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Sat Jul 13, 2013, 04:25 PM

The root issue Snowden exposed: Clapper's Library

Last edited Sat Jul 13, 2013, 05:15 PM - Edit history (1)

Something that was said in an interview of James Clapper which has really stuck in my craw. This has bothered me for a month now and I for one want to know exactly what he means with his library metaphor and who are the librarians?

As an aside, given my understanding of librarians' support of privacy, this is some high order irony in metaphor selection.

In any event, this is the metaphor:

JAMES CLAPPER:

I understand that. But first let me say that I and everyone in the intelligence community all-- who are also citizens, who also care very deeply about our-- our privacy and civil liberties, I certainly do. So let me say that at the outset. I think a lot of what people are-- are reading and seeing in the media is a lot of hyper-- hyperbole.

A metaphor I think might be helpful for people to understand this is to think of a huge library with literally millions of volumes of books in it, an electronic library. Seventy percent of those books are on bookcases in the United States, meaning that the bulk of the of the world's infrastructure, communications infrastructure is in the United States.

There are no limitations on the customers who can use this library. Many and millions of innocent people doing min-- millions of innocent things use this library, but there are also nefarious people who use it. Terrorists, drug cartels, human traffickers, criminals also take advantage of the same technology. So the task for us in the interest of preserving security and preserving civil liberties and privacy is to be as precise as we possibly can be when we go in that library and look for the books that we need to open up and actually read.

You think of the li-- and by the way, all these books are arranged randomly. They're not arranged by subject or topic matter. And they're constantly changing. And so when we go into this library, first we have to have a library card, the people that actually do this work.

Which connotes their training and certification and recertification. So when we pull out a book, based on its essentially is-- electronic Dewey Decimal System, which is zeroes and ones, we have to be very precise about which book we're picking out. And if it's one that belongs to the-- was put in there by an American citizen or a U.S. person.

We ha-- we are under strict court supervision and have to get stricter-- and have to get permission to actually-- actually look at that. So the notion that we're trolling through everyone's emails and voyeuristically reading them, or listening to everyone's phone calls is on its face absurd. We couldn't do it even if we wanted to. And I assure you, we don't want to.


First let's ignore he has a fundamental misunderstanding who a customer of a library is, and rather focus on the notion that the NSA or other agency has a library containing all of the communications that pass through US infrastructure.

In the final bolded sentence, he almost said it the right way around, and then amazingly states that we put these 'books' in his 'library' rather than his first instinct that the books are filled by taking our private correspondence and storing it.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Senator Wyden made quite a lot out of your exchange with him last March during the hearings. Can you explain what you meant when you said that there was not data collection on millions of Americans?

JAMES CLAPPER:

First-- as I said, I have great respect for Senator Wyden. I thought, though in retrospect, I was asked-- "When are you going to start-- stop beating your wife" kind of question, which is meaning not-- answerable necessarily by a simple yes or no. So I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no.

And again, to go back to my metaphor. What I was thinking of is looking at the Dewey Decimal numbers-- of those books in that metaphorical library-- to me, collection of U.S. persons' data would mean taking the book off the shelf and opening it up and reading it.



Everyone got wrapped around the axle over the least untruthful comment when the real shocker to me at least is in bold.

The notion of "I didn't collect it if I didn't read it" is classic ministry of truth doublespeak.

col·lect
/kəˈlekt/

Verb
Bring or gather together (things, typically when scattered or widespread).

Synonyms
verb. gather - assemble - accumulate - amass - muster - pick

col·lec·tion
/kəˈlekSHən/
Noun

The action or process of collecting someone or something.

Synonyms
gathering - assemblage - accumulation


This must be dismantled. The question is how do we accomplish that?

