Aug 26 2007

AJStrata Once Again Vindicated On FISA-NSA Issue

Published by at 2:40 pm under All General Discussions,FISA-NSA

I have a long post below on the political implications of the recent FISA-NSA debate based on a wondefully candid interview by the El Paso Times with Mike McConnell, National Intelligence Director. But in this interview McConnell makes some statements which vindicate what I have been saying all along about the NSA-FISA dustup the NY Times started when it erroneously claimed we were ‘bypassing FISA” with NSA intercepts:

There are a couple of issues to just be sensitive to. There’s a claim of reverse targeting. Now what that means is we would target somebody in a foreign country who is calling into the United States and our intent is to not go after the bad guy, but to listen to somebody in the United States. That’s not legal, it’s, it would be a breach of the Fourth Amendment. You can go to jail for that sort of thing. And If a foreign bad guy is calling into the United States, if there’s a need to have a warrant, for the person in the United States, you just get a warrant. And so if a terrorist calls in and it’s another terrorist, I think the American public would want us to do surveillance of that U.S. person in this case. So we would just get a warrant and do that. It’s a manageable thing. On the U.S. persons side it’s 100 or less. And then the foreign side, it’s in the thousands. Now there’s a sense that we’re doing massive data mining. In fact, what we’re doing is surgical. A telephone number is surgical. So, if you know what number, you can select it out. So that’s, we’ve got a lot of territory to make up with people believing that we’re doing things we’re not doing.

I have said this for years now. The NSA was simply targetting known or highly suspected terrorists overseas and, if they came into contact with people here in the US, the complete information (content, name of person in America, location of person in America) was passed to the FBI for investigation and possible surveillance warrant. Priolr to 9-11 only the content of the communication could be passed on. The fact is the NY Times misled itself and/or the public about this issue, and in the process of this ineptitude exposed and crippled a key element of our national defence. This story is primarily about misleading and incorrect information, not issues of privacy or abuse of power.

Q. So you’re saying that the reporting and the debate in Congress means that some Americans are going to die?
A. That’s what I mean. Because we have made it so public. We used to do these things very differently, but for whatever reason, you know, it’s a democratic process and sunshine’s a good thing. We need to have the debate. The reason that the FISA law was passed in 1978 was an arrangement was worked out between the Congress and the administration, we did not want to allow this community to conduct surveillance, electronic surveillance, of Americans for foreign intelligence unless you had a warrant, so that was required. So there was no warrant required for a foreign target in a foreign land. And so we are trying to get back to what was the intention of ’78. Now because of the claim, counterclaim, mistrust, suspicion, the only way you could make any progress was to have this debate in an open way.

Basically, we are having this debate to correct this misrepresentations made by the NY Times and its sources. And because of them and their mistakes, Americans will die.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “AJStrata Once Again Vindicated On FISA-NSA Issue”

  1. MerlinOS2 says:

    If for example the Iranian Republican Guard calls Sadr and says put an IED on route Tampa because a supply convoy will be there tomorrow and that call is routed through a switch here we gotta do extra processing.

    I call BS.

    How many warrants do you think we have to get to kick down a door in Iraq?

    Out of country is free game, but the ACLU and others think we are looking at bits traveling the net of them and the significant other in a hot webcam session.

    They over value their entertainment value.

  2. MerlinOS2 says:

    In other news,

    I have attended the last two Kos conventions just to sit and observe the panelists and the crowd.

    They have gone from a bunch of dinner rolls in a package to a slightly higher lifeform with little subtle increments.

    I especially watched Kos himself, who like all of us is aging.

    It will be hard for him to maintain the edge of how he wants to present his mantra.

    Yes he can as the moment needs cut out with a soulful thread of very good words to inspire his followers and similar thinkers.

    But age will most likely mellow that out, and it is proven by his many other posts lately that show that profile.

    Temporary granularity of perceived gains don’t make reality and someone will likely be slammed with that.

    But when that happens they will react in a very non positive manner causing a bump of support.

    Kos has a following of something near 600k users and maybe 4 to 10 times that in readers.

    One major city in the US in size if you put them all in the same room.

    Probably about the same number of people who know who Code Pink is.

    Yup he is a force on the web in the blogsphere, but that is something that is still in it’s birth pangs.

    Wait to see what tomorrow brings.