Snowden: The Government That Is Attacking Me Is Also Reforming Because of Me

Spending spare time watching "The Wire"NBC NewsBrian Williams' exclusive interview with whistleblower Edward Snowden aired on NBC last night. The nearly 40-minute interview didn't provide any new information for those who have been closely following Snowden's situation, but offered Snowden a chance to debunk some of the nonsense being said about him, particularly by politicians—such as Secretary of State John Kerry—who think he should just "man up" and come home to face espionage charges for the crime of telling the public what their government is doing.

Here are some highlights:

  • Snowden says he did not bring any of his documents with him to Russia and he doesn't have access to any of them, even by computer, to give to the Russians. His files are all in the hands of the journalists he's partnered with, such as Glenn Greenwald. Williams also acknowledged that NBC News has partnered with Snowden and Greenwald to report on some of the documents.
  • Snowden says he was working like a spy, lying about what his job was and even using a fake name. He says his critics are using his earlier position as a "low-level analyst" to detract from the totality of his work. He says he has worked for the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) and gave lectures on keeping information secure.
  • He's not a fan of using fears of terrorism to undermine civil liberties: "I take the threat of terrorism seriously and I think we all do. I think it's really disingenuous for the government to invoke, and sort of scandalize our memories, to sort of exploit the national trauma that we all suffered together and worked so hard to come through to justify programs that have never been shown to keep us safe but cost us liberties and freedoms we don't need to give up and our constitution says we should not give up."
  • Probably the only really new disclosure for those who have been following Snowden's leaks is his claim that any powerful intelligence agency, not just America's but Russia's and China's as well, can access cellphones as soon as they're turned on. They can use the phones' embedded microphones and cameras and turn phones on when they're off. But, he points out, such technology would likely only be used against targeted people. Williams asked whether an intelligence agency would be interested in knowing that he looked up the score for a hockey game, prompting Snowden to explain how this information could be used to establish Williams' "pattern of life": "Are you engaging in any kinds of activities we disapprove of, even if they're technically not illegal?" The activities Williams engaged in could increase his level of scrutiny, even if he hasn't done anything wrong.
  • NSA analysts can watch people's Internet communications and see them write messages in real time.
  • He reiterates (as this has already been reported) that he did attempt to go through proper channels to blow the whistle on the unconstitutional surveillance of the NSA. His concerns are documented in writing, he says, and Congress should be able to get them from the office of general counsel. NBC has confirmed that at least one email from Snowden exists and has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to look for other records.
  • The NSA's auditing process was so negligent that any private contractor could walk into the Agency, take anything they wanted, and walk out, and the government would never know. He pointed out that despite claims that all sorts of military secrets were at risk, nothing about troops or weapons or non-surveillance issues have appeared in the press.
  • Snowden entered into agreements with the media outlets he's provided documents to that they would actually check with the government to make sure no specific harms could befall individuals from their reporting. This played out recently when Greenwald and other journalists declined to name one of the countries in which America is reportedly recording and temporarily storing all mobile calls.
  • He explains that he cannot return home to "face charges" because of the intricacies of the Espionage Act and how they're stacked against the defendant. He would not be provided an open court or "a fair trial."
  • He is frustrated being in Russia where individuals' rights are "being challenged," given that he sees himself as fighting for Americans' rights. He objects to Russia's new law requiring the registering of bloggers and says no government should be regulating the operations of a free press.
  • Williams asked him to explain how he sees himself still serving the government. Snowden points out that one court so far has ruled the bulk metadata collection likely unconstitutional and members of Congress are trying to end it (though their efforts have been extremely watered down). "How can it be said that I did not serve my country?" he asked. "How can it be said I have harmed government when all three branches of the government have made reforms as a result of it?"

If you missed it, watch the interview below:

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  • Warren's Strapon||

    It's not paranoia if they're really watching you.

  • Meerkatx||

    When we make criminals of those who expose criminal acts there is something very wrong with out system of justice and laws.

  • heartburn||

    When we make criminals of those who expose criminal acts, the criminals are in charge.

  • sarcasmic||

    The criminals have always been in charge. And they always will.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    When exposure is outlawed, only outlaws will expose.

