Memeorandum


Powered by TypePad

« Byron York On The Plame Investigation | Main | Ambiguous DNA At Duke? »

May 11, 2006

Comments

noah

Of course the info so obtained is not usable in court...but if the patterns detected indicate possible terrorist activity it may point the NSA to monitor additional overseas phones than it would otherwise be aware of...more power to them...we don't really want to prosecute them anyway...thwart and/or kill them, hell yes.

Jane

Another day, another leaker.

How does this differ from the phone records you are able to buy over the internet, except for the scale?

boris

Of course the info so obtained is not usable in court

The FISA court of Review essentially ruled that FISA was only constutional to the extent that it provides a mechanism for the executive branch to convert foreign surveillance into admissable evidence usable by the judicial branch.

Marcel

So many leaks in the dike, and not enough fingers to plug them all. Not enough Swift Boaters to attack all of the leakers and all of the reporters who dig out the information. What is Big Brother to do?

Appalled Moderate

Leak here is probably not from the government but on eof the phone companies turning over records. Consider both who is writing the story and the number of people who would be involved in the data gathering.

the larger number of people invovlved in something like this, the more likely there will be a leak. Period.

Sue

You know, at this point, if I were the president, I would beg for an impeachment. Send me home.

Al

Hmmm. They have an "Is this Legal?" box. But they ignore the expert quoted in the main piece!

"Over the years, NSA code-cracking techniques have continued to improve along with technology. The agency today is considered expert in the practice of "data mining" — sifting through reams of information in search of patterns. Data mining is just one of many tools NSA analysts and mathematicians use to crack codes and track international communications.

Paul Butler, a former U.S. prosecutor who specialized in terrorism crimes, said FISA approval generally isn't necessary for government data-mining operations. "FISA does not prohibit the government from doing data mining," said Butler, now a partner with the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, D.C.

The caveat, he said, is that "personal identifiers" — such as names, Social Security numbers and street addresses — can't be included as part of the search. "That requires an additional level of probable cause," he said."

Dwilkers

The mystery of what the NSA program really involves deepens.

I'm trying to figure out how telephone records of "homes and businesses" and "amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans" helps the NSA "detect terrorist activity" through analysis of calling patterns.

Analyzing the calling patterns of ordinary folks is going to help them detect terrorist activity? How? Are they talking about some sort of comparative analysis maybe?

I'm stumped.

Cecil Turner

Q: Is this legal?

Hmm, dunno. The generic prohibition of pen registers (chapter 206) without a court order specifically exempts FISA, but FISA doesn't seem to cover it. It's specifically exempted under the criminal code for intercepts:


(h) It shall not be unlawful under this chapter -
(i) to use a pen register or a trap and trace device (as those terms are defined for the purposes of chapter 206 (relating to pen registers and trap and trace devices) of this title); or
And there's another exemption under (f) that might apply (and says chapter 206 doesn't apply to foreign intelligence stuff). Better find a lawyer to sift through that pile.

JohnH

How does Leslie Cauley know that they are "ordinary Americans?" Did her source tell her this? Is there a way to tell from phone numbers if one is an "ordinary American?"

JohnH

Oh, I get it. The MSM wants the gov't to get a court warrant for each of the "tens of millions" of phone numbers. Then, since the MSM is 100% in favor of going after terrorists, it would be OK to count the number of times certain phone numbers were used to call certain countries.

clarice

I think this may be hooey. AJ Strata has a great deal about this on his site today. Let us say you are trying to make a pattern analysis--not picking who you are focusing on. Say a camera at an intersection tracking traffic, because you are trying to see if you need to change the traffic light timing. You are analyzing a pattern, not looking at license plates of cars going past. And that is what I think this is..selecting enough random traffic patterns so that they can determine what is usual and what is unusual. Period.

I think the more interesting story is this one. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12727867/

Cong. Hinchey asked the DoJ's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) to determine if any lawyers in the Dept broke the law in connection with the NSA surveillance program. OPR has responded that they cannot do this because NSA will not give the lawyers in that office security clearances so that they can carry out the investigation. The back story is this:Shrewd observers in DC have believed from the nature of the leaks, that many of them came from high up in the DOJ..The Deputy Atty General's office which handled the program. (Some also seemed to come from COngress and the FISA Court itself.)
To my mind, the Administration has finally caught on and is at the match point of the game.

