The NSA Claims It Is "Too Big to Comply" With A Court Order

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The fact that that the NSA is now claiming it is “Too Big to Comply” with a court order is an extremely important revelation since it further proves that the super rich and super powerful are in no way shape or form subject to the same laws as the rest of us. The mega banks are “Too Big to Fail,” multi-national corporations are “Too Big to Pay Taxes” and the government is just “Too Big to be Useful.” The rule of law no longer exists in America (remember Jon Corzine), which in turn means there is no longer a functioning society. This may not be obvious to most people at the moment, but it will become painfully clear to everyone in time unless these trends are reversed.

The specific incident I have chosen to highlight to demonstrate this point today relates to the NSA’s claim that it cannot comply with a court order because it’s essentially too complex and compliance will damage “national security.”

Of course, any mature civilization exposed to the unconstitutional activities of its intelligence agencies should find such a claim extraordinarily suspect. After all, the NSA can just shout “national security” and do absolutely anything it wants unless we collectively grow a pair and say no.

We find out from the ACLU that: 

In a remarkable legal filing on Friday afternoon, the NSA told a federal court that its spying operations are too massive and technically complex to comply with an order to preserve evidence. The NSA, in other words, now says that it cannot comply with the rules that apply to any other party before a court — the very rules that ensure legal accountability — because it is too big. 


The filing came in a long-running lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation challenging the NSA’s warrantless collection of Americans’ private data. Recently, the plaintiffs in that case have fought to ensure that the NSA is preserving relevant evidence — a standard obligation in any lawsuit — and not destroying the very data that would show the agency spied on the plaintiffs’ communications. Yet, as in so many other instances, the NSA appears to believe it is exempt from the normal rules.


For an agency whose motto is “Collect It All,” the NSA’s claim that its mission could be endangered by a court order to preserve evidence is a remarkable one. That is especially true given the immense amount of data the NSA is known to process and warehouse for its own future use. 


The crucial question is this: If the NSA does not have to keep evidence of its spying activities, how can a court ever test whether it is in fact complying with the Constitution?

Bingo. The whole system is broken. Completely and totally broken. 

As Brett Max Kaufman and I have written before, our system of oversight is broken — this is only the latest warning sign flashing red. The NSA has grown far beyond the ability of its overseers to properly police its spying activities. That includes the secret FISA Court, which has struggled to monitor the NSA’s compliance with basic limits on its surveillance activities. It includes the congressional oversight committees, which operate with too little information and too often appear captive to the interests of the intelligence community. And, now we are to believe, it includes the public courts as well. 


No intelligence agency should be too big to be accountable to the rule of law.

Too late for that one. The Washington Post adds some additional nuggets to the story:

In a hearing Friday, U.S. District  for the Northern District of California Judge Jeffrey S. White reversed an emergency order he had issued earlier the same week barring the government from destroying data that the Electronic Frontier Foundation had asked be preserved for that case. The data is collected under Section 702 of the Amendments Act to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. 


The complexity of the NSA systems meant preservation efforts might not work, he argued, but would have “an immediate, specific, and harmful impact on the national security of the United States.” Part of this complexity, Ledgett said, stems from privacy restrictions placed on the programs by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.


The government’s explanation raises more concerns, said Cindy Cohn, EFF’s legal director. “To me, it demonstrates that once the government has custody of this information even they can’t keep track of it anymore even for purposes of what they don’t want to destroy,” she said in an interview.


“With the huge amounts of data that they’re gathering it’s not surprising to me that it’s difficult to keep track– that’s why I think it’s so dangerous for them to be collecting all this data en masse,” Cohn added.


But it’s unclear just how much of the data EFF seeks has already been destroyed. In a brief filed with the court in May, EFF said there was “no doubt” that the government had already destroyed evidence related to the claims.

It is precisely because of the issues presented in this article that we must radically move away from overly centralized political, social and economic structures. The tools for decentralization are being developed as we speak, and I look forward to a much brighter and freer future.

The choice is ours.

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Isotope's picture

I think I'm going to use this precedent with the IRS. "I'm sorry, my records are so massive and unorganized, I can't find any of the receipts or documentation for the deductions and tax credits that offset my entire tax bill. So we're good, right?"


If we all did it, it would work. If you did it...well, you know. 

wee-weed up's picture



We had TBTF...

Now add TBTC!


SoberOne's picture

Just watched shadow recruit. The propaganda never stops. So who has infiltrated us? The Nazis,  Russians,  ir transnational banks? 

You're my hero Mike, love your work!

Fukushima Sam's picture

Further proof of the Panopticon.

They are not gathering nearly as much data as they want us to believe.

Oracle 911's picture

What about "To Big To Fund". :)

telefunken's picture

f you are rich enough (or if you are APPle,Ge,etc.) it will work.

Flood the zone.

Grinder74's picture

Actually, if someone can be "too big" to comply, it stands to reason that someone can also be "too small" to comply.  Since there is no way I can match the massive budget and lawerly resources of a government agency, I am unable to comply.

y3maxx's picture

....freaking unbelievable...