  • Almanian!||

    When outlaws are exposed, exposure will be outlawed

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Where a plate of bacon is found, soon it is gone.

  • Almanian!||

    Now I really, really want a BLT....

  • Mainer2||

    How about a nice mutton, lettuce and tomato...when the mutton is really lean...

  • anon||

    Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait, wait. I'm worried what you just heard was, "Give me a lot of bacon and eggs." What I said was, "Give me all the bacon and eggs you have". Do you understand?

  • Mainer2||

    Williams asked whether an intelligence agency would be interested in knowing that he looked up the score for a hockey game

    Why does that question bother me ? I seem to recall a line of argument that worrying about the spying was arrogant, that you thought you were so important that the govenrment would spy on you, when obviously people in government will only spy on important things that bad people do. It also evokes the "if you have nothing to hide...." argument. Good on Snowden for his answer.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Yeah, they can only know you're only interested in the hockey score if they check up on you.

  • ||

    that you thought you were so important that the govenrment would spy on you, when obviously people in government will only spy on important things that bad people do

    I sorta held this sentiment for a long time. I don't do anything important enough for the NSA to care. Then I heard about the 'Collect it all' mantra.

    Even if you don't have anything to hide, the creepiness of one government or agency controlling the any/all narrative(s) should terrify you. Even if it doesn't terrify you, the thought of expending so many resources simply to own them should irritate you. Even if that doesn't irritate you, the resources and energy spent owning any/all narratives and only to let people like Elliot Rodgers and the Tsarnayev Bros. do what they did (or even Snowden for that matter) should infuriate you...

  • Mainer2||

    It's hopeless to argue principles with most people. Pointing out that you are paying so they can gather all your data to keep you safe, but then two losers with a pressure cooker and some fireworks can wreak havoc, wouldn't that move at least some folks to realize that this is a problem.

  • antisocial-ist||

    I wouldn't say they reformed so much as just went to a lot of effort to make it look like they did.

  • thorsmjollnir||

    Our system is setup to placate public outrage with symbolic gestures.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    See? He's just a narcissistic egomaniac.

  • Brett L||

    The government is so fucked. Snowden is just too normal for them to demonize.

  • Mainer2||

    Wait until people see how normal and reasonable Rand Paul is.

  • Brett L||

    I guess that's true. Nobody asked Eddie how he feels about abortion.

  • Mainer2||

    Nobody wins an abortion debate.

  • anon||

    That's not true, somehow the dems always manage to "win" it.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Williams asked whether an intelligence agency would be interested in knowing that he looked up the score for a hockey game

    Thinking of defecting to Canada and skipping out on taxes, eh?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    He reiterates (as this has already been reported) that he did attempt to go through proper channels to blow the whistle on the unconstitutional surveillance of the NSA.

    And we know proper channels don't work because "improper channels" don't work. Everyone now knows of the unconstitutional nature of the work and many are crying for change but no change is happening. So there was never going to be any change from an in-house complaint.

  • Mainer2||

    Which is why Snowden is a hero. (And not one of those modern "give a speech heros" but a genuine, old fashioned, risked it all, bet the farm kind of hero that goes into the history books.)

  • TheSmilingKnight||

    I couldn't agree with you more, Mainer2. If you watch/read even some of his interviews, discussions, and most importantly the disclosures themselves, you begin to understand that he is a very rational, thoughtful person who is not out to 'be the hero'.

    Moreover, his personal character protects him from the majority of ad-hominem attacks, which in many cases decides the fate of people in his "whistle-blowing" dilemma. His position on civil-disobedience is on par with King, IMO.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Why did your "hero" release classified information on legitimate foreign collection programs that had nothing to do with domestic spying, and benefited our enemies and adversaries?

  • barfman2014||

    *barf*

  • SML||

    Brian Williams went out of his way to assure us that many of NBC's viewers were "outraged" that Snowden was being interviewed.

  • Mainer2||

    The only good thing I can say about Brian Williams is he's not Diane Sawyer.

  • anon||

    I'd say the best part of the Snowden fiasco so far is John Kerry. Here's a fucker that threw his war medals away in protest of our Government, yet has the audacity to tell Snowden to "man up."

