NSA

Lying Surveillance State Bootlickers Tell More Lies in Order to Spy on Americans

They want to repeal requirements for warrants and prohibitions on weakening Internet security

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NSA

Earlier this month the House of Representatives passed the Massie-Lofgren Amendment to the Defense Appropriation bill that would prohibit the National Security Agency (NSA) from (1) rifling through the stored communications of Americans without a warrant, and (2) trying to sabotage Internet security by forcing private companies to weaken the privacy protections of their customers by installing "backdoors" into their software with the goal of enabling domestic surveillance. Under the pretext of monitoring foreign communications, the NSA has amassed a huge database that includes the communications of Americans that its minions claim it has the authority to search without seeking a warrant. The amendment would prohibit the spending of any funds by the NSA for either activity.

Importantly, the amendment which passed by a vote of 255 to 174 would simply require that federal officials who want to look at the communications of an American citizen go get a warrant as provided for by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Now the chief Congressional stooge for the surveillance state, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has sent out a letter urging all of those members of Congress who voted for the Massie-Lofgren Amendment to reconsider and rescind their votes.

Nunes includes a letter from confessed perjuror Director of Central Intelligence James Clapper who claims that the requirement to obtain a warrant would unduly interfere with the identification of terrorist plots in the U.S. As examples, Clapper then mentions such plots as the 9/11 atrocities, Fort Hood, the Underwear Bomber, the Navy Yard shootings, and Boston Marathon bombing. For his part Nunes notes that "in recent weeks, law enforcement agencies have disrupted homegrown terrorist attacks in Garland, Texas and Boston, Massachusetts." So far as I can tell from news reports, not one of the attacks and plots mentioned by either Clapper or Nunes was identified in advance by NSA surveillance. (And even had they been, tolerating such surveillance is still not worth the damage caused to our civil liberties.)

Below are some particularly salient remarks about protecting American civil liberties made during debate over the amendment.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) declared:

The American people can be kept safe, and we can follow the Constitution. We don't have to disregard it, and that is what this amendment would allow us to do, to keep the American people safe while protecting their civil liberties. There are two provisions here, and they both close backdoors. One backdoor currently allows, without probable cause or a warrant, for the NSA to query a database of American persons' information. This is wrong. They should have a warrant.

The other part of this amendment would prevent money from being spent to fund companies to put backdoors into products. When the government causes these companies to intentionally make defects in their products, they make Americans less safe. They make Americans' data less safe, and they compromise the quality of American goods overseas. Ultimately, this is about the Constitution, and if you believe in the Constitution, if you believe that it is still valid, if you think we can honor the Fourth Amendment and that we can still keep people safe, then I urge you to vote for this amendment.

In support, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii):

Our number one priority is keeping the American people safe. We do that by focusing our resources on those who actually pose a threat to our safety, while upholding the freedoms and civil liberties of the American people, not by continuing this dragnet spying on millions of Americans. There is no evidence to date that these programs have made our country more secure. Not a single taxpayer dollar should be used to fund a program that spies on innocent Americans, violating the principles of liberty and freedom that so many have fought and given their lives for.

Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) further noted:

The NSA has shown they will always interpret the law to the extent that allows them to seize the information. That is why the law has to be much more clear to the NSA. We all must remember that the NSA was violating the PATRIOT Act, as written. This amendment does something that is very concrete. It tells the NSA: Get a warrant. Get a warrant through the front door. You get a warrant through the backdoor. You can't spy on Americans unless you get a warrant.

As Cato Institute Policy Analyst for Homeland Security and Civil Liberties Patrick Eddington pointed out:

The Nunes-Clapper letter is the first salvo in the battle over the fate of this critically important surveillance reform measure. It will not be the last.

It also demonstrates that despite the enormity of the revelations provided to the world by Edward Snowden about the scope and illegality of the U.S. government's mass surveillance programs, the Intelligence Community's power to fight back remains potent—especially when its ostensible watchdogs are its biggest supporters and apologists.

All too true. Let's hope that the members of Congress will not be fooled by these additional lies from national security state bootlickers. 

And, before I forget, James Clapper should be fired and prosecuted for lying to Congress. See video below.

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  1. But, yeah, there’s TOTALLY still hope for the US! Totally! Vote! Work within the system! We can fix it.

    DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM

    1. Given that the vote was clearly in favor of Massie’s amendment yes there is obviously merit to that option, your need to blow your doom-wad nothwithstanding.

