Udall and Wyden were not able to describe what about the program's description was inaccurate, saying that would divulge classified information.
So that if they correct the 'mistakes' they are divulging classified information.
Either this is another Catch-22 or someone (more) is lying.
How do you discuss something that you are not allowed to talk about?
"IMO things that legitimately merit classified status should not be declassified just so we can talk about it"
Which is exactly why secrecy needs to be narrow and carefully applied in a democracy. Troop movements during times of war are an example of something that is rightfully kept secret. The fact that we are at war is not something that should be kept secret.
The problem here is that we have a program that broadly impacts our civil rights, that impacts the rights of foreigners in their own country, and which is being conducted in secret. It is not merely that the NSA wants to keep its techniques secret; this is an attempt to keep the fact that the NSA is conducting surveillance secret. That is very far over the line of "legitimate classification."
For this, in a SCIF, after getting a security clearance and signing an SF 712 that you wouldn't disclose national security information to those who are not (cleared, approved by their Director/CO, and with a valid need-to-know).
> It is not merely that the NSA wants to keep its techniques secret; this is an attempt to keep the fact that the NSA is conducting surveillance secret.
Well if the NSA were to reveal what flags they look at when making a determination that data is definitely from an American, then it is that much easier for people to evade surveillance by passing their communications as those of an American. This would fall under the guise of "NSA techniques" and would probably be why both the NSA and Sen. Udall feel that they can't discuss that part further.
Security by obscurity is a ridiculous idea in that context. Those "evil terrorists" could just switch to 3rd grader "spy" codes and hide the info on postcards sent from metro areas around the world. This whole idea that "the enemy" are complete brainless goons that are "winning" because they found out that the NSA scans the web for keywords like "bomb" and "new york" is just a cruel joke.
No one (least of all at NSA) thinks AQ are brainless goons. That would, in fact, be why NSA wouldn't want to divulge detailed-enough "This is American data" guidance, as they assume that AQ and others would be able to play off that guidance to alter their own COMSEC procedures.
In fact forcing AQ to switch to using postcards would be beneficial in some regards from the NSA POV as it would slow their communications cycle. If you've never been in an environment where command-and-control are important, let's just say that effective communications are the backbone of operations. Many less-than-perfect debriefs I've been involved in had a major lesson learned "Poor Communications".
There's a maxim that most plans don't survive first contact with the enemy. From AQ's perspective that makes communications import so they can determine the problem, adapt and improvise a solution, and communicate that solution to all affected stakeholders.
Likewise even AQ engages in administrivia like expense reports, promoting leaders, org. alignments, etc. Those all need communications.
So when a break in AQ comms may rely on them screwing up a single time, it becomes even more important not to give away the "Do's and Don't's of NSA SIGINT". Even forcing them to always use GPG might be beneficial, with things like Geo-IP and metadata analysis.
NSA is not worried about lone wolves though. If anyone is it would probably be FBI or local law enforcement.
If the goal here is to protected "sources and methods" why are members of the Congress disclosing details that expose those "sources and methods"?
Frankly, I think people care far too much about the NSA's security rules and far too little about individuals being gagged from discussing invasions of privacy for imaginary reasons that you cant even know unless you buy into their bullshit.
Oh, sure, the military-industrial mindset, where the entire world is naught by a jungle a-fire, full of cannibals .. they will prey upon my bold statement that secrets are unnecessary, but no secret is anything but a lie. It does not ever sustain itself, inherently, but rather consumes the holder of life, itself.
And to this one can only respond: if you believe your secrets are worth more than another human life, your attempt at holding a position, in State, as a member of the greater whole, has failed.
I would sack every general, immediately. Disarm the architects of the greatest scam that ever intruded upon mankinds search for Peace itself: the makers of War, in word and deed.
Besides, I think they already knew where the "mistakes" were, otherwise they wouldn't have retracted them if they didn't think something was wrong with them themselves.
When the government or any of it's agencies is given the authority to lie indiscriminately, that entity will become a threat to the constitution.
I notice that the 4th Amendment doesn't factor into it.
The 4th doesn't really apply if you're talking about the war on [drugs, terrorism, child molesters, tax cheaters, file sharers] etc. etc. etc. We are always at war
Instead of "guidelines", I would love to see actual numbers:
The NSA collected X,000 Terabytes of Information in 2012, consisting of X,000,000,000,000,000 records. At the end of the year, 2TB and X number of objects were kept, and the rest deleted properly (data actually written over).
That would be so much simpler and better.
""Alexander also noted that the NSA, under this part of the law, cannot intentionally target Americans in or outside the United States.""
.. and makes the conclusion that the NSA thinks it has the right to manage any relationship an American may have, by keeping data on all foreigners. In other words, the NSA thinks it has the right to know how your foreign friends are, American, and formulate a shadow around you consisting of a hole in the matrix.
What is it about American culture that allows itself to produce an entire body of citizens who truly believe they can operate as members of the broader conscious body of humans, existing as they do quite literally, gazing at navels?
I propose that Americans are fine being watched, because they want to be watched, primally. I think there is a deep-seated desire to actually have someone big, strong and brave, standing there watching every single thing you do. It can be seen as a reflection through the broader spectra of how we 'know these cultures'.
Perhaps the most criminal device in the world that has ever been used to attempt to cure cannibalism is indeed, the mirror ..