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Old June 13, 2013, 12:52 AM   #51
Aguila Blanca
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I find it ironic that the author of the Patriot Act now says the act was supposed to specifically prevent exactly the type of data mining that has been carried out. Can we say "We told ya so"?

Also, that same author of the Patriot Act has stated that he does NOT consider the NSA leaker to be a traitor.
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Old June 13, 2013, 09:20 AM   #52
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Quote:
Also, that same author of the Patriot Act has stated that he does NOT consider the NSA leaker to be a traitor.
The more we learn, the more it seems he may just be a malcontent. There have been real questions raised about how sinister the Prism program really is, and many aspects of Snowden's story appear to be exaggerated.

While the outrage is grounded in real concerns, I'm not seeing the campaign of disinformation I'd expect to if Snowden had a real smoking gun.
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Old June 13, 2013, 11:07 AM   #53
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I'm not seeing the campaign of disinformation I'd expect to if Snowden had a real smoking gun.
I'm of the opinion that this is by design. The more silence from those in the know, the less damaging it seems to be.
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Old June 13, 2013, 01:05 PM   #54
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While the outrage is grounded in real concerns, I'm not seeing the campaign of disinformation I'd expect to if Snowden had a real smoking gun.


For the .gov/ .mil folks notice anything odd about the classifications?
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Old June 14, 2013, 01:59 PM   #55
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Quote:
While the outrage is grounded in real concerns, I'm not seeing the campaign of disinformation I'd expect to if Snowden had a real smoking gun.
You may not be looking in the right places, Tom. There's a major effort underway to discredit Mr. Snowden, both by questioning his motives and attacking him personally in other terms: He's been called self-indulgent (yup, you've gotta be really self-indulgent to walk away from a $200,000/year job and risk being jailed for the rest of your life...), a "total slacker," a narcissist, a traitor, an individualistic loner (!), and he's been attacked for his lack of higher education and his support of Ron Paul.

He's been attacked in these terms by columnists from Politico, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, CNN, Fox News and the New York Times -- just to name a few.

And as to disinformation, the government is eating its cake and having it:
The U.S. government has two contradictory responses to the leaks. First, it says, the stuff Snowden has leaked is no big deal and the media are guilty of “hyperbole” in their reporting on it.

On the other hand, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, “For me, it is literally — not figuratively — literally gut wrenching to see this happen because of the huge, grave damage it does to our intelligence capabilities.”

So take your pick.
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Old June 14, 2013, 02:05 PM   #56
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Tom Servo. I will withhold opinion on Snowden.

I would suggest, though, that it is not unheard of for our government to deal with potentially embarrassing situations by publicly awarding medals to people involved, then quietly sidelining their careers.

For that matter, how much did our government talk about Omar Torrijos in the 1970s and early 1980s?
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Old June 15, 2013, 07:58 AM   #57
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On the phone records portion, the government is evidently going to say that since the records were meta-data, or electronic records, that they are not covered by the 4th Amendment. However, and you can see by the quote below, that we are covered under our "effects".

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized".

Also, it is impossible to gain a blanket warrant on every US citizen, when we have done nothing suspect, nor any wrong.

--------

I am pretty sure that the IRS scandal goes to the top, but Obama has too many in his administration willing to fall on their sword for him, so we'll never get to see him get the blame. An old adage holds true here, "The fish rots from the head down".
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Old June 15, 2013, 09:05 AM   #58
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The content of the calls is the least important part when you are able to collect the entire web - essentially the entire communications network of this country and collate it in any manner you wish. Instead of having to weed through vast amounts of peripheral, unimportant communications (which even among criminals incriminatory information is likely to be an infinitesimally small percentage), you can very quickly, with the aid of massively powerful computers and sophisticated data mining tools, identify your enemies (foreign and domestic), and assemble lists of their networks. Everyone they call. Everyone who calls them. Exactly what you'd want if you're looking to take concerted action at some point.

