Marla R. Stevens

PhoneGate 'Net ReMix

Filed By Marla R. Stevens | May 12, 2006 6:07 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement

Raw Story:

Reps. Jane Harman (D-CA) and John Conyers (D-MI) today introduced the "Lawful Intelligence and Surveillance of Terrorists in an Emergency by NSA Act" (The LISTEN ACT).

The Act would require any attempt to listen in on Americans or collect telephone or e-mail records to be be conducted in accordance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), or Title III of the criminal code. In both cases, court warrants based on probable cause are required. The Act states that FISA is the exclusive way to conduct electronic surveillance of U.S. persons on U.S. soil for intelligence purposes.

It also states that the 2002 Congressional Act authorizing the use of military force did NOT authorize spying outside of FISA. Rep. Conyers further says:

"It is a sad day when the Congress of the United States must compel the President to abide by the onstitution." The Ranking Member on the House Committee on the Judiciary said further, "I regret that we have to legislate once again on an issue that was clearly settled by this Congress nearly 30 years ago in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act."
But the problem isn't a lack of laws, it is a lack of enforcement of our current laws.

If this proposed legislation truly covers the same ground as does FISA (which is what Conyers and the article seem to be saying), it may actually harm the Dems' best position on the issue, since the Repugs will say that Bush's spying must be lawful and not covered now by FISA, if the Dems are trying to pass legislation to have FISA cover it. It also could make Harman appear to be doing something, when she was one of the few Dems in the world who knew about the eavesdropping and kept Bush's secret(s).

Maybe they're hoping that two statutes trump a signing statement!

GREAT telecommunications:

1844: In the first demonstration of Morse Code, the message What God Hath Wrought is transmitted from the Supreme Court room in the Capitol to Baltimore, Maryland.

1876: "Mr. Watson, come here...I want you! (If ya know what I mean...)" [and Watson, tears in his eyes, arms outstretched, comes running...]

1878: Emma Nutt becomes the first telephone operator in America, earning 10 bucks a month.

1927: The first transAtlantic telephone service begins between the U.S. and London.

1951: Long-distance calling without operator assistance begins.

1954: The Ericofon becomes the coolest phone ever made.

1965: Maxwell Smart foils KAOS terrorists thanks to his shoe phone.

1964: World's first videophone system.

1983: Chicago becomes the site of the first cellular phone system in America.

2004: Mink, Louisiana becomes the last community in the United States to get phone service.

2006: "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. The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans---most of whom aren't suspected of any crime."

Holy police state, Batman!

[Paean to Mother's Day:
Batman's Mother:
"It's a nice car, Bruce, but do you realize how much the insurance is going to be?"
George W. Bush's Mother:
"Well, George, why can't you be more like your father?"]

My fellow Americans, in the eyes of Republican President George W. Bush, we are all al Qa'ida suspects. (Complimentary AK-47s are now available in the lobby. Make sure you grab an extra one for Grandma.)

Just be thankful the MSM aren't calling it "freedom listening" or something similar.

But hark! WAPO uses the L word (no, not that L word, silly -- the L-ying one!) in a headline...hell just got very chilly. But that was just on the internet. They were a bit more circumspect in print.

BTW - I can't get this picture out of my head of...
Scott McClellan - Laughing....
Tony Snow - Crying....
Welcome to the Big Time Mr. Snow!!!!

Watching Bush deliver his statement, I noticed that his eyes shifted up and to the left, indicating that it was auditorily constructed. If you asked someone to try to create in their mind the highest pitch possible, this would be the direction their eyes moved in while thinking about the question as they Auditorily Constructed this sound that they have never heard. Let's say your child asks you for a cookie and you ask them "well, what did your mother say?" As they reply, "Mom said... yes.", they look up and to the left. This would indicate a made up answer as their eyes are showing a "constructed image or sound." Looking to the right would indicated a "remembered" voice or image, and thus would be telling the truth -- except in Shrub's case it would be him trying to remember a lie someone constructed for him.

Question: Which way do you look when you're listening to the little microphone in your ear?

Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. To make real progress efficiently, put it in Third!

