Laura Poitras
August 13, 2013 1:05 PM   Subscribe


 
Every journalist should have the technical savvy that Laura Poitras does, especially if they deal with sensitive information. Here's one way to roll out protection for yourself and your sources.
posted by antonymous at 1:15 PM on August 13, 2013 [15 favorites]


Fuck, these guys have got balls.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:24 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, Laura Poitras deserves every journalistic award that potentially applies. Can't wait to see the documentary.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:35 PM on August 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


and just now I read that the CIA--yes, not FBI--spied on Chomsky...CIA ?
A wise tech guy posted today that it is futile to try to do this and that and the other to prevent spying by the govt but that what was needed was to get Congress to stop it or at the least make sure courts etc are in place so nothing gets out of hand.
posted by Postroad at 1:53 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


How many threat points do you get if you ask how many threat points you have? And where do you ask? (And will I get any for asking about asking?)
posted by IndigoJones at 2:17 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


One thing that really struck me about the measures she has to take to ensure her security is that it sounded a whole hell of a lot like the Matrix. Cliche, I know, but she talks about the world where she can safely exist and the world where the US is very aggressively monitoring everything she does in much the same terms. Glen Greenwald lives in a fucking jungle in Brazil, for dog's sake. It's unreal. I never thought it would happen as quickly as it did, and I'm generally thought of as a super cynic.
posted by nevercalm at 2:29 PM on August 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


Here's one way to roll out protection for yourself and your sources.

All Journalists Should Use This Annoying Technology to Prevent Spying
posted by homunculus at 2:30 PM on August 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


  1. 3
  2. Anywhere on the internet works
  3. Maybe.
posted by indubitable at 2:46 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nearly all desktop email clients support S/MIME natively, which makes it somewhat easier to set up than PGP. Mozillazine details how to get a certificate from a certificate authority. You can also generate your own, but then it requires that the recipient manually add your certificate, much as PGP would. Since nobody really does web of trust in PGP to verify that a person's key really belongs to that person (the 90s says hello to the social graph), there's no significant disadvantage to using the certificate system instead of GPG.

I'm not sure why S/MIME never gets mentioned, since it's a good bit easier to get going than the GPG plugin for most people, I would think. If you use a desktop email client, it may well be worth spending 5 minutes to get your certificate right now. I got mine from Comodo, it was only slightly annoying.
posted by Llama-Lime at 2:53 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


So since web of trust is kind of defunct, how does practical trusted key distribution work these days? I imagine physical delivery short of using a courier is probably dodgy at best if your adversary is a government.
posted by indubitable at 3:02 PM on August 13, 2013


I cannot favorite this post hard enough. Right here we have examples both of someone fighting back against the system and why that's so incredibly important.
posted by JHarris at 3:06 PM on August 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


I like that Greenwald and his partner have a messy frat-boy apartment (with 10 dogs and a cat! plus wild monkeys in the garden!) and also that they play XBox. I wonder if they have ever done secret agent conversation stuff on Microsoft Live, or if they worried about Microsoft spying through Xbox for the NSA
posted by Bwithh at 3:26 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Glen Greenwald lives in a fucking jungle in Brazil, for dog's sake

I think GG has said that he would be living in the US except for the immigration rules on same-sex couples which didn't recognize his marriage to a Brazilian partner. This US law changed recently to recognize same-sex couples, but presumably post-PRISM, he doesn't want to rush back.
posted by Bwithh at 3:29 PM on August 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah for some reason "a jungle in Brazil" doesn't sound super safe. I guess the presence of 10 dogs helps.
posted by Big_B at 3:34 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Glen Greenwald lives in a fucking jungle in Brazil, for dog's sake.

It would tickle me no end if you made this comment not knowing that he has 11 rescued Border Collies.
posted by jamjam at 3:41 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The article is amazing, powerful and frightening. One can almost feel a sense of dread for these journalists.
posted by greenhornet at 3:42 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


So since web of trust is kind of defunct, how does practical trusted key distribution work these days? I imagine physical delivery short of using a courier is probably dodgy at best if your adversary is a government.

