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January 09, 2006

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» Did the NYT really cause any damage to national security? from ThoughtsOnline
The only way I see national security being hurt by the NYT story on the NSA monitoring programs (along with all the related follow-up printed elsewhere) is if our enemies learned from the stories that their conversations were being monitored, when they... [Read More]

» Testing, Testing, Is This Mike On? from Decision '08
There seems to be a growing (deliberate?) unwillingness to talk about the NSA eavesdropping program in sensible terms. To wit, there are still people talking about 72-hours and warrants for wiretaps when clearly the issue is a data-mining or packet-s... [Read More]

Comments

boris

Folks who think that the catalog of Atrios's ignorance and the limits of his imagination define the boundaries of human endeavor will remain bemused by his question.

Ignorance, lack of imagination and poor reading comprehension are poor substitutes for reasonable argument.

owl

OT......I am furious. Anyone listening to those 'wannabe kings' on TV? Specter's # is 202-224-4254. Call and tell him what you think about him spending his time trashing Bush/NSA. Get mad. Get really mad. Burn their ears off.

maryrose

I saw Jane Harman on Fox News Sunday. She appears to be trying to cover all her bases and stood up to some tough questionning by Brit Hume.

David Walser

Atrios' question ignores a related, more important question, who gets to decide whether or not the release of classified information will harm national security? In Atrios' world, if a journalist cannot imagine how disclosure of some item might harm national security, the journalist has an obligation to publish the information. In the world governed by our laws, it's up to professionals with training and experience to determine when an item may be declassified and available for public consumption. Point being, even if none of us can imagine a scenario where the NYT's story on the NSA program harmed national security, it was STILL wrong for the NYT to publish the story. Publishing based on their own assumptions about national security circumvents the procedures in place to protect us from harm. Publication in this case, even if no harm were done, makes it more likely that another story will be published that WILL cause real harm.

Gary Farber

"You will not find a more ardent lefty than Gary Farber...."

It turns out you would, extremely easily, actually. I have kind words for Republicans and such all the time, as it happens. Not that we should let reality get in the way of your little casting of your playlet.

I don't even get blogrolled by folks such as Atrios and Kos, or even Kevin Drum, because of my impurity, or something.

The notion, however, that Islamic terrorists have been enlightened by newspaper stories giving away the vast and previously unimaginable sekrit that the U.S. government is trying hard to listen to Muslim terrorists: not, actually, it turns out, a big reveal.

Rilly.

Good luck, though, in finding more ardent lefties than me, because if you walk out on the street, you'll trip over one, and I wouldn't want the resulting bruise to hurt, because us ardent lefties oppose that sort of thing. We kiss the boo-boos, and never, ever, have unkind words for Islamic terrorists. We are just all about the wuv!

Alternatively, we try to avoid the simplistic thinking. But I wouldn't want to go into that sort of thing here, where I am an ardent lefty, like unto no other. I might get one of those hot lefty girls coming onto me, at the least, after all.

Cecil Turner

Another possible answer is, they know enough about this program to know that there might still be some secrets there.

What we know so far is plenty to conclude that the information revealed some of the scope of wiretapping, as well as a good idea of the [fuzzy] legal boundaries. There's no doubt that it was valuable information, the only question is: "how valuable?" If Klein's sources are right (i.e., "the terrorists have modified their behavior, hampering our efforts to keep track of them"), that only highlights Atrios's silliness.

In Atrios' world, if a journalist cannot imagine how disclosure of some item might harm national security, the journalist has an obligation to publish the information.

I'd have a lot more sympathy for the viewpoint if the average journalist were even halfway competent at basic warfighting. With that question, Atrios just demonstrates his willful ignorance. And I absolutely love the "wingnutese" bit. Stuck on stupid, and snarky about it.

Gary Maxwell

Alternatively, we try to avoid the simplistic thinking.

What a collective new year's resolution?

Gary Maxwell

tag off

Gary Maxwell

tag off

Glenn Greenwald

(1) If we don't know anything about this Program or what makes it different or new, then it sort of proves that there have been no harmful national security disclosures as a result of the NYT story, which is the whole point of Atrios' question.

What catalyzed this scandal is the NYT's disclosure that the Administration doesn't comply with FISA when eavesdropping. Accusations have been made that this disclosure harmed national security. But the whole point of Atrios' question is the point Tom himself just made - we don't know anything about the Program as a result of this disclosure. Therefore, the accusation that it harmed national security is baseless.

(2) As for "lefty" Gary Farber's argument - or at least the part Tom excerpted - even if the data mining itself were too extensive to permit FISA warrants to be obtained, warrants could have easily been obtained for the subequent telephone eavesdropping which the data-mining led to. Why weren't they?

And, by the way, in a country that operates under the rule of law, we don't run around violating laws just because we have a good reason for doing so. If the Administration though that FISA was obsolete in light of this super-duper, brand-new, oh-so-complex 2010 technology that has Gary's mouth all agape, then the Administration could have and should have sought to have FISA amended by the Congress which it controls to permit that to be done legally. That's what the "rule of law" means.

(3) As a commenter above pointed out, Jane Harmon made clear on Fox yesterday (with some helpful prodding from Brit Hume) that the program she was briefed on does violate FISA and warrants should have been obtained. It may be that this program was a good idea for fighting terrorism. Having the Police randomly bust down people's doors without warrants would probably reduce crime and help catch criminals. But we don't have a country where we allow law-breaking, even by the President, just because it may achieve some good results - so if the Program were so great, it should have been implemented in accordance with the law, or the law should have been changed to allow it.

TM

"You will not find a more ardent lefty than Gary Farber...."

It turns out you would, extremely easily, actually... Not that we should let reality get in the way of your little casting of your playlet.

For purposes of this discussion, you are Howard Dean's undeclared (but devoted) son. Adapt, move on.

Anyway, "not a partisan hack righty" works fine for my playlet, thanks.

Gary Maxwell

Seems like Mr. Farber has his panties all twisted up about rather little except he does not want to be quoted by anyone to the right of himself!

TM

From Glenn:

warrants could have easily been obtained for the subequent telephone eavesdropping which the data-mining led to. Why weren't they?

How do we know they weren't?

And the FISA judges are peeved about something - maybe, if the original intercepts had no warrants and lacked probable cause, the judges were not happy issuing a warrant on the evidence so obtained.

Also from Glenn:

If we don't know anything about this Program or what makes it different or new, then it sort of proves that there have been no harmful national security disclosures as a result of the NYT story, which is the whole point of Atrios' question.