And no one - NO ONE is asking the right questions. The most important of which is - how do we KNOW that this is only being used against presumed terrorist threats? How are we to be reassured that this isn't being used to amass data on presumed political adversaries and distributed to the administration's political allies for their use?

We don't know any of that. No one has asked that question, certainly not publicly. And with this administration, I think skepticism on the part of folks like this who deeply distrust the president and his administration, is quite rational and reasonable.
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Old June 15, 2013, 08:57 PM   #59
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Also, it is impossible to gain a blanket warrant on every US citizen, when we have done nothing suspect, nor any wrong.
Clearly not.
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Old June 16, 2013, 05:55 AM   #60
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csmsss,

I'm sure everyone would agree that nobody would trust Obama and his administration in an outhouse with their muzzles on. Not after all the tales they've told, and after the last poll I saw, at The Washington Post, that was proved two times+ over to be wrong by the replies it got. 1000 was in the supposed poll, that nobody was contacted by who replied, with 3500+ replies, saying they sure never thought that way, nor agreed with it. I was one of those who didn't either. The poll was to "select" people.

No, it will take a congressional subpoena to demand every document connected to this, and they'll try to deny sending anything on the grounds of confidentiality and national security.

No, the people had learned their lesson well, and the framers of the Constitution, from what was brought upon our families from Britain, and they wanted to make sure that our privacy was protected, to the tooth, with the Constitutional Amendments, which the first 13 were added shortly after the signing. The Slaughterhouse case even agrees with this, in that the framers of the amendments were afraid of the federal government.

Now, to the 4th Amendment, and the reason I said our effects, is I do not believe the framers intended that to mean only personal effects, and if they had, they would have said so. Effects means that it coves anything that we have originated or caused to come into effect; any record. That is the standard definition of it, and is what will need to be used before SCOTUS. Also, to me, it would be impossible for any judge, with knowledge of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, to issue a blanket warrant against every US citizen, because it would be impossible to have any true probable cause, and any truthful and honest judge would know this.

Last edited by Vanya; June 16, 2013 at 11:35 AM. Reason: conspiracy-mongering.
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Old June 16, 2013, 11:05 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Dixie Gunsmithing
Now, to the 4th Amendment, and the reason I said our effects, is I do not believe the framers intended that to mean only personal effects, and if they had, they would have said so. Effects means that it coves anything that we have originated or caused to come into effect; any record. That is the standard definition of it, ...
I respectfully disagree. You are conflating the common definition of the noun "effect," meaning "result," with the legal term, which means "possession" (in the noun form).

The Supreme Court long ago ruled that the record of what numbers you called on your land line phone, on what dates and at what times, are not protected and the government does not need a search warrant to access that information. The government's argument is that these cell phone records are the same thing. It isn't wiretapping -- intercepting or recording -- the conversations themselves, it is only looking at the record of where and when the calls were made, and to what numbers.

I can accept that distinction, but I'm not happy about it for a couple of reasons. First, I think everyone who ever had a land line phone knew that the telephone company (in the days when there was only one "telephone company") kept those records. After all, your bill every month clearly showed every long distance call, what number and city it was to, and how long it lasted. We never had any doubt or question that these records existed.

On the other hand, my late father spent his entire working life (except for a few years off in India and China saving the free world) toiling for Ma Bell. In fact, he was in a department related to billing. As far as I know, there were no records created of local calls, so for those there was what would today be called "an expectation of privacy."

The key point of the 4th amendment is (IMHO) that

Quote:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I don't think many people who use cell phones fully understand the extent to which each call leaves a trail, so there's the question of whether there is an expectation of privacy (and, or course, the related question of whether or not we are entitled to one). But, at the core, with cell phones now so integrally a part of so many people's lives, at what time do we cross the line from searching a record to searching a person? If a cop makes a traffic stop and you hand him your wallet when he asks for your license, even if the license is clearly visible in a window pocket he'll tell you to just take out the license and hand it to him. Even if he has reason to conduct a Terry frisk on you, he has no legal authority to start looking in your wallet.