Tom Maguire

As to the source being from the telecom side rather than the intel community, Ms. Cauley's background is an obvious hint.

And Kevin Drum had this story April 8:

WHAT THE NSA IS DOING....A couple of months ago the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a class action suit against AT&T for violating its customers' privacy by cooperating with the NSA's domestic spying program. On Friday, they released a statement from a former AT&T technician named Mark Klein who saw what the NSA did in AT&T's San Francisco office:...
Marcel

Clarice, they are probably watching you, your clients, your friends. You are probably OK with that, since you support just about everything that this Administration does and defend them eloquently. But would you be OK if it was a Democrat administration?

clarice

If they want to use my call pattern without keeping private info as part of a massive data base to determine calling patterns, I have no problem with that. Everything else I do from buying books on Amazon to using my grocery card discount card works just like that to determine in those cases, buying patterns. (Belong to Amazon? Ever get emails from them suggesting booke you might enjoy. How do they know you might be interested? Because they analyze buying patterns of millions of people. And they know people who like Book A will often be interested in Book B.)

ordi

What did John Conyers know and when did he know it?

The front page to his web site says this:


NSA's Illegal Warrantless Wiretapping Update


Coming soon:

Developments regarding the National Security Agency's illegal warrantless wiretapping.

http://johnconyers.com/

maryrose

Marcel:Clinton had 300 FBI republican files his WH was perusing and his wife lied about knowing about it. Where were your complaints then? Oh a dem admin...

kim

Ah, Marcel, you'd give your merchants what you'd deny your soldiers? De bon marche.
======================

Matt

Clarice,
Data Mining for terrorists isn't as easy as data mining on Amazon. On Amazon you have already made choices that help them cull the information. Short of having one known terrorist and looking at that person's calls, I don't see how massive data mining really works.
Seems like a great way to generate a ton of false positives, thus making the jobs harder.

Marcel

How do we know what information they are gathering and keeping? How do we know that it isn't being used to gather evidence for legal prosecutions? How do we know that the info isn't being used for political reasons? With the NSA doublng their budget in 2 years, there is a lot of opportunity for misuse of information. And with almost no accountability.

ordi

IN A BOLD AND CONTROVERSIAL DECISION, the president authorized a program for the surveillance of communications within the United States, seeking to prevent acts of domestic sabotage and espionage. In so doing, he ignored a statute that possibly forbade such activity, even though high-profile federal judges had affirmed the statute's validity. The president sought statutory amendments allowing this surveillance but, when no such legislation was forthcoming, he continued the program nonetheless. And when Congress demanded that he disclose details of the surveillance program, the attorney general said, in no uncertain terms, that it would get nothing of the sort.

In short, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt charted a bold course in defending the nation's security in 1940, when he did all of these things.


As they say read the whole thing.
http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=9790

kim

Well, Marcel, you can choose to be paranoid, or you can choose to believe that the people with the power have sense enough to know that if they misuse it, it backfires. Are you projecting, or do you not have that sense?
=====================================

Sue

Marcel,

One thing you can count on, if it is being used for political purposes, the democrats are the ones that are doing it or it would have already been leaked.

clarice

You make all sorts of choices every day and they are all made into bundles for understanding patterns of human behavior. I see nothing in these pattern developments that are usable in court. You are not being charged with calling Pakistan when no one else does.

