June 11, 2013

"The more stuff like this is in the public domain, we’ll still catch terrorists, but it will be the stupid terrorists."

After the revelations, "The guys we should really be worried about will be far less likely to be swept up in this effort."

That from former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, who says: "It’s kind of Darwinian."

71 comments:

rhhardin said...

What you have to do is make terrorists extrememly unpopular with Muslims, so unpopular that they'll stand up to them instead of going silent out of fear of reprisal.

Then the enforcers can no longer work.

So probably getting the dumb ones is as good as the smart ones.

Simon said...

That's right. Conor recently said that “[i]t's one thing to keep the identities of CIA agents and the location of our nuclear arsenal classified. But this is something different.” It isn’t. The reason that we classify the identities of spooks is because they could hardly do their job otherwise. So also this program, as DNI Clapper said recently: “Discussing programs like this publicly will have an impact on the behavior of our adversaries and make it more difficult for us to understand their intentions.” So also Hayden.

Tom said...

OK -- I call BS. The smart terrorists already knew or smartly assumed we had this capability. The dumb ones will remain dumb. In a way, it's a lot of like voters. The smart voters already knew or smartly assumed the government had access to their records. The dumb ones didn't know until now -- and may still not know.

We have the survaillence state we have because we allow it. It wasn't an issue in the last election and barely the one prior. Obama complained about privacy issues prior to becoming president, but, of course, he's expanded the capabilities and volume as president. And why? Well, the US will not tolerate terrorist attacks. We'll tolerate diabetes deaths and automobile crashes. But not terrorist attacks. We don't mind beating ourselves -- but we don't want the other team to score. And so we accept that the government is doing things on our behalf that we'd rather not admit. We allow this to occur!

edutcher said...

The fact is, we haven't nailed any bigs in a while, so all this has done is grab the dumb ones all along.

rhhardin said...

What you have to do is make terrorists extrememly unpopular with Muslims, so unpopular that they'll stand up to them instead of going silent out of fear of reprisal.

That was the big win in Iraq, which our Genius In Chief threw away.

Strelnikov said...

Gee, I guess Hayden would support extending and widening the coverage to get around this.

Q:What kind of idiots have we put in charge?

A. First class.

Sorun said...

The Tsarnaev brothers are examples of smart terrorists.

SteveR said...

So I guess the Boston Marathon Bombers must have been the super duper smart terrorists to not get caught.

SteveR said...

dang it

sydney said...

They aren't using it for terrorists, people. They're using it to data mine their political enemies.

Real American said...

this stupid PRISM program couldn't even catch the Boston Marathon bombers and we had those guys' names and addresses. Let's face it, even if the program might be effective in catching a minimal number of terrorists, the government is too stupid to know what to do with the data and can't be trusted not to abuse their power. Get rid of it. no spying on us without a fucking warrant!

edutcher said...

Exactly.

sydney said...

They aren't using it for terrorists, people. They're using it to data mine their political enemies.

Again, exactly.

Strelnikov said...

Gee, I guess Hayden would support extending and widening the coverage to get around this.

Q:What kind of idiots have we put in charge?

A. First class.


Noooo, top men.

Top.

Men.

Chip S. said...

I'm confused.

We're told that any US citizen who expects to be secure against any online search by the NSA is a naive fool.

But those smart terrorist--why, they had no idea what was going on.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Every halfway successful bureaucrat knows how to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Sorun said...

"this stupid PRISM program couldn't even catch the Boston Marathon bombers and we had those guys' names and addresses."

Maybe our investigators are expecting a computer algorithm to do their work for them. The fancier the software, the less boring investigating stuff they need to do. That would only be human nature.

Hagar said...

The parochialism in this country is fabulous.

Get it through your heads that if the U.S. have it, Russia and China do too, or soon will, and probably some other countries have thought of ways to tap into the big guys' systems, and may well have thought up some wrinkles of their own.

So, how are we going to deal with this situation? It is not going to go away!

Simon said...

Real American said...
"this stupid PRISM program couldn't even catch the Boston Marathon bombers and we had those guys' names and addresses."

That stupid FBI couldn't even catch the Boston bombers either, so I guess we'd better wind it up—that and every other government agency that isn't 100% effective.

"Get rid of it. no spying on us without a fucking warrant!"

