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Update: Snowden Redeemed: Secret Congressional Briefings Reveal NSA Listening to Phone Calls, Too... Without Warrants

Update: Nadler issued a statement this morning:

“I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant,” Nadler said in a statement to several news outlets.

That was it. Talk about backtracking, or hushing up at least...

So CNET has since updated their headline on the original story, as well as amending a few other parts, which are annotated at the bottom of the article. Note well that Nadler did not, however, clarify what so "startled" him about what he heard in the secret briefing; nor did he clarify his line of questioning, either, which clearly included a concern about "if you want to listen to the phone...." before he was interrupted by Mueller's answer. And these were clearly concerns rooted in the briefing he had attended.

But all he released was just this cryptic statement. See, once again, the link in update II of this post at the bottom, which is a piece about the context and the laws in question (which presciently highlighted the ambiguity of the exchange, while addressing the possibilities).

In any case, we've all seen numerous reports, including from whistleblowers, indicating that call content is indeed recorded and stored, and that aspect is still not being addressed at all in these questions and cryptic statements. They are dancing around the language of what constitutes "collected," and statements like Nadler's, which says they "cannot listen to the content without a specific warrant," fail also to confirm or deny that they are indeed acquiring and storing all of our call content.(End Update)

Wanna know what about the secret Congressional briefings on the surveillance programs astounded Loretta Sanchez? This must read, hot off the press from CNET, redeeming much of what Snowden has alleged, sheds some light on it:

The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed "simply based on an analyst deciding that."

If the NSA wants "to listen to the phone," an analyst's decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. "I was rather startled," said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.

Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA's formidable eavesdropping apparatus works domestically it also suggests the Justice Department has secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.

Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, Nadler's disclosure indicates the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval.

The disclosure appears to confirm some of the allegations made by Edward Snowden, a former NSA infrastructure analyst who leaked classified documents to the Guardian. Snowden said in a video interview that, while not all NSA analysts had this ability, he could from Hawaii "wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president."

You're gonna wanna read it all: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57589495-38/nsa-admits-lis...

Update: Also, remember when Obama said this?

Nobody's listening to your telephone calls.

Alas, it appears that indeed he was being "too cute by half."

Or, as we mere non-politician types say: He was lying.

Update II: See also this piece for additional commentary on the context of the discussion on which the CNET article is based.

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TwelveOhOne's picture


Let's do away with these high offices.

I love you. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
http://fija.org - Fully Informed Jury Association
http://jsjinc.net - Jin Shin Jyutsu (energy healing)

Man, it is going to be a

Man, it is going to be a painful remaining three years until 2016.

This president and administration is already so beset with scandal and unrest I seriously wonder if impeachment and prison terms are soon on the way. There are a whole lot of eligible candidates for the big house.

From the article:

"The disclosure appears to confirm some of the allegations made by Edward Snowden, a former NSA infrastructure analyst who leaked classified documents to the Guardian. Snowden said in a video interview that, while not all NSA analysts had this ability, he could from Hawaii "wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president.""

This is coming from only one source.

Better wait for confirmation. I doubt the nsa willingly admitted this after denying all week.

You can never have, too much

You can never have, too much confirmation

This is coming from only one

This is coming from only one source.

My my, how easily Snowden is forgotten.

He was the source. This is the confirmation you're waiting for.

The NSA will never stand up and say "I did it!"

That's the point of all of this.

Now the question is, who in

Now the question is, who in Congress leaked the confirming information and is it legally actionable?

TwelveOhOne's picture

Certainly it is legally actionable, now that

we know about it! I know you were asking "how can we tarnish the whistle blower" but that's just too cute by half. The supreme law of the land is what matters, and it's quickly coming back. These times are interesting, surely, but I somewhat enjoy living in them.

I love you. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
http://fija.org - Fully Informed Jury Association
http://jsjinc.net - Jin Shin Jyutsu (energy healing)

The cnet story is based off

The cnet story is based off an exchange between rep Nadler and fbi director Robert Mueller, which occurred in a public hearing. If you click the link in the second update in the op you can watch video of it, it is very brief. The same link also has some good additional context with respect to the laws at play, and also urges some caution about accepting cnet's interpretation of the exchange at face value.

In any case, and to your point, I wondered the same about whether Nadler could catch flak for this since the substance of the briefing was supposed to be classified...

Not my interpretation

"you can get specific information from that telephone [call] simply based on an analysts decision without a new warrant." That is Nadlers interpretation of what he heard in the classified briefing that proceeded this clip.


Now secondly, under section 215 if you’ve gotten information from metadata, and you as a result of that thing that, “gee, this phone number, 873-whatever, looks suspicious and we aught to actually get the contents of that phone. Do you need a new specific warrant?