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Arrow 37 replies Author Time Post
Reply The root issue Snowden exposed: Clapper's Library (Original post)
hootinholler Jul 2013 OP
Tx4obama Jul 2013 #1
hootinholler Jul 2013 #3
99th_Monkey Jul 2013 #2
hootinholler Jul 2013 #14
allin99 Jul 2013 #4
wandy Jul 2013 #5
intaglio Jul 2013 #6
hootinholler Jul 2013 #7
intaglio Jul 2013 #8
hootinholler Jul 2013 #9
intaglio Jul 2013 #11
Octafish Jul 2013 #10
hootinholler Jul 2013 #12
Octafish Jul 2013 #17
hootinholler Jul 2013 #25
leveymg Jul 2013 #26
hootinholler Jul 2013 #28
leveymg Jul 2013 #32
hootinholler Jul 2013 #33
kentuck Jul 2013 #13
hootinholler Jul 2013 #15
hootinholler Jul 2013 #16
DCBob Jul 2013 #34
hootinholler Jul 2013 #35
DCBob Jul 2013 #36
hootinholler Jul 2013 #37
GiaGiovanni Jul 2013 #18
Catherina Jul 2013 #19
Octafish Jul 2013 #20
Quantess Jul 2013 #21
suffragette Jul 2013 #22
hootinholler Jul 2013 #23
suffragette Jul 2013 #24
KoKo Jul 2013 #27
allin99 Jul 2013 #29
KoKo Jul 2013 #30
hootinholler Jul 2013 #31

Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 04:35 PM

1. It is the 3 parties (TELECOMS) that 'collect' and own the meta-data


Therefore it is not protected under the 4th amendment according to the Courts.



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Response to Tx4obama (Reply #1)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 04:41 PM

3. He implies that there is much more than metadata in the book

The Church commission resulted in wiretap laws which are supposed to protect us from wholesale collection. I think the FISA court was also a result.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 04:37 PM

2. Hello? .. it wouldn't be a REAL "library" by definition, unless

 

the NSA CAN open up any and every book in it, IF they so choose. <--this is what Clapper's
being so dodgy about, is refusing to clearly answer in a way that admits this is true, even
using Clapper's own metaphor.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 06:50 PM

14. Of course they can

The issue is what's in the books, exactly.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 04:47 PM

4. Can i offer what might be a naive opinion...

I think it's up to Obama and people like Wyden, Udall.

I could swear to god i think obama does care about things that encroach on people civil liberties, i think supporting people in congress who support implementing laws that give citizens more protection could be the answer. I think obama *wants* to change things and given the chance he would. i don't think he'll *fight* for the issue, but the patriot act comes back up in what, 3 years? Can it be modified then? i mean, heck, if obama had some big ones he *could* just veto it, right? That would be the single easiest solution That would just be f'g hot. lol. .

i think it takes...
public pressure via momentum of the issue
- i think that will happen with more information being released, not just gg and his crazy shit, but whatever information Yahoo is able to get from the gov't
support to the congress persons who believe there should be changes made.
- those person would have to be identified. personally i'm willng to put whatever my yearly donations to political issues all to supporting the repeal of the most egregious parts of fisa and the patriot act. I already donated to Wyden and ACLU.

i'm so frustrated by people like wyden, etc's hands being so tied. he and 26 other senators demanded information. Does anyone know where that ended? i don't know. but when i searched i didn't find it but i found this...

Sorry it's the guardian, obviously they have an agenda, but i am pretty sure Wyden wouldn't mind the article, so here ya go:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/12/senator-ron-wyden-white-house-data-collection

One of the leading civil liberties supporters in the US Senate has said the Obama administration is considering scaling back its bulk collection of Americans' phone records.

Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon and a member of the Senate intelligence committee, told the New York Times that he believed the administration was increasingly concerned about the privacy implications raised by a surveillance effort it has performed for four and a half years, after National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed it to the Guardian.

"I have a feeling that the administration is getting concerned about the bulk phone records collection, and that they are thinking about whether to move administratively to stop it," Wyden told the Times.

Aides to Wyden said on Friday that the statement was based on public comments from executive branch officials and the senator's prior experience with the termination of a bulk email collection program in 2011, something the Guardian recently reported. The administration has given Wyden no additional assurances of changes to the phone records collection, the aides said.


but then again, and this is so frustrating:

A test of the administration's intentions about the future of the phone records collection is fast approaching. An order by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (Fisa) court compelling Verizon to provide the NSA with records of customers' phone calls expires on 19 July. The secret surveillance court orders have been renewed every 90 days for years.

Yet it is unclear if the public will know whether the bulk collection will continue as it is, be modified, or be cancelled. Fisa court orders are not public documents.


