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U.S. intelligence chief: Surveillance programs disrupted attacks

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By DONNA CASSATA and CONNIE CASS

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But he also warned that disclosures about the secret programs have eroded agency capabilities and, as a result, U.S. allies and Americans will not be as safe as they were two weeks ago.

Ok you reap what you sow.

Now to all American's, when some terrorist bombs somewhere in the US or anywhere in the world and you complain that the security apparatus failed to prevent it, look back on the guy who leaked the information about the program, and then look the victims families or survivors in the eye, and tell them that the guy was a hero for leaking the information about these programs.

It's easy to complain and show ignorant concern until something happens and it affects you or a loved one.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I think any serious terrorist, foreign or domestic would at less be smart enough to know that all their communications are being monitored, just as criminals mostly use disposal cell phones which are harder to track than those with accounts.

While I agree and support that some level of surveillance is necessary but there also needs to be a line the security agencies don't cross without seeking approval from a court of law.

The private individual needs to be protected against likely terrorist attacks, but its also important that the privacy of the private individual is also maintained. There's needs to be a probable cause even before the security agencies start to listen to cell calls, obtain emails and gain access to people's online accounts.

Of course, this would only apply to nationals living in the country, foreigners are a whole different ball game requiring no ones permission.

The security agencies have to be held accountable for what they do, and can't hide behind screens of "national security."

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Today in this article:

explicitly describing for Congress how the programs worked in collecting Americans’ phone records and tapping into their Internet activity.

5 days ago:

Obama: 'Nobody is listening to your telephone calls' “This does not apply to U.S. citizens. And it does not apply to people living in the United States,” Obama said.

It looks like even the U.S. President has no idea what the U.S. Intelligence is up to. Or was he just lying again?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

On the one hand we hear how these folks got enough info to stop terrorists, and on the other hand, regarding privacy, we should relax, because the program isn't really getting any personal information. Interesting...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

According to this inner party member, numerous terrorist threats were thwarted, but none of which can be independently verified? Right..."We're from The Government. We're here to help."

Liar, liar, pants on fire! He gets the 5-Pinnocchio award.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Years ago, just after 9/11, I was waiting for a friend to pick me up outside a station in Hokkaido. There was a bus standing there with its doors open, waiting for passengers to board. There was a tape loop, blaring out a recorded message. It really stood out, because it was a small station with little or no traffic and very quiet.

The message said, "Megumino eki yuki basu desu, kikenbutsu wo motanaide kudasai, (This is the bus for Megumino Station. Do not bring dangerous articles (bombs) on the bus.)" As soon as the sentence ended, it started again.

And again.

And again.

It was like hypnotism. The only effect it was creating was to scare the pants of the only passengers on the bus, several elderly people.

By what bizarre "logic" did anyone government official assume that this would deter terrorists from bringing bombs on the bus?

It's laughable.

I must confess to having similar feelings reading these articles about the US "surveillance program." The pathetic excuses, "we've thwarted dozens of attacks," and the total monty python ridiculousness of it are a joke. Add to this the totally unwarranted expense and invasion of privacy and it can only be seen as insanity.

One of the most effective ways I've seen of keeping the peace was the police in England when I was a kid. They weren't in patrol cars. They were walking around, watching, talking with people and there, when and if needed.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

To be fair, Bertie, I seem to remember they had those messages long before everyone got antsy about terrorist. 'Kikenbutsu' used to mean cans of inflammables etc., long before it meant bombs.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Frungy - What part of "metadata" do you not understand? Obama stated that the government does not tap into phone conversations (at least without a warrant) because the government does not do so.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As an American, I am a bit worried by the revelation of what the NSA is doing and the effects it will have in the future on security. I don't think this guy Snowden is a hero. I think he has made some bad judgments. Having said that, given the recent targeting by the government of conservatives, I am also concerned about how this information could be used. I'm sure the NSA has been able to protect America and others as a result of their work and I don't want to see that jeopardized. There are people who want to harm others in this world and they even claim they are serving "God". It is frightening!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

BertieWooster - I think a better translation for "kikenbutsu" would be "hazardous materials". I remember asking someone about this a few years ago and apparently people would regularly buy cans of butane for their heaters and then take them home with them on the bus. Even a small leak or a few drops spilt could make life really unpleasant for the bus driver and other passengers in the bus, plus a hazard to everyone's health if there was a spark.

