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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-17-05 02:02 AM
Original message
A discussion on USSID 18. Everyone please read this!
USSID 18 is titled "Legal Compliance and Minimization Procedures." It used to be called "Limitations and Procedures in Signals Intelligence Operations of the USSS." It really should be titled "You Can't Spy On Americans" because that's the whole purpose of this tome--to tell you the very limited set of reasons you're allowed to spy on an American citizen, and what to do with the take if you fuck up and spy on one anyway.

USSS means United States SIGINT System. You will see that a LOT in USSID 18. You will also see DIRNSA (Director, NSA) and CHCSS (Chief, Central Security Service). This is the three-star flag officer who runs the place. Oh yeah...USSID means United States Signals Intelligence Directive--the regulations which govern signals intelligence operations conducted by the United States government. There are a shitload of these. is the link to the USSID.

This USSID is so important to the American way of life that all practicing SIGINTers are required to read it every three months. Some groups at the Fort even have little tests on it to see if you remember what you were told.

According to USSID 18, you can spy on Americans--IF! It's got to be approved by the Attorney General and there are very few occasions where the AG is allowed to grant permission. Think terrorist acts and grave dangers to lives, limbs and private property and no other way to direct emergency efforts.

Note: "approved by the AG." Not the president.

if we can track this to Bush, he's officially toast.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-17-05 02:14 AM
Response to Original message
1. Several news stories reporting bush signed off on 'dozens' of cases
for wire taps on US citzens. He is still in the Oval Office... probably signing Executive Orders which could, in essence, put all the Patriot Act shit back into play if it expires.

Speaking of which... are senators still speech-ifying? Was wondering if Frist was keeping his clowns in town so he could call another vote after the DEMS all left for home.
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-17-05 02:51 AM
Response to Original message
2. Not likely -- it's from 1993, and probably a Clinton FOIA release
It was probably sourced by a Reagan or Bush staffer, though a Clinton staffer wouldn't be out of the question. The thing looks like Cryptome got it through the normal Freedom Of Information Act channels.

Cryptome has a lot of interesting stuff, but it's unreliable. It's a decent "first-source", but always requires fact-checking, in my experience.

But, never fear -- Bush is his own worst enemy. And I'm sure there's enough dirt under his rug to hang him on.

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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-17-05 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Why I believe this particular item to be usable
I've read the entire USSID 18--not the redacted FOIA version, but the complete, "SECRET Handle Via COMINT Channels Only" version--more times than I can count. That and USSID 9 (the same directive, except for allies instead of US persons). This is close enough to the real thing (as is the 1980 version they also have) that I'll take it as genuine.

This particular one has Admiral McConnell's signature on it; President Clinton named Mike McConnell DIRNSA. Also, the release date on Cryptome is 1993.

The real worrisome part of all this is how Bush seems to have whipped the NSA into submitting to his every whim. NSA used to be full of people who'd tell you to go fuck yourself, no matter who you were, if you wanted them to do something that was illegal or stupidmainly because they don't have the room to put the people and equipment they need to do the work that HAS to be done.

I am going to hazard a guess and say that 85 percent of all the horror stories about the evil NSA that you've ever heard are cut from whole cloth. And the reason's pretty simple: they don't have enough people in the building to do all that stuff. (The "National Security Agency" you see in the movies is completely different from the real one. You couldn't make a movie about the real NSA. Or, actually, you could, but the NSA in it would look a LOT different from the one in the other movies. I'd love to see someone make a movie about the Berlin Tunnel operation. ( ) Check this shit out: in 1954, the CIA dug a tunnel from West Berlin to the Altglienicke telephone exchange, opened the floor, tapped the Group of Soviet Forces Germany's underground cable system, and collected traffic for 15 months before the Soviets (who knew about the operation from the beginning because the Soviets were doubling a high-ranking British Secret Intelligence Service officer named George Blake, who was at the briefing where we described the operation we were about to undertake) finally "discovered" the tap. Anyway, it took NSA over two years after the end of the operation to finish processing everything we got from it. Anyway, this would be a GREAT movie.)
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-17-05 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. The problem, too, isn't document-centric
Bush has no sense of accountability. The main reason we have anything on Bush is because of the extraordinary arrogance and recklessness of his administration. Just the fact that he spoke confidently about authorizing (il- or quasi-) legal investigation of American citizens shows his level of abstraction from any idea that there might be some kind of "rule of law" that must be respected. To him, USSID-9 and USSID-18 is simply "bureaucratic paperwork" that other people have to pay heed to.

From what I've heard, most people in intelligence are patriotic, dedicated, and have a sense of the "greater good", no matter what their ideological position. It's kind of the same as with investigators on a police force. Although I am wary of the kind of power the CIA, the NSA, and other intelligence agencies wield, they have a much better overall record that most people think. Though, true, their lapses have often been spectacular. I wonder how many of those lapses have been the result of political interference, not the exigencies of international crises.

It's the lapses and the exceptions to the rule that bother me. The CIA, FBI, DARPA, and NSA have all appear to have suffered considerable recent subversion by Bush and his cronies. And he has scapegoated the CIA in particular -- which I am at a loss to understand, since it was his father's old stomping grounds.

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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-17-05 06:31 AM
Response to Original message
3. Isn't that what got Nixon into trouble, Illegal wire tapping?
Now brush is out there dictating which American citizens NSA can spy on. Hmmm, do you see a pattern here?
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-17-05 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Covering it up is what did Nixon in
Which is also happening here. Apparently the New York Times had this over a year ago and sat on it--could it be because if they released this before the 2004 election, neither gay marriage, 9/11 nor Diebold could have saved Bush?
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AnnieBW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-17-05 12:49 PM
Response to Original message
6. NSA Didn't Want to Do It!
Most NSAers would rather cut off their left nut (or tit, if it's a woman) rather than spy on Americans for this very reason. BTW, these documents don't change much. It's a multi-year process just to get them updated. What they're reporting in the news is that some NSAers refused to do it because they were afraid that they'd be prosecuted. It had to be signed off by the President himself. Not the AG. Not the SecDef. The PRESIDENT.
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Liberal In Texas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-17-05 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
8. For background on the NSA, read James Bamford's books:

The Puzzle Palace

Body Of Evidence

This spying on Americans has been going on for a long time, Bamford's first book was published in 1982.

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