Pretext: A lot of people are analyzing this recent PRISM thing and speculating on what’s going on. It’s not a mystery. A lot of people are construing this as a privacy issue. While I agree that privacy is an integral part of a democracy, I am inclined to disagree that this is the main issue when talking about the NSA; as I will discuss, that’s the FBI that you should be concerned about. I don’t perceive this as a “privacy” issue. It’s an ethics, constitutional issue, and monetary issue. It’s not just a matter of principle or emotion, it’s a matter of integrity of state. I will be analyzing the holistic state of affairs from a rather different perspective from most of the media (i.e sensationalizing the privacy issue).
Part 1: What is NSA? History
Part 2: Modern Privacy // Myths & Reality
Part 3: The Modern Technology
Part 4: The laws and legal understanding BASICS.
Part 5: “The Players”
Part 6: Current State of Affairs
Part 7: There is no 7, only Zuul!
Part 8: The Future.
Part 9: How do we fix this?
Part 1: What is NSA?
Old agency jokes say that NSA means No Such Agency or Never Say Anything. Until recently, very few people have even heard of the NSA, even though today they are magnitudes larger than the CIA; with a classified budget estimated to be magnitudes larger. Today, NSA employs about 30,000 Americans and holds hundreds of classified contracts with various different security contractors and private enterprise companies. For all intents and purposes, they can play god should they choose to smite you. They have the resources, the technical abilities, the funding and support of the entire United States government (even if many insiders don’t like it). Today, NSA has become arguably the most powerful collective entity on the planet… But how did we get here?
On November 4, 1952, the National Security Agency formed. Their HQ in Fort Mead, Maryland is still today one of the most secretive buildings in the entire country, probably the world. Directly from wikipedia: NSA is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S. government communications and information systems, which involves information security and cryptanalysis/cryptography. To put it rather bluntly, they are an electronic spy agency.
The National Security Agency is not under the Department of Homeland Security. The National Security Agency is organized under the Department of Defense. The Director of the NSA is always a military officer and also commands one of the DoD’s Unified Combatant Commands: CYBERCOM. Parts of Homeland Security and the NSA are both part of the United States Intelligence Community along with 15 other government organizations including the CIA and DIA. All information sharing between them would be directed and governed by the Director of National Intelligence. James R. Clapper.
So what’s the problem today?
Well, this is the long version, from Jewel v NSA (Filed by the EFF in 2012). 2001-2002 “The President’s Surveillance Program” Shortly after September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, President George Bush Jr. authorized NSA to conduct a variety of surveillance activities, including the warrantless surveillance of telephone and Internet communications of persons within the United States. — U.S v Jewel brief. October 1st, 2001 the President gave a secret order to conduct electronic surveillance within the United States, without an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC — Discussed later). The Program would need to be renewed approximately every 45 days. George Bush Jr. renewed the Program Order at least 30 times. This program “Stellarwind” is still around today under the Obama administration, renamed Ragtime-P (more later on that). That same year, USAPATRIOT was freighttrained through Congress, with section 215 intact. This will be discussed or at least mentioned later, along with National Security Letters and their abuse potential and history. This type of mind set and culture of “F*** IT WE’LL DO IT LIVE!” is the real problem with the government today, and I don’t just mean NSA
“There is very little oversight, and when there is it’s often just talk”– Thomas Drake.
The 2002 Trailblazer Project gives us great insight into the political, economic, and pathological environment of the intelligence community, closely following 9/11 attacks. The scars of the paranoia and rapid expansion still resonates today. This is no mistake. There was blood in the water, and private security contracts pooled around it like sharks. In a FRONTLINE Report interview involving Stellar Wind, many of the people directly involved said the same or similar things. “In those days, Congress would give money to anyone who asked.” And they did.
SAIC a private contracting company similar to Lockheed or Northrop, largely failed to provide what they were being contracted to do by the NSA (Create Trailblazer, a surveillance apparatus). Of the $280 million budget, over $1.8billion (yes that’s over budget…) was wasted on the failed Trailblazer project. This lead to Thomas Andrew Drake (Former NSA) blowing the whistle four times, through proper channels, between 2002 and 2006. This will be further analyzed in the Current State of Affairs, as well Thomas Drake will be mentioned extensively in each part. William/Bill Binney (Former NSA) will also be mentioned for his part in the whistle blowing. This type of waste is a matter of culture, as discussed by Thomas Drake in a later section. You should take the time to read his interview later on.
