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NSA to reveal number of thwarted terror attacks due to data surveillance

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A defense contractor working at the NSA revealed to The Guardian newspaper last week that the programs scoop up millions of phone records as well as Internet data and emails from around the world.

You are literally talking trillions of records. = Yottabytes of data. = You are looking at billions of records of data every day.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/7/the-national-security-agencys-collection-of-phone-/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yottabyte

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Of course they (NSA etc) are going to justify their actions and work to convince us they saved us. What else is obvious? "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety". Benjamin Franklin warned us years ago Take back the Constitution and dump Patriot Act

6 ( +11 / -5 )

All they need to do is to cite prosecutions where their surveillance evidence was used to secure a conviction. I look forward to the publication of the list.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Any data that they show (or manufacture) would be so heavily redacted as to be meaningless. They do not want to reveal any aspects of their data collection methods.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If they are so good at thwarting terrorists why didn't they thwart the Boston Bombers? Russian Itelligence had even warned them that the two were planning that. It seems that ll they want is to spy on American citizens. Anyone who does not agree with them. It is a violation of the US Constitution and there should be no debate and no exceptions.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Are they also going to reveal the number of private emails they read in order to do it and apologize to those who were not involved?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

If they are so good at thwarting terrorists why didn't they thwart the Boston Bombers? Russian Itelligence had even warned them that the two were planning that.

Nonsense.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

When Clapper was asked during a Senate hearing a few months ago: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all from millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"

Clapper's response (under oath) was: "No sir".

Until they at the very least fire Clapper, why should we believe anything they say.

The only terror attacks they thwarted, are those that were initiated, supported, guided,... by the FBI.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

If they are so good at thwarting terrorists why didn't they thwart the Boston Bombers? Russian Itelligence had even warned them that the two were planning that.

-Nonsense.

Fact:

http://www.infowars.com/confirmed-both-fbi-cia-watched-boston-bombing-suspects-for-years/

It is now confirmed that Russian investigators contacted the FBI at least as early as 2011 in regards to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and again just 6 months before the Boston attacks. Additionally, it is now revealed that both the FBI and CIA had Tsarnaev on at least 2 terrorist watch lists, contradicting previous FBI statements that the case was “closed” after not finding “any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign.”

Both Brothers were well known to the FBI and were visited by the FBI. Did U.S. intelligence know they were planning on the Boston bombings? ==> only the NSA database(s) has/had that info from all their U.S. Public data theft.

The question I have is how did these two brothers get all the money to live on? Where did the money come from - that college the younger went to is not cheap. (UMass Dartmouth $22,000 a year)

http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2013/05/03/umass-dartmouth-allowed-dzhokhar-tsarnaev-carry-balance-while-awaiting-aid-come-through/VxL2Mzymgzwcu7vKMcn4oJ/story.html

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

More lies and spin. America is gradually becoming Oceania.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Freedom: The price of the pretense of safety.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@badsey

While I have read and find nothing to argue with in your post, it contains nothing whatsoever to suggest that the Russians informed US security services that the two were planning the Boston attack.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I would say that the reason they still could not stop the Boston bombings is because once again, there is waaaaay too much information that goes through phones and internet more than enough for any group or agency to sift through. They may be able to prevent more situations like the Boston attack than much much less.

That Snowden fellow wasn't quite smart to do what he did though. Especially in Hong Kong? It may be SAR but its still under PRC administration. He just painted a big fat target on his head and he's in Chinese territory. I wouldn't be surprised if he disappeared, but is actually in Chinese custody right now so they can squeeze him for how the NSA works. At least he would have had a better chance in someplace like Sweden or w/e.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Boston bombers taught us two things: 1) Even if someone is in front of you, you still don't know what they are thinking, and 2) the government doesn't just pick you up and lock you away, even if a specific tip comes from another country. Due process.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Due process.

Yeah, like they did with Todashev!

I would say that the reason they still could not stop the Boston bombings is because once again, there is waaaaay too much information that goes through phones and internet more than enough for any group or agency to sift through.

