June 6, 2013

"The National Security Agency’s seizure and surveillance of virtually all of Verizon’s phone customers is an astounding assault on the Constitution."

Says Senator Rand Paul in a press release, received just now in the email:
After revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted political dissidents and the Department of Justice seized reporters’ phone records, it would appear that this Administration has now sunk to a new low.

When Sen. Mike Lee and I offered an amendment that would attach Fourth Amendment protections to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act last year, it was defeated, and FISA was passed by an overwhelming majority of the Senate. At the time, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid remarked that FISA was “necessary to protect us from the evil in this world.”

The Bill of Rights was designed to protect us from evil, too, particularly that which always correlates with concentrated government power, and particularly Executive power. If the President and Congress would obey the Fourth Amendment we all swore to uphold, this new shocking revelation that the government is now spying on citizens’ phone data en masse would never have happened.
I don't know why you'd need to "attach Fourth Amendment protections" to a statute. I'll just observe that Senator Paul is a very active participant in the debate about what rights are. So is President Obama (and so was President Bush in his time). I think the legal questions are complicated, but if people do not find these things "astounding" and "shocking," the President is likely to win.

UPDATE: Another press release from Paul: "Sen. Rand Paul today announced he will introduce the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013, which ensures the Constitutional protections of the Fourth Amendment are not violated by any government entity."
“The revelation that the NSA has secretly seized the call records of millions of Americans, without probable cause, represents an outrageous abuse of power and a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. I have long argued that Congress must do more to restrict the Executive’s expansive law enforcement powers to seize private records of law-abiding Americans that are held by a third-party,” Sen. Paul said. “When the Senate rushed through a last-minute extension of the FISA Amendments Act late last year, I insisted on a vote on my amendment (SA 3436) to require stronger protections on business records and prohibiting the kind of data-mining this case has revealed. Just last month, I introduced S.1037, the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act, which would provide exactly the kind of protections that, if enacted, could have prevented these abuses and stopped these increasingly frequent violations of every American’s constitutional rights.

“The bill restores our Constitutional rights and declares that the Fourth Amendment shall not be construed to allow any agency of the United States government to search the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause.” 

112 comments:

Kirby Olson said...

We need to know how he's correlating the data. If he's only checking to see who called Saudi Arabia that's one thing. If he's also checking to see who called the Tea Party headquarters, that's more worrisome. My guess is Obama's doing all kinds of things with this data.

David said...

Not sure what to make of this. There's not enough information to really understand it.

It's worrisome, but so are terrorist attacks.

It would be so much easier to accept if you trusted the people running these programs.

But I don't.

Big Mike said...

I think the legal questions are complicated, but if people do not find these things "astounding" and "shocking," the President is likely to win.

In the past, the media would drive the story using words like "astounding" and "shocking" and people would nod their heads in agreement. In the era of Obama the media cannot be reliably counted on to do so, so the story may die.

On the other hand, Verizon provides most of the phone service in Washington, DC, and New York. So one of the possibilities given the type of data collected (basically, who is talking to whom), I would guess that the data is being used to find and punish leakers and the journalists who are being leaked to. If some journalists reach the same conclusion, then the story will have legs.

Tank said...

Get wit it. He de ZERO MAN:

He shoot de hoop.

He smoke de J.

He snoot de crack.

He dance de rap.

He be de man.

He be cool.

He be de one we be waiting for.

No worries bro.

He coo, he tight, he jib.

What could go wrong?

Bob Ellison said...

If you've got nothing to hide, why are you hiding something?

Really, though, I don't think most people have thought about the philosophy of privacy rights (such as they are). What is the porpoise of being able to keep something out of the public view?

Methadras said...

Obama: I can haz Verizon?

Achilles said...

I will repeat for this thread what was posted below. I guarantee this covers all carriers. They got letters too but the Verizon letter is all the guardian has so far.

Funny how it was the guardian that reported this. I bet Fox News and other news orgs had a copy of the letter too and buried it. Press intimidation? Not in the US! Of course some of them didn't need to be intimidated.