As for the claim by this "intelligence chief" that they stopped "dozens of terrorist attacks" umm... I don't believe a word of it. And even if they did stop "dozens of terrorist attacks" doesn't it strike anyone that PERHAPS, MAYBE, there would be LESS threats of terrorist attacks if the U.S. stopped invading countries and treating non-U.S. citizens like they had no rights? I mean seriously people, its like the U.S. government enjoys walking up to giant wasps nests, poking them and then wondering, "Hey, why did I get stung?!".

Or perhaps they think that the laws of cause and effect don't apply to them because they're the U.S.? I mean it is a vicious cycle. The U.S. government antagonises every other government in the world, then U.S. citizens get killed, so the U.S. government takes more radical steps that piss everyone else off, so more U.S. citizens get killed. I completely fail to see how any reasonably sane U.S. citizen could possibly continue to vote for these morons.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@ BertieWooster

Good post.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I seem to remember they had those messages long before everyone got antsy about terrorist. 'Kikenbutsu' used to mean cans of inflammables etc., long before it meant bombs.

Yes they did, some people probably just became more aware or paid attention to them because of the attacks of 9/11.

I've heard these "warnings" on trains and buses throughout Japan 30 years ago.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I completely fail to see how any reasonably sane U.S. citizen could possibly continue to vote for these morons.

Unfortunately this applies to both parties and 95% of the politicians running for office, the only choice is to vote for the lesser evil and hope for the best. Until the American people take back their country and start holding each other as well as the government accountable, nothing will change. We have traded our future for a bit of temporary cold comfort and a free ride on the backs of the integrity of those unwilling to compromise theirs.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Of course we are spying on you, there are many lunitics in the good old USA. Also, we admit many foreign nationals that do not have the USA's best interest at heart. Grow up and act like an adult, the USA is a big target.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

They have thwarted dozens of attacks? Sound bites being spewed off by the government and thats about it. They just say anything and thats it, it`s true. Get your heads out of your asses Americans. You have become a hypnotized country believing any one-sided statement from your government. Sheeple you have become.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They have thwarted dozens of attacks? Sound bites being spewed off by the government and thats about it. They just say anything and thats it, it`s true. Get your heads out of your asses Americans. You have become a hypnotized country believing any one-sided statement from your government. Sheeple you have become.

Tell me how do you know that what they have "spewed" is false? What information do you have? Do you honestly believe that there is no country on earth today that does not "spy" on it's own citizens?

Please tell me. If you do I have some property I would love to sell you.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

“Some of these are still going to be classified and should be, because if we tell the terrorists every way that we’re going to track them, they will get through and Americans will die,”

How dreadful, mr Alexander. When you bombed some ME country just to replace a dictator (your former "son-of-bitch", by the way), thousands of innocent women and children were killed by Tomahawks or guided bombs or drones. But you din't care about, right? They were not Americans. Your are launching into Earth orbit your highly-classified NROLs with huge, football field-size antennas to intercept communications in Russia, China or India, you are using ECHELON facilities in Menwith Hill and Pine Gap for the same goals and tapping net communications by PRISM. And now one former NSA contractor leaked the documents in Hong Kong. How laughable! Indeed, you reap what you sow.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There are people who want to harm others in this world and they even claim they are serving "God"

And it's very telling to see which country has 'In God We Trust' on its MONEY!.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

" U.S. intelligence chief: Surveillance programs disrupted attacks"

Like the Boston one?

Metadata, yeah, like everyone should blindly believe it is so because a high level person says it's so? Hogwash! They are all in damage-control mode.

"See Something, Say Something" …unless it's the gov doing the wrong-doing, then it's "Trust Us".