I tend to think they spy on American citizens to protect themselves, not to protect the citizens.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Al Qaeda etc.. Are just hoping and praying for a week link! This idiot Snowden is a weak link that all terrorists pray for in any free and democratic country like the USA! So Snowden, I'm a democrat but guess what?? I want him, Snowden to rot in a Federal prison!!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Due process...like with Bradley Manning, you mean? SuperLib?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

While I have read and find nothing to argue with in your post, it contains nothing whatsoever to suggest that the Russians informed US security services that the two were planning the Boston attack.

Correct, the two are US assets outed by Russian intelligence (Russia is saying "we know these are your agents" and there was no reply from the US). Later they are thrown under the bus so to speak. (this is what their parents and people in Russia think).

http://rt.com/usa/tsarnaev-brothers-parents-innocent-124/

Tamerlan Tsarnaev attended a workshop sponsored by the CIA-linked Jamestown Foundation, Izvestia reports today. The Russian newspaper cites documents produced by the Counterintelligence Department Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia confirming that the NGO “Fund of Caucasus” held workshops in the summer of 2012 and Tsarnaev attended.

I want to see the money trail. Where are they getting the money for all these trips and to live in Boston?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I want to see the money trail.

I'd like to see an actual link to a reputable news source. In case you did not notice, your quote is not in the link you provided above.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A Free society is a society with Risk as part of it's make up. Those that want complete security had better consider the implications of what they ask..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How convenient for the US gov./NSA/CIA to be able to provide so quickly evidence that supports something that already in itself icompletely deplorable. It's like saying: hey look, we can spy you out all day long as long as it prevents terror.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Deplorable? What? Surveillance that is meant to protect? What could be another purpose? To scare a nation's citizens? It seems to me you'd only be upset, scared, disgusted, if you had something to hide. Something other than a simple illicit affair.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Paranoia is not of good advice!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Nonsense.

You had not desire to listen and do certain measures to prevent those bombings. Dumb and arrogant as usual.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Logging onto the internet is similar to filling out a survey about yourself. Interested parties know who you are. Where you are from (your address). Your phone number. What you like and dislike, friends, etc...Yahoo, Google, and Internet Explorer ALL track logged-in subscribers. And just like the Defense Dept., they trace IP addresses and site activity. They can even trace back to your social network sites learning your identity while gathering information as you surf and comment. They also sale the resulting demographics to IT firms, both business and political. And share with universities that are usually engaged in political agendas. So in short, nobody is anonymous on the internet anymore. It is not just the government that is invading privacy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would like to ask them this question : "why do you need to invade everybody's privacy to fight some very well known active terrorists" ? Because with this logic in place, then maybe tomorrow they will decide to kill everybody to eradicate terrorism.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Deplorable? What? Surveillance that is meant to protect? What could be another purpose? To scare a nation's citizens? It seems to me you'd only be upset, scared, disgusted, if you had something to hide.

What I say, who I call, and how often I call them is entirely my business whether I'm doing something wrong or not. If they want access they should have to get a warrant, and not through a court that has approved every single warrant they have ever been asked for. Warrants and due process based on 'probable cause' not it's idiot half-brother 'reasonable suspicion'. I am a US citizen and I expect nothing more or less than that which has been guaranteed to me by the contract of the country I reside in.

To all those that point to court rulings that allow such practices I would further the point that merely because something is legal does not make it acceptable by the standards of a free society. I have been complaining about the Patriot Act since day one and the fact that people are willing to role over on the issue just emboldens those that would seek to expand and deepen the data collection. I mean, if you aren't doing anything wrong who cares as long as it doesn't inconvenience you right?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What I say, who I call, and how often I call them is entirely my business...

"what you say," yes. However, regarding who is called and how often, you will have to find a communications medium that honors that, or put your own in place.

merely because something is legal does not make it acceptable by the standards of a free society.

In a free society, people elect representatives to make laws which reflect the standards. Just because they may not be your standards does not make them unacceptable.

The communications companies have been collecting basic meta-data on calls for many decades now. One would get a lot farther articulating what harm would be caused when the phone company shares meta-data with a government body, based on reasonable suspicion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@presto345 it doesn't matter whether one has something to hide or not. You don't seem to get that it's about principle. It's amazing how many Americans all of a sudden are willing to loose one freedom after another because a couple of terror attacks happened. Suddenly its perfectly fine that the government is collecting all your privacy and can do with it whatever they please. Keep in mind that government employees are also just humans and make mistakes and your very privacy details might end up in the wrong hands. If the US has so many terror plots to block off to resort to spying every citizen out then it might be time to look for the source of the whole problem.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The communications companies have been collecting basic meta-data on calls for many decades now. One would get a lot farther articulating what harm would be caused when the phone company shares meta-data with a government body, based on reasonable suspicion.