I'm very much a neophyte at this, but isn't the point of the way PGP works that you can distribute your public key anywhere you want (e.g. here), so long as you never distribute your private key over the internet?
posted by dsfan at 4:02 PM on August 13, 2013


Is is ok for me to envy and hate Glenn Greenwald?
posted by Annika Cicada at 4:17 PM on August 13, 2013


‘You’re flagged. You have a threat score that is off the Richter scale. You are at 400 out of 400 ... this is your government that has this and has told us to stop you.’
This sort of thing makes the US government look so small, so petty and vindictive. It's really hard to take the government's "for your own good" claims about national security, about N thwarted terror plots and so on seriously when that same government is behaving like a psycho stalker ex-boy-or-girl-friend.

Does no one who matters see this? The government is fulfilling all the pessimistic prophecies made for a surveillance state, and it seems to be doing it reflexively, like a tic that just can't be suppressed. As if it's just wired that way now, as if it really can't do anything else anymore.
posted by Western Infidels at 4:29 PM on August 13, 2013 [22 favorites]


dsfan - The issue is identity verification. How do you know a given public key really belongs to the person whose name is on it? Unless two people meet and exchange keys in person, it's a tricky problem.

The canonical solution was the Web of Trust - in essence, a network of people vouching for each other's identities, based on face-to-face meetups at key signing parties. In practice, that almost never happened outside of cypherpunk and LUG circles. Nowadays it happens even less.
posted by zjacreman at 4:31 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


... for communicating and for reading sensitive documents (the one for sensitive documents is air-gapped, meaning it has never been connected to the Internet).

Stuxnet proved air gaps don't work. Any physical port is an attack surface.
posted by Annika Cicada at 4:33 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks zjacreman.
posted by dsfan at 4:39 PM on August 13, 2013


Is is ok for me to envy and hate Glenn Greenwald?

Yes. Is is fine.
posted by homunculus at 5:10 PM on August 13, 2013


Yes. Is is fine.

Werp...I can uze edits windoze?
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:15 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]






Is is ok for me to envy and hate Glenn Greenwald?

It's not just ok, it's recommend.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:19 PM on August 13, 2013


Is is ok for me to envy and hate Glenn Greenwald?

I think he's obnoxious and a zealot and sometimes overstates the case, but that is probably the right kind of personality to cover a story like this. A more 'professional', 'unbiased' journalist probably would have quietly buried the story after a stern talking to from some NSA underling or Obama administration lackey.
posted by empath at 6:19 PM on August 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think the leaks prove that he wasn't nearly as much as a zealot as some thought. It turns out he had a pretty good handle on things. As they say, you're not paranoid if everyone really is out to get you.
posted by JHarris at 6:40 PM on August 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


Who Stole Computer From Glenn Greenwald's Home?

And how did they get past all the dogs?
posted by homunculus at 6:45 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Probably fed them the cat.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:47 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


A great article, thanks! I especially like reading about how the investigative work happens.

I find it so weird that the Snowden story is ongoing and to juxtapose it against todays story about the Canadian privacy commissioner is reprimanding companies for collecting personal info on their websites. I know the Privacy Commissioner is right to criticize A&w and Bell media... But is she hasn't been saying much about the NSA situation.
posted by chapps at 6:54 PM on August 13, 2013


I think the leaks prove that he wasn't nearly as much as a zealot as some thought. It turns out he had a pretty good handle on things.

As someone who followed Greenwald long before this story, I think this is an important point. His past articles put him in a position to be a qualified reporter for these leaks, partially due to his willingness to publish a story without quoting nebulous "off-the-record" government sources. It certainly leads to anti-establishment bias, but what other option is there?
posted by antonymous at 7:02 PM on August 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


If I were Glenn Greenwald I'd have one computer on my desk that was loaded with hundreds of My Little Pony videos named things like "stegano-secrets.mkv", and the other computer that you couldn't easily find.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:05 PM on August 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


with hundreds of My Little Pony videos

And one video of Mr. Hands. Surprise!
posted by homunculus at 7:09 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the leaks prove that he wasn't nearly as much as a zealot as some thought.