ForWhomTheTollBuilds's picture

My memory has gotten pretty hazy but shortly before the last biggest US housing bubble of all time burst (2007 ish), the Congress held some special hearings to see if they should try to reign in Fannie and Freddie.  One of the executives told the congress not to bother passing any new rules because they wouldn't be following them anyway.   He basically said, they should save themselves the embarassment. I think his name was Raines.

Looking back on it, perhaps that would have been a good time for someone to have put their foot down?   

Ahh, look at me and my crazy theories. 

ChopperReid's picture

"With all due respect.. get FUCKED !!"


ChopperReid's picture

"With all due respect.. get FUCKED !!"


stant's picture

They will be a unfunded greasy spot when this is over. Heroin money only last until there is no money. That thing in Utah will be like a old flakturen (flack tower) in Berlin.

Billy Sol Estes's picture

Urban explorers are already planning their routes

NidStyles's picture

How am I supposed to react to this? I don't even....

A Lunatic's picture

You do what you like, but I'm going to have an aneurism.......

ForWhomTheTollBuilds's picture

As I noted in my anecdote above (about Raines) they are pushing their advantage like anyone who knows no one will stand up to them.  Humans are pack animals and all sorts of individuals (and nations for that matter) are telling the old dogs how things are going to be run from now on.

I've always said that to be a politician one must first be a coward.  Looks like these NSA spooks understand what I meant.

I am a Man I am Forty's picture

gotta love circular arguments

krispkritter's picture

Read a 'study' recently that said that most women will be satisfied with a 6 1/2" pecker.  Top commenter said 'I could give them the 6.5 inches they prefer, but I'm not bending mine in half for anybody!' I have to agree.  I'm not bending over for anybody, even those who think they're too big for the rest of us.  The way I see it, if they're that 'big', it's easier for them to go fuck themselves... 

jeff montanye's picture

i think it's more the girth than the length.  unless you're sucking yourself.

Yen Cross's picture

    But not so big, "that they can't find a knat on an elephants ass".

Xanadu_doo's picture

Shocked I say. Shocked.

philosophers bone's picture

We are basically headed towards at least one mass murder a day.  I just can't believe that it hasn't gone beyond isolated nailgun incidents with the bankers yet.

CCanuck's picture


That is because the typical whackjob mass killer has no idea who is behind this mess.

They simply focus thier attention to the factors that directly affect them, or simply go on a rampage to areas they will meet the least resistance for entry and execution; usually heavily medicated or a period of withdrawl on/from SSRI's as well.

If a zHedgie were to snap, I am certain they would know where to hunt, where to hit for greatest impact.

The Shit is real when these start happen'n....right now nobody important is getting whacked...when was the last assasination of any relevent statesman/power player?

3-4 hits on major players and its time to bunker down, IMO.


NidStyles's picture

The real question is who are the real players? All I ever see are their sycophants.


So if there is a real script to all of this, then some things are obviously missing from the puzzle. 

CCanuck's picture been here a while, are you suggesting that you would find it difficult to create a list of ....lets say 5-7 dooshbags that have done nothing but destroy for personal gain?

There are numerous degenerate cocksuckers in the powerplaya world that have destroyed 100's of families, responsible for thousands of deaths.

Fuck the .0001% is full murdering sociopaths,  highest per capita of stone cold criminals than any other group....

These cocksuckers are not that hard to find, use hookers and blow as bait, a thinking hunter could have a limit day by noon.


XitSam's picture

Assassination? LOL That Kony guy is still alive as far as I know.

kowalli's picture

Next one - too super human to judge according to the law or is it was?

nmewn's picture

So, we've finally gotten past the dazzling them with brilliance and the baffling them with bullshit part and its a straight face plant into a steaming pile of bullshit now.


Almost there kids, patience ;-)

Bad Attitude's picture

I am amazed by how blatant the lies from our government "leaders" have become. And, when they get caught in an obvious lie, they respond with an even more preposterous lie. With a search engine and YouTube, it is so easy to catch them in a lie and document it. No wonder the Obama regime wants to control the internet.

Forward (over the cliff)!

A Lunatic's picture

"I'm on it. Yep it's all good."    -Eric Holder-

A Lunatic's picture

The tools for decentralization are being developed as we speak


They have actually been around for quite some time.....Guillotines, pitchforks, ropes, torches.....

intric8's picture

too big, ey? Let's put the nailgun down and go for the fucking chainsaw already. These agencies need to be reduced to pieces.

SameAsItEverWas's picture

The tools for decentralization are being developed as we speak They have actually been around for quite some time.....Guillotines, pitchforks, ropes, torches.....

Umm.  Guns and ammo have been around ever since gunpowder, which was too antiquated for all the bombings we had in the 1960s and 1970s.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, they never really looked very hard to find out if they were missing any small nukes, aka ADMs. Those would do just fine.  Why bother developing any new tools?  Seems to me the existing tools would work just fine.