The good news being that secret orders operate under renewal, the bad news is, as it is now we won't know if they stop. So i think that's a pretty big issue, esp since people who reveal said secrets, well, are criminally charged.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 05:08 PM

5. Let's take this "library" metaphor one step further............

We can think of the "meta data" as the covers of YOU'RE books. Now the covers of of each book is all Dewey Decimaled in happy ones and zeros format. Your book covers.
Still with me?
OK.......
"when we go in that library and look for the books that we need to open up and actually read."
He said it, not me.

Well if all you are going to save is the covers of the book, the "meta data", how the heck are you going to actually read the book if you didn't save the pages?

Ever get the feeling that somebody might be fibbing?

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 05:24 PM

6. You've got hold of the wrong end of the stick

A large reference library gives every book a number as it comes in - the accession number - this has nothing to do with the subject matter it only has to do with the order in which the books arrive at that library and they are shelved in that order. The catalogue is where the descriptives by subject and title are placed. To look at the documents you fill in a request and that request forms a permanent record. What is more if certain restricted or fragile documents are requested the issue can be referred to other authorities for their permission.

Does this sound familiar? Replace books with websites and librarians with service providers ...

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Response to intaglio (Reply #6)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 05:31 PM

7. I don't think I do

My issue is what is in the book. Why is it being shelved in the first place!

By inference from Clapper's statements, it is not just metadata in the books, but content as well. I mean can he go get the Anthony Weiner's underwear txt in his library?

Does the library have the notion of water over the dam?

How is wanting those answers the wrong end of the stick?

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #7)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 05:38 PM

8. Go to a large reference library

You only see shelves of catalogues

If you go to the Library of Congress and request a book on bomb making you'd better believe that an alert goes to the FBI long before you told that that book is currently unavailable. I know for a fact that such alerts went to Special Branch from the British Library back in the '70s.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #8)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 05:45 PM

9. But the book exists

How did it get there?

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #9)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 05:52 PM

11. OK, play dumb

but the comparison the OP belittles still stands as relevant to the case of metadata.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 05:46 PM

10. Who are the Librarians?

Thank you for an outstanding post, hootinholler. Spot-on in every way.

How do we dismantle? Let's start with new leadership, from the four-star level on down. I'd suggest civilian leaders be appointed, specifically liberal Democrats with records of public service -- in uniform or not -- with no ties to the secret national security state. Otherwise, it's still a bunch of friends of Adm Poindexter and Ollie North filling the shelves and collecting the fines on just some of the overdue books.



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Response to Octafish (Reply #10)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 05:57 PM

12. If I were an Evil Brazillionaire Overlord...

I would buy me one of the DBAs on this project. I'm a technical professional. Rest assured there is a relatively small group of people of not very high rank in political terms who can access whatever they wish inside a corpus they have access rights to.

What would it take? All their kids win Ivy League scholarships? Some investment advice?

Give an EBO a fulcrum and they have a lever that will move the earth.

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #12)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 06:01 PM

17. Knowledge Is Power

In matters of war and commerce, one piece of information can be all the difference between making a killing and getting fleeced.

Here's a blast from the future readers may want to add to Gen. Clapper's bookshelf:



ECHELON Today: The Evolution of an NSA Black Program

Tom Burghardt
FRIDAY, JULY 12, 2013

EXCERPT...

By 1946, the permanent war economy which later came to be known as the Military-Industrial Complex, a semi-command economy directed by corporate executives, based on military, but also on emerging high-tech industries bolstered by taxpayer-based government investments, was already firmly entrenched and formed the political-economic base on which the so-called "American Century" was constructed.

While resource extraction and export market domination remained the primary goal of successive US administrations (best summarized by the slogan, "the business of government is business", advances in technology in general and telecommunications in particular, meant that the system's overlords required an intelligence apparatus that was always "on" as it "captured" the flood of electronic signals coursing across the planet.

The secret British and US agencies responsible for cracking German, Japanese and Russian codes during the war found themselves in a quandary. Should they declare victory and go home or train their sights on the new (old) adversary--their former ally, the Soviet Union--but also on home grown and indigenous communist and socialist movements more generally?

In opting for the latter, the UK-US wartime partnership evolved into a broad agreement to share signals and communications intelligence (SIGINT and COMINT), a set-up which persists today.