They aren't spying on you without a fucking warrant, or even a regular one. (What does a fucking warrant look like? Do porn stars need one, describing the place to be filmed and the persons or things to be fucked?) They are obtaining information about services rendered to you by private third-parties, information that you have voluntarily supplied to those third-parties.

Chip S. said...

Sorun said...
Maybe our investigators are expecting a computer algorithm to do their work for them.

I think you're on to something.

It insulates them from criticism for screwing up or for profiling. Asking whether it's necessary, or even effective, is either hopelessly naive or flat-out unpatriotic.

Simon said...

edutcher said...
"Noooo, top men.

Top.

Men.
"

LOL. Perfectly-played.

Chip S. said...

That stupid FBI couldn't even catch the Boston bombers either, so I guess we'd better wind it up—that and every other government agency that isn't 100% effective.

A question for Simon: What is the number of times the fallacy in your argument must be explained before you stop making this idiotic argument?

Methadras said...

Hey great. So wholesale surveillance of your entire citizenry is all due to catching stupid terrorists. Yay.

Colonel Angus said...

What you have to do is make terrorists extrememly unpopular with Muslims, so unpopular that they'll stand up to them instead of going silent out of fear of reprisal.

Good luck with that. Ironically, Muslim terrorists have killed more Muslims than the dreaded infidel and I've yet to see any outpouring of outrage over it. That only leads me to believe that when it comes to Islamic terrorism, most Muslims are indifferent or fast approaching apathy.

edutcher said...

Looks like the dumb ones are winning:

Explosion in Hotlanta

Richmond evacuated

LA - Austin flight diverted

Colonel Angus said...

What you have to do is make terrorists extrememly unpopular with Muslims, so unpopular that they'll stand up to them instead of going silent out of fear of reprisal.

Good luck with that. Ironically, Muslim terrorists have killed more Muslims than the dreaded infidel and I've yet to see any outpouring of outrage over it. That only leads me to believe that when it comes to Islamic terrorism, most Muslims are indifferent or fast approaching apathy.


AQ was very seriously discredited after its ham-handed campaign of suicide bombings and IEDs in Iraq.

Guess who blew it?

Henry said...

The core message relayed is that any substantial, sustained discussion of terrorism is good for terrorists.

quote: But a protracted debate on the issue, as healthy as it may be for U.S. democracy, guarantees continued media coverage that keeps reminding terrorists and other bad actors that they need to take precautions to keep their operations secret.

So its not the leaks that are the problem, is the fact that we are all talking about the leaks.

To stop terrorism we have to not talk about it.

To have an open society we need to censor ourselves.

Go about your business people. Take no initiative. Ask no questions. Pay no attention to the bureaucrats behind the curtain.

Chip S. said...

Explosion in Hotlanta

Big Brother, please saaaave us from horrors like a small electrical explosion near Gate D 21 at a ramp level maintenance shop.

Colonel Angus said...

That stupid FBI couldn't even catch the Boston bombers either, so I guess we'd better wind it up—that and every other government agency that isn't 100% effective.

Then again the Russians tipped off the FBI about Tamerlan back in 2011. Major Nidal openly espoused his jihadist beliefs yet, we did nothing. Heck the shooting was classified as workplace violence. General Casey even said that the worse outcome would be if our diversity suffered.

So one of the problems I have with the data mining and survelience is that after 30+ years of Islamic terrorism targeting the West, we still can't muster the courage to identity the actual enemy.

cubanbob said...

Considering the Ft Hood shooter was a major in the Army how do we know whether or not the smart terrorists are already in sensitive positions in the government?

Colonel Angus said...

AQ was very seriously discredited after its ham-handed campaign of suicide bombings and IEDs in Iraq.

That may be but even after our departure, the Iraqis are still blowing each other up on a fairly regular basis. Whether its ethnic or religious, its difficult to accept they are willing to co-exist in Western society when they can't restrain from blowing themselves up in their native land.

ricpic said...

Since the NSA is part of the if it's Islamic it can't be terrorist brigade it doesn't matter how much they gather, they not only don't look at the evidence that points to Islam they WILL NOT LOOK THERE. Ergo the biggest danger doesn't exist.

jr565 said...

