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Will in Seattle 1
Well, yes, but the NSA letter also specifically disallows you from admitting you actually told them anything.

Unless you like to summer in GITMO that is.
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 7, 2013 at 4:39 PM · Report this
Or obama is right and the media is blowing this out of proportion
Posted by Seattle14 on June 7, 2013 at 4:41 PM · Report this
Corporate "truthiness" to tell a big lie with carefully chosen, little words.
Posted by Truthiness on June 7, 2013 at 4:48 PM · Report this
Simply Me 4
It was also pretty interesting that the President chose to say that "no one is listening to your phone calls" today, but he didn't say, "no one is monitoring your internet conversations."

The answers might be in the words people are NOT saying.
Posted by Simply Me on June 7, 2013 at 4:51 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 5
If he said "nobody without a secret warrant or an active investigation is listening, other than the audio and video stream we sent to the UK and Caribbean to be processed and reported back as "foreign data collected" for use by our analysts" ... then he's right.

But it's not what you think it means, @4. By you I mean people in general, not you in specific. So long as we collect info on people in general, that's ok, right?
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 7, 2013 at 4:56 PM · Report this
Arsfrisco 6
Maybe the answer is to scramble our data tracks. Say, an app that makes random calls to other people with the same app, with a filter so your phone only rings on 'real' calls. I bet some smart programmer out there could do it. A contest, perhaps?
Posted by Arsfrisco on June 7, 2013 at 5:47 PM · Report this
King Rat 7
Remember when you posted a bunch of supposition that Sunil Tripathy was a bomber? Yeah, your track record linking to supposition is piss-poor.
Posted by King Rat on June 7, 2013 at 6:36 PM · Report this
Would simply using a proxy to get through the perimeter firewall not count as "not direct access". It seems like there are any number of similarly trivial senses of "not direct". If it were true the more meaningful claim would be "Our lawyers told us what we had to give them by law, and we gave them just that and no more." That they aren't saying something like that makes me think they opened the spigots because it was the lowest cost solution.
Posted by kinaidos on June 7, 2013 at 7:24 PM · Report this
We set up FISA and congressional briefings on this. Same as many other classified actions by government. The story here SHOULD be about a sleepy, fickle, sensation-driven media AND media consuming public WAKING UP from a multi year case of amnesia. We put ALL THIS SHIT AND WORSE IN THE PATRIOT ACT OVER A DECADE AGO. So the shock and anger are either feigned or stupid.

Things are not suddenly worse and we don't suddenly have evidence we didn't have before. Obamacare is working, Congress are still acting like children, the debt crisis was oversold, and all the other news that needs covering is too... Like... Serious and like... Depressing. So we get this trumped up bullshit recycled and back from the dead. We NEED to be talking about this. But we NEED to talk about it HONESTLY, not from the perspective of omigodoutragepetitionohlooksummerblockbusterpreview. Which is where this is headed. Or a political side show. Regardless, nowhere useful.
Posted by nullbull on June 7, 2013 at 7:29 PM · Report this
Anybody that doesn't notice the extreme similarity in the statements of these companies is woefully unobservant. The denials all hit the same talking points:

(1) [our corporation] takes privacy seriously

(2)[our corporation ] has never heard of PRISM
(3) [our corp] complies with legal court orders in turning over data
(4) [our corporation ] doesn't have backdoors or supply direct access to any govt agency.

in my opinion, there are ttwo highly likely possibilities to explain this similarity

(a) they are all reading from the same script provided by the same folks they are offloading their data to or
(b) they all have the same PR gguys urging them to get in front of this story and defend their reputations.

basically, there's nothing to believe in any of the statements published though. Be sure that, ieven if these statements represent the technical trtuth, the loie in this case is what's omitted from the statements.

there's nothing pinconaisrent about these statements AND PRISM as it was reported yesterday by WaPo.