In 2003 the now infamous Room 641A was created. This shows us just how deep the rabbit hole between private enterprise and state security’s marriage goes, and how desperate these folks are for MORE INFORMATION. Room 641A is a telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency that commenced operations in 2003 and was exposed in 2006.
Boeing Narus, an Israeli subsidiary of Boeing, was contracted to create a device that would copy almost every packet (bit of data) sent throughout the “back-bone” of the tier-1 internet lines at AT&T and send them to NSA for data-mining opperations. The Narus STA 6400 was the device used. In 2006 Mark Klein blew the whistle on NSA, leading to the class action lawsuit by the EFF against AT&T (Hepting v AT&T). The room was also covered in the PBS Nova episode “The Spy Factory”.
The John Ashcroft (Then Attorney General) situation –See “Attorney General” section in 2004 highlighted just how desperate G.W.H.B and players (discussed later) like David Addington and Dick Cheney were to continue this type of blatantly illegal program. With the reelection of Bush in 2004, Ashcroft gave his resignation.
On July 20, 2006, a federal judge denied the government’s and AT&T’s motions to dismiss the case, chiefly on the ground of the States Secrets Privilege, allowing the lawsuit to go forward. On August 15, 2007, the case was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was dismissed on December 29, 2011 based on a retroactive grant of immunity by Congress for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government. This will be discussed in “Laws” (FISA Amendment Act of 2008 sec 702).
With the election of President George Bush Jr. for his Third Time (aka Obama) the surveillance state expanded. I won’t touch much on it, but Stuxnet was actually the result of President Bush, and completed under Obama under “Operation Olympic Games”. This shows us just how far Obama is willing to go to expand our use of cyber weapons, and their deployment, or rather discovery, in 2010.
In 2012 the codename Ragtime-P was leaked. This was a continuation of the domestic spying program originally Stellarwind. In 2013 a few things happened. A judge shoots down NSLs (largely an FBI problem) and a man named Edward Snowden leaked documents detailing what many already knew and had confirmed. The presence of an illicit marriage between the U.S DoD and private enterprise. This caused many people to flip the fuck out. However, today, the NSA, contrary to common belief, does have strict POLICY oversight, is not a rogue agency, and is not spying on every citizen in the United States the way it is being asserted. I will discuss this point further in part 7. However, the NSA does have nearly unlimited power (should they choose to exercise it), is involved with some possibly unconstitutional behavior, and involved in some egregious violations on matters of national security. All of this will be discussed further in different sections.
All of this said, one has to ask, to what ends is this all orchestrated? To what end? The answer is two fold and will be analyzed later.
“Total Informational Awareness” is the first answer. The second is simply “Because they’ll cut our budget next year if don’t keep spending”. The private enterprise leeches the massive budget, and will continue to do so until the marriage is broken, or more light is cast into this “shadow government”. This is not conspirators terminology. For every government entity, these is at least twice as many “shadow” entities doing the exact same job, for the same or greater cost.
So what about privacy?
Part 2: Modern Privacy // Myths & Reality
Modern Privacy has largely become a thing of the past; this is the sad truth of affairs. There are three sides to this story: the reality, the paranoia and hype (i.e sensationalism), and taking extremist measures (such as TAILs or TOR for everything).
