The NSA Is Still Spying On All Americans ...

George Washington's picture

The man who designed the NSA’s electronic intelligence gathering system (Bill Binney) sent us an affidavit which he signed on the Fourth of July explaining that the NSA is still spying on normal, every day Americans … and not focused on stopping terror attacks (I’ve added links to provide some background):

The attacks on September 11, 2001 completely changed how the NSA conducted surveillance …. the individual liberties preserved in the U.S. Constitution were no longer a consideration. In October 2001, the NSA began to implement a group of intelligence activities now known as the “President’s Surveillance Program.”

 

The President’s Surveillance Program involved the collection of the full content of domestic e-mail traffic without any of the privacy protections built into [the program that Binney had designed]. This was done under the authorization of Executive Order 12333. This meant that the nation’s e-mail could be read by NSA staff members without the approval of any court or judge.

 

***

 

The NSA is still collecting the full content of U.S. domestic e-mail, without a warrant. We know this because of the highly-detailed information contained in the documents

leaked by former NSA-contractor, Edward Snowden. I have personally reviewed many of these documents.

 

I can authenticate these documents because they relate to programs that I created and supervised during my years at the NSA.

 

[U.S. government officials] have also admitted the authenticity of these documents.

 

***

 

The documents provided by Mr. Snowden are the type of data that experts in the intelligence community would typically and reasonably rely upon to form an opinion as to the conduct of the intelligence community.

 

[The Snowden documents prove that the NSA is still spying on most Americans.]

 

When Mr. Snowden said that he could read the e-mail of a federal judge if he had that judge’s e­mail address, he was not exaggerating.

 

***

 

The NSA is creating a program that shows the real-time location of all cell phones, tablets and computers in the world, at any time. To have a state-actor engaging in this sort of behavior, without any court supervision, is troubling.

 

***

 

In their public statements, [government officials] claim that collection of information is limited, and is being done pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”). FBI Director James Comey recently described Section 702 of FISA as the “crown jewel” of the intelligence community.

 

Defendants, however, are not being candid with the Court. Collection is actually being done pursuant to Executive Order 12333(2)(3)(c), which — to my knowledge — has never been subject to judicial review. This order allows the intelligence community to collect incidentally obtained information that may indicate involvement in activities that may violate  federal, state, local or foreign laws.” Any lawyer can appreciate the scope of this broad language.   [Background.]

 

***

 

According to media reports, President Obama’s former National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, requested e­mail and phone records on President Trump and various members of his political campaign during and after the 2016 election.

 

According to these reports, the National Security Council (“NSC”) has computer logs showing when Rice requested and viewed such records. The requests were made from July 2016 through January 2017, and included President Trump and various members of his campaign staff According to an internal NSC report, the accessed information contained “valuable political information on the Trump transition.” Rice’s requests into Trump-related conversations increased following the presidential election last November. None of the requests were reviewed by any independent court.

 

***

 

We also know that certain NSA staffers have used their access to e-mail and phone calls to conduct surveillance on current and former significant others. The NSA has referred to this sort of action as “LOVEINT,” a phrase taken from other internal-NSA terms of art, such as “SIGINT” for signals intelligence.

 

***

 

Bulk collection makes it impossible for the NSA to actually do its job.

 

For example, consider the Pinwale program, discussed above, in which the NSA searches the collected data based on certain pre-defined keywords, known as the “dictionary.” The results from the dictionary search are known as the “daily pull.”

 

Eighty percent of the NSA’s resources go towards review of the daily pull. The problem is that the daily pull is enormous. It is simply not possible for one analyst to review all questionable communications made by millions of people generating e-mail, text messages, web search queries, and visits to websites. Every person making a joke about a gun, bomb or a terrorist incident theoretically gets reviewed by a live person. This is not possible. When I was at the NSA, each analyst was theoretically required to review 40,000 to 50,000 questionable records each day. The analyst gets overwhelmed, and the actual known targets — from the metadata analysis — get ignored.

