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Thread: Obama Administration NSA Spying on Americans

  1. #221
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    'No Drama' Obama Shrugs Off Snowden Questions

    Dismissing Edward Snowden as a "29-year-old hacker", President Obama tries to downplay America’s failure to bring him to justice.


    Mr Obama said the US will not scramble military jets to intercept Snowden



    Dominic Waghorn
    US Correspondent
    More from Dominic | Follow Dominic on Twitter


    No drama Obama is back. After all the sound and fury spewed by his administration on Edward Snowden, the president is now shrugging off questions about him.


    Dismissing Snowden as a "29-year-old hacker" during a visit to Africa, Obama tried to downplay America’s failure to bring him to justice.


    He also said the US will not be scrambling military jets to recover the rogue agent, as if anyone had suggested they might.


    There are good diplomatic reasons for the president to try and lower the temperature of already strained relations with Russia threatened by the Snowden affair.
    But Obama's words are problematic.


    Not least because they beg the question of how this young computer "hacker" got a job working in the US government, along with hundreds of thousands of private contractors like him, and gained access to America’s secrets.


    It is convenient for the Obama administration that the story has become about one man and his flight from justice.


    US officials are trying to pin the traitor label on Snowden and it seems to be sticking.


    By going on the run through a region of China, albeit semi-autonomous, and now Russia, Snowden has presented himself as a fugitive.


    For now the story is less about how the administration created mass surveillance programmes in secret and entrusted them to hundreds of thousands of private contractors.


    Nor about how those private intelligence companies appeared to have operated flawed recruitment procedures and slack security systems, allowing a young man with no high school diploma to work with top secret clearance, download classified information onto a USB key and then get away.


    But those awkward questions remain and it is not as if it has not happened before.


    Bradley Manning should have been warning enough about the dangers of young computer experts with access to huge amounts of secrets.


    Manning downloaded diplomatic and military secrets before handing them on to Wikileaks.


    Snowden has exposed how people like him, with less honourable intentions, could in future run away with ordinary people's secrets.


    Phone records that can reveal enormous amounts about our lives as well as online activity are harvested en masse in secret mass surveillance programmes.


    US officials say there are safeguards in place preventing agents and private contractors abusing their positions. But one of them also lied to Congress about the existence of mass surveillance programmes.


    Americans will want more reassurance that rogue private contractors and other computer "hackers" like Snowden will not be using their top secret clearance to harvest our data for commercial gain or other nefarious ends.
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Ok, these articles are all bullshit.

    Snowden has a GED. Almost everyone has a high school diploma or a GED working as a contractor, for the government.

    By 1999, Snowden had moved with his family to Ellicott City, Maryland, where he studied computing at Anne Arundel Community College[11] to gain the credits necessary to obtain a high school diploma, but he did not complete the coursework.[14] Snowden's father explained that his son missed several months of school owing to illness and, rather than return, took and passed the tests for his GED at a local community college.[15][6][16] Snowden worked online toward a Master's Degree at the University of Liverpool in 2011.[17] Having worked at a US military base in Japan, Snowden reportedly had a deep interest in Japanese popular culture and studied the Japanese language.[18] He also said he had a basic understanding of Mandarin, was deeply interested in martial arts, and listed Buddhism as his religion.[19]
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    NSA collected US email records in bulk for more than two years under Obama

    • Secret program launched by Bush continued 'until 2011'
    • Fisa court renewed collection order every 90 days
    • Current NSA programs still mine US internet metadata


    Glenn Greenwald and Spencer Ackerman
    guardian.co.uk, Thursday 27 June 2013 11.20 EDT


    George Bush and Barack Obama
    The internet metadata collection program was halted in 2011 for 'operational and resource reasons'. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

    The Obama administration for more than two years permitted the National Security Agency to continue collecting vast amounts of records detailing the email and internet usage of Americans, according to secret documents obtained by the Guardian.

    The documents indicate that under the program, launched in 2001, a federal judge sitting on the secret surveillance panel called the Fisa court would approve a bulk collection order for internet metadata "every 90 days". A senior administration official confirmed the program, stating that it ended in 2011.

    The collection of these records began under the Bush administration's wide-ranging warrantless surveillance program, collectively known by the NSA codename Stellar Wind.

    According to a top-secret draft report by the NSA's inspector general – published for the first time today by the Guardian – the agency began "collection of bulk internet metadata" involving "communications with at least one communicant outside the United States or for which no communicant was known to be a citizen of the United States".

    Eventually, the NSA gained authority to "analyze communications metadata associated with United States persons and persons believed to be in the United States", according to a 2007 Justice Department memo, which is marked secret.

    The Guardian revealed earlier this month that the NSA was collecting the call records of millions of US Verizon customers under a Fisa court order that, it later emerged, is renewed every 90 days. Similar orders are in place for other phone carriers.

    The internet metadata of the sort NSA collected for at least a decade details the accounts to which Americans sent emails and from which they received emails. It also details the internet protocol addresses (IP) used by people inside the United States when sending emails – information which can reflect their physical location. It did not include the content of emails.

    "The internet metadata collection program authorized by the Fisa court was discontinued in 2011 for operational and resource reasons and has not been restarted," Shawn Turner, the Obama administration's director of communications for National Intelligence, said in a statement to the Guardian.

    "The program was discontinued by the executive branch as the result of an interagency review," Turner continued. He would not elaborate further.

    But while that specific program has ended, additional secret NSA documents seen by the Guardian show that some collection of Americans' online records continues today. In December 2012, for example, the NSA launched one new program allowing it to analyze communications with one end inside the US, leading to a doubling of the amount of data passing through its filters.
    What your email metadata reveals

    The Obama administration argues that its internal checks on NSA surveillance programs, as well as review by the Fisa court, protect Americans' privacy. Deputy attorney general James Cole defended the bulk collection of Americans' phone records as outside the scope of the fourth amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

    "Toll records, phone records like this, that don't include any content, are not covered by the fourth amendment because people don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy in who they called and when they called," Cole testified to the House intelligence committee on June 18. "That's something you show to the phone company. That's something you show to many, many people within the phone company on a regular basis."

