But was there ever any indication to the contrary? How did we as Americans convert to the myth that our government, let alone our "intelligence" agencies, have any inclination to protect us or advance our interests? That has never been their practice ever.
Our government spent the better part of a century not only allowing 3.5 million of us to live in slavery, but actively facilitating and promoting it. Even after it finally put an end to this practice de jurie, it immediately allowed us to be enslaved as "prisoners", and today 2 million of us are in that situation.
I don't mean to bring up such generic anarchism here, but I think it's sharply relevant when considering questions like, "why do the CIA and NSA behave the way they do?" They were created and charged to do it. It's their job. We can debate about how best to end that job, but I really don't think it's reasonable to suggest that they ever had some high-minded democratic purpose.
The shocking thing to Americans is they thought they were too powerful to ever be on the receiving end.
So does our media, government agencies, NGOs, Canada, Britain, Israel and many european nations. But lets scapegoat the russians and the chinese.
> How do you think we ended up with president chump?
Certainly not because of the chinese or europeans. The chinese and europeans wanted hillary to win.
Let me ask, did the chinese and russians get obama elected? I love how easily people are brainwashed by the media. They say something and the mindless just repeat it.
No. The alternative is a crook.
much earlier... i think it began when the federal power began to chip away at the state power.
theres no vulnerability in having a friendly northern ally, no eastwest neighbors, and a subjugation economy to the south. the vulnerability is internal, to the thinkers and activists... so lets keep them chained by debt & chasing tail & feeling scared
This has been a thing since the Constitution was ratified.
Yes there is inertia and self-perpetuation, like in any organisations, but not overwhelmingly much.
The voters vote what they're told to -- and they're told to by those in power who can pay for campaigns, have their pals in party positions, etc.
Plus, the voters get all kinds of stuff that benefit the powerful that they never explicitly asked or voted for, and that were never on any platform. Even whole wars can be promoted onto them...
Besides, there were tons of dirt poor whites picking cotton in the South. And they had no slaves, the were closer to slaves themselves...
It's more poor vs rich, than white vs black. Even if poor whites were also racist, those plantations weren't owned by poor white folk either...
Sure the public opinion is affected by PR efforts, but people still possess facilities for critical thinking, and everyone knows to be critical about political claims rather than take them at face value.
Voters might want lots of things, but do they get them though, when those things don't align with what those in power want?
People with this kind of power and money form a series of formal and informal interlocking networks, and often interests align across most or all of those networks. Tax cuts for the rich and for corporations is perhaps the most obvious one. Pushing for war might be a bit less unanimous, but wars do produce near-immediate profits for the military-industrial complex and those invested in it, and potential future business opportunities for other sectors (for example if the war results in regime change, which leads to an opening of previously closed markets, the sale of state-owned businesses and assets, etc).
It is also clear who is telling the media what to say.
The one thing that is not clear at all is how much the media actually influence voters. I don't think there's as much influence as the OP was trying to convey, but well, as I said, this is not clear.
From Murdoch to Bezos and NRA...
The policy preferences of the voting constituency in any given national election are not strongly correlated to policy results. This is shown convincingly in Benjamin Ginsberg's book, "Do Elections Matter?" I strongly recommend this book - after reading it, you will never again try to explain away an act of government by attributing it to voter sentiment.
It is a difficult-to-deny fact that, in the USA, the government frequently and quietly advances policies which do not appear to be derived from any kind electoral mandate, nor are favored by a substantial portion of the electorate.
Yesterday was May 4th, the anniversary of when the agency in government murdered unarmed, peaceful war protestors at Kent State, then 11 days later bayonetted about a dozen peaceful war protestors at University of New Mexico.
These are not things free people compelled their government to do.
Wars did get less popular when they went badly, so you can argue that they would have been shorter if public officials would have retreated when polls turned against them. But that's a separate discussion.
I remember those "love it or leave it" years well.
It could be argued that voters were manipulated towards that point of view.
I don't think this is giving public servants enough credit. Politicians are a little more self-serving than those working in the agencies, so don't paint all public servants with the same brush. The problem is that what public servants believe is in the public interest just doesn't align with what you believe is in the public interest. There's always going to be a little give and take like this, and this evolution is what makes democratic societies effective.
That said, there can't be any given and take without oversight, and that's the real problem here. No doubt NSA employees believe what they're doing is important and effective, but is it really? That's a debate we simply can't have because of the secrecy, and public trust in these institutions has eroded sufficiently, possibly with good reason, that the public can't simply have faith in the NSA.
