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Sat Sep 28, 2013, 01:41 PM

N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens (NYT)

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/us/nsa-examines-social-networks-of-us-citizens.html

N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens
By JAMES RISEN and LAURA POITRAS

WASHINGTON — Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.

The spy agency began allowing the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs in November 2010 to examine Americans’ networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after N.S.A. officials lifted restrictions on the practice, according to documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor.

The policy shift was intended to help the agency “discover and track” connections between intelligence targets overseas and people in the United States, according to an N.S.A. memorandum from January 2011. The agency was authorized to conduct “large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness” of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier, the document said. Because of concerns about infringing on the privacy of American citizens, the computer analysis of such data had previously been permitted only for foreigners.

The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners.

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Arrow 63 replies Author Time Post
Reply N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens (NYT) (Original post)
jsr Sep 2013 OP
gopiscrap Sep 2013 #1
Enthusiast Sep 2013 #8
gopiscrap Sep 2013 #60
hootinholler Sep 2013 #2
DirkGently Sep 2013 #3
Mojorabbit Sep 2013 #4
They_Live Sep 2013 #5
Demeter Sep 2013 #6
lark Sep 2013 #7
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #13
lark Sep 2013 #63
Hydra Sep 2013 #10
adirondacker Sep 2013 #9
Hydra Sep 2013 #11
randome Sep 2013 #12
reACTIONary Sep 2013 #15
Logical Sep 2013 #18
randome Sep 2013 #19
Logical Sep 2013 #23
randome Sep 2013 #30
Logical Sep 2013 #42
morningfog Sep 2013 #25
randome Sep 2013 #29
morningfog Sep 2013 #35
randome Sep 2013 #44
Incitatus Sep 2013 #50
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #52
morningfog Sep 2013 #24
randome Sep 2013 #31
morningfog Sep 2013 #33
randome Sep 2013 #34
morningfog Sep 2013 #37
randome Sep 2013 #43
winter is coming Sep 2013 #56
ConservativeDemocrat Sep 2013 #14
reACTIONary Sep 2013 #16
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #20
randome Sep 2013 #21
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #26
randome Sep 2013 #27
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #36
randome Sep 2013 #39
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #45
randome Sep 2013 #48
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #49
randome Sep 2013 #51
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #53
randome Sep 2013 #55
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #58
hobbit709 Sep 2013 #38
randome Sep 2013 #40
hobbit709 Sep 2013 #46
randome Sep 2013 #47
Th1onein Sep 2013 #32
Douglas Carpenter Sep 2013 #17
Douglas Carpenter Sep 2013 #22
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #28
Octafish Sep 2013 #41
underthematrix Sep 2013 #54
cantbeserious Sep 2013 #57
Pholus Sep 2013 #59
BlueCheese Sep 2013 #61
chimpymustgo Sep 2013 #62

Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 01:45 PM

1. This shit has got to stop

The American public needs to rise up and go ape shit crazy on government.

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Response to gopiscrap (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:30 PM

8. I gotta agree.

On the ape shit crazy part.

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #8)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 10:50 PM

60. thanks

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 02:08 PM

2. K&R n/t

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 02:14 PM

3. Move along, nothing to see here.


Just your friendly spy agency and its corporate contractors, attempting to know everything about everyone, all the time, because terrorism or something.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 02:41 PM

4. K and R nt

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:08 PM

5. they love the internet

it is a full of little honeytraps for users to deposit their all of their information voluntarily.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:19 PM

6. For 300 millions US taxpayers, and their overseas acquaintances?

 

Hubris, much? Over-reaching, much? Constitutional? I don't think so.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #6)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:26 PM

7. What sucks the most is this is being done by a Dem government

I expected better from them, didn't get it.

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Response to lark (Reply #7)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:40 PM

13. Which only make one wonder, how much farther will the Republicans push the surveillance state

envelope when they come to power?

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #13)

Mon Sep 30, 2013, 12:44 PM

63. Scary thought

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Response to Demeter (Reply #6)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:33 PM

10. They don't see us as citizens

We're just the people of the world, and they want to own all of us.

