Feds Declassify Small Amount of NSA Snooping Data That We Already Know

Classified talking points made public


Tell us again how there's no mass collection of data!

Edward Snowden's leaks are allegedly bad and damaging to the United States' homeland security efforts, and also wrong and exaggerated, the federal government insists. But today the federal government also declassified some documents describing and justifying their mass metadata collection efforts, so why should we believe it's dangerous to be made public? Anyway, the declassified documents pretty much confirm what we've already been told. Via CNet:

Documents declassified on Wednesday by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper describe the National Security Agency's data snooping, aka "Bulk Collection Program," carried out under the USA Patriot Act.

A 2009 document confirms the controversial program under which the NSA has the authority to collect from telecom providers such information as the date, time, and length of a call.

The document says that the actual call content is not collected, while any information gathered is not protected by the Fourth Amendment. The court orders served to telecom companies require them to turn over the records for any call made within the U.S. or between the U.S. and another country. The government has the power to snare certain details on e-mails as well, including the sender, receiver, and the time the message was sent, but not the content or subject line, according to the document.

The cover letters nicely provided all the talking points we've heard from the program's defenders already. The most interesting parts of the documents are, obviously, what is redacted out. In the 2011 report (pdf), talking about Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) oversight, it mentions that, before submitting a bulk records query, an NSA analyst must have reasonable suspicion that the e-mail address they want to look at is associated with something or someone that has been redacted. Two thoughts here: Do they think that we are unable to complete that sentence (or that the likely targets are)? Or would the most logical completion of the sentence ("identified terrorist threats against the United States") actually be incorrect?

It also mentions the one set of "compliance issues" that has been caught before about the collection of bulk records, but much of the information is redacted, leaving just a statement that they didn't see any "bad faith" in these mistakes and that "remedial action" was ordered. We have no idea what they did wrong, but it was connected to the collection of business records.  

The three documents may be read here.

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  1. The NSA should publish the metadata of all their search requests to industry. If the NSA has nothing to hide, why don’t they publish it?

  2. Where’s a vomitorium when you need one?

    1. That word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

      1. I lurn sumthing today. Francisco happy.

      2. maybe ramjet wants to flee the building?

  3. Yeah, anything coming out of Clapper’s mouth can be trusted. SIKE!


  4. Obama is being transparent, he’s just using slow glass.

  5. I am sick of this shit.

    4A is not about privacy. It’s about search and seizure, which means it’s about property rights. WHAT the data/object/property is has no bearing on whether 4A applies or not.

    If I own stuff, and I don’t want the government to have my stuff, I don’t have to give it to them without a warrant. PERIOD!

    Because I put that stuff out on the internet doesn’t mean you have the right to take it from my computer. You can go get it off the internet, because I chose to make it public. But I can still refuse to hand over the same stuff to the government.

    This third party argument is complete bullshit because the 4th amendment is about property rights NOT privacy. In the case of metadata, it belongs to the provider and is stored on their computers. The fact that it can be found elsewhere is irrelevant. You can’t have it without a warrant if the provider doesn’t wish to give you HIS property without one.

    1. Serious question: how does our data not fall under “effects” in the 4A?

      I’m still new to these radical ideas about liberty so if you had a link to something I could read if you don’t want to answer that’s perfectly fine with me.

      1. You got me?

        Smith was the SCOTUS case that decided pen registry data wasn’t protected under 4A. And Katz established the “reasonable expectation to privacy.”

        I believe that’s why they are arguing they can take metadata.

        Smith was pretty clearly wrong IMHO. Thank go the SCOTUS is there to protect our civil liberties give the government even more power.

        1. go = god

          EDIT FUNCTION!

  6. See? TRANSPARENCY! It’s the most transparent administration of all time!

  7. I like the entirely redacted paragraph in the first letter that follows the introductory sentence “Both of these programs operate on a very large scale.”

    What they probably redacted:

    Each of these programs is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the street to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to these programs. Listen…

  8. Here’s an idea! Why don’t we just stop doing shit to make people want to kill us? This plan would literally cost nothing to implement and could be started immediately.

  9. Hudson. I agree that Anita`s report is surprising… on sunday I bought a great new Maserati since getting a check for $5303 this last 4 weeks and a little over ten/k last-month. it’s by-far the most comfortable job Ive had. I began this 5 months ago and straight away brought home at least $73, p/h. I went to this web-site, ….

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