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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: We Welcome Our NSA Overlords

“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”
-1984, George Orwell

“The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.”
-USA Today, May 11, 2006

“Um… Whoa! That can’t be right. They wouldn’t be keeping tabs on TENS OF MILLIONS of Americans. They only want to go after terrorists. The rest of us don’t have to be worried. Set ‘em straight Dubya.”

“Neither Bush nor his subordinates denied any factual statement in the USA Today report, which said AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. have provided customer calling records to the NSA since shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Together those companies serve about 224 million conventional and cellular telephone customers -- about four-fifths of the wired market and more than half of the wireless market. According to data provided by the research group TeleGeography, the three companies connected nearly 500 billion telephone calls in 2005 and nearly 2 trillion calls since late 2001.
Though he did not acknowledge particulars, the president complained that any leak about ‘sensitive intelligence’ methods ‘hurts our ability to defeat this enemy.’ Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), who said he has been briefed on ‘all aspects of the NSA's activities,’ likewise said he is ‘increasingly frustrated with the release of sensitive data regarding our nation's best defenses’ against terrorist attack.
Government access to call records is related to the previously disclosed eavesdropping program, sources said, because it helps the NSA choose its targets for listening. The mathematical techniques known as ‘link analysis’ and ‘pattern analysis,’ they said, give grounds for suspicion that can result in further investigation.
‘Let's say lots comes in and we don't see anything interesting,’ said a source who helped develop the technology. ‘Tomorrow we find out someone is communicating with a known terrorist. When you go back and look at the past data, there may be information that you missed. A pattern that was meaningless suddenly makes sense."
-Washington Post, May 12, 2006

“But Dubya… You can’t be spying on America like that. I remember what you said before.”

“Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, April 20, 2004

“The Patriot Act helps us defeat our enemies while safeguarding civil liberties for all Americans. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone, or to track his calls, or to search his property. Officers must meet strict standards to use any of the tools we're talking about. And they are fully consistent with the Constitution of the United States.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, July 20, 2005

“But it sure doesn’t seem like there is a lot of oversight going on…”

“…Is it legal?

Then why did the Justice Department suddenly drop its investigation of the warrantless spying on citizens? Because the NSA said Justice Department lawyers didn't have the necessary security clearance to do the investigation.
Read that sentence again.
A secret government agency has told our Justice Department that it's not allowed to investigate it. And the Justice Department just says okay and drops the whole thing.
We're in some serious trouble here boys and girls.
Here's the question.
‘Does it concern you that your phone company may be voluntarily providing your phone records to the government without your knowledge or permission?’
If it doesn't it sure as hell ought to.”
-Jack Cafferty, CNN, May 11, 2006

“Wow. Imagine, a database of who everyone, like reporters and Democrats and people like that, has been talking to… No, they’d never abuse that. The White House has so far shown such restraint.”

“Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show.”
-New York Times, December 20, 2005

“They’d never use this data against their political enemies. Never. Hmm… Who is the criminal mastermind behind this massive data-sifting program?”

“Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, nominated Monday by President Bush to become the director of the CIA, headed the NSA from March 1999 to April 2005. In that post, Hayden would have overseen the agency's domestic call-tracking program. Hayden declined to comment about the program.”
-USA Today, May 11, 2006

“Not to worry though… This huge database is only to be used to target the actual illegal wiretapping that the NSA is doing.”

“Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the former N.S.A. director who is now the second-ranking intelligence official in the country, was asked at a White House briefing this week whether there had been any ‘purely domestic’ intercepts under the program.
‘The authorization given to N.S.A. by the president requires that one end of these communications has to be outside the United States,’ General Hayden answered. ‘I can assure you, by the physics of the intercept, by how we actually conduct our activities, that one end of these communications are always outside the United States.’
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales also emphasized that the order only applied to international communications. ‘People are running around saying that the United States is somehow spying on American citizens calling their neighbors,’ he said. ‘Very, very important to understand that one party to the communication has to be outside the United States.’"
-New York Times, December 21, 2005

“Now someone is going to need to explain to me why they needed a database of every American phone call if the are only illegally spying on calls with one party outside of the United States. Don’t worry though. They are only spying on you for your own good.”

“Q If you're fiercely protecting Americans' rights to privacy, why would you need a database of tens of millions of American phone call records?
MS. PERINO: Well, not confirming or denying or acknowledging the substance of the story this morning in USA Today, what the President said today, all intelligence activities of the United States are limited and targeted and focused solely on al Qaeda and al Qaeda's affiliates. They are the enemy.
The government has no interest in knowing what innocent Americans are talking about on their domestic phone calls. So if you are calling to make reservations at a restaurant, and if you are calling your daughter at college, or if you are calling to plan your wedding, the government has no interest in knowing about those calls. The government is interested in finding out if al Qaeda is planning an attack in America -- you can bet that we want to make sure that we get ahead of that to prevent that and to save lives.”
-White House Press Gaggle with Dana Perino, May 11, 2006

“So just quit your doubting and support the Dictator.. um.. I mean the Decider.. um.. I guess I mean the President. Fearless Leader knows what’s best.”

“The White House continued to stand by its nominee for CIA director, Gen. Michael Hayden, amid new controversy over the surveillance programs he piloted as head of the National Security Agency.”
-Associated Press, May 12, 2006

“O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”
-1984, George Orwell


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