Privacy is a concept that was fundamental to the United States’ Founding Fathers. If you don’t already know what the 4th amendment is, I suggest you check out /r/Assert_Your_Rights. Operation Shamrock is the first time we see NSA doing, well, exactly what they’re doing today; analyzing data of domestic messages by intercepting them without out knowledge or approval. During Shamrock 1945, they would read the outgoing telegraphs. How did they get them, you may ask? The same way they get them today, through the new PRISM program we’re now learning about. They asked…
There is a common misconception that the NSA is spying on our private conversations, looking at the naughty pictures you send me ladies ;- ) and keeping dossiers with our names and numbers on them. This is flat out untrue. I assure you, using software such as: Xkeyscore, Narus-Insight, DCS5000 (FBI), or even Wireshark or firesheep (lol), the NSA could spy on you in an instant. However, they don’t. That is a separate issue of technology and law enforcement. That is not what I am here to discuss. The violations of NSLs, FBI wiretaps, and other things of this nature are a different (related) monster. Please don’t misconstrue what I am saying to think that I’m down playing the capabilities that the NSA has; they’re nearly endless. I am here to give you the facts, the reality, the culture, the economic and socioeconomic repercussions if don’t fix this now. We are talking about the NSA, not the FBI. (See TSA analogy later on).
So where does that leave us? Well, for starters you can cast out the image of the NSA having thousands of people behind screens laughing at your private emails, or seeing you googled the word “bomb” or “Ricin” and desperately trying to learn everything about your past. There are only a handful (aprx. 12 — I believe according Thomas Drake in this Q&A) people on the Earth that cleared in and “allowed” to read your emails in the intelligence agencies. Again, we are not talking about the corruption and lack of oversight of the FBI; we are speaking explicitly about intelligence and contractors. We are speaking assuming that they are following the rules. There is a strict process by which the NSA can actually look at content data; however, what Edward Snowden and Jacob Applebaum (discussed in part 5) tell us is that COLLECTION IS STILL AN ISSUE.
People tend to think about as if they’re being spied on RIGHT NOW. “Oh god! They’re watching me! THEY’RE WATCHING ME!”
No. They’re not. They’re NOT watching YOU DIRECTLY, even if they are passively collecting some obscure meta-data and sorting it; it’s not “yours”. They don’t link it to your phone, your photo, etc. The fact that they COULD is scary, but that’s not what I’m talking about here today (That’s the FBI, you can listen to Jake Applebaum if you’re worried about the privacy and safety from law enforcement side to this.) Read into Ragtime-P for more information on this.
There are (probably) no lists with your NAME on it. (unless you’re a known terrorist…Snowden talks about this in the interview, about false labels, but I don’t want to get into the “what if” hypotheticals, such as “what if YOU DO hit their shit list??” — That’s a separate really scary issue I’m not going to touch on here. That’s the type of thing we’ll be forced to deal with in about ten years, if we don’t stop this stuff now. Yeah, we need to worry about this stuff NOW, because the FBI and the NYPD are doing that NOW. Not so much the NSA…but if we look at what they’re creating (a surveillance state the likes of which the Stazi or George Orwell could have only dreamed of) we are actually that close from “Turnkey Tyranny”.
You’re assuming anyone/everyone involved in the intelligence world (mostly private sector) actually gives a shit about our PERSONAL information, like who we’re sleeping with, or what we like to drink after work, what I had for breakfast or how often I jerk off, or what porn I favor…They don’t. Get adblock plus and 50% of the problem is solved for the folks who care about that stuff. E.g marketing firms.
They (Agencies like CIA and NSA and to a lesser extent FBI) want the big picture — See Boundless Informant…
Your girlfriend’s hot tits aren’t their concern, neither is hacking your webcam to spy on you beating off. That’s where the privacy issues of NSA’s Box, sorry Microsoft XBox one come into play with PRISM specifically, but again, I’m not talking about this here today. Still with me folks?
They (The contractors and agencies like and including NSA) want a bigger $$ contract (by proxy a cut of NSA budget, from a cut of your paycheck)**
It’s not a matter of what they are or they’re not looking at…. It’s not even a matter IF they WANT to look AT YOU. I assure you, they absolutely could (the privacy issue part of it) but THEY DON’T. It’s also true I COULD go around killing people in the street….but I don’t. In fact, someone like me (the shady scary tech types with a laptop on reddit o0o0o0o0o0o) could gather just as much information on you as they could. Perhaps more, because I’m not bound by the law and I’m an asshole (hypothetically).
So what does that mean?
They’re not actually creating Dossiers on every living person on Earth.