Tom wrote:
OK -- I call BS. The smart terrorists already knew or smartly assumed we had this capability. The dumb ones will remain dumb. In a way, it's a lot of like voters. The smart voters already knew or smartly assumed the government had access to their records. The dumb ones didn't know until now -- and may still not know.


This program tracks the phone calls of people who are involved with a number linked to terrorism. Even if you are smart, you can still get ensnared if you answer the phone call from a dumb guy who called you.
If smart terrorists never use phones, but dumb terrorists do, we can still catch dumb ones who in turn can link us to smarter ones.

jr565 said...

To stop terrorism we have to not talk about it.

To have an open society we need to censor ourselves.

Go about your business people. Take no initiative. Ask no questions. Pay no attention to the bureaucrats behind the curtain.

GOvt has always had covert activities. On a need to know basis.That's why we have security clearances. That's why they say "loose lips sink ships".
And you've gone about your life none the wiser.

jr565 said...

If we had a truly Open society, there would be no such thing as privacy. Be careful, therefore what you are asking for.It sounds like you are asking for contradictory things.\

Simon said...

Chip S. said...
"A question for Simon: What is the number of times the fallacy in your argument must be explained before you stop making this idiotic argument?"

I don't know. If you'd like to make a cogent argument for why it is so, we'll see.

Chip S. said...

You really don't know anything about PRISM, do you, jr?

From the article that cause all the commotion:

The presentation claims Prism was introduced to overcome what the NSA regarded as shortcomings of Fisa warrants in tracking suspected foreign terrorists. It noted that the US has a "home-field advantage" due to housing much of the internet's architecture. But the presentation claimed "Fisa constraints restricted our home-field advantage" because Fisa required individual warrants and confirmations that both the sender and receiver of a communication were outside the US.

[Boldfaced for your convenience.]

pm317 said...

Sick and Tired of all this fearmongering from all sides all the time.

Chip S. said...

I don't know. If you'd like to make a cogent argument for why it is so, we'll see.

Been there. Done that.

Your inability or refusal to comprehend is insuperable.

exhelodrvr1 said...

If we profiled, a less intrusive version of Prism would provide the same level of benefits.

Simon said...

Colonel Angus said...
"Then again the Russians tipped off the FBI about Tamerlan back in 2011."

Yes, but this hand is always overplayed. Always. How many tips do you suppose that the FBI receives? How obvious do you suppose it was at the time? It's incredibly easy to say in hindsight "well, they were told about they guy"—no, they weren't. They were told about many guys, that guy included; it only looks obvious now because now we know that he was a villain in hindsight.

Simon said...

Chip S. said...
"Been there. Done that. Your inability or refusal to comprehend is insuperable."

You haven't. Not that I've seen.

Chip S. said...

How many tips do you suppose that the FBI receives?

From Russian intel?

I dunno. How many?

But let's go looking in that giant haystack over there!

jr565 said...

Colonel Angus wrote:
Then again the Russians tipped off the FBI about Tamerlan back in 2011. Major Nidal openly espoused his jihadist beliefs yet, we did nothing. Heck the shooting was classified as workplace violence. General Casey even said that the worse outcome would be if our diversity suffered.

So one of the problems I have with the data mining and survelience is that after 30+ years of Islamic terrorism targeting the West, we still can't muster the courage to identity the actual enemy.


We don't know how credible they took the threat. We don't know that they dind't do a preliminary look at Tamerlan and think there was nothing to the threat. WE don't know if they were actively targeting him and monitoring him.
Or if the warning fell through the cracks, because like Gorelik's wall at the end of the Clinton administration the various agencies aren't properly communicating with each other.

But, I keep hearing all the people harping on what IS being done also saying "Why didn't we do anything?" Well what did you want them to do. This intrusive program (as you argue) is egregious it must be stopped, but you still want some surveillance that will get the Tamerlans or keep track of them. Well what are you offering that has the effectiveness of the NSA program? And explain how, if it's effective since its so restricted? The answer is, there is no such program.And there can be no such program. And if there were you'd be bitching about it.

Chip S. said...

OK, Simon, I'll assume that's said in good faith. So here you go:

The FBI was warned about Tsarnaev by Russian intelligence. Its response was to interview him and check what the NSA had on him via PRISM. Nothing turned up, so they dropped the case.

