bluffdale will be able to hold a great many messages. “We questioned it one time,” says another source, a senior intelligence manager who was also involved with the planning. “Why were we building this NSA facility? And, boy, they rolled out all the old guys—the crypto guys.” According to the official, these experts told then-director of national intelligence Dennis Blair, “You’ve got to build this thing because we just don’t have the capability of doing the code-breaking.” It was a candid admission. In the long war between the code breakers and the code makers—the tens of thousands of cryptographers in the worldwide computer security industry—the code breakers were admitting defeat.

So the agency had one major ingredient—a massive data storage facility—under way. Meanwhile, across the country in Tennessee, the government was working in utmost secrecy on the other vital element: the most powerful computer the world has ever known.

The plan was launched in 2004 as a modern-day Manhattan Project. Dubbed the High Productivity Computing Systems program, its goal was to advance computer speed a thousandfold, creating a machine that could execute a quadrillion (1015) operations a second, known as a petaflop—the computer equivalent of breaking the land speed record. And as with the Manhattan Project, the venue chosen for the supercomputing program was the town of Oak Ridge in eastern Tennessee, a rural area where sharp ridges give way to low, scattered hills, and the southwestward-flowing Clinch River bends sharply to the southeast. About 25 miles from Knoxville, it is the “secret city” where uranium- 235 was extracted for the first atomic bomb. A sign near the exit read: what you see here, what you do here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here.Today, not far from where that sign stood, Oak Ridge is home to the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and it’s engaged in a new secret war. But this time, instead of a bomb of almost unimaginable power, the weapon is a computer of almost unimaginable speed.

At the DOE’s unclassified center at Oak Ridge, work progressed at a furious pace, although it was a one-way street when it came to cooperation with the closemouthed people in Building 5300. Nevertheless, the unclassified team had its Cray XT4 supercomputer upgraded to a warehouse-sized XT5. Named Jaguar for its speed, it clocked in at 1.75 petaflops, officially becoming the world’s fastest computer in 2009.

Meanwhile, over in Building 5300, the NSA succeeded in building an even faster supercomputer. “They made a big breakthrough,” says another former senior intelligence official, who helped oversee the program. The NSA’s machine was likely similar to the unclassified Jaguar, but it was much faster out of the gate, modified specifically for cryptanalysis and targeted against one or more specific algorithms, like the AES. In other words, they were moving from the research and development phase to actually attacking extremely difficult encryption systems. The code-breaking effort was up and running.

The breakthrough was enormous, says the former official, and soon afterward the agency pulled the shade down tight on the project, even within the intelligence community and Congress. “Only the chairman and vice chairman and the two staff directors of each intelligence committee were told about it,” he says. The reason? “They were thinking that this computing breakthrough was going to give them the ability to crack current public encryption.”
So kiss PGP goodbye. In fact kiss every aspect of your privacy goodbye.
Yottabytes and exaflops, septillions and undecillions—the race for computing speed and data storage goes on. In his 1941 story “The Library of Babel,” Jorge Luis Borges imagined a collection of information where the entire world’s knowledge is stored but barely a single word is understood. In Bluffdale the NSA is constructing a library on a scale that even Borges might not have contemplated. And to hear the masters of the agency tell it, it’s only a matter of time until every word is illuminated.
As for the Constitution... What Constitution?
Before he gave up and left the NSA, Binney tried to persuade officials to create a more targeted system that could be authorized by a court. At the time, the agency had 72 hours to obtain a legal warrant, and Binney devised a method to computerize the system. “I had proposed that we automate the process of requesting a warrant and automate approval so we could manage a couple of million intercepts a day, rather than subvert the whole process.” But such a system would have required close coordination with the courts, and NSA officials weren’t interested in that, Binney says.Instead they continued to haul in data on a grand scale. Asked how many communications—”transactions,” in NSA’s lingo—the agency has intercepted since 9/11, Binney estimates the number at “between 15 and 20 trillion, the aggregate over 11 years.”

When Barack Obama took office, Binney hoped the new administration might be open to reforming the program to address his constitutional concerns. He and another former senior NSA analyst, J. Kirk Wiebe, tried to bring the idea of an automated warrant-approval system to the attention of the Department of Justice’s inspector general. They were given the brush-off. “They said, oh, OK, we can’t comment,” Binney says.
In conclusion, the NSA's own whistleblower summarizes it best.
Sitting in a restaurant not far from NSA headquarters, the place where he spent nearly 40 years of his life, Binney held his thumb and forefinger close together. “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state,” he says.

These measures are not primarily anti terrorism measures.
They are primarily designed to quell legitimate protest and dissent against the United States government by their own citizens.
If someone upsets the government in any way, the vast store of data already collected on them will be analyzed and utilized to harass or embarrass or prosecute the offender with whatever they can find.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 04:38 PM

26. TrailBlazer

 

Trailblazer was a United States National Security Agency (NSA) program intended to develop a capability to analyze data carried on communications networks like the Internet. It was intended to track entities using communication methods such as cell phones and e-mail. It ran over budget, failed to accomplish critical goals, and was cancelled.
NSA whistleblowers J. Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, Ed Loomis, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer Diane Roark complained to the Department of Defense's Inspector General (IG) about waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, and the fact that a successful operating prototype existed, but was ignored when the Trailblazer program was launched. The complaint was accepted by the IG and an investigation began that lasted until mid-2005 when the final results were issued. The results were largely hidden, as the report given to the public was heavily (90%) redacted, while the original report was heavily classified, thus restricting the ability of most people to see it.
The people who filed the IG complaint were later raided by armed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. While the Government threatened to prosecute all who signed the IG report, it ultimately chose to pursue an NSA Senior Executive — Thomas A. Drake — who helped with the report internally to NSA and who had spoken with a reporter about the project. Drake was later charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. His defenders claimed this was retaliation. The charges against him were later dropped, and he agreed to plead guilty to having committed a misdemeanor under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, something that Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project (which helped represent him) called an "act of civil disobedience".

Continued at :-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trailblazer_Project

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 04:53 PM

27. I guess Big Brother is OK as long as your party is in power

We have to accept this simply because "the alternative is much worse."

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 04:55 PM

28. Don't worry

Some one will be along shortly to explain to you how:

1) It's not as bad as you think. It's really a GOOD bill from the most progressive president in the last 40 years

2) Congress actually wrote this and Obama bears no responsibility. They forced him to. You just don't understand how laws are written:

3) What other choice is there? Do you really want a Palin Presidency?

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 06:18 PM

31. Frederick Douglass put it best, IMO.

 

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."


So far, there are still enough Americans willing to endure the misery of their fellow citizens to allow power to continue their abuse unabated.

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