Could you explain what you mean by enslaving as prisoner? So you would let a rapist free or what?
Here's the rest of the text:
"...as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
So now, today, we have more black men under the supervision of the "criminal justice system" (which, like the NSA, is not now and have never been truly tasked with achieving its formal goals) than were enslaved in 1860.
edit: another link
Also: good to see you. :-)
edit: I can't imagine why I'm being downvoted here. My statement was utterly correct, and when challenged I cited a credible source. What'd I do wrong?!
I've had enough experience doing volunteer work with people trying to complete their GED in/after prison that - despite the fact that I despise ultra-left fresh-out-of-college political babble (it's so disconnected from reality and non-constructive that it's reasonable to squash it with the rest of the noise) - I do believe that there are deep structural injustices in American society, and we really don't have a coherent story for how to fix them.
That shift in attitude was born of experience that is not universally shared, though. Most people have their hobbies and their jobs and their families and their insecurities and their resentments, and they don't take kindly to strangers telling them that the American social structure that passively benefits them and makes their lifestyle possible is built in part on some very deep nastiness.
Which isn't to point fingers, or level blame, or shame anyone. Those are the rhetorical techniques of demagogues, and they have neither truth value nor do they tend to point society in a better direction. It's just to say that the psychological landscape is complicated.
Wait no, sorry, I got that backwards. It's feminist women who do the female equivalent of this. And who find it deeply irritating if you only imply men do not exist to serve at their beck and call, and have zero obligation to them even if they damsel.
And no, not all women. But definitely even some who do have all the power, money and influence they could want. So who's fragile? Or perhaps more accurately: who succeeds in using their facade of weakness as a lever of power, time and time again?
I don't mind admitting the world is not fair, but it takes a special kind of obliviousness to look at women's position in the West in the 21st century and still see a class of victims and men as the ones who need to suck in their gut and soldier on for once.
If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email firstname.lastname@example.org and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.
I feel duty-bound to engage patiently with people with whom I disagree, but I understand that this might be inconsistent with the more general goal of running a forum.
The analogy is good in another way too: we don't care what color the flames are, or what was used to start them. People sometimes complain that we moderate red flames more than blue and vice versa, but the issue is the same in both cases.
I really don’t get what you are saying. I understand you have a point to make on whether or not women are the biggest victims today — but what is the link to the post?
If anything, the problem is they're very vague about stuff, and only admit guilt for their history, and not for present misbehaviour.
In 1860 there were 3,953,761 slaves counted in the census.
In 2016, if you count everyone under probation and parole in addition to those in jail and prison, the number is 6,613,500 (https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cpus16.pdf)
If you assume 40% of them are black, like the article claims, the number comes out to 2,645,400. This is considerably less than the number of slaves in 1860, or 1850 for that matter.
If you have a source to back up your claim then you should post it. I'm actually curious what sources the author might have been using.
I don't think you're acting in bad faith, I think you just read that huffpost article and assumed it was correct. I just wanted to reply since you were curious about what you might have done wrong.
I initially heard about this not from The New Jim Crow but from this (seemingly awesome) Brown University student:
...but if I'm doing the math correctly, it appears to hold even for 1860 for adult males.
Look, I too watched 13th on Netflix. Black people are over-represented in violent crime like assault, murder and rape, and so are over-represented in prisons.
Isn't this materially the same as, "if you are black, and especially black and male, choose your diet according to what the government says you can put in your body?"
If "the crime" is ingesting cannabis, I do the crime all the freakin' time and I have never, ever imagined that I might suffer any consequence of it.
Is "Don't do the crime, don't do the time" a reasonable thing to say in an environment of such intense selective enforcement?
> Isn't this materially the same as....
No it's not. Are you suggesting that because a crime is so prevalent it should be ignored? As long as a crime is a crime and people commit that crime you can expect consequences for that crime. We live in a nation of rules and laws.
Anyway let's visit the facts:
- 59% of black prisoners sentenced to more than 1 year in state prison were sentenced for a violent offense, not drug crimes.
- More than half of the extra prisoners added in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s were imprisoned for violent crimes; two thirds were in for violent or property crimes. Only about a fifth of prison inmates are incarcerated for drug offenses. Only a fraction of those for marijuana.
- Black Democrats and the NAACP were instrumental in enforcing tough sentences for drug crime as drugs were decimating their communities.
So violent crime is still the main reason for the incarceration rates. As for those incarcerated for drug crimes - perhaps there are too many imprisoned but it's mostly for selling hard drugs, not weed. And even if it was weed, it's not slavery.
