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Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:20 PM

N.S.A. Examines Social Networks of U.S. Citizens (Decision Made In Secret 2010)

Source: New York TImes

N.S.A. Examines Social Networks of U.S. Citizens
By JAMES RISEN and LAURA POITRAS
New York Times
September 28, 2013 12:10PM (EDT

. . . the decision to revise the limits concerning Americans was made in secret, without review by the nation’s intelligence court or any public debate.



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.

This slide from an N.S.A. PowerPoint presentation shows one of the ways the agency uses e-mail and phone data to analyze the relationships of foreign intelligence targets.


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.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/us/nsa-examines-social-networks-of-us-citizens.html?src=twrhp&_r=0



UPDATED TO ADD THIS LITTLE GEM:

note that the NYT says that analysts could trace Americans " as long as they cited a foreign intelligence justification.". Cited, not 'demonstrated' or 'proved'


N.S.A. analysts were told that they could trace the contacts of Americans as long as they cited a foreign intelligence justification. That could include anything from ties to terrorism, weapons proliferation or international drug smuggling to spying on conversations of foreign politicians, business figures or activists.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/us/nsa-examines-social-networks-of-us-citizens.html?pagewanted=3&utm_medium=twitter&_r=0&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

41 replies, 5471 views

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Reply N.S.A. Examines Social Networks of U.S. Citizens (Decision Made In Secret 2010) (Original post)
kpete Sep 2013 OP
grasswire Sep 2013 #1
kpete Sep 2013 #2
grasswire Sep 2013 #3
leveymg Sep 2013 #5
questionseverything Sep 2013 #36
Red Oak Sep 2013 #6
leveymg Sep 2013 #7
grasswire Sep 2013 #8
leveymg Sep 2013 #9
dixiegrrrrl Sep 2013 #14
djean111 Sep 2013 #28
Thinkingabout Sep 2013 #4
The Green Manalishi Sep 2013 #15
Thinkingabout Sep 2013 #16
JDPriestly Sep 2013 #18
Thinkingabout Sep 2013 #20
JDPriestly Sep 2013 #23
Thinkingabout Sep 2013 #24
JDPriestly Sep 2013 #33
Thinkingabout Sep 2013 #37
JDPriestly Sep 2013 #38
Thinkingabout Sep 2013 #39
JDPriestly Sep 2013 #40
Thinkingabout Sep 2013 #41
mwooldri Sep 2013 #10
Hubert Flottz Sep 2013 #13
Hubert Flottz Sep 2013 #11
Thinkingabout Sep 2013 #17
JDPriestly Sep 2013 #19
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #12
cstanleytech Sep 2013 #21
Pholus Sep 2013 #22
JDPriestly Sep 2013 #34
OnyxCollie Sep 2013 #25
dkf Sep 2013 #26
Mojorabbit Sep 2013 #27
JackRiddler Sep 2013 #29
blkmusclmachine Sep 2013 #30
MannyGoldstein Sep 2013 #31
Egnever Sep 2013 #32
JDPriestly Sep 2013 #35

Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:24 PM

1. and yet they couldn't stop the Boston bombers. nt

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Response to grasswire (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:29 PM

2. reading the whole thing:


Love that these two paragraphs are at the end

In the 2011 memo explaining the shift, N.S.A. analysts were told that they could trace the contacts of Americans as long as they cited a foreign intelligence justification. That could include anything from ties to terrorism, weapons proliferation, international drug smuggling or espionage to conversations with a foreign diplomat or a political figure.

Analysts were warned to follow existing “minimization rules,” which prohibit the N.S.A. from sharing with other agencies names and other details of Americans whose communications are collected, unless they are necessary to understand foreign intelligence reports or there is evidence of a crime. The agency is required to obtain a warrant from the intelligence court to target a “U.S. person” — a citizen or legal resident — for actual eavesdropping.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/us/nsa-examines-social-networks-of-us-citizens.html?src=twrhp&_r=1&&pagewanted=all

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Response to kpete (Reply #2)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:41 PM

3. the comments are interesting

The trolls really stick out there on NYT.

