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17 July 2013


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William R. Cumming

Apparently the FISA court will release parts of its opinions referenced in the post!


It would be a very poor investigator that cannot find something in any persons communications that can be used to destroy them.

What is worse is that ultimately they will have whole of life data to screen.

Will they wake up? Unlikely.


Hmm ... is it blatently lying when everything that you
do is so heavily classified that the people asking the questions lack the necessary security clearance? Is then, in the interest of national security, not disclosing that classified information an obligation ... ?

... and then: Would disclosing that information then be a breach of secrecy which under Obama probably qualifies leakers for everything between extrajudicial execution to kidnapping and indefinite detention (I include in that 365 years in jail, with the posibility of parole after 150 years time served). Hello Mr. Snowden.

I recall that under Cheney the Mad, they even went so far as to reclassify stuff that was already in the public domain, which, the remarkable inanity of the very act aside, has intereesting legal implications.

Alba Etie

Col Lang,
What should be the consequences for DIA Director Clapper & General Alexander for outright lying to Congress. I will be sending Senator Wyden & Senator Rand Paul a letter of support in their attempt to get answers concerning the "Overlords of National Security Cult " that are infringing every day our Constitution and personal freedoms . I am actively seeking ways to find common ground with others concerned citizens regarding the Big Brother mentality that has engulfed us all.Perhaps the first steps in 'waking the f--k up " is to support those elected officials that are trying to protect & defend the US Constitution .
Snowden is a Patriot & God Bless him .

Alba Etie

oops this post was done by TTG not Col Lang - anyway still agree with all of it ..


Having the government know to whom and how long every American spoke to anyone else and to be able to retrieve what was said in certain instances for a period of years is not a reasonable search or seizure and certainly not what the Framers had in mind when they guaranteed the citizens "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated."

Charles I

The lobster may scream, but that's the last gasp, its not waking up.


Col: As Stephen Walt has written, our very power and actual security makes these extraordinary intrusions irrational. The Bill of Rights survived the assault on Fort McHenry, the Kaiser, and Pearl Harbor. I doubt there is any country on Earth where the citizenry believe in their system of government more than we do. Why won't any politicians acknowledge this?


Charles I

I have cooked many lobsters and never heard one scream. i suppose this is a measure of my insensitivity and brutalized nature. I think of lobsters as a hard shelled version of shmoos. pl


This is what the idiots that respond "I have nothing to hide" don't understand.

Besides this response being evasive of the point, anybody that doesn't have something they don't want made public has has not lived an interesting life. "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated..."--is the point.

Dianne Feinstein evades the same question by using fear tactics, and the idiots respond as well, "If we don't give up our rights the terrorists will kill us."

Anyone thinks people in these agencies are not or will not scrutinize the private speech of any significant politician before election is a fool.

Let's hope a significant group of citizens can muster to resist these violations of our rights.

Peter C

If I was a CEO of a large Multinational Company, would it be just grand to view the most secret industrial secrets, expansion plans, and internal communications of your rival.

I've been waiting for the revelations of how certain favored Multinational Companies have received information gleaned from these various programs.


It is known that the NSA in the past has for instance tartetd Airbus, and likely does so still. With no other serious civilian aircraft manufacturer left in the US, it is a fairly safe bet to assume that Boeing gets fed at least some of the information.

Iirc intercepted pricing information allowed Boeing to seriously underbid Airbus in an aircraft deal with some gulf potentate or another.

Babak Makkinejad


That was certainly the case after World War II in France; the Gestapo files on the French Jews were kept by the French Police; "A lot of a effort has gone into gathering them, would be a shame to discard them now."

I imagine that the Stsi files are also kept by the Federal Republic of Germany.

Doug Tunnell

Great thread !
Thank you.


If/when any semblance of constitutional government is lost, all of this info will fall into the hands of precisely the people who undermined the constitutional government. They will run the full analysis capabilities that are currently presumably latent. Therefore we should not do this, because it is far more useful to the worst enemies of national security (as understood by little people like me) than it is to a constitutional government.