Laddy

Matt, diagnostics have false positives. It's the nature of the beast. If you know the outcome with certainty, there is little reason to test to discern the outcome. If the test is so insensitive to result in no false positives, it is likely too insensitive to detect many positives as well. The cost of missing a positive is greater in this case than identifying false positives to further rule out. I would imagine they are simply correlating international calls to and from U.S. numbers. If a pattern emerges, it's flagged for further investigation. What would be interesting to know is if NSA has access to call records in other countries as well. I suspect calls go from cell to cell. A U.S. call to a German number to a Saudi number, etc. If the only database NSA has is the U.S. one, then they have to detect the pattern to the German exchange and then find a way to track from there. I don't know for sure, but I suspect there is no identifying information with the phone number which probably makes it legal. I also don't think General Hayden would want to go up to the Senate unless he knew his duckies were all in a row, legalwise. Didn't we already know all this back when the NSA program came up last time. This seems like news recycling again to me.

ordi

Marcel,

This is being happening since right after 911. Don't you think if it was being done for gathering evidence for legal prosecutions, or it was being used for political reasons, we would have heard of these prosecutions and political reasons by now? One would think so. What are they waiting for? the 2004 Ellection would have been a good time, why did they use it then? What about the upcoming 2006 election?

ordi

Sorry it should have been

why DIDN'T they use it then

kim

Laddy, I'm pretty sure the access is to a lot of international stuff, which routes through US owned equipment. That may be one reason for the telecommunications writer rather than an intelligence one.
============================

clarice

"When any of the tens of millions of Capital One credit card customers call the company, the firm’s computers correlate the data they have on their buying patterns and recent purchase activity to predict why they are calling. The call is routed to just the right customer service representative who knows with near certainty what he needs to do to solve their problem and what additional products or services to offer that their likely to buy. All of this happens in a fraction of a second.


ChoicePoint is one of nation’s largest brokers of personal information. They can reach out and grab criminal records, motor vehicle records, credit histories, business records and a wealth of other data about you. Unlike the government, ChoicePoint allowed personal records of nearly 160,000 citizens to be compromised last year.


You hate telemarketers so you signed up for the Do Not Call Registry. Then you turned around and called in a take-out order for pizza, signed up for the grocery store discount card, pet store discount card, coffee shop discount card, etc. Guess what? Those companies consider those transactions as the establishment of a business relationship, so by the rules they can call all they want. If the fine print in their privacy policy says they’ll share your information with other businesses then you’re going to get more calls and be stored in more databases.


Unlike the government, private business will almost never get rid of your information as long as there is a hope of selling you something. Maybe you didn’t want the personal loan or the vacation package, but an analysis of your recent buying habits shows the purchase of a lot of baby clothes and diapers; watch how fast you start getting offers for life insurance or cord-blood storage services. And when they’ve tapped you out they’ll sell your data itself to someone else for one last buck.


Terrorists want to separate us from the corporal world. Does it make any sense not to"http://blog.groupintel.com/2006/02/03/intelligence-sold/

ordi

You just have to love Mac! He writes:

By the way....a bit of bad news though for the sources of the USA Today article, per a tip, your identities are known to those who care.

He has lots of other stuff on this! CHeck it out.

http://macsmind.blogspot.com/2006/05/nsa-leaking-in-usa-today_11.html

windansea

LONDON - The suicide bombers who killed 52 passengers on London’s transit system last year contacted someone in Pakistan just before striking, Britain’s top law enforcement official said Thursday.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060511/ap_on_re_eu/britain_bombings

someone in pakistan....this is where the NSA programs would help

windansea

London had been operating on the theory that the bombers were just home grown splodeydopes

clarice

Thanks ordi--Mac sayshttp://macsmind.blogspot.com/2006/05/nsa-leaking-in-usa-today_11.html this was a deliberate leak designed to entrap the leakers and is related to the other--I think much more important story--that NSA refused to give clearances to DoJ's Office of Professional Responsibility.

Sue

Fox asked and answered the why now...

Time magazine reporter Mike Allen told FOX News it's not news that the NSA is developing a phone number database. Rather, the interesting part is that the agency was "tapping into the backbones of these communications companies."

However, that too doesn't seem to be new information. The New York Times, in its Pulitzer Prize winning reporting, reported last December that the telecommunications firms had been cooperating with the government.

ordi

Clarice,

I agree the NSA refusal to give clearances to DoJ's Office of Professional Responsibility is a bigger story. It means Bush is not going to take this anymore!

ordi

Clarice,

I agree the NSA refusal to give clearances to DoJ's Office of Professional Responsibility is a bigger story. It means Bush is not going to take this anymore!