The obvious question raised is, what is PRISM's value added to the hunt for terrorists? You keep claiming that it's large, yet in the only case we have direct knowledge of its value was zero.

Now, if PRISM entailed no costs and no encroachments on the privacy of US citizens, we wouldn't require evidence of its usefulness. But it entails a huge potential for abuse.

All we've heard so far are some vague statements that PRISM was "helpful" in "rolling up" some unspecified operation is some faraway shithole.

That does not constitute evidence that the benefits of PRISM exceed its downside risks.

In previous threads you've claimed that we can't even have this debate, lest national security be seriously jeopardized. Of course, you can't provide any evidence of that, either--necessarily.

So your argument reduces to "We must trust the gov't." Which is simply not persuasive to those of us who value liberty.

And at least one US senator other than Rand Paul thinks we should debate this.

jr565 said...

Chip S wrote:
From Russian intel?

I dunno. How many?

But let's go looking in that giant haystack over there!


Its not as if there's only one threat that the CIA has to deal with. How do you know they weren't looking in that haystack over there because they had a need to look at that haystack for a completely unrelated matter?

It's not an either or.

Chip S. said...

How do you know they weren't looking in that haystack over there because they had a need to look at that haystack for a completely unrelated matter?

B/c, unlike you, I read about the FBI's investigation of Tsarnaev.

jr565 said...

Chip S wrote:
The FBI was warned about Tsarnaev by Russian intelligence. Its response was to interview him and check what the NSA had on him via PRISM. Nothing turned up, so they dropped the case.

So, PRISM didn't work in that one case it means that PRISM Wouldnt work for another case?
You have some awfully unrealistic expectations. And if they ran it through PRISM and he was cleared what MORE do you think they should have done TO AN AMERICAN CITIZEN?
I thought you were all about the non spying on people.
Face it, you are simply talking out of your ass.

cubanbob said...

Yes, but this hand is always overplayed. Always. How many tips do you suppose that the FBI receives? How obvious do you suppose it was at the time? It's incredibly easy to say in hindsight "well, they were told about they guy"—no, they weren't. They were told about many guys, that guy included; it only looks obvious now because now we know that he was a villain in hindsight."

You only see what you want to see. The FBI failed because of its ideological blinders, the blinders issued by its political masters.

Chip S. said...

So, PRISM didn't work in that one case it means that PRISM Wouldnt work for another case?

I didn't say that proved it could never "work". What I said was that the only case we have direct knowledge of provided no evidence whatsoever that it had any value at all. And as I've said before, the burden of proof of the essentiality of PRISM rests on its advocates.

After several days' worth of discussions, it's still the case that the only evidence you have in support of PRISM's effectiveness is conjecture.

Repeating that conjecture does nothing to enhance its persuasiveness.

jr565 said...

ChipS wrote:
So your argument reduces to "We must trust the gov't." Which is simply not persuasive to those of us who value liberty.

The FBI is also govt. Maybe we shouldn't trust them either to run any of these searches either. What agency involved in tracking terrorist activity should we trust since all will be involved in govt somehow?

jr565 said...

Chip S wrote
didn't say that proved it could never "work". What I said was that the only case we have direct knowledge of provided no evidence whatsoever that it had any value at all. And as I've said before, the burden of proof of the essentiality of PRISM rests on its advocates.

But you only know of one case. How many do you know of that did work? Probably not many since you aren't part of the NSA or have the proper security clearance.

Chip S. said...

I recognize the need for a military. That doesn't mean I approve of mandatory quartering of soldiers in private homes.

I recognize the need for police. That doesn't mean I think there's no need for restrictions on police power.

This is such basic stuff that I think you must really be a libertarian moby, jr565.

Chip S. said...

How many do you know of that did work?

None. How about you?

Probably not many since you aren't part of the NSA or have the proper security clearance.

And you know that how, exactly? Oh right, your shtick here is to make up facts that suit you.

What we do know is that Edward Snowden had the proper security clearance, and he was horrified by what he observed.

jr565 said...

I recognize the need for police. That doesn't mean I think there's no need for restrictions on police power.

I never said there should be NO restriction on police power. We are talking about a specific program not ALL programs.

You wrote:

So your argument reduces to "We must trust the gov't." Which is simply not persuasive to those of us who value liberty.