In 1946, Britain and the United States signed the United Kingdom-United States of America Agreement (UKUSA), a multilateral treaty to share signals intelligence amongst the two nations and Britain's Commonwealth partners, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Known as the "Five Eyes" agreement, the treaty was such a closely-guarded secret that Australia's Prime Minister was kept in the dark until 1973!

SNIP...

Amid serious charges that "Five Eyes" were illegally seizing industrial and trade secrets from "3rd party" European partners such as France and Germany, detailed in the European Parliament's 2001 ECHELON report, it should be clear by now that since its launch in 1968 when satellite communications became a practical reality, ECHELON has evolved into a global surveillance complex under US control.

CONTINUED...

http://antifascist-calling.blogspot.ca/2013/07/echelon-today-evolution-of-nsa-black.html



Information. It's what Brazillionaires crave.

Speaking of which...that term you used, "Sticks to my craw." I heard it used the other night watching a cowboy movie, "Open Range." Robert Duvall's character, the Old Cowboy, says it to his right hand man, played by Kevin Costner. I think the movie's five stars. While it's not today's standard Hollywood shoot-em-up, the film tells an excellent story. If it's a metaphor, the townsfolk mean We the People are gonna win.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #17)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 08:47 PM

25. A most excellent movie with a powerful lesson in moral behavior

As to something sticking in a craw, well anyone familiar with poultry is familiar with that. If you've ever seen a chicken with something stuck in its craw you'll not soon forget it.

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #12)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 09:44 PM

26. What_did_Tice_say_about_Cheney_tasking_the_Obama_and_political_intercepts?

Does_Cheney_qualify_as_an_EBO,_or_is_he_just_another_tool?

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Response to leveymg (Reply #26)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 09:48 AM

28. I'm not too sure about the brazilianaire part

Evil and Overlord are certainly up his alley.

I had private interests (Koch Bros) conducting espionage more in mind, but Cheney certainly is inbounds.

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #28)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 01:46 PM

32. "I am your father"

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Response to leveymg (Reply #32)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 08:29 PM

33. :D More like Rove's Father

Now that's one little prick who would have zero compunction about using such a library.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 06:03 PM

13. Am I supposed to trust this guy, Clapper, more than Edward Snowden?

Well, I don't.

These creeps have been stashing information for the last dozen Presidents. We need a yard sale to get rid of some of their shit. We need to add a lot of disinfectant.

They've grown accustomed to spying on people, including Americans. Mostly, they have had little oversight for a very long time. It is time to clean house.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #13)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 12:47 AM

15. There really needs to be a robust investigation.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 10:58 AM

16. I know this isn't very sexy

But I really thought it would draw more attention.

Especially with this in the interview:
ANDREA MITCHELL:

Taking the contents?

JAMES CLAPPER:

Exactly. That's what I meant. Now--

ANDREA MITCHELL:

You did not mean archiving the telephone numbers?

JAMES CLAPPER:

No.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Let me ask you about the content--

JAMES CLAPPER:

And this has to do with of course somewhat of a semantic, perhaps some would say too-- too cute by half. But it is-- there are honest differences on the semantics of what-- when someone says "collection" to me, that has a specific meaning, which may have a different meaning to him.

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #16)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 10:22 PM

34. that confusing exchange means nothing.

none of the nsa documents released so far indicate they are collecting and storing content.

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Response to DCBob (Reply #34)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 10:26 PM

35. Read the entire interview

Clapper is in a position to know and the context is pretty clear.

Are you saying information has to be in a document to be valid? We also don't yet have a definition of upstream.

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #35)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 10:29 PM

36. well if snowden has the motherload as he has claimed then why isnt it in any of the documents?

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Response to DCBob (Reply #36)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 10:33 PM

37. How would I know that?

Ask Greenwald? This is independant of Snowden, btw.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 06:06 PM

18. What he's implying is that every American now has an accessible "Permanent Record" of

 

every electronic communication we have ever made.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 06:11 PM

19. Clapper *clarified* his lie for the 1% and Snowden persists in his truth for the 99%

It's as simple as that.

How do we dismantle? Somewhere in Occupy's philosophy lies my answer.