If there is some weasel argument as to how this does not violate the fourth amendment, let's get an amendment underway to clarify the situation. I have no doubt about the will of the people on this. What they say when polled by someone on the phone can't be trusted in an environment like this.

The constitutional government is compromised by the act of unreasonably searching for all of this data. And not in some feeble technical way, but very fundamentally. Therefore the collection of this information is an ONGOING MATERIAL ATTACK on anything you could call a constitutional government, and anyone directing its collection is in fact an "agent" of that which is overthrowing the constitutional government. The FBI would be within its rights to shut it down and arrest the decisionmakers and funding sources regardless of their titles.

Exactly who/what is sovereign in the US at this point?


We know now from these revelations that the Stuxnet virus attack was most likely a product of one of these secret agencies. If a state did this attack against us would we consider this an act of war?

If we consider this an act of war who authorized this? Congress?

How can we know what they are collecting if they are lying before Congress? If they are habitually lying before Congress they are rouge agents that should be stopped.

Eric Dönges

Yes, the German government keeps the Stasi files. You can request a look at your file by contacting the appropriate agency - in this case, the BStU, see http://www.bstu.bund.de. Most of the information there is in German, but there are some English pages as well. Note that as I understand it, you don't have to be a German citizen to check if there is a file on you and what it contains, though proving your identity (which is required) could be a bit more difficult from outside of Germany.

I think it is worthwhile to note that the people most likely to be negatively affected by the continuing existence of these files (i.e. all those people who secretly worked for the Stasi in one way or the other) would have thought pre-1990 that the files on them where probably no big deal, as they showed their loyalty to the DDR. This should give the "I have nothing to hide" crowd some food for thought.

As a side note, I am eager to find out if the strong suspicion that the NSA spied on German citizens with the active collusion of the German government is going to have any effects on the upcoming federal elections.

r whitman

We may be worrying too much about this. Information technology is dynamic, not static. Right now we have this great big fat government target of billions of bits of data and hundreds of thousands of hackers trying to disrupt the system. My money is on the hackers to screw up the data.


Stasi files have been made public, and are being handeld by the special administration for stasi files, and every citizen is entitled to direct at them FIA like requests.

The Stasi complied all sorts of trivia. I read my dad's stasi file for instance. For my dad, the file noted that he had travelled there to visit relatives, was catholic, had children, worked for the German IRS - and was a burgeois element. Some of the info in the file must have come from people that he visited in a partner parish 'drüben'. Charming.

Now thanks to the NSA, whatever you do likewise goes on your permanent record.

However, iirc the US government got their hands on some Stasi archives, and I presume they are utilising them. The special administration for stasi files is demanding them back, to no avail so far. They are probably ... classified.

The Pelican

"...Exactly who/what is sovereign in the US at this point?...

Incremental one-upmanship rules this country.

Peter C

One of testimonies before Congress a few days ago (I don't have link) stated that "before you can find a needle in a Haystack, you have to create a Haystack." Now with a Haystack of unknown dimensions and continuing to grow exponentially by the nano second, and analytical software being funded to deal with the Haystack and deepening security apparatus to cyber protect the system is clearly a Cyber Arms Race of unknowable dimensions. I do think the Crackers and Hackers love to match wits with the Establishment, but they truly lack the funding to build redundant unlinked mega storage sites that the data resides.

The programs are developed by Corporations and who knows who and where the data is stored. Privatized digital Cyber. The agencies have tons of bright loyal citizens that have built some very useful and powerful Cyber Systems that were negated in the rush to A-76 everything, and once the Twin Towers came down the whole thing was open season to sell crap software to Uncle Sam, for a Kings Ransom.

Because of the secret nature of the whole Cyber Thing, we will never know what systems failed or in an ongoing F 35 like inertial upwards spiral of quick give me more money to see it the thing will fly because you have invested too much already, demanded by the Contractors.