Ahh! And when Novak published Plames's CIA connection, there was a lot of confusion about her actual status.

And since there was confusion, no harm was done.

Personally, I strongly suspect that, following these revelations, the Chinese, the Frnech, the Iranians, and others are rethinking their capital budgets for telephone and internet switching equipment.

And Joe Klein (perhaps passing along Admin spin) says the terrorists did adapt to this story.

But Atrios no doubt knows best (or less, or something).

Cecil Turner

(1) If we don't know anything about this Program or what makes it different or new, then it sort of proves that there have been no harmful national security disclosures as a result of the NYT story, which is the whole point of Atrios' question.

If this is the state of lefty reasoning on this issue, I'd suggest you guys might want to rethink it. In the first place, the mere fact of successful intercepts is valuable information, and tells the enemy to change his procedures. (Klein's unsurprising report suggests that happened.)

In the second, the warrant requirement is something that can be exploited. If, as FISA appears to require, the government needs probable cause the US party to a communication is an agent in order to obtain a warrant, our enemies can work to deny that information. The measures could be something as simple as using public phones or internet cafes calling into a fixed overseas location. One-time use of disposable cell phones could serve the same purpose. If Al Qaeda was in fact using some such scheme, knowing that the NSA is tracking all calls to suspicious overseas locations would be invaluable. Even if they're not, it's useful information.

Reading stuff like Atrios's question and the above "sort of proves" to me that some folks are clueless about CommSec.

maryrose

"But Atrios no doubt knows best {or less or something}"
I would say less.

epphan

Thanks, TM, for working in a Plame reference. I'm starting to get cold over here in the Kos caves waiting for Rove's frog march.

Gary Farber

On the one hand, I'm anathema for having walked up to the line of supporting having invaded Iraq.

Elsewhere, I am the ne plus ultra of ardentness of something.

I'm just here to help, apparently.

Kick me, I'm soft, plump, and useful. And why would I complain about the attention? I'm sure it all goes to point out how very deep and thoughtful I am, after all.

Gary Maxwell

TM

Glenn Grennwald calls both Mark Steyn and Charles Krauthammer liars on his most recent post on his own blog. So you got off kinda light. Count your blessings?

Florence Schmieg

Wasn't the FISA statute written well before the cell phone phenomenon? Now cannot someone call a cell phone with a USA number from an international site and even be speaking to someone in a foreign country? But they would be protected by the warrant requirement since the number was in the USA? This is crazy!! If they called the same person but on an international line, the NSA could spy on them but not if they used their USA obtained cell phone?? No wonder the President ignored the FISA regulations here. Anyone with a functioning brain would under the circumstances. Especially the person mandated with the country's protection and defense!! A change of the law would take forever. Look at the Patriot Act shenanigans in Congress now. Impeachable offense? It would be impeachable if he had not authorized the NSA to do this!!

danking70

WTF TM!

Do you mean to tell me that our Intelligence Agencies includeing the NSA are not only spying on Al-Qaeda but also the Chinese, Russians, Iranians, North Koreans, etc... too?

But I'm sure whatever was gathered was "disinformation".

I sure hope they told Congress? Do you think Congress would OK our spying on spys?

(end sarcasm)

Gary Farber

Glenn Greenwald, it would be nice of you to actually read what I've written, over a considerable course of time, rather than trust to someone else's characterization, given my lack of having ever appointed him or anyone else to speak for me.

Thanks.

maryrose

Mark Steyn and Charles Krauthammer seem to get it right for me. Their arguments seem valid and trustworthy.

Glenn Greenwald

If this is the state of lefty reasoning on this issue,

What's with this whole "lefty" thing? Since when does opposing law-breaking make you a leftist? Adherence to the "rule of law" - along with restraints on the federal government's power to intrude into our lives - used to be central conservative principles, which is likely what explains why so many Republicans and conservatives have expressed opposition to George Bush's theory that he has the right to break the law. Believing that the President is not above the law hardly makes you a "leftist".

I'd suggest you guys might want to rethink it. In the first place, the mere fact of successful intercepts is valuable information, and tells the enemy to change his procedures.

Assume for the moment that Bush's eavesdropping program was against the law. Should the NYT have told the public about it or just let the President continue to act illegally?

As for the claim that merely talking about successful intercepts helps the enemy, here are 10 or so different types of successful eavesdropping and intelligence gathering methods which George Bush talked about in great detail when running for re-election and then urging renewal of the Patriot Act. By your reasoning, each of these examples helped Al Qaeda, right?

clarice

Today the Kosniks are suggesting archly that the RETIRED NYT editor Rosenbaum was not slain in a random mugging..but a political assassination victim..I do so hope that Soros keeps pissing his money away on that side of the "base".

epphan

Glenn:

Simple. It's not illegal. And you only think it's illegal because you are a "lefty."

steve sturm

Tom:

I don't know that I would hold either Harmon or Rockefeller as being authoritative and/or credible on the issue of whether or not harm was done by the NYT.

I've gone ahead and taken a look at what conditions needed to have been met in order for damage to have been done... and, happily, I don't think there was.

kim

GF, you're a gas. And now everyone apply the Heisenberg uncertainty principle to datamining and NSA Surveillance. Of course, more info out about has and will moderate behaviour. How could it be any other way?
==============================================

Jeff

TM - This is surprisingly weak. Best as I can see, your answer to atrios' question boils down to trusting one sentence from Harman gesturing at something, not sure what. Farber gets you nowhere in addressing atrios' question, Rockefeller -- even if you leave out his general wimpiness and incompetence -- kept his mouth shut because he was hemmed in by Cheney and the hand-written letter was all he could do in response to being hemmed in, and the Times bit provides no support whatsoever. So what is the answer, exactly, and I'm especially interested in knowing how it is that the terrorists were able to glean something from the Times' reporting that the rest of us were not, since it seems to be part of the answer you are gesturing at that we don't know from the Times' reporting what has been revealed that answers atrios' question, but we have to trust government officials like Harman when she tells us somehow national security has been compromised. Or are you saying the real answer has nothing to do with the war on terror, but rather the scales have now dropped from the eyes of China, North Korea, Iran and other states who previously had no idea how telecommunications switches worked, now do, and have realized that we can tap into many of their communications? Is that it?

Gary Farber

"Seems like Mr. Farber has his panties all twisted up about rather little except he does not want to be quoted by anyone to the right of himself!"

I'm quite happy to be quoted by anyone, insofar as it leads to my own words being read.

