sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, May 10, 2015

215

I am a simple old soul, but I have a few questions and maybe you can help me answer them after you've called your mothers and wished them a happy day. Hopefully flowers and perfume arrived with the card that you sent, or you will see them in person, and offer them a kiss and your love. 

Love You Mom



Section 215 of the Patriot Act authorizes the National Security Agency to store records that it collects from your communications without oversight. 
The 215 program allows the NSA to collect so-called "metadata" on phone calls -- including the number called and the date and time of the call -- then stores it in a database that it queries using phone numbers associated with terrorists overseas. Officials say they don't use the information for any other purpose, and that the legal powers that enable the program are essential to the hunt for terrorists. Opponents say the seizure and search of telephone company records violates Americans' expectations of privacy under the Fourth Amendment. 
Irrespective of how you feel about the Patriot Act and Section 215, the US ALLOWS dangerous Islamists to live, plot and thrive within the United States.  Why do we do that?

Lawmakers, civil liberties advocates and transparency groups have debated the 215 program intensely since it was revealed in a series of media reports in mid-2013 prompted by statements made by the now infamous Edward Snowden. They have not explained to my satisfaction what extreme measures we are taking to keep malicious Islamists from setting foot on American soil or expelling them from the country if they're here. Why is that?

Every time there is an incident from the Boston Marathon bombing and the World Trade Center attack on September 11 to the more recent attack on people participating in an art contest in Garland, Texas, US alphabet agencies advise that they were aware of the plotters. In some cases they are US Citizens and there is a different protocol, but in most cases they have not been. Why were they allowed to be here? Who let them in? And why is whoever let them in still working for the government?

And if we (the alphabet agency "we") knew they were here, why couldn't we obtain search warrants or grand jury subpoenas for those records - without sweeping every American's private records into the NSA's vaults?

If I am charged with a crime and if those records, stored by the NSA would exonerate me of guilt, can I subpoena them to aid in my defense?  (hahahaha - if your answer is 'yes', I want to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge and the Washington Monument along with some swamp land and a chinchilla farm)
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's early 2013 testimony created a congressional controversy after the Snowden revelations showed the NSA was gathering data on Americans.  
At the hearing, Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden asked Clapper whether the NSA "collects any type of data at all" on millions of Americans.  
Clapper told Wyden: "No sir, it does not." Asked for clarification, he said "not wittingly."
Clapper later apologized, sending a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee admitting his answer was "clearly erroneous." He said that he "simply didn't think" of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, and was thinking of a different provision of a different law.  
Robert Litt, the DNI's general counsel, revealed the major memory lapse during a panel discussion Friday hosted by the Advisory Committee on Transparency
Did DNI Clapper suffer any censure for lying under oath? Did Attorney General Eric Holder (regarding Operation Fast and Furious)? Smaller players in government would have been stripped of their jobs, pensions and would have been successfully prosecuted for these "slips".

Should Section 215 be renewed at the end of May as the law requires in order for it to remain in full force and effect?

Or should we round up America's enemies and send them back to the lands they came from? (and send Obama's shiftless relatives from Kenya back too)


33 comments:

  1. I used to work as a signals intel (SIGINT) analyst in the Army. My job was making sense of 'meta data' collected by intel assets, arriving at a conclusion, drafting a report, assigning a probability of being right to the report, and passing my opinion on to the NSA at Ft. Meade, MD. This used to be classified, but not anymore: all of this is available in the book "The Puzzle Palace," a fascinating read.

    All I had available was simply what entity contacted whom, on what frequency, when and then we obtained where the signal originated from via DF (direction finding). The messages themselves were encrypted, and some were decyphered, but nearly 99% of these messages were not. No matter.

    The information you can glean from just the above is enormous, and there is no need in reality to know what the message contained: Boris called Pavel at noon and transmitted an encrypted message, and then at 1PM, a bunch of tanks moved from Pavels' location to within 1 km of the border.

    What do you think was contained within that secret code? "Pavel, move your unit to the border at 1PM." Who is the boss, and who is the subordinate? Boris is the boss, obviously.

    None of that was plain text. It was all gleaned through meta data.

    NSA may as well be tapping our phones. Just the meta data alone lays our our lives like a book.

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    1. WoFat (below) was in the Army Security Agency. He did the same thing.

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    2. Yes, we called it the ASA, which later was changed to INSCOM. Same, same. Loved the ASA shoulder patch, the one with the eagle claw grasping the lightening bolt. We called it something vulgar, however.

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    3. In the navy it was the Naval Security Group. Because I had a degree in Mathematics from the Naval Postgraduate School and because my thesis dealt with fractal encryption, I was invited to change my designator from 1130 (Special Warfare Officer) to 1610 (Cryptographer). I declined.

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    4. I studied the Hungarian language for a year at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) just across Monterey Bay from the Naval Post Graduate School. Took basic training at Fort Ord, just up the road maybe 5 miles from the Naval Post Grad school. Never knew what they did in there until well after I had evacuated the area.

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    5. I always thought that you army guys demanded to be stationed at hell holes like Ft. Bliss, Ft. Sill, etc.

      Let me get this straight, you went from Ord to DLI (Monterey Bay) to -- I'm guessing now -- Ft. Belvoir, VA - to Frankfurt, Germany?