I used to work with fine folks who keep the nukes safe and sound.  And I know for a fact that the nukes left in Ukraine were protected as were all of the Russian Bear's nukes by locks and keys developed by Ukrainian mathematicians who did all that R&D right in Ukraine.

Just sayin.  There are things going on now over there.


Zoomorph's picture

There are technical challenges to storing huge amounts of data indefinitely. Consider the amount of memory that would be required and the added maintenance of swapping memory in and out to backup. And consider that most of that information is probably garbage that can be purged. Updating a large software introduces the possibility for bugs and will likely require weeks of testing.

That is what the filing appears to be about.

The article is off in never-never land.

I actually think it's more comforting that they discard data after 2-5 years than keep it indefinitely. This means that that'll only have 2-5 years on anyone (unless they were flagged for particular interest earlier on).

nmewn's picture


They were never supposed to have it without AN INDIVIDUAL WARRANT (that nasty ole BoR's again) in the first place!

The peoples Bill of Rights has been abrogated by the state and you're talking about the fucking technicalities of them properly disposing of the shit they stole from us?

"Dammit...I've stolen so many cars it would damage the used car market severely to just dump all these cars out there, so as an act of kindness on my part (to all used car salesman everywhere) I'm gonna hold on to these until I can figure out what to do with them. 

Its just the right thing to do (Shiny gold tooth smile)" fucking and all your accomplices are going to suffer the consequences from stealing from us.

Zoomorph's picture

I'm not saying that I support NSA spying, I'm just not sure what all the fuss about this story is. IMO this article is taking something out of context and/or blowing a lot of smoke.

I'm not surprised because, frankly, there are a couple bloggers ZH regularly sources articles from that sound like young kids trying to stir up as much controversy as they can by writing emotionally charged articles complete with smoke and mirrors. This guy is one of them. I wish they stuck to legitimate news articles instead of bloggers' commentaries.

NidStyles's picture

That "cool passivity" is what is wrong with the world, you are too willing to put up with too much BS so the crazies get emboldened. 


In order words, you're too passive towards them. You let them walk all over you and do not tell them that they are in the wrong. Basically you're appeasing and enabling these assholes, that is the point. You should be pissed off and saying something about it instead of sounding like a defeated slave. You don't have to get inflammatory, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be saying something about it being an issue.

Zoomorph's picture

Tbh, I'm not yet convinced that TPTB are the enemy. I think that the masses may be a worse enemy than TPTB. They would happily create a socialist utopia for us if they were in power (ie. a true democracy), where everyone would be equal(ly stupid) and life would be perfectly boring, safe, and meaningless.

If TPTB is aiming to weaken the masses and eventually impose a new order on them, then maybe we should actually support these "bad guys"?

Not that I particularly cherish TPTB, but I'm looking for an alternative before I condemn them.

margaris's picture

So.... you'd rather work with the slavemaster, because your fellow slaves are just too incapable and stupid savages.

You know 200 years ago there was a Name for that:

house negro

Zoomorph's picture

I'm not your average nihilistic slave... I don't care that much about my personal happiness. I'd sacrifice myself for any cause over personal happiness, which I perceive as empty and futile. If I see the absolute abolition of slavery as a bad thing for mankind, why shouldn't I support the masters in the great fight, even if I am one of the slaves by monetary standards (I guess I'm not by moral standards)?

House negros worked with the slavemasters for paltry personal gain.

CCanuck's picture

Your personal gain could never be paltry, because you don;t care about your personal happiness, you'd sacrifice yourself?

Jesus... is that you??..Is this your second comming, are you gonna end slavery by giving in to the slave masters.

Thank the Lord no more House Negros. Zoomorph has saved us all..rejoice,

Amen Brother....




You're an Idiot


Zoomorph's picture

I realize that happiness is a secondary phenomenon. It comes and goes and is in proportion with the amount of unhappiness also experienced (as hot is to cold). The masses who pursue happiness will never find it, except maybe in soma or rewiring their brains, but even then it would be worthwhile and meaningless.

To experience happiness, or emotions of any kind, or to be considered alive, mankind needs a cause to fight for. They need hope. It's no surprise that after every problem of "inequality" is solved, a new, smaller one always arises from the shadows to replace it. The common cause of the slaves is to fight against slavery and discomfort in all forms, but this is a nihilistic cause because if it were ever met, they would have defeated themselves.

I am no exception. After rejecting the common cause of the slaves, I also need a cause to fight for. Am I like Jesus? Perhaps in some ways.

Bemused Observer's picture

Damn! What the hell are you ON?

SoberOne's picture

Someone grab me a blanket; its a bit shilly in here...

OldPhart's picture
Member for
27 weeks 4 days

Zero Hedge:  We have another one.

Zoomorph's picture

Someone who dares question the mob mentality? Silence him! ;-)

BTW - I'm genuinely curious here. I'm hoping someone can teach me a lesson or challenge my views. My fear is that all I'll get are personal attacks.

If it's really self-evident that TPTB are bad, someone must be able to explain why in a logical argument, including what the alternatives are.