    But email metadata is different. Customers' data bills do not itemize online activity by detailing the addresses a customer emailed or the IP addresses from which customer devices accessed the internet.

    Internal government documents describe how revealing these email records are. One 2008 document, signed by the US defense secretary and attorney general, states that the collection and subsequent analysis included "the information appearing on the 'to,' 'from' or 'bcc' lines of a standard email or other electronic communication" from Americans.

    In reality, it is hard to distinguish email metadata from email content. Distinctions that might make sense for telephone conversations and data about those conversations do not always hold for online communications.

    "The calls you make can reveal a lot, but now that so much of our lives are mediated by the internet, your IP [internet protocol] logs are really a real-time map of your brain: what are you reading about, what are you curious about, what personal ad are you responding to (with a dedicated email linked to that specific ad), what online discussions are you participating in, and how often?" said Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute.

    "Seeing your IP logs – and especially feeding them through sophisticated analytic tools – is a way of getting inside your head that's in many ways on par with reading your diary," Sanchez added.

    The purpose of this internet metadata collection program is detailed in the full classified March 2009 draft report prepared by the NSA's inspector general (IG).

    One function of this internet record collection is what is commonly referred to as "data mining", and which the NSA calls "contact chaining". The agency "analyzed networks with two degrees of separation (two hops) from the target", the report says. In other words, the NSA studied the online records of people who communicated with people who communicated with targeted individuals.

    Contact chaining was considered off-limits inside the NSA before 9/11. In the 1990s, according to the draft IG report, the idea was nixed when the Justice Department "told NSA that the proposal fell within one of the Fisa definitions of electronic surveillance and, therefore, was not permissible when applied to metadata associated with presumed US persons".
    How the US government came to collect Americans' email records

    The collection of email metadata on Americans began in late 2001, under a top-secret NSA program started shortly after 9/11, according to the documents. Known as Stellar Wind, the program initially did not rely on the authority of any court – and initially restricted the NSA from analyzing records of emails between communicants wholly inside the US.

    "NSA was authorized to acquire telephony and internet metadata for communications with at least one communicant outside the United States or for which no communicant was known to be a citizen of the United States," the draft report states.

    George W Bush briefly "discontinued" that bulk internet metadata collection, involving Americans, after a dramatic rebellion in March 2004 by senior figures at the Justice Department and FBI, as the Washington Post first reported. One of the leaders of that rebellion was deputy attorney general James Comey, whom Barack Obama nominated last week to run the FBI.

    But Comey's act of defiance did not end the IP metadata collection, the documents reveal. It simply brought it under a newly created legal framework.

    As soon as the NSA lost the blessing under the president's directive for collecting bulk internet metadata, the NSA IG report reads, "DoJ [the Department of Justice] and NSA immediately began efforts to recreate this authority."

    The DoJ quickly convinced the Fisa court to authorize ongoing bulk collection of email metadata records. On 14 July 2004, barely two months after Bush stopped the collection, Fisa court chief judge Collen Kollar-Kotelly legally blessed it under a new order – the first time the surveillance court exercised its authority over a two-and-a-half-year-old surveillance program.

    Kollar-Kotelly's order "essentially gave NSA the same authority to collect bulk internet metadata that it had under the PSP [Bush's program], except that it specified the datalinks from which NSA could collect, and it limited the number of people that could access the data".
    How NSA gained more power to study Americans' online habits

    The Bush email metadata program had restrictions on the scope of the bulk email records the NSA could analyze. Those restrictions are detailed in a legal memorandum written in a 27 November 2007, by assistant attorney general Kenneth Wainstein to his new boss, attorney general Michael Mukasey, who had taken office just a few weeks earlier.

    The purpose of that memorandum was to advise Mukasey of the Pentagon's view that these restrictions were excessive, and to obtain permission for the NSA to expand its "contact chains" deeper into Americans' email records. The agency, the memo noted, already had "in its databases a large amount of communications metadata associated with persons in the United States".

    But, Wainstein continued, "NSA's present practice is to 'stop' when a chain hits a telephone number or [internet] address believed to be used by a United States person."

    Wainstein told Mukasey that giving NSA broader leeway to study Americans' online habits would give the surveillance agency, ironically, greater visibility into the online habits of foreigners – NSA's original mandate.

    "NSA believes that it is over-identifying numbers and addresses that belong to United States persons and that modifying its practice to chain through all telephone numbers and addresses, including those reasonably believed to be used by a United States person," Wainstein wrote, "will yield valuable foreign intelligence information primarily concerning non-United States persons outside the United States."

    The procedures "would clarify that the National Security Agency (NSA) may analyze communications metadata associated with United States persons and persons believed to be in the United States", Wainstein wrote.

    In October 2007, Robert Gates, the secretary of defense, signed a set of "Supplemental Procedures" on internet metadata, including what it could do with Americans' data linked in its contact chains. Mukasey affixed his signature to the document in January 2008.

    "NSA will continue to disseminate the results of its contact chaining and other analysis of communications metadata in accordance with current procedures governing the dissemination of information concerning US persons," the document states, without detailing the "current procedures".

    It was this program that continued for more than two years into the Obama administration.

    Turner, the director of national intelligence spokesman, did not respond to the Guardian's request for additional details of the metadata program or the reasons why it was stopped.

    A senior administration official queried by the Washington Post denied that the Obama administration was "using this program" to "collect internet metadata in bulk", but added: "I'm not going to say we're not collecting any internet metadata."
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Report: Snowden slammed leakers in online chats in 2009
    Jun. 27, 2013 1:46 PM |

    Edward Snowden / Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, The Guardian
    USA Today
    by William M. Welch, USA TODAY


    The digital trail of Edward Snowden, the man accused of spilling the United States' electronic snooping secrets, appears to go through an online chatroom in which he said that he thought leakers "should be shot,'' the website Ars Technica says.