      1. Well it is the land of bootleggers and pot growers

        1. opp’s ,ment to comment onKristen below

          1. Be careful, because the NSA is certainly watching over your comments, and placing one in the wrong spot can get you in trouble. NSA and Congressional committee members, I’m all in favor of adding more surveillance powers, as long as an amendment is included to federally criminalize inappropriately deadpan email parodies. See the documentation of one case in New York that you can use as an example:

            http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

      2. But let’s face it, the Founders had something akin to the task of Sisyphus at trying to create a limited government that would stay limited. After all, while I think many individuals may tend to want to be free themselves, when the herd gets together its mostly BAAAAAAAA all the way.

        1. the Founders had something akin to the task of Sisyphus at trying to create a limited government that would stay limited.

          True but they did pretty well for a while. Things would be a lot worse if not for their efforts.

          when the herd gets together its mostly BAAAAAAAA all the way.

          Either you’re wrong or ‘the herd’ is not always together because we haven’t gone ‘BAAAA all the way’ (never go Full Sheeptard?). The closest we got was in the ’30s. Since then Jim Crow and other evils have been repealed. Thankfully we did not just mope around moaning about DOOM.

          1. Sheeptard! LOL!

            I probably am guilty of hyperbole to some extent. One of my more cynical moments.

            I basically don’t have much hope in the long term survival of our country, at least not in even trying to live up to the ideal that it is supposed to represent: individual liberty OVER the power of the state). Though short term, I think there may actually be a bit of libertarian streak in the younger generations coming up. Sort of a rebellion against reflexive Leftism, but with a bit less of hellfire and brimstone for sex stuff then the older Socons. I hope we can harness that.

            1. I think tech and inter-state competition will go a long way all over the world, but America at this point doesn’t make sense. Break it up.

        2. “. . . when the herd gets together its mostly BAAAAAAAA all the way.”

          Too true. And one of the reasons I don’t “herd.”

          1. That’s not what I herd!

      3. The problem is that the NSA can do any damn thing it wants. When they get caught, the Administration need only to argue in court that their interpretation of law allows it to do anything damn thing it wants. And they can do so with full confidence that SCOTUS will re-draft legislation and re-define words necessary to uphold the fact that the Administration can do any damn thing it wants.

        1. The SCOTUS will redraft certain laws and certain words. They are totally random and that is bad, but they still spike section 215 of the PA.

  2. Between Paul and Massie, is KY some kind of libertopia or sumpin?

    Anyhoo:

    The American people can be kept safe

    By allowing guns pretty much everywhere, yes. But methinks that’s not where this Nunes character is going.

    1. NutraSweet lives in KY. I guess you’ll have to decide for yourself whether that’s an indication of libertopia…or portal to Hell.

      1. It’s like the Catholic purgatory, only with more purges.

  3. Speaking of Clapper, he’s speaking at the Aspen Institute this year. From the program:

    Herding Cats: Synthesizing the Intelligence Community
    More than a decade after its creation, the Director of National Intelligence gives an accounting of ODNI’s progress to date and the work that remains to be done.

    James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence
    Moderator: Andrea Mitchell, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, NBC News

    1. ODNI’s progress: Look at all of the plots we stopped! We swear that at least a couple of them weren’t started by the FBI.

      1. That always reminds me of Diplomatic Security bragging, in new employee security briefings, about catching the Myers. AFTER 30 FUCKING YEARS.

  4. Its hilarious how quickly these guys will claim that any ability to spy on people instantly becomes as “essential tool” in law enforcement/national security, without which we are leaving the public dangerously at risk of WMD Rape or something…. despite the fact that only a few years ago this capability was absolutely unheard of and yet we managed to avoid Armageddon.

    That’s basically the pattern – every new power becomes ‘essential’ power. Because if the NSA can’t spy on people…why, our *enemies* might!

    1. NO SURVEILLANCE ON EARTH PREVENT WMD RAPE BY STEVE SMITH.

      1. Does that involve STEVE SMITH raping a WMD or STEVE SMITH using a WMD as a weapon for his rape?

        1. YES

          1. STEVE SMITH PENIS IS WmD

            /WEAPON of mASS DESTRUCTION

    2. Not just every new power. Every new agency. Every new law. Every new budget.

      Of course it doesn’t get smaller. Because it has an inherent imperative to never allow that to happen.

