Author Topic: Obama on NSA surveillance: Can't have 100% security and 100% privacy  (Read 1347 times)

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Offline Rudi Jan

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Obama on NSA surveillance: Can't have 100% security and 100% privacy

Published time: June 07, 2013 16:30
Edited time: June 07, 2013 22:46
source: http://rt.com/usa/obama-surveillance-nsa-monitoring-385/


US President Barack Obama makes a statement to reporters on the Affordable Care Act at Fairmont Hotel in
San Jose, California, on June 7, 2013 (AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)


The NSA’s extensive spying program is justified as it allows agents to identify “leads with respect to folks who might engage in terrorism,” claimed US President Barack Obama, adding that no one promised Americans both total security and total privacy.

Obama weighed in Friday morning on an evolving series of scandals surrounding an apparent National Security Agency program designed to allow real-time online surveillance of US citizens.

Obama was concluding remarks about his Affordable Health Care Act during an address in Northern California Friday morning when he fielded a single question about the NSA and the recently disclosed domestic spying programs.

“I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100 per cent security and also then have 100 per cent privacy and zero inconvenience,” the president told the crowd while delivering several minutes of unscripted remarks about the NSA.

Earlier this week, civil liberties-focused lawyer-turned-journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian published a document disclosing that the NSA orders the phone records of millions of American subscribers on a regular basis, and that American telecom firms have been compelled to provide the US government with numbers dialed, duration of call and other metadata.

One day later, The Guardian and the Washington Post nearly simultaneously disclosed a program named PRISM. According to Greenwald, PRISM allows the NSA to connect directly to data servers controlled by the biggest names on the Web, essentially providing Uncle Sam with backdoor access to the bulk of the country’s communications.

“The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian,” Greenwald wrote late Thursday.

Pres. Obama dismissed allegations that both NSA programs have been spying on Americans, instead calling them critical aspects to the country’s continuously expanding counterterrorism efforts. He also rejected the notion that the programs are as vast in scope as previously reported, at the same time shifting blame away from his administration and towards the lawmakers he said have been privy to both operations.

“The programs,” said Obama, “are secret in the sense that they are classified, but they are not secret in the sense that when it comes to telephone calls, every member of Congress has been briefed on this program.”

“With respect to all of these programs, the relevant intelligence committees are fully briefed on these programs. These are programs that have been authorized by broad bipartisan majorities repeatedly since 2006. And so I think at the onset it is important to understand that your dually elected representatives have been consistently informed on exactly what we’re doing,” insisted Obama.

“When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this program was about. As indicated, what the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations of calls. They are not looking at people’s names and they are not looking at content. But, by sifting through this so-called metadata, they may identify potential leads with respect to folks who might engage in terrorism,” he said.

In regards to PRISM, Obama also downplayed reports of a widespread domestic surveillance operation.

“With respect to the Internet and emails, this does not apply to US citizens and it does not apply to people living in the United States,” he said. “And again in this instance, not only is Congress fully appraised of it, but what is also true is that the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court has to authorize it.”

Congress reauthorized FISA last year, giving federal investigators another five-year window to wiretap the communications of Americans citizens if one of the parties involved is thought to be outside of the US. Google began publishing statistics about FISA court-penned requests for user data in recent months, but the actual scope of the government’s spying prowess has gone unreported. Last year, two members of Congress even wrote the NSA for a rough estimate of how many Americans were having their communications intercepted under FISA—to which their request was refuted.

“What you got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, had been repeatedly authorized by congress, bipartisan majorities have approved of them, Congress is continually briefed on how they are conducted. There is a whole range of safeguards involved, and federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout,” Obama said.

Obama also suggested that under President George W. Bush, discussions of the programs might never have surfaced. “Five years ago, six years ago, we might not have been having this debate,” he said, calling the discourse an example of “maturity.”

That didn’t keep Obama from condoning the leaked reports, though, and he made sure to remark as to that matter as well.