For some perspective on what they’re (the intelligence side, not the enforcement side) actually doing I suggest you read a lot of this guy Thomas Drake (NSA Whistle Blower 4 times over). This was the interview I talked about earlier. READ THIS.
Unless they have a really good reason or a ton of really really “high-value” intelligence spilling out of “you”, I doubt anyone even cares you exist. I understand this does raise concerns about “Total Informational Awareness” and being able to retroactively data-mine you maliciously, but that’s not what I’m here to show. They’d just query Stazibook. But that’s not going to be the NSA or CIA. That’s the popo and the feds. (Sup’ Feds. Apparently I made front page. My name is No One, I’m 21 years young and I want you to read this and accept that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.)
If you want more on the privacy concerns (they are extremely valid, but I’m looking at this on a bigger scale, not a law enforcement scale or ‘privacy concern’ perspective) check out Jacob Applebaum’s (TOR project guy) 2 hour talk on digital repression.. This guy is brilliant, but he’s not talking about the same thing I am here. The privacy issue attached with PRISM “scandal” PRISM/NSA-Gate (can I coin this? I’ve always wanted to coin a term :-3) is just a catalyst to garner attention. Edward Snowden is largely a martyr in my opinion, and a hero.
Part 3: The Modern Technology
I don’t want to spend too much time with this, because this is an endless rabbit hole. Everything from the 1.8gigapixil cameras on MQ drones; The Narus STA 6400is fundamentally a splitter that copies all packets of data and filters them. Check out this break down of RAGTIME-P (surveillance on a huge scale) to see how it works. (Fun google buzz words, nothing substantial here)
Narus-Insight is similar to DCS5000 (point and click surveillance folks!) — Mostly FBI :: IMSI catchers — Fake towers being used by the NYPD. (See Applebaum’s repression workshop). :: Xkeyscore — The datamining program NSA uses (probably) :: Tempest Attacks — They can actually read the EM waves in your house through your walls and what have you….scarrryyyy :: Laser Mics — A fun science project for 6th graders. Nothing more than hype. :: Echelon– SIGINT network :: Carnivor — Project FBI uses :: Stylomatry — analyze who you are based on the words you use and the way you type :: RSA History :: TruCrypt — You should all download this! :: PGP encryption :: TOR :: TAILS — I use this without a hard drive for ‘secret’ stuff (implying i have any) :: Firesheep — Facebook cookie snatcher :: Wifipinnaples — I’m just listing fun stuff, this is a “rogue access point” attack — :: SCADA system infiltration (what I first got involved with with this security nonsense) and all types of fun military drones etc etc. Check out more on GOOGLE and dig around some forums for the tech (personally 3 years ago I though the DARPA vulcan project scramjets were the coolest thing ever….still do).
“Okay, it’s important to not to let this stuff paralyze you…it’s one thing to know it’s happening, and it’s one thing, and it’s another to pretend that the solution is to become a Luddite” — (Watch for 3 minutes)Jabob Applebaum
Part 4: The Laws (link)
NSLs or National Security Letters — These are now basically in the past since the court ruled them unconstitutional. Under USAPATRIOT these administrative subpoenas were given vastly expanded access to things like “databases” as opposed to hyper specific non-content data, like who called who ‘meta-data’. These letters, or requests (with force) allowed (mostly the FBI) to completely subvert the process of obtaining a warrant. That’s a whole other scandal with AT&T employees being placed inside FBI HQ’s. NSLs came with a gag order. This meant that you couldn’t tell anyone about it, not even that you had received it. Not even a lawyer. The FBI sent out as many as 50,000 of these per years to various different bodies. PRISM (NSA’s program) saw fit to simply cut out even the NSL and go directly to the providers as opposed to ISPs (internet service providers). NSLs are a huge deal, and there is enough information on google to fill another post about them. But that is the basics. They’re abusive subversive pseudo-warrants that the FBI used to use until very recently this year.
SCA — “Third Party Doctrine” and Stored Communications Act — I.E if you share something with a third party, they can share it. This matters! This is why PRISM is technically legal…although probably unconstitutional. Anything that is stored on their database is theirs. Your emails? Theirs. Pictures? Theirs. Now, that doesn’t give them the right to reproduce it due to copywrite laws, but there is no LAW preventing them from snooping, even if policy prevents them from doing so. They can also, as with PRISM, simply hand over your data to law enforcement at their leisure.