Welcome to the miracle of globalization- one world, enslaved.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:32 PM

9. Sure is an aweful lot of revelations regarding our snoop factory in the news lately. nt

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Response to adirondacker (Reply #9)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:35 PM

11. There were a lot before Snowden

Especially during the Bush years. That cooled off after President Obama took office. I think a lot of people thought the crap stopped at that point- I was wary however...what kind of President goes to the CIA torturers and and says, "Don't worry about it, I've got your back!"?

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:37 PM

12. According to the article, these individuals are related to legitimate foreign targets.

 

So the implication, again, that the NSA is 'hoovering up' the Internet seems unfounded.

If a known terrorist sends an email to someone in the U.S., don't you think the NSA should investigate that person?
[hr][font color="blue"][center]Stop looking for heroes. BE one.[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to randome (Reply #12)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:02 PM

15. +1 (nt)

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Response to randome (Reply #12)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:05 PM

18. Gullible much? n-t

 

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Response to Logical (Reply #18)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:06 PM

19. Give us some evidence. I'm sick and tired of all this vague implication crap.

 

I'm not going to reflexively believe anything that comes from the people who thought the NSA was basically downloading the Internet on a daily basis.

And again, what do you think should happen when a known terrorist has contacts within the U.S.? We should simply shrug our shoulders and hope for the best?
[hr][font color="blue"][center]Stop looking for heroes. BE one.[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to randome (Reply #19)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:25 PM

23. Please point out actual terror attacks prevented by the NSA spying. Not half ass plans that they....

 

use to justify this shit.

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Response to Logical (Reply #23)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:54 PM

30. I have no idea what attacks they prevented.

 

I know they released information about some and as I recall it wasn't all that much. But hey, apparently they also helped India prevent a terrorist attack on their soil so my guess is that they provide a lot of valuable information to a lot of other countries, too.

So long as we have no evidence of massive abuse -and I mean more than the 'Loveint' crap that happens with every LE agency- I'm not all that concerned about them.
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Response to randome (Reply #30)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:12 PM

42. Like I said, Gullible much? n-t

 

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Response to randome (Reply #19)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:38 PM

25. You don't reflexively believe anything from the documents.

 

And you don't critically question anything from te NSA.

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Response to morningfog (Reply #25)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:52 PM

29. The 'documents'? You mean Snowden's Powerpoint slides?

 

Like the 'direct access' slide that 'proved' the NSA is monitoring everyone?

Sorry, Greenwald, Snowden and Poitras long ago showed they think more of politics than accuracy. They want us to be afraid because it bolsters their Libertarian brand. I'll be fine with raking the NSA over the coals for any abuses but even Carl Bernstein said it looks like they have good protections in place to prevent abuse.
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Response to randome (Reply #29)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:03 PM

35. There has been so much more released than the power points.

 

I thought you knew that. I know you're been provided links, but your willful blindness gets in the way. It is like you forget everything you've ever seen each day.

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Response to morningfog (Reply #35)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:17 PM

44. Most of those documents make implications, nothing more.

 

But Greenwald leading off with a PowerPoint slide showed right from the start that he wasn't interested in facts, only in trying to scare us.

If any of these documents provided proof of anything, why is nothing being done about it? The answer is because the only 'proof' of anything so far is the phrasing used to surround the documents and how they are presented.

Is the NSA entirely guiltless? Of course not. Are they engaged in mass surveillance of the American people? Not to my satisfaction.
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Response to randome (Reply #19)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 08:02 PM

50. Agencies spying on and going after people like MLK and Abbie Hoffman come to mind. nt

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Response to Incitatus (Reply #50)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 08:10 PM

52. They spied against two U.S. Senators as well.

Democrat Senator Frank Church and Republican Senator Howard Baker.

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Response to randome (Reply #12)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:35 PM

24. That's not what the article said.

 

It said it graphed the data for "which links phone numbers and e-mails in a “contact chain” tied directly or indirectly to a person or organization overseas that is of foreign intelligence interest."

Interest is not the same as target. Directly and indirectly in the chain is not an email from a target.

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Response to morningfog (Reply #24)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:58 PM

31. Why would they be 'interested' in a foreign individual if they weren't already under suspicion?

 

Again, why would they NOT investigate individuals associated with a suspect? Even if it's an indirect association, that individual is still tied to someone of 'interest', i.e. under suspicion.