Do you prefer the pink panties, or the shocking red?

Shocking red seems to make the girls go wilder, but there's always personal preference to be spoken for when we're discussing what turns us on about twisting my extremely macho and manly, yet fem, panties. I live to entertain, after all. If panties are the object of fancy by some, I'll talk panties, rather than Echelon. Whatever song and dance entertains.

Mostly I talk about Echelon and intelligence and the like. But panties are also fun. I have a record, and archives, and I don't mind silly distractions. Everyone needs a fun moment or five.

I don't, as it turns out, take myself entirely seriously. Pshew!

alcibiades

Poor Gary! Currently being picked on from both right and left! And all for (mis)casting purposes for a little playlet.

Undeclared but devoted son of Howard Dean! Heh! and scary! And sounds vaguely illegitimate - but in a strictly non-literal sense!

But hey! There are consolations. Just think about how much traffic you'll get!!

Glenn Greenwald

Simple. It's not illegal. And you only think it's illegal because you are a "lefty."

Is that also why Sam Brownback, Lindsay Graham, Bob Barr, former Reagan Justice Dept. official Bruce Fein, Arlen Specter, American Conservative Union Chair David Keane, the John Birch Society, John Cole, and Professor Bainbridge think it's illegal?

Are they all "lefties" too?

Is it why Paul of Powerline says that whether Bush broke the law is a "difficult" question - because Powerline Paul is a "lefty", too?

If you have doubts about any of them and wants links, just ask.

Gary Farber

For the record, I wear white briefs.

I realise this is so boring that it will shut the conversation down.

Oh, alas! Where will my morning go without a close analsysis from the right of those of us on the left who wear white briefs, and why, and how, and every detail of their fit, structure, and folding?

I might have to read MSM news, or something, and find something to denounce! Who, after all, can go a few minutes without revelations of MSM treachery and traitorousness?

Gary Farber

I'm sure it will give me and howard something to talk about at our next stratgey session ath the Foundation of All Stupid Democratic Evil.

I really should show up more at those sessions. I'm just not making people stupid enough, despite my feeble efforts. Must work harder. Must call Howard and consult.

epphan

No, Glenn. You are not a lefty because you think it's illegal, you think it is illegal because you are a lefty.

Gary Farber

Instead, I'm just pulling legs off of Arabs, out of sheer jewishness here. It's a busy life, but it keeps me from doing worse.

Time to go back to West Side Story again.

alcibiades

Wondering about the illegitimacy issue there - but strictly in a literary sense.

Well red panties, naturally, but only for lefties!

alcibiades

Drat, ignore that last comment, where I copied the wrong line.

Do you prefer the pink panties, or the shocking red?

Well red panties, naturally, but only for lefties!

Larry

Greenwald: "Jane Harmon made clear on Fox yesterday (with some helpful prodding from Brit Hume) that the program she was briefed on does violate FISA and warrants should have been obtained...."

HARMAN: All right. Well, first of all, the program we were briefed on in a very closed
environment in the White House, with no staff present, on a basis that we could not discuss it with anyone, was basically a foreign collection program. I still support that program. And I think the leak of that program to the New York Times and maybe elsewhere compromises national security...

After some prodding by Hume.

HARMAN: Well, the foreign collection program that I know about I believe is legal
and necessary.

Sorry, sir, I think you misread her comments.

Gary, all the hot women are on the right. Further proof about the "reality-based". J/K. Nice to see yopu over here. Come more often.

Specter

Owl,

Make sure they know it is Arlen Specter's number....LOL

larwyn

Alito to blame for Sago Mine accident - Sen Durbin brings up an
Alito decision on a certain case at a particular mine.

Well, now at least GW doesn't have to bear all the blame - Alito did it.

Not off the topic under discussion - just another example of the almost impossiblity of communication with the FAR LEFT.

Glenn Greenwald

Sorry, sir, I think you misread her comments.

Larry - Since you are purporting to post a small excerpt of the interview, I presume you have access to the whole transcript. I looked this morning and could not find it. Would you mind posting it so that other parts could be included?

I didn't read her comments. I listened to them as she said them. And I recall quite clearly that she said that FISA required that warrants be obtained for this eavesdropping, which I assume the transcript reflects.

larwyn

MacRanger has "THE CRACKDOWN BEGINS":
Monday, January 09, 2006
The crackdown begins

A not a minute too soon...

"CIA director Porter Goss is redoubling efforts to prevent agents from divulging the spy agency's secrets to the media, and also plans to clamp down on former spies publishing books about their covert careers, Time magazine has reported.

Citing an anonymous former senior Central Intelligence Agency official, Time, in a report to hit newsstands this week, said on its website that CIA officials told employees during a meeting last week that leaking had gotten out of control and needed to stop.
READ IT ALL AND REJOICE!

Larry

Glenn:

I haven't read the transcript, but above appeared to be at the end of the interview. Myabe this is what you heard.

HARMAN: But it was made clear to me that conversations between Americans in America were not part of the program and require -- and I think they do -- a court warrant in order to eavesdrop on them.And that's been a point of confusion, because some of the press articles allege that this is a so-called, as you said, domestic surveillance program. That's not what I believe it is.

Larry

Typonese is my first language. Sorry. Meant "maybe", not "myabe".

larwyn

Mac Ranger has this:
"THE CRACKDOWN BEGINS"
Monday, January 09, 2006
The crackdown begins

A not a minute too soon...

"CIA director Porter Goss is redoubling efforts to prevent agents from divulging the spy agency's secrets to the media, and also plans to clamp down on former spies publishing books about their covert careers, Time magazine has reported.

Citing an anonymous former senior Central Intelligence Agency official, Time, in a report to hit newsstands this week, said on its website that CIA officials told employees during a meeting last week that leaking had gotten out of control and needed to stop.

Read it all and rejoice!

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

Wouldn't you want to be close to an ally in a time of need?

Glenn Greenwald

Larry - It's true that she had previously said the program was legal and came to the interview only wanting to complain about the nature of the briefings (which she said violated the Nat'l Sec. Act of 1947). But as Hume started pushing her, she did say in the middle quite clearly that eavesdropping on U.S. persons requires warrants under FISA. She wasn't there to push that argument, but she said it. Once the transcript is available, I will post that part of the transcript for anyone who cares.

Rick Ballard

Wow - Clarice has learned how to time travel. That or TypeKey is having a bit of sport.

Larry

Y'all know Clarice has magic.

Cecil Turner

What's with this whole "lefty" thing?