And I will tell you it is a short step from the call pattern and contact list to complete transcripts of all calls for user John Doe. If you had enough nefarious contacts they were able to cross match data and "find" people. It started with a network of known bad actors and contacts were screened and matched. Once a person was determined to have enough bad contacts his calls were pulled up. The only thing that slowed things down in places overseas was a shortage of translators with clearance. This was used to find the Taliban and Al Quaeda overseas. Now it is being used on Americans.

This is getting well past the point of no return.

Icepick said...

The Senate Intelligence Committee has already said that they knew, and that this is legal. This is what the elites want, and it is apparently what the people want. Obama is going to win on this like he does everything else, because this is what the majority wants.

pm317 said...

My guess is Obama's doing all kinds of things with this data.

No doubt about it. Does anybody know if Christie is a Verizon subscriber?

Larry J said...

Verizon has almost 100 million customers, almost 1/3rd of the total US population. If they're doing this to Verizon, odds are they're doing it to the other telecons as well.

If all they were doing is tracing the connections of known or suspected terrorists then there could be some justification for it. However, in light of the administration's claims that the people they're concerned about are veterans, conservatives and the Tea Party and combined with what the IRS did to conservatives, this is very concerning.

With this metadata, you can assemble social networks on an unprecedented scale. You can indentify who everyone calls (and not just on Verizon but calls to landlines and other cell phone provider customers), how often and for how long. This is a totalitarian's wet dream.

If the government and those who run it no longer believe they're bound by the Constitution, then we're under no obligation to obey them. They have lost all legitimacy and with that, their legal and moral authority over us.

Icepick said...

We need to know how he's correlating the data. If he's only checking to see who called Saudi Arabia that's one thing. If he's also checking to see who called the Tea Party headquarters, that's more worrisome. My guess is Obama's doing all kinds of things with this data.

Come on, Barry O couldn't do a damned bit of data analysis himself - he hasn't the intelligence or the training to do so. But that's what's so nice about large governments - you can find the people you need to carry out your desires somewhere.

And hey, let's not forget that the Obama re-election campaign made a big deal about how sophisticated their data analysis team was, and how much data they had. Hmm, I wonder where that data came from....

X said...

Verizon? I don't care. I have Sprint.

Icepick said...

Yeah, Achilles, that is a good point about media intimidation. Didn't I see a headline somewhere today that NONE of the current scandals were broken by major US news organizations? I wonder why that is....

Achilles said...

I will make a shock prediction: the Republican Party will do to Paul what it did to Newt and force Rubio down the throats of the right in this country. After having tried to sell us amnesty and abject capitulation to the left Rubio is a failed candidate that fails to motivate the base and "millions of conservatives stay home." Hillary, the one who sold weapons to al quaeda, the murderer, and jailor, and liar, wins the "election" where not a single person in Philadelphia voted for Rubio.

Lefties like Cooke will continue to blame the surveillance state on Bush. The US will fall. Just like the left wants.

dreams said...

I know we Americans are losing the country most of us have loved. Obama has never loved America, he was raised to hate America and he told us during the 2008 campaign that he intended to fundamentally transform our country.

Bryan C said...

You might provisionally decide that government action is the least bad alternative, but you should never, ever "trust" the government with anything. No matter who is supposed to be in charge. It's like trusting a threshing machine to show discretion when it encounters your arm. It'll continue to do what it does until someone stops it.

bagoh20 said...

"if people do not find these things "astounding" and "shocking,"...
that an unvetted man, barely examined, and wholly untested with power or responsibility might become the President of the United States, then Obama is likely to win.

I will not stop reminding of why this is all happening, and what was sacrificed for trivia by unserious people who could not see or admit their own motivations, or how poorly founded they were.

It must never happen again. The bar must for once be raised rather than lowered. It's lying on the floor.

RAH said...

The justification is this is this is to protect the USA against its enemies. But since this information is about us then that means Americans are the enemy to the government. In conjunction with the IRS scandal Now the administration decides we are the enemy.

Palladian said...

It'll continue to do what it does until someone stops it.

And who can stop it?

It was possible to stop in the 18th century. I no longer think this is possible.

Icepick said...

Achilles, I've been trying to tell people from the get go that Rubio was a consummate insider from the get-go, but no one wanted to listen. He rose very far very fast in the Florida state political machine, which indicates anything OTHER than an outsider. The problem was that he jumped the line to get ahead of Charlie Crist, and the conservatives in the state of Florida were so happy to have anyone BUT Crist that they promoted Rubio to Tea Party Darling, and it's stuck.