I don't have a problem with the NSA being as thorough as possible so long as they don't actively spy on Americans. And they have a hell of a lot of laws, rules and regulations that help prevent that.
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Response to randome (Reply #31)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:00 PM

33. You may very well be in that indirect chain.

 

They are spying on Americans, every revelation and admission just widens the scope of the known spying on Americans.

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Response to morningfog (Reply #33)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:03 PM

34. Email does not carry flags of citizenship.

 

The NSA has no idea if someone is an American citizen or not until they actually uncover evidence to show that.

This is the Information Age. Like it or not, the world has changed and intelligence and LE operations have no choice but to change to match.
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Response to randome (Reply #34)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:04 PM

37. Of course they know. They admit they know the citizenship.

 

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Response to morningfog (Reply #37)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:12 PM

43. Okay, I stand corrected.

 

But the NSA's stated mandate is to monitor communications where at least one recipient is off-shore. Maybe that's not robust enough to prevent abuse but that's a far cry from the implication that they are simply engaged in mass spying as Poitras and her crew want us to believe.

If we think that's too wide a mandate, let's get it changed. I don't but that's just me.
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Response to randome (Reply #12)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 08:25 PM

56. Then Kevin Bacon is screwed. n/t

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 04:28 PM

14. They use Facebook? Knock me over with a feather.

The next outrage you'll be telling us all about is that they use the phone book.

- C.D. Proud Member of the Reality Based Community

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Response to ConservativeDemocrat (Reply #14)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:03 PM

16. +1 (nt)

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Response to ConservativeDemocrat (Reply #14)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:09 PM

20. They don't just use Facebook, they collect all the connections, that's the first step to becoming

a surveillance state contrary to Feinstein's assertions.

This defintion comes from a medical dictionary but it's the same principle.



http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/surveillance?s=t&path=/

Medical Dictionary
surveillance sur·veil·lance (sər-vā'ləns)
n.

Close observation of a person or group, especially one under suspicion.

The act of observing or the condition of being observed.

The collection, collation, analysis, and dissemination of data.

A type of observational study that involves continuous monitoring of disease occurrence within a population.



Once you have obtained collection then collation, analysis and dissemination are a snap, almost effortless.

Furthermore, this is infinitely more information than a phone book, which only lists your name, number and address.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #20)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:12 PM

21. No, it sounds like the first step toward investigating known associates of known terrorists.

 

Think about it. Email has no real name associated with it. How would one go about investigating an associate of a terrorist without looking at what he/she is receiving/transmitting to a terrorist?
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Response to randome (Reply #21)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:44 PM

26. How difficult do you believe it would be for the government to find out any name associated with

with an e-mail and then find any politically unsavory contents to be used for blackmail purposes from that sender of the e-mail or a connected family member, friend or close associate; business or otherwise.

Were Martin Luther King, Muhammed Ali, or Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker known terrorists?



http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014604213

Declassified NSA files show agency spied on Muhammad Ali and MLK...

The National Security Agency secretly tapped into the overseas phone calls of prominent critics of the Vietnam War, including Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali and two actively serving US senators, newly declassified material has revealed.

The NSA has been forced to disclose previously secret passages in its own official four-volume history of its Cold War snooping activities. The newly-released material reveals the breathtaking – and probably illegal – lengths the agency went to in the late 1960s and 70s, in an attempt to try to hold back the rising tide of anti-Vietnam war sentiment.

That included tapping into the phone calls and cable communications of two serving senators – the Idaho Democrat Frank Church and Howard Baker, a Republican from Tennessee who, puzzlingly, was a firm supporter of the war effort in Vietnam. The NSA also intercepted the foreign communications of prominent journalists such as Tom Wicker of the New York Times and the popular satirical writer for the Washington Post, Art Buchwald.

Alongside King, a second leading civil rights figure, Whitney Young of the National Urban League, was also surreptitiously monitored. The heavyweight boxing champion, Muhammad Ali, was put on the watch list in about 1967 after he spoke out about Vietnam – he was jailed having refused to be drafted into the army, was stripped of his title, and banned from fighting – and is thought to have remained a target of surveillance for the next six years....