Let's all repeat together now: PERFECT STORM!
Has anyone noticed what the stock market did yesterday? Now, you may say, "A coincidence." And I say, "Bernanke."
That worthless piece of horsepucky Greenspan propped up Bush for his entire Presidency. Bernanke's going to bring him down.
If there's one thing the plutocrats don't like, it's a falling stock market.

Yeah, and what's their other election year issue? "Don't elect Democrats or they'll investigate us?"

They're gonna run on Karl's playbook:
- Taxes
- Abortion
- Amendment outlawing equal civil marriage.
They don't have anything else.

When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. -- Baez

Maybe the tinfoilers are onto something...
The flouride in the water probably makes the reception in my fillings a little clearer for the Feds.
Actually, flouride makes you passive. It's what they used in mental institutions back in the day.

"Words are, of course, the most potent drug used by mankind." Rudyard Kipling

Olbermann mentioned that this database might make it easy to check on whistle-blowers -- look up specific reporters' numbers and see who they're talking to. Cross-check those numbers with the numbers of government employees who might have inside knowledge to spill. Voila! Leak plugged!

Tinfoil battened down nice and tight? Try Thom Hartmann filling in on the Majority Report:

He mentioned an interesting little nugget I had never put together ... that Tom Daschle and Pat Leahy were both in key positions to stop the Patriot Act ... and they were the only two to have letters with anthrax in them mailed to their Senate offices.
Makes one wonder ... whatever happened to the investigation into the anthrax attacks?

JESUS SAVES! Republicans run up the debt.

If I was really a conspiracy theorist, I'd wonder if this leak wasn't the most Rovian masterpiece of all -- a distraction to aid the quiet passage of the Billionaire Subsidy and Relief Act, aka the tax cut reconciliation bill (H.R. 4297), which provides households with income of $1 million or more an average tax break of $42,000. In gross contrast, the more than three-quarters of the nation's households with annual income of $75,000 or less will receive an average tax cut of $30 for one year - not even enough to pay for a single tank of gas. And average families will end up footing the bill for millionaire tax breaks through cuts in vital services and added national debt.

A pessimist sees a glass half empty. I see a paper cup with holes punched in it.

Insurance companies will want to know whose calls and purchases reflect certain patterns of risk:
Calling phone sex numbers? AIDS risk. No health insurance for you.
Calling your shrink or a counseling center? Suicide risk. No life or mortgage insurance for you.

The NSA most certainly monitors the books you buy because it is so much easier than collecting library records. I'd be surprised if they didn't have some kind of automatic scoring mechanism, so that if you buy a book by Noam you get a mountain of points, but if you buy a book by Rush you get points forgiven (not because they think you're good, but because they know you're stupid).

The real irony is that there's a backlog of calls in Arabic and Farsi and Pashto that are sitting in a drawer somewhere because they fired all the gay linguists. Hayden makes the horse lawyer at FEMA look like he was doing a heckuva job, indeed.

"One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal." Bill Moyers

We have buried McCarthyism and, although some think we're well into Stalinism, I think a better metaphor might be Pinochetism. At the very least, if people don't see this as a slippery slope at this point I don't know what will wake them up.

I am not blaming those who are resolved to rule, only those who show an even greater readiness to submit. ~Thucydides

A new poll conducted in Pennsylvania by Zogby International and commissioned by asked some of the questions the corporate media has failed to ask. The answers are surprising. One revelation is this: the single greatest predictor of an American's political views is whether s/he watches Fox News.

By far the most dramatic determinant of belief that Bush lied in the Iraq runup was the respondent's most watched television network for news. Viewers of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC, ranged between 89.1% and 63.2% believing Bush lied. Among Fox viewers, a whopping 2.3% believe Bush lied, a confluence similar to talk radio listeners'. Among viewers of Fox, only 14.7% disagree that the president has the right to attack Iran without support from Congress. Among non-Fox viewers, support for pro-impeachment candidates ranges from 60.4% to 75.3%. Among Fox viewers, it's at 1.8%.

There's nothin' wrong with this country wot a few good Visigoths can't cure.

In his final weeks, Nixon was lying as fast as he could, on a daily basis, just to make it through the evening press conference, knowing all the while that his lies would be debunked the following day. Those were desperate days.