    I hope John Kerry dies a slow, painful death in a fire. I don't mean like hours long, I mean like the next 20 years. Fuck him and the cock he rode in on.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    John Kerry is a joke like Joe Biden, but unlike Biden Kerry isn't in on the joke.

  • Cyto||

    Kerry was live on NBC yesterday morning. He managed to prove that we did the right thing in electing his opponent.

    He was so busy trying to spin everything about Snowden that he sounded like a 7th grader trying to get out of doing his homework. The lies and near-lies flew thick and heavy - and full of stupid.

    And an extra razzie for the reporter doing the interview who never once called him on it.

  • ||

    I hope John Kerry dies a slow, painful death in a fire boiling cauldron of generic ketchup.

  • db||

    That's pretty harsh. The fumes from boiling acetic acid (vinegar) are exceptionally corrosive and damaging to lung tissue and other mucous.membranes.

  • Brett L||

    Well, he threw someone's war medals away. I seem to recall that he still had his.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Only they're not really watching you. There's a difference between what they "can" do, and what they are actually doing. It's physically impossible to collect, store, and monitor every phone call and email in the World, or even in just the United States. The average person makes or receives 8 mobile phone calls per day. That is roughly 2.4 billion phone calls per day across the 300 million cell phone user in the U.S. The average mobile phone user in the U.S makes 250 phone calls per month or 3,000 phone calls per year. There are 300 million cell phone users in the United States so if you do the math that's 900 billion cell phone calls made per year. If each call lasted only one minute, it would take 1712328.77 MAN YEARS (1.7 MILLION)to monitor one year worth of phone calls. That's 1.7 million people spending 24 hours a day, seven days a week, doing nothing but listening. It just isn't happening. Have they monitored the communications of US Persons illegally? Maybe, but I can't recall a single document that names any specific US Person as actually being monitored. What I have read includes a lot of "can", "perhaps", could", "might have", and a lot of other qualifiers, and I await with baited-breath this "list" of people who have supposedly been monitored. I'm betting that most of their names start with "Mohammed" or "Ahmed".

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    And again, I'm left wondering exactly why the vast majority of Snowden/Greenwald's leaks exposed legitimate foreign collection efforts that had nothing to do with domestic spying, and seemed designed to destroy US Foreign relations and our ability to collect valid, legal intelligence. That's not the act of a "hero" or "patriot"; it's the act of a traitor.

  • Almanian!||

    Well, you seem satisfied with the government. Glad you're enjoying being monitored. Or not.

    Me? Not so much - fuck 'em. And Snowden is a brave man to do what he did. "hero" - "patriot" - you can debate that. "Traitor" - no.

  • The Last American Hero||

    And again, I'm left wondering why Clapper hasn't been punished for flat out lying in Congressional testimony.

    And what foreign relations were "destroyed"? Do you really think we aren't monitoring whatever communications we need to in Germany or France?

    Also, our system of government is not built on "Trust us" and "Fuck you that's why". You are betting that their names start with Ahmed. So why do they need my metadata again? How about they get a fucking warrant from a non-secret court so they can investigate Ahmed the potential Al-Queda cell leader and not Ahmed the local mechanic or grocer? Or should every person with a middle eastern name have their rights violated? Maybe we should fire up the internment camps, eh?

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    "And what foreign relations were "destroyed"?"
    Brazil, for one.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The claim that Snowden blew 'legitimate' operations is 1) total bullshit and 2) something I don't care about at all. If that's the collateral damage required to get back our civil liberties, then some foreign agents are going to have to die for their country.

    It's physically impossible to collect, store, and monitor every phone call and email in the World, or even in just the United States.

    Wrong that's exactly what they're doing.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Perhaps you could point out any legitimate source or document for this claim that all US phone calls are being collected, stored, and monitored, or is this just more made-up bullshit?

  • Cytotoxic||

    This is from Snowden's leaked documents you twat.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Which ones, exactly? Surely you must be able to provide a link or something, if you've actually read such a thing?

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Is that crickets I hear?

  • Horatio||

    What, you don't trust him? If only you were so skeptical of the national government...