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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #26)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:48 PM

27. Every single LE agency in the world has the potential for abuse.

 

Do you know what stops them? Laws, rules and regulations. That's it.

And none of that actually 'prevents' abuse, it simply makes it less likely to occur.

The NSA is tasked with monitoring foreign communications and alerting the FBI when it finds citizens in contact with foreign criminal organizations. Until someone actually shows that the NSA is monitoring everyone, why assume the worst?

Don't we have enough to worry about without looking for monsters under the bed?
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Response to randome (Reply #27)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:04 PM

36. None of those laws or rules stopped those transgressions which I just posted and they were kept

secret for many years after they were committed.

Why is that, if they were just "monsters under the bed" why wasn't it exposed as such much sooner than it was?

Why were the perpetrators never charged?

Creating this NSA surveillance state only increases both the chances of and damage amount occurring.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #36)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:07 PM

39. Well, that was the 1970s. It's not hard to see that the NSA was abusing its authority then.

 

But a hell of a lot has happened in 40 years' time and much of it has been to keep the NSA's focus on foreign intelligence gathering.

It's not always a clean job. I mean, it's the Information Age and one can't easily tell if someone is an American citizen or not, especially with email. But it sounds to me like they give it a good try. Even Carl Bernstein said it sounds like they have good protections in place. Four levels of approval before data can be viewed. That's pretty robust. Obviously they need to change their ways again because of Snowden and 'Loveint'.
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Response to randome (Reply #39)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:26 PM

45. Yes and this is the 2010s but people still make up the NSA just as they did in 1970s.

A hell of a lot happened in the 1960s beginning with the Gulf of Tonkin, but that didn't stop "WMDs in Iraq" from happening, "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

I am curious though what are these four levels?

Would they be the judges that John Roberts appoints?



http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023212906

Secret FISA Court – Guess Who Appointed All 11 Judges?

On Sunday, the New York Times published a report on FISA, the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, that has proved to be a real eye-opener. So far, Americans have paid scant attention to FISA and its machinations, but this might get their attention: Chief Justice John G. Roberts appointed all 11 of the judges on the court and will continue to do so for as long as he is Chief Justice–basically, the rest of his life.





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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #45)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 07:04 PM

48. No, it was something on one of the slides. Internal administrative checks and balances.

 

That included the FBI, I believe. Actually, it's the FBI that turns over data to the NSA once they've confirmed they are dealing with a foreign individual. And the NSA turns data over to the FBI when they confirm they have an American citizen in their cross-hairs.

I would think it's not always easy from the start to know who is who, especially when you're dealing with anonymous email that may go through several redirections on the way to someone.
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Response to randome (Reply #48)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 07:41 PM

49. So then this vast collection of Internet/Phone data goes to both parties, FBI and NSA?

Is that correct?

And decisions as to whether to issue a warrant or to authorize further investigation go to Roberts' appointed 11 judge secret FISA Court, is that correct?

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #49)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 08:09 PM

51. So far as we know, only data that is pertinent to each agency's mission is handed over.

 

I'm not pretending to be a 'fan' of the NSA. I'm just saying that I seriously doubt they are doing the kind of mass surveillance that SGP want us to believe.

Less secrecy and more transparency? Who would be against that? The entire issue gets muddled, however, the more SGP scream in the Breitbart manner: "STOP SPYING ON US!"

Their 'scoops' have caused little of an uproar other than on Internet forums and a handful of politicians. I seriously doubt it's because they are all being blackmailed.
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Response to randome (Reply #51)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 08:14 PM

53. What is the SGP? Furthermore, past history of spying against two U.S Senators

not to mention MLK, means that political blackmail can't be eliminated as a strong possibility.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #53)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 08:21 PM

55. Snowden, Greenwald, Poitras. Sorry, guess I was trying to make that a meme.

 

I don't believe anyone is being blackmailed by the NSA. But as neither of us have evidence one way or another, sure, I agree, it can't be eliminated. But I doubt it is occurring.
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Response to randome (Reply #55)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 08:33 PM

58. I admit all I have to go by is history and past performance along with

the eternal burden of human frailty; abuse or lust for power and rabid ideological thinking.

