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Friday, June 7, 2013

Intel Director Blasts Leaks About NSA Surveillance

National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper is pictured May 2, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper is pictured May 2, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

After the Washington Post and Guardian newspapers made public more information about the extent of domestic surveillance by the U.S. government, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper last night took the unusual step of declassifying part of the latest program the newspapers uncovered.

At the same time, Clapper is calling the leak of information a threat to national security.

The newspapers described the PRISM program which, without warrants, collects and stores massive amounts of data from ordinary Americans including their audio and video chats, photographs, emails, documents and data about internet connections from Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, You Tube and Apple.

Clapper insisted that a secret court approves any of in-depth searches, solely of foreign terrorism suspects.

But civil liberties and privacy advocates are crying foul. And journalist James Bamford says the news confirms what former NSA whistleblowers have for years been claiming about domestic surveillance after 9/11.

One of the NSA slides obtained by the Washington Post and the Guardian newspapers shows when nine Internet companies joined the PRISM data collection program. (Washington Post, Guardian)

One of the NSA slides obtained by the Washington Post and the Guardian newspapers shows when nine Internet companies joined the PRISM data collection program. (Washington Post, Guardian)

Read More:

Washington Post “The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.”

Guardian “The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/juris.debtor Juris Debtor

    The government is boot-strapping.  It has kept the program out of the public eye and away from the courts, and now that there is a public outcry, government officials are saying ‘what is the big deal, this program has been going on for 7 years.’
    There is no oversight.  FISA courts are rubber stamps for the government.  Moreover, Congressman Rogers’ statement that the program thwarted one potential attack (w/o mentioning details, of course) is no justification.  What I find most disturbing is that Dianne Feinstein, in her defense of the program, insinuated prior restraint as a justification–you know, because we need to get all of those potential terrorists as well as terrorists.  The problem with this and like programs is that they operate without adequate oversight, the rules and regs governing such programs are riddled with ambiguous language, and we, te public, really don’t know the data the government is gathering.

    • mt

       Why doesn’t anyone seem to care what kind of data the commercial segment has been gathering on customers? Commercial data collection and data “mining” has been going on for a lot longer than 7 years. I’m not saying this makes government data collection ok, but if we are going to call out the government then we should be addressing every company that collects data.

      • SteveTheTeacher

        Businesses have a limited pool of data on me.  On the other hand, the government has data on everyone with whom I have communicated, the time I have spoken to them, the location I was at when speaking, in addition to every internet query I have made and every site I have visited.

        The worst that can happen to me from a business mining data on me is that I get Spammed or, if they feel that I have infringed on a patent,  maybe they will file a lawsuit against me.  If my critique of the government gets a government official upset with me, I could be targeted, blacklisted, put on a no-fly list, fined, arrested, subjected to torture (as Jose Padilla was) or, if they consider my speech to be material aid to the enemy, perhaps I could be eliminated.

  • J Frog

    What I don’t get is:  the President said the NSA is “not looking at peoples names”, only “phone numbers”.  Has he never heard of reverse phone lookup?  Is he that out of touch or is he just trying to obfuscate?

    • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.kollars Chuck Kollars

       He didn’t say they _can’t_ figure out names (which as you point out is pretty easy if one wants to) –he said they _aren’t_ using names. I don’t understand what about his statement is unclear.

      Apparently they’re searching for patterns of calls, which they can do using only the numbers. _After_ they find a suspicious pattern, they can get names of only those numbers suspicion has fallen upon (including going through whatever legal requirements are needed to get permission to do that).

      • J Frog

        Thanks for the reply, Chuck.  Does the Prism revelations change your opinions of what is being tracked by the government?  Certainly, if true, it makes the President’s statements seem deceptive. 

  • SteveTheTeacher

    I have called for President Bush to be brought to trial for crimes against humanity for his leadership role in the barbaric killing of several hundred innocent civilians in the “War on Terror.”   I have also called for President Obama to be brought to trial for crimes against humanity for his leadership role in the targeted killing and signature (crowd) killing of over one thousand innocent men, women, and children. 

    I would like this to be made public if the government considers this speech grounds for identifying me as an enemy and/or targeting me.

    If I were to say that the Federal Data Center in Utah also known as the  “Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center” should be a target of the Occupy Movement, would that be grounds for the government “unpersoning” me?

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