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    I am skeptical of all government, but I recognize bullshit when I see it.

  • anon||

    It's physically impossible to collect, store, and monitor every phone call and email in the World, or even in just the United States

    Wrong.

    The average mobile phone user in the U.S makes 250 phone calls per month or 3,000 phone calls per year.

    So? That's not even 1tb of audio data. A 50tb storage center could easily manage to keep 30 days worth of records. Is the government so poor it can't find 50 $75 1tb hard drives? Fuck, *I* could afford it.

    There are 300 million cell phone users in the United States

    Citation needed. I seriously doubt that every man, woman and child in the US has and uses a cell phone.

    (blahblahbullshit), it would take 1712328.77 MAN YEARS (1.7 MILLION)to monitor one year worth of phone calls. That's 1.7 million people spending 24 hours a day, seven days a week, doing nothing but listening.

    Fuck, you're a goddamn moron. My home computer could screen for calls containing any phrase I so choose, and discard the "omg that's so cute lol!" phone calls in 2 days, easily. It'd literally take more time to defrag it than it would to scan the audio.

    What I have read includes a lot of "can", "perhaps", could", "might have", and a lot of other qualifiers, and I await with baited-breath this "list" of people who have supposedly been monitored.

    So you're both stupid and naive. Good to know.

    I'm betting that most of their names start with "Mohammed" or "Ahmed".

    Ah fuck, American trolled me. Goddamnit. Fuck you.

  • Almanian!||

    *gives anon a manly bro hug*

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The database is a tool. And I imagine that is a largely useless tool when predicting attacks. It would be, however, very useful for retroactive research (of little to no value) or for proactive blackmail (quite useful during budget negotiations).

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    You're clueless junior. Using a typical voice recording codec like G.722 or ETSI EN 300, it takes between 6.60 and 23.85 kbit/s to record full-duplex voice. The average is about 12kbit/s. 900 billion phone calls per year, times 60 seconds each, is 54 trillion seconds, times 12 thousand, is 648 quadrillion bits of data, divided by 8, is 81 quadrillion bytes of data. That's just slightly more than your retarded claim of "... not even 1tb of audio data".

  • anon||

    Even more made up numbers! Why would anyone be interested in collecting phone calls above mp3 quality levels? Fuck, you're dumb. They aren't looking for new hot music jackass, they're just looking for content.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    MP3 bit rates run from 64kbps to 320kbps, you fucking moron.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Crickets.....

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    "Fuck, you're a goddamn moron. My home computer could screen for calls containing any phrase I so choose, and discard the "omg that's so cute lol!" phone calls in 2 days, easily. It'd literally take more time to defrag it than it would to scan the audio."

    You're fucking clueless. You must have one hell of a computer, and one hell of an ISP if you're able to process 81 quadrillion bytes of data in two days.

    How about you try some reality, and not a bunch of high-school histrionics and bullshit numbers?

  • anon||

    Even if your made up numbers were correct, it's only 80 petabytes of data.

    The NSA's data center in Utah is built to house between roughly 3 and 12 EXABYTES of data.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    and is not yet operational....

  • Horatio||

    That's what they said about the Death Star...

  • LPDave||

    Hey look, someone who actually knows something about storage did a calculation on this exact topic. Sure, he guesstimated 300 minutes per person-month of usage, but even if he's off by a factor of 10 (which I highly doubt), it's still comfortably within the capabilities of a large, well-funded government agency. http://www.techdirt.com/articl.....year.shtml

    Get lost, Anon E. Mouse.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    So his estimate is 272 Petabytes a year, over 3 times what I estimated. It doesn't take into account how one moves 272 Petabytes of data a year, it doesn't take into account the cost of RAID and backup, and it doesn't take into account the cost of servers. Over all, I'd say it was a fairly amateurish effort.

  • Christophe||

    "These estimates show only $27M in capital cost, and $2M in electricity and take less than 5,000 square feet of space to store and process all US phonecalls made in a year. The NSA seems to be spending $1.7 billion on a 100k square foot datacenter that could easily handle this and much much more."