> Is "Don't do the crime, don't do the time" a reasonable thing to say in an environment of such intense selective enforcement?
Yes, yes it is. And the 95% of blacks (and any race for that matter) that don't do drugs would agree.
That said, it's hard to equate incarceration with slavery unless there's an economic benefit to the state in incarcerating prisoners. Is there?
As far as I can tell, the tables in: "Recapitulation of the Tables of Population, Nativity, and Occupation" from indicate that there were roughly 800.000 male slaves 15 years or older in 1860 - they're listed next to free coloureds" - but I find no indication about black/non-black slaves (I imagine there were some Native Americans, Chinese at least in non-insignificant number?).
I believe op was talking about adult black males.
On a side note, would be nice if this data was digitized properly and available for easy analysis? I couldn't find any indication that it is?
I think drug laws in this country are way too harsh, but those are the laws. People should not break them if they don't want to be jailed.
Also slavery was a human problem for thousands of years, it took humanity collectively waking up to the evils of slavery to abolish it. Human governments the world over supported the instition in the past, and now they've evolved. Don't judge them today based on the mistakes of the past.
This quote might be a defensible argument if the laws were applied equally in the United States. What has happened is that we have so many laws that the government doesn't even know how many laws there are anymore. This has led to something called selective enforcement. When everyone breaks the law, but you are twice as likely to be punished for it if you are one color vs another, then personal responsibility has very little to do with it. The government is setting up an environment where they can punish whomever they want, whenever they want, and then punishing the people they don't like for non law related reasons
> People should not break them if they don't want to be jailed.
I'm white. That means I can smoke as much herb as I want and not even dream of entering the criminal justice system unless I'm extraordinarily unlucky. Moreover, I don't give a flying fuck what some politician in Washington has to say about my diet. I don't base what I put into my body on bad laws.
But if you are black, you have a much more difficult decision to make.
> now they've evolved. Don't judge them today based on the mistakes of the past.
If drug prohibition is the "evolved" form, then we still have a long way to go. That's the point.
Moving the bar from "you're enslaved based on your color" to, "you're enslaved based on your diet" is not much of a move.
The reason we have more blacks than white in prison is for dozens reasons:
- cultural differences
- social injustice
Don't solve problems, ignore them, expect that people behave the way you want, wait until someone screws up here and here, let it escalate, ignore again and/or apply short term solutions, mix all this stuff, fast forward all of it, and you have the current situation.
Just be lucky to be on the right side and have good parents.
> Don't solve problems, ignore them, expect that people behave the way you want, wait until someone screws up here and here, let it escalate, ignore again and/or apply short term solutions, mix all this stuff, fast forward all of it, and you have the current situation.
I think that's pretty reasonable. That's pretty much the point I was trying to make about intelligence agencies as well.
Hippies too; that's why Nixon choose to schedule pot.
I'm sure I do, but I'm not sure exactly which point you're asking about here. :-)
Even after we were freed there was Jim crow and the peonage system (I'm sure you'll have to look that up). Even after Jim crow there was red lining.
You don't have to be a history major to know that what your said is beyond dumb. I seriously hope you put a little more thought into the things you believe going forward.
And in doing so I read this bit about "it may have had as much to do with spreading poverty around"
I presume that white people no longer having the black people to live off meant
A. white people had to do alot more work themselves, and
B. white people had to share much more of the available resources with black people
So that they actively participated in racism to keep more resources for themselves..
Is this a reasonable take on this?
This is the part from the Wikipedia cited above I am referring to..
"However, the African American struggle to earn economic parity, that had made progress during the first half century of the postbellum era, had largely been reversed during the second half. Legally, equality was assured, but that did little to actually promulgate equal conditions in daily life.
Some of the gains in the South's economic relation to the rest of the U.S. can be explained by population shifts to other regions; so, it may have had as much to do with spreading poverty around, as spreading wealth around."
If you are not American then it would be perfectly understandable to be unaware
It means having 25% of the world's prison population but only 4% of the world's population.
It means being a prison state.
It means using BS reasons, like marijuana possession, to imprison a large part of your population.
It means predominantly giving long prison sentences for small offenses, just because of an "Old Testament" idea of revenge -- that is carried forward in the culture from the days of the nutty religious minorities that established the country.
It means having absurd legal constructs, like "3 strikes" laws.
It means exploiting prisoners for free labor, and having private prisons, and other such practices, and being the shame of the western world (and large part of the developing world) in this area.