Now we have the same pattern with Shrub. Each new story is just an attempt to put up one more little firewall to stave off the inevitable damning revelation of the next ever-more-horrifying truth. As the end draws near, each revelation comes a bit faster on the heels of the last. These are desperate days.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."-George Orwell

You know what's so delicious about all this? No one is going to tell Bush that he's at 29% and this putz is going to trot out his tired lines for another two weeks while the storm turns into a Category Five.

Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set... -- Gandalf

At least one good thing could come of this: We can prove I was not the one calling Bill asking if he had Prince Albert in a can. [Name withheld to avoid lawsuit] did it and we now have proof. Besides, "They" are still in charge and with Great Patriots like Jon Kyl of AZ and kiss asses like Charles Schumer, nothing is going to change. Case in point: Sen. Cornyn was captured saying on TV that we counted on there being dumb terrorists who get caught in our simple-minded phone snooping. Uh, Sen. Cornyn, it's not the DUMB ones we need to worry about, nitwit.

It's the warrants, stupid! That should be the meme that gets traction. Without warrants, there's no accountability, no paper trail, no explication.

So here we are - the last Americans, whether we're called "liberals," or "Democrats," or "progressives" - we're the last stand. Are we throwing Molotov cocktails at the cops? Are we hurling bricks through windows? No. We're asking for the rule of law, for the protection of warrants. And this, according to the ruling junta, is far too much to ask. I think this may be the tipping point. I've called that before and been wrong, but Shrub coming out within hours of the leak makes this one look like it's the big enchilada.

People were talking about this at work today. They've NEVER talked politics before. And in India they're saying, "Those Americans sound upset today."

Did you hear 'em talkin' 'bout it on the radio
Did you try to read the writing on the wall
Did that voice inside you say I've heard it all before
It's like Deja Vu all over again

Day by day I hear the voices rising
Started with a whisper like it did before
Day by day we count the dead and dying
Ship the bodies home while the networks all keep score

Did you hear 'em talkin' 'bout it on the radio
Could your eyes believe the writing on the wall
Did that voice inside you say I've heard it all before
It's like Deja Vu all over again

One by one I see the old ghosts rising
Stumblin' 'cross Big Muddy
Where the light gets dim
Day after day another Momma's crying
She's lost her precious child
To a war that has no end

Did you hear 'em talkin' 'bout it on the radio
Did you stop to read the writing at The Wall
Did that voice inside you say
I've seen this all before
It's like Deja Vu all over again
-- John Fogerty

"This time, lawmakers should not roll over when Mr. Gonzales declines to provide answers." NYTimes.

Please. Roll over? They gave tongue.
Makes you wonder what else of the TIA is being done in secret...right you.

That explains the American Idol results!

Heil myself
Heil to me
I'm the [deleted text: kraut] fundie
Who's out to change our history {note how that rhymes better, too}
Heil myself
Raise your hand
There's no greater
Dictator in the land!
Everything I do, I do for you! ...

I'm the [deleted text: German Ethel Merman] American Ken Mehlman

Dontcha know

We are crossing borders
The new world order is here
Make a great big smile
Ev'ryone sieg heil to me
Wonderful me!
And now it's...

Springtime for Bushie, and Amerika

George Bush: "We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans."

What would it take for the press to ask, "What does 'mining and trolling' mean?", then sit back and watch him stumble all over himself?

Mining = All of this country belongs to me.
Trolling = Where can I find a cold beer?

When what he wanted to say was, "Because those innocent millions are customers of Qwest. See, the other millions, customers of AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth, we have mined and trolled them. What that means is that those millions have been mined and trolled. In other words, to say that we mined and trolled the customers of Qwest must be one of those eggs-a-ger-ay-shuns."

Cheers to current events for proving that I'm not dangerously paranoid.
Jeers to current events for proving that I'm not dangerously paranoid.
Cheers to all of us fighting this smug, corrupt, selfish, lying and malicious administration in any way we can. "We're not trolling" indeed.