    Edward Snowden also suggested the United States should tie its currency to a gold standard, expressed dislike for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and was an enthusiastic short-seller of stocks.

    Snowden, who is reported to be waiting in limbo at Moscow's airport as he seeks asylum in Ecuador, apparently was a frequent participant in online chats that are part of the technology website, Arstechnica.com, for several years ending in 2010, the site reported.

    Ars Technica, which mounted an investigation of Snowden's activities on its chatrooms, said he went by the online name "TheTrueHOOHA.' The site said it had not archived the chatrooms but said other chatroom members had come forward with archived logs that showed "TheTrueHOOHA's" discussions with other members, who were identified only by a user number.

    Reuters also reported that he used the online name "TheTrueHOOHA" while working as a web editor at the website Ryuhana Press when he was 18. The news agency said it located the now defunct Ryuhana Press website last week. The Atlantic Wire posted a link to what it says was an archive of the site with Snowden's purported profile page.

    USA TODAY was unable to independently confirm that Snowden was the person posting under the name "TheTrueHOOHA.''

    Within tech circles, Ars Technica is considered a generally reliable source of news and reviews. While it doesn't have a technical mechanism to vouch for the authenticity of its users, instances of impersonation are believed to be rare.

    Ars Technica described its chat room as "#arsificial, a channel on Ars Technica's public Internet Relay Chat (IRC) server'' that was not moderated and akin to the back room of a bar "occupied by drinkers who feel the front is just too stuffy for them'' and where crude comments are acceptable.

    His online participation began in 2007, when he was 23 and stationed in Geneva with the CIA as an information technology specialist, it said, and his comments over the years suggested he had grown more worldly as he gained overseas work experience. After first arriving in Switzerland, he complained about the cost of hamburgers and bottled water and Europe's use of the metric system of measurement.

    In 2008, during the presidential election campaign, he wrote that the U.S. dollar and British Pound "are both likely to go the way of the zimbabwe dollar.'' He used a vulgar description of Bernanke in complaining about the Federal Reserve's stimulus policies as "deciding to magically print 1.2T more dollars.''

    In response, an undentified chat room user replied, "You actually like the gold standard you dumb baby.''

    He was a strong defender of U.S. security interests, however, and in 2009 complained about a New York Times story about U.S. actions in Iran, which was based on unnamed sources.

    "Are they trying to start a war?" he wrote, referring to the Times. "Jesus christ. They're like wikileaks''

    Someone else interjected, "they're just reporting, dude.''

    "They're reporting classified shit,'' TheTrueHOOHA replied. "...That shit is classified for a reason.... I am so angry right now. This is completely unbelievable.''

    A bit later, TheTrueHOOHA says, "moreover, who the (expletive) are the anonymous sources telling them this? those people should be shot in the balls.''

    He said of The New York Times, "Hopefully they'll finally go bankrupt this year.''

    He displayed a lack of knowledge or perspective about his own agency, the CIA, complaining that President Obama had appointed a "(expletive) politician to run the CIA.'' When someone pointed out that before he was president, George H.W. Bush had been CIA director, TheTrueHOOHA replied, "Oh you mean 25 years ago? Dumbass."

    In a 2009 exchange, the site said, the person believed to be Snowden made a statement suggesting the U.S. government was engaged in domestic spying. He dismissed Australia's government as "luddite technophobes'' compared to the U.S. government. "USA (expletive) YEAH... WE LOVE THAT TECHNOLOGY SHIT. HELPS US SPY ON OUR CITIZENS BETTER.''

    On other subjects, he talked about his enthusiasm for short-selling stocks, which is making financial bets on a decline in a company's share values, and hoped the market would decline "because then I'l be filthy (expletive) rich.''

    On another occasion he called for cutting or ending Social Security and expressed disdain for seniors collecting those checks.

    "Somehow, our society managed to make it hundreds of years without social security just fine,'' he wrote.

    "they wouldn't be (expletive) helpless if you weren't sending them (expletive) checks to sit on their ass and lay in hospitals all day,'' he wrote.

    Before the 2008 election, he said he liked the GOP nominee, John McCain. "Hillary Clinton, I think, would be a pox on the country,'' he wrote.

    Ars Technica -- Latin for "technological art" -- is a news site created in 1998 to cover computer gadgets, science and tech policy. It was privately owned until May 2008, when it was sold to Conde Nast Digital, the online arm of the publisher Conde Nast Publications. Conde Nast acquired Ars Technica and two other sites for $25 million and added to its Wired Digital group, which includes Wired News and Reddit.

    Ars Technica created controversy in 2009, when it temporarily prevented readers who used advertising-blocking software from viewing the site.
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Y'all should read that above article very, very carefully!
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Hahahahaha

    Just for you, Phil



    Snowden, NSA, blackmail, and the boys in the back room
    Jun27 by Jon Rappoport

    Snowden, NSA, blackmail, and the boys in the back room

    By Jon Rappoport

    June 27, 2013

    www.nomorefakenews.com

    The NSA is spying on everybody.

    That includes a major, major, prime target: Congress.

    So imagine this conversation taking place, in a car, on a lonely road outside Washington, late at night. The speakers are Congressman X and a private operative representing a covert unit inside the NSA:

    “Well, Congressman, do you remember January 6th? A Monday afternoon, a men’s room in the park off—”

    “What the hell are you talking about!”

    “A stall in the men’s room. The kid. He was wearing white high-tops. A Skins cap. T-shirt. Dark hair. Scar across his left cheek.”

    “Jesus.”

    “We have very good audio and video. Anytime you want to watch it, let me know.”

    Dead silence.

    “What do you want?”