Mueller: You need at least a national security letter. All you have is a telephone number. You do not have subscriber information, so if you need the subscriber information you would need to probably get a National Security Letter to get that subscriber information. And then if you wanted to do more —

Nadler: If you wanted to listen to the phone —

Mueller: Then you would have to get a special, a particularized order from the FISA Court directed at that particular phone and that particular individual.

Nadler: Now is the answer you just gave me classified?

Mueller: Is what?

Nadler: Is the answer you just gave me classified in any way?

Mueller: I don’t think so.

Nadler: OK, then I can say the following. We heard precisely the opposite at the briefing the other day. We heard precisely that you could get the specific information from that telephone simply based on an analyst deciding that and you didn’t need a new warrant. Other-words is what you just said is incorrect. So there’s a conflict.

Mueller: I’m not sure it’s the answer to the same question. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.

Nadler: Well I asked the question both times and I think it’s the same question, so maybe you better go back and check, because someone was incorrect.

Mueller: I will do that. That is my understanding of the process.

Nadler: OK, I don’t question your understanding. It was always my understanding. And I was rather startled the other day and I wanted to take this opportunity to —

Mueller: I’d be happy to clarify it.

Nadler: Thank you.

Yes, there is some notable

Yes, there is some notable ambiguity in the interpretation of the discussion. That is what the link in Update II in the OP covers fairly incisively.

I've noticed a BIG DECLINE of the postings on DP

Have you? Even an article like this has only received about 30 posts. THAT is LOW.

Are people now getting scared to voice their opinions, because our government is now SO HUGELY INVASIVE?

I don't know what to do about this. What can we do? Even Edward Snowden hopes something can be done, so that his sacrifice is not in vain.

I hope, God willing, that we will have more WHISTLEBLOWERS coming forward, more than ever, more than the Elites believe possible. But we better be warning our fellow soldiers, especially the ones responsible for pressing the button of nuclear war. We MUST reach these boys in the Air Force, etc. who have access to these buttons and get them to understand, for if the day comes when the LEADERs say to hit the switch against L.A., for example, they won't do it! For as we get closer to the STATIST ELITES truths, we put all of America in grave danger, jmho.

I've noticed a BIG DECLINE of

I've noticed a BIG DECLINE of the postings on DP. Have you? Even an article like this has only received about 30 posts. THAT is LOW.

If by "posts" you mean "comments", then I agree. It seems to me that commenting on top stories - defined as those which have been "stickied" to the front page -- has been down. But where you cite potential self-censorship out of concern for government monitoring, I disagree, and think there is a likely alternative explanation. It springs from my own experience here at DP. To wit:

My own habit when I visited DP has always been the following:

1) Look at the most viewed articles (prominently displayed on landing page)

2) Look at Top Recent Topics (right side of landing page)

3) Look at Active Forum Topics (also on the right side of landing page, below Top Recent Topics)

Rarely, if ever, did I explore beyond these 3 sections.

Recently, however, a lot of my posts began being "picked" to be "stickied" to the front page (something I've been flattered by, to be sure). But in the process, I noticed that this apparently removed my posts from "Top Recent Topics." And I realized this was happening for the others which had been "stickied" to the front page as well. It was apparent, then, to me, that this had caused many of them to be viewed less, which is obviously quite contrary to the purpose of being "picked" to be a featured post, and therefore something worth examining further.

So if my viewing habit is any indication -- and having had the experience of hearing from and witnessing first-hand the work of Tom Tullis, a former NASA scientist who now works on web design for Fidelity Investments, I really think it is -- then browsing habits, which include certain predispositions that are common among internet users, dramatically impact what is viewed and why, and I think the "stickied" featured posts no longer counting among the "Top Recent Topics" has a lot to do with it.

Of course, one must also consider that there's a lot going on all at once, especially on this site, and there is a confluence of factors that influence which posts get the most views, and subsequently, the most comments.

Where they are featured, for how long, and their rating are certainly among them. But so, too, on the other hand, are how many prominent and important stories there are at the same time; the preferences of the users of the site; the reputation of the poster; and the context included with the post itself, which illuminates the importance/relevance of the story.

In the end, there are no silver bullets or easy answers. But for me, the biggest factor for stories which truly deserve more exposure and otherwise meet all the criteria which this audience expects, but still fall short of what one might expect in terms of response, is the disappearance of it after being pulled from "Top Recent Topics" in favor of being stickied to the front... even as that is intended to increase exposure.

Just my two cents. Or ten... cuz it's kinda lengthy. lol. My apologies.

And, though it needn't be said I'll say it anyway: In spite of any perceived shortcomings along these lines, the site is still among my top resources for news, bar none; and I imagine it is likewise for most.

Apologies, this is a

Apologies, this is a duplicate of http://www.dailypaul.com/289247/cnet-nsa-admits-listening-to...

Please delete this thread.