Tom Maguire

Short of having one known terrorist and looking at that person's calls, I don't see how massive data mining really works.

I mostly agree (mainly, I have no idea how this would work, either), but - wouldn't they have good records of the 19 9/11 hijackers?

And there a few other known terrorists that have been picked up.

I think you have twenty starting needles in a 200 million record haystack, but it might lead to something.

windansea

go get em Tony!

Snow issues detailed rebuttals to media coverage of the president
PDF | Email
Bill Sammon, The Examiner
May 11, 2006 7:00 AM (6 hrs ago)

WASHINGTON - New White House Press Secretary Tony Snow is starting off in a combative mode against the press by issuing detailed rebuttals to what he considers unfair coverage of Bush.


“The New York Times continues to ignore America’s economic progress,” blared the headline of an e-mail sent to reporters Wednesday by the White House press office.

Minutes earlier, another e-mail blasted CBS News, which has had an unusually rocky relationship with the White House since 2004, when CBS aired what turned out to be forged documents in a failed effort to question the president’s military service.

“CBS News misleadingly reports that only 8 million seniors have signed up for Medicare prescription drug coverage,” Wednesday’s missive said. “But 37 million seniors have coverage.” On Tuesday, the White House railed against “USA Today’s misleading Medicare story.”

http://www.examiner.com/a-104890~Snow_issues_detailed_rebuttals_to_media_coverage_of_the_president.html

kim

Maybe Bush finally hired an advocate.
===================

windansea

in a related interview Bin Laden told interviewers that he was switching to Qwest

Bill

They are probably using statistical analysis to determine normal patterns so as to distinguish them from abnormal patterns in communications networks.

clarice

That's what I think, Bill.

David in NY

"It means Bush is not going to take this anymore!"

Poor Bush! Those Democratic majorities in Congress have just been killing him! If only Congress were firmly in Republican hands, then he wouldn't have a problem in the world! I mean, he hasn't made a single mistake yet!

clarice

I believe the poster was referring to the Fifth Column in the ,mandarinate, David in NY.

windansea

OT

DVD sniffing labradors fight Piracy!

As part of a project promoted by the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA), FACT instigated the training of two black Labradors named Lucky and Flo by one of the world's leading experts in the field whose other clients include police, fire and rescue service. The dogs were trained over an eight month period to identify DVDs that may be located in boxes, envelopes or other packaging, as well as discs concealed amongst other goods which could be sold illegally in the UK. These DVDs are often smuggled by criminal networks involved in large scale piracy operations from around the world."

http://www.spacegrinder.com/article8.html

Fritz

I tend to agree with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas who said, "One of the reasons the administration doesn't tell more members of Congress about such programs is because Congress leaks." Exactly right, and I advocate that the executive cut the Congress out of the loop altogether. Really the Congress is just for show anyway, call it democratic window-dressing on the emperor's palace.

And to you, the citizen I say, you have nothing to fear from your government unless you are doing something wrong. Have you made phone-calls to terrorists? Have you ordered Zanku Chicken to go? Have you called a pharmacy in Canada? Have you phoned a full-release masseuse? Have you dialed a registered Democrat? Have you called your newspaper? If you've answered "no" to all these questions then just relax already.

So why is the government tracking your calls if you're an honest proletarian? Well it's a little complicated. It's all a matter of contrast. See, the terrorists are the subjects, and you are the background. So if we only monitor the terrorists, the picture we paint is like a polar-bear in a snow-storm, you just can't see him. That's where you come in. You are the background that must be viewed to bring the terrorist in to sharp relief.

So don't worry. Qwest communications should worry. Those traitors have refused to comply with the decrees from Washington. Perhaps Osama Bin-Laden will do an ad for them, I'm sure they'll appreciate the new business.

Patrick R. Sullivan

'Short of having one known terrorist and looking at that person's calls, I don't see how massive data mining really works.'

That appears to be what NSA is doing. A caller to FOX radio today seemed to know all about the program.