"A court order couldn't be obtained to just wholesale surveil," said Kurt Opsahl, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is suing AT&T in San Francisco. "The legal standard requires something more specific. You can't get everybody's data unless you have some suspicion."

Raw Story:
"One government lawyer who has participated in negotiations with telecommunications providers said the Bush administration has argued that a company can turn over its entire database of customer records -- and even the stored content of calls and e-mails -- because customers 'have consented to that' when they establish accounts. The fine print of many telephone and Internet service contracts includes catchall provisions, the lawyer said, authorizing the company to disclose such records to protect public safety or national security, or in compliance with a lawful government request."

Yes, that little-known provision is called the "Fuhrer clause".

Don't you realize that President Bush is trying to protect us from terrorists who want to take over our country, depleat our treasury, strip us of our civil rights, subvert our democracy and bring us to ruin?

After World War II, the NSA's predecessor, the Army Signal Security Agency, sent representatives to the major telegraph companies and asked for cooperation in getting access to all telegraph traffic entering or leaving the United States. The companies complied, over the objections of their lawyers. When these practices came to light as part of a 1976 investigation into intelligence abuses, President Gerald R. Ford extended executive privilege, which shielded those involved from testifying publicly, to the telecommunications companies on the recommendation of then chief-of-staff Dick Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, according to the Project on Government Oversight.

It's all about ELS Coding. Fear not.

FBI COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL George Bauries stated that any encryptions available to the public are useless in this exchange on CNN's Situation Room yesterday:

BRIAN TODD: George Bauries is a former FBI counterterrorism official who also worked with the NSA in counter-intelligence operations. Bauries says the NSA can also collect your credit card and ATM records, airline and other travel data, medical and educational records.

BAURIES: They don't disclose exactly where it's stored, how it's stored. It's just that all the data is stored and that anything that would be sent electronically...

TODD: And so-called spyware you might use to protect your information is, Bauries says, meaningless

BAURIES: Any locks on files, any method of encryption, any of the over-the-counter programs that are openly available to the general public, that would not have the ability to stop the NSA.

TODD: That's what Bauries says the ancient agency is doing.

The LA Times sears: Is any phone call off-limits? Latest NSA revelations show that the White House can't be trusted to draw the line on liberties. ...
... In other words: Trust us. But by now no one in (or out of) Congress should have any faith in the administration's assurances about either its actions or its intentions under this program. As another president once observed: Trust, but verify. Congress needs to fill in the blanks.

From AmericaBlog:
Washington Post's Eugene Robinson:

At least now we know that the Bush administration's name for spying on Americans without first seeking court approval -- the "terrorist surveillance program" -- isn't an exercise in Orwellian doublespeak after all. It's just a bald-faced lie....

You'll recall that when it was revealed last year that the NSA was eavesdropping on phone calls and reading e-mails without first going to court for a warrant, the president said his "terrorist surveillance program" targeted international communications in which at least one party was overseas, and then only when at least one party was suspected of some terrorist involvement. Thus no one but terrorists had anything to worry about.

Not remotely true, it turns out...

Washington Post editorial almost calls Bush a liar

For the Washington Post, that's a big step. Think of it as a first step in twelve.

WHEN THE New York Times revealed the National Security Agency's domestic wiretapping program late last year, President Bush assured the country that the operation was carefully limited to international calls, targeted only al-Qaeda suspects and did not involve snooping on law-abiding Americans. That turns out to be far from the whole truth.

or ...
That turns out to be a lie. COME ON, Potomac Pravda -- afraid the Kremlin won't invite you to any more cocktail parties? WaPo - tiptoeing into sanity one tarnished slipper at a time.

Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's telecommunications and internet panel: "The NSA stands for Now Spying on Americans."

Of course, Shrub says he fully supports Hayden. In fact, there's lots of talk about the WH support of Hayden and how he's their guy. OK, so why did they cancel some of his visits yesterday? Sounds like another botched nomination. So how long is Hayden going to be in play before getting tossed aside?

Or are they just going to wag the dog:
US military, intelligence officials raise concern about possible preparations for Iran strike

Well, either it or their usual Osama tape surfacing bit would be better than the lame Mehlman "outing" yesterday!