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    6. Nope, not even close. I spent 10 years on active duty (way too long), and here's how it went for me:

      Basic training, 1974 at Fort Ord.
      Hungarian training, DLI, Monterey CA 1975
      Signal Intel analyst training, Goodfellow AFB, San Angelo TX 1976
      Field Station Augsburg (ASA), West Germany 1976-1978
      Inactive Army Reserve (break in service): 1978-1980
      Re-enlist in LA, California, security hold in Ft. McClellan Alabama, 1980
      Third Armored Division (after Elvis), Frankfurt W. Germany, 1981-1984
      Intel analysis instructor, Goodfellow AFB, San Angelo TX 1984-86.

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    7. OMG, you were nearly a lifer.

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    8. Rose to the towering rank of Staff Sergeant, E-6. Perfect spot to receive holy hell from above and below. The company grade officers expected me to perform miracles with their half-assed, ill conceived orders, and the enlisted guys below me griped and grumbled that what I was telling them had to be done in X amount of time was impossible.

      I always came up with some sort of compromise that made both of these groups grumpy. No win situation for these platoon level non-commissioned officers. Couldn't stand it anymore.

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    9. I'm sure that your blood pressure dropped when you moved on.

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  2. Sorry sir, but if you take one more step we will have to use deadly force to see that which is not there remains secure. Antennas? What antennas? Radios? We don't got no radios! Our superior officer? I'm afraid we don't understand. Whom do you call? Try the Yellow Pages. "Yes! We have no bananas."

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    1. Yeah, but you will recall that the SEALs didn't care. Learn a foreign language? Not necessary. Just go there and kill it.

      Y'all and your fancy meta data...

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    2. And for the historical record, Mike Watson (Australian SAS) felt the same way as I did. Now that he's old, he wants to make friends but back then...

      Wild Bill took a completely different, but parallel path.

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  3. No background in these matters like you and many commentators but many years "reading" people. The cynic in me thinks if people did their jobs well, they would be out of a job.

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  4. Within our borders, it's an Obama world. As long as there's a Mooselimb in the White House we will have this problem. Welcome the Mooselimbs and future democrats with open arms to achieve the liberal utopia. Once that is achieved they will no longer be needed ... ah but guess what? It will be to late to get rid of or control. Thus there goes another Utopia (Communist Gulag) that is descend to fail.

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    1. You'd think that they'd learned from all of the failed experiments...The Middle East is one big open sewer and all of the communist nations had to rust or change... and the Chicago crowd in the White House want to try it one more time.

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    2. Albert Einstein is credited with observing that doing something over and over while always expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Normally, I'm not one to quarrel with such a smart fellow, but it seems to me that at the very least it may also be indicative of profound stupidity.

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    3. The Progressives feel that their intellect is superior enough to carry them through the reinvention of the do-do bird, hoping that it won't go extinct - again.

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  5. Once, when sitting near a Thai general at a garden party, I was approached by the area commander (Joint United States Military Advisory Group) - who demanded to know how we - about 4 members of my team - dared to attend a high zippy-de-zip party and drink beer with a general.We advised him we'd been invited and told to sit with the general during the festival. "Where's your commander,?" he demanded. "He wasn't invited, sir", said I. The commander said, "Oh," and walked away.

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    1. Hahahahahahahaha.... That was very funny!

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    2. The Thais have their priorities and the US Army has theirs...but in Thailand, we know who has the last say...the Thai general's mistress.

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    3. Some of the senior Thai ranking officers had some HONEYS to whom they were daddies.

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    4. The young ladies were merely "madonnas in need of a manager", as Wild Bill used to put it. Soiled doves...

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    5. Once upon a time in a land far away.

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    6. Ship me somewhere's east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
      Where there aren't no Ten Commandments an' a man can raise a thirst;
      For the Temple-bells are callin', an' it's there that I would be ---
      By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' lazy at the sea;

      On the road to Mandalay,
      Where the old Flotilla lay,
      With our sick beneath the awnings when we went to Mandalay!
      On the road to Mandalay,
      Where the flyin' fishes play,
      An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China
      'crost the Bay!

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  6. Only ONE answer, send their asses back where they came from!

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    1. It seems so very easy, but we find it so very difficult to do.

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  7. LL, I think you've missed a very important point. The Muslims are our friends. Repeat after me, "OUR FRIENDS."

    So why should the NSA be worried about them? are you a Hater?

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    1. Not a hater. Darned grateful that somebody volunteered to keep our military active and on its toes. If it wasn't for the Islamists, we wouldn't have been continuously at war for the past fifteen years - and a generation of soldiers would have retired without firing a shot..

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  8. One easy fix for the "data" has been suggested, and I'm not sure what the hold-up is, but the law will soon require the telecoms to maintain the records for a period of time (that time for some of them, for just the data, is 30 days - especially with every high school kid creating several thousand bites…again, just the data…every day). The consequence will be that phone bills will go up $5 to $10. The other stuff the NSA is monitoring, collecting - it doesn't bother me. I hide my garbage in plain view…

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    1. It used to be that they kept data for what was essentially the "statute of limitations" period. Not true anymore since the obligation was essentially lifted. I frankly don't care if the government listens in on my phone calls, but at the same time there is the 4th Amendment and with the erosion of the 1st and 2nd Amendments, I'm loathe to simply surrender the 4th.

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    2. One parting shot. Since the government backed off on forcing telecoms to maintain records, there is the due process problem where the only place that the government maintains records is in a classified setting -- which prompted this question: If I am charged with a crime and if those records, stored by the NSA would exonerate me of guilt, can I subpoena them to aid in my defense?
      Having NSA as the custodian of records creates a HUGE 14th Amendment problem.

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It's virtual - it's a mirage - it's life