He said the telephone numbers are in a data base gathering dust until NSA gets a 'hit' from, say, a captured terrorist's cell phone in Baghdad. They want to be able to follow up immediately on calls made from and to that cell phone. Which they can't do without the data base.

Here's the beginning of an April 13, 2006 LA Times story:

'MONTPELLIER, France — The cellphone's trail led from bloodstained Fallouja to the engineering school here, a modern campus where researchers in white coats stroll past labs and the breeze rustles through trees in courtyards dotted with pine cones.

'Two years ago French investigators, aided by U.S. intelligence, detected calls from Iraq to a central figure in a suspected extremist cell in Montpellier. French intelligence officials say the calls came from a militant leader in Fallouja involved in the grisly killing of four American military contractors by a mob on March 31, 2004, an incident that became an icon of the savage conflict in Iraq.'

JM Hanes

TM

"I think you have twenty starting needles in a 200 million record haystack, but it might lead to something."

I think that's a misperception. You can't do datamining on a limited basis; there's no way you can even begin to identify patterns until you've got hug amounts of data to work with. Your success rate has less to do with the number of needles you find as a function of data sifted, than it does with the speed at which you become able to identify them -- not to mention the fact that datamining may well be your best/only chance to find them at all. The whole point of terrorism is that it doesn't take but a couple of needles in the first place, no?

I understand the various concerns about privacy and potential abuse, but unfortunately, datamining and like intrusions are the inescapable consequence of tasking the government with the preventing future attacks.

Cajun Kate

For all of you who are so outraged that your personal liberty is being violated, do you have any idea of all the personal info the IRS has on you? And you're worried about this, give me a break

JM Hanes

I think it was the head of Cisco who once said something like: You have no privacy, you just don't realize it yet. I don't think it was a recent assessment either.

windansea

With the telecom companies' compliance, the NSA can today tap into those international communications far more easily than in the past, and in real time (or close to it). With access to much of the world's telecom traffic, the NSA's supercomputers can digitally vacuum up every call placed on a network and apply an arsenal of data-mining tools. Traffic analysis, together with social network theory, can reveal patterns indiscernible to human analysts, possibly suggesting terrorist activity. Content filtering, applying highly sophisticated search algorithms and powerful statistical methods like Bayesian analysis in tandem with machine learning, can search for particular words or language combinations that may indicate terrorist communications.

In an essay published next month in the New York University Review of Law and Security, titled "Whispering Wires and Warrantless Wiretaps: Data Mining and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance," K. Taipale, executive director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology Policy, points out that in 1978, when FISA was drafted, it made sense to speak exclusively about intercepting a targeted communication, where there were usually two known ends and a dedicated communication channel that could be wiretapped.


With today's networks, however, data and increasingly voice communications are broken into discrete packets. Intercepting such communications requires that filters be deployed at various communication nodes to scan all passing traffic with the hope of finding and extracting the packets of interest and reassembling them. Thus, even targeting a specific message from a known sender today generally requires scanning and filtering the entire communication flow in which it's embedded. Given that situation, FISA is clearly inadequate because, Taipale argues, were it to be "applied strictly according to its terms prior to any 'electronic surveillance' of foreign communication flows passing through the U.S. or where there is a substantial likelihood of intercepting U.S. persons, then no automated monitoring of any kind could occur."


Taipale proposes not that FISA should be discarded, but that it should be modified to allow for the electronic surveillance equivalent of a Terry stop -- under U.S. law, the brief "stop and frisk" of a person by a law enforcement officer based on the legal standard of reasonable suspicion. In the context of automated data mining, it would mean that if suspicion turned out to be unjustified, after further monitoring, it would be discontinued. If, on the other hand, continued suspicion was reasonable, then it would continue, and at a certain point be escalated so that human agents would be called in to decide whether a suspicious individual's identity should be determined and a FISA warrant issued.

http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=,infotech&sc=&id=16741&pg=3

JM Hanes

Fritz

"And to you, the citizen I say, you have nothing to fear from your government unless you are doing something wrong."

You're kidding on that one, right?