WSJ poll numbers here
Key approval numbers: Bush 29%, Congress Overall 18%, Republicans in Congress 20%, Democrats in Congress 23%.

NONE of the morning news shows mentioned the 29% approval...

Someone claimed that it couldn't go lower than 0% but consider this: If the rapture comes and the dead start walkin' around again and they [deleted text: hate] respectfully disagree with the president, too, his numbers could actually dip into negative territory.

Nothing short of an aroused public can change things, nothing less than democracy is at stake- Bill Moyers

I'm going to start using smoke signals...

The only mention on CNN's webpage is the third small sidebar headline "Bush: We're not trolling your personal life".

The main headline is "Big Easy's New Evacuation Plan -- Don't bet on it."

I bet the White House is praying for another major hurricane soon. Cable news fluff coverage, even billions more distributed to "contractors", and another reason to start back at Step 1 with Katrina "recovery". Creeping fascism needs distractions.

A generation which ignores history has no past and no future. -- Rbt. Heinlein

Remember how Orwellian Bush looked lit in light blue speaking in New Orleans' cathedral plaza?

Didn't Alberto Gonzalez, in the NSA spying hearings, refuse to rule out as illegal breaking into Americans' homes without a warrant to look for Terrorist Ties??

"Is the law a law or is it a piece of toast?" -G. Keillor

Hey, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean ShrubCo isn't out to get you.

Bush's wet dream right now includes a blonde cheerleader disappearing, a great white shark attack on Memorial Day weekend, and Angelina giving birth -- to triplets -- one at a time over the space of six weeks.

If some of the hookers at the Watergate were blondes, would that help him? I'll bet they've fired their usual "journalists" for hire and now have Rita 'I know I have a dick down there somewhere' Cosby and Nancy Grace on payroll instead.

Shades of The President's Analyst:

Dr. Sidney Schaefer (James Coburn), a psychologist, is chosen by the U.S. Government to act as the President's personal analyst. (security anylist)

He is constantly telephoned at any/all hours to go to the White House and listen to his client's daily problems, and quickly becomes overwhelmed by stress.

Schaefer begins to feel that he is being watched everywhere and his paranoia grows to an almost insane degree; he even suspects his sweet girlfriend (Joan Delaney) of spying on him.

Eventually, he goes on the lam and manages to narrowly avoid several assassination attempts by tiny agents from the "FBR", who are trying to kill him due to his having been pegged as a risk to national security.

At the same time, spies from every corner of the world attempt to kidnap him because of all the secret information the President has provided to him.

Two of Schaefer's previous clients, a "CEA" assassin (Godfrey Cambridge) and a Russian spy (Severn Darden), come to his aid and help him expose a major conspiracy involving The Phone Company and world domination.

"In war-time the word patriotism means suppression of truth." -- Siegfried Sassoon

ABC poll says 66% of Americans will gladly give up the 4th amendment -- nothing to fear if you did nothing wrong.
But who defines wrong?
Congress that we can vote out of office?
Super secret NSA who Congress cannot even investigate because Congress does not have clearances to observe what the NSA is doing - and determine wrong.
In the famous words of George Bush "the god-damned constitution is just a piece of paper"
Again - who defines wrong?

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you...then you win -- Mahatma Gandhi

A little blackmail here and there somehow doesn't seem beyond these...these...Words fail me. Somewhere, there is an archive of tapes with Bill O'Lielly begging a series of young women to take a shower with a falafel.

1978: Rights to Financial Privacy Act
Sets conditions under which federal investigators can access an individual's bank account records.
1978: Electronic Fund Transfer Act
Requires banks that provide EFT services to disclose the circumstances under which account information can be disclosed to third parties.
1980: Privacy Protection Act
Protects the press and others that disseminate information to the public from unlawful government searches and seizure of their work product and other materials.
1984: Cable Communications Policy Act
Protects the privacy of cable television subscriber records.
1986: Electronic Communications Privacy Act
Protects the privacy of electronic communications and transactional data such as telephone records.
1988: Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act
Protects individual privacy in connection with government benefit programs in which an individual's records at one government agency are compared against similar records at other agencies.
1988: Video Privacy Protection Act
Mandates a court order to gain access to videocassette rental records.

