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If only there was a way to narrow the search down a little

I know, I know…we’ve known forever the spooks were data-mining. But not on this scale. If nothing else, I didn’t think private companies would cooperate with the government so happily. If nothing else, the technology wasn’t there to store and sift the sheer volume of data. Not until recently.

To hear Jim Sensenbrenner tell it, if the Feds were interested in somebody, they were supposed to get a warrant for his phone records (he wrote the Patriot Act, he should know). What they did instead was get a warrant for everybody’s records, so the records would be around in case they get interested in somebody later.

I have no words.

How carefully the higher ups have explained to us that no-one is listening in on phone conversations. Maybe, but the metadata is plenty bad enough. No, it is not okay for the government to know who’s calling a shrink or a clap clinic. I remind you, leaking shit is Obama’s signature move. In future, all of our candidates may have to be Mormons – nobody else is clean enough.

And for all that technological hoo-ha, they missed the Tsarnaev brothers – and Major Hasan – who should have rung more alarm bells than Quasimodo. I guess two hundred billion data points a month isn’t the same things as intelligence.

On a happier note, if you lose somebody’s phone number, you can file an FOIA request.


Comment from tomfrompv
Time: June 10, 2013, 9:54 pm

I miss Rage Boy. Whatever happened to him? Anyway, terrorists buy those one time “burn” phones for cash as the local Walmart. So collecting data on the rest of us is worthless.

Unless the whole thing isn’t really about fighting terrorism at all!

God I sound like Oceania.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 10, 2013, 10:05 pm

Assuming Wikipedia isn’t full of shit, did you know Petraeus and his lady were smart enough not to send each other steamy emails? They logged into an account both had access to, and left each other notes in the drafts folder.

Clever. But not clever enough.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: June 10, 2013, 10:12 pm

It has been obvious since 0 hit the big time that the MSM has been highly biased in his favor (and so obvious I won’t bother to offer evidence because if you don’t already agree with me then no evidence will change your mind). It’s not as though the 0 folks and the media folks (not that there’s a bright line there) get together secretly to set news manipulation strategy; that’s not necessary as they all seem to understand implicitly what needs to be said and done.

It may look like things have changed with the IRS and NSA/Snowden disclosures but I’m not so sure. 0’s media groupies may be somewhat fickle, but not that fickle. I’m wondering what else they’re trying to distract us from noticing, or just where they’re expecting to go with this.

Yeah, I’m pretty cynical. That’s the inevitable result of a highly effective life-long program of six-sigma expectations management on my part.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: June 10, 2013, 11:11 pm

I have a brilliant and pithy analysis of this situation but am afraid to post it for fear of being charged with sedition after my tax record audit reveals I contributed to the wrong candidate a few years ago.

Seriously folks, I want to write to my Senator but am scared to do so.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 10, 2013, 11:26 pm

Back in the early days of the ‘net (early for civilians, anyhow) it was a cynical tradition to put a string of words at the bottom of any post or email that would make it flag up for the NSA (back when the gov’t denied the existence of the NSA). Things like “bomb” and “nuclear”. Does anyone remember what that was called?

The idea was to overwhelm the filters.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: June 11, 2013, 12:01 am

I was thinking we should put together a day for everyone to call the NSA switchboard, and tell them that we need our password for our email, and could you please retrieve it?? 😉

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: June 11, 2013, 12:02 am

Besides, there were reports of this crap dating back to the Clinton years. They just couldn’t get the whistleblower to come forward because the Dems promised maximum punishment…

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: June 11, 2013, 12:04 am

@sweasel – “echelon bait”

jihad bomb airplane infidel stinger nuclear power plant water treatment transmission tower thermite ammonium nitrate anfo plastique c4 detcord initiator cyberwar megadeath sarin mujahadin alquaeda taliban republican tea party sovereign constitution bill of rights probable cause oath keepers

Comment from Oceania
Time: June 11, 2013, 12:08 am

Just mention my name!


Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: June 11, 2013, 1:28 am

Hey, NSA: Suck my left ball. Can you hear me now?

Comment from Threads
Time: June 11, 2013, 2:24 am

You are assuming they are looking for National security issues when they snoop… no no no! It is Democratic Party issues, that is why the Tsarnaev brothers et al didn’t register….

Comment from Davem123
Time: June 11, 2013, 3:03 am

Threads, you’re exactly right. Had Speed Bump and Flashbang ID’ed themselves as part of a Boston-area Tea Party group supporting Scott Brown’s Senate campaign back in 2010, the FBI and IRS would have been on them like butter on a lobster.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: June 11, 2013, 3:18 am

The purpose of the IRS and NSA shenanigans is to render dissent from State-sanctioned behaviour too costly to pursue rationally. Couple it to overzealous prosecutors, the unknowable complexity of the law and the complete Gramscian penetration of the organs of government and we are heading for a very bad time. This all seems so outlandish that even talking about it makes you sound like an idiotic Alex Jones conspiracy theorist, but the conclusion is inescapable. The totalitarian, panopticon State is being built before our eyes. The Soviets demanded that a sample of output from every typewriter was on file with the KGB so they could track samizdat publications. Metadata tracking goes beyond the wildest dreams of a Lubyanka inquisitor. And I do not trust the Republicans to row this back in any significant way whatever, if they ever manage to regain power – a decidedly dubious prospect.