Publicus

When something is illegal (like this ongoing warrantless wiretapping crime), it is ILLEGAL. The president (or anyone else) cannot make is legal by simply saying that it is.

Clinton had said that "it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is." Now, the current administration is subjecting the Bill of Rights to the same nonsensical "analysis." Here's the choice: freedom or monarchy. Where do you stand?

Sid

How does this new NSA news ddiffer from ECHELON data collection that was ongoing during slick Willie's watch??

Sara (Squiggler)

Marcel and others --- why do you care if your phone number, which is not linked to your name, address, or any other identifying information, is routed to a database with other phone numbers that are making or receiving calls from other numbers? No calls are being listened in on ... for one thing we are talking in the millions and there aren't enough people in the whole world to sit and listen in on the gazillions of calls made in any given 24 hour period worldwide.

But, patterns can be discerned if say, it is discovered that there are lots of calls coming from an international code for say Saudia Arabia to an area code in Timbuktu. Every day or many times a day, they see this international code contacting this Timbuktu area code. This sets a flag. From that flag, then and only then, are more in depth investigations undertaken to determine who is making the calls from Saudi and who is receiving the call. Still no call being listened to. Then if there are more red flags, it moves up the ladder to a point where either warrants need to be issued or other legally allowed investigations can be opened. By that time, you better hope you aren't talking to terrorists.

Victoria Toensig was just on with John Gibson, she was mad as a hatter about the way this pattern invesigation is being described as illegal and she was unequivocal in saying the leaker of this program broke the law.

Napolitano says gathering statistics under the law established by the Patriot Act, is entirely legal. Listening in on a conversation without a warrant would be illegal.

Sue

Powerline did an assessment of how many NSA employees it would take if 200,000 million adults made 10 calls per day. The number was 35,000 to look at each call for 1 second.

Sara (Squiggler)

I want to make a personal statement. I am absolutely livid at yet another leak regarding our ability to protect national security. As far as I am concerned these leakers and the politicos who are behind them should all be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and given the stiffest sentences the law allows for treason against the United States and I don't give a damn how many Senators and Congressmen get caught in the process. And my final statement ... it is my firm opinion that the CIA CABAL group is responsible for set of leaks and that sicko Howard Dean is orchestrating the publicity side and encouraging very naive and vulnerable and rather undereducated looneys to carry his water. He is a sick F..k. Sorry for the implied bad language but I've reached my own tipping point on this and I am MAD AS HELL!

Sara (Squiggler)

From Black Five

[...] What the USA Today article is describing is a tool used by law enforcement (without a court order) to attempt to find additional bad guys who associate with a known bad guy. Let’s say, you bust a guy for smuggling dope into the country and he has a cell phone on him. You seize the phone, and you copy the recent numbers and maybe even his entire phonebook from the phone down and submit it to a law enforcement data base. They throw those numbers in with everybody else’s numbers and if you’re lucky, some other agent is looking at a guy whose number was in your smuggler’s phonebook. Then you call that agent up so that you can get some more information about your guy and vice versa. It gives you some additional avenues for investigation, but it isn’t evidence of a crime.

So the big outrage of the day is that terrorist phone numbers are being collated and cross referenced to see if any connections can be gleaned from their communications patterns. There is no contention that the calls themselves are being monitored in any way.

The likely reason that this database is so large is that terrorists typically employ more elaborate countermeasures to detection than dopers do. For a narcotics investigation, it would be a waste to go any further than one level on these numbers; not so for terrorists. For example, a terrorist might call a number (perhaps a persian rug store) and ask if they have received the order for Mr. X. This rug store could actually be an communications intermediary who would then call an Al Qaeda guy to pass along a message. By analyzing the links several levels down, the government might be able to figure out if a couple of guys they suspect are terrorists are calling or being called by the same persian rug store. And if so, then it might be a good idea to focus some investigative effort on that store.

I don’t call this an evil attempt by the Bushitler McHalliburton regime to crush civil liberties. I call it thorough investigative work that has the potential to yield positive results and identify previously unknown terrorists. Can you imagine knowing that this capability exists, that it has been shown to be effective in the past, and deciding that it is simply too politically dangerous to enact? Now that would be an impeachable offense.