RAH said...

The justification is this is this is to protect the USA against its enemies. But since this information is about us then that means Americans are the enemy to the government. In conjunction with the IRS scandal Now the administration decides we are the enemy.

pm317 said...

Obama re-election campaign made a big deal about how sophisticated their data analysis team was, and how much data they had

Ha, there is the NSA perhaps doing the right thing with this data and then there are the Obama minions doing the wrong thing with it. They have their hands on gold. This is orders of magnitude bigger than enemies list. Didn't the AOL guy get fired for releasing similar data to university researchers back in 2004? But now this kind of thing comes with a presidential stamp of approval.

Icepick said...

Now the administration decides we are the enemy.

Oh, that happened a long time ago, and it's a bipartisan belief at this point.

rhhardin said...

The records prevent serious (city-destroying) terror attacks.

They work by allowing clever reconstruction of social networks, given a single lead.

They're effective in that they permit very focussed application of limited human resources on very likely Islamic targets.

They could be used, of course, to target Republicans, but there would be nothing focussed about it - there are too many Republicans - and no advantage to it.

The government doesn't have that kind of resources, and if it did, it would leak, owing to the sheer number of people knowing about it.

The alarm is misguided and antiproductive, in short.

Brent said...

to the tune of "Oh My darling Clementine":

Heil Obama
Heil Obama
Heil Obama all the time
My liberties are gone forever
Dreadful sorry America!

DNA taken at every traffic stop. . .

Your phone records collected into database . . .

IRS keeping a watchful eye on every action you take . . .


Naw - couldn't happen in America

Brent said...

Practice these words in front of the mirror every morning:

POLICE STATE


POLICE STATE


POLICE STATE


POLICE STATE

Bob Ellison said...

This makes me sadder than Harry Reid and that guy from one of the Dakotas; what was his name? Daschle. Sad.

Tank said...

Achilles said...

I will make a shock prediction: the Republican Party will do to Paul what it did to Newt and force Rubio down the throats of the right in this country.

No shock at all. Look at what Repub Inc. did to Michelle Bachmann. Listen to Rove talk about Paul, Cruz, et als.

Nope, it's the Dems or the big gov't Repubs.

It's their country now. We're the minority now. Get used to that boot on your neck.

Brent said...

This just in:

Rachel Madow furious at emerging police state, except that it's Obama and now it's OK.

Stupid Republicans fault anyway.



garage mahal said...

Repeal the Patriot Act in its entirety. Are any Republicans calling for that? Or do they want to keep it in place and just complain about it?

Only one person had the sense to vote against it, a Democrat from Wisconsin.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

I doubt this info is being used to protect us from attack, since they obviously suck big time at preventing that.

It probably has other useful purposes though.

ricpic said...

The seizing of records of phone calls without probable cause violates the 4th Amendment. I don't get why Althouse doesn't see the 4th as the vital protection ignored that Rand Paul sees.

X said...

garage mahal said...
Repeal the Patriot Act in its entirety. Are any Republicans calling for that? Or do they want to keep it in place and just complain about it?


the libertarians are. aren't they usually far right wing extremist ultra conservative republicans in your brainpan?

Revenant said...

I don't know why you'd need to "attach Fourth Amendment protections" to a statute.

Because the Supreme Court shows more deference to Congress than it does to the Constitution.

Achilles said...

We have a dozen or so senators coming out in support of the NSA program. Funny how both the Republicans and Democrats hate the tea party and support blanket surveillance on the American public.

This whole system is going to fall apart. Will it be quick or slow? Can Obama print enough money to make up for the falling participation in the tax scam that is the IRS? When those of us that actually produce things stop voluntarily supporting the farce that is our federal government will the Julia's try to force us to keep working? It has already passed the point where decent people should oppose this tyranny. And we will one way or another.

Christy said...

I agree with Garage for once. Repeal the Patriot Act. It was a bad idea under Bush (and I trusted Bush) and it's a bad idea now.

cold pizza said...

Serfs and vassels, nothing more. Help! Help! I'm being repressed! -CP

Christy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

The government doesn't have that kind of resources, and if it did, it would leak,...