“I don’t welcome leaks, because there are a reason these programs are classified,” Obama said. “I think that there is a suggestion that somehow any classified program is a quote unquote ‘secret program,’ which means it is somehow suspicious. But the fact of the matter is in our modern history, there are a whole range of programs that have ben classified, because when it comes to, for example, fighting terrorism, our goal is to stop folks from doing us harm. And if every step that we are taking to try to prevent a terrorist act is on the front page of the newspapers or any television, then presumably the people that are tying to do us harm are going to be able to get around our preventative measures. That’s why these things are classified. But that’s also why we set up congressional oversight. These are the folks that you all vote for as your representatives in Congress, and they are being fully briefed on these programs.”

“In the abstract you can complain about big brother and how this is a potential program run amuck, but when you actually look at the details then I think we’ve struck the right balance,” he said.

Since the publishing of the Guardian articles, the Obama administration has failed to offer a response direct from the president’s mouth until now. He is currently traveling California and plans to meet with the president of China there this weekend. His remarks early Friday, though, marked the first time that he weighed in at all on the scandal since it broke earlier this week. Obama said he would continue to take questions through the week.

RW - What can say about such sophistry? This mensch is arguing for a policy after the fact. Next he'll be telling us that without full insertion women can only get a little bit pregnant. Read the comments at source. The anger is palpable.
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Offline laconas

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- Obama on NSA surveillance: Can't have 100% security and 100% privacy
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2013, 03:22:29 PM »
I can't understand why people are always saying the govt. doesn't listen to the people.
Nobody censors what they agree with

Offline EyeBelieve

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- Obama on NSA surveillance: Can't have 100% security and 100% privacy
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2013, 12:03:02 AM »
I can't understand why people are always saying the govt. doesn't listen to the people.

+1!

Offline Rudi Jan

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- Obama on NSA surveillance: Can't have 100% security and 100% privacy
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2013, 11:26:07 AM »
NSA to continue global surveillance program

Published time: June 11, 2013 16:44
source: http://rt.com/usa/nsa-spying-program-continue-540/


Reuters / Luke MacGregor

The widespread surveillance programs operated by the National Security Agency will remain intact, notwithstanding the international and domestic backlash that has rocked the Obama White House.

In the wake of the revelations made by the Guardian and Washington Post last week, President Barack Obama has defended the controversial NSA spy programs that continue to generate headlines across the globe. Now the Associated Press reports that the administration shows no sign of slowing down its domestic operations, even as the scope of the surveillance — conducted in secrecy until leaked to the media — becomes more widely known.

Quoting a senior intelligence official speaking on condition of anonymity, AP reported Tuesday that there are no plans to scrap the surveillance programs. Despite outrage from US citizens and persons abroad mortified by the revelations, the NSA operations are likely to “continue to receive widespread if cautious support within Congress,” the official told the AP.

Indeed, the White House’s own argument in support of the programs is gaining backing from some of Washington’s biggest players. In defense of the leaked operations, proponents of NSA’s tactics call the collection of personal data a necessary implement in the war against terror.

On Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney further defended the NSA programs and condemned details about it being leaked to the media.

"Leaks about sensitive information that cause harm to our national security interests are a problem,” Carney said Monday afternoon.

Other members of the administration have called for the prosecution of 29-year-old Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who attributes himself with sharing the NSA data with the Guardian and the Post. Snowden is reportedly in Hong Kong and could seek asylum in lieu of the likely efforts to extradite him to the US.

But even though Snowden is being hailed as a hero and a whistleblower by some for sharing details about domestic spying, a number of politicians have labeled him a traitor and continue to tout the NSA’s operations.

Disclosing the programs, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday to ABC News, “puts Americans at risk,” “shows our adversaries what our capabilities are” and is “a giant violation of the law." Boehner called Snowden a "traitor,” a sentiment shared by lawmakers on both side of the aisle.

“I don’t look at this as being a whistleblower,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calf.), the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Monday. “I think it’s an act of treason.”

"Just on the issue of, 'Is this a whistleblower, or is this an act of treason,' I think it directly is,” added Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida.). “And I think that most of the people who serve on [the intelligence committee] will tell you that."

Even if the NSA programs will continue for the time being, some members of Congress are asking for the details to be disclosed to a degree that will shine some light on an operation otherwise cloaked in secrecy. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) is expected to propose a bill on Tuesday that will compel the federal government to disclose the opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court that approves legal orders to track communications coming into or exiting the US. Last week, Snowden leaked documents exposing the widespread surveillance of US communications under FISA, as well as a separate NSA program named PRISM that allows the government to access private conversations conducted over Facebook, Google, Skype and other services.