Which implies any and all govt. Since the FBI is govt, I don't understand why I shouldn't take that to include the FBI as wel. Since you value liberty so.

Chip S. said...

Which implies any and all govt. Since the FBI is govt, I don't understand why I shouldn't take that to include the FBI as wel. Since you value liberty so.

This is too incoherent for me to parse.

Buh-bye.

jr565 said...

Chip S. wrote:

What we do know is that Edward Snowden had the proper security clearance, and he was horrified by what he observed.

ANd he sounds like a drama queen.

Simon said...

Chip S. said...
"The FBI was warned about Tsarnaev by Russian intelligence. Its response was to interview him and check what the NSA had on him via PRISM. Nothing turned up, so they dropped the case. The obvious question raised is, what is PRISM's value added to the hunt for terrorists? You keep claiming that it's large, yet in the only case we have direct knowledge of its value was zero."

No, that is not my claim. My claim—as you accurately summarize in your seventh paragraph—is that the general public lacks (and cannot be given) the information neccessary to make such an assesment. The debate that you're keen to have, the weighing that you (rightly) believe to be necessary—we are in different arguments if you think that I am taking one side of that debate and you the other. You seem to suggest as much in your reply to JR565, wherein you say that the burden of proof rests on PRISM's advocates. But I do not advocate PRISM. I say that you and I are incompetent to have a valid opinion on it, to advocate for or against it. The debate that you seem so eager to have is not a debate that we can have, because the information that is fundamental to that debate is unavailable and cannot be had, which means that the weighing that you would have us do would involve placing unknown quantities of an invisible substance on a pair of invisible scales. It is undesirable that the primary forum for it must be the executive branch, but that is unaviodable.

(I must say that you promised a fallacy, and you delivered one: Proof by selected instances is a logical fallacy, and are you not offering PRISM's failure in the instance of the Tsarnaev plot as a proof that PRISM doesn't work sufficiently well to justify its existence?).

And Udall? You're going to cite Udall to me? The jumped-up odious liberal toerag who has spent his entire short Senate career trying to destroy the traditions of the very institution in which he was so recently elected to serve? The poster child for everything that's wrong with progressivism, and the poster-child of modern neurotic libertarianism. What strange bedfellows and allies this business is making.

Simon said...

Chip S. said...
"What we do know is that Edward Snowden had the proper security clearance, and he was horrified by what he observed."

Oh, by all means, we should rely on the moral scruples of a traitor.
We do know that Judas Iscarriot was seen in the company of Jesus of Nazareth, and he was horrified by what he observed.

jr565 said...

Chip S., the problem is you are arguing platitudes, not real things based on real life.
You made the statement "So your argument reduces to "We must trust the gov't." Which is simply not persuasive to those of us who value liberty."
That wasn't my argument. But I'm curious what you mean by we must trust govt is not persuasive to those of you who value liberty.
Why then are you trusting the FBI to do the things FBI does?
You also say:
"I recognize the need for police. That doesn't mean I think there's no need for restrictions on police power."
Saying you are for a specific program that is limited does not mean that you are for no restrictions on police. But, if you recognize the need for police, whatever restrictions are placed on them, you have to trust them at some level to do those things.Meaning, you are trusting govt in that instance.




Carl said...

Well, first of all, the government has never been good at catching terrorists or criminals of even ordinary intelligence. I can't recall of a single really important case -- while the list of cases where they were a day late and a dollar short rolls off the tongue: Beirut barracks, the Cole, the first WTC bombing, 9/11, the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, the Boston Marathon, the guy at the LAX El Al counter, the Fort Hood shooting...

Hell, they can't even prevent betrayal among their own employees, which explains everyone from Hansen and Ames to the newest kid on the block, Snowden. And that's a much smaller population than the country at large, and they can do all the snooping and surveillance they want on them.

This actually isn't all that surprising. Running a successful Department of Precrime is well-nigh impossible, since ipso facto you are trying to predict the future, and the future has traditionally rather powerfully baffled such attempts.

I mean, if the smart boys and computers at the NSA could really reliably predict the future behaviour of millions of people -- these over here are safe, these are to be kept an eye on, this one is red hot and should be arrested tomorrow -- then they could on their lunch break predict the much, much simpler future behaviour of, say, the price of AAPL or the S&P 500 and make $millions. Why are we running a deficit if such very smart predictors of the future are already on the government payroll?