* US v Duffey — Cell phone dumps (mostly and FBI trick) are legal because of the “Third party doctrine” discussed above. What the FBI didn’t tell the courts was how many innocent people also were tracked based on these “cell dumps” which are pseudo-GPS tracking. (See also IMSI towers for wiretapping).
* Hepting V AT&T — Discussed previously, the 641a room lawsuit filed by the EFF.
* Jewel V NSA — Basically part 2 of Hepting after the Hepting case was dismissed.
* People V Diaz — Cell phones don’t need warrants after an arrest. Not related to the NSA, but still be aware of this fact and always encrypt your stuff! Check out /r/Assert_Your_Rights and /r/Privacy for sure.
* USSID-18 Regulations and boundaries circa 2005 (thanks /u/postmodern)
* CALEA — Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) in 1994 to make it easier for law enforcement to wiretap digital telephone networks. CALEA forced telephone companies to redesign their network architectures to make wiretapping easier. It expressly did not regulate data traveling over the Internet.
* USAPATRIOT Section 215 — Honestly, it’s tl;dr please just read it off the resource link provided.
* FISC – Foreign Surveillance Court(Created under FISA) — This is basically the “court” designed to oversee foreign communications and what have you and approve the looking into data. Remember, the NSA can legally (my ass) store your information, as long as they don’t read it or analyze it (that’s scary…and many people believe illegal). Contrary to common belief, as was stated, there is oversight on NSA. Lots of it.
2008 FISA Amendment Act – Section 702. “Activities under Section 702 are governed by [REDACTED]executed jointly by the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence that detail targeting and minimization procedures under which the government will obtain foreign intelligence data. —
Acquisition under Section 702 is governed by targeting procedures and minimization procedures for Section 702 filed with the FISC stipulating, among other things, that The target is *”reasonably believe to be a NON-USPER outside the U.S. *[The problem is there is no unclassified standard for this. – Noted by A.R.R] A significant purpose of the acquisition” is to acquire foreign intelligence. Minimization procedures are in place for USPER information. Targeting and minimization procedures are consistent with the Fourth Amendment to the U.S.”
By order of the FISC, the Government is prohibited from indiscriminately sifting through the telephony metadata acquired under the program. All information that is acquired under this program is subject to strict, court-imposed restrictions on review and handling. The court only allows the data to be queried when there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts, that the particular basis for the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organization. Only specially cleared counterterrorism personnel specifically trained in the Court-approved procedures may even access the records. (link)
Part 5: The Players
For the record, I won’t be listing all the agencies. I will leave you with this analogy.
Comparing law enforcement to NSA is like comparing them to TSA to DEA. Just because the TSA sometimes finds drugs, it’s not their job to kick in your door and build cases about it. This is analogous to to FBI and the NSA in that the NSA is light-years ahead of the FBI in terms of electronic capabilities, but doesn’t kick your door in (well maybe mine). — /u/ldonthaveaname
Edward Snowden — NSA Whistleblower I hope you’ve watched Ed. Snowden talk you’ve heard him say quite a bit about this stuff. He’s talking about Privacy issues, or so it would seem…really, he’s talking about RESTORING DEMOCRACY AND OVERSIGHT, not subjective privacy concerns about your silly skype convos. I’m not giving this guy’s life story here. /r/Snowden
William/Bill Binney) — If you’ve not heard the story of Bill Binney click that link right now. Really. Bill Binney was an NSA executive who left the NSA after blowing the whistle on the stuff I’m trying to raise awarness about right now. I.E that it is a privacy issue, but more over, it’s a matter of wasting and dysfunction. Thomas Drake has some great stuff on this.
Thomas Andrew Drake — NSA Whistleblower and one of my heros. I don’t even want to put the wiki paragraph here. Read this for more about TrailBlazer You really have to read this to understand and contextualize everything I’m talking about. Of all the resources I’ve linked here, this is the most important. (link)
* John Ashcroft — As discussed previous, he was the Attorney General under Bush for the first term. Read his Wikipedia on his term as AG and watch “Cheney’s Law”
* Eric Holder — Acting Attorney General under Obama as of today (Jun, 13. 2013).