This is clear from some of the internal NSA memos released by Edward Snowden and published by the Intercept. In these memos, NSA analysts say:

 

“NSA is gathering too much data. . . . It’s making it impossible to focus.”

 

“Analysis Paralysis.”

 

“Data Is Not Intelligence.”

“Overcome by Overload.”

 

Bulk collection is making it difficult for the NSA to find the real threats. [Indeed.]  The net effect from the current approach is that people die first. The NSA has missed repeated terrorist incidents over the last few years, despite its mass monitoring efforts. The NSA cannot identify future terrorism because 99.9999% of what it collects and analyzes is foreseeably irrelevant. This is swamping the intelligence community, while creating the moral hazards and risks to the republic ….

 

After a terrorist incident occurs, only then do analysts and law enforcement go into their vast data, and focus on the perpetrators of the crime. This is exactly the reverse of what they should be doing. If the NSA wants to predict intentions and capabilities prior to the crime, then it must focus on known subversive relationships, giving decision-makers time to react and influence events.

 

There is a second reason why data mining bulk collected data is a waste of time and resources: the professional terrorists know that we are looking at their e-mail and telephonic communications. As a result, they use code words that are not in the dictionary, and will not come up in the daily pull.

 

***

 

Thus, collecting mass amounts of data and searching it to find the proverbial needle in a haystack doesn’t work. It is fishing in the empty ocean, where the fish are scientifically and foreseeably not present.

Binney explains what we should do instead:

The truth is that there has always been a safe, alternate path to take. That’s a focused, professional, disciplined selection of data off the fiber lines.

 

***

 

I serve as a consultant to many foreign governments on the issues described in this affidavit. As such, I have testified before the German Parliament, the British House of Lords, and the EU Libe Committee on Civil Liberties on these issues. I also consult regularly with members of the European Union on intelligence issues.

 

***

 

It is my understanding that the European Union intends to adopt legislation requiring its intelligence community to get out of the business of bulk collection, and implement smart selection.

 

***

 

Smart selection is not enough. Governments, courts and the public need to have an absolute means of verifying what intelligence agencies are doing. This should be done within government by having a cleared technical team responsible to the whole of government and the courts with the authority and clearances to go into any intelligence agency and look directly into databases and tools in use. This would insure that government as a whole could get to the bottom line truth of what the intelligence agencies were really doing

 

I would also suggest that agencies be required to implement software that audits their analytic processes to insure compliance with law and to automatically detect and report any violations to the courts and others.

Indeed, Binney has patiently explained for many years that we know how to help prevent terrorism … and corruption is what’s preventing us from doing it.

Binney thinks we should get serious about motivating the intelligence agencies to do their job.

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Dwarsligger's picture

Well at least the NSA is now in the public eye. Here in Europe, no one has heard of INDECT.

Disruption Through Social Media

http://globalcitizennews.blogspot.nl/2017/07/reading-over-my-shoulder-di...

BlueGreen's picture

All sounds like deliberate confusion to cover up the bottom line of being able to control the Hoi Poloi.  This is where those with just enough IQ to be a danger to themselves and others get to when left in the dark to grow on the BS if marketing relegion to products including politicians. 

 

Hopefully quantum entangled computers aren't being used by us/AI to communicate across time to add an extra layer of stupid to the god complex mix of crap in the almost genius minds of TPTB

Bay Area Guy's picture

The problem with focusing on known subversive relationships is that to do so would require "gasp" profiling of suspects based, in part on such things as country of origin. The MSM keeps telling me that's bad.

Hammer of Light's picture

Dear NSA - Go FUCK A BIG FAT HOMOSEXUAL GOVERNMENT DICK!

Did you assholes in Maryland get that memo I just posted?

roadhazard's picture

I like to smile at all the pubescent blabber they have to sort through. Anybody (smart) who is fucking with America is smart enough not to leave a trail that gets them caught before they do the deed. Intel collection is a crap shoot, imho.