So this agonizing over the "balance" between national security and privacy is a false choice. On the one side you do have encroachments on your liberty, you betcha. But on the other side you have...nothing.

Just empty and utterly implausible promises about being able to do something that is no doubt very desirable -- predict and prevent future crime -- but which proves, on cold empirical examination, to have always been unsuccessful, and which common sense suggests always will be unsuccessful.

The only people who really can predict future crime are...the future criminals themselves. That's why traditional crime control, successful crime control, consists of issuing blanket threats to do terrible things to caught criminals. That influences the only people in the position to actually prevent future crime -- potential criminals. There are those we don't reach, and those for whom the threats are insufficient, or not understood, of course, which is why we still have crime. If we really wanted to improve crime control, we'd work on making more credible threats that are more intelligible and effective for the typical criminal.

In short, this whole national security versus privacy "choice" is a con run by people after your money and vote and power for themselves, no less than a late-night huckster asking for investments in perpetual motion machines. Just as in the latter case, we should not be fooled by how wonderful the promised outcome would be, or any dark mutterings about how sad we'll be if we miss this golden opportunity to invest, because the promised outcome cannot be delivered at any price. Its theoretical value may well be very large -- security for the children! -- but its actual deliverable value is zero.

jr565 said...

To counter Snowden someone earlier cited David Simon who, as a cop, did stuff like that, on a smaller scale, ALL the time. He describes how the collection of the numbers is simply how you compile the database. They don't listen to those calls, it just creates the data that they can then filter from. And judges signed off on stuff like that long before this current program (because again, they are not listening to the calls at this point).
The only difference is the scale.
Snowden would probably have been horrified at this too if he was in the Police and would probably whistle blow that too. Because he is a whiny bitch not trustworthy enough to keep secrets.
And the evil that he would have seen would not have been an evil at all, since the judge would sign off on said searches routinely.

That is simply how it was done.

Colonel Angus said...

Perhaps I should clarify that I just don't necessarily trust this particular administration.

They have already proven they are willing to use the power of the government against political rivals.

Simon said...

Carl said...
"Well, first of all, the government has never been good at catching terrorists or criminals of even ordinary intelligence. I can't recall of a single really important case -- while the list of cases where they were a day late and a dollar short rolls off the tongue: Beirut barracks, the Cole, the first WTC bombing, 9/11, the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, the Boston Marathon, the guy at the LAX El Al counter, the Fort Hood shooting..."

That's another example of proof by selected instances—cherry picking. I realize that it probably doesn't seem that way, because you are listing all those terrorist attacks that we know about, and I'm sure that you're not deliberately excluding all those thwarted attacks that would be needed to complete the dataset. But you are excluding them. You're excluding them because we don't know about them. We have no idea how good the government is at stopping terrorist plots; we all see the ones that succeed, but we rarely know about the ones that are foiled.

It's kind of like with the gun control debate: It turns out that it's very difficult to find examples of cases where access to guns saved a crowded hall of bystanders, even though it's actually far more common, because "man kills twenty people in crowded theater" is blared from page one of every mass media outlet, while "man shot to death by off-duty cop after drawing weapon in crowded theater" is buried on page four of the local section.

edutcher said...

Colonel Angus said...

AQ was very seriously discredited after its ham-handed campaign of suicide bombings and IEDs in Iraq.

That may be but even after our departure, the Iraqis are still blowing each other up on a fairly regular basis. Whether its ethnic or religious, its difficult to accept they are willing to co-exist in Western society when they can't restrain from blowing themselves up in their native land.


I see where you're going and the crucial difference is Western society and the Moslem world.

A thousand years on, the Sunnas and Shias still hate each other worse than the Protestants and Catholics did 500 years ago.

PS Thanks for the LOL, Simon.

Amartel said...

And presto, a ready-made excuse for the next Government Fail.

jr565 said...

Colonel Angus wrote:
Perhaps I should clarify that I just don't necessarily trust this particular administration.

They have already proven they are willing to use the power of the government against political rivals.

Nor do I. But I do see the value of the NSA program and dont think it should be made innefective on the off chance that someone in the administration used it innapropriately even though there's no proof of that.