It means people casually joking of people getting raped or attacked in your prisons.
It means still having the death penalty in 2018.
And other such things...
You don't have to free them to stop allowing slavery in prison.
As I matter of legislative priority, however, I think it makes sense to work in the direction direction, ie, to work toward ending drug prohibition with an aim to making a substantial dent in what slavery remains in the USA.
They kind of miss the point, in my opinion.
That said, I don't want to live in a country that looks over my shoulder as I grow and mature my reasoning about the world. We need the ability to formulate our own opinions without feeling watched (because this leads to self-censorship!). Discourse is necessary for society to evolve. We wouldn't have things like interracial marriage without people taking unpopular ideas to market.
I just wish we could see the full benefits of both sides in this argument.
It almost certainly does. Whilst congress makes some pretty ludicrously predictably bad decisions, there must be some reports of the NSA's effectiveness. It's just whom it benefits that's in doubt. Let's face it: the number of homicides in general absolutely dwarf the maximum potential of terrorist attacks without NSA intervention.
I would argue the purpose of the NSA as a system is what it does, not what it is claimed it does. It seems extremely unlikely to me that the NSA is even remotely about preventing terrorist attacks. With a more complete understanding of the state and its origins, it seems far more likely that the NSA is about protecting the state than the people. If it is protecting people, it is the people the state is there to protect.
I live in the UK where we get some limited news about attacks stopped by dragnet surveillance. We also have a culture where many are supportive of the security services no matter what they are doing and anybody who challenges this must be a terrorist or more recently a russian bot. Many of the cases that have been stopped seem incredibly unlikely to have yielded a viable attack. State press releases here are almost Verhoeven-esque propaganda, but in this case I really can't see what they stand gain by downplaying the allegedly plotted attacks the security services allegedly thwarted. Plus we will never know how many of these attacks were constructed by the state by means of entrapment.
If the NSA is not about preventing terrorism and never was, what is it about? Let's look at what it does: it surveils people and receives and shares information with other countries agencies. We know it attempts to render as much information transparent as it can, exploiting defective cryptosystems. Viewed from the perspective that it is a defence force for the state, it is effectively military. If you really believe the military is to protect you, and not the state, you've obviously never given much thought to the perversity of conscription.
But there's no way to verify this, correct? Like, they could have used human intelligence and simply reported that dragnet surveillance was the source.
“It was, ‘Huh, hello? What are we doing here?’” said Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago law professor, in an interview with NBC News. “The results were very thin.” //
"U.S. Mass Surveillance Has No Record Of Thwarting Large Terror Attacks, Regardless Of Snowden Leaks"
It's a military signals-intelligence organization.
> Whom are they protecting?
It's hardly monolithic. Imagine Catch 22 on steroids. Likely each power center is primarily protecting itself, and its funding. Overall, they're protecting the military-industrial complex. The 1%. The powers that be.
Edit: Whoever pays the bills.
“Assume that a legislator with courage, influence, intellect, vision, and perseverance manages to enact a law that goes into universal effect and employment on September 10, 2001; it imposes the continuously locked bulletproof doors in every cockpit (at high costs to the struggling airlines)-just in case terrorists decide to use planes to attack the World Trade Center in New York City. I know this is lunacy, but it is just a thought experiment...
The legislation is not a popular measure among the airline personnel, as it complicates their lives. But it would certainly have prevented 9/11.
The person who imposed locks on cockpit doors gets no statues in public squares, not so much as a quick mention of his contribution in his obituary. "Joe Smith, who helped avoid the disaster of 9/11, died of complications of liver disease." Seeing how superfluous his measure was, and how it squandered resources, the public, with great help from airline pilots, might well boot him out of office.”
-Quote from Taleb
This is probably the most irresponsible and reckless statement a citizen of free of oppresion country can say.
Follow me here; taking your reasoning further here is my honest statement: i can bet my chopped off head that if we would have installed cameras and microphones in every single room in every single american househould, we would have avoid “intold disasters” that i can guarantee you, including but not limited to: burglaries, kidnappings, abductions, ilegal arms/drugs dealings, prostitutions, child trafficking and domestic abuse. At least! I really guarantee you that! Push the switch and count saved lives in tens of thausands!
I would rather live without my head than in such military orwellian state! Those who want temporary safety by giving away freedom.. so did one smart man said.
We do know, however, the type of disasters that mass data collection has created in the past.
IBM's mass data processing technology was crucial to the operational efficiency of the Holocaust.
Both those things might have happened already.