    “Right now, Congressman? We want you to come down hard on Snowden. Press it. He’s a traitor. He should tried and convicted.”

    The Congressmen pulls himself together:

    “Yeah, well, there’s another side to this story. If Snowden gets enough support, if the wave rises high enough, the NSA could take a hit. I know a dozen Washington players who’d like that very much. They’re pissed off. They don’t like to be spied on. It’s possible Snowden was their guy from the beginning. I couldn’t say…”

    Let’s make a deal. That ends up being the topic of this and other similar conversations inside the Beltway.

    “Senator, we know about the underage cheerleader in Ohio. Your trip there in 2012, just before the election.”

    “Look, you’ve brought this up before. But now I’ve got a trump card to play. Ed Snowden. This whole scandal can escalate like a tornado in Kansas, or it can die down…”

    Let’s make a deal.

    If you want to see this starkly played out in a fictional series, watch Netflix’s House of Cards. For House Majority Whip, Frank Underwood, substitute the NSA. Track what happens to Congressman Peter Russo, and you have a rough approximation.

    Here’s another vector. A Congressman gets a visit from his favorite lobbyist, who works for a private defense contractor in the Congressman’s home state:

    “Congressman, here’s the thing. The NSA is an integral part of our nation’s defense system. Right? This Snowden thing is messy. We want it to go away.”

    “It may not go away. I’m not some kind of traffic cop who can put up his hand and stop the tide.”

    “We understand that. I was just talking to XXX at NSA, and he’d really appreciate your help on this. Slam this bastard Snowden. Make him into the worst scumbag in the world.”

    “And if I do?”

    “Your offshore account in Panama will remain protected. That’s what XXX wanted me to tell you.”

    Calling in markers. Putting on pressure. Let’s make a deal.

    If you’re a Congressman or a Senator, and you know NSA is spying on you, because it’s spying on everyone in the Congress, who’s your potential best friend?

    Somebody who can go up against the NSA.

    And who might that be?

    The CIA.

    It’s not perfect, but it’s the best you can do. For years, the CIA has been watching the transformation of intelligence-gathering. The CIA been participating in that transformation: from humans using sources to obtain crucial data, to computers doing blanket-spying.

    That’s the trend. It’s inescapable.

    The big problem for the CIA is: their specialty is human intell. And when they go to computers, they’re second rate, behind the massive NSA machine.

    Federal budget money for spying has been flowing in greater amounts to NSA and away from CIA.

    This is one of the key elements of the turf war between CIA and NSA.

    So if you’re a Congressman, you go to a friend in the CIA and you have a chat about “the NSA problem.” How can you get NSA off your back? Your CIA friend has his own concerns about NSA.

    He tells you in confidence: “Look, maybe we can help you. We know a lot about the NSA. We have good people. You might say one of our jobs is watching the watchers at NSA, to, uh, make sure they don’t go too far in their spying.”

    This sounds interesting. If you have to sell your soul, you’d rather sell it to the CIA than the NSA. It’s a judgment call.

    And now…you read about Ed Snowden blowing a hole in the NSA. You take note of the fact that Snowden worked for the CIA. He worked for them in Geneva. Then he left for the private sector and got himself assigned to the NSA.

    Hmm. Maybe you have some cause for optimism.

    You, the Congressman, don’t give a damn about the NSA spying on all Americans all the time. You couldn’t care less about that. You just don’t want NSA looking over your own shoulder.

    You know the incredibly naïve American public would never imagine what’s going on behind the scenes, with CIA, NSA, and Congress. The yokels and rubes in America actually believe their Congressional representatives are, well, representing them in Washington.

    This fact is good. It means privacy for you: you can try to work out your problems without public scrutiny. You can play all the necessary games to hide your own secrets and crimes, and you can do it in back rooms.

    Unless those bastards at NSA decide to leak one of your embarrassing secrets. That’s why you need your friend at CIA.

    And now, again, you look at the recent article and see that Ed Snowden worked for the CIA. You hope he still is. You hope this a signal from the CIA that they’re taking a battering ram to the NSA.

    Some schmuck reporter asks you about the current NSA scandal and you say, “Of course we have to protect classified data, in order to prevent terrorist attacks. But at the same time, we need to respect the Bill of Rights. People can’t go around spying on anyone for no reason.”

    You’re sending your own signal.

    You’re tipping your CIA guy. You appreciate his help, if in fact he’s helping you. You can’t ask him directly. If you did, he’d never give you a straight answer. But just in case…

    As for the naïve rubes in your home state, the voters, you don’t give them a second thought. They’re not on your radar. They’re merely clusters of polling data, and you’ll look at the data when election comes around again. They don’t have a clue about how the game is played, and they never will.

    You’re representing two defense contractors, a pharmaceutical company, a big AG corporation, and a bank. Those are your only true constituents. You give them all the time they need.

    To keep those relationships on track, you only need to hide your peccadillos from embarrassing exposure. The hooker in DC, the bank account in Panama, the influence you used to move a sizable donation to a university where you intend to teach when you retire.

    There are only two things you really need to think about in your job. First, what happens when your Party leaders come down the hall and tell you which way you’re going to vote on a bill—and you know your vote is going to upset one of your key constituents back home.

    That’s a tricky situation. But you’ve been successful in keeping feathers from being ruffled. That pharmaceutical company understands you can’t side with their interests every single time.

    You’ve got to go with your Party. The Pharma boys don’t like it, but they get it.

    The other thing you’ve got to think about is darker. Nobody is going to give you stats on it, because stats don’t exist. Here’s how it shakes out:

    How many people in Congress are so controlled by the NSA that they’d never try to break out? How many people, with how many secrets, are so blackmailed, they’d never dare go up against NSA?

    This is an important calculation. The battle might already be lost. You might not stand a chance. Maybe nobody can help you. Maybe you can’t escape.

    Maybe you shouldn’t even hint that NSA has overstepped its legal boundaries by spying on Americans.