You guys whine a lot when we call you "liberal."

Assume for the moment that Bush's eavesdropping program was against the law.

Why? The dispute is whether the leak helped terrorists, not whether it served a larger goal. If you contend it didn't, then the public discussion is all good. (Which is, I believe, Atrios's point--which you cited approvingly above.) Further, I'd note you don't address the central point, that the leak obviously provided useful information.

By your reasoning, each of these examples helped Al Qaeda, right?

It's somewhat unavoidable when discussing proposed changes to legislation, isn't it? And it's a plausible answer to those who insist FISA should have been changed to reflect current practices, that it couldn't be done without tipping off our adversaries.

Gary Maxwell

Some folks find it impossible to get in the last word on Clarice. Grin

topsecretk9

For the record, I wear white briefs.
Oooohh! - Think Johnny Depp responding to "Augustus Gloop Strawberry flavored fudge"


clarice

Maybe Judge Cashman will hear the case. Altho he may be busy. I understand Saddam has moved for a ca=hange of venur from Iraq to Vermont.

topsecretk9

Recently, I was feeling the onset of "Cecil Turner" withdraws...

What's with this whole "lefty" thing?

You guys whine a lot when we call you "liberal."


HEH

Sue

Top,

Just think Johnny Depp. The rest will follow. ::grin::

SteveMG

Wait a second. I'm attracted to the Kos offer.

What's first prize? A promise by him to work for all the opponents of our favorite candidate or politician?

Intriguing possibilities here.

Hmm, if I run for Senate, will he offer to assist all my opponents?

Nah, Washington weather stinks. Summers are too hot; winters too icy. Although skyboxes for Redskins's games are quite enticing.

I'll need at least three.

SMG

TexasToast

Looks like we can't post anonomously anymore without it being a federal crime - Im sure almost everything that I say is annoying to somebody on this site.

We really dont have enough declassified facts to answer Atrios' question or yours.

chuck

Bad Blooger. You must read those you are criticing, ESPECIALLY if you're criticizing their critical skills.
The challenge is to explain how exposing the program hurts national security, given the wide breadth that FISA now gives for surveillance- which is all openly acknowledged.
If the technical specifics your secind source refer to are accurate, it is he who is threatening our security by leaking those technical details.

kim

Jeminey Deppit!
=================

TM

Let the record note that Glenn has been knockin' 'em dead as a guest blogger at the prestigious Digby site, so we are delighted to have pried him away, however briefly.

Anyway, I have posted a link to the Harman interview in "MORE".

The relevant passages would seem to be these:

HARMAN: But it was made clear to me that conversations between Americans in America were not part of the program and require -- and I think they do -- a court warrant in order to eavesdrop on them.

And that's been a point of confusion, because some of the press articles allege that this is a so-called, as you said, domestic surveillance program. That's not what I believe it is.

HUME: Well, all right. So in other words, your belief is that this was indeed a case of Americans being picked up, perhaps within the United States, in discussions with people overseas.

HARMAN: Well, let's just leave your comment there. I really don't want to confirm what...

HUME: All right.

[Big Skip, during which she explains that the briefings should have included the full committees.]

Harman: ...And I believe that that is what the law requires. I also believe that members of Congress should exercise oversight over programs like this. And there are questions about whether this program complies with the domestic laws we have. And if it doesn't, either it should be changed or they should be changed.

HUME: Do you think, then, that perhaps this program, which you say you support -- are you suggesting that it may, indeed, be illegal?

HARMAN: Well, the foreign collection program that I know about I believe is legal and necessary. If in fact, as some of the newspaper stories allege, there is a domestic surveillance program going on, my view is that the law requires that domestic surveillance only be done pursuant to a court order, either with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or the criminal court.

[Another Skip]

HUME: So if you're listening in on an Al Qaida suspect overseas, and you're listening to all of his or her, as the case maybe, phone conversations, and suddenly he's on the phone to someone in the United States, or he's in the United States and you're listening, and he's talking to somebody in the United States, do you believe that you need, then, to shut the surveillance down and go to the FISA court to get it authorized, or to go there later, or what?

HARMAN: Well, I think that in the -- those conversations in the United States would be a perfect basis to get court approval. And there is a 72-hour delay mechanism in the FISA statute. So my answer to you is, number one, it is very important to learn the plans and intentions of our enemies.

And number two, we can do that within a legal framework that would give Americans comfort and actually give our court system comfort that the Fourth Amendment is being observed and that our system of laws that Congress has passed, including FISA, which was supposed to be the exclusive way to do electronic surveillance on Americans in America, are being observed.

HUME: Congresswoman Harman, good to have you, as always. Always nice to see you. I know that I can see you. You probably can't see me, which is lucky for you. Thanks very much.

One more caveat and she could have made a salad.

Her answer, eventually, was, Sure, this program might include things that could better be done in compliance with FISA, especially if you believe everything reported in the media.

But she didn't say that the program was doing those things, or that it was her first (or second) concern.

Brit pretty much had to kill himself to get her to say anything was illegal.

BONUS POINT - Consider, if you will, the absurdity of Hume's final hypothetical.

Sure, if the NSA is listeniung and translating in real time (or nearly), the 72 hour window might not be an issue.

But if the NSA is storing stuff now to reflect upon later? Suppose I record three seemingly innocuous Kabul-Manhattan phone calls in June, each of which is followed by a Manhattan - Washington phone call. The calls are stored but not decrypted/translated.

Come July, Osama himself calls the number in Kabul. Wow!

Who would join me in suggesting we ought to listen to the June tapes?

Who will assure me that it is legal? 72 hours are long past, remember.

Just thinking out loud, here.

My guess, inspired by the politically unpredictable Mr. Farber - once you start thinking in terms of data storage and stop thinking in terms of NSAA agents with headphones listening to phone calls, time is no longer of the essence, and 72 hours means little.

clarice

Rick, sorry I was away and don't understand the reference, but I can do a 60's thing and ask "What is time?"

TM

What's with this whole "lefty" thing? Since when does opposing law-breaking make you a leftist?

As noted by Mr. Turner, the topic at hand (for this post, anyway) is whether this leak harmed national security - on that subject, there seems to be a fairly clear left-right divide, IMHO.

Finding righties who wonder about the legality of this is easy - don't we claim Orin Kerr, for starters? And even I have harbored not-so-secret doubts.

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

The TypeKey god decided that your 12:10 post should have a time mark of 12:55. My 12:13 post (and those of others responding) appear prior to your post in sequence. Alternatively, you have mastered time travel.