0 ( +2 / -2 )

George Orwell's "1984" was supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual. Don't buy into the fear theater. (Sales of "1984" are soaring on Amazon right now, btw.)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well the all-stars are out and posting today, that's for sure.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Until the American people take back their country

You mean the Red-Indians should take back their country ? WOW !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Like so many Hollywood movies about the intelligence services pulling the wool over politicians and publics eyes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Regardless of intent, the potential for abuse invalidates any potential benefits it may provide for security purposes so far as I'm concerned. If you feel that civil liberties are getting in the way of your ability to do your job I would suggest you find a different way of doing it, not passing laws that subvert the right to privacy and using warrants based on 'reasonable suspicion' rather than probable cause which is what most Americans assume is the legal standard. Added to the fact that by the very nature of the program we aren't even informed when our data is collected and searched through.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Yubaru,

Prove it to me. The fact that you believe everything they say despite proven lies is proof that you have been had. Do your own research and stop believing everything you hear from the Obama administration. No need to be watching every American, suspects yes but not everyone. Theyll just keep passing laws (when noone is paying attention) thatll continue to destroy your liberties.

@Superlib,

You seem to side with whatever the Obama administration says and does anyway so you are already a lost cause. Look at the issue not the party.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

YuriOtani

No I don't want to live in a police state but I think you didn't fully understand my comment. America law and actions by the security agencies applies to all the people living in America. What I was also pointing out was about people using American servers, like myself who lives in Japan, the security agencies don't need permission to get access to people like me because I'm not covered by American law.

All the severs I use for email and cloud data are Apple, Google, and even VPN. I also use two servers in Britain. All my sensitive data is encrypted and kept at a secret location in Europe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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

8 million+ people on the Main Core list + the TSA "No Fly" list (89,000+). => Lots of "terrorists" it seems.

http://www.no-fly-list.com/

0 ( +1 / -1 )

For the past twelve years now, the US spook agencies and Homeland Security nabobs have been saying this over and over again: "dozens of plots foiled"... Okay, SHOW ME THE MONEY

I wanna see cold, hard, evidence presented in televised congressional hearings, like Watergate, that this sh*t is actually happening. Otherwise, know what? I'm gonna continue assuming they're all lying their a**es off.

Sure, there are gonna be sensitive cases, and not compromising on-going investigations is a reasonable precaution, but there must be cases, proof, that can be provided to assure the citizens of the USA that these yabbos aren't just jerking everyone around. Because that's what it feels like.

There needs to be a reckoning here. A very hard look at accountability, and if necessary, some serious comeuppance.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

8 million+ people on the Main Core list + the TSA "No Fly" list (89,000+). => Lots of "terrorists" it seems.

Some of them have been placed on this list because of profiling.Or immigration officers at port of entry just had a bad day with you. Once you are placed, you will be on the list at least 10 years regardless. It is very difficult to get off.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He would say that wouldn't he? And it may well be a little bit true. But at what cost and with what extent of lying? The number of people who have died and might die from these "terrorist" attacks pales against deaths from other causes, but doesn't mean we ban driving and (heaven forbid) guns and home appliances and action sports and so on. Sad fact is that "intelligence" establishment in the US is over a million strong and therefore unmamageable and becoming another entrenched interest.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I really don't worry about the "Surveillance programs ", however I definitely worry about the people who're executing this"Surveillance programs ". One bad example is that 50 years ago when Taiwan government took " anti-spy programs" to fight against PRC communists, the program itself was ok, but some people used the program to revenge whose personal foe even small issues like someone who married his ex girlfriend... etc.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

yosun

It's even a bigger problems when private corporations gets a hand. I work in the data-base marketing field and I know it would be a bonanza gold mine if any corporation were to get hold of the data whether it be life-insurance, financing and any other industry they would be drooling for it.I believe MPAA would love to have a finger in the proverbial honey pot to catch copy right pirates.