It's not complicated to make use of this data unless you are concerned with accurately addressing it all fairly and accurately. If quality and completeness don't matter (and of course they won't) then it can be used to great effect. You have to remember this is just a big pile of the puzzle pieces all at once, that will never be lost, and can be hooked up with all that came before and will come in the future to complete any parts of the puzzle they wish to concentrate on when some unknown partisan wants to.

In the republic's death by a thousand cuts, this was a nice clean machete slice.

And the idea that it would leak out obviously means nothing when enough people blindly ignore the danger while listening to lullabies from their press.

Achilles said...

garage mahal said...
Repeal the Patriot Act in its entirety. Are any Republicans calling for that? Or do they want to keep it in place and just complain about it?

Only one person had the sense to vote against it, a Democrat from Wisconsin.

6/6/13, 12:03 PM

I would bet Rand would have voted against it. But they will destroy him.

Feingold was a decent person but wanted tyranny though in different ways. He just wanted economic slavery to the Julia's and the old.

Patrick said...

Repeal the Patriot Act in its entirety. Are any Republicans calling for that?

I'm not positive, but I gather Rand Paul is. Are any Democrats for repeal?

X said...

Christy said...
I agree with Garage for once. Repeal the Patriot Act.


I'd say eelpout agrees with the Koch brothers for once.

bpm4532 said...

One thing we've learned from modern data analysis is that the content of a phone call may be of less interest than the existence of the activity, the frequency of the activity and connecting that activity to other trackable things such as email and web activity particularly as web, email and messaging activity is performed via the IP address connected to that phone's internet connection (wireless or land-line).

Also, remember, this is a RENEWAL. It's been going on for quite some time, and with the other carriers.

I don't think the people consider this sort of massive data collection appropriate or consistent with our sense of protection from the government.

garage mahal said...

the libertarians are.

Which libertarians in Congress are?

Michael K said...

Well, this should do wonders for the sale of those anonymous non-network cellphones.

I decided to subscribe to The American Conservative after reading This article.

I'm reading America 3.0 but I haven't gotten to the part where we save the country. I'm skeptical about that. I think it's lost.

Inga said...

Yes repeal it. Feingold was prescient in his no vote, wasn't he? How will his replacement vote?

Jay said...

garage mahal said...
Repeal the Patriot Act in its entirety. Are any Republicans calling for that? Or do they want to keep it in place and just complain about it?


Uh, the Patriot Act didn't set up the FISA court.

bpm4532 said...

This is a very slippery slope we're on, particularly given the sort of political hacks in this administration. With Susan Rice at the head of NSC and Napolitano at DHS, I'm sure any and all dog whistles will be heard loud and clear. A detailed investigation needs to be performed on the use of this information. It's hard to imagine that crimes are not being committed.

dreams said...

We're losing our democracy because most government workers are Democrats who will continue to work surreptitiously despite, occasionally getting caught with no or little consequence, to undermine our democracy by making it harder for Republicans to get elected (EPA,IRS), the liberal media's desire to change the world causes them to think they're doing good by engaging in bias reporting. I don't really see anything stopping what is happening to our country.

gspencer said...

ACLU, 2001-2008, "This is an outrage. The American people don't have to stand for this outrageous assault on the Bill of Rights."

ACLU, 2009-date, [Silence]

bagoh20 said...

No, I'm sure if any hanky panky goes on that Susan Rice will go on TV and tell us the truth about what's going on. She's a stand up gal, and highly qualified for the job she has I'm told. I have no doubt about that.

Jay said...

Inga said...
Yes repeal it. Feingold was prescient in his no vote, wasn't he?


Well, not really since the Patriot Act doesn't confer wartime powers on the President as Article II does.

Anyway:
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blasted Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on the Senate floor late Wednesday night. Reid called Rand Paul's opposition to the renewal of the PATRIOT Act "political grandstanding." However, that wasn't the worst thing Reid accused the freshman Senator from Kentucky of.

"When the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, we will be giving terrorists the opportunity to plot against our country undetected," Reid said on the Senate floor. "Now, the Senator from Kentucky is threatening to take away the best tools we have for stopping them."