    That’s the conundrum that keeps you up at night.

    What if the spies spying on their own government are running the government beyond the ability of anyone to stop them?

    You don’t give a damn about what this would mean for America. You only care about what it means for you and your secrets.

    Maybe this is the jail you’re in for the rest of your life.

    When you’re back in your home state showing your face and giving speeches, and a voter comes up to you and voices a concern about his dwindling paycheck, his house payment, his endangered pension…and when you nod and gaze out at the horizon, as as if to pluck a magic answer from the aether, you’re really thinking about the conundrum.

    You’re thinking about the life sentence you’re serving in the Surveillance State.

    And that night, in your hotel room, you get down on your knees and pray that Ed Snowden is still working for the CIA.

    Jon Rappoport

    http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/20...the-back-room/
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    What in particular are you suggesting that we don't miss? I read both and nothing jumps out of either one.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Ed Snowden's Case for the Gold Standard

    By Matthew Yglesias
    |
    Posted Wednesday, June 26, 2013, at 12:19 PM




    A fine George III gold enamel and diamond set watch that was a gift in the 18th century from King George III of Great Britain to Qing dynasty Emperor Qianlong
    Photo by Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images


    Joe Mullin has a piece up at Ars Technica about Edward Snowden's more politically charged IRC chats under the alias . Mullin naturally focused on Snowden's 2009-vintage ideas about leakers (they "should be shot") but he also had some more Moneybox-worthy exchanges:

    haha did you see ron paul at the latest bailout hearings
    he brought up the gold standard
    He's so dramy.
    asked if there had been any discussion about that
    Got a link?
    no
    Ahh gold standard.. it'll never happen, harder to manipulate.
    That's kind of a selling point.
    No it's not
    hahahahhahaah you actually like the gold standard you dumb baby
    I suppose if you're a fan of runaway inflation and leverage
    In another conversation, Snowden expressed complacency about the idea of Depression levels of unemployment writing "Almost everyone was self-employed prior to 1900. Why is 12% empoyment so terrifying?"

    The answer, in case you're wondering, is that the modern-day economy does not allow for a large share of the population to be employed in small-scale agriculture. But Snowden's willingness to admit that his general approach would leave the government unable to respond effectively to otherwise remediable episodes of mass unemployment is refreshing. I note that as ever with the goldbug people there's a resort to the unsubstantiated argument that metal-based currency would be systematically less inflationary than U.S. dollars. There is simply no reason to believe this. The price of gold has declined about 35 percent since its peak in late 2011, which would have meant enormous inflation in a gold-backed economy. The difference is whether inflationary or disinflationary episodes are going to be a matter of public policy or a matter of random chance driven by global gold discoveries and various sources of demand.
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Serious turn of the tables here:



    Ecuador Scraps Trade Pact Over U.S. Threats in Snowden Case
    By Nathan Gill - Jun 27, 2013 1:12 PM MT

    Ecuador, the South American nation considering an asylum request from fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, renounced its U.S. trade benefits today, saying they were being used as “blackmail.”

    “Ecuador doesn’t accept pressure or threats from anyone and doesn’t barter its principles and sovereignty or submit to mercantile interests,” President Rafael Correa said today in a speech in the central province of Los Rios. What Snowden revealed “is a terrible case of massive espionage, both nationally and internationally that clearly threatens the right to intimacy and the sovereignty of states.”
    Obama on Supreme Court Rulings, Snowden, Africa
    16:15

    June 27 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about Africa's growth potential, the Supreme Court's rulings on same-sex marriage and voting rights, and U.S. relations with Russia and China as it pursues leaker Edward Snowden. He speaks at a news conference in Dakar with Senegalese President Macky Sall. (Excerpts. Source: Bloomberg)

    The announcement comes a day after U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he would lead the effort to block renewal of trade preferences for Ecuador if it granted Snowden asylum. The Andean nation has been lobbying the U.S. congress to renew the preferences, known as ATPDEA, which are due to expire next month.

    “Our government will not reward countries for bad behavior,” Menendez said yesterday in a statement. “If Snowden is granted asylum in Ecuador, I will lead the effort to prevent the renewal of Ecuador’s duty-free access under GSP and will also make sure there is no chance for renewal of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act. Trade preferences are a privilege granted to nations, not a right.”
    Job Losses

    Ecuador would lose at least 40,000 jobs if the trade preferences aren’t renewed, the nation’s Ambassador to the U.S. Nathalie Cely said last year. While most of the $1.01 billion in exports to the U.S. in April was oil, shipments also included more labor intensive products such as cut flowers, broccoli and shrimp. Exports fell from $1.14 billion in April 2012, according to U.S. Census data.

    Ecuador’s Communications Secretary Fernando Alvarado, who called the trade preferences a “new instrument of blackmail,” said today the government is offering the U.S. $23 million, an amount similar to what the U.S. provides under ATPDEA, to provide human rights training to combat torture, illegal executions and attacks on peoples’ privacy.
    Not Crippling

    The loss of trade preferences isn’t crippling, though it will make local producers and exporters less competitive in the U.S. than similar companies in neighboring countries, said Santiago Mosquera, an analyst at Fitch Ratings. Peru, Chile and Colombia have trade agreements with the U.S. that give their exports duty-free access to the world’s biggest economy.

    “They are going to have a harder time competing in the global arena because they now have to pay tariffs to get into their largest market,” Mosquera said today in a telephone interview from New York. “Looking into the future, it has more implications in terms of investment.”

    Ecuador, which last year granted refuge to WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, is considering an asylum request from former National Security Agency contractor Snowden, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said July 23. The decision may take as long as two months, Patino said yesterday.

    “It took us two months to make the decision on the case of Assange, so do not expect us to make that decision sooner this time,” Patino said.

