Evidence of a slippery slope continued: Newsweek
reports that White House counsel Steve Bradbury believes President Bush can order killings on US soil
as part of the Terrorist-Surveillance ProgramTM
. Meanwhile, while Attorney General Gonzales "lashes out" at the media and insists
that the TSPTM
is "not a dragnet that sucks in all conversation and uses computer searches to pick out calls of interest," the Washington Post reports
it's precisely that -- "computer-controlled systems collect and sift basic information about hundreds of thousands of faxes, e-mails and telephone calls into and out of the United States before selecting the ones for scrutiny by human eyes and ears" -- and has led to very few leads. (See also discussion of Arlen Specter and the legality of the TSPTM here
posted by digaman
on Feb 6, 2006 -
Watch what you say.
Russell Tice, the NSA whistleblower who was the source for the NYT, has alleged that the the technology exists to track and sort through every domestic and international phone call as they are switched through centers, such as one in New York, and to search for key words or phrases that a terrorist might use. "If you picked the word 'jihad' out of a conversation," Tice said, "the technology exists that you focus in on that conversation, and you pull it out of the system for processing."
What else are they listening for?
posted by bukharin
on Jan 10, 2006 -
National Security Agency
What is it that NSA does? What are or were its legal parameters and its history? This is a quick "NSA 101" course that might be helpful as stories continue to emerge about the agency. Oddly, as large as this organization is, it has been very much in the background, and only recently when some whistleblowers
spoke up, has this agency gained a good deal of public attention. Some of you may recall the fuss raised about some spy agency named Echelon
and wonder how this group is or is not connected to NSA. And soon at least one whistle blower will testify
before congress, though the White House seems to have convinced some 50% of Americans that the president can do whatever he wants in time of war, ignoring legal constraints upon intel branches. And that raises the question (for me): if NSA can skirt the courts to "fight terror," then what of the FBI, also once requied to have court approval for phone taps. Are they too now free to do as they want in this "fight against terror"?
posted by Postroad
on Jan 5, 2006 -
Our Domestic Intelligence Crisis
Federal Appeals Court Judge Richard Posner imagines a world in which US citizens are constantly under electronic surveillance.... and is totally okay with it.
Once you accept Posner's premise that "machine collection and processing of data cannot, as such, invade privacy," how far are we from cameras and microphones in private homes. After all, there is no privacy invasion so long as it is only a computer flagging "suspicious
" activity, right?
posted by GregW
on Dec 21, 2005 -
"I learned this week
that on December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story
..." President Bush really
did not want journalists to reveal his NSA spying program against Americans [discussed here
.] And in yesterday's rare press conference
, the President said: "An open debate about law would say to the enemy, 'Here's what we're going to do.' And this is an enemy which adjusts... Any public hearings on programs will say to the enemy, 'Here's what they do. Adjust.' This is a war." Neocon guru William Kristol argues
that talk of Bush being an "imperial" president" is "demagogic" and "irresponsible" since "Congress has the right and the ability to judge whether President Bush has in fact used his executive discretion soundly." What is the role of "open debate" in a war against terror that may last for decades?
posted by digaman
on Dec 20, 2005 -