In my view a cell phone, especially a smart phone that holds not just phone calls but also photos of your wife and kids, memos about your work, e-mails, etc., is more than a telephone. It has become an electronic wallet. I think we DO have an expectation of privacy with respect to that. The issue is whether or not that expectation can or should extend to the government being allowed to collect -- automatically and in enormous volume -- the "meta data" associated with this electronic wallet with no probable cause, not even reasonable suspicion, but simply because the government has the technology and the computing horsepower to do so. In other words, "We're doing it because we can do it."

My view is that THIS is an unreasonable search of my life, and therefore of my person.
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Old June 16, 2013, 11:17 AM   #62
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AB, the above is an outstanding analysis. Spot on.
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Old June 16, 2013, 11:29 AM   #63
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Aguila Blanca,

I know that they have said that they mean personal effects, but I do not think that the Supreme court has ever truly ruled, exactly, what effects means; they've skirted around it. To me, and to several others that I've read their comments about it, say that since the word 'personal' wasn't added in front of 'effects', that it means as I stated, it's literal definition, and now a ruling should be made on that. Also, that the wording should be taken literally, as written, because if it isn't, it could throw out other decisions that were made, due to doing the same thing, interpreting them as literal.

Form Webster: "plural : movable property : goods <personal effects>" However, if we read the singular, "something that inevitably follows an antecedent (as a cause or agent)". In other words, in our case, a record that came to life over something we caused to happen. To me, that also means a personal effect. Plus, there are other dictionaries that giver further evidence of this, and different wording.

Since decisions from past SCOTUS cases have been overturned, though not a lot, this one could to, in that what exactly does 'effects' mean? It would go down to who has the best argument, what is the most believable, and how do the sitting justices interpret it.

I wanted to add this from the Oxford dictionary, as to the root of effects:

"Origin: late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin effectus, from efficere 'accomplish', from ex- 'out, thoroughly' + facere 'do, make'. sense 3 of the noun, 'personal belongings', arose from the obsolete sense 'something acquired on completion of an action'".

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/effect

Update:

After speaking with a friend on the above, he advised me to look it up in the Black Law Dictionary, which would be the legal definition, and said that is where the idea is supported.

The dictionary states that, "“Real and personal effects”would embrace the whole estate; but the word “effects” alone must be confined to personal estate simply, unless an intention appears to the contrary".

http://thelawdictionary.org/effects/

Here he and I ask, what was the intention? It is almost a loophole, allowing a larger description, if one uses the root definition.

Last edited by Dixie Gunsmithing; June 16, 2013 at 09:10 PM.
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Old June 16, 2013, 01:58 PM   #64
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DG, take it as you will, but I have no doubt that, if the SCOTUS were to rule on what "effects" means in the 4th Amendment, they would rule it to mean the legal definition rather than the pedestrian definition.

But ... this just in:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57...s-phone-calls/

Once again, "somebody hyar ain't a' tellin' the truth." One Congressman says NSA analysts are eavesdropping on telephone calls without warrants, another says that can't happen. The whistleblower says it can happen and does happen. Who are we to believe?

In light of the posts immediately above, this may pertain:

Quote:
Earlier reports have indicated that the NSA has the ability to record nearly all domestic and international phone calls -- in case an analyst needed to access the recordings in the future. A Wired magazine article last year disclosed that the NSA has established "listening posts" that allow the agency to collect and sift through billions of phone calls through a massive new data center in Utah, "whether they originate within the country or overseas." That includes not just metadata, but also the contents of the communications.

William Binney, a former NSA technical director who helped to modernize the agency's worldwide eavesdropping network, told the Daily Caller this week that the NSA records the phone calls of 500,000 to 1 million people who are on its so-called target list, and perhaps even more. "They look through these phone numbers and they target those and that's what they record," Binney said.
So they record them. Not just the metadata, but the conversations themselves. Are we to believe that they then obtain a warrant for each of those calls they want to listen to later? (Pssst, hey Buddy -- wanna buy a bridge in Brooklyn?) More to the point, is not the recording itself a seizure, which should not occur without a prior warrant? A wiretap is an interception. Whether someone listens to my conversation in real time or saves it to listen to during lunch break, my conversation (for which I DO have an expectation of privacy) has been intercepted, and can be listened to by persons who were not intended to be party to that conversation. That should not happen without probable cause and a proper warrant.

