Is the NSA’s data mining more about domestic control than terrorism?


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  1. anonymous
    Posted June 13, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    The big threat to the power structure is the Occupy movement, not terrorism. Once you accept that, everything else makes sense.

  2. Eel
    Posted June 13, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    It would take a whole team of Snowdens to figure out your handwriting.

  3. Jean Henry
    Posted June 13, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I very much approve of hand-written blog posts. Like the pencil paparazzi, their time has come. Your handwriting makes me happy. I have to tilt my head like a confused puppy to read it.

  4. Knox
    Posted June 13, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Yes. This is about crushing dissent. It may have been developed for terror, but it’s use will be for identifying and tracking those who pose threats to the corporate power structure. Terrorists know better than to use social media to plan attacks.

  5. 734
    Posted June 13, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    It would be interesting to see who they’re tracking. One bets that Glenn Greenwald, who has zero ties to terrorism, is now getting the full treatment.

  6. Toad
    Posted June 13, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Is that the infamous “tattered blogging leotard” that you used to write about?

  7. TSS
    Posted June 13, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    What ruler wouldn’t want to know the thoughts of his or her subjects… to know just when to crack the whip?

  8. Edward
    Posted June 14, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Often times things begin with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, though, once the tools exist people will find a way to use them, and not always for the purposes that were first envisioned. These questions about big data should have been asked years ago, as it was clear that this was where we were heading.

  9. alan2102
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink
    Friday, June 14, 2013
    Turnkey Tyranny
    Joe Giambrone
    Activist Post
    The genius of the American political system is that each administration is significantly worse than the one that preceded it. The effect is historical revisionism in the public mind. Nixon looks downright cuddly next to the abuses of Cheney/Rummy/Bush and company. Now Bush Jr. is starting to look like a civil libertarian when compared to the current Snoopmeister In Chief. As we plummet toward official Satanism, with a state unrecognizable and patently evil at its core, we can at least cling to the notion that things weren’t as bad as now in some past golden age. Then we can look around and fight amongst each other, assigning blame to the nearest uninformed yahoo, rather than to the high priests of human sacrifice and global misery and destruction.

  10. Demetrius
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Dick Cheney — the true power in the White House that *ignored* a national security briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” now says that 9/11 could have been averted if only we had NSA monitoring back then …

  11. Demetrius
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    A recent report in The Guardian (UK) suggests:

    Pentagon bracing for public dissent over climate and energy shocks — NSA Prism is motivated in part by fears that environmentally-linked disasters could spur anti-government activism

    An excerpt:

    “NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was a computer systems administrator for Booz Allen Hamilton, where he directly handled the NSA’s IT systems, including the Prism surveillance system. According to Booz Allen’s 2011 Annual Report, the corporation has overseen Unified Quest “for more than a decade” to help “military and civilian leaders envision the future.”

    The latest war games, the report reveals, focused on “detailed, realistic scenarios with hypothetical ‘roads to crisis'”, including “homeland operations” resulting from “a high-magnitude natural disaster” among other scenarios, in the context of:

    “… converging global trends [which] may change the current security landscape and future operating environment… At the end of the two-day event, senior leaders were better prepared to understand new required capabilities and force design requirements to make homeland operations more effective.”

    It is therefore not surprising that the increasing privatisation of intelligence has coincided with the proliferation of domestic surveillance operations against political activists, particularly those linked to environmental and social justice protest groups.

    Department of Homeland Security documents released in April prove a “systematic effort” by the agency “to surveil and disrupt peaceful demonstrations” linked to Occupy Wall Street, according to the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF).

    Similarly, FBI documents confirmed “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector” designed to produce intelligence on behalf of “the corporate security community.” A PCJF spokesperson remarked that the documents show “federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

  12. Demetrius
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Meant to include the link:

  13. Meta
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Snowden charged with espionage.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Russia’s ITAR-Tass news agency, citing an unidentified Aeroflot official, said Snowden would fly from Moscow to Cuba on Monday and then take a flight to Caracas, Venezuela.

  15. Meta
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Vice’s Motherboard has something on this same subject today.

    “Sorry, NSA, Terrorists Don’t Use Verizon. Or Skype. Or Gmail.”

    The NSA has to collect the metadata from all of our phone calls because terrorists, right? And the spy agency absolutely must intercept Skypes you conduct with folks out-of-state, or else terrorism. It must sift through your iCloud data and Facebook status updates too, because Al Qaeda.

    Terrorists are everywhere, they are legion, they are dangerous, and, unfortunately, they don’t really do any of the stuff described above.

    Even though the still-growing surveillance state that sprung up in the wake of 9/11 was enacted almost entirely to “fight terrorism,” reports show that the modes of communication that agencies like the NSA are targeting are scarcely used by terrorists at all.

    A recent Bloomberg piece points to a 2012 report on terrorism which found that most serious terrorists steer clear of the most obvious platforms—major cell networks, Google, Skype, Facebook, etc.

    Or, as Bloomberg more bluntly puts it, the “infrastructure set up by the National Security Agency … may only be good for gathering information on the stupidest, lowest-ranking of terrorists. The Prism surveillance program focuses on access to the servers of America’s largest Internet companies, which support such popular services as Skype, Gmail and iCloud. These are not the services that truly dangerous elements typically use.”

    And why would they? Post-911 warrantless wiretapping practices are well known, NSA-style data collection was well-rumored, and we all knew the Department of Homeland Security was already scanning emails for red-flag keywords. Of course terrorists would take precautions. Bloomberg elaborates:

    “In a January 2012 report titled “Jihadism on the Web: A Breeding Ground for Jihad in the Modern Age,” the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service drew a convincing picture of an Islamist Web underground centered around “core forums.” These websites are part of the Deep Web, or Undernet, the multitude of online resources not indexed by commonly used search engines.”

    Read more:

  16. Meta
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    From Salon:

    Last night the Washington Post published a major story, by Barton Gellman, showing that the National Security Agency has “broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year” since 2008. The report was based on an NSA internal audit provided to the Post by Edward Snowden. The report, obviously, contradicts numerous statements made by government officials, including President Barack Obama, who previously said that the NSA wasn’t “abusing” its powers. Maybe he meant “intentionally abusing,” because the majority of these violations were described as errors.

    Here’s one fun part of the story: The Post apparently interviewed John DeLong, the NSA’s director of compliance, for 90 minutes, to get his response to the story. The government said the interview would be partially on the record. “DeLong and members of the NSA communications staff said he could be quoted ‘by name and title’ on some of his answers after an unspecified internal review.” But then the government got cold feet, and took the whole interview off the record. And so:

    “Two days later, White House and NSA spokesmen said that none of DeLong’s comments could be quoted on the record and sent instead a prepared statement in his name. The Post declines to accept the substitute language as quotations from DeLong. The statement is below.”

    In other words, the Post refused to pretend that the written statement was what DeLong said in an actual interview. Good for them! This is a great bit of background on the reporting of the piece, and the way the White House deals with the press. But then the Post prints the rather dull statement, and not the interview. My question is, why?

    The White House and the NSA gave an interview, with a journalist. The interview was presumably transcribed and recorded. The White House and the NSA said the Post would be allowed to use some portion of the interview. Then they reneged. They changed the terms of the deal after the fact. The Post, at that point, has every right to use DeLong’s name and words. But they didn’t.

    Read more:

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