Comment from EZnSF
Time: June 11, 2013, 3:27 am

Nuke em.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: June 11, 2013, 4:00 am

@David Gillies – well put. It never even occurred to me that the Republican branch of the Incumbent Party would do anything other than what they have been doing, namely playing their part in building the State while mouthing the same obfuscating crap that leads the simple-minded to think that they are different in any significant way from the Democrat branch of the Incumbent Party.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: June 11, 2013, 4:38 am

I’m not saying that the Obama administration is trying to setup a takeover of the US into a tyranny, but if they WERE doing so, what would they do differently?

I mean, if I was trying to accomplish it, I’d slowly gather information on all the people who could cause problems, choke off ammunition supplies, gather blackmail and legal leverage on the press and potentially troubling politicians, rig elections at the national level, create a state of emergency through violence at the border, and set black against white until that became violent, justifying greater federal power to protect the people.

Then when the time came to roll back the constitution and remove impediments to power, all the tools would be in place.

I mean, in theory, that’s how it could be done.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: June 11, 2013, 5:05 am

Oh, good grief, I just heard on the Mark Levin Show that there is a bill in the California Legislature to class ALL shotguns as assault weapons.

Comment from mojo
Time: June 11, 2013, 7:17 am

Nobody has mentioned Echelon yet. Well, except me.

Remember it?

Operationally requires access to all the voice data streams available? In real-time? Because how else are you going to do word/phrase searches?

Comment from Oceania
Time: June 11, 2013, 9:07 am

I broke into and Echelon station once for shits and giggles … must find my older 35 mm film ….
Buzzed one in a 172 and got some super shots, then we over the fenced (after earthing it) and went for a wander.
This station had a swimming pool – so you know which one I’m talking about.
I believe most of the processes are now automated at this station … as the employees get their orders out of a printer every morning …

Comment from Oceania
Time: June 11, 2013, 12:02 pm

Hmmm who is that funny round man with Info-Wars? Alex? Bones? Jones? Upset BBC1?

Yes, BBC (Boy Buggery Club) never appealed – too stiff upper lippy … and green gumboots, or is that Wellies?

Yes, the Round Man, he must be public enemy 101 to the NSA, and Congress?
Conspiracy theories are now Mainstream …. because no one, absolutely no one – could make this sort of shit up!

Comment from not steve, but somebody else, entirely. Srsly!
Time: June 11, 2013, 12:48 pm

@ Uncle Al….

Thanks a big fat buttload, pal!

Now I have had to go and change my entire identity for this web site.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: June 11, 2013, 2:20 pm

Obama eats catamites.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: June 11, 2013, 2:59 pm

@mojo “Nobody has mentioned Echelon yet. Well, except me.”

Ahem. See my June 11, 2013, 12:04 am post, please.

Comment from mojo
Time: June 11, 2013, 6:01 pm

My apologies.

You will be assimilated.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: June 11, 2013, 6:52 pm

Hay guise, has anybody mentioned Echelon? I’ll bet none of y’all have heard of that.

Comment from Allen
Time: June 11, 2013, 7:47 pm

It’s only metadata… I would love to get my paws on the metadata. Just think of all the wonderful mathematical methods one could use to determine heaven knows what relationships.

You can bet someone will be mucking about in it and not for it’s original purpose, it’s human nature. It would be like sitting atop of Mt Olympus, and knowing what all those scurrying creatures down below are up to.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: June 11, 2013, 9:21 pm

I think to be fair, the executive branch should share all its metadata and exactly the same information it gets about us, totally open and on the internet for all American citizens. Type in your social security number and access the data.

I mean, if we have nothing to fear…

Comment from mojo
Time: June 11, 2013, 9:34 pm

“You can turn it off!” he said.
“Yes,” said O’Brien, “we can turn it off. We have that privilege”
— 1984

Comment from Bikeboy
Time: June 11, 2013, 10:53 pm

Dear Ms. Weasel:

It’s wonderful that you seem to paint [us] Mormons in such a complimentary light, making note of our “cleanness.” However, you may find it interesting that the NSA’s sparkling new data repository is nestled directly between Salt Lake City and Provo. The Mormon Mecca.

Why would they put it there? Because they, too, stereotype Mormons. They see those clean-cut returned missionary -types, and expect that when they take an oath of loyalty and secrecy, they are likely to take that oath very seriously. (Various government intelligence agencies – FBI, CIA, etc. – recruit new employees on the BYU campus.)

Comment from mojo
Time: June 12, 2013, 2:53 am

The busy beehive.

Not the most flattering metaphor.

Comment from LesterIII
Time: June 12, 2013, 2:20 pm

Hey, Stoaty! Is that Harry Caul in your picture?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 12, 2013, 2:58 pm

Apparently it is, Lester. I didn’t know that. I just grabbed a bunch of pictures off the web (nine, to be exact) and I didn’t recognize him. But somebody took me to task on it, so yes.

Comment from LesterIII
Time: June 12, 2013, 4:17 pm

I really enjoyed that movie… who’d a thunk it back in ’74? Apparently Coppola…

Comment from fotokalender
Time: November 11, 2013, 2:26 pm

I drop a leave a response whenever I especially enjoy a post on
a blog or if I have something to valuable to contribute to
the discussion. It’s a result of the sincerness communicated in the article I looked at.
And on this article S. Weasel. I was excited enough to drop a thought ;
) I do have 2 questions for you if you usually do not mind.
Could it be simply me or do a few of these remarks appear as if they are written
by brain dead individuals? 😛 And, if you are writing at additional online sites, I’d
like to keep up with you. Could you list all of your public sites like your Facebook page,
twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: November 11, 2013, 8:14 pm

Whassat, German spam? ^^
He’s bangin’ on those bongoes like a Chim
That ain’t workin’
That’s the way you do it

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