Oh, you can go back through his articles and find quite a bit of over-wrought hysteria, going all the way back to the bush years. But you know, sometimes the real story isn't as bad as it looks and sometimes it's worse, and I'm glad there's at least one reporter out there not giving the establishment the benefit of the doubt, even if he goes a bit too far out on a limb sometimes.
posted by empath at 7:12 PM on August 13, 2013


I can barely stand to read an entire Greenwald column, but I do believe he's doing vital, important work.
posted by TrialByMedia at 7:26 PM on August 13, 2013


Maybe the hysteria isn't as overwrought as it seems, though. Maybe there's just things we haven't found out yet.

Yeah yeah, I know, maybe pigs will fly. The thing is, the stuff leaked that turned out to be true is just the kind of revelation that starts one looking out for airborne swine.
posted by JHarris at 7:39 PM on August 13, 2013


The article indicated that Greenwald is concerned about returning to the US because he believes he might be arrested.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:00 PM on August 13, 2013


Dude e, if you want to ride your Greenwald hobbyhorse here a much better angle is that he is basically just riding Laura's coattails on this if the narrative in the FPP is accurate.

If it wasn't for his "zealotry" on these issues neither Snowden or Poitras would have individually tried to bring him into this while they, it seems, did most of the heavy lifting.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:34 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dude, if you want to ride your Greenwald hobbyhorse here

I don't really have one. I think he's doing good work in this case, just not all the time. I'd rather have someone less, I guess, 'involved', writing these stories, but beggars can't be choosers. Sometimes you need zealots. I'm firmly convinced that the NYT would have just buried the story, for example.
posted by empath at 8:57 PM on August 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm envious of his badassness. He lives in brazil IN THE FRIGGEN JUNGLE WITH 11 DOGS.

I hate him for his awesomeness.
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:09 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


(And I'm as of this post not-so-secretly-crushing on Laura.)

I'll just leave now, lol.
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:12 PM on August 13, 2013


On a slight tangent... worth listening to students rip apart some NSA Recruiters
posted by greenhornet at 9:15 PM on August 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


People less involved than Poitras, such as Greenwald, would have just ignored Snowden like Greenwald did or been too lazy to agree to the levels of security needed for the leak.

It wasn't so long ago lawyers here were explaining why it was totally legitimate to prosecute journalists who communicate in code to receive information they know is classified. These leaks don't happen without encryption and only the zealots were willing to sign up for that level of risk. Hopefully that will not be the case in the future, the journalists have to know it's time to adapt or die on this stuff.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:25 PM on August 13, 2013




From homunculus' most recent link:
It’s partly because of Barrett that we know about things like persona management, a technology used by the US government and its contractors to disseminate information online using fake personas, also known as sock puppets.

SOCK PUPPETS. Yeah, hmm. I wonder if there any of these government sock puppets are here? Even if there are not, it makes you wonder, doesn't it?
posted by JHarris at 12:23 AM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


From empath's link: dear god. That's looking like foul play.
posted by JHarris at 12:32 AM on August 14, 2013


Rolling Stone reporter who was investigating counter-terrorism czar John Brennan died in mysterious car accident hours after sending panicked email to colleagues.

Michael Hastings Cremated Against Family’s Wishes, Deepening Mystery Of Journalist’s Death
posted by homunculus at 12:33 AM on August 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


It sure looks like a murder to me. I can't believe it's not bigger news.
posted by empath at 12:36 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Previously.
posted by homunculus at 12:41 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Our governments are really out of control.
posted by gt2 at 2:23 AM on August 14, 2013


Before Snowden, and reminiscent of Michael Hastings, there was William (Bill) Roy.

.
posted by bigZLiLk at 3:42 AM on August 14, 2013


Bill's son recently created a blog, to post a plea for more information about his father and the circumstances around his death. "Do You Know Anything About the Death of my Father, CIA-ASIO Espionage and Surveillance Whistleblower? Did you know William Francis Roy?"
posted by bigZLiLk at 3:47 AM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Via homunculus' link:

Barrett Brown has been sitting in prison, without trial, for almost a year. In case you haven’t followed his case, the 31-year-old journalist is facing a century of prison time for sharing a link that contained—within an archive of 5 million emails—credit-card information stolen from a hack of a security company called Stratfor

Barrett’s website, ProjectPM, used a small team of researchers to pour through leaked emails, news articles, and public corporate information to figure out what this industry does exactly, and how they serve the White House.