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Response to kpete (Reply #2)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:49 PM

5. Love this exception: "or there is evidence of a crime." So much for Title III warrant requirements -

"minimization requirements" don't apply if NSA is the agency doing the wiretapping. This totally eviscerates the Federal Wiretapping Law of 1968. In other words, if NSA picks up evidence of a crime (any type) it may under these guidelines freely share them with other agencies. No warrant or probable cause required. So much for vaunted "safeguards" for the 4th Amendment that Obama and others talk about.

Also, this slide offers even more proof positive that the NSA has been profiling Americans en mass through a combination of warrantless driftnet collection and datamining of "open source" data.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #5)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 01:47 PM

36. yea ordinary crime

like not having health ins?

for a couple in their 50s with 1 child,75 grand annual income in illinois,looks like smokers would pay 33% a year for healthcare

same couple non smoking 26% of income

that same family would already be paying 20 % in ss and income taxes

so does every1 but me think that is affordable?

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Response to kpete (Reply #2)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:52 PM

6. Last two paragraphs

Such a huge intelligence infrastructure and these two paragraphs are all that stand between me and its abuse?

Here, have some LoveInt:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/09/27/too-tempting-nsa-details-how-officials-spied-on-love-interests/
for the Fox News enthusiasts

or

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/08/23/nsa-officers-sometimes-spy-on-love-interests/
for the WSJ enthusiasts

Seems those last two paragraphs don't always work. Then what?

We have a Fourth amendment to our Constitution to keep abuse from happening in the first place. The NSA needs to be reigned in by Congress and the 4th amendment followed, rather than corrupted by "IntelSpeak" interpretations of the English language.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

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Response to grasswire (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:58 PM

7. Of course not. The CIA was "ontop" of them, just like the 9/11 hijackers and '93 WTC bombers before

In every case, NSA had picked up on the terrorists before they carried out their crimes, but information was compartmentalized because the suspects were part of ongoing CIA operations.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #7)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 04:04 PM

8. doesn't that mean the NSA is expendable, then? nt

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Response to grasswire (Reply #8)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 04:08 PM

9. It means that we're all expendable, if the CIA and the WH think that's necessary.

It also means that counter-terrorism really has little or nothing to do with it.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #9)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 04:29 PM

14. Could not have said it better...

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Response to grasswire (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 07:41 PM

28. That's the thing about amassing all this information - they can only work backwards,

 

unless they have a case and can listen in real time.
There is no way to stop anything with all this data, but they can go back and find perpetrators and contacts.
The bulk of the data is only good for "just in case" and for snooping.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 03:48 PM

4. Yep, they are everywhere and will continue to be, maybe some should spend time and effort in

Locating terrorist cells and if you have determined a way to do so without spying then share this with the NSA, until there is a better way then the monitoring of any means of communications will continue.

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Response to Thinkingabout (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 04:39 PM

15. Well, yes

but some of us have doubts as to whom the real terrorists are. The NSA and it's like have far more power and are much more likely to be of danger to me than some random bomber or sniper.

The NSA and all other agencies should have to fully follow the constitution and established procedures and get a warrant before collecting anything more then the most cursory and public information on someone. Cops have been doing it for generations without too much trauma - go in front of a judge and explain what specific information your are after, why you think it valuable, explain how you are going to ascertain it, agree to a time limit and other reasonable limitations so as not to have a 'fishing expedition'.

The whole bloody idea is that the government, any government anywhere, should not be able to just suck up huge amounts of data but must JUSTIFY and limit the invasion of privacy of even the most heinous individual or group. That is not failing to deal with terrorism or organized crime, that is balancing the danger of a secret police force against the danger of terrorists and gangs.

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Response to The Green Manalishi (Reply #15)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 04:49 PM

16. One should be albe to figure out what is being done by the analysts but be that as it may be

Difficult to do so because of hyped up visions by some then do you for one moment think they are looking at your communications to granny? If you do then you are thinking on the wrong street. This data is like looking down from the Mississippi river bridge in New Orleans and counting the cups of water which flows below. Unless there is something special floating in the water you would not be interested. Reality needs to set in some where with someone. They are looking for the big fish in the water.