"I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things,” Snowden told the Guardian over the weekend. “I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under."

Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Dean Heller (R-Nevada), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Al Franken (D-Minnesota), Jon Tester (D-Montana) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) all plan to supports Sen. Merkley’s proposal. That isn’t to say they disapprove of the program, though.

“I think there should be enough transparency that the American people understand what is happening…But I can assure you that this isn’t about spying on the American people,” Sen. Franken told the Star Tribune this week.

“There are certain things that are appropriate for me to know that’s not appropriate for the bad guys to know,” he said. “Anything that, quote, the American people know, the bad guys know so there’s a line here, right? And there’s a balance that has to be struck between the responsibility of the federal government to protect the American people and then people’s right to privacy. We have safeguards in place …The American people can’t know everything because everything they know then, the bad guys will know.”

RW - This whole issue, which we have known about for decades, is really too absurd to say much about although the media is focused on nothing else and many the alternative media are running around muttering 'shocked, shocked' to whoever will listen. For those who have known this was taking place and who have spent much time and effort exposing the surveillance it is a vindication. In fact most people who have been castigated for years as conspiracy theorists are finding that most everything they claimed is not fodder for the masses. But no one will admit it. The bottom line is that whatever happens now that this particular side of government tyranny is out in the open is on the heads of the people. There can be no excuse for ignorance from this point forward. If all they do is roll over then the leash that descends on their necks is well deserved. Not even the treasonous bastards in congress fear the people as can be seen from the comments they are making in this article alone. They, the truly treasonous, would project that accusation on those who are doing their duty to the constitution they swore an oath to. For the likes of Obama, John Boehner, Dianne Feinstein, Bill Nelson, just to name a few, along with all the public employees in the NSA and every other federal agency (and many state agencies) a noose is not justice enough.
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Offline Rudi Jan

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NSA chief: We thwarted more than 50 terror attacks
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2013, 10:43:48 AM »
NSA chief: We thwarted more than 50 terror attacks

Published time: June 18, 2013 17:30
source: http://rt.com/usa/attacks-50-nsa-alexander-891/


National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)

The head of the National Security Agency said Tuesday that more than 50 potential terrorist plots across the globe were thwarted thanks to the controversial surveillance programs recently exposed by former contractor Edward Snowden.

NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander took center stage Tuesday when he answered questions on Capitol Hill alongside high-ranking members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Director of Intelligence’s office.

Late last week, Alexander promised to declassify and release this Monday a list of planned terror attacks prevented by the NSA’s surveillance programs. At Tuesday’s hearing, however, he said the list was still forthcoming and would be presented to members of Congress on Wednesday.

In the meantime, Alexander claimed that more than 50 terror plots were thwarted by the dragnet data gathering leaked by Snowden, with perhaps the deadliest attacks halted by the intelligence community involving ones aimed at the New York Stock Exchange and the New York City metro system.

Tuesday’s hearing, hosted by the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was the latest in a barrage of meetings held in Washington since Snowden, a 29-year-old contractor at Booz Allen Hamilton, leaked documents to The Guardian exposing programs within the United States that allowed the government to collect telephony and email data from American citizens.

The release of those documents, Alexander said Tuesday, sparked “considerable debate” in the week since Snowden went public, but that selective leaking led to only “incomplete and inaccurate information” being published.

Alexander vigorously denied that NSA spies on Americans, and instead insisted that his agency only specifically targets non US persons located abroad that are also reasonably believed to have ties with known terrorist groups. Answering direct question from House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) on whether or not NSA has the capability of wiretapping Americans with the "flip a switch," Alexander and his deputy said the agency has neither the authority nor the technological ability to do so.

Speaking to the more than 50 terror plots disrupted by the surveillance programs, Alexander said at least 10 of those foiled events involved homeland-based threats, and one of them included a plot that targeted Wall Street. The dozens of the cases will be brought to Congress later this week in the form of classified documents, but Deputy FBI Director Sean Joyce provided the committee with a glimpse at what the intelligence community has been able to do using surveillance programs put in place after 9/11.