      1. The only thing a bureaucracy does well is feed itself.

        1. That’s a really succinct and accurate way to put it. It has no place here. Get out!

        2. Ouroboros should be the official symbol of the bureaucracy.

      2. Kind of like Viagra?

  5. Clapper then mentions such plots as the 9/11 atrocities, Fort Hood, the Underwear Bomber, the Navy Yard shootings, and Boston Marathon bombing.

    Is this supposed to be a track record of success?

    1. 9/11 – completely missed
      Fort Hood – willfully ignored
      Boston Marathon – ignored warnings

      1. I know. The bottom line is spying on emails and phone calls BY US CITIZENS probably wouldn’t have done anything to prevent any of these acts:

        I think even with the vague warning that was published in the daily intelligence briefing Bush saw (along with thousands of other “threats” he was probably made aware of) it was an unprecedented type of attack.

        Fort Hood: all the signs were there with this Islamic goon. He should have been dealt with previously. And he should have been considered an enemy combatant when he started shooting.

        Boston Marathon: What more could we have done? The Russians told us about them. Spying on hundreds of thousands of emails and phone calls wouldn’t have gotten us anymore info.

        1. Part of the problem, I suspect, is the overload that mass surveillance creates. Collection is only the rudimentary first step of the intelligence process. Beyond that, you need analysis and dissemination. But, the sheer volume of collected data makes meaningful coordination, analysis or assessment of data a farce.

          1. After a certain point, the collection becomes the mission. Not gleaning anything from the data, or using it to stop attacks. Just having it and collecting it. Because that’s what bureaucracies do.

    2. I suspect the idea there is: “we were unable to stop these plots. We need more power!”

      1. Either that or “THEY COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE!”

        1. Good point – always a strong statist fallback position as in, “the economic recovery would have been so much worse without the stimulus.”

          1. Politicians specialize in making unfalsifiable statements.

  6. The fundamental problem is that the NSA is acting as an arm of the FBI/DEA, which is explicitly outside of its jurisdiction.

    Is this due to the desires of the NSA or does the real problem lie within the DOJ? I believe it’s the latter. The NSA just wants to expand its budget and server space like any other bureaucracy. It’s the DOJ that has consistently shown how it is willing to trample the Constitution in order to crawl up the ass of every US citizen.

    Sever the ties between the NSA and the DOJ and it will be a large step towards restoring our 4th Amendment rights.

    1. “The fundamental problem is that the NSA is acting…”

      You could have stopped there.

    2. The NSA, like any other agency, would have become completely self-serving and mainly interested in its own power and growth, oh, about five minutes after it was created. The NSA doesn’t need any push from the DOJ to want to violate people’s rights. It does that as a matter of course, as a matter of its existence. It’s literally what it was created to do.

      1. Not saying that their own self-interest wouldn’t have ultimately led them to grow beyond their mandate. Just that the NSA was tasked for foreign signals intelligence, a justifiable purpose, and it’s since their involvement with the DOJ / DHS that they have gotten completely out of control. Even the Clipper Chip was pushed by the DOJ.

        1. It’s entirely possible that things like the Clipper Chip push actually originated with the NSA. Not that it matters. The point is that it’s irrelevant which agency might be more aggressive. At the end of the day, they’re all on the same side with the same overall purpose.

          1. I spoke with an NSA guy at a conference (which seemed weird, back in the 90s) about Clipper Chip, and he said something about needing a way around encryption to avoid another Pearl Harbor. Which 9/11 was somewhat akin to, though we didn’t avoid it. There was also talk at the conference about criminals being stupid, so they would just used the intentionally comprised systems by and large.

  7. As examples, Clapper then mentions such plots as the 9/11 atrocities, Fort Hood, the Underwear Bomber, the Navy Yard shootings, and Boston Marathon bombing.

    BOOGA BOOGA!

    “Without these broad and virtually unlimited powers, there is no way that we can completely not whiff, again, on seeing the next deadly attack before it happens.”

    1. We must sacrifice the 4th amendment to protect the nation from retarded Nigerians who might otherwise burn their own dick off and make terrorists look like morons that don’t require a gigantic security apparatus to protect the nation from.

      1. passengers then heard popping noises, smelled a foul odour, and some saw Abdulmutallab’s trouser leg and the wall of the plane on fire

        “We take comments about farting seriously.”