The NSA data is already being sold by the US Gov or 3rd party. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/06/government-spying-on-americans-and-then-giving-info-to-giant-corporations.html

NSA back doors in Windows software Win95+ (pre 9/11) http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/06/microsoft-programmed-in-nsa-backdoor-in-windows-by-1999.html

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

However, regarding who is called and how often, you will have to find a communications medium that honors that, or put your own in place.

20 years ago I wouldn't have thought anybody would ever collect my phone or mailing records. How long will it take until they do start recording the actual conversations themselves for storage, they may hide behind the warrant requirement but considering one has never been rejected in the entire operating history of the special court they use to access the data it's less of a comfort and more of a mockery of a system designed to protect people from unlawful search and seizure.

In a free society, people elect representatives to make laws which reflect the standards.

Within the confines of the constitution which I do not believe these programs are in sync with. Despite what some have argued to the contrary I don't believe that any threat is worth compromising the rights and privacy of American citizens.

Just because they may not be your standards does not make them unacceptable.

Considering how low my standards are, the fact that some do not find these programs unacceptable is almost so dis-invested as to be depressing. How could anybody not care that their government is going behind their backs to violate the rights that they are supposed to be upholding and maximizing.

One would get a lot farther articulating what harm would be caused when the phone company shares meta-data with a government body, based on reasonable suspicion.

Corruption, insider trading, data sharing with private donors to cripple or discredit political opponents, a government worker or contractor using the system for personal pursuits (as officers have used license plate and improper warrants in the past), and the possibility of a hacker finding and leaking personal information of hundreds or millions of individuals.

Oh and the ridiculously loose language surrounding reasonable suspicion, which should be galling to everybody, that is clearly defined as 'more than a "inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or 'hunch' " but less than actual probable cause. Under that guideline my being a Hispanic that travels frequently and regularly participates in pro legalization rallies may give someone reasonable suspicion to search my records for patterns associated with drug trafficking. Even if I have done nothing wrong and never used drugs, at which point they find in my records a call made to my mechanic who (as I found out last year) was moving marijuana across the boarder. I have done nothing wrong but now a case that I don't even know exists is being built against me on a crime I would never commit.

They don't have to tell me they're searching through my data before, during, or after the fact and if they find something I'm not even allowed to know where they got their information from. And there are people that are okay with this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

20 years ago I wouldn't have thought anybody would ever collect my phone or mailing records.

The phone company was doing this long before that. They had to. Among other things, it was how they planned for their switching support infrastructure and trunk lines. How many people from a given area are making calls at one time, how long they last, etc. There was a time when homes shared a line -- a party line -- that enable neighbors to listen in on the calls of those they shared the lines with.

And before telephones was the telegraph: You actually had to relay your message to a telegraph operator who relayed it to an operator at the other end -- making at least two other parties privy to your communications. The telegraph company kept records of who sent messages. to what parties, and when.

Considering how low my standards are, the fact that some do not find these programs unacceptable is almost so dis-invested as to be depressing. How could anybody not care that their government is going behind their backs to violate the rights that they are supposed to be upholding and maximizing.

The government is not the one providing the communications media. Private companies are doing that, and collecting the data to better enable them to manage their resources to make a profit. So the meta-data is there. By seeking a warrant for reasonable suspicion of anyone who might believe it is their "right" to use the communications media to assist them in planning something illegal, most will agree that the government is following a protocol that is overseen properly -- and not "going behind the backs" of anyone.

The knowledge of such a program should have the effect that it denies anyone thinking they can use the system and not leave a trail. If that forces a criminal to find some other method, I would say this is all to the good.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The phone company was doing this long before that. They had to. Among other things, it was how they planned for their switching support infrastructure and trunk lines. How many people from a given area are making calls at one time, how long they last, etc. There was a time when homes shared a line -- a party line -- that enable neighbors to listen in on the calls of those they shared the lines with.