"We have to address the fact that the president has broken the law." -- Senator Russ Feingold.

Of course, USA Patriot Act emended and amended a lotta US Code, particularly the Communications Act of '34. The effects cascade, statutorily. I advise getting to know the Patriot Acts chapter, para, and verse. As for the 1986 ECPA, it superceded the Smith v. Maryland decision, which stated that people have no expectation of privacy in the numbers they dialed. The Patriot Act then extended the definition of "pen register" to include programs which did the same function as the original telecommunications devices. Bottom line: the probable cause DOMESTIC standard for business records search is now very low -- subpoena.

Verizon is denying that their wireless program is involved but not that their landlines are:

Thank you for contacting Verizon Wireless through our website. My name is Stephen, and I am happy to assist you regarding the USA Today article.

Recent stories suggest that the Federal Government has been collecting the phone records of potentially millions of Americans as part of the war on terror. The stories specifically reference customer records of landline companies, including AT&T and Verizon. This is NOT a story that affects Verizon Wireless customers.

If you are a customer of Verizon Landline Communications, you may want to contact the company at 1-800 483 7988.

Verizon Wireless is not involved in this situation.

One major telecommunications company declined to participate in the NSA program: Qwest. (The NSA knew better than to ask Working Assets. They've actually joined the ACLU lawsuit.)

According to sources familiar with the events, Qwest's CEO at the time, Joe Nacchio, was deeply troubled by the NSA's assertion that Qwest didn't need a court order - or approval under FISA - to proceed.
Trying to put pressure on Qwest, NSA representatives pointedly told Qwest that it was the lone holdout among the big telecommunications companies. It also tried appealing to Qwest's patriotic side: In one meeting, an NSA representative suggested that Qwest's refusal to contribute to the database could compromise national security, one person recalled.

In addition, the agency suggested that Qwest's foot-dragging might affect its ability to get future classified work with the government. ...

Unable to get comfortable with what NSA was proposing, Qwest's lawyers asked NSA to take its proposal to the FISA court. According to the sources, the agency refused.
"They told (Qwest) they didn't want to do that because FISA might not agree with them," one person recalled. For similar reasons, this person said, NSA rejected Qwest's suggestion of getting a letter of authorization from the U.S. attorney general's office. A second person confirmed this version of events.

I love the smell of indictments in the morning!!

"At Delta House we have a saying: Don't Get mad, Get even." Daniel Simpson Day

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The spin machine is at work. Kit Bond on Lehrer:

1. The revelation that the NSA collects phone records has very seriously endangered and damaged national security.

Bull. Terrorists (at least the ones we really need to worry about, as opposed to doofuses like Richard Reid and nutjobs like Moussaoui, already know or assume that we're doing these things. Any smart 10 year old knows that we're probably doing these things. Bond clearly takes us all for morons, but he's the real moron if he thinks we're falling for this. It's laughable to even assert such a thing.

2. A court decision in the late 70's (Maryland v. something, I forgot the specific name) established the right of the government to obtain business records without warrant.

Leahy proceeded to demolish this by stating that subsequent decisions and laws, including the Patriot Act, have overriden this precedent. This legal argument simply doesn't hold water (see above).

3. This program only targets calls in which one end is abroad.

Lie. As the USA Today article clearly points out, this program specifically collects call records on domestic US calls.

4. The intelligence committees have been fully briefed on this and other programs.

Lie. Only a handful of members have been regularly briefed on selected portions of these programs and then not allowed to discuss these details with their colleagues, let alone the public.

LIES. It's in their DNA. It's what they do. It's who they are. But you can see it in their faces when they do it. Bush is especially bad at hiding his "tells", but it was evident on Bond's face as well.


10 things you should know about phone scandal

1. What is the National Security Agency doing?
The government spy agency is collecting the telephone records of ordinary Americans and building a massive database of nearly every call made within the country. We're talking 200 million phone lines across the U.S. and billions of calls, including an untold number just in New York City.

2. When did this start?
Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to USA Today. The bigger question is, where does the NSA snooping stop? Because if they can track our calls, there's little to prevent them from reading our e-mails, text and video messages. Even Internet phone services that encrypt their calls could be vulnerable to Big Brother.