Posted by another dude in the internet on June 7, 2013 at 9:31 PM · Report this
Telecom companies didn't know the program by the name PRISM, they knew it by some other name, or no name at all. Thus with an almost-straight face, they can say they know nothing about PRISM.
Posted by Citizen R on June 7, 2013 at 9:33 PM · Report this
You know what else the companies denying involvement in PRISM have in common?


Or bulk access providers, or anyone else in the business of routing internet traffic.

But by all means, let's all charge full-speed-ahead without stopping to think about what PRISM is, according to all available reports, or how it would have to work, according to those reports.
Posted by robotslave on June 7, 2013 at 11:24 PM · Report this
sirkowski 13
Or maybe Glenn Greenwald is a paranoid hack.
Posted by sirkowski on June 8, 2013 at 12:06 AM · Report this
Janell8me 14
@9 FTW.
How did you not see this coming with our nationalistic panic 12 years ago? I barely heard a peep when they renewed the patriot act.
You fall asleep at the wheel and you wind up in a ditch, big suprise. Please stop the faux outrage. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish the right from my beloved left. National security!!! Fuck yeah!!! Mericaaa!!!
Posted by Janell8me on June 8, 2013 at 12:14 AM · Report this

I think it might be interesting, too, to go back 12 years and look at what you were predicting at the time with your antinationalistic panic.

Something tells me your predictions at the time involved quite a lot more than "network backbone providers (if you even know what those are) will supply summary data to the US government."

If I guess "cia neoliberal cointelpro bankster nsa davos agents provocateurs police state", do I get Bingo?
Posted by robotslave on June 8, 2013 at 1:13 AM · Report this
Dr. Z 16
The ACLU (of which I've been a member since the early '80s) and others need to understand that PRISM takes place against the broader context of covert operations. PRISM is simply the latest in a long line of dirty war actions by the US Government dating back to World War II and the OSS.

I very much doubt the US Government would be interested in compromising the existence of a program like this just for the sake of prosecuting your porn-viewing habits. Or even your political beliefs, except to the extent that you are interested in attacking US citizens or overthrowing the US Government by force.

PRISM is aimed at identifying threats to the US and its interests. That means Al-Queda as well as governments, either overtly hostile (Iran) or covertly hostile (China, Russia.) Do you seriously think they would expose such a valuable asset just to go after individual citizens and their mundane transgressions? If so, you're not thinking like an Intelligence agency.

By all means, let the ACLU sue. They may even win in court. But it won't make any difference. These programs will continue, because they are an ingrained part of US spook culture.
Posted by Dr. Z on June 8, 2013 at 5:02 AM · Report this
PRISM is aimed at identifying threats to the US and its interests. That means Al-Queda as well as governments, either overtly hostile (Iran) or covertly hostile (China, Russia.) Do you seriously think they would expose such a valuable asset just to go after individual citizens and their mundane transgressions? If so, you're not thinking like an Intelligence agency.

I'm not as worried about the intelligence agency as I am the political leaders above it. The outing of Valerie Plame as an active CIA operative (while she was in the field, no less) in retaliation for her husband's criticism of the Bush administration should tell you all you need to know about how willing some leaders in the US are to put their own political motivations before operational security.
Posted by doceb on June 8, 2013 at 8:18 AM · Report this
The Patriot Act was renewed in 2005. Because, as the Senate so calmly explained: "WE HAVE TO HAVE THIS OR MUSLIMS BOMBS REASONS BABY KILLER TERROR!"

And 90% of the media and 99% of the pussified dipshit public went: "OMG! OKAY WHATEVER SAVE US FROM MUSLIM BOMB TERROR!"

Welcome home Chickens, you can roost ovah nyah. And we have black president so every thing is a million times worse now all of sudden.

Frankly the list of items on our collective Give-a-shit-o-meters should push this way down the list, but, well, people love drama and reality TV don't they.
Posted by tkc on June 8, 2013 at 10:40 AM · Report this
Dr. Z 19
17: well, yeah. The temptation to abuse the surveillance to go after specific political enemies will be very great. But it's tough to do that without leaving fingerprints. Ask Scooter Libby.