Too much oversight/rule-pushing muzzles the potential of these guard dogs to act or intimidate. If you don't have these thugs in your gang, then other gangs that include them can take advantage of you. They are protecting the interests of the Gang-leader. They are not there to help old ladies cross the WWW. They are there to wiretap entire countries to capture contract fraud before it can damage the US economy (which impacts the average citizen). They capture gang infiltrators before they can do too much damage to the defensive and offensive capabilities of the gang. They make infrastructure to annihilate the communication capabilities of other gangs, should this need arise.
A gang without rule-skirting all-seeing thugs, Tricksters, and Peeping Toms will not stay on top.
What do you mean by this?
It was made to serve the military and in turn the American people but over time their mission has been perverted for the sake of security theater.
The "War on Terror!" is yet another way to funnel money to rich corporations. It is a money making machine and that's really all it is. More people die from choking in the U.S. each year than died from terrorism in at least the past 5 years. And yet, we've spent 100's of billions. The NSA is just a piece of that machine.
 I know you were being more general in your comment, I'm just pointing out a single reason.
"Did the CIA directly fund the work of Brin and Page, and therefore create Google? No."
"Google’s true origin partly lies in CIA and NSA research grants for mass surveillance"
The gist I got from skimming it is that the CIA didn't "directly" fund them because that's handled by a differwnt group acting in their interest.
You're comitting a logical fallacy. You think just because bad things sometimes do happen to US citizens that the NSA clearly isn't doing anything....
Clearly faulty logic. I'm glad the NSA exists because there are bad actors out there and we need informed law enforcement to protect us.
You think just because it sometimes helps against bad actors that the NSA is a net force for good.
Yup! And not only did the NSA turn into a monster, but so did the TSA (or more aptly, that monster was created), the biggest theatre troupe on the planet, because that's all it is.
The most eye opening thing happened just recently to cement this in my mind. After the Superbowl parade in Philadelphia this year, I caught a ride from PHL to SFO. Basically everyone else in the world was leaving the same time as me, so there were lines stretched around the airport to get through security. The line for my terminal began in the parking structure.
So you know what they did? Of course you do. They relaxed all the rules and let everyone through metal detectors. Shoes on. Belts on. Liquids? Bring em through. Laptops and tablets, leave them in your bags. That giant invasive scanning machine? What do we have that for anyway? Step on through the metal detector, I don't have time to grope you today. It was the most fun I've had in an airport since 2001.
So let me get this straight. For years, I've been disrobing in public and subjecting myself to groping on the off-chance that someone might have a bomb tucked under their scrotum, yet on the BUSIEST DAY EVER it's okay to throw all those security protocols out the window.... why??
But no one questioned it then, in 2001 and the years thereafter, and no one is questioning it now.
Oh, and for anyone who's wondering, after processing a record number of passengers for that airport with absolutely no security screening, a total of zero (0) airlines were taken down that day.
I get your point, but you are making a logical mistake here.
If a building shuts down it's fire warning systems and blocks the fire exits for a week because of some construction work, that doesn't mean that they should just be removed because obviously they are not needed.
Do fire alarms have a 95% failure rate? Because the TSA does.
I don't know the failure rate of building file alarms, but the damn ceiling alarms seem to have a failure rate of 99.99%. We don't use those in Europe, and every time I travel to the US I get frustrated beyond belief how they scream at me every time I cook or take a shower.
The reason we have to go through scanners and take off our shoes and get groped is because once upon a time, some bad actors got through security with contraband. We then decided we just had to spend millions upon millions of dollars, train thousands of people, and inconvenience and embarrass millions of passengers because if we didn't, more bad actors would get through with said contraband using the same methods.
So we closed a security hole. Except that same security hold is opened up again if enough travelers inundate the airport. Not just one security hole, but almost all of them. The entire purpose of the TSA. Conclusion - if you want to get contraband through security, just wait for the right day and the TSA will let you walk right through.
Lines are great targets.
I recall one of my first times through high security seeing a guy with lunch box getting thru next to metal detector. I quickly called TSA officer and told them there was a man going thru with a box. "Oh that's fine that's one of us". That was the whole reasoning; because some dude you don't even know his last name is "working for the agency" it means he is saint and would never harm the country. It blew my mind that day! That day I realized its all a carnival ponies show and another way to take away more tax payers funds.
Heh, yeah. I mean, I've been skeptical and critical of the TSA for a long time, but that event just seems like an very blatant admission from the TSA themselves that their entire existence is to act as a stone in water, diverting the flow but ultimately not blocking anything.