3. Why is the NSA doing this?
Identify potential terrorists by tracking who talks to whom in personal and business calls, whether local or long distance. It's a process known as "social network analysis" that aims at identifying previously undetected connections between people.

4. Are the feds listening in to our phone calls?
No. [Not admitting it.] But they are keeping track of who we call. The NSA records don't include names and addresses. But critics say identifying a caller from a phone number is a snap. They also question the government's rationale for doing this because terrorists can easily get off "the grid" by using pay phones, calling cards and Internet cafes. They can also cover their tracks by using disposable - or a variety of - cell phones.

5. Which telephone companies turned over their records to the NSA?
Verizon - with 7 million landline users just in New York State - AT&T, and BellSouth Corp. cooperated with the feds. They are the nation's biggest telecommunications companies and provide local and wireless phone service to more than 200 million customers. But Qwest, which has 14 million customers in 14 mostly Western states, refused.

6. What's President Bush's position?
Bush insists the feds are not "mining or trolling through the personal lives" of Americans. He says the NSA's actions are "lawful" and that he has briefed members of Congress.

7. What does Congress say?
Many Democrats and some Republicans are outraged and are demanding answers. They suspect it may be unconstitutional and violate privacy rights. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) has vowed to grill phone company honchos about the NSA snooping. But Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) is defending the program as a necessary tool for fighting terrorism.

8. What is the potential political fallout?
It could stall the confirmation of Bush's pick to run the CIA, Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden. He was already taking flak for spearheading the NSA's electronic eavesdropping program on telephone calls and e-mails from within the U.S. to suspected terrorists overseas.

9. So that's different from what we're finding out now?
Yes. That program involved the NSA tapping telephone calls and e-mails from within the U.S. to suspected terrorists overseas - without warrants. This NSA program keeps tabs on all of us - also without our knowledge.

10. What happens now?
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) warned of a "major constitutional confrontation." The debate over civil liberties and the legal underpinnings for the Bush administration's actions has already begun. But the public is divided over how much privacy should be sacrificed in the name of safety from terrorism.

"You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

Chicago Tribune's tech writer had an interesting overview of phone data mining. The view, buried in the story, is that it's theoretically possible but unlikely to work.

Best case scenario is that it would be one of several tools that can be used after they know who the terrorist is. Of course, left unsaid is the fact that they could go to a FISA court and do traditional phone call tracing if that's the case.

Also left unsaid is what could happen if this was put in the hand of people who hate environmentalists, Muslims, Quakers, protestors or any other people who disagree with them. Find a target, find out who they talked to, who those people talked to, etc......round 'em up.

Even among the techies interviewed for this article, the fear is that the agents won't understand the limitations of such systems and will just use it as a short cut to haul innocent people in.

"Who knows but that which seems omitted today, waits for tomorrow?" Kahlil Gibran

The next stage is here

Credit card transactions? Probably next. After all, these terrorists (etc) have to be funded from somewhere. But don't worry, we only look at terrorist, those that fund, those whose financial transactions originate or end up outside the, well, just have all the records to datamine; but, trust us, this is only to look for terrorists.

Internet traffic? Yep. Internet backbone is...anybody?...Bueller? Bueller?...the telcos. They probably have that information stored too (wait for the release in a few weeks).
E-mail? Probably. It's a lot more data than simple point-to-point IP addresses and telephone numbers...but you can sniff for certain words/phrases and copy those e-mails more selectively.

Yes, health records, credit card transactions, the actual phone calls (internals) and, it is reasonable to assume they are already doing this without warrants.

Otherwise they're asking us to believe that they have spent billions of our children's tax dollars, to build a a huge database that will not lead to any actions.

They intend to take actions, without warrants, such as listening to actual phone calls, based upon the patterns that they identify as high threat patterns and are already doing so because there would be nothing to base a warrant on.

First, the NSA will identify the patterns without oversight -- information from a warrantless secret monitoring program -- meaning that all downstream actions are also warrantless and secret.

Second, paranoia is its own reward. Remember this administration, the DoJ, NSA, etc. believe that the bar for monitoring should be reasonable suspicion, not probable cause.