Unlike other people I'm fine with companies compiling data on me. If its written into their contract that I sign I've got no quarrel with them utilizing or selling it off for other metrics.

I believe that the government doing that is fundamentally wrong, morally bankrupt, and totally unethical.

The difference between the two is that a company doesn't have the force of law behind it, a company can't send me to prison, they cannot enter my house to rifle through my possessions, they can't drag me into a station and interrogate me, and they can't shoot me for not complying with their demands. If I don't like my phone company keeping metrics I'll reactivate the network for my satellite phone.

By seeking a warrant for reasonable suspicion of anyone who might believe it is their "right" to use the communications media to assist them in planning something illegal, most will agree that the government is following a protocol that is overseen properly -- and not "going behind the backs" of anyone.

That's the problem, the legal standard of proof required for reasonable suspicion is vague and is being used in place of the much more stringent requirements under probable cause. You wanted examples of how this weak standard and government access could be abused and I provided them.

Your argument is that the small indignity of having a bit of my privacy stripped away by a government entity is worth it to inconvenience those engaged in illegal activity. If the implicated government agencies cannot possibly protect the citizenry without compromising the rights of its citizens or its ethical obligation to hold the trust of said citizens than it needs to completely restructure.

If a government sworn to uphold my protection against unlawful search and seizure exercises a warrant to search through my personal information and I am not informed that is the very definition of going behind my back. There is no recourse I may take and no way for me to petition for grievance because I have been denied knowledge of the fact the warrant was ever issued.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unlike other people I'm fine with companies compiling data on me. If its written into their contract that I sign I've got no quarrel with them utilizing or selling it off for other metrics. I believe that the government doing that is fundamentally wrong, morally bankrupt, and totally unethical.

You appear to be confused. A company that you are fine with compiling data on you is composed of people who are also citizens. You agree that the company can provide (i.e, sell) the data to other entities -- the government, presumably, being one of them. Since the people who work for, say, an American company are also American citizens presumably interested in the well-being and security of their nation, it may be that the basic metrics can, theoretically, provide a very useful source of information in the event of crimes being planned by those who have sworn to attack Americans.

That's the problem, the legal standard of proof required for reasonable suspicion is vague and is being used in place of the much more stringent requirements under probable cause. You wanted examples of how this weak standard and government access could be abused and I provided them.

One may as well argue that, because jurors have been known to take bribes, that the entire trial-by-jury system should be abandoned. That's how I read your "abuses." Nothing is perfect.

On the other hand, the government may have reasonable suspicion that something is taking place that might represent a threat to many innocent citizens and is worthy of more investigation. There is no one individual who can second-guess the many loyal and hard-working public servants whose work has uncovered something suspicious. (The fact that you estimate yourself and your "rights" above all others notwithstanding.) As long as their actions are limited to further data analysis, and not rifling through your possessions, dragging you into a station for interrogation, etc., they haven't really harmed you now, have they? (Certainly not as much as your own paranoia has.)

If a government sworn to uphold my protection against unlawful search and seizure exercises a warrant to search through my personal information and I am not informed that is the very definition of going behind my back.

This is where you are missing the boat. Once you access a communications network that you do not personally have the rights to, as in ownership, you have no "personal information" that others are bound to respect outside of the content of the communication to and from the other party. And guess what: You have no right whatsoever to prevent anyone listening to it -- any more than you could have prevented the telegraph operators from comprehending the message being sent by the customer asking them to send it. The law enters in to ensure no one is using the information in a way that would harm you.

The system itself should not be used to facilitate the commission of crimes. And that outcome will not be brought out through turning a blind eye to it, and forcing everyone involved to play dumb.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A company that you are fine with compiling data on you is composed of people who are also citizens. You agree that the company can provide (i.e, sell) the data to other entities -- the government, presumably, being one of them.

As the government has authority of force I don't feel that they should attempt to acquire that information outside of specific warrants. Many posters on this website take great pride in pointing out that the government is not a business and should not be run as such, the government has no other motive through this program other than to collect data on millions of Americans without their knowledge or consent.

I don't fault the businesses for selling the information, that's what they do. I fault the government for acquiring them.

Since the people who work for, say, an American company are also American citizens presumably interested in the well-being and security of their nation, it may be that the basic metrics can, theoretically, provide a very useful source of information in the event of crimes being planned by those who have sworn to attack Americans.