The Democrats are "all in" on the Patriot Act.
References to someone no longer in the senate are non-nonsensical.

garage mahal said...

ACLU, 2009-date, [Silence]

ACLU on Obama’s NSA Snooping on Verizon Customers: ‘It Is Beyond Orwellian’

X said...

Inga said...Feingold was prescient in his no vote, wasn't he? How will his replacement vote?

the author of McCain Feingold, the greatest assault on the first amendment of my lifetime until the Obama administration. what a guy.

Achilles said...

For all of the retards blaming this on Bush:

The FISA court was founded by the foreign intelligence surveillance act, OF 1978. It was founded by the 2nd worst president in history.

For you people who try to make this partisan and still stand by The admin I am quickly deciding you are just as bad as the Taliban. It is clear to anyone who is not blind these people are enemies of freedom. Support for chambliss and graham and other apologists are considered the same.

Achilles said...

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Court

A link for the retards and historical illiterates.

Clyde said...

Shockingly, even Al Gore is outraged. When you have Al Gore and Rand Paul on the same side on an issue, well, it's dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!

Oh, if only Obama knew!

leslyn said...

Hahaha. It started under Bush. Wasn't "astounding" or "shocking" then.

Would anyone like some Patriot Act with their cup of hemlock?

gerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

I have tried to help several hard working Mexican business owners who have issues with loans made to help other Mexican born and raised immigrants who had then gotten divorces in Georgia. All of the parties were legal as citizens or Green card holders.

Several times an issue came up of money being paid through a bank , and the very honest client of mine would not trust the banks which he sees as the government.

They learned in Mexico to keep everything about money secret. It is a cash world.

I am starting to see the wisdom in their methods. Our Government has become a criminal conspiracy under cover of a silly theory that seeing things for what they are makes one a paranoid nut.

Therefore I expect that the next big change Obama will propose is a replacement of currency that allows secrecy from them with computer record that reports to them directly by embedded chips.

leslyn said...

Jay said...
garage mahal said...
Repeal the Patriot Act in its entirety. Are any Republicans calling for that? Or do they want to keep it in place and just complain about it?

Uh, the Patriot Act didn't set up the FISA court.


No, it didn't. But FISA had been virtually quiet until the Patriot Act made it a popular way to annul the Fourth Amendment.

leslyn said...

Tank said,

It's their country now. We're the minority now. Get used to that boot on your neck.

Interesting way that you view this as the acceptable position for minorities.

I Callahan said...

Uh, the Patriot Act didn't set up the FISA court.

Thanks, Jay. I thought something smelled fishy about this. This is the same concept as when a Republican wins office, libs claim that Citizens United was the reason.

Achilles said...

leslyn said...

Tank said,

It's their country now. We're the minority now. Get used to that boot on your neck.

Interesting way that you view this as the acceptable position for minorities.

6/6/13, 12:49 PM

So do you still support the administration? Will you vote for Hillary? Are you another brownshirt that will be dealt with?

I Callahan said...

Hahaha. It started under Bush. Wasn't "astounding" or "shocking" then. Would anyone like some Patriot Act with their cup of hemlock?

Try reading the rest of the comments before you spout off; you might learn something.

Achilles said...

leslyn said...

Jay said...
garage mahal said...
Repeal the Patriot Act in its entirety. Are any Republicans calling for that? Or do they want to keep it in place and just complain about it?

Uh, the Patriot Act didn't set up the FISA court.

No, it didn't. But FISA had been virtually quiet until the Patriot Act made it a popular way to annul the Fourth Amendment.

6/6/13, 12:46 PM

What was operation Echelon under Clinton? Are you making this a partisan issue and supporting tyranny?

cold pizza said...

leslyn said...
Tank said,

It's their country now. We're the minority now. Get used to that boot on your neck.

Interesting way that you view this as the acceptable position for minorities.

But you knew I was a scorpion when you let me on your back. -CP

Methadras said...

I like the wordage of saying, "an astounding assault on the Constitution."

As if Obama doing what he's doing has been astounding while he assaults the constitution. This just brings these two paintings into even more focus.

Hmmm, dirty shoes. I wonder why?

I gotta start somewhere.

Lem said...