* Obama – Ring ring ring ring….OBAMA PHONE!
* James Clapper — Director of National Intelligence
* Dick Cheney — Dictator of the United States 2000-2004. See the documentary Cheney’s Law (FRONT LINE).
* China — According to Snowden if you don’t believe my word for it, contrary to common belief, we’re not really at war with China. I’ll bet in 50 years the “informational cold war” (I’m bad at coining terms) will be a thing. We hack them, they hack us. It’s symbiotic and both sides lie and point fingers at the other. Why not sing koobayha and make friendly you ask? Simple. Money. I was a security conference last week and I heard this quote “You can sell anything to China…..ONCE.”
* Russia — Russian hackers are a different group. These guys are criminals. I really don’t have time to dig into this, but I think the NSA could and should be doing more to protect against this and lifting it from the totally overwhelmed and inept FBI. It’s our tax money, why are we not protected? (See Bryan Krebs on Security).
* No One / AngryRantingRealist — Some guy with a laptop. You can read more about me if you really care (“Judge me not by who I am, but by the weight of the words I speak” — Some profound shit I just made up to quote myself)
* General Keith Alexander — Director of NSA … In the words of Jacob Applebaum “This man is a fucking liar.” I’d loooveee to see that report the NSA talked about today (6/12/13) what with “dozens” of plots foiled. My ass. Keith Alexander is arguably the most powerful man on earth today. He commands the Navy 10th and the Airforce 24th fleets as a private army. He has risen through the ranks higher and held more power than anyone in American History.
* Bryan Krebs– Washington Post former Journalist on security. Really fantastic in depth stuff.
* Jacob Applebaum– Computer Security Researcher and TOR project. /u/ioerror / @ioerror This guy is my hero. Go to youtube and watch his digital repression workshop. It’s long, but it’s super insightful. This guy is a legend.
Part 6: Current State of Affairs
I hope you’ve watched Ed. Snowden talk you’ve heard him say
“All they care about is POLICY” and that the only way to change things is through POLICY.
But wouldn’t NSA want to prevent a 9/11 or track Al Qaeda? — Interviewer …
That’s logical thinking. You have to remember, NSA is an institution, and it preserves its integrity before anything else. Rule number one. It’s pathological. — Thomas Drake.
Changing the culture is the way to go (see Thomas Drake Interview). Unfortunately, unlike PIPA SOPA this isn’t something that’s just going to go away over night if google and friends says [“we don’t like this”](www.stopwatching.us). They have a culture of apathy (not just the NSA, we’re talking big picture). Just ask the man who knew 9/11 was coming (even outside NSA who “knew a lot” — Drake) John O’Niel (FBI). Such a tragedy that he died in the attacks themselves after being forced out of the FBI for being “abrasive”. Watch the whole story of John O’Niel here (really great 9/11 stuff)
Private Contractors/NSA: It’s not an entity of illicit shady types behind the curtain, it’s a group of executives with skilled “hackers” (misnomer) and analysts working for them, marketing literal bullshit (trailblazer) to the government and the government willingly relinquishing control to the private sector
(booz allen, raytheon, lockheed, northrop grummun, boeing etc etc etc.) It’s about PROFIT.
What better way to get profit than to make the NSA (the pay-check suppliers by proxy) and U.S DoD (paayyychhheeeckkkkkksss). The issue is that this country doesn’t even know what it’s doing anymore. We’ve tossed money to companies like Booz Allen and CAIC (which IMHO isn’t even the big bad wolf…see BlueCo, Lockheed, Northrop etc) and they’ve built us a functioning ‘Total Awareness Matrix’ but at the end of the day, we’re not aware of shit. There is so much redundancy it’s unbelievable.