It's time for another sacrifice.

kim

The left cannot sensibly argue that no harm was done when we don't know what was released nor what constitutes the program(s). It's just wishful thinking on their part. But, again observe Heisenberg; any release of previously unkown information will modify behaviour in generally unpredictable ways.
==========================================.

Harry

I would suggest that anyone claims the NYT gave nothing away hasn't read Peter Wright's "Spycatcher". It's always the little things that tip off the big things.

Spycatcher

Foo Bar

to explain why warrants wouldn't work would require a fairly detailed description of "The Program", which some folks considered a bad idea

TM, this response doesn't address why the original NYT story damaged national security. What this says is that in order for the administration and its defenders to defend themselves against the potential political damage caused by the original NYT story, it would need to reveal details of the program (in order to explain to the public why warrants are not workable).

If you want to claim that the original NYT story in and of itself disclosed enough technical detail about the program to hurt national security, make that argument. That wouldn't exactly be a response to Atrios' question, but it would challenge the premise of his question. His premise is that it was already known that the NSA does X and that the only news was that the NSA does X without warrants. The premise-challenging response would be that the original story revealed previously unknown technical details. That's debatable, IMO.

If you're saying that White House and associated right-wing pushback requires revealing damaging details, well, the White House and its allies could have just nobly bit the bullet, remained hush-hush about the technical details, and accepted the political damage for the sake of national security, right?


kim

Sort of 'turn the other cheek' hunh? Butt-faced boy with teaks channed beyond all recognition?
====================================

clarice

Thanks, Rick..I keep getting called away from the keyboard..The Typekey God doesn't like me..Maybe if burn Rider at the stake.........But that would be wrong.

topsecretk9

Based on FooBar's comment I am more inclined to believe, correction I SMELL a problem for the left.

I am inclined to believe that their is no legal problems, and either we have a "Gang of Dense" or a "Gang of Chicken Littles"... this was anticipated (some Gang members wouldn't or couldn't be able to help themselves) and now "National Security" is the topic at hand...

Partly basing this on Pelosi's idiot letter and Joe Kliens' roadmap...(and something about "bait")

Extraneus

This whole question is dumb on its face, and Kim's right on the money with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle reference.

It's over four years out. Many terrorists have made it through all 72 virgins several times by now. If even one of the remaining live ones was just to the point of getting sloppy, and the publication of this classified information changed his behavior even slightly, and reduced his carelessness even one iota, then it hurt national security, and possibly with consequences we don't even know about yet.

You can argue that the terrorist threat is exaggerated. You can argue that even if it's not, it's still worth the risk if we can ding Bush in the bargian. But it's sophistry to argue the Atrios premise.

topsecretk9

DrumWheel (Kev) has a post up, that SURPRISE! Sounds exactly like the "LIBERALS" that are commenting here too.

I thought this was especially amusing...

POSTSCRIPT: As for Klein's assertion that "the terrorists have modified their behavior" in response to disclosure of this program, that barely even deserves a response. Like many another liberal, I'm still waiting for even a colorable argument that al-Qaeda knows something today that they didn't know two months ago.

Since he's counting...he is funny on a number of fronts...for one this illustrates the "liberals" newest favorite pastime..."cherry picking" the sources (good leaker info vs. bad leaker info).

U.S. Intelligence officials, who claim this has harmed our efforts barely deserve a response. Well!

"There is also evidence, according to U.S. intelligence officials, that since the New York Times broke the story, the terrorists have modified their behavior, hampering our efforts to keep track of them—but also, on the plus side, hampering their ability to communicate with one another."

Also, Drum is sitting in suspension waiting for a "sufficient" answer, tapping his fingers, because you know...these intelligences officials, as opposed to the CIA black site Intelligence Officials, barely deserves the same respect.

No apology hypocrite, beautiful!

My P.S.
I suspect earplugs. They like their cocoon.

maryrose

Extraneus:
once again you have proven yourself to be intrinsic to the argument and not extraneus.

boris

once you start thinking in terms of data storage and stop thinking in terms of NSAA agents with headphones listening to phone calls, time is no longer of the essence, and 72 hours means little.

The other problem I see is if getting the warrant requires probable cause that may be impossible without using the content of the intercept. Currently with a legal wiretap on the local crime boss the FBI can monitor a call to the out of state hitman, alias Lefty Icepick, without also having a warrant on Lefty. They can then use the content of the intercept for probable cause to wiretap Lefty.

clarice

You mean all those LSE grads in the terrorist ranks haven't in the past two weeks set up blogtype sites and passed the passwords instead of the messages online?Haven't figured out which sytems do not go thru US networks?

You think they are all illiterate goatherds?

Cecil Turner

If you want to claim that the original NYT story in and of itself disclosed enough technical detail about the program to hurt national security, make that argument. That wouldn't exactly be a response to Atrios' question, but it would challenge the premise of his question.

Okay, let's try the rhetorical question game right back atcha . . . If you told the Japanese that we'd broken their code before the Battle of Midway, would that have helped them? Would you have to explain the "technical detail" of how "Magic" worked, or would simply the fact that their code was broken be enough?

If you tell terrorists that we're intercepting international phone calls to and from the US, does that help them? Does it help to know the government is not bothering with the "probable cause" requirement under FISA? Do you think they might modify their comm procedures a bit as a result? And perhaps have a New Years' resolution to try to be a bit more reliant on couriers, and a bit less on elecronics?

Atrios's question is stupid. The premise is stupid. If he had any practical experience with either CommSec or OpSec, he'd know it. What he demonstrated is his complete lack of expertise on national defense . . . and the applause from his buddies indicates the phenomenon is widespread.

larwyn

ShrinkWrapped is also on Gary Farber's case. A must read

Click here: ShrinkWrapped: Can Liberals and Neo-cons Talk to Each Other? Back to Basics.
(snip)
Here is the meme, as seen from the left side of the divide, courtesy of Gary Farber of Amygdala:
The threat of Islamic terrorism is, in context, comparatively trivial, and no justification whatever to give up the liberty our country holds sacred.
And his follow-up from yesterday:
Islamic terrorism is a significant threat, and I've been saying so for decades. It's not, on the other hand, more than a fraction of the threat of an ideologically inclined Soviet Union armed with thousands of nuclear missiles read to go within an hour or three's notice. Discuss the relative threat, and what was and was not worth doing in response to each.
I think Gary is partially correct that the current threat is a fraction of the threat from the Soviet Union, but may be missing some crucial factors that make the current threat a much larger fraction than he imagines.

