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Indeed. It's true to say that there would have been a lot more terrorist attacks, and more serious organised crime, were our security services not using the bulk surveillance data sets for their analyses.

Of course, none of the details can be revealed for operational reasons, so the more paranoid fill in the blanks with 1984-style dystopian fantasy. It's unfortunate, as they really are doing good work.




"It's true to say that there would have been a lot more terrorist attacks"

Why is it true to say? I doubt there would have been more terrorist attacks. They definitely would have mentioned at least one such planned attack that was stopped as it is in their best interest to change public perception.

https://theintercept.com/2015/11/17/u-s-mass-surveillance-ha...


    > They definitely would have mentioned at least one
    > such planned attack that was stopped as it is in
    > their best interest to change public perception
They managed to keep quiet about WMDs, despite poor public perception:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/14/world/middleea...

Any details at all on plots that have been found and stopped via surveillance would lead to changes in behaviour of bad actors.


Would they? Acknowledging attacks could give clue to operations in play. They're certainly not going to risk sources and or collection that's proven valuable. And to be fair there have been a good amount of publicly acknowledged plot disruptions.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2007/09/05/german-police-arrest...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unsuccessful_terrorist...


Except for this German one, I haven't found another story on that Wiki page that wasn't clearly some other source.


Except you can't prove that. Are they going to directly say, Satelite XYZ in geostationary orbit was monitoring data link 111322, during which we captured intelligence on platform 2342342 which resulted in a lead then passed on to domestic intelligence agencies. Nope, not going to happen. Everyone here likes to talk about the government and their parallel construction when it supports a negative notion, yet forget that it's also a legitimate tool to protect origination sources.


There is no need to prove someone's claim false, they must prove it true.

eg: Except that the government has claimed that they have foiled attacks and those claims have been shown to be bullshit.

So, given that they have made these claims and they are false, what conclusions should we draw?

A. The government gave us false information to reassure us that their blanket information gathering programs work, they cant tell us operational details or made some other mistake(even though operation details of various programs leak like a sieve.)

B. Their argument is specious, and someone made a list to prop up a program they do not have evidence for.


Should by your own logic of There is no need to prove someone's claim false, they must prove it true." apply to their comment to?

Just trying to understand as Point A and B lack the same evidence.


All claims need evidence to support them, its just that the poster said that the government is doing great work, too bad we cant show or prove that they are(citation needed, big time.)

There is no need to argue for balance in the discussion to protect our government, they clearly can operate these programs without our approval or understanding.


Even beyond that, the fact that we are discussing courts and legal limitations, though they aren't perfect, is an example of the systems in place trying to work. One only has to look at law from any other angle to see that nothing is cut and dry regardless of the topic.

I too have worked on both sides of the game and the irony is that outside of the government it's far easier for me to get raw collection simply by buying a feed from one of the provider(s).

I've taken data from marketing firms that have extensive details on users that have been linked and culled from a myriad of databases sold by the big brokerage firms like Experian. There is far less governance when profitability is involved.

I only hope that in 75 years 1/10th of the work done is shared. Not everyone in the government is evil despite what people project.


It is frustrating as I call it schrodinger's terrorist, why, well, say everybody is in a box.

now you do not know if that person in a box is a terrorist or not and by terrorist, a bad person who will impact others right to life.

So not knowing you can only tell if you look in a box, well if they are not and you look you are lambasted, if you look and they are then your just doing your job.

Now from a PR perspective, it gets down to let us not look as if they are not we get lots of people upset at us, and bad media more so if we get it right.

Which is fine but with one cavet, if you do not look and they are a terrorist then that box can go off and take out all the boxes around it.

So I call it schrodingers terrorist in a box and with that, you see the perspective more clearly.

That is why they look, and yes for those who are not terrorists/bad people it can be intrusive, but most if not all will not even know they are looking. Though many presume the worst and equally it is that mentality of the populous that also carries on in the security services and mentality of presume the worst, hence they look.


But this argument ignores the original probability of a random person being a terrorist. It is a gross violation of the trust necessary to maintain a republic.

And further arguing that it's okay because most people won't know they were violated is like saying a plastic surgeon is justified in violating every unconscious patient in surgery just in case they would have wanted it anyway. Not a good direction for society to go.

The apologists are out in full force on this thread.


It does not ignore the probability at all as that is what the boxes are unopened, so your wrong.

I'm not arguing its ok, I'm stating the situation. your plastic surgeon analogy does not map onto this problem and bit strawman in posture.

As for you labeling people apologists for wanting to discuss a situation clearly indicates a bias in perspective and step back and look at both sides of the problem.

There is no cookie cutter solution to this, and it requires a balance, otherwise you might as well scrap all security services as you are effectively replacing them with police who equally would not be allowed to do any form of surveillance or anything that might possibly entail the potential that they are looking into innocent people. You see the problem now.

So please, look at the problem from all sides, don't just dismiss and label, as we have facebook for such level of discussion.


I understand that details can't be released, but is there any evidence at all for what you claim in your first paragraph?


According to you two random greens.


Yes I too agree with what these two green, totally-not-sock-puppet accounts are saying.

All hail General Krupp.

-Signed, Little Girl


I can only speak from the POV of my country (left unnamed), but I encourage anyone wanting truly interesting work to apply to your country's SIGINT agency. Only there will you find real answers.


Only there will you find real answers

.. which it's illegal to tell anyone else. And if you find evidence of abuse the only way you can do anything about it is to flee to a country from which you can't be extradited.

This is why we can't have a discussion about this and as much as possible needs to be moved from "intelligence" (secret, unaccountable) to "evidence" in courts.

The only sensible answer to "how many terrorist plots have been prevented" should be a count of convictions.


> And if you find evidence of abuse the only way you can do anything about it is to flee to a country from which you can't be extradited.

Not true.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Binney_(U.S._intelli...


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Andrews_Drake

At the July sentencing hearing the presiding judge, Richard D. Bennett of the Federal District Court, issued harsh words for the government, saying that it was "unconscionable" to charge a defendant with a list of serious crimes that could have resulted in 35 years in prison only to drop all of the major charges on the eve of trial.[61] The judge also rejected the government's request for a large fine noting that Drake had been financially devastated, losing his $154,600 job at the NSA and his pension.


Yeah as long as you're willing to lose your job, shutter your business and have the FBI confiscate all your computer equipment in a pre-dawn, guns drawn raid of your home.

Sounds so easy.




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