There are a number of things the government would find useful that I am likewise unwilling to consent to access to. I would, for example, not want them to have access to my medical records, transaction history, internet searches, e-mails, and my GPS data. Nor would I support them acquiring such data from anybody else without probable cause even if it would lead to an arrest.

One may as well argue that, because jurors have been known to take bribes, that the entire trial-by-jury system should be abandoned. That's how I read your "abuses." Nothing is perfect.

Yes but if a juror takes a bribe he will wind up with a nice lengthy prison sentence, if the NSA does it there is no oversight body and the special court that oversees it's warrants has never denied one. There's something being far from perfect and being flawed on a fundamental operational level. Virtually unlimited access, no oversight, no public knowledge of the program, and no accountability seems to fulfill the criteria for such an assertion.

On the other hand, the government may have reasonable suspicion that something is taking place that might represent a threat to many innocent citizens and is worthy of more investigation. There is no one individual who can second-guess the many loyal and hard-working public servants whose work has uncovered something suspicious.

Then they may launch an investigation through normal channels, go through existing courts where warrants are made public record after they are exercised for full disclosure and transparency, and they can give the individuals involved the opportunity to know what they are being investigated for.

As long as their actions are limited to further data analysis, and not rifling through your possessions, dragging you into a station for interrogation, etc., they haven't really harmed you now, have they? (Certainly not as much as your own paranoia has.)

I would almost prefer them take me down to the station, at least then they have to tell me what I'm being charged with within 24 hours. Having people going through my information saving God knows what for God knows what reason is far more disturbing.

(And after years of working as a compliance officer in a few different multinationals I can honestly say that just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean I'm wrong. More often than not its quite to the contrary.)

And guess what: You have no right whatsoever to prevent anyone listening to it -- any more than you could have prevented the telegraph operators from comprehending the message being sent by the customer asking them to send it.

This continues to fall under the purview of things that the government can, but shouldn't do. Between the violation of trust and the potential for abuse by government officials makes it entirely unpalatable.

The system itself should not be used to facilitate the commission of crimes. And that outcome will not be brought out through turning a blind eye to it, and forcing everyone involved to play dumb.

I'm not asking them to turn a blind eye, I'm asking them to pursue their leads with full transparency like a just and trustworthy government ought to. The idea that the government must pursue programs of questionable integrity to stop domestic criminals is incredibly unsettling. Defense doesn't have to be reactionary, merely smart and flexible enough to protect the citizens it serves using the tools at its disposal with as much transparency as possible, deliberately secret programs that collect data on American citizens should be unacceptable by any standards. Does this make their job harder? Yes, of course it does but that is the price of transparency.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As the government has authority of force I don't feel that they should attempt to acquire that information outside of specific warrants. Many posters on this website take great pride in pointing out that the government is not a business...

Not being a for-profit business does not mean that government agencies don't have a mission and vested interests -- just as any non-profit organization. I am surprised that this should not have been taken into consideration. Government leaders have expressed on many occasions their mission to keep people safe.

I fault the government for acquiring them.

That one should fault a non-profit entity with a mission to keep people safe from acquiring information available to any other organization is quite surprising. It is a position that appears to have detached itself from all reality.

Yes but if a juror takes a bribe he will wind up with a nice lengthy prison sentence, if the NSA does it there is no oversight body and the special court that oversees it's warrants has never denied one.

Then the rational solution is not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but to institute teeth via laws and penalties for actual abuses committed. Still, a person has to show how they have been damaged. If the police ask you to come to a station for questioning, can you demonstrate how you've been damaged -- beyond your suffering the personal anxiety of the reality that there's an authority -- the people -- above your own?

I would almost prefer them take me down to the station, at least then they have to tell me what I'm being charged with within 24 hours. Having people going through my information saving God knows what for God knows what reason is far more disturbing.

That's a personal weakness. At its root is the irrational belief that "your information" includes the things you do that leave a tangible impression on the spaces -- public and private -- that you do not control. Unless you are God, you really can't expect to manage those impressions, or have any right to controlling what others do with them. You remind me of the person who builds a sand castle on a beach and then tries to prohibit people from taking pictures of it.

This continues to fall under the purview of things that the government can, but shouldn't do.