    In other words, the NSA can host 6 full copies of the data in geographically distinct locations for less than $200M. There's your backup. Add a 100 Gbps line to each data center and you've got transfer speeds to support inflow. Well within the NSA's infrastructure budget.

    And they're building an even bigger one as we speak. How many petabytes do they need?

    Fuck off, slaver

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Where's this "100 Gbps line to each data center" going to come from? Take a guess as to how much it costs to own and maintain one mile of underground fiber-optic cable?

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    I'll give you some help. It generally costs between $8K and $100K, per mile, depending on terrain and soil composition, for direct burial 4-strand, single-mode fiber. That cost does not include splices, repeaters, and other necessary infrastructure.

    There are approximately 25,000 separate phone exchange/switching centers in the US alone. In order to capture every call, every switching center would have to be "wired" into a collection system.

    Do the math yourself. Like I said, it is physically impossible to collect, store, and monitor every phone call in the US.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Oh hell, I missed this:

    "$2M in electricity and take less than 5,000 square feet of space to store and process all US phonecalls made in a year."

    You want me to do the math for you here too?

    Electricity costs between $0.12 and $0.50 per kilowatt hour. At the highest cost, $2M buys 1 million kilowatts of electricity. That's 1 billion watts per year, 2739726 watts per day, which generates 9348333.1476 BTU. That's 9.3 MILLION BTU generated in a 5000 square foot space, per day, minimum. Are you seeing the problem with this yet?

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    "It's physically impossible to collect, store, and monitor every phone call and email in the World, or even in just the United States. The average person makes or receives 8 mobile phone calls per day. That is roughly 2.4 billion phone calls per day across the 300 million cell phone user in the U.S. The average mobile phone user in the U.S makes 250 phone calls per month or 3,000 phone calls per year. There are 300 million cell phone users in the United States so if you do the math that's 900 billion cell phone calls made per year. If each call lasted only one minute, it would take 1712328.77 MAN YEARS (1.7 MILLION)to monitor one year worth of phone calls. That's 1.7 million people spending 24 hours a day, seven days a week, doing nothing but listening. It just isn't happening."

    Why would they'd task millions of people to sit there and listen to all of the calls when they could just do keyword filtering?

  • anon||

    He's too fucking stupid to consider that option.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Because to do "keyword filtering", you'd have to collect the content of every call, and that isn't what's happening.

  • anon||

    That IS what's happening, you dumb fucking cocksucker. Learn to fucking read and comprehend.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Racist and homophobic - must be Mericun.

  • anon||

    Yeah, I was really hoping the "cocksucker" insult would get him going, but he's not biting yet.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Where exactly did you read that the content of every US call was being collected, because I don't recall that claim ever being made.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That's because you're an ignoramus.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Care to direct everyone to to where any legitimate source has made that claim, or is this just more high-school histrionics?

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    More crickets....

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Thanks to Snowden we now know they're collecting the content of every call in Bahamas. What's technically stopping them from scaling that up from the 300K or so in Bahamas to the 300M or so in the US?

  • The Last American Hero||

    Is there a lot of Islamo-Terrorist Types hanging out in the Bahamas?

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Tax cheats, most likely. Which severely undercuts the official rationale for these programs which are sold as being necessary to combat terrorism.

    Looks like what they're combating in Bahamas is lost tax revenue.

  • anon||

    Looks like what they're combating in Bahamas is lost tax revenue.

    The way our government's been heading lately, I wouldn't be surprised if they did consider tax cheating as terrorism.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    No, but there's a lot of money laundering and drug trafficking.

  • Cytotoxic||

    ie not terrorism.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    It depends. If the money being laundered belongs to a drug cartel that makes a habit of executing villagers with sledgehammers to the head, or cutting the heads off Mexican cops and stacking them in neat piles outside the local police station, then yes, it is related to "terrorism".

  • Cytotoxic||

    IOW things that don't really concern America.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Yes, because terrorist drug cartels with members operating inside the US are of no concern to us, right? Jesus Fucking Christ, how exactly does it feel to be so damn ignorant?