At the end it links to thought police which is the worst enemy against democracy. I thought the US had learned a bitter lesson from McCarthyism but I guess I was wrong.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Xeno23: I wanna see cold, hard, evidence presented in televised congressional hearings, like Watergate, that this sh*t is actually happening. Otherwise, know what? I'm gonna continue assuming they're all lying their a**es off.

If that kind of evidence is going to be shown, it's going to be done behind closed doors to selected senators, then they can report about it. And honestly, do you believe there has been no major attack on the US in the last 7 years because the terrorists stopped trying?

I'd like to see proof of the accusations. I'm wondering how this tech guy suddenly knows more than congress about what is going on. Can the media tell us specifically what his responsibilities were when he worked for the government? Would he have had access to that kind of communication?

This sums up the reporting: "Snowden said in the interview published Wednesday that he hasn’t dared contact his family or his girlfriend since coming forward as the leaker of NSA documents. “I am worried about the pressure they are feeling from the FBI,” he said. The FBI visited his father’s house in Pennsylvania on Monday."

They visited him on Monday. Why not talk to his father and ask what happened? Instead we get more of this guys imagination when the information is right there to be verified.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Do you realize how much information is really being gathered?? Its mind boggling. There may be enough blackmail material to pay off the national debt. All this info boils down to M.O.N.E.Y.....No way all of this intel is exclusively for security purposes...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Sen Ron Wyden during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on March 12 of this year. I reference a well known conservative journal (http://nationalreview.com/article/350699/clappers-lie-charles-c-w-cooke). I find this very disturbing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@CraigHicks

He was under oath making him accountable for perjury as well. There is certainly lot of heads that going to be rolling when this thing goes to court.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yubaru, et al.,

"Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."

-- Benjamin Franklin, (1738)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Vigorously defending the programs, Gen Keith Alexander said the public needs to know how the programs operate...

So I guess he supports Snowden's actions!

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Superlib, I beg to differ. Behind closed doors is what's been getting the US into trouble all this time. Perhaps many are too young to remember, but when Watergate broke, when the Pentagon Papers broke, it was the public airing of dirty laundry that made the difference, that changed things, that woke the citizenry up. Star chamber inquisition always leads to deeper obfuscation, and casts those involved into further clandestine acts.

Of course I don't believe no activity was thwarted, but until evidence is provided to the contrary, there is precious little to suggest that numerous, significant acts have been thwarted - there's just no public evidence. Not saying they didn't, but let's see the record.

It's like saying: the police are doing a really good job preventing vampire attacks, because look, we haven't had any vampire attacks lately! It actually benefits these agencies to tout their successes. The public would be happy to call them heroes. But what does the citizenry get? Nothing but their word. Sorry, not good enough; not anymore.

Particularly when it looks like they're happily eroding constitutional rights - not saying they are, but it sure looks that way. And that's what I'm really getting at - all they have to do is show the citizenry they're doing their job; just prove they're on the ball, and it's all okay. Otherwise, the safest stance for conscientious citizens to take is to assume wrong doing, because otherwise The People stand to lose.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

When they claim that they thwarted dozens of terrorist attacks with this program, they can show the evidence by naming us the terrorists who have been convicted in court or who are currently indicted. Where are all those terrorist trials? All I can see is a lot of hot air.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Before mosques were excluded from the dragnet and off limits to FBI investigators in Oct 2011, it is apparently true there were dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland.

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/061213-659753-all-intrusive-obama-terror-dragnet-excludes-mosques.htm

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What 'BS'.

The real terrorists are US corporations and their global agenda, and their complete inability to learn anything and move forward in a holistic way.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Being as how there have been no more terrorist attacks on the level of the 9/11/2001 attacks, is it possible General Alexander is right about the policies started by Bush and continued by Obama are working?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Xeno23: Superlib, I beg to differ. Behind closed doors is what's been getting the US into trouble all this time. Perhaps many are too young to remember, but when Watergate broke, when the Pentagon Papers broke, it was the public airing of dirty laundry that made the difference, that changed things, that woke the citizenry up. Star chamber inquisition always leads to deeper obfuscation, and casts those involved into further clandestine acts.