    Assange has spent the past year holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questions about allegations of rape and sexual molestation, which he denies.
    Moscow Airport

    Snowden, a former worker for government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. (BAH) who Russian President Vladimir Putin has said is in the transit area of a Moscow airport, disclosed top-secret U.S. National Security Agency programs that collect phone and Internet data.

    U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, today urged President Barack Obama to “act swiftly” and cancel Ecuador’s preferential access to U.S. markets. Among the reasons he cited in an e-mailed statement was Ecuador’s “disregard for the rule of law.”

    The ATPDEA trade preferences, enacted in 1991, sought to combat cocaine production in the Andes through incentives for farmers to stop producing coca.
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    U.S. officials: China, Russia gained access to Snowden’s secrets


    Edward Snowden

    BY: Bill Gertz


    Intelligence agencies in China and Russia gained access to highly classified U.S. intelligence and military information contained on electronic media held by renegade former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, according to U.S. officials.

    The exact compromise of the secret data held on Snowden’s laptop computers remains unknown but is the subject of an ongoing damage assessment within NSA and other intelligence agencies, said officials familiar with the case.

    One of the biggest fears about the compromise is whether Snowden, an NSA contractor and former CIA technician who hacked into classified intelligence networks, gained access to new U.S. nuclear war plans, the officials said.

    The nuclear war plans, among the most closely guarded U.S. secrets, were recently modified as a result of President Barack Obama’s shift in U.S. nuclear strategy.
    The president last week signed new guidance for the Pentagon limiting the use of nuclear weapons in U.S. planning and strategy. The shift is the first step in the president’s plan to cut deployed nuclear weapons by one-third to about 1,000 warheads. That plan was announced in Berlin June 19.

    “The Chinese already have everything Snowden had,” said one official who said there were intelligence reports indicating Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) agents have been in contact with Snowden during his month-long stay in Hong Kong.

    Snowden had four laptop computers while in Hong Kong that contained what he asserted were thousands of classified documents he gathered while working at NSA and other intelligence agencies. He is known to have used encryption for his communications with news reporters.

    Asked at a Chinese Foreign Ministry press briefing if Snowden was a spy for China, spokesman Hua Chunying said: “This is utter nonsense and is extremely irresponsible.”

    The timing of Snowden’s disclosures of NSA surveillance and cyber reconnaissance of China—he first went public days before the summit between Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping—raised questions about whether he was under Chinese control. His disclosures of NSA’s PRISM program and other highly classified electronic spying muted U.S. efforts to press China on its cyber attacks.

    NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander said Sunday: “What Snowden has revealed has caused irreversible and significant damage to our country and to our allies.” He did not elaborate.

    Alexander said during earlier congressional testimony that Snowden, as a computer network administrator, had access to NSA “web forums” that limited his access to collected intelligence.

    Snowden said in an online chat hosted by the Guardian newspaper June 17 that “I did not reveal any U.S. operations against legitimate military targets.”

    The comment suggests Snowden had access to military secrets but had not at that point in his defection disclosed them.

    U.S. officials believe Russian intelligence delayed Snowden’s departure from Moscow in order to question him about NSA programs targeted on Russia.

    Snowden remained in Moscow on Tuesday and U.S. officials said it is “highly likely” that several laptop computer carried by Snowden were “imaged” by Russian intelligence, which would have access to everything carried by the former NSA contractor.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters in Finland on Tuesday that Snowden “is a transit passenger in the transit zone and is still there now. … Mr. Snowden is a free man. The sooner he selects his final destination point, the better both for us and for himself.”

    A former NSA official said Snowden’s claims of access to NSA surveillance programs appeared to be exaggerated. The former official said that most of what he has disclosed so far has been reported in the public domain in the past.

    However, Snowden provided the Guardian and Washington Post with classified documents that indicated he was able to gain unauthorized entry into tightly guarded classified information systems. The documents included a presidential order on cyber warfare, PowerPoint slides from secret briefings on Internet data surveillance, and the first ever leak of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court order for data records.

    John Bolton, former undersecretary of state for international security, said the Snowden case could be a national security disaster.

    “Many in the U.S. intelligence community fear the worst, namely that both Russia and China will have had full access to whatever documents Snowden has, plus whatever he has on the NSA laptop computers he took with him, plus whatever he told their respective authorities in debriefings,” Bolton told the Washington Free Beacon.

    “All of this raises the question how much help he had either from his media handlers, WikiLeaks, or other sources of support.”

    Bolton said earlier on Fox News Channel that the administration should take punitive action against China and Russia for not assisting in the repatriation of Snowden.

    Snowden told the South China Morning Post in an interview that he initially took the position with the NSA contractor Booz Allen to gain access to intelligence he could take with him to expose what he believes is illicit U.S. electronic surveillance.

    “Though he has posed as a lone wolf, you have to wonder if he had assistance or help since he has been in the United States,” Bolton said. “We know since he has been in Hong Kong he had help and financial assistance from WikiLeaks. The real question is did he have help before he departed?”

    Bolton said intelligence provided by someone in Snowden’s position could be used to counter U.S. electronic spying and “that’s very damaging.”

    Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) said on CNBC that the failure of cooperation from both Moscow and Beijing was due to the Obama administration’s weakness.

    “It means that for five years now, we have sent a signal to the world that we’re ‘leading from behind,’ that we are impotent, that we don’t act when we say that we’re going to,” McCain said.

    Alexander, the NSA director, said investigators at NSA and the FBI are working to figure out how the computer administrator was able to gain access to computer systems that are normally restricted to officials who have been granted access by a special “certificate” designed to prevent such unauthorized access.

    Snowden’s representative in Hong Kong, legislator Albert Ho, told news outlets a Chinese official on Friday told Snowden to leave Hong Kong and that his departure would not be delayed.

    Ho also told the Standard newspaper that Snowden stayed in two different hideouts after he left the Mira hotel after giving a videotape interview to the Guardian.