What I meant was that it probably wasn't worthwhile to compromise PRISM by using it to bolster ordinary law enforcement. In my book local and federal law enforcement is a much more credible threat to civil liberties than the NSA.
Posted by Dr. Z on June 8, 2013 at 11:57 AM · Report this
NotSean 20
An angle I've not heard yet:

What must be the outrageous cost of this program vs. whatever 'success' it has achieved?

You want smaller, cheaper government?
Take a good look at PRISM - some wild-ass attempt to harvest and analyze the digital links of everyone - and tell me that's not a huge boondoggle. And, sadly, it's probably just one of a dozen programs of equal size.

I'm not offended at what they want to do; I'm offended they were granted the budget to try.

Posted by NotSean on June 8, 2013 at 1:33 PM · Report this
First and foremost, many of us have been warning about this for many years and the robotic response of the typically blithely oblivion American was, "Conspiray theory, conspiracy theory!"

(For the lowdown on that, please read Lance DeHaven-Smith's book, Conspiracy Theory in America.)

PRISM is simply one of many programs, just as the CIA's MK ULTRA (you really sure they shut that down or simply moved it over to the Pentagon?) was composed of many sub-programs or, in their terminology, subprojects.

Is it a simple "coincidency" that at the latest international financier/bankster/hedge fund forum (known as the Bilderbergers) we see the guest list including not only Carl Bildt, Sweden's principal force in extraditing WikiLeaks' Julian Assange to Gothenburg, Sweden, but also the doods from Palintir and Stratfor, the two outfits which targeted WikiLeaks, and they themselves were then hacked by Anonymous?

Along with them, you also find Lawrence Lessig from Harvard, that legal prof who was at EFF when they were frequently compromised from within, and was the supposed legal advisor and close friend of Aaron Swartz and Lessig, when notified of a much better deal and compromise for Aaron from the federal prosecutors, held off notifying Aaron immediately, and unfortunately not at all since Aaron then committed suicide? (Perhaps Lessig hired Aaron as a fellow at his institute at Harvard to keep an eye on him, much the same way the central bankers asked Valerie Plame to join their little non-profit think tank against mass proliferation of WMDs?)

Now, Obama's appointee as the Director of National Intelligence, Gen. James Clapper, was a member or head of the Bush team which fabricated the intel claiming Iraq had weapons-of-mass-destruction, and he says everything is copasetic?

Now where is this dood's veracity and credibility?????????????????????

If you think PRISM is the major event, just go back and review my comments on the Trovicor Monitoring Center.

Posted by sgt_doom on June 8, 2013 at 4:01 PM · Report this
@17, doceb, oh puuuuhhlease already:

The outing of Valerie Plame as an active CIA operative (while she was in the field, no less) in retaliation for her husband's criticism of the Bush administration ...

For chrissakes, the primary reason they outed Plame was to compromise the Brewster Jennings operation, which had intercepted the VX gas shipment being smuggled across the Turkish border into Iraq to be "discovered" as their "weapon-of-mass-destruction."

By compromising them, they shut them down just as Ms. Plame and her team were getting closer and closer to the originating point of that VX gas, which probably would have been a certain office within the Pentagon.
Posted by sgt_doom on June 8, 2013 at 4:06 PM · Report this
@22: even if that's the case, it further reinforces the point that leaders absolutely _are_ willing to violate opsec to achieve their political goals, "national security" be damned.
Posted by doceb on June 8, 2013 at 6:34 PM · Report this
Dr. Z 24
20: Congress gave up trying to track the national security budget many years ago. Simply put, we no longer have any effective control over the defense budget, or even have a clear idea of how much we spend. That's part of the reason PRISM can't be stopped. Even if Congress tried to defund it, and the Judiciary ruled it illegal, and the President ordered it to be shut down, work on it would continue. It's in the nature of a bureaucracy, particularly a secret one, to protect its turf.

Exhibit A: Reagan's "Star Wars" missile defense program, which got caught fabricating critical tests to make it appear they'd made progress.
Posted by Dr. Z on June 9, 2013 at 7:24 AM · Report this

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