I would also heavily wager that the Roberts appointed, secretive 11 judge FISA court doesn't have a single liberal, progressive or strong privacy proponent on it.

If it has just one, I would be amazed.

They can't help themselves but to vote or decide except for being heavily steered toward one conclusion because they're living in the ultimate bubble both ideologically and from an accountability standpoint.

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Response to randome (Reply #27)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:05 PM

38. If you believe that one, I got about half a dozen bridges for you.

"Do you know what stops them? Laws, rules and regulations. That's it. "

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #38)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:08 PM

40. So what do you think stops a LE agency from going off the rails?

 

[hr][font color="blue"][center]Stop looking for heroes. BE one.[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to randome (Reply #40)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:28 PM

46. It sure ain't secret courts and secret oversight-or lack thereof.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #46)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:56 PM

47. I doubt many will argue against less secrecy and more transparency.

 

Certainly not me. But there still isn't evidence to support SGP's (Snowden, Greenwald and Poitras) claims that the NSA is engaged in mass surveillance of American citizens.
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Response to ConservativeDemocrat (Reply #14)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:58 PM

32. Go ahead, make light of the fact that they have compiled dossiers on virtually every American.

DESPITE the fact that they are not supposed to be spying on Americans.

But it's all okay, right, because you can make a snide joke about it.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:04 PM

17. knr

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:15 PM

22. I for one have 100% trust in our government to always do the thing as long as it is done in secret

History has consistently shown that when secret agencies have a free hand to make their own decisions free from the prying eyes of the public - as long as people don't know what they are doing - they can be completely trusted. It's called checks and balances.

"It is not excessive to believe this growing, gargantuan, secret complex now represents the greatest threat to our freedom in the new twenty-first century." - former U.S. Senator Gary Hart

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Response to Douglas Carpenter (Reply #22)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:50 PM

28. That's more or less what Winston Churchill said without the secrecy part, no doubt the secrecy

will only increase the chances of our government always doing the right thing.

“We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.”

― Winston Churchill

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Response to Douglas Carpenter (Reply #22)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:09 PM

41. They certainly have earned our trust.

'Shadow CIA' buys state secrets for cash via Swiss bank accounts, claims WikiLeaks as it releases 'stolen' files

Five million emails obtained from U.S.-based global security analysis firm Stratfor 'will reveal murky truth about intelligence gathering'

Julian Assange claims firm is monitoring activists for corporate giants and taking information from U.S. government department insider


By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

Last updated at 8:43 PM on 27th February 2012

Whistleblowing website WikiLeaks today started to publish more than five million confidential emails from the global intelligence company Stratfor.

The emails, dated from July 2004 to late December 2011, are said to reveal the 'inner workings' of US-based firm known as the 'Shadow CIA'.

Among the allegations to emerge is that Stratfor's claim to be a media organisation providing a subscription intelligence newsletter is a front for 'running paid informants networks' and 'laundering those payments through the Bahamas, through Switzerland, through private credit cards'.

SNIP...

[font color="green"]The group said the emails expose a 'revolving door' in private intelligence companies in the U.S., claiming government and diplomatic sources give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money.[/font color]

CONTINUED ...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2107041/WikiLeaks-releases-stolen-files-Shadow-CIA-buys-state-secrets-cash-Swiss-bank.html

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 08:18 PM

54. Thank you NSA.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 08:32 PM

57. Can The NSA Help Me With My Love Life? - Maybe That Would Be A Money Maker For The Government

eom

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 08:47 PM

59. Whew, glad to hear there is no mass surveillance.


Other than using massive taps and "1.1 billion phone records per day in 2011" to determine who I talk to, where I travel, who I travel with, who I socialize with, my financial information, where and when I voted, my GPS information in some cases, and analyzing this data to determine my religious and political affiliations....while holding this stuff for the last five (or possibly 10 years) I am free to remain pretty much a cipher to my government.

I'll wait to hear about all the terrorists this shit caught. I think, considering how much of my taxes have went to pay for this, that an accounting is warranted. Now.

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Response to Pholus (Reply #59)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 02:07 AM

61. So I guess you hate freedom.

(Kidding, of course.)

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 08:34 AM

62. Horrible and disgusting. Complete surveillance state.

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