According to Joyce, the NSA used its authority under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to intercept an email from a terrorist based in Pakistan attempting to contact a colleague in the US about explosives. Joyce added that the recipient of the email was determined to be Najibullah Zazi, and soon the FBI followed him from Denver, Colorado to New York City.

“Later we executed search warrants with the NY Joint Terrorism Task Force and NYPD and found bomb making components in backpacks. Zazi later confessed to a plot to bomb the NY subway system with backpacks,” Joyce said.

According to the FBI deputy, this foiled plot marked the first attempt from core al-Qaeda to target the US since the 9/11 attacks. Joyce went on to further document situations where allegedly critical terrorist plots were put on ice, including a US citizen from Chicago’s attempt to bomb a Dutch newspaper and an extremist from Yemen’s plot to plot up the NYSE.

If the intelligence community had the same systems in place before September 2011, Alexander said the al-Qaeda launched attacks of 9/11 could have likely been prevented. Section 702 of FISA helped in 90 percent of the 50 attempted terrorist attacks that were disrupted, said Alexander.

After nearly three hours of questioning from members of the committee, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) asked Alexander if the NSA operates any database to store the emails, telephone calls, text messages or GPS coordinates for Americans.

“No, we do not,” said Alexander.

The NSA’s chief’s claim contradicts that made by Edward Snowden last week. In an interview with The Guardian, the leaker said the NSA can "wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president." Referring to the leaked documents attributed to Snowden, Alexander said the release of the classified information caused, in his opinion, “irreversible and significant damage to the US” and helped America’s enemies.

RW - If they hadn't closely monitored the FBI 49 of those 50 would not have been apprehended.

Humor aside - there won't be a list, at least nothing verifiable or not already debunked.
 
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Offline laconas

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- Obama on NSA surveillance: Can't have 100% security and 100% privacy
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2013, 11:30:07 AM »
Quote
Speaking to the more than 50 terror plots disrupted by the surveillance programs, Alexander said at least 10 of those foiled events involved homeland-based threats, and one of them included a plot that targeted Wall Street.

Translation: there were at least 10 successful set-ups by the FBI during the short time Snowden was working as a contractor for the NSA.
Nobody censors what they agree with

Offline Rudi Jan

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- Obama on NSA surveillance: Can't have 100% security and 100% privacy
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2013, 11:46:27 AM »
Translation: there were at least 10 successful set-ups by the FBI during the short time Snowden was working as a contractor for the NSA.

As I understand it the NSA doesn't hire contractors, at least not at any meaningful level. You're either in the loop as a full time employee or you are outside the loop. This Snowden fellow is not quite what he presents himself to be. He is much like Assange who popped out of nowhere and gained hero status almost overnight and revealed absolutely nothing. Someone tell me what Snowden has revealed that we did not already know?
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Offline laconas

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- Obama on NSA surveillance: Can't have 100% security and 100% privacy
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2013, 12:02:52 PM »
As I understand it the NSA doesn't hire contractors, at least not at any meaningful level. You're either in the loop as a full time employee or you are outside the loop. This Snowden fellow is not quite what he presents himself to be. He is much like Assange who popped out of nowhere and gained hero status almost overnight and revealed absolutely nothing. Someone tell me what Snowden has revealed that we did not already know?

I couldn't agree more. He's another Sibel Edmonds with earth shattering 9/11 info just about to bust open. I used the Edmonds' example cause at some point I compared Assange to Edmonds--Edmonds came before Assange. It's so hard to keep up with orchestrated whistle blowers. But there's a bright side to all this. It exposed many sites on the net, as in, those being behind the Jew's agenda to promote Edmonds, Assange, and of course Snowden.
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Offline Rudi Jan

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Obama's 'transparent' NSA interview points debunked
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2013, 08:15:34 AM »
Obama's 'transparent' NSA interview points debunked

Published time: June 19, 2013 04:22
source: http://rt.com/usa/obama-transparent-nsa-points-debunked-904/


US President Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Bertrand Langlois)

Despite reports indicating the opposite US President Barack Obama has continued to perpetrate the vague assertion that the controversial NSA surveillance programs, primarily PRISM, are responsible for stopping a major terrorist attack in New York City.

American officials have maintained that the National Security Agency has been “transparent” in its explanation of mass surveillance policies that are quietly reviewed and approved by a secret court after secret requests from law enforcement agencies.