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Response to Thinkingabout (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:16 PM

18. The Patriot Act uses broad, vague uncertain language to define

who is or might be considered to be a "terrorist."

There is no definition of a terrorist. I don't think it can be defined before there is an act of terror. If terrorist were defined as "a person who has committed an act of terror," then the NSA's job would be much simpler. And -- we would not be concerned about it.

But the fact is that "terrorist" could be also defined as anyone who disagrees with the NSA head or anyone who is politically active in a way the current crowd in D.C. does not like or little old ladies who sing derogatory lyrics about this or that politician or that old girlfriend who broke somebody's heart, or an animal lover or an environmentalist or someone who got mad and smashed his car into a hardware store or somebody . . . .

So that is the problem.

If the definition of a "terrorist" were in line with traditional American law about how you define a crime, (It's not thought. Only in rare cases is it words or what a person says. It's actions that violate a specific law. That definition is oversimplified, but it is outside the American legal tradition to investigate people without some evidence of a crime, and crimes are specifically defined by certain elements that can be proved in court.) then the NSA would not need to collect and analyze and burrow themselves in so many millions of tidbits of information, in so much data.

The fact is that it makes no sense for the NSA to do so much, such widespread surveillance to cope with terrorism. There is some other purpose for this.

What percentage of Americans do you think are "terrorists" or associating with "terrorists"? I personally think it is very small, and that the persons who are criminally insane are far more numerous than those who are terrorists. But this surveillance system is not geared to investigate or identify the criminally insane.

In fact, I don't think it is geared to find terrorists. It is for some other purpose, and I would like to know what that is. Personally, I suspect it is in order to gradually intimidate the American people and take total or near total political control.

Now, you will say that is hair on fire. Be my guest. But you cannot answer the substance of my questions and argument because as far as any of us can tell or guess at this point, I could and might well be very right.

This program is not about catching terrorists. That is my opinion. It is too large and unwieldy for that.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #18)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:23 PM

20. Or terrorist could be those who attempt to scare the crap out of those paranoid about

"spying" on your call to granny by your definition. Don't try to skirt the real issues by what it's, this is crap and most of understand the crap told about the NSA is just what jt is, crap. If you understood communications and of those connected you would know it is crap.

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Response to Thinkingabout (Reply #20)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:24 PM

23. People should be scared of the NSA program of surveillance.

Please don't avoid the question: what percentage of Americans do you think are terrorists or communicating with terrorists?

Please. A number to justify the scope of this program?



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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #23)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:32 PM

24. I don't know the number of paranoid spy people who is scaring the crap out of those who listen to

Those with crap information. You have described these people as terrorist, do you know the percentage? This NSA crap is like reading rag magazines in the check out lines, if it is said then remember most of what you read there is crap. Why would there be .00001% saying this and even less who believes it.

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Response to Thinkingabout (Reply #24)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 01:37 AM

33. I asked you to please tell me what percentage of Americans you believe are terrorists

or communicate with terrorists.

I am asking that question because I want to know whether you really believe that the NSA program is aimed to try to identify whoever it is that they define as a terrorist or whether you think as I do that the program's purpose is to achieve some goal not related to terrorism. They are just picking up too much information considering the tiny number of potential terrorists in the country.

If you disagree with my statement that the number of potential (not real or active, just potential, possibly some day long in the future) terrorists in America is teeny tiny and hardly worth the money being spent by the NSA, then tell me what percentage of Americans do you reckon are terrorists or potential terrorists.

It's a simple question. I would guess it is less than a tenth of a percent, maybe even less than a thousandth of a percent of the American people who would ever, in their entire lives, think of committing a terrorist act, much less actually committing one.

So, what number would you guess? What percentage of Americans are potential terrorists in your opinion, Thinkingabout?

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #33)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 02:54 PM

37. By your definition most people are terrorist as you say a terrorist can be someone in disagreement

With whatever so in those terms about 99% and as you say this would be those the NSA needs to gather data on. Guess the blanket gathering of information the proper procedure.