Apparently Michael Hastings was a friend of Barrett Brown; Hastings recently died in a car crash after allegedly investigating CIA director Brennan. (see empath's link for more details)

Last month a source provided San Diego 6 News with an alarming email hacked from super secret CIA contractor Stratfor’s President Fred Burton. The email (link to WIKILEAKS) was posted on WikiLeaks and alleged that then Obama counter-terrorism Czar Brennan, was in charge of the government's continued crackdown or witch-hunt on investigative journalists.

Even if only a few of those speculations are accurate, it still takes tremendous courage for Laura Poitras to continue with her investigations. Barrett Brown and Bradley Manning have been threatened with 100 years in prison. Most people would seriously rethink continuing against those odds. I'm truly awed by her dedication.
posted by dubold at 4:07 AM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Barrett Brown has been sitting in prison, without trial, for almost a year. In case you haven’t followed his case, the 31-year-old journalist is facing a century of prison time for sharing a link that contained—within an archive of 5 million emails—credit-card information stolen from a hack of a security company called Stratfor

Let's be clear here, he's really being tried for having been the public face of Anonymous.
posted by empath at 4:09 AM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


If we're being so clear, you would think the government would be so. This business of prosecuting based on something unpopular yet not illegal he's done is extremely fishy. It's not exactly catching Al Capone on tax evasion here, is it?
posted by JHarris at 8:02 AM on August 14, 2013


(Not trying to pile on here. I just realized this is like the third time I've responded like that to empath. Sorry guy, is accidental.)
posted by JHarris at 8:52 AM on August 14, 2013


I'm so impressed by Laura Poitras and Glen Greenwald, not to mention Snowden. Just wow!

I'd agree the Michael Hastings case sounds like murder by the CIA, not all cases that look like murder are, but that case looks it. Just wish he'd gotten at least the data out first.*

Journalists and leakers should probably start creating themselves insurance files because, even if you never release it

Also, we should all start encrypting more mundane communications so that investigating encrypted communications more heavily yields less information.

* As cars are air gapped, you don't "hack" one over a network, you either quickly swap out the computer with a different one, or else update the firmware by attaching a malicious computer to the diagnostic data port.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:32 AM on August 14, 2013


Emailing someone and asking them for their public key is in no shape or form how PGP/GPG was designed to work. It's a huge violation of security, a giant gaping hole, a completely unlocked door. You can't bootstrap a secure conversation with a potentially compromised channel -- if someone has the capability to man you in the middle, they can substitute any key in the reply and you'd have no way of knowing that it happened. I'm glad that everything worked out this time, but it's no example to hold up of how it's supposed to work.

One workaround is to have the key's identity verified by a trusted third party. Other comments have already touched on why the web of trust is hard to manage (although finding and attending a key-signing party at a technical conference or meetup is not exactly difficult.) But that's not the only option; you can use alternative channels. For someone in her or Greenwald's position, there are many options: you could include your public key in books you've written; in the credits for movies you've produced; in printed newspaper articles; in televised interviews. You can publish your key on a public keyserver and then refer to it by its fingerprint which is only 8 hexadecimal digits if you're worried about space or time constrains. Ideally you'd do all of these things, so that the public record contains as many alternate non-internet channels of verifying your key as possible.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:26 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


jeffburdges: " As cars are air gapped, you don't "hack" one over a network, you either quickly swap out the computer with a different one, or else update the firmware by attaching a malicious computer to the diagnostic data port."

Hastings was driving a Mercedes C250, which comes with bluetooth connectivity. It wouldn't surprise me if it was possible to compromise whatever services were exposed over bluetooth and via them get access to the main internal car databuse & hack the engine management system. All these devices are usually on the same internal bus in modern cars.
posted by pharm at 12:42 PM on August 14, 2013




I'm not at all inclined towards the tinfoil but the Hastings situation is definitely a bit spooky, but keep in mind the overwhelmingly most likely situation here is that he was driving like a crazy person for reasons other than CIA assassination. If they are willing to murder journalists over this, being in another country and having a few dogs isn't going to stop them.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:17 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


In theory, they seek to protect classified information, not draw more attention, Drinky Die.