Watergate was the executive branch of government run amok. Nixon didn't have Congressional oversight covering his actions, and he didn't have the judicial branch reviewing the laws, either. If you can't trust all 3 working together, then there's not much I can say. I don't think they'll always get it right but it's not like Watergate.

gonemad: When they claim that they thwarted dozens of terrorist attacks with this program, they can show the evidence by naming us the terrorists who have been convicted in court or who are currently indicted. Where are all those terrorist trials? All I can see is a lot of hot air.

No, they can't. If they picked up information by tracking a cell phone they don't want to tell them exactly how, when, and where that is done just to prove they are going after terrorists. It would be a game changer in terms of how terrorists operate. What we need to have is oversight. They need to release some details because of the accusations, but people also need to be checking the credibility of the accuser and so far it's not being done at all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mega-Pinnocchio noses for Clapper, Alexander, et al.. The BS meter is pegged.

NSA-Gate will have global repercussions. Folks in Europe are ticked, too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well, at least a couple of you are completely duped and clueless.

US domestic 'Spying', is there to protect the State and elite members from the People and not to protect the People from Terrorists. The whole Snowden affair is probably a diversion.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Watergate was the executive branch of government run amok. Nixon didn't have Congressional oversight covering his actions, and he didn't have the judicial branch reviewing the laws, either. If you can't trust all 3 working together, then there's not much I can say. I don't think they'll always get it right but it's not like Watergate.

WaterGate was a political assassination of a President => the people of the United State could not take another physical assassination (JFK). Anyway none of that matters since the USA is becoming more of a banana republic everyday and the criminal Gov thugs will be on every street corner soon = that is what happens when you have criminals in Government with no oversight.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No, they can't. If they picked up information by tracking a cell phone they don't want to tell them exactly how, when, and where that is done just to prove they are going after terrorists.

@SuperLib, I'm not talking about the future. Alexander said that in the past they have disrupted dozens of terrorist attacks. I'm pretty sure he doesn't want to tell us that although they disrupted the attacks the terrorists are still running around freely? And when they caught them, there must be trials somewhere, either finished or ongoing. Where are the dozens of terrorist trials? They don't exist, so either Alexander simply told a lie in order to defend a system which is useless for it's intended purpose - but can be abused in many other ways. Or, even more disturbing, the NSA, or whoever, let the terrorists disappear quietly without any trial.

What we need to have is oversight.

Oversight only works when those who oversee have sufficient background knowledge to judge what they get told. Congress members don't have it and when they can't ask for external advice due to the exuberant secretiveness, they will just be fooled.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

http://tarpley.net/2010/02/11/state-department-admits-detroit-christmas-bomber-was-deliberately-allowed-to-keep-us-entry-visa-board-his-flight/

The problem with alot of these "terrorists" is that the US State Department admits that they are putting them on the planes. =How can you build a case of terrorism when you openly admit that?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DGX6FuOX8A (skip to 4:00)

"The United States does stage false terror attacks." ==> is the contention of Michigan lawyer Kurt Haskell, a passenger on the Northwest Airlines Flight 253, a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on December 25th 2009. The aircraft was targeted, it is claimed by the authorities, by Al-Qaeda in the form of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, now known as the 'underwear bomber'. However, Kurt and his wife Lori witnessed Umar, whose father had previously reported as a terrorist, being led on to the plane without a passport.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

We need to make a choice between the Liberty and the Security.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

used to be the us needed the wiretap to get the records and the phone message

now they don't need the wiretap to get the phone records

with the internet it is even different- since that is not considered phone conversation- so everything is up for grabs.

I do not go for the need to sift through billions of phone numbers/message points/photo's from face book etc each day for a dozen saves. especially when they wish to start storing the information for better sifting and storing - thus the new data center being built.

i do not like becoming a suspect just because i live, which is what the program has as the base premise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The US is running into an Orwellian future.

The US - the land of the unfree!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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