Uh, the constant mass shootings that have occurred over the past year wherein, 100% of the time, the perp was already known to police and FBI and had a very public troubling online presence detailing their years of mental instability and virulent racism?
>intelligence agencies don't talk about their activities, even their successes, for very good reason.
The hell are you talking about? The FBI is constantly publicly congratulating themselves when they "foil" a "plot" their agent provocateurs have cooked up.
The NSA doesn't like to brag as much as the FBI does but they're clearly just as responsible for dropping the ball on domestic terrorism every other week when yet another mass shooting happens...
Crossing into incivility like this isn't ok on HN and will eventually get you banned, so please read https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and don't do this. Please don't do political flamewars on HN either.
So yeah, even if #2 wasn't in play I'd still be against it.
I think your point is sound, but I'm not sure this is the best example. Regular shootings are causing a lot more deaths, although I doubt the NSA has any interest in stopping either one (and of course, their official charge doesn't include either one).
I think that sums it up.
> why is it spying on citizens
...is that it's doing that to prevent foreign attacks, not eg. mass shootings.
Furthermore, even if it were doing anything useful with its domestic spying, such as preventing domestic crime, obviously we'd all rather address plain ole' shootings, which take many more lives than mass shootings.
Yeah... foreign terrorism only occurs when foreign entities stand at the border and throw things into our country. LMAO.
On one hand, scoring touchdowns (in this metaphor, preventing domestic crime) isn't their charge.
But on the other, they are also engaged primarily in self-serving funny business instead of hitting home runs (ie, protecting people from foreign aggression and securing the telecommunications systems of the USA).
Domestic terrorism isn't the NSA's purview. Their job is signals intelligence against the rest of the world.
Don't get me wrong, I don't like the surveillance either, but domestic terrorism isn't their job. Sure, if they notice something, they will pass it along, but it's not what they are looking for (I believe). If there's been a proverbial ball dropped, it's probably more accurate to blame the FBI than the NSA.
Intelligence agencies DO NOT trumpet triumphs.
The NSA is not the FBI.
There's no arguments to be made here, there's just ignorance of incontrovertible and uncontroversial facts which can be easily looked up.
It's like reading a post by someone bitching about the modern Hollywood blockbuster culture by citing Superman's plot arc in the new Avengers movie, except that somehow it isn't a trolling attempt. What sort of attention does that blatant misconception and willful ignorance deserve?
What's yours? Is there something to gain from a post that effectively just says "you're wrong"?
Try having even the tiniest bit of an idea what you are talking about.
What would work much better is to wait until you can comment neutrally, and then comment neutrally with information we can all learn from.
The concept of using this data to stamp out more systematic terrorism, espionage and other nation state attacks doesn't occur to them.
Keep in mind that they need court ordered approval to access the data so without that existing context it's off limits.
You should be more concerned with what your service providers and companies like Google or Facebook are doing with that data because they aren't limited by FISA courts.
Also, I'd like to point out that the fisa courts do not limit anything. They are a rubber stamp, that never rejects anything.
> 534 million records of phone calls and text messages
But we don't know how that breaks down to "phones" as you say. I don't even like to use my phone but I bet if you count my texts and calls in a year it would be in the 1000s of records.
No I don't believe that there are "500 million phones going to suspected terrorists in the US" but there may be 500 messages from individuals who have suspected connections to terrorists and foreign agents. And you would never know for sure unless you can look at their metadata to analyze those suspected connections.
You're right that the FISA approval rate is incredible. But it's still a record of requests made (which helps prevent abuse). and as I understand it that number of requests is only in the ~2000 range.
Again, it's a much better situation than the level of scrutiny you're holding to companies like Google/Facebook/Microsoft or ISPs. And those companies aren't even offering national security as a service.
I guess if you just make 1 fisa request that says "give me everything" then that's good enough, right?
At least with those other companies I have a choice to use them or not. If I don't like Google I can use duck duck go, or something else.
The government doesn't give me a choice of whether I am spied on or not.
It's also a situation where having useless data costs next to nothing (economically at least, philosophically is a different debate), but missing even a small detail could be critical.
I have no reason to believe that that has changed, that they have stopped collecting all of this data that is so easily available to them.
With that in mind, I do not believe that "it is very unlikely any call" by anyone in my family was included in the catch. I believe it very likely that many calls by many people in my family was -- and continues to be -- included in their "net".
A town near me recently installed ANPR license plate readers. Their justification was to catch criminals, particularly those engaging in property crimes which were going unsolved.