Reaper's picture

This power corrupts absolutely. What protects against government hacks fabricating anything to incriminate anyone? The stupid American Exceptionals believe FBI and government hack testimony in court. How would anyone defend when the government hack reported finding terrorist/child-pornography/Russian or Iranian or NK directives on your computer, when your computer is "safely" in government "protection?"

allgoodmen's picture

Here's a job for 4chan: Drown NSA in white noise. Send nonsense emails and include vast encrypted attachments for them to waste their time storing and attempting to decode.

While we're at it, make a new kind of browser (an add-on perhaps?), that surfs random general interest pages while you're not there. Marketers get fucked over too, as kind of a bonus.

Duc888's picture

 

 

Keep in mind, like William Binney saiys over and over......  Trump could revoke their charter and / or Congress could defund them tomorrow, but that will never happen.

 

 

konadog's picture

That's exactly right and Congress should scatter these agencies to the four winds. They serve no purpose other than getting into mischief and wasting tax dollars by the $billions.

Chupacabra-322's picture

I've seen Bill Binney interviewed where he used the term:

Swindling.

When making reference that The American Tax Payer is getting swindled was the point he made.

Now we have the Pure Evil Criminal Psychopaths #Vault7 UMBRAGE CIA functioning in the exact or worse NSA capabilities & capacities.

It's become Spy Vs. Spy with these Criminal Treasonous Seditious Psychopath Intel Agencies.

PrivetHedge's picture

Pretty all terror attacks are ordered by or known to and allowed to happen by (when convenient) our agencies anyway.

 

This is why they don't use the internet drags for spotting terrorists. The number of true terrorists are vanishingly small, despite the US militaries best efforts to piss people off around the world.

DuneCreature's picture

Another thing not well understood about all of the mass surveillance by dot gov; .......The whole thing is a Clusterfuck of Intrigue (tm) behind the scenes.

For analysts in the IC at a certain level up the chain of command all logging of "Who sees what or who has accessed what data" completely stops. ...... All monitoring ceases above a certain level.

What does this mean?

It means if you are the Deputy Director, one of the department heads at the NSA OR a contractor with a 'special status' no one knows what you might be doing with the data you access. ...... You could be a foreign spy, you could be blackmailing a Federal judge, you could be spying on your next-door neighbor's teenage daughter's phone calls or simply watching what your trophy wife is doing with her credit cards.

Whatever that person with rank is accessing is a black hole of no info and no one can ever rebuild a history of their use of the system.

At what level does that audit trail stop? ........... No one knows for sure but root and 'maybe' Root Beer Bear's Boss (tm).

Live Hard, 'National Security', My Ass, All The Spying Is 'National Pilfering' For Profit And Personal Gain, Die Free

~ DC v7.3

JailBanksters's picture

Guilty until proven Innocent, so you can be arrested for pre-crimes.

 

PrivetHedge's picture

Saddam was murdered for crimes he was accused of being capable of.

JailBanksters's picture

GWB ordered people be murdered based on Manufactured Evidence created by the US Government by Intel from CNN

Why is one Okay and the other NOT Okay

VWAndy's picture

 If the NSA was the good guys? How much corruption could they stop?

Seal's picture

 #NSA treats citizens as the adversary not terrorists. Ergo what they are doing makes total sense.

New_Meat's picture

hey GW, since the rooskies don't have Hillary's e-mails, maybe the nozuch agenzy could help out?

VWAndy's picture

 Sick puppies.

TheFulishBastid's picture

I wanted to tell a joke about the NSA, but I feel like they've heard them all before.

meditate_vigorously's picture

The solution is to get rid of peacetime intelligence agencies. They have no place in a representative Republic.

VWAndy's picture

 Lets see just what they really been up to first. Then we can figure out what to do with the bodies.