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Response to Thinkingabout (Reply #37)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 03:52 PM

38. I do not agree with defining terrorism as anyone who disagrees with me or others.

Last edited Sun Sep 29, 2013, 04:33 PM - Edit history (1)

Please read my post # 18 again. I am citing the Patriot Act's rather vague and overly broad definition of terrorism and aiding terrorism. I found that definition to be dangerously vague and broad the first time i read it. In fact, I was shocked at the sloppy writing of that portion of the Patriot Act from the day it was adopted. That Act needs to be completely amended. We need to start over with it. It invites the kind of interference in democracy and in positive dissent and political action that we are beginning to see that the NSA is doing.

So, no terrorism does not include anyone who disagrees with me or the current government or other unless those who disagree try to impose their political ideas on me through violence.

Very few people in our country, I mean very, very, very few people, an extremely tiny number of people, in our country want to impose their political ideas through violence.

Certainly not enough to justify this vast NSA program. The NSA program is a waste of taxpayer dollars if there ever was one. The phone companies keep our phone records for a few years. The NSA can subpoena records when they need them. In fact, if you sue someone and phone records are relevant to your lawsuit, your lawyer can probably go to court and, upon sufficient cause, obtain a subpoena to get the phone records that are needed as evidence of research.

Similarly, a lawyer can probably go to court and get computer records that are relevant to a lawsuit or a criminal case.

There is utterly no need for the NSA to store and categorize and analyze all this data. Private companies do it to identify customers. But even that needs to be carefully monitored.

Getting access to those records would be a terrorist's dream, a coup leader's dream. It is positively dangerous to have the US government accumulating that many electronic records in one location. How are they planning to protect their data files from hackers?

This is a harebrained scheme. The NSA needs to be stopped.

Americans hardly even get out into the streets to protest terrible government actions like funding banks and letting food stamp recipients go hungry. If you went across America, you would have a really hard time finding anyone who wanted to do terrorist acts here in America. We Americans tend to wait to express ourselves at the polls. Most of us are complacent, the utter opposite of terrorists.

The NSA program is dangerous to America, more dangerous than any homegrown terrorism could ever be.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #38)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 03:58 PM

39. Then you are disagreeing with your earlier post. I disagree with your opinion of NSA so

Does this make both of us terrorist using your definition?

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Response to Thinkingabout (Reply #39)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 04:27 PM

40. I am saying that the NSA definition of terrorism if taken from the Patriot Act could stretch to

include anyone they disagree with.

You still have not answered my question. Do you really think that any and all Americans are potential terrorists or communicating with terrorists? Because if do not think that any and all Americans are potential terrorists or communicating with terrorists, then you should oppose the NSA surveillance and metadata collection.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #40)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 06:15 PM

41. Do you think the soft target attack occurred in Nairobi? Do you think there was a bombing

In Boston? Would you want your legs blown off and then you might say I had my privacy or would you rather have your legs intact? You have to be reasonable, everyone around can be a terrorist, they don't come with signs. Do you think every phone call made in the US is monitored? This is where reasoning and paranoia part. If you step outside of your home there will be recordings. Why, perhaps protection of property, etc. Those who seek to overthrow our government by some of their silly tactics are terrorists to me. The gun nuts are terrorists. The bully on the school yard is a terrorist. Postings on the social networks have resulted in terroristic threats. The sexual abuser is a terrorist. The spousal abusers are terrorist. The robbers with a gin in the face of a victim is a terrorist. This is not limited to the NSA, lots of American citizen is trying to protect ourselves and families from harm. You are dwelling on an issue which if you ask truthful employees from the NSA they will tell you there are so many phone calls they would not care who or what was involved on the call. It is unimportant to them, I know you can say there was rogue activity going on but remember truthful employees do not set up those rogue operations. Its like swimming, you font care which drop of water touches you, it doesn't matter. Can I give you a percentage of who communicates with terrorists, then you would need to provide the number of crimes which will occur and I doubt you could do so. Too many terrorist from too many sources.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 04:20 PM

10. Does "citing a foreign intelligence justification" include planning a trip outwith the USA?

So Mr. Smith will be travelling to London, eh? Let's snoop on him!

Is that is what is being allowed?