The big difference between reasonable suspicion and probable cause is that probable cause requires facts. Suspicion on the other hand, requires a lack of facts.

Reasonable suspicion is an oxymoron.

Suspicious people never understand that.

Indeed, for the suspicious, the lack of facts confirms that the suspected is far more devious and dangerous than previously thought. This in turn, is a call for bolder actions, more monitoring, more intrusion and they have just the program for that.

You won't mind, will you? Unless, of course you have something to hide.

Obviously, anybody called by a known or suspected terrorist or any one called by someone who was called by a terrorist or someone who was called by someone who was called by a terrorist or someone who called someone who, well, you get the idea.

Using this line of suspicion, you could quickly turn Mohamed Atta ordering pizza into the need to listen to all the phone conversations in Boston.

How about people opposed to the president's actions?. As we know, Shrub only wants what is best for the country. He said so himself and presidents never lie -- he said that as well. Thus people who are opposed to the president's actions are opposed to what is best for the country and therefore are with the terrorists -- all 71% of us.

Anyone calling Congressman Conyers, called by Congressman Conyers, etc.

The determination of the calling patterns that will qualify for further monitoring, perhaps a black bag job, are up to the NSA, without oversight.

Of course, no Republican president would ever keep an enemies list and spy on them.

"The legislature's job is to write law. It's the executive branch's job to interpret law." --George W. Bush, Austin, Texas, Nov. 22, 2000

Today's mental iPod Inspired by the good folks at the NSA...It could've been Blondie's"Call Me" or ELO;s "Telephone Line" Meri Wilson's "Telephone Man" or Sheena Easton's "Telephone" would've been just fine...but I can't find the words for them and I am feeling blue, so I'll just choose this sad ol' song to send along to you:

"Operator"..By Jim Croce

Operator, oh could you help me place this call You see the number on the matchbook is old and faded She's livin' in L.A. With my best old ex-friend Ray A guy she said she knew well and sometimes hated

Isn't that the way they say it goes
But let's forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell them I'm fine and to show
I've overcome the blow
I've learned to take it well
I only wish my words could just convince myself
***That it just wasn't real***
But that's not the way it feels

Operator, oh could you help me place this call
'Cause I can't read the number that you just gave me
There's something in my eyes
You know it happens every time
I think about the love that I thought would save me

Isn't that the way they say it goes
But let's forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell them I'm fine and to show
I've overcome the blow
I've learned to take it well
I only wish my words could just convince myself
That it just wasn't real
But that's not the way it feels

No no no no
Thats not the way it feels
Operator oh let's forget about this call
There's no one there I really wanted to talk to
Thank you for your time
Oh you've been so much more than kind
And you can keep the dime

Isn't that the way they say it goes
But let's forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell them I'm fine and to show
I've overcome the blow
I've learned to take it well
I only wish my words could just convince myself
That it just wasn't real
But that's not the way it feels

Somebody should clue him in to the Freeper's lament: It's all Bill Clinton's fault!

"You look so tired, unhappy/Bring down the government/They don't, they don't speak for us."--Radiohead

Another item of interest in this whole mess is that it is an extremely large database. You don't run databases this large without the participation of database companies and developers. What database system do you think they are using? IMS? Teradata?

I suspect we could see a spike in the profits for some company due to large (secret) government contracts. It is almost certainly either Oracle or DB2. This would be a very large connected series of relational databases.

Except, of course, this IS government work, so it is probably Access or MySQL, in which case we really have nothing to fear. The darn thing will crash with that much data.

I feel better already.

An empty limosine pulled up and george w. bush got out.

I wonder if Arlen Spector will refuse to swear in the heads of the communication companies like he did with the heads of the oil companies and AG Gonzales.

This isn't any more about terrorism than anything else they've done. It's all about power, retaining power, getting more power. The reason they make you go through that crap at the airport while refusing to scan cargo -- they want you to face the idea of terrorism and be scared, be quiet, be compliant. They know they're not going to catch any terrorists this way and they have no intention of wasting any of their stolen money on cargo scanning. It's about control and cowing the public.

Be