  • Christophe||

    End the drug war and it stops being a problem. Cartels are a self-inflicted injury.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    I think that's a great idea, but only after all forms of welfare and social medicine have been abolished. I personally don't care if you want to inject battery acid into your nutsack, as long as I don't have to pay for the consequences of your stupidity.

  • MWG||

    Sounds like an argument against any right. How about the 2nd Amendment? or the 1st Amendment and the freedom of religion?

  • TheSmilingKnight||

    ^Point

  • steedamike||

    The NSA generates tips to give to the other agencies.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Last time I checked, the Bahamas wasn't protected by the Bill of Rights. The US is.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Yes, and so are THE AMERICANS PHONING THE BAHAMAS.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    That's exactly why it requires a warrant to listen to the content of any US calls.

  • MWG||

    Ah yes, the FISA court. The bull work of transparency and constitutionality.

    It's nice to see someone out there has such loving trust for our political overlords.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Because to do "keyword filtering", you'd have to collect the content of every call, and that isn't what's happening.

    Dig around for 'Story Classic' and you will find a really cool (at least when used for eavesdropping on foreign governments) SIGINT setup based on keyword filtering.

  • db||

    Why don't you use your real name, Mr. Mouse? Have something to hide?

  • Curtisls87||

    First, it's a bit disturbing that you seem to care about what they can or cannot do practically, as opposed to what they should not constitutionally be able to do.

    Second, it is entirely possible to collect it all. I work in telecom, and I can tell you that we're required to provide the capability for "lawful intercept," by CALEA requirements. Normally this is only supposed to be for warranted search, but as we've seen in news stories, what passes for a FISA warrant is pretty weak, hence we have the report of Verizon providing ALL of its customer records to the feds.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/re.....customers/

    Third, while your math may (or may not be) correct, they don't use manpower to do the listening, as advances in voice recognition make it extremely easy to feed digitized voice data to large servers that scan for trigger words, and then mark the the communication.

    Finally, as you await with bated breath, it seems you may have missed the AP reporters who had their phone records end up in the Feds hands.
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/fut....._feds.html

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    There's a huge difference between "phone records" (metadata), and content.

  • Curtisls87||

    There certainly is. However, your challenge was to provide a list of people who had been monitored. I met that criterion. The AP reporters and Verizon customers were clearly monitored - if only for their metadata - it's still monitoring.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    "I met that criterion. "

    No, you didn't. Metadata isn't content. Metadata is simply numbers; a historical record of who called who, and when. Monitoring means listening to content. Words have meaning.

  • barfman2014||

    *barf*

  • Curtisls87||

    This is a pedantic response. Words certainly do have meaning and "monitoring" does not specifically mean listening to content.

    mon·i·tor
    ˈmänətər
    verb
    gerund or present participle: monitoring
    observe and check the progress or quality of (something) over a period of time; keep under systematic review.
    "equipment was installed to monitor air quality"
    synonyms: observe, watch, track, keep an eye on, keep under observation, keep watch on, keep under surveillance, surveil, record, note, oversee; More
    maintain regular surveillance over.
    "it was easy for the enemy to monitor his movements"

    Note that the dictionary does not specify that monitoring must include content.

    If that is not clear enough, consider "monitoring" a progress bar during software installation. You certainly are not reviewing the individual bits/bytes of information, but you do monitor progress.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    In the context of SIGINT, monitoring means listening to content.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    I care because there's a lot of bullshit being tossed around as to what is and isn't being done. Signals Intelligence is vital to national security, and this isn't something we need to be playing "he said she said" bullshit high school games with. A thing is either happening, or it is not. Just saying it is or could be doesn't make it so.

    Your assertion that "it is entirely possible to collect it all" is baseless. While you may be required to provide the capability for "lawful intercept," by CALEA requirements, the infrastructure to record millions, or even thousands of simultaneous calls, simply doesn't exist.

  • Curtisls87||

    Except that it does.

    One doesn't have to go very far to find the capabilities on the open market.

    http://www.edigin.com/government.php

    Note that this company states its product is "designed for unlimited scalability."

    Here's another one:

    http://www.ctigroup.com/news/c.....artrecord/

    Note that with just commoditized hardware, connected into a carrier grade softswitch, a set of IBM blade servers was able to do 316,000 calls, at 380,000 minutes with just 15% CPU utilization. IBM blades don't even represent cutting edge technology, as IBM has since released its Flex platform.