I think the legal questions are complicated, but if people do not find these things "astounding" and "shocking," the President is likely to win.

Wake me when they are picking people up in the middle of the night... better yet, text me... that way it will be private.

Methadras said...

leslyn said...

Hahaha. It started under Bush. Wasn't "astounding" or "shocking" then.

Would anyone like some Patriot Act with their cup of hemlock?


No it didn't you turgid twat. True digital surveillance started under Clinton with Echelon and Carnivore. One of your own, you moron.

Colonel Angus said...

Hahaha. It started under Bush.

Still waiting on that Hope and Change.

Methadras said...

Brent said...

Practice these words in front of the mirror every morning:

POLICE STATE


POLICE STATE


POLICE STATE


POLICE STATE


We really are living in the Unified Surveillance of Autocracy now aren't we?

Lem said...

I haven't read the story... but I seem to recall a story very similar to this when Bush was president.

The story was that there was a matching numbers tap on calls coming in and out of the US to see if those calls matched known numbers of terrorist or suspected terrorist.

Why does this smell like a distraction?

Oso Negro said...

I am sorry to confess this, but as I drove to work this morning it crossed my mind that I will not be astounded or shocked to read the words "Mass Arrests" in a Drudge headline about Obama before his regime ends. His totalitarian impulses are being revealed even to those who have looked the other way. He has more than three years to go. He may be pondering the power at his fingertips and thinking, why not "Obama the Great"?

X said...

Inga said...
Yes repeal it. Feingold was prescient in his no vote, wasn't he? How will his replacement vote?


comment from the person who wanted the maker of a youtube video jailed.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Wow, liberal trolls are out in force on this one. BLAME BOOOOOOOOOOOSH!

Doesn't matter that your little affirmative action darling has been in power for going on five years now. Can't critisize King Putt now can we?

At least you sloppy bitches aren't using your sockpuppets today, so thats something.

gerry said...

In many ways it’s even more troubling than [Bush era] warrantless wiretapping, in part because the program is purely domestic,” says Alex Abdo, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.”But this is also an indiscriminate dragnet. Say what you will about warrantless wiretapping, at least it was targeted at agents of Al Qaeda. This includes every customer of Verizon Business Services.”

Read the article here.

Maybe Obama was snooping on Americans illegally (NSA is not allowed to snoop on citizens) because ...oops! That's right, the war on terror is over, right, Inga? Benghazi wasn't an act of terror, right? So just why would great leader be snooping on citizens, since he can't be fighting enemies in a war on terror that he says is over?

Lem said...

Found it.

"NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls"

Updated 5/11/2006 10:38 AM ET

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.

Methadras said...

X said...

Inga said...
Yes repeal it. Feingold was prescient in his no vote, wasn't he? How will his replacement vote?

comment from the person who wanted the maker of a youtube video jailed.


And got her wish. She really wanted his 1st amendment rights stripped from him. I think she got her wish on that too. Haven't heard from the guy or his lawyer. Have you?

Lem said...

What Jerry just said...

damikesc said...

As somebody attached to the company --- PLEASE do not call in and gripe about it. Understand that we really, really have no control over it and anybody you talk to is required to say "No comment".

It's been rough here today and everybody has to take calls because of this idiocy.

Hint: We don't like it much either, but we cannot really fight the feds or courts...and, yes, your carrier is also doing it.

On the other hand, Verizon provides most of the phone service in Washington, DC, and New York. So one of the possibilities given the type of data collected (basically, who is talking to whom), I would guess that the data is being used to find and punish leakers and the journalists who are being leaked to. If some journalists reach the same conclusion, then the story will have legs.

I know the Feds are a MAJOR customer of VZ (the Wireless side alone could make a profit if they had zero customers and only had the Feds accounts). Also, the FCC can effectively shut down a telecom with little effort...

Also --- Verizon and Verizon Wireless ain't the same company. Odds are both are involved, but Verizon is a weight on the Wireless side.

Chip Ahoy said...

What, no Sprint, no T-Mobile, no @&T, whatarewe, chopped liver?

mark said...

I've been to a few mathematics talks (by the US military people applying it to find terrorists) about Graph Theory and data mining this type of information. In case anyone of you were curious as to what we can now do with this.