(snip)


Thus I would suggest to Gary and others on the left who fear the NSA surveillance program (which has until this time not been shown to have harmed any Americans) more than they fear al Qaeda, your fears are misplaced and paradoxically dangerous both to the lives of Americans and our civil liberties.

I welcome any reasoned disagreement. I would be more than delighted to be shown to be incorrect, but thus far, beyond assertions that I am over-estimating the danger of Islamic terror, no one has done much to marshal the evidence to show this is true.

[If Gary, or anyone else, posts a decent article showing all the flaws in my argument, I will post it here in return for the same privelege at their site.]

Let the argument begin!

YOU WILL WANT TO READ IT ALL AT:

http://shrinkwrapped.blogs.com/blog/2006/01/can_liberals_an_1.html#more

I will advise Shrinkwrapped that the argument is fully engaged on this site.

Ari Tai

re: keeping a secret.

Remember Venona? Let's imagine that someone leaked some of the Venona based intelligence to Joe McCarthy and the HUAC, saying that some soviet agent had confessed that x, y and z. For intelligence and national security purposes, it was just fine to disrupt the communists with a misdirected leak, but not ok to expose the source or the method they were using to get this and other information.

The issue we are avoiding talking about is the difference between law enforcement and disruption. The left thinks in terms of law enforcement, courts, limiting convictions to absolutely and only the most certainly guilty. National security is on the other side of the coin. They could care less about arrest and convict, it's sufficient to disrupt, and hopefully not let them back in the country again (and they don't have, don't want legal certainty as a bar to limit who they can deport, v. a minor, but sufficient, infraction). Big difference. They don't even speak the same language. We'd keep Venona secret for 50 years on the assumption it someday might save the lives of millions (say, if it told us the actual intentions of soviet leadership or the disposition of their forces), v. waste it on proving Hiss was not only a (communist, elitist) traitor, he was contributing the murder of millions of innocents in those countries terrorized by communism.

So, it's not for the NYT to say what damage is done and not. In 30-40 years, we may be able to measure the consequences of their and the left's foolishness. With luck, people will remember just who either put us at risk, and/or forced us to pay some horrific future price.

Note that we are forced to trust the executive in many things. The soviets were convinced we (the free world that had nuclear weapons) would be forced to become like them, totalitarian states, because obviously no person or cabal with control of the nuclear button, with a requirement to be able to launch in minutes with a minimum of consultation (for deterrent to have any meaning), would ever willingly give up such power. Yet we always do.

The left overstepped in the 70s, punishing Mr. Nixon for very human failings that had occurred (and worse in every way) in every previous administration under the stress of fighting a war, declared and not, save, perhaps, Eisenhower. Good thing the constitution makes it clear who has executive responsibility when all is said and done, and thank heaven they've all been good enough people that they would willing stand aside when their term was up.

Neo

The most practical analogy of the outcome of a possible long winded oratory describing "The Program" would be to ask the Super Bowl coaches to give a 10 minute discussion of each of their game plans a few days prior to the Super Bowl. While it would be fascinating, it would take much away from the actual game.

Bill Arnold

Cecil,
to be fair, the only moderately good argument is the "they learned that we are wiretapping without probable cause" argument, and it wasn't entirely obvious; you're the primary person pitching it lucidly. (Caveat: I follow only a 1/2 dozen conservative blogs.) The argument also presumes that terrorists will know (or be able to guess) what constitutes probable cause acceptable to a secret court, and the argument directly admits violation of the 4th amendment, with a "get over it, this is war" excuse.

All: please don't talk about how to attack such systems. Attacks are not always obvious; the people who disparage "security through obscurity" are simply wrong.

[for the lazy: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.]

Larry

Here is Risen, the NYT reporter on the Today Show:

Risen: Well, I–I think that during a period from about 2000–from 9/11 through the beginning of the gulf–the war in Iraq, I think what happened was you–we–the checks and balances that normally keep American foreign policy and national security policy towards the center kind of broke down. And you had more of a radicalization of American foreign policy in which the–the–the career professionals were not really given a chance to kind of forge a consensus within the administration. And so you had the–the–the principles–Rumsfeld, Cheney and Tenet and Rice and many others–who were meeting constantly, setting policy and really never allowed the people who understand–the experts who understand the region to have much of a say.

POTUS, VP, NS Advisor and SECDEF were making policy! How dare they! Our elected officials are supposed to defer to the career pros? What a maroon!

There's absolutely no question the leaker(s) broke the law and should be prosecuted, but Risen should be prosecuted for wasting oxygen.

maryrose

Good challenge Larwyn!
my own view is that the very idea that our security has not been compromised by these leaks is disigenuous, and is a way by dems and liberals {i won't call you lefties} to CYA their obvious blunder in exposing all of us to the increasing danger of terrorists among us and those overseas. Don't you people ever watch the show "24"
You need to wake up and smell the coffee. I perceive this current war to be far more dangerous than the Soviet one.Added note: On second repeat of Hardball Risen interview is eliminated and talk of Delay's replacement is substituted. Risen must have said something wrong.

Foo Bar

Cecil:


1) I agree that revealing to the enemy that we've broken their code, even without revealing technical details, would be very bad. That's not what happened here, though.


2) It seems to me terrorists probably already assumed we were monitoring international calls to and from the US. I suppose I could be wrong on that point, but I doubit it. Informing them that we're not going through FISA first amounts to informing them that we might even be monitoring calls we have no particularly good reason to be monitoring. I suppose that might modify their behavior a bit, but it doesn't seem to me to be a particularly significant thing to reveal.

Larry

Bill Arnold, if I communicate with the enemy, I am no longer "the people". I am an agent of the enemy. BTW, see John Kerry, circa 1972.

larwyn

maryrose,
Post was excepts from Shrinkwrapped
who was also responding to Farber today.

I let him know the argument has been engaged on this site/post.
And hope he and OneCosmos will join
in here.

Read his entire post - you'll
enjoy.

justaguy

Seems to me the key word in the Fourth Amendment will turn out to be "unreasonable." My bet will go to the President because these interventions will not be considered unreasonable in time of war.

Bill Arnold

Larry, the FISA act uses "agent" at least two different ways. One of the usages explicitly does not include terrorists.

Cecil Turner

the only moderately good argument is the "they learned that we are wiretapping without probable cause" argument

Well, thanks for that. But having spent some time trying to convince knuckleheads to follow established comm procedures, I'd suggest a couple stories on the front page of your enemy's newspaper is quite useful. Ditto for knowing he's targeting a particular subset of communications. This leak helped 'em.