As [supposedly] guaranteed by the 4th Amendment.

Further, I don't like the entire notion of the FISA courts. There needs to be some degree of transparency and oversight. At the moment, it appears there is none.
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Old June 16, 2013, 02:43 PM   #65
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Oh, believe me, I know how they would want to rule on the 4th Amendment, on what effects mean, but I think if the right legal mind could bring it before the court, and show where its meaning came from, that it could be possibly changed, and the last opinion overturned. There's several who have studied this, and feel the same, as they studied it in British common law, which is where the definition comes from. This is just my opinion, and others, though.

Anyhow, to the eavesdropping on conversations, there was a video, and I think it was on Netflix, or on Discovery, about where the government built a secret room at the Telco, where the main undersea trunk line comes in on the west coast, from Asia, and was doing what the article said above. An engineer saw where the wires had been rerouted, and they interviewed him. I wish I could remember where it was, as I would post the link, so maybe somebody will know the one I'm speaking of?
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Old June 16, 2013, 03:52 PM   #66
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Quote:
I don't think many people who use cell phones fully understand the extent to which each call leaves a trail, so there's the question of whether there is an expectation of privacy (and, or course, the related question of whether or not we are entitled to one). But, at the core, with cell phones now so integrally a part of so many people's lives, at what time do we cross the line from searching a record to searching a person? If a cop makes a traffic stop and you hand him your wallet when he asks for your license, even if the license is clearly visible in a window pocket he'll tell you to just take out the license and hand it to him. Even if he has reason to conduct a Terry frisk on you, he has no legal authority to start looking in your wallet.

In my view a cell phone, especially a smart phone that holds not just phone calls but also photos of your wife and kids, memos about your work, e-mails, etc., is more than a telephone. It has become an electronic wallet. I think we DO have an expectation of privacy with respect to that. The issue is whether or not that expectation can or should extend to the government being allowed to collect -- automatically and in enormous volume -- the "meta data" associated with this electronic wallet with no probable cause, not even reasonable suspicion, but simply because the government has the technology and the computing horsepower to do so. In other words, "We're doing it because we can do it."

My view is that THIS is an unreasonable search of my life, and therefore of my person.
Excellent points. And one I might add to this is that many people, and the numbers are growing each day, are abandoning their phone lines and using mobile phones as their only voice communications device. They shouldn't lose fundamental rights simply because of a technological shift.
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Old June 16, 2013, 04:04 PM   #67
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Something I have pondered about is that when the government switched to electronic documents, was three any law passed, that said or declared that electronic data was to be treated the same as paper, in being classified? If so, this changes what is meant by property, or at least property of the government. This would be the same with governmental e-mail, and any other. So, if they can have those protections, why can't the general public?
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Old June 16, 2013, 06:04 PM   #68
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CNET has an article, now, on NSA warrantless eavesdropping:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57...s-phone-calls/
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Old June 16, 2013, 06:26 PM   #69
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Truly scary.
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Old June 16, 2013, 08:55 PM   #70
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The Spy Factory

I found the video that I spoke of in an earlier post, about the NSA listening in, and give a link to it below. It is a documentary produced by Nova, named The Spy Factory. It shows, and tells about the NSA using the main underwater phone line to the US at around 38 minutes into it. Right off the bat, though, they say that the NSA did listen in, but I think they are referring to what happened during the Bush Administration.

Video:

http://movies.netflix.com/WiPlayer?m...6&trkid=497086

If the link doesn't work, you may have to do a search for it on Netflix.

Update:

I also found two links to what supposed to be the full version on Youtube, and on PBS.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdPpdu8OGDQ

http://video.pbs.org/video/1051968443/
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