Would they steal Greenwald's computer? Absolutely, even if it's not his only copy, at least they'll learn what he possesses. Or maybe the Brazilian secret service wanted their own copy.

Would they assassinate Greenwald now? Very doubtful, that'd just focus attention on his writings.

Would they murder a reporter they thought nobody listened to? Yeah possibly, not sure they're exact psychology, but surely many might do so.

We've no clue what information Michael Hastings might've possessed, but it never got released afaik, maybe they got his leaker too.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:37 PM on August 14, 2013


It's a bizarre choice of assassination methods that could have led to a lot of collateral damage compared to other options and has clearly raised suspicions a silencer would hope to avoid. I don't know enough about the story to consider this an impossible plot but it sure sounds implausible.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:23 PM on August 14, 2013


(Much more likely he was just drunk, which is a terribly mean thing to say about someone who apparently had quit drinking but problems with alcohol are an insidious issue that can strike vulnerable folks at any point in their lives. Would not bring it up if it was not for the murder theories floating around)
posted by Drinky Die at 5:30 PM on August 14, 2013


I do lean towards Drinky Die's attitude on this. It is creepy, but it's not sure it was an assassination. Maybe that's just me hoping for the best. If it turns out it was an assassination, then that is beyond reprehensible.

All this stuff is starting to look like Obama's Katrina. He just sits on his hands and says very little about all of it. Step up man. As head of the executive, these things are done in your name.
posted by JHarris at 6:05 PM on August 14, 2013


(Well, he has promised reforms. I just don't think much if anything is going to come of them. This looks like a rotten-to-the-roots culture here.)
posted by JHarris at 6:07 PM on August 14, 2013


jeffburges: As cars are air gapped, you don't "hack" one over a network, you either quickly swap out the computer with a different one, or else update the firmware by attaching a malicious computer to the diagnostic data port.

Hastings' Mercedes had mBrace2 technology, which allowed for updates over the 3G network. It was not airgapped.
posted by anemone of the state at 7:13 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Two observations. First, according to the surveillance video that caught it in passing, the car appeared to explode. Outside of movies that's pretty damn uncommon. Second, corrupting someone's engine computer seems like a very sloppy and unreliable way to kill someone. I don't know if the computer can override the drive disengage that occurs when you mash on the brake in a modern computerized automatic, but that's not the only objection; there are just too many ways the driver can flout your intent and walk away with only airbag bruises at worst -- and I seriously don't believe you can override a driver's attempt to steer any car with its onboard computer.

So while it's a terrible way to kill someone, it might not be a bad way to dispose of a body and mask the cause. You just have to make sure nobody spots you setting up the crash.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:30 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I read somewhere that Matt Farwell might finish the Brennan piece for Rolling Stone. Can't find a reputable link.
posted by brina at 8:15 PM on August 14, 2013




A jungle in Brazil? It's great that this story is coming from somewhere outside Washington, and it wouldn't be a surprise if he's since moved somewhere more secure, but last I heard, Greenwald lived near Gávea in Rio, a city of 6 million people.
posted by ecmendenhall at 8:57 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think people are assuming it's the jungle because of the monkeys, but monkeys can go anywhere.
posted by homunculus at 9:13 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]




Apparently Wyden, Coburn, etc. only recently learned the Senate Intelligence Committee has the power to challenge classification of documents, which might help bring out the worst, like :

NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds
posted by jeffburdges at 6:44 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Except Wyden, Coburn, etc. never saw the worst abuses :
NSA Agents Told To Withhold Target Information From Those In Charge Of Oversight
posted by jeffburdges at 6:53 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Senators Mark Udall and Ron Wyden, who serve on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement regarding reports that the NSA has violated rules intended to protect Americans' privacy rights:

"The executive branch has now confirmed that the rules, regulations and court-imposed standards for protecting the privacy of Americans have been violated thousands of times each year. We have previously said that the violations of these laws and rules were more serious than had been acknowledged, and we believe Americans should know that this confirmation is just the tip of a larger iceberg.