1) The longest time constraint (about a week at most) is to numerically represent the data collected. So we could take your call logs, Google Android data, iOS data, credit card statements, bank statements (which are all just vertex/edge lists for graph theory) and represent them as matrices.

2) Pick a person or object (phone, purchase, whatever) of interest. Like a known terrorist or tea-party participant.

3) Apply linear algebra and about 1 minutes computation time.

... and out comes a very accurate list of all connected people and resources required by them. Now you just round them up or blow them up.

And yes, this really happens this way now. The biggest deal is to collect the "connections" data sets. Either through tapping cell towers in Iraq, watching people share cars, or asking Verizon to just hand it over.

Lem said...

.. whatarewe, chopped liver?

That goes under 'What not to ask Lou Reed at an interview'.

Roger J. said...

Mark--20 years ago there was an analytical tool called "centrality index." simply by looking at organizations folks belonged to you could pretty well identify the key players--and that was, of course, before the advent of the quant guys and more sophisticated algorithms.

As you rightly point out, these analyses can now be done in minutes on vast amounts of data.

Tank said...

leslyn said...

Tank said,

It's their country now. We're the minority now. Get used to that boot on your neck.

Interesting way that you view this as the acceptable position for minorities.


Nyet idiot. It's only when the statist bastards are in charge that this is an issue. Small gov't conservatives put boots on no one's necks.

bagoh20 said...

Justice is a beautiful thing to behold:

"Slamming the “maliciously self-indulgent” IRS spending on lavish conferences, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said employees at the agency were essentially “guilty of tax evasion” because they failed to pay taxes on the perks they received as a result of the conference spending."

I hope they get billed for the tax, the interest and penalty. Why the hell should they not. Can this perfect justice actually happen in our land of holy and untouchable government worker crime rings.

rcommal said...

Achilles' comment about Rubio is amusing, as I note that at leadt Icepick seemed to notice.

mark said...

Roger J. said...
20 years ago there was an analytical tool called "centrality index."

I believe that it was in the 60's that graph theory (where centrality indices comes from) got a big application boost from sociology. Then add in the advancement of computers along with linear algebra and you get some crazy powerful tools.

When you sit and listen to an officer with PhD in Mathematics talk about this field ... what used to take million dollar groups of specialists in psychology and tactics months to work up (lists of targets and resources) ... would take him minutes. And his computational analysis tools can be run by a kid with a HS diploma.

The amount of very specific information that can be harvested from analysis of passive background data is crazy. And it was a bit horrifying as well.

Robert Cook said...

"It's worrisome, but so are terrorist attacks."

Mass evesdropping and peeping into our electronic communications is far more worrisome than terrorist attacks, the dangers of which have been vastly oversold...purposely...in order to justify such violations of the Constitution and to compel (through fear)acceptance of these violations by the American people.

Robert Cook said...

"...that an unvetted man, barely examined, and wholly untested with power or responsibility might become the President of the United States...."

Oh, he was vetted. He was vetted by those who count, the elites who run this country. If they had not been confident he would play ball with them and continue the projection of American power abroad and control internally, he would have been as marginalized as Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich.

edutcher said...

Give 'em Hell, Rand.

Achilles said...

I will make a shock prediction: the Republican Party will do to Paul what it did to Newt and force Rubio down the throats of the right in this country.

Try again.

Rubio's deader than Banquo's ghost. He's one of Chuckie's Republicans.

Palladian said...

It'll continue to do what it does until someone stops it.

And who can stop it?

It was possible to stop in the 18th century. I no longer think this is possible.


It was a lot less "possible" in the 18th century.

Nobody had ever done it before.

leslyn said...

Hahaha. It started under Bush.

No, sweet cheeks, it started under Woody Wilson

You and your little friends have been screwing up this country a looong time.

Chip S. said...

Epic tweet from Ted Cruz today:

Senator Ted Cruz ‏@SenTedCruz 3h
Holder says he won't resign until he accomplishes all his goals. I guess there are still some amendments in Bill of Rights left unviolated…

Roger J. said...

Mr Cook--while I don't agree with your political views, I do admire your consistency--the actions of our government are in place to preserve the interests of those in power--party affiliation is immaterial. My take is that massive amounts of data gathering only serve the interests of the party in power--now the dems; perhaps after 2016 the repubs

edutcher said...