Eat the rich.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 06:13 PM

20. Information is what Democracy and Spies crave.

A good read from what was in the public sphere:



Exposing the Global Surveillance System

In the late 1980′s, in a decision it probably regrets, the U.S. prompted New Zealand to join a new and highly secret global intelligence system. Hager’s investigation into it and his discovery of the Echelon dictionary has revealed one of the world’s biggest, most closely held intelligence projects. The system allows spy agencies to monitor most of the world’s telephone, e-mail, and telex communications.

by Nicky Hager
1st February 1997
Originally published in: Covert Action Quarterly

EXCERPT...

INFORMATION CONTROL: A highly organized system has been developed to control what is being searched for by each station and who can have access to it. This is at the heart of ECHELON operations and works as follows.

The individual station’s Dictionary computers do not simply have a long list of keywords to search for. And they do not send all the information into some huge database that participating agencies can dip into as they wish. It is much more controlled.

SNIP...

The whole system, devised by the NSA, has been adopted completely by the other agencies. The Dictionary computers search through all the incoming messages and, whenever they encounter one with any of the agencies’ keywords, they select it. At the same time, the computer automatically notes technical details such as the time and place of interception on the piece of intercept so that analysts reading it, in whichever agency it is going to, know where it came from, and what it is. Finally, the computer writes the four-digit code (for the category with the keywords in that message) at the bottom of the message’s text. This is important. It means that when all the intercepted messages end up together in the database at one of the agency headquarters, the messages on a particular subject can be located again. Later, when the analyst using the Dictionary system selects the four- digit code for the category he or she wants, the computer simply searches through all the messages in the database for the ones which have been tagged with that number.

This system is very effective for controlling which agencies can get what from the global network because each agency only gets the intelligence out of the ECHELON system from its own numbers. It does not have any access to the raw intelligence coming out of the system to the other agencies. For example, although most of the GCSB’s intelligence production is primarily to serve the UKUSA alliance, New Zealand does not have access to the whole ECHELON network. The access it does have is strictly controlled. A New Zealand intelligence officer explained: “The agencies can all apply for numbers on each other’s Dictionaries. The hardest to deal with are the Americans. … [There are] more hoops to jump through, unless it is in their interest, in which case they’ll do it for you.”

There is only one agency which, by virtue of its size and role within the alliance, will have access to the full potential of the ECHELON system the agency that set it up. What is the system used for? Anyone listening to official “discussion” of intelligence could be forgiven for thinking that, since the end of the Cold War, the key targets of the massive UKUSA intelligence machine are terrorism, weapons proliferation, and economic intelligence. The idea that economic intelligence has become very important, in particular, has been carefully cultivated by intelligence agencies intent on preserving their post-Cold War budgets. It has become an article of faith in much discussion of intelligence. However, I have found no evidence that these are now the primary concerns of organizations such as NSA.

CONTINUED...

http://www.nickyhager.info/exposing-the-global-surveillance-system/



When I read that, back when they were still publishing CAQ, I was surprised. It was the very NSA thing Frank Church warned us about.

“That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capability that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 07:06 PM

21. This thread is chock full of reading material.

Bookmarking for later.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 07:21 PM

22. Interesting how quickly he switched from "belongs to"

Because from content of our communications to our DNA, they've been laying claim to who and what we are and do as theirs. He could not finish "belongs to the American citizen" given all this and had to switch in mid-phrase.

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Response to suffragette (Reply #22)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 08:20 PM

23. Yes he almost slipped the truth out. n/t

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #23)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 08:29 PM

24. Thanks for this important thread

K&R

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 09:48 PM

27. YEP! Recommend!

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 12:28 PM

29. omg, were those statement from clapper supposed to make us feel *better*? ay yi yi n/t

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 12:35 PM

30. Thanks, Hoot! You bring up an interesting point about what Clapper said..

glad to see that reference he made. And, yes, it needs to be brought out and discussed.

There's some more info about how they do it in the Snowden releases. Will see if I can find.

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Response to KoKo (Reply #30)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 01:06 PM

31. Look at post 16

Clapper clearly states that this collection of data extends to the content, not just metadata. He also says that collect doesn't mean collect, but it means view. From other sources Like today's WaPo article (which I take with a grain of salt because the WaPo has long been in bed with the CIA) we have confirmation that call content is being stored, or as Clapper likes to say, it's in the book.

IMHO the fact the book exists before any warrant is sought is the illegal part.

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