In the case of the IRS scandal people should be frogmarched out of the building.

R. Chatt said...

Surveillance of domestic population is all about control. Ask the Chinese why they do it -- maintaining law and order.

But we have our government claiming surveillance on everyone is about preventing terrorist acts (blame the terrorists) and at the same time expunging any reference to Islamic jihad from their training manuals and refusing to do any "racial profiling" and apologizing for spying on mosques, etc. We are reassured the government does not listen to domestic phone calls unless there is contact with foreign terrorists, however who are in fact Islamic terrorists. Or do we really believe domestic terrorists are getting calls and instructions from Saudi Arabia/Yemen/Iran/Pakistan? It's a load of BS but how many people are connecting the dots?


I'm concerned about the danger of allowing government intrusion -- and the irresistible temptation for abuse of power. We've already seen what the IRS has done to groups Obama followers don't like.

Robert Cook said...

Anything Hayden or Obama or Feinstein or any other self-interested asshole in Washington says about the NSA and it's "being necessary" to "stop terrorists" is a self-serving lie, a "fuck you" to the American public whom they purport to serve, their confession to being traitors to their country.

Robert Cook said...

"Gee, I guess Hayden would support extending and widening the coverage to get around this.

"Q:What kind of idiots have we put in charge?

"A. First class."


Wrong. They're not idiots in the least. They're smart, cunning and ruthless enemies of America.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Do they really think we think that the terrorists weren't aware that we were capable of this type of research?

Jupiter said...

"Why then are you trusting the FBI to do the things FBI does?"

You mean, like catch the Tsarnaevs? And prevent the Ft. Hood Shooting? Gee, I guess maybe the point is that I don't trust them to do that stuff.

What I trust them to do is spew General Petraeus private life all over the internet, and put Scooter Libby and Martha Stewart in prison, along with the guy who made the video Hillary didn't like. And I trust them to use their every failure as evidence that they need broader powers.

Chip S. said...

Oh, by all means, we should rely on the moral scruples of a traitor.

To George III, Gen. Washington was a traitor. To Hitler, Eichmann was a faithful servant.

We do know that Judas Iscarriot was seen in the company of Jesus of Nazareth, and he was horrified by what he observed.

So the gov't is an earthly representative of God?

I knew you were a monarchist. ;)

Proof by selected instances is a logical fallacy, and are you not offering PRISM's failure in the instance of the Tsarnaev plot as a proof that PRISM doesn't work sufficiently well to justify its existence?

No. it's a question of inference from limited data.

The Tsarnaev "plot" is the only data point we have. It fails to reject the hypothesis that PRISM is ineffective at preventing terrorist attacks on US soil.

There are no data points that do reject the hypothesis that PRISM is ineffective. If the burden of proof is on PRISM's supporters--as I believe it should be--then PRISM is rejected.

But wait...there's more. Even if there were data points that rejected the hypothesis that PRISM was utterly ineffective, those data would not suffice to demonstrate that PRISM was worth its cost.

You argue--on the basis of either trust in gov't or simply a hunch--that PRISM is essential to fighting terrorism. You're free to do so.

But you're not free to claim that your beliefs are logical.

John said...

Real America said

Let's face it, even if the program might be effective in catching a minimal number of terrorists, the government is too stupid to know what to do with the data.

That has always been the problem. We have the data but can't figure out what to do with it.

We knew years in advance about Pearl Harbor. There was a war game in 1926 predicated on a Japanese attack on PH that was remarkably similar to the one that happened in 41.

We had information weeks before about a planned attack on PH.

We knew the day before that a massive Japanese fleet was somewhere around but had gone silent.

We had radar intercepts of the incoming planes.

All that info did us no good because it was lost in the haystack of other information and we had no way to tease it out.

I read a comment today from some former NSA guy that we we had too much of a good thing and were overwhelmed to the point where they could not find important stuff.

John Henry

stlcdr said...

Simon Said...

... They are obtaining information about services rendered to you by private third-parties, information that you have voluntarily supplied to those third-parties.


Voluntarily supplied to the third-party; not the government, or any other party.

This is the whole 'reasonable expectation of privacy'. The government, in any capacity, must have a warrant with a justifiable reason for access to information where the suspect [sic] has such expectation.