Author Topic: Feds declassify Bush-era surveillance docs  (Read 355 times)

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Online mystery-ak

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Feds declassify Bush-era surveillance docs
« on: December 21, 2013, 01:55:25 PM »
http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/193818-feds-declassify-bush-era-surveillance-details

December 21, 2013, 12:47 pm
Feds declassify Bush-era surveillance docs

By Julian Hattem

Federal intelligence officials are declassifying eight documents about the origins of controversial surveillance systems created under former President George W. Bush.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced on Saturday that it had declassified the court documents dating from 2007 to this year, which the federal government had used to justify keeping the surveillance program secret.

Details about the data collection unveiled by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden have raised alarms about the practice.

The new disclosures are part of a long-running lawsuit from a civil liberties group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They were ordered earlier this year, after leaks from Snowden revealed the scope of the government’s activities.

The surveillance efforts were launched beginning on Oct. 4, 2001, according to the ODNI, when Bush authorized some monitoring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

Bush allowed government officials to collect the contents of some international communications and bulk records about phone and Internet use, known as metadata. Metadata is general information about the communications, like numbers dialed and length of phone calls, but not the content of the communications themselves.

In 2006 and 2007, oversight of some of those activities was transferred to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is tasked with providing a check on the executive branch’s surveillance efforts.

In one of the declassified documents from 2007, former Director of National Intelligence John Michael McConnell asserted that the lawsuit “puts at risk of disclosure information concerning… essential foreign intelligence-gathering activities utilized to meet the extremely serious threat of another terrorist attack on the U.S. Homeland…”

He added, “because the very subject matter of this lawsuit concerns highly classified and critically important foreign intelligence activities, the risk is great that further litigation will lead to the disclosure of information harmful to U.S. national security and, accordingly, that this case should be dismissed.”

Last week, the White House released a 300-page list of recommendations to reform the NSA’s spying activities, developed by a special panel convened by President Obama.

Obama has said he will review the recommendations over the holidays and announce a path forward in January.

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Online mystery-ak

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Re: Feds declassify Bush-era surveillance docs
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2013, 01:56:55 PM »
....so they can announce it's all Bush's fault...


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Online truth_seeker

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Re: Feds declassify Bush-era surveillance docs
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2013, 02:24:42 PM »
"Metadata" is the haystack they must first gather so they can get to the terrorist needle.

Offline rangerrebew

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Re: Feds declassify Bush-era surveillance docs
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2013, 02:26:53 PM »
Trying to take the heat off Barack Ohimmler.
There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.
Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. There must be a positive passion for the public good, the public interest, honour, power and glory, established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty: and this public passion must be superior to all private passions. John Adams

Offline Atomic Cow

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Re: Feds declassify Bush-era surveillance docs
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2013, 02:28:50 PM »
Trying to take the heat off Barack Ohimmler.

Yep
"...And these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange, even to the men who used them."  H. G. Wells, The World Set Free, 1914

"The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections." -Lord Acton

Offline Oceander

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Re: Feds declassify Bush-era surveillance docs
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2013, 10:25:46 PM »
"Metadata" is the haystack they must first gather so they can get to the terrorist needle.

Metadata about an individual's phone calls can be as damning as the contents of those calls.  If the metadata on an individual's phone calls reflects a lot of calls to apparent terrorist numbers, then it's easy to infer that the individual was consorting with terrorists - and a jury finding to that effect would be upheld - even if those numbers weren't actually controlled by terrorists, or were used surreptitiously by terrorists who had no right to be using those numbers.

Of course, the situation is not cut-and-dried because at least some metadata is not protected under the Constitution; for example, so-called "pen registers" - information recorded about numbers that are called from an analog phone - can be collected legally under the Constitution (but not under current federal law) without a warrant or probable cause because, as the Supreme Court held in Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979), by voluntarily conveying that information to the telephone company, the dialer did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.


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