    The disclosure that Ho knew Snowden’s location also indicates that Chinese authorities were aware of his location, the U.S. officials said.

    Snowden’s departure was a snub from Beijing to the United States. Senior Obama administration officials made several requests to both Beijing and Hong Kong authorities to detain Snowden so he could be extradited to face charges on disclosing classified information.

    The Obama administration expressed surprise that both China and Russia ignored requests to detain and extradite Snowden.

    “It would be very disappointing if he was willfully allowed to board an airplane” in Hong Kong for travel to Moscow, Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday during a visit to India.

    Kerry also said he would be “deeply troubled” if Russia and China assisted Snowden’s travel and ignored U.S. requests for assistance in capturing him.
    “And there would be, without any question, some effect and impact on the relationship and consequences,” Kerry said.

    For relations with China, Snowden’s escape from Hong Kong undermined U.S. efforts to build trust with Beijing, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

    “The Chinese have emphasized the importance of building mutual trust, and we think that they have dealt that effort a serious setback,” Carney said. “If we cannot count on them to honor their legal extradition obligations, then there is a problem.”

    The Obama administration’s efforts over the past five years to reset relations with Russia also may be undermined by Moscow’s handling of the Snowden case.

    At the State Department on Tuesday, spokesman Patrick Ventrell said, “We do agree with President Putin that we do not want the issue to negatively affect the bilateral relationship.”

    “And so while we do not have an extradition treaty with Russia and do not expect that Mr. Snowden be formally extradited, we do believe there is a basis for law enforcement cooperation to expel Mr. Snowden based on the charges against him and the status of his travel documents,” Ventrell said.

    Russian nationalist political figure Vladimir Zhirinovsky, sent a tweet on Monday that said Russia should seek to exchange Snowden for imprisoned Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout and convicted drug pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko.

    The newspaper Izvestiya reported Monday that “Snowden’s flight to Moscow was coordinated with the Russian authorities and security services and despite the fact that his disclosures are not a sensation for specialists, representatives of the Main Intelligence Directorate, the GRU military intelligence service and Federal Security Service (FSB) will absolutely meet and converse with him.”

    Michelle Van Cleave, the former national counterintelligence executive, said the Snowden case is a slowly unraveling nightmare for U.S. counterintelligence officials.

    “At this stage, there is no telling whether or not Snowden acted alone or what all he compromised,” Van Cleave told the Free Beacon.

    “Whether or not there are audit trails for IT administrators, we can only guess. If not, there may be no way of bounding the potential damage here.”

    Van Cleave said damage will be revealed when sources and methods of intelligence “go dark, as they surely will, and we will be hard pressed to rule out Snowden as the possible cause.”

    “In other words, other spies still in place will be able to continue to operate under the cover that Snowden’s espionage provides,” she said. “And since we don’t know what secrets may have been lost, we won’t know what or who may now be at risk. That uncertainty alone is an intelligence bonanza for our adversaries.”

    Kenneth deGraffenreid, a former National Security Council staff intelligence director during the Reagan administration, said the Snowden case is similar to the Bradley Manning case, where a junior enlisted soldier stole hundreds of thousands of secret documents and gave them to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

    “This is yet another rcase where a person who is a low-level ne’er-do-well is able to compromise the most sensitive intelligence,” he said in an interview.
    U.S. security was supposed to be improved by the shift from paper documents to digital information systems, but obviously it was not, deGraffenreid said.

    For example, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act documents are “extremely” closely held within government, yet Snowden was able to access a FISA court order.

    DeGraffenreid said Snowden, along with Manning and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, appear to be part of the “international, anti-American left” movement.

    “If there are 30-year-old radicalized, narcissistic kids who can get to the core of American intelligence secrets, and walk them out of the building and fly to China with them, we have a very serious security problem that has to be fixed,” he said.

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  11. #231
    Super Moderator and PHILanthropist Extraordinaire Phil Fiord's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    That last article is total propaganda. He was no hacker, he had access due to his job. His thrust here is about the NSA, not nuke secrets. They are painting a picture that fits the traitor accusation. Assholes.

    Also, from an early posted article:

    In Senegal, President Barack Obama said Thursday that The United States won't be scrambling military jets or engaging in high-level diplomatic bartering to get Snowden extradited to the U.S.
    A lie. It has already been happening with Kerry and others who have made accusations against Snowden, China, Russia and Ecuador. Yes, each has issues, but there has been diplomatic battering. It has been reported.

    "I'm not going to have one case with a suspect who we're trying to extradite suddenly be elevated to the point where I've got to start doing wheeling and dealing and trading on a whole host of other issues, simply to get a guy extradited so he can face the justice system," Obama said at a joint news conference with Senegal's President Macky Sall.
    A lie. I suppose the threat to the duty free trade with Ecuador, over a possible agreement for Snowden to go there is not a wheeling dealing or diplomatic battering. I actually find myself thinking, good on Ecuador for dropping it as it certainly was blackmail.

    Snowden's intercontinental efforts to evade U.S. authorities — taking him from a hotel hideout in Hong Kong to an airport transit zone in Moscow, where he's believed to be holed up — has already undercut Obama's efforts to strengthen ties with China and threatened to worsen tensions with Russia just as Obama is seeking Moscow's cooperation on Syria. At the same time, Snowden's attempts to seek asylum from Ecuador and other nations have underscored Obama's limited sway in a number of foreign capitals.
    Spin all they like, Obama and crew have weakened this country as they actually said. They wanted our sole superpower status leveled with other countries. And I suppose the revelation of US spying on other nations and our own citizens had not one thing to do with tensions abroad. The problem is, as the true belly of what bad leadership has done becomes visible, we have zero clout anymore. In a way that is good to try and keep a level field, but NSA is not alone in spying.

    And lastly. Thank you Rick for posting that suppose it article. It is not unknown that leadership in any form can be corrupted due to their own transgressions real or made up.