Laddy

They've even used the data mining concept on the CBS FBI drama, Numb3rs, to catch bad guys. I want to know when the MSM going to be handed their asses with the deception and dishonesty they engage in? Why doesn't Tony Snow use his bully pulpit to make fun of them for recycling old news? If they're going to arrest the leakers, do it now while it's fresh in the minds of people. I fault the Administration for communuication incompetence. It's the worst I've ever seen in my 56 years. I say get mad, fight back, and get even with the lying newsies. One of the problems with born agains is that they always turn the other cheek. It's a character flaw. This is another sterling example of why conservatives have given up defending Bush. They won't bother defending themselves. Rove likes to wait until just before an election to rev things up and campaign. That works great at the state level where no one gives a rats patooty until then. At the federal level it's playing with fire. They came very close to losing the 2004 election with this strategy. Conservatives were irritated then, but nothing like now. I've reached the point of not caring. I wonder what, if anything, they even do at the Whitehouse. Bush II is more disengaged than Bush I and I never thought that possible.

clarice

The President made one of his longest rebuttals today.
The bigger question for which there is an obvious answer is why the story which is months old was recycled just before Heyden's confirmation hearing .

Sara (Squiggler)

Laddy, I just posted on another thread that a new era appears to be underway a la Tony Snow. He has already blasted 3 major news organizations on inaccurate stories and now today, Brit Hume remarks that the President was out in front of this rehashed USA Today story faster than he has been on any story since the 2004 election. And let us not get confused, this is a rehash. There is nothing new here that didn't appear in the NYT months ago. This is a case of headline writers making news, not new news making news.

Dwilkers

OK so listening to Fox just now I got an idea of what they may be doing.

They make a database of phone number connections. For instance, they know that TM's number (they don't have his name) often calls Kim's number, Clarice's number, Sue's number and Jeff's number.

All data stored on computer, obviously this is too voluminous to have humans involved.

So when AQ dude Abdul Al Zarpana Banana Popana calls TM from Jordan they know what other numbers are associated with TM's number. All they have to do is query the database with TM's number to find the associated targets.

This sounds to me like a plausible explanation for what they might be doing. I can see someone at NSA coming up with that.

clarice

Why do I think that the Heyden hearings will be a reprise of the Roberts' hearings with idiot Senators exposed by a much brighter nominee? Why do I think the Dems with the help of the USA have again stepped into the briar patch? (A) Because the program is popular and (B) Because the Dems ARE stupid and (C) Because Heyden isn't.

Sara (Squiggler)

Known Terrorist A calls B, C, and D.
Every time A calls B, B calls E.
Every time A calls C, C calls F.
Every time A calls D, D calls B.
Every time D calls B, B calls A

This happens several times.

This is called A PATTERN!!!!

No human is involved in establishing this pattern.

Once the pattern is evident, questions arise.

A, known terrorist is calling B, C, D and they in turn are calling E, F and D and A, so at some point someone might want to know who B,C,D,E,F are. Remember A is a known terrorist. So, are these other calls to Mama to wish her a Happy Mother's Day and maybe to sisters and brothers?

Second step would have to determine that. If there is no clear cut relationship, then I darn sure hope that someone is going to great lengths to find out why A is calling B, C, D, and why D is calling B and B is getting back to A. And who are E and F and why are they in the loop? At no time does any human have to listen to the actual content of a call or intrude on anyone's privacy to establish either the pattern or the links between the various patterns.

JM Hanes

Aw jeez, just when I move over to comment on the other thread, the conversation moves back over here! Will youse pls. make up yer minds? Or should I just start double posting?

Sara (Squiggler)

There is no expectation of privacy for B, C, D, E and F. Their numbers/calls would be tracked whether they got a call or not from A since this is how any phone company knows how many minutes you talked and to what location the call was placed or received in order to bill you properly. It is called your monthy phone bill. Surely you all check your bills each month to make sure you aren't charged eroneously for calls you neither made or received. If you aren't you should be. I was billed on my cell phone for a 2 1/2 hour call to South Africa a year or so ago. It took a 2 months to straighten it out and the only explanation I got was "a glitch" when the computer recorded the outgoing number.