Part 8: The Future
Today, the sky is not falling. At least not in terms of your personal conversations about drug dealing and cheating on your wife in regards to NSA. That’s the FBI…you should worry about them, and the police state Bloomberg has created with the NYPD… What people like myself, and many others are worried about is what happens when they keep stretching, keep over-reaching and expanding…where does it end? Does it? Does it implode, explode, snap? Do we fall into tyranny? What happens to democracy when everything is a secret? Watch Thomas A. Drake on this stuff (First 20 minutes)
If we put this much power from spying into humanitarian efforts, like solving sex trafficking, or drug exports (implying we don’t allow it), or stopping cyber criminals (Check out Bryan Krebs on this stuff!) the world would be a better place. However, we aren’t team America World Police. We just wrap ourselves up in the flag of democracy and pat ourselves on the good german backs and say “job well done, we got paid!” …when really it’s about the bottom line and squeezing the fruit (literally if we look at 1954 CIA Coup of Guatemala) out of the rest of the world, and fueling it to those ends, we’ve created a literal second industrial military complex, this time being fed into “intelligence”. And It sucks. If we aren’t careful, this will never stop and we’ll end up in a true Orwellian state.
The worst case scenario is that CIA and NSA and all the other alphabet agencies we see in movies turn the tyranny key and we become a true state under secret police where dissidence like this is illegal, rather than obnoxious and short lived.
In 2011 we assassinated a completely innocent U.S Citizen with “a flying fucking robot” — Jacob Applebaum, with no trial because we didn’t like what he had to say and had bad info that linked him to terrorists. Two weeks later we killed his 17 year old son in a separate drone strike miles away and unrelated. No trial. No judicial oversight, no judicial process, only the vaguely assert “due process” although that was, of course, classifed by the CIA. This is Obama’s drone program. This is the foreseeable future if we aren’t careful. What happens to our democracy if everyone is an enemy? What happens to freedom…?
Part 9: How do we fix this?
Again, I don’t perceive this as a “privacy” issue. It’s an ethics and constitutional issue, and a monetary issue. It’s not just a matter of principle, or emotion… it’s a matter of integrity of state. Things like the judge that ruled NSLs unconstitutional (national security letters) based on the gag-order under the 1st amendment, are the way to stop things! Give your support to the ALCU and the EFF!
It’s all about policy and law (see the EFF).
If it’s not legal, they make it legal…THIS IS THE CULTURAL CHANGE I TALKED ABOUT. IT IS OUR JOB TO HELP PRESSURE THOSE IN POWER TO DO SO TO MAKE IT ILLEGAL AGAIN!!!
Changing things like the FISA Amendment Act Section 702 (“The Barn Door” — Thomas A. Drake)
Is really the best way to stop this type of activity. The issue isn’t that someone is directly spying on everything we have, it’s that they can retroactively go back in time and make you into a criminal, even if they aren’t directly under PRISM (which is what part 1 of this long post discussed). Both Jacob Applebaum, and Ed. Snowden both touch on this.
The best chance we have is to pressure our Congressmen into holding more hearings that will hopefully change their mind for funding and policy
If you’ve seen many of the interviews with the NSA and FBI speaking to Congress, you’ve heard them lie through their teeth or dance around answers with stuff like “Not under this program” (Stellarwind & Trailblazer). We need to keep them under the microscope. Especially if the FISC (FISA COURT) isn’t going to and Congress is either too submissive, apathetic, or powerless to do so themselves.
There are few individuals involved that the EFF lawsuits (Hepting V AT&T and Jewel V NSA (still on going)) such as David Addington (Cheney’s Lawyer) and John Ashcroft (then acting AG) as well as people like the leader of NSA. (Wed. 6-12-13) that people (EFF / ACLU) are trying to “take down”. this probably not the way to stop the problem holistically, but gives negative media attention to the questioned parties and that sure as hell does! And, if they do happen to pull a victory like google did with the NSL’s being unconstitutional, I’m all for that!
Hopefully we can repeal a lot of these amendments (FISA Sec. 702, 2008) (PAA, 2007) and sec. 215 USAPATRIOT etc etc. I’ve been writing my congressmen 6 or 7 page letters on this since I stumbled upon this clusterfuck and hopefully I’ll wake up and I wont be alone in that endevour. Check out “Cheny’s law” the FRONTLINE report and check out Jacob Applebaum’s talk with Bill Binny on Democracy Now.