I can see coming to light in the not so distant future the revelation (spin) that China has hacked the systems and that more funding is necessary to counter the threat.

Its a whole new wing to be added on to the Pentagon. I imagine there are gargantuan turf battle to see if the Air Force or Army gets the big ball of wax. As this Cyber Thing unfolds it will be Theater to watch what is said and who says what to feather their funding.

I believe Dick Cheney said "never let a good crisis go to waist"


Just outsource your IT storage to a third party overseas. Server replacement? Of course the data on the server wasn't compromised/copied/sold.


Thanks TTG for this important dissent.

Edward Snowden has been charged and hounded while Clapper and Alexander remain above the law. This tells us all we need to know about the state of the rule of law in our country.

As someone that has lived in the bowels of our intelligence apparatus, do you believe these confirmations of "Collect it all" imply that we are too far down the rabbit hole to return to the spirit and intent of the 4th amendment in the normal course?

IMO, the state has now all the tools of tyranny. All it requires is the Man on the White Horse. All the elements of the state from the executive, legislature and judiciary are on board. The EFF lawsuits on these matters it seems have not gone anywhere because of legal technicalities.

What struck me in the WaPo article you linked to was the sentence - "But even his defenders say Alexander’s aggressiveness has sometimes taken him to the outer edge of his legal authority." This use of sophistry, technicality and playing with word semantics to essentially skirt the intent of the law. To act with impunity since there is no longer any accountability. This goes to a point that both you and Pat have raised here at SST and that is personal honor. Raising the hand to take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution is meaningless unless men are honorable. This is part and parcel of what we see all around - the continuing moral degradation of our society in general. In my readings of historical texts of great societies from Gibbons work on the Romans and Sir John Bagot Glubbs analysis of many empires, among others, it seems that moral decline parallels the general decline of that society.

It could be argued that history has shown that the natural tendency is for increasing centralization of power. Thomas Jefferson noted that the only bulwark to this force is an engaged citizenry exercising their sovereignty. Unfortunately in my lifetime over the past several decades we have become less willing to be engaged in enforcing what made America unique.


The argument that the security of the United States is at stake is specious. This proposition is independent of the question of legality - something that cannot be established since the executive blocks all attempts to have it adjudicated in the courts and the courts have evaded their constitutional responsibility in defering.

I respectfully request anyone who buys into the security argument, to any degree, to respond to these questions:

1. What EXACTLY in tangible terms is this threat?
2. What is the evidence that it exists?
3. What precisely is its magnitude?
4. How does it compare to other threats the country has faced over the past century?

5. How do we measure the INCREASE in the threat, as you define it, from the actions we have been taking? Refer to evidence, e.g. statements of perpetrators and potential perpetrators.

Until the questions are posed, and candidly answered, by the President and those who share his view, there is prime facie evidence that the country have been the victom of the biggest fraud/scam in the nation's history - one with no precedents elsewhere as well - in the political realm.



Thanks for this thread. And thanks to Col. Lang for hosting it.

Here's a classic quote which I think explains a bit as to where we are now:

"I call the citizens of a State secure when, living together in the full enjoyment of their due rights of person and property, they are out of the reach of any external disturbance from the encroachments of others, and hence I would call security, if the expression does not seem too abrupt to be clear, the assurance of legal freedom. . . Those whose security is to be preserved are, on the one hand, all the citizens, in perfect legal equality, and, on the other, the State itself. The extent of this latter object, or the security of the State, is determined by the extent of its aims. . . "
Wilhelm von Humboldt, The Limits of State Action, 1792

If the aims of the state become unlimited, then the security of the state, rather than the security of the citizenry, becomes unlimited.

That, and we have seen a steady drift towards what I would refer to as "Corporatism" or the reign of corporations who are allowed unlimited political influence, but have no political responsibility or accountability, much like the politicians/government officials they buy off . . . This in line with what Zygmunt Bauman describes as the divorce of politics from power. Any reform at this point in time will be exceedingly difficult, on the order of what NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake calls a "second American Revolution" . . .

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