What else are they hiding and how are we going to find out?
posted by Drinky Die at 2:40 PM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


NSA Spying: The Three Pillars of Government Trust Have Fallen

"The two latest bombshells from The Washington Post are that internal audits show the NSA violates Americans' privacy rights thousands of times each year and the FISA Court Judge admits that he cannot oversee the NSA either. EFF's Cindy Cohn and Mark Jaycox explain why it's time for a comprehensive, independent investigation."

I read the Udall and Wyden statement that "this confirmation is just the tip of a larger iceberg" as saying the NSA really spies on basically all communications amongst anyone but does not cover invasions of privacy that never leave the computer in their report.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:56 AM on August 17, 2013


Feds target instructors of polygraph-beating methods

"Federal agents have launched a criminal investigation of instructors who claim they can teach job applicants how to pass lie detector tests as part of the Obama administration's unprecedented crackdown on security violators and leakers."

These instructors should respond by putting videos of their courses on youtube.com and thepiratebay.org, completely with suggestions on buying or making the gear. (google)
posted by jeffburdges at 12:24 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, along with the threats to arrest the Lavabit owner for daring to shut down his own business it's clear this situation is completely out of control and the legal issues that we need to have a conversation about go way beyond questions about the mass metadata collection.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:40 PM on August 17, 2013


AntiPolygraph.org has interesting stories, maybe worth an FPP at some point.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:48 AM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


What else are they hiding and how are we going to find out?

As Glenn Greenwald said, "If Mark Udall really wanted Americans to know about NSA spying, he could've used his immunity & disclosed it on floor".

Mark Udall could let the world know what's going on today. His 'nudge-nudge, wink-wink'-style hinting has been better than nothing, but the man could show a little bravery.
posted by anemone of the state at 7:58 AM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does this apply to Wyden as well? Would there be longer term consequences like Udall losing his spot on the committee?

I'm fine with Wyden, Coburn, and Udall's past 'cowardice' if it meant not 'burring their committee spot', assuming that's what floor disclosure means, simply because they're the only reformers on the Senate Intelligence Committee. It's plausible they've now gained the political strength to challenge important classified document through the committee, which supposedly they only just learned they possessed the ability to do.

We've presently seen only "the tip of a larger iceberg" according to Wyden and Udall, and we've shown them that we want to see more, so let's see if they can deliver it their way. If they do so, then let's all give them money next election season.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:54 AM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]




It could also be that Udall/Wyden want to make out to know more than they actually do, to spur on whistleblowers like Snowden. Congress is almost certainly kept in the dark about the really shocking stuff.

It's pretty clear that systems and institutions like these will be abused in every way possible without robust oversight. Expect future disclosures to include blackmail and 'insider' trading.
posted by anemone of the state at 5:36 PM on August 18, 2013


Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner: The White House's justification for collecting Americans' phone data doesn't stand up to the light of day.

The administration actually goes further and reasons that Congress essentially sanctioned the abuse of the Patriot Act by failing to stop the administration from abusing it. This last point deserves to be quoted in full:

"Moreover, information concerning the use of Section 215 to collect telephony metadata in bulk was made available to all members of Congress, and Congress reauthorized Section 215 without change after this information was provided. It is significant to the legal analysis of the statute that Congress was on notice of this activity and of the source of its legal authority when the statute was reauthorized."

As I have said numerous times, I did not know the administration was using the Patriot Act for bulk collection, and neither did a majority of my colleagues. Regardless, the suggestion that the administration can violate the law because Congress failed to object is outrageous. But let them be on notice: I am objecting right now.

posted by Drinky Die at 4:41 PM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]








Associated Press standards editor Tom Kent told staff Monday that "whether the actions exposed by Snowden and [WikiLeaks source Bradley] Manning constitute wrongdoing is hotly contested, so we should not call them whistle-blowers on our own at this point." (via)

Metafilter user "Drinky Die" on early Wednesday morning rolled his eyes and made the "jerk off" gesture.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:42 AM on August 21, 2013 [3 favorites]






> Apparently Michael Hastings was a friend of Barrett Brown; Hastings recently died in a car crash after allegedly investigating CIA director Brennan.

Here's a new thread on Hastings, btw.
posted by homunculus at 8:22 AM on September 5, 2013


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