    Also, the CIA is certainly in this to the neck. I find myself liking this a lot. At least we know what to expect from CIA.

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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    I agree Phil, this story has an interesting way splitting freedom loving conservatives and the rest of America.

    I think a lot of our secrets have been either given, stolen or sold for personal gain.

    I shutter to think how much data the Clinton's were allowed to pass into China's hands.

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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    This was a planned event guys. No doubt in my mind now.
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    OMG US Military deployes weapon tech to blind Americans to NSA leak info

    Oh my Lord! Americans do you know what this means for us all? Millions of our fellow Americans do not even know about the leaks showing the NSA is monitoring everything we type online, every text message, every phone conversation, every bank record, every medical record, etc... Our military has just completely broken the Posse Comitatus rules and has dropped an electronic hood over many of our heads! Our own defense department has just been used against American citizens to blind us from the truth! We must not let this stand!

    I wonder if this post or how much of the contents at www.ALIPAC.us are being secretly blocked???

    -----------------

    Blackout: Defense Department Blocks All Articles About NSA Leaks From 'Millions' of Computers

    By Steven Nelson
    US News and World Report
    June 28, 2013





    The Defense Department's news blackout affects millions of computers around the world.

    The Department of Defense is blocking online access to news reports about classified National Security Agency documents made public by Edward Snowden. The blackout affects all of the department's computers and is part of a department-wide directive.

    "Any website that runs information that the Department of Defense still considers classified" is affected, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart told U.S. News in a phone interview.

    According to Pickart, news websites that re-report information first published by The Guardian or other primary sources are also affected.


    [BROWSE: Editorial Cartoons About the NSA Surveillance Scandal]


    "If that particular website runs an article that our filters determine has classified information... the particular content on that website will remain inaccessible," he said.


    Pickart said the blackout affects "millions" of computers on "all Department of Defense networks and systems."
    The spokesman told U.S. News that original reports about the leaks may be specifically targeted for the blackout. He admitted that "automated filters are never perfect," and some reports may slip through the cyber blockade.

    Pickart declined to identify the source of the military-wide dictate.

    "This is the same as what we did during the WikiLeaks situation," he said. Personal computers used by military employees aren't affected, Pickart said. One of the primary rationales for the blackout is money: "it's costly, it takes a lot of time" to scrub computers of unauthorized, classified material viewed by servicemen while reading online news reports, Pickart said.

    [WATCHDOG: 5 Million Americans Under CFPB Financial Surveillance]

    "Should any website choose to post information the department deems classified, that particular content on the website will be filtered and remain inaccessible from DoD networks so long as it remains classified," Pickart reiterated in an emailed statement.

    "The department does not determine what sites its personnel can choose to visit while on a DoD system, but instead relies on automated filters that restrict access based on content concerns or malware threats. The DoD is also not going to block websites from the American public in general, and to do so would violate our highest-held principle of upholding and defending the Constitution and respecting civil liberties and privacy."

    The Monterey Herald reported Thursday that the Army was restricting access to The Guardian's website. A spokesman for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command confirmed that the policy affected The Guardian, but the scope of the military's blackout wasn't immediately clear.

    http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/was...s-of-computers

    US army blocks access to Guardian website to preserve 'network hygiene'

    Military admits to filtering reports and content relating to government surveillance programs for thousands of personnel




    The Pentagon insisted the Department of Defense was only seeking to restrict access to certain content. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters

    The US army has admitted to blocking access to parts of the Guardian website for thousands of defence personnel across the country.

    A spokesman said the military was filtering out reports and content relating to government surveillance programs to preserve "network hygiene" and prevent any classified material appearing on unclassified parts of its computer systems.

    The confirmation follows reports in the Monterey Herald that staff at the Presidio military base south of San Francisco had complained of not being able to access the Guardian's UK site at all, and had only partial access to the US site, following publication of leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    The Pentagon insisted the Department of Defense was not seeking to block the whole website, merely taking steps to restrict access to certain content.

    But a spokesman for the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command (Netcom) in Arizona confirmed that this was a widespread policy, likely to be affecting hundreds of defence facilities.

    "In response to your question about access to the guardian.co.uk website, the army is filtering some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks," said Gordon Van Vleet, a Netcom public affairs officer.

    "The Department of Defense routinely takes preventative 'network hygiene' measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information onto DoD unclassified networks."

    The army stressed its actions were automatic and would not affect computers outside military facilities.

    "The department does not determine what sites its personnel can choose to visit while on a DoD system, but instead relies on automated filters that restrict access based on content concerns or malware threats," said Van Vleet. "The DoD is also not going to block websites from the American public in general, and to do so would violate our highest-held principle of upholding and defending the constitution and respecting civil liberties and privacy."

    Similar measures were taken by the army after the Guardian and other newspapers published leaked State Department cables obtained via WikiLeaks.

    "We make every effort to balance the need to preserve information access with operational security, however there are strict policies and directives in place regarding protecting and handling classified information," added the Netcom spokesman.

    "Until declassified by appropriate officials, classified information – including material released through an unauthorized disclosure – must be treated accordingly by DoD personnel. If a public website displays classified information, then filtering may be used to preserve 'network hygiene' for DoD unclassified networks."

    A Defense Department spokesman at the Pentagon added: "The Guardian website is NOT being blocked by DoD. The Department of Defense routinely takes preventative measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information onto DoD unclassified networks."

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013...website-access

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  16. #235
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    What is very interesting, I've noted several blogs and some news sites have been blocked suddenly, where they weren't a few days ago....
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Thanks Vector. I just reblogged this. Thousands will see it shortly.

    (I hope)
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    The article is misleading in its title though. I read the title and it seemed to suggest civilian computers around the world.

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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Well.... it depends on how you look at it. Remember a lot of employees take their computers home and they are the only computers they own.
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Would that explain why the more deviant workers in the gov have unseemly and illegal things on their work owned devices?

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    Probably
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