And those things fall under the purview of what we the people argue and discuss among ourselves where the lines should be drawn, and how legitimate purposes can be exercised while respecting the concept of "rights" agreed upon by consensus -- and which arrive at tentative conclusions always subject to modification.

I'm not asking them to turn a blind eye, I'm asking them to pursue their leads with full transparency like a just and trustworthy government ought to. The idea that the government must pursue programs of questionable integrity to stop domestic criminals is incredibly unsettling.

I am in favor of more transparency. i would strongly advocate a review board of elected officials who examine those things agencies want to classify as secret and approve or disapprove under the most rigorous of standards. The heavy burden ought to be on those wanting to keep things secret from the American people. As an outcome, I am far more in favor of everyone knowing there's no confidentiality involved with the meta-data of public communications systems. Rather than spying on bad guys, I'd rather they feel so paranoid that they will look for an alternative to the systems.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not being a for-profit business does not mean that government agencies don't have a mission and vested interests -- just as any non-profit organization. I am surprised that this should not have been taken into consideration. Government leaders have expressed on many occasions their mission to keep people safe.

That one should fault a non-profit entity with a mission to keep people safe from acquiring information available to any other organization is quite surprising. It is a position that appears to have detached itself from all reality.

The difference being that a non-profit, for profit, or NGO do not have the capacity to exercise force based on the information they acquire. That capacity for force means that a government should be the most heavily scrutinized entity in the nation. My telephone company cannot do anything to me outside of pursuing money I owe it for services rendered, the government can hold me without sentencing long enough to seriously hinder my life and make what life I build afterward a living hell. Force makes all the difference.

Then the rational solution is not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but to institute teeth via laws and penalties for actual abuses committed. Still, a person has to show how they have been damaged.

How can a person even attempt to bring suit when they are deliberately kept unaware of the fact the search has even taken place?

If the police ask you to come to a station for questioning, can you demonstrate how you've been damaged -- beyond your suffering the personal anxiety of the reality that there's an authority -- the people -- above your own?

That's a personal weakness. At its root is the irrational belief that "your information" includes the things you do that leave a tangible impression on the spaces -- public and private -- that you do not control. Unless you are God, you really can't expect to manage those impressions, or have any right to controlling what others do with them. You remind me of the person who builds a sand castle on a beach and then tries to prohibit people from taking pictures of it.

Your chiding is groundless. I merely feel that it is my right see the warrants that have been exercised against me. Under the Fourth Amendment, searches must be reasonable and specific. After being executed such warrants are then to be made public record or to remain sealed for a set period of time based on the circumstances. Considering the NSA has has several thousand secret warrants issued and executed by its special court and it has resorted in mere 'dozens' of foiled terror plots I assume that most warrants did not bear any fruit and having them unsealed would not unduly hamper the effort of the entire defense community.

I am in favor of more transparency. i would strongly advocate a review board of elected officials who examine those things agencies want to classify as secret and approve or disapprove under the most rigorous of standards.

I believe that was the exact purpose of the special court from which the NSA derived all of its secret warrants from and considering its track record you should be able to understand why the idea of having another court assembled fails to impress me. So far every court that has been convened to oversee some misbegotten spawn of the Patriot Act has been failure after failure resulting in no legitimate oversight. Having failed as such I hardly see the point of wasting more pomp and currency when I can just advocate an end to the program entirely and go back to using normal courts for their warrants and probable cause as their legal standard of origin.

The heavy burden ought to be on those wanting to keep things secret from the American people. As an outcome, I am far more in favor of everyone knowing there's no confidentiality involved with the meta-data of public communications systems.

If they had announced today that they were going to be doing this kind of meta-data collection I would be annoyed, as I often am. However, as it has now been outed that the program was going on in secret with no transparency, no credible oversight, and no public accountability the 'heavy burden' of proof is squarely on the NSA to show that they haven't been abusing their murkily defined authority.

Rather than spying on bad guys, I'd rather they feel so paranoid that they will look for an alternative to the systems.

I honestly don't care what kind of surveillance the US sets up on foreign citizens in foreign nations but the moment it involves a US citizen or an individual on US soil with a valid VISA there should be full disclosure and transparency. As it stands their is no disclosure, no transparency, and no accountability for their actions.

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