The argument also presumes that terrorists will know (or be able to guess) what constitutes probable cause acceptable to a secret court . . .

It ought to be fairly obvious that if the government can't identify the guy on the phone, they're unlikely to be able to present much evidence to the judge. And as a practical matter, devising countermeasures ain't rocket science. Ditto for revolving cell phone tricks, etc., most of which have been in news reports, anyway.

the argument directly admits violation of the 4th amendment, with a "get over it, this is war" excuse.

Is it "unreasonable" to tap overseas phone calls during wartime with an enemy whose primary means of attack is through infiltrated saboteurs? Of course not. The Fourth Amendment, like most of the Constitution, is an admirably flexible document perfectly suited to war's exigencies.

Informing them that we're not going through FISA first amounts to informing them that we might even be monitoring calls we have no particularly good reason to be monitoring.

Not sure what you're talking about, here. The FISA part under discussion is Section 1805.a.(3), which requires showing probable cause

  • "(A) the target of the electronic surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power"
The way I read it, as long as the government doesn't know who's on the domestic end, it can't monitor. (Useful bit of information, eh?)

boris

what constitutes probable cause acceptable to a secret court, and the argument directly admits violation of the 4th amendment, with a "get over it, this is war" excuse.

A US citizen places their 4th amendment rights at risk when communicating with others. Currently with a legal wiretap on the local crime boss the FBI can monitor calls between him and other parties (for whom there is no warrant). The content of the intercept can then be used as probable cause to wiretap the other parties.

To claim that communicating with a terrorist overseas is MORE protected than communicating with the local crime boss would be suicidal nonsense.

BTW more than learning what NSA is doing, they learned what NSA is NOT doing. Expect to find out that US provider cell phone accounts are now the terrorist communication device of choice.

Larry

Bill Arnold: "...does not include terrorists..."

You cite the 4th. I try to tell you why it doesn't apply to agents of the enemy. You try to tell me FISA says terrorists are not agents? Try to stay on point, please. The cotton pickin, chicken pluckin constitution takes precedence over FISA or any other statute.

Bill Arnold

And as a practical matter, devising countermeasures ain't rocket science.
No (well, sort of - some countermeasures are obvious). One must presume the worst case, but in practice there are attacks to systems that are never found by adversaries. I'm still sitting on a certain enhancement to computer viruses that hasn't been exploited after 7 years. The recent Microsoft Windows WMF exploit is another example, around unexploited and perhaps undiscovered for a long time.

larwyn

Here's why the LEFT cannot understand what they hear - even when they think they are listening.
And why they make little sense to us.

Click here: One Cosmos: Thought and Language: Do Not Saturate Before Using

Thought and Language: Do Not Saturate Before Using


ShrinkWrapped is conducting an interesting experiment to determine if it is actually possible for leftists and neo-cons to engage in substantive debate without it quickly degenerating into name-calling and mutual demonization. To make things manageable, ShrinkWrapped is going to narrow the focus down to the differing perceptions between left and right as to the existential threat posed by Islamofascism. Obviously, those of us "on the right" regard it as a much more serious threat than do those on the left, who generally believe the threat has been manufactured by the President in order to consolidate power and impose a theocracy of his own. Not much middle ground between those two positions, for they aren't just "opposite," they're operating in two irreconcilable realities.

Although I am hoping for the best, I am personally pessimistic, as the first day of the experiment didn't seem to go particularly well. Partly my fault (you should read all the comments to get a sense of how it went). As I posted on ShrinkWrapped, "It's very simple. Leftists are naive about human evil, and always have been. For example, during the cold war, leftists refused to characterize the Soviet Union as evil, and castigated those who did. The identical pattern is occuring now with regard to Islamofascism. This has all sorts of ramifications. For example, if one cannot recognize true evil, one will see the non-evil as evil. As such, the left saw Ronald Reagan as evil, and now see George Bush as evil.... Leftists suffer from a poverty of imagination on the one hand (with regard to the true evil of Islamofascism), but an excess of it on the other hand (with regard to the fantasied evildoings of President Bush)."

Harsh words, perhaps, but are they inaccurate?

I find it virtually impossible to debate with most leftists, not just because they are wrong, but because they cannot possibly be right. In other words, they are not even wrong, for being wrong presupposes some rational basis upon which one can reason someone into, or out of, a position. Not so with with the typical leftist of contemporary America. As I posted, it would be pointless "to debate Cindy Sheehan as to whether George Bush is a bigger terrorist than Osama bin Laden, Howard Dean as to whether Republicans enjoy seeing children go to bed hungry, John Kerry as to whether this is the worst economy since the Great Depression, Kos as to whether Americans working in Iraq are mercenaries that deserve to get killed, Kennedy as to whether the Iraq war was 'cooked up' in Texas for political gain, and Michael Moore as to whether those with whom we are fighting in Iraq are 'minute men' analogous to our own founders."

The psychoanalyst W. R. Bion used the term "saturated" to describe a particular kind of pseudo-thinking commonly encountered by the psychologist. That is, the proper use of language in a healthy mind fosters the evolution of thought. A word or concept is saturated when it cannot do this--it is already so full of meaning that it loses its capacity to actually facilitate thought. Words and concepts can become so overloaded with personal meaning that their use for communication with others becomes extremely problematic. Among other problems, when words are saturated, there is no space left for them to accumulate meaning through experience: the word has become functionally dead insofar as its capacity to allow a space for thinking about internal or external reality.

I believe this is one of the key problems that underlies leftist thought. It is so saturated with meaning that it is absolutely useless for conveying ideas to anyone who doesn't already believe them--anyone who isn't already franticly twirling about in the end-times liberal Ghost Dance.

To illustrate my point, I went straight over to Petey's favorite idiotarium, huffingtonpost, knowing that there would be many fine examples of what I'm talking about. I plucked one off the top, entitled Bush as Bad Theatre, by a playwrite named Sherman Yellen


READ THE WHOLE THING AT:

http://onecosmos.blogspot.com/2006/01/thought-and-language-do-not-saturate.html

Quite a day in the bloggersphere
w/o adding the Alito postings.

Jim Rockford

Glen the reason warrants cannot be obtained via FISA is that the requirements to apply for FISA are such that no warrant can be applied for.

Specifically, the NSA data mining and analyzing program will pull up lots of numbers that are throw-away pre-paid cell phones used to generate comms for Al Qaeda operatives in the US. They are good for a day. The warrant application process takes about two weeks or so. And requires specific identification of the PERSON being targeted.