This should get somebody's attention:

Holder won't say if he's spied on Congress.

I have a feeling that might get things rolling.

Hagar said...

When Eric Holder makes statements like he did in the interview with Pete Williams; that he was sorry that they had to say such nasty things about such a fine upstanding citizen and true patriot as James Rosen in order to get to his phone records, and that the law definitely should be changed so that the FBI could just get the records without having to make false statements before a federal judge, I would say that he has totally lost his bearings, and Eric Holder should not be U.S. Attorney General any longer.

It is just fantastic that he would go on NBC News and say such things, and then - equally fantastic - Pete Williams just let it pass.

dreams said...

"Mr Cook--while I don't agree with your political views, I do admire your consistency--the actions of our government are in place to preserve the interests of those in power--party affiliation is immaterial. My take is that massive amounts of data gathering only serve the interests of the party in power--now the dems; perhaps after 2016 the repubs"

Except the Republicans are for smaller government and when trying to achieve their goal of smaller government they will be as resisted as they have in the past by the overwhelmingly Democrat employees who are unlikely to work against there own self interest.

damikesc said...

What, no Sprint, no T-Mobile, no @&T, whatarewe, chopped liver?

If they stopped bleeding customers, Sprint and T-Mobile might qualify as chopped liver. :)

And, don't worry --- they are doing it. You wouldn't target one single company. Would be a bit illogical.

It is just fantastic that he would go on NBC News and say such things, and then - equally fantastic - Pete Williams just let it pass.

They are tied, closely, to MSNBC and haven't done a thing about it. They clearly are on board with that delusional collection of idiots.

Icepick said...

I note that at leadt Icepick seemed to notice.

I'm a one man ALL SEEING EYE, baby!

Jay said...

leslyn said...
Hahaha. It started under Bush.


Complete and utter bullshit.

Icepick said...

They clearly are on board with that delusional collection of idiots.

They're not delusional. They're getting away with it.

Robert Cook said...

The FISA law was revised very late in Bush's term, granting the government greater latitude in conducting warrantless wiretapping...as well as granting retroactive legal protections to the telecoms for their participation in the illegal wiretapping conducted by the Bush Administration.

Candidate Obama vowed to vote against the revision to the law if it contained the provision extending retroactive legal protections to the telecoms, and even vowed to support a filibuster against it.

When the vote came down, he voted for it. So much for "supporting" (much less initiating) a filibuster of passage of the law.

This was the clincher for me, the moment I knew I could never vote for Obama. If, as a candidate for President, he could so blithely and openly violate a promise to his supporters, showing his contempt for them, what incentives would he have as President to keep his promises, or disincentives to break them?

Obviously...none.

Anyone paying attention could have seen in that vote and his glib lies all one needed to know about the hollow man Obama.

Dante said...

The story was that there was a matching numbers tap on calls coming in and out of the US to see if those calls matched known numbers of terrorist or suspected terrorist.

Which was always a little weird to me people would get upset about this. It's legal to tap the phone lines in another country, only not on US soil. It seemed to me this was a matter of convenience, and saving taxpayer $.

Lydia said...

Something that will probably limit the damage for Obama on this is the fact that the FISA order came just 10 days after the Boston bombing.

Palladian said...

Much respect, Robert Cook.

Deborah McLaughlin said...

What Palladian said.

bardseyeview said...

Qui does this scandal bono?

Rand Paul, who now seems like the man of the hour. Who else will be as energized over restoring our liberties?

phx said...

Qui does this scandal bono?

:D

ae44bf5a-2cce-11e2-94ad-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Do we all remember the press reports on how amazingly efficient the Obama re-election campaign 'micro targeting' was...and how it won him the election?

rcommal said...

Mans of hour, shmans of hour. This changes constantly--and, often enough, as like lightning!--amongst the primary core of the commenting chatters here. Wait a month or two or few every now and again, and it'll change yet again. There's a pattern and at this point I now think it's more likely to continue to play out. Because it's become a habit.

rcommal said...

I think too many **fall in love too quickly with** and then **fall out of love too quickly with** this, that, and then another standard-bearer. It's a true failing, I think, and one that explains a lot.