Terrye

The timing is suspicious to say the least.

Laddy

Sara,

they used very little of the President's rebuttal on the NBC News. They hammered the Administration and its troubled programs. Snow need to be on every net, cable and air, blasting away and making fun of them. I think it's too late anyway. Bush II has become damaged goods unfortunately. Clinton had scandal after scandal in his administration and never lost the people. This administration has been relatively scandal free yet can't even lead their own party because they sit on their butts too much and are out of touch. Clinton was out publicly nearly every day with something to say and it made him appear engaged. Bush doesn't do this which is why he gets hammered on the War, gas prices, and every other ill of the world. He needs to appear as though he is engaged whether he is or not. I'm sure his handlers are aware of this; I know Mehlman is aware. I think the problems lies with W himself. He's going to selfishly take the whole party down with him if this continues. There are several that have worked hard during the past three election cycles that are planning to sit this one out. They feel they've been betrayed and I don't blame them a bit.

Sara (Squiggler)

Laddy, I'm not sure the blame falls entirely on GWB. He was out here in my neck of the woods making speeches and appearances all over So. Calif. to thousands of people. I didn't see a single bit of coverage on the national news and almost none in our local coverage either. This is So. Calif. and although I live in a very "red" county, the biggest media outlet is in one of the bluest areas of the entire country and they would never give the Prez. coverage let alone positive coverage.

I do think we are going to see a huge difference happening in the next few weeks with Tony Snow at the helm of WH communications. I also believe that the GWB base is more upset at this lack of push back than they are about any of the issues that need pushing back so I don't think it is fatal for GWB. Plus, the oposition's numbers are even lower than GWB's so that tells me that it is all relative.

Sue

Squig,

Known Terrorist A calls B, C, and D. Every time A calls B, B calls E. Every time A calls C, C calls F. Every time A calls D, D calls B. Every time D calls B, B calls A

That's probably as close to it as anyone will ever guess.

Specter

Don't bother asking most of the left about ECHELON. It's gone with their "selective amnesia". I suspect that some know and remember, but not most. They just read headlines (everything else is to small to bother) and then go nutz again.

Sue

For some reason, I had this strange idea that senators and representatives would not spout off to cameras and reporters as quickly as they did last December.

kim

Doesn't anyone else think that Echelon, Able Danger, and present NSA surveillance is of a piece?
========================

Sara (Squiggler)

Kim, I think they are evolutions from one to the next.

Charlie (Colorado)

Hmmm. Qwest's Joe Nacchio was just recently claiming they were co-operating and involved in secret programs.

maryrose

Don't buy into the media spin about President Bush and his effectiveness. We are moving ahead on tax cuts, immigration next week and other Bush admin priorities. I don't think we have to stop class every 5 minutes because one or other democrat starts throwing a temper tantrum. USA Today chose this timing because of the hearing on Hayden as clarice has stated. Once again-much ado about nothing. The dems have nothing to offer and are engaged in their own slap-fights.

maryrose

Has anyone else noticed that Reid is really starting to look like the nutty professor.

windansea

I found the Qwest privacy policy for telephone customers on the Web.
Note this: "Our representatives pull up account records and may refer to your bill, your calling patterns, and other information we have to answer questions you may have or recommend how we can best serve you."

And this: "We share information within our Qwest companies to enable us to better understand our customers' product and service needs, and to learn how to best design, develop, and package products and services to meet those needs. . . . Currently, our primary lines of business include local and long-distance services, wireless services, cable services, dedicated web hosting, Internet access for businesses and consumers, on-line services, and directory publishing. We also offer other products and services, for example, Frame Relay, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), telephone equipment, voice mail services, and directory advertising."

And this: "As a general rule, Qwest does not release customer account information to unaffiliated third parties without your permission unless we have a business relationship with those companies where the disclosure is appropriate."

http://www.powerlineblog.com/

kim

Scrappleface, today.
============

The comments to this entry are closed.

Traffic

Wilson/Plame