WITHOUT THAT PERSON (and phone number and many other unknown items) you CANNOT GET THE WARRANT APPROVED. Period. That's written into FISA Law (go check it out yourself with Google).

You find THAT DAY a phone number that will be thrown away. You listen in. After 72 hours with no warrant, you HAVE TO UNDER FISA DESTROY ALL DATA. And you lose a lead. That may be useless. OR PREVENT NYC FROM BEING NUKED. You don't know.

Modern technology and throw-away pre-paid cell phones means FISA is useless. ALL Terrorists have to do to escape detection is use throw away cell phones (a new one every day) and under FISA there is no way to follow up on that lead. Even if data mining suggests it might be useful. You don't know the person. Or the next new number. You can't hold the data because under FISA the process to apply for the warrant takes on AVERAGE TWO WEEKS OR MORE. Read the 11 steps required for FISA warrants and it's a miracle it takes that little time. Colleen Rowley, the FBI Whistleblower, testified before the 9/11 Commission AND Congress about the broken FISA process that prevented the FBI from getting a FISA Warrant to check out Zacarias Mousouais's computer.

Meanwhile Chicago area companies will sell you the calling records of people's cell phones over the internet.

What you're asking for is two mutually exclusive things:

1. Government to stop terror attacks on the US.
2. Rigid adherence to 1978 era FISA, not acknowledging the role of new technology (since oh say 1995).

This is just BEGGING to have the whole process outsourced to some foreign country with ZERO controls over potential for abuse. Possibly even a PRIVATE Foreign company. That will meet the two requirements above (technically). I'm sure everyone here would think it's a bad idea. And it's exactly where Lefty politics are driving us.

Addendum: Congress and in particular Durbin, Rockefeller, and Leahy have leaked like a sieve, so I can understand why the whole Committees were not briefed. Unless and until the Dems get their leaks under control the President will simply point to them and say they cannot be trusted with secrets. Which is self-evidently true.

maryrose

Jim Rockford:
Dems have shown at least the aforementioned ones can't be trusted to keep their mouths shut-witness Durbin's-rampage on the Senate floor -a disgraceful performance. On a side issue , Why are there so many Ultra Liberal-dems on the Judiciary Committe able to question Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito.

Charlie (Colorado)

Brilliant - the President may or may not have been staging a coup, but she didn't want to annoy him by asking anyone.

"Staging a coup"? Just a little bit of an exaggeration there....

richard mcenroe

"Ignorance, lack of imagination and poor reading comprehension are poor substitutes for reasonable argument."

Our three weapons are...

TM

From Foo Bar:

TM, this response doesn't address why the original NYT story damaged national security.

And more:

2) It seems to me terrorists probably already assumed we were monitoring international calls to and from the US. I suppose I could be wrong on that point, but I doubit it.

One would think they would have made that assumption. Which begs a new question - has the NSA been running this program with zero results for the last four years? Jane Harman's comments certainly suggest not.

So let's just imagine that, four years into it, The Program really is delivering results. How would detail-free publicity hurt The Program?

I am going to steal from Mr. Turner and add my own idea (but try and find it!)

(1) Suppose, over the last few years, a few Al Qaeda plots have gone sour due to The Program. The after-action folks at the AQ end may wonder What Went Wrong - e.g., did a defector rat them out, did a money trail get traced, what?

A series of front pagers highlighting a successful program of communications intercepts may provide them a helpful clue and let them focus on their real weakness, rather than letting them waste time and resources trying to plug fifteen possible non-leaks.

(2) The AQ communication strategy presumably balances flexibility, speed, and security, using, for example, some mix of couriers and electronics. A big front pager or ten might prompt them to re-think the mix. That, BTW, could be a good thing, if their revised procedures are unduly cumbersome. But it might not be.

(3) Any comm sysytem is susceptible to (a) bad design; and (b) bad implementation. For example, once we broke the Enigma code, the most diligent radio operator in Germany could not secure their communications - the design was flawed.

However - AQ may have a well-designed system, but it is still liable to human error - laziness, stupidity, nerves, whatever. Some fool who just couldn't resist calling Mom once a week might have blown a plot a year ago.

Today, even with three weeks of reminders on the NY Times front page that THE NSA IS LISTENING, a similar AQ a-hole might be calling Mom right now. But is it your considered guess that the odds of that lucky break ocurring have moved against us?

If these NY Times stories have (1) provided useful after-action intel to AQ; (2) prompted a sensible re-design of the AQ comm system; or (3) prompted more diligent implementation of an already well-designed system, then we have been hurt.

Now, why that is not obvious to Atrios or others is beyond me. (Not really).

And a lot of the rest of this discussion looks like it is teetering on the brink of sophistry, as noted earlier - I am begging you, don't start down a road that ends with "Well, Atrios was making a distinction between with warrants and without them; these other revelations may indeed have been harmful".

MY point is that publication of the overall story hurt national security, from Day One - that is why we are having a DoJ investigation, and why I am peeved with the Times.

topsecretk9

That, BTW, could be a good thing, if their revised procedures are unduly cumbersome. But it might not be.

Might slow it down, but seems to me it might increase success.

TM's comment
Which begs a new question - has the NSA been running this program with zero results for the last four years? Jane Harman's comments certainly suggest not.

begs another question (Able Dangerous)

Had the NSA been running the program and in retrospect after 9-11 realized that they had picked up quite a bit of prescience on 9-11 (only they didn't know it) but SINCE 9-11 they knew how to utilize the data?

This would ALSO explain why this "leak: is so damaging...we have figured out HOW TO LISTEN and DECIPHER AL QUEDA the communiques...vs. our pre-9-11 deciphering?

You know there are like 55 better ways to articulate the point I am trying to make

maybe someone else can take a stab...I seepy I guess

topsecretk9

Terror assholes were performing sneakiness PRE this program, right? Eschelon was obviously unsuccessful, otherwise it may have prevented 9-11, right?

Before 9-11 it was Eschelon, after 9-11 it was Eschelon on Meth...only THEY (terror assholes) who snuck around to perform 9-11 didn't know that Eschelon (or whatever they call it) was working and on to their ass?

I give up. Sorry.

topsecretk9

Also stray guilty conscience point==

I wonder how many John Walkers' gave up their cells phones to the struggle of the brotherhood?

richard mcenroe

Charlie(Colorado) — Remember EComCon and Seven Days in May... control the communications and you control the country...

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