Did ANPR help solve some property crimes? Almost certainly.
Were property crimes up significantly prior to the installation of the ANPR readers? No. Are they down significantly after? No.
How do you know that?
>Were property crimes up significantly prior to the installation of the ANPR readers? No. Are they down significantly after? No.
I get that this comparison sounds similar, but it really doesn't make any sense. The most powerful nations in the world are constantly trying to gain as much access to our secure systems, communications, and infrastructure. Even though these efforts are almost entirely hidden from every level of the public, we still have plenty of stories of things like Stuxnet or the Chinese obtaining classified engineering data.
The NSA exists to combat this. They aren't fighting crime. They aren't fighting what is essentially an economically guaranteed statistical effect (property crime). They are an intelligence gathering and signal analysis agency tasked with thwarting foreign actors, which we know are actively pouring massive resources into activities hostile to us. That is why they exist, and that is why their successes (and failures) are almost entirely unknown to the general public.
According to all the documents published so far, the NSA does none of these except monitoring public social media posts.
That is extra strange since I've never used the USB port on my TV, and the TV has been installed rather high on a wall behind my desk since the day it arrived so it would be nearly impossible for my wife or small children to get at the USB port, let alone plug in a valid source... unless it was being used as an exploit by some software in the TV.
I'm not suggesting that is what is happening, however, it is suspicious as hell.
From the first paragraph of the article linked here:
>The U.S. National Security Agency collected 534 million records of phone calls and text messages of Americans last year, more than triple gathered in 2016, a U.S. intelligence agency report released on Friday said.
We found out that Verizon -- just Verizon -- was handing over "phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily" in June 2013.
500M might be an official number that they're willing to release but (without any way to prove it, obviously) I'm certain that the REAL number is much, much higher.
For an organization who has vowed to "collect it all", it just doesn't seem likely that the NSA voluntarily went from "an estimated billions of records collected per day" to just 500M per year.
Or perhaps it's just 500M according to their own made up definition of "collect"?
This sounds like it's much closer to the truth. "It's not a collection until it comes up as a result in a search" would be about on par with the nonsense the NSA was claiming about what was considered searching data on American Citizens.
> The 2017 call records tally remained far less than an estimated billions of records collected per day under the NSA’s old bulk surveillance system, which was exposed by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.
After learning of their liberal use of the English language and how they have "re-defined" common words to suit their agenda, I believe very little of anything they say.
The definitions you're thinking of came from conspiracy theory blogs in the aftermath of the Snowden leaks, which proliferated because the numbers didn't add up when taken together with Greenwald's mistaken assertion that PRISM is a full-take program.
The real question is what fraction of these calls had both parties inside the US. That's a different category than when one party is external/foreign — that's domestic espionage, which is a violation of law unless pre-authorized by the FISA court. THAT's the number I'd most like to know.
I suspect they're performing a full-take of the call contents as well, just not through the PINWALE/MARINA ingestion system. It's likely commingled with bulk traffic snarfed up by beam splitters at the telcos' NOCs, and separated on-demand from the TEMPORA buffer.
At this point, I'm jaded enough to domestic mass-surveillance, I just want my money's worth. Russia successfully implanted DarkEnergy on domestic SCADA, nation-wide. Do we have that capability abroad? Prioritize foreign retailiatory offense, please!
(hi @NSA if this shows up in XKS!)
What is the basis for this suspicion? If it were true, that's what people would have reported on from Snowden's millions of leaked documents instead of simply metadata (call data records).
Specifically, AT&T has transitioned its PSTN backbone fully to SIP, which is a form of VoIP: "AT&T will exchange SIP traffic at the access border controller layer (i.e. SBCs, more specifically Acme Packet SBCs) via IP handoff at a few "strategic locations," directly peering with a select number of Tier 1 carriers. AT&T will also provide transit and direct termination through its network and support all roaming traffic to interwork with other wireless carriers" 
So both voice and data are going over the same fiber lines, since it's all IP (which reduces costs considerably.) We know that Room 641A was one of many QUANTUM locations, where traffic was beam-split. 
It seems from , that we have confirmation that TURMOIL and INCENSER snarf up PSTN as well as IP. Since all of that was working well before 2010, and we know TEMPORA acts as a buffer for high-volume stuff (fed by the Narus machines), and voice is IP now because of SIP, I feel reasonably confident it's getting stored at some duration at the exchanges.
"We keep the full sessions for 3 working days and the metadata for 30."