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Response to mwooldri (Reply #10)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 04:28 PM

13. Or Mister Smith bought a bag of pot...

No knock drug raid on Mister Smith, in the middle of the night. DEA terrorizes Mr. Smith's entire family, because of a tip from the NSA.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 04:24 PM

11. It just goes to show you...

that you cannot trust your government anymore.

So much for the troops fighting for, democracy, freedom, liberty and the Constitution of the United States of America. Got a girlfriend or boyfriend you'd like to keep secret? Just like when J Edgar Hoover was spying on Americans, you could be blackmailed by your own government. The NSA is another KGB.

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Response to Hubert Flottz (Reply #11)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 04:53 PM

17. The stories of your extra girl friends seem to come to the surface long before the NSA was created.

In fact it happened before the invention of telephones, now how do you explain this?

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Response to Hubert Flottz (Reply #11)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 05:18 PM

19. It is worse than the KGB because it is less apparent

and more effective. It obtains a far wider scope of information than the KGB ever could.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 04:24 PM

12. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread, kpete.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:02 PM

21. The article mentions facebook profiles so does this mean facebook gave the government a backdoor

to view the profiles and if so the next question is does facebook give them a backdoor to sift through private messages as well?
If so then it really reeks of potential abuse assuming they havent already done so.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:17 PM

22. Another demonstration of NSA idiocy and waste.

This so obviously has nothing to do with terrorism I can't believe they don't get canned on the spot. So, the right to free association is basically gone, because some little creeps at the NSA want to record who everyone talks to. Just in case you see.

This clearly demonstrates clearly that the NSA was given a huge paycheck and the license to be pervs after 9/11 but actually really don't know how to do their job.

That huge taxpayer funded gravy train builds lots of "Star-Treky" command centers (with whooshing doors) to be sure, but to keep that ample moola flowing in there is a feeling like you need to show "progress" and let's face it, terrorism is rare enough that its hard to find. I bet that actual serious terrorism detection takes hours and hours of dead ends and that doesn't look like you did anything when the accounting is demanded.

But tapping the communications, business, social and VOTING records of Americans? Easy. Demonstrable progress, ample justification for huge spending. Big massive data centers look so much more impressive to auditors than some nondescript intel offices and some vague promises that "top people" working on the problem.

So they collect, collect, collect on the assumption that somehow they'll magically figure out how to make sense of it all.

They won't of course, because they couldn't deal with the data they had PRE-9/11. Adding more data isn't adding more information, it's increasing the size of what you have to look through. And seriously, what dumbass thought that voter registration records are gonna find the terrorists.

So we get this magical, mystical, top secret abuse ridden system that is completely useless except for post-mortems and the occasional "check on my cheating spouse" abuse.

Voter registration rolls for intel use? Seriously? How exactly does that find terrorists? Seems to me it's more likely to be used to subvert our fucking democracy than to root out the next bin laden!

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Response to Pholus (Reply #22)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 01:41 AM

34. Excellent post! Of course that is what it is really about.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:45 PM

25. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

 

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 06:57 PM

26. Looks like the NYT is finally making use of Snowden's materials.

 

Poitras and Greenwald are our modern day Woodward and Bernstein.

I am glad for the three pronged approach. Government should know it's all going to be exposed.

We need to keep DiFi away from protecting everything before we have learned of the extent of the efforts.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 07:40 PM

27. K and R nt

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 08:30 PM

29. Damn you Times, just when I am done with you...

 

You go and give me a byline like "James Risen and Laura Poitras."

(Half of the True Blue Loyalty Brigade haven't even figured out yes that all their irrational anger against Greenwald for speaking truth is actually against Poitras, whom many of them wouldn't be able to name.)

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 10:38 PM

30. Change You Can BeLIEve In!

 

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 11:46 PM

31. This is why it's #%^*ing crazy to participate in Facebook

 

It's little more than porn for the NSA and others who want to know everything about you.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #31)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 01:08 AM

32. ^^^This^^^

 

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #31)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 01:43 AM

35. True. This is about the only website I post on other than e-mail.

It's almost purely political. Anybody watches me here, it is clearly for political oversight. Nobody posts terrorist stuff on DU because if they try they get kicked off. We monitor ourselves. No violent talk. No threats. That's the way to stop terrorists.

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