Friday, December 16, 2005

NSA: No Strings Attached

When I have time, I want to write more about the implications of a U.S. president secretly ordering the NSA to collect intelligence on American citizens. In the meantime, for those who might not be familiar with the NSA and its unique capabilities, I strongly suggest picking up a copy of this book which I read earlier this year.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in 2000 perhaps we should have had a clue:
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I told all four that there were going to be some times where we don't agree with each other. But that's OK. If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.

Cafferty had it right.

Perhaps this is what happens when Congress goes to sleep and abdicates their duties, and powers are amassed in all branches of the government by one corrupt party who adores secrecy. Makes one wonder, what the heck do they have in store for us and the world. It is so ironic that they preach democracy for Iraq, while at the same time destroying it here.

12/16/2005 10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting book. I was struck by the following from an editorial review on Amazon: Even more worrisome is another revelation, from the Kennedy years: "The Joint Chiefs of Staff drew up and approved plans for what may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government. In the name of anticommunism, they proposed launching a secret and bloody war of terrorism against their own country in order to trick the American public into supporting an ill-conceived war they intended to launch against Cuba."

Hmm. Imagine that. Our own government cooking up a terrorist act or two to trick the American public into supporting an ill-conceived war. Damn, they sure were nuts in the 60's. Thank God that would never happen today.

12/17/2005 12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, TCR,
Bush spoke about the need to conduct secret domestic surveillance, and said the NYtimes was full of lawbreakers for printing the story. Was he in good form? Convincing?
Would you like it if he had taken questions and given the US public confidence that he can be trusted with the authority to conduct secret surveillance with no oversight?
I for one think he might be able to sway the public---but I don't care to see it happen. Still.... you're welcome to give him some pointers.

12/17/2005 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's unfortunate that this topic has been poorly portrayed to create what on the surface is outrageous behavior of Bush administration. what is implied by the headlines is something to the effect "Bush authorized Intel community to pick up the phone book and tap anyone's phone". Or "all americans at risk of being spied on by their own govt".

it's not like that. what happened is information was found in other parts of the world (off of captured hardrives, obtained through legal SIGINT, given to the Intel community, etc) immediately after 9/11 that allowed intel analysts to start to draw a network of communications back from these, very likely, terrorist links. the path of phone calls, emails, etc often lead back to (or through) the US telecom system. pre 9/11 when that would happen, any US person/entity part of the communication (this is a legal entity that has constitutional protection) would be excised from the collection.

what happend post 9/11 is the analyst realized that he was tracking a non-us entity on one side who possibly was an imminent threat and the usualy policy of throwing out the US side was not going to protect anyone. so the US side communicating with the known terrorist sides was retained. This is a far different implication than what the media have largely been reporting.

This is reasonable given the threat. What it wasn't about was the Intel community targeting US entities. It was about US entities that happened to touch the targetted networks abroad and getting caught in that dragnet.

What likely happened is it began to morph beyond that to where law enforcement (or whoever needed the collection) started to use it in other situations that weren't quite like the original situation. Hence why the NSA initially participated and then stopped. and why the nytimes held the story for a year after it stopped.

Bush can't be too explicit about this because it is treading into sensitive areas. however, don't draw the wrong conclusion easily.

12/17/2005 9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether the wiretaps should have been done or not is not the issue and whether he got good information or not is not the issue....the issue is that the LAW requires a warrant...HE did not ask for one....the issue is why did he not ask for one, other than he believes as the President he has the power to do whatever he wants? It is fine for him to believe that....I get scared when many in the press and in the Congress agree with him. You will not convince me that right after 9-11 a court would not have given the president these it speaks more to arrogance than need to fight terrorist. This is shocking episode in our history....maybe not the worst thing that has ever happened....but the reaction to this has been mild at best.....I am very discourage at the state of affairs in this country when it comes to thinking that because of 9-11 we throw out 200 years of rule of law.....this is sad.

12/17/2005 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok....I am not as discourage as my previous post stated....when Bob Barr and I can find common ground there is hope...

12/17/2005 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can throw out 200 years of law, or we can throw Bush in jail.
I know what the Republicans will choose.

12/18/2005 12:14 AM  
Blogger Grodge said...

Anon said,

it's not like that. what happened is information was found in other parts of the world...

No, actually, we're not sure what happened. To speculkate about the NSA is frought with danger.

The NSA is an $4 billion super-secret agency and the hell that it could raise is unlimited.

The question is rather "Do we trust George W. Bush to use everything at the gov't's disposal to do whatever he likes?"

I know my answer.

12/21/2005 2:37 PM  
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