The filtering you're talking about would happen in POKERFACE, which applies after intake into TEMPORA. Basically:
Backhaul -> TEMPORA (3 day buffer) -> POKERFACE (scrubs data by policy such as US citizen status) -> XKeyscore
Room 641A was part of the WINDSTOP programs run by SSO, comprised of MUSCULAR, INCENSER and DS-300. According to , the NSA mass-collects VoIP partly through XKEYSCORE, FALLOUT and TURMOIL (harvested from INCENSER/DS-300/others), and PSTN through LOPERS (though it's unclear if LOPERS ingests domestic (INCENSER) data or just Europe<->Asia (DANCINGOASIS) data.)
Incidentally, it's pretty impressive how much scale they handle. The DANCINGOASIS cable transfers 25Pb per day, while 3-6Pb were analyzed. And that's on a totally black op (no corporate knowledge) tap! Seriously cool.
No, the US gets some of GCHQ's intelligence reports, not all of GCHQ'S data.
> According to , the NSA mass-collects VoIP partly through XKEYSCORE, FALLOUT and TURMOIL (harvested from INCENSER/DS-300/others), and PSTN through LOPERS (though it's unclear if LOPERS ingests domestic (INCENSER) data or just Europe<->Asia (DANCINGOASIS) data.)
Do you even read your own sources? INCENSER (https://electrospaces.blogspot.com/2014/11/incenser-or-how-n...) designates a cable that links Europe and Asia. None of the collection points you listed are domestic, and none of them collect comtents, only metadata. In Snowden's documents, the only contents that were collected were in regions hostile to the United States.
Read https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Minimization%20Procedure... for an executive summary of NSA data collection, which all of Snowden's documents agree with, once you understand what they say.
The A5/1 cipher has been totally pwned, without even needing a crib, but it's still used for voice traffic. The NSA is allowed to store and decrypt all of this, AFAICT, through this loophole.
2. The NSA never recorded all domestic phone calls, and there is no evidence that they ever did, so neither Clapper nor the NSA lied about that.
It's true that James Clapper was not employed by the NSA at the time the question was asked. Are you suggesting that therefore he does not know the answer? If he does not know the answer then why did he answer the question?
> 2. The NSA never recorded all domestic phone calls, and there is no evidence that they ever did, so neither Clapper nor the NSA lied about that.
The question posed in the linked video clip is "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?".
No, I'm asserting that any statements by Clapper can't show the NSA lying about anything any more than statements by Trump can show the NSA lying about anything because neither is part of the NSA.
> The question posed in the linked video clip is "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?".
And the video is irrelevant to the discussion both due to the point above and due to the discussion being about recording content of conversations, as I said in GGP.
Over the past few weeks and several threads, you've consistently asserted that NSA/CIA don't bulk-collect Americans' data, with no citing proof. Did you fill out an SF-86 or something?
I do not work for the US government any more than you work for the Kremlin. Obama called for a "thoughtful fact based debate" over government data collection policies in the wake of the Snowden leaks. By spreading nonsense, you are preventing that debate from occurring.
How about the article you linked for a citation? If you had read the article you posted, you would have known that it doesn't support your full-take of content claim.
Exactly the same as with GGP, my citations are the articles that you and he posted.
See the research on Six Degrees...
What a dirtbag.
This is the issue, this is all legal.
edit: ah yes, it was Clapper; to Congress, in 2013. 
We know the NSA collects closer to trillions of domestic records (from phone calls to text messages and emails) and brazenly lies about it to Congress.
We know all of that to be false, according to Snowden's documents.
NSA, KGB, FBI, Google, Facebook, any institution with access to large-scale privileged information– you name it, has at least one case to support the use of this advantage.
Perhaps Nixon and Hoover case is the most obvious one.
Firstly if the bad guys had the assistance of a systems administrator, they could modify privilege levels to suit their needs. No warnings would be issued and no forbidden access would be noted or logged.
But more importantly, you speak as if there were only one way to "selectively monitor" or that, to monitor, one must use the programmed pathways into a system! But any decent system has realtime monitoring software, database patching tools and editors, realtime modification tools and in-house ad-hoc reporting software that is neither logged nor monitored. Furthermore, all systems have backups and backups can be stolen or copied. The backed up data can be restored and examined on systems other than the one from which it was collected.
Snowden accessed "secure" data w/o timely detection. IIRC he also claimed that, had he the desire, he could have listened in on White House phone conversations w/o detection.
This is all w/o the addition of rogue software/hardware or outside help. Were that available, the possible range of techniques would be much greater. You lack imagination.