    Clearly the capability to record "...even thousands of simultaneous calls," exists. In that sense, it is not baseless, and clearly one can see how this can be expanded to provide the "millions" of which you speak.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Obviously the hardware capability exists to record everything. You could, in theory and practice, record every single phone call in the World, or in the US. It would require a dedicated store-and-forward server in every one of 25,000 switching centers (in the US alone), connected by hundreds of thousands of miles of fiber-optics, tied to a storage facility capable of storing hundreds of Petabytes annually. On top of that, you'd need to capture and store every email, SMS, and URL viewed by everyone. Basically, all you need is a duplicate national phone system and internet, and that doesn't exist.

  • Curtisls87||

    First you state, "the infrastructure to record millions, or even thousands of simultaneous calls, simply doesn't exist." When I show that the technology is there to do it, your response is, "Obviously the hardware capability exists to record everything."

    I am quite aware of how switching works - I've been in telecom for better than 35 years, I run a team that deploys unified communications platforms. I assure you that it can be done.

    However, based on the advice of Mr. Clemens, I shall cease to respond.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    If you've been in telecom for better than 35 years, then you know there's a difference between the possible, and reality. It's possible to extent 100GigE into every home in the world. The technology exists. The trillions of dollars required to do so do not.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    "However, based on the advice of Mr. Clemens, I shall cease to respond."

    That sounds like a reasonable method of debate. Who might "Mr. Clemens" be, your debate coach?

  • thorsmjollnir||

    Your numbers don't totally add up. There are about 318 million people in this country and you are suggesting that there are 300 million cell phone users. Something tells me that all of the children who don't have cell phones, older adults who don't have cell phones, poor people who can't afford phones, etc. don't add up to just 18 million people. Besides Greenwald has already said the NSA has the capacity to store over 1 billion phone calls a day.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....20424.html

    As far as individuals being spied on, Greenwald has also said that one of the next stories he publishes will include specific names. So don't be surprised if most of their names don't start with "Mohammed" or "Ahmed".

    In the end, it's not whether they are actually watching you, it's the fact that they have the power to do so and at their own discretion. People who know they can be watched, regardless of whether they actually are, change their behavior. It has a chilling effect. Moreover, having that information gives the government leverage over individuals for whatever reason they deem necessary, which as we have seen, is a determination that is constantly in flux.

  • Cyto||

    Apparently the White House is floating a trial balloon about a plea deal for Snowden (according to NBC news this AM)

    Their deal:

    Snowden comes back to America, pleads guilty to whatever crimes he has committed, and then the White House will begin to negotiate with him for a deal.

    No, really. This is what the NBC White House correspondent is reporting.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Christ they're dumb.

  • anon||

    Wow, what a deal! Where's the noose? Let me jump right in!

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    I'm thinking firing squad is more appropriate for the scumbag traitor.

  • Christophe||

    May you one day face the very firing squad you relish so much.

    Useful idiots like you usually go up against the wall right after the kulaks are dealt with.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Ah, I see you're for the Soviet model of "justice".

  • barfman2014||

    *barf*

  • Vulgar Madman||

    Scumbag traitor? You mean everyone who works for the NSA? I prefer that they be hanged. Along with bootlicking creeps like yourself.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    This is exactly the reaction that Snowden and his handlers were hoping for: People who don't know shit, and generally live in their mother's basements, all clamoring for the destruction of one of our Nation's most effective intelligence assets.

  • Cytotoxic||

    MaidSafe team, if you're listening: faster please.

  • Christophe||

    Meh. I don't trust their design, TBH. Too much fluff and not enough substance.

    The tech is already here: Tor, I2P, and Tahoe-LAFS for storage. The main privacy risk is always the company you give access to so they can do something useful with your data.

  • GamerFromJump||

    So all those people who were going on about how he was in the employ of Chinese*/Russian paymasters were fuckin' liars. But we knew that.

    * Imagine the sound of a bunch of Hongkongers being pissed at being called Chinese here.

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