President Obama, during an interview on PBS Monday night, claimed that Americans are “not getting the complete story” after a leak from former NSA employee exposed the widespread domestic monitoring.

Before an agency begins leafing through an individual’s phone records or Internet history, according to US officials, they are required to take the case before a court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). These FISA courts, while meeting in secret and keeping the number of disclosures classified, have denied only ten out of more than 20,000 requests put in since September 11, 2001.

When asked if the FISA courts are effectively a rubber stamp for law enforcement and the federal government, Obama said “the number of requests is surprisingly small” and “folks don’t go with a query unless they’ve got a pretty good suspicion” that he intended target is involved in illegal activity.

Obama bemoaned media’s assertion that he had fallen from his liberal hero status to that of a kind of next Dick Cheney, the notoriously secretive vice president under George W. Bush, who pushed for greater federal power without the burden of public transparency.

Of the NSA electronic domestic spying program, Obama said, “it is transparent” in an interview with Charlie Rose of PBS. “That’s why we set up the FISA court…The whole point of my concern, before I was president – because some people say, ‘Well Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he’s Dick Cheney.’”

“My concern has always been not that we shouldn’t do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances? So, on this telephone program, you’ve got a federal court with independent federal judges overseeing the entire program. And you’ve got Congress overseeing the program, not just the intelligence committee and not just the judiciary committee – but all of Congress had available to it before the last reauthorization [of the 2001 Patriot Act, which expanded the powers of the FISA court] exactly how this program works.”

Obama also echoed the claims of government officials who asserted that they had foiled dozens of terrorist plots through information gathered via the various surveillance programs. The president that implied Najibullah Zazi, who was arrested before he could detonate a bomb in the New York City subway, was caught as a result of warrantless surveillance.

The explanation was repeated by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Mike Rogers and part of a national intelligence declassification meant to shift public opinion on the NSA’s PRISM program. While it may be a convenient story, though, lawmakers frequently forget to mention that the email that led to Zazi’s capture and eventual prosecution could have been captured without PRISM, as the NSA program is known.

Under the law at the time the FBI had the authority to monitor the email accounts of people linked to terrorists. Zazi was identified when British intelligence found a computer containing an email from Zazi to Pakistani terrorists, at which point the government could have gone to a judge for a warrant.

“To get a warrant, the law requires that the government show that the target is a suspected member of a terrorist group or foreign government, something that had been well established at that point in the Zazi case,” the Associated Press reported earlier this month.

“In using Zazi to defend the surveillance program, government officials have further confused things by misstating key details about the plot,” the agency said at the time.

Critics have not only levied their complaints at politicians, but at mainstream media outlets for failing to ask the relevant questions about the NSA programs. Charlie Rose, in particular, has been chided for not pushing Obama to provide evidence for his NSA claims while 24-hour news channels including CNN seem to have devoted more coverage to NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s personality than to the information he made public.

Snowden himself digitally emerged from hiding Monday to answer reader-submitted questions on TheGuardian.com, where he lamented the media’s failings. 

“Journalists should ask a specific question: since these programs began operation shortly after September 11th, how many terrorist attacks were prevented SOLELY by information derived from this suspicion-less surveillance that could not be gained via any other source?” Snowden wrote.

“Initially I was very encouraged. Unfortunately, the mainstream media now seems far more interested in what I said when I was 17 or what my girlfriend looks like rather than, say, the largest program of suspicion-less surveillance in human history.”
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Offline Rudi Jan

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- NSA chief: We thwarted more than 50 terror attacks
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2013, 02:45:52 PM »
NSA chief: We thwarted more than 50 terror attacks
Published time: June 18, 2013 17:30

Late last week, Alexander promised to declassify and release this Monday a list of planned terror attacks prevented by the NSA’s surveillance programs. At Tuesday’s hearing, however, he said the list was still forthcoming and would be presented to members of Congress on Wednesday.


Just did a search on '50 terror attacks' and though it's a headline just about everywhere there doesn't seem to be a list out there yet. Maybe we'll see it tomorrow but I'm not holding my breath.
Suspend all belief. Get the facts ~ Rudi
No one rules if no one obeys ~ Lao Tzu