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Fri Aug 9, 2013, 10:52 AM

Report Indicates Snowden/Greenwald Lied About Key Claims [View all]

Report Indicates Snowden/Greenwald Lied About Key Claims

by Reggid

By now, we are all familiar with the big splash which resulted and continues to ripple from the fantastical claims made by Edward Snowden and his mouthpiece, Glenn Greenwald, about the ease with which the NSA's surveillance programs can be and are abused in order to eavesdrop on all of us, all the time, without a warrant, without authorization, and without consequence.

“I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the President, if I had a personal e-mail.”


“All they have to do is enter an e-mail address or an IP address, and it does two things, searches the database and lets them listen to the calls or read the e-mails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories and Google search terms.”

“It’s done with no need to go to court, no need to get approval . . . But it allows them to listen to whatever e-mails they want, telephone calls, browsing history, Microsoft Word documents.”

Despite these astonishing claims, Snowden and Greenwald have yet to provide any evidence of any actual, current abuses or illegalities, much less any abuses that are as easy and common as they suggested.

Now, a new report on the NSA programs casts doubt on the entire premise of Snowden and Greenwald's claims. Indeed, the report suggests that their claims are completely false -- that in fact, Snowden did not ever and would not ever have had either the authority for or access to the NSA database at all, much less to eavesdrop, as Snowden and Greenwald claimed.

In a report addressing the NSA’s surveillance programs, Dana Priest of the Washington Post tries to cut through the confusion, conflation, and hyperbole surrounding the programs, and in so doing, ends up piercing the central claim made by Geenwald and Snowden. (emphasis mine) :

(T)o begin a particular search, analysts must submit a request to their superiors showing why there is a “reasonable, articulable suspicion” that the number belongs to a member of a recognized terrorist organization.

*


The analysts’ (Section) 215 requests go to one of the 22 people at the NSA who are permitted to approve them — the chief or the deputy chief of the Homeland Security Analysis Center or one of 20 authorized Homeland Security mission coordinators within the Signals Intelligence directorate’s analysis and production directorate.

Once a request is approved, it is given to one of the Signal Intelligence directorate’s 33 counterterrorism analysts who are authorized to access the U.S. phone metadata collection.

When one of the analysts attempts to log into the database, the computer verifies whether the analyst has permission to do so. Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who leaked details of the program, would not have had such authority.

Each NSA database search is audited afterward by compliance officials at the agency. How many phone numbers are searched is reported every 30 days to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Every 90 days, a small team from the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence spends a day at NSA looking over (Section) 215 documents and questioning analysts.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/piercing-the-confusion-around-nsas-phone-surveillance-program/2013/08/08/bdece566-fbc4-11e2-9bde-7ddaa186b751_story.html

So, contrary to the entire premise of Snowden and Greenwald's central claims, Snowden was not authorized to do what he claimed, and never would have been.

Further, even if he had been eligible for such authorization, he still could not have accessed the database without:

    (a) demonstrating a specific “reasonable, articulable suspicion” that the target of the inquiry belongs to a member of a recognized terrorist organization;

    (b) submitting a specific request to his superiors based on that demonstration;

    (c) getting the specific approval of one of just 22 persons at NSA;

    (d) being recognized and verified by the system as having such approval at the time of logging in; and

    (e) being subjected to numerous, repeated audits and reviews of his activity by NSA compliance officers, by the DOJ, by the DNI, and by the FISC.

Note also, from the report, that in ALL OF 2012, there were a TOTAL of only 300 such database queries -- LESS THAN ONE PER DAY.

It is no wonder, then, that Snowden and Greenwald have never been able simply to provide any evidence that Snowden actually did, or could actually do, what they claimed he could, much less to provide any evidence of current wrongdoing/illegalities that are as easy, common, and sanctioned as they claimed. Based on the foregoing, it is now apparent that they have not been able to provide any such evidence of their central claims, because their central claims -- the claims that started and still spur this whole debacle -- are complete, total bullshit. Snowden never could do what he and Greenwald claimed, and would have been caught if he tried.

Coupled with all of the other hyperbole, conflation, gross exaggeration, and outright dishonesty through omission of critical, material facts and context in his reports and comments on these programs and the administration's conduct, it has now become apparent, based on the actual procedure for obtaining authority to access the NSA's databases, that Greenwald's reporting is not only completely slanted and unreliable, it is also based on an entirely false premise. Based on the foregoing report, the fantastical claims of Snowden and Greenwald are simply not possible. In other words, the entire basis of this story -- hell, the only reason there ever WAS a story in the first place -- just blew up their faces. Sadly, their bullshit-based claims have already caused overwrought rhetoric and over-reaction in almost all corners. But that's what happens when hysteria-and-agenda-driven narrative trumps completeness and accuracy.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/09/1229963/-Report-Indicates-Snowden-Greenwald-Lied-About-Key-Claims







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