  8. OT:

    President Barack Obama said Tuesday markets have “properly factored in” the risks of Greece’s financial situation. Speaking at a White House news conference alongside the president of Brazil, Obama said Greece was “primarily” a concern to Europe but said it was important for the U.S. to plan for any contingency.

    Oh, yes, he knows.

    1. Not as if our global financial systems are incestuously interconnected, or anything.

    2. Yeah, um, no. We’re in big trouble if Europe gets ill. Well, much more ill.

      1. I’m liquidating all of my stocks of Ouzo. Just in case.

        1. So basically you’re getting wasted today. Can I join you? I’ll bring your mom along!

        2. Here’s my plan for Greece: Create an Economic Development Zone in some lower-populated islands, without any of the crazy Greek rules. And I mean none. Basically, not-Greece within Greece. Let foreign companies come in and operate for 99 years without any interference. Total laissez-faire area, right smack in Europe.

          1. A Greek Hong Kong. It’s crazy enough to work.

            1. I hereby deem it the Agorarama.

              1. Oh come on! Should be named Troy.

      2. Meh. I think (not 100% sure here) that American banks held more Argentinian paper when they defaulted and their economy went tits up than American banks hold Greek paper now. It’ll be felt through the economy, but I’m not worried it will have a major deleterious effect on the US economy.

        1. I am, because Europe is a very important trading partner, investor, etc. They go far south, we’ll feel the effects.

  9. Clapper,is that a government STD? We hear this all the time,they need more ‘tools’ to fight crime,dui,teh terrorist,what ever.It always means,give up your freedom and we’ll keep you safe.I have a shotgun a rifle and 4wd and I will survive bicthes.

  10. 174 voted against it? Looks like we’re going to need a bigger woodchipper.

    1. Just line up 5 or 6, and have a chipping party,stout,,porter,cigars and orphans to clean up.

      1. Could just go back to using decimation.

      2. “To encourage the others.”

      3. There have to be extra-large capacity woodchippers available. Or have they been banned under new assault woodchipper statutes?

  11. “in recent weeks, law enforcement agencies have disrupted homegrown terrorist attacks in Garland, Texas and Boston, Massachusetts.” So far as I can tell from news reports, not one of the attacks and plots mentioned by either Clapper or Nunes was identified in advance by NSA surveillance.

    and . . .

    1. There have been *no* ‘terrorism’ events ‘in recent weeks’. The Garland Texas thing happened at the beginning of May and I don’t know what he’s talking about in Boston – the marathon bombing? Wasn’t that in 2013?

    2. None of those events were stopped by *law enforcement* of any level. The Texas one was stopped by an *off-duty* cop working security at a private event – effectively stopped by a security guard.

    1. A: In re Boston: They’re talking about Rahim and the alleged plot to behead a cop. FWIW, Rahim’s telephone calls were already being monitored by the FBI, presumably pursuant to a warrant – although I was not able to pin that down for sure.

      1. I take solace in being beaten by an expert.

      2. Thanks – I didn’t see anything like that pop up when I did a quick search before shooting my mouth off.

        But its just sad that his go-to examples for why we ‘need’ this are one where monitoring would have done nothing and one where the suspect was already being monitored – using procedures that have been in existence since the telephone.

    2. This might be the Boston one:

      http://tinyurl.com/q6b4dhh

  12. We have to protect the children. Even if our actions do nothing to protect the children, we must do them. You don’t hate children, do you libertarians?

    1. Of course we don’t. Without slave children, who would polish our monocles?

  13. And yet your still in far more danger of dying in your own bathroom,house or car then by a terrorist. Hell,sharks seem to be way ahead of the terrorist this summer.

    1. Or from being shot by a cop…

  14. This is wrong. They should have a warrant.

    Not merely wrong. It’s illegal, and specifically prohibited by the fourth amendment. Anyone who participates in the NSA’s routine violations of our right to privacy should be prosecuted.

    -jcr

    1. You are correct,but,who will arrest and try these people? The one’s breaking the same laws?It has come to that,sorry to say.

    2. The DOJ would be indicting itself, not likely.

    3. jcr has made his ruling, now let him enforce it.

  15. James Clapper should officially be renamed “Unindicted Co-Conspirator #1”.

  16. “James Clapper should be fired and prosecuted for lying to Congress.” – author, Ronald Bailey.

    Yeah. And as soon as you find ANY accountability in our federal and state government mafias, please let me know! Because there isn’t any now.

  17. Clapper should be kept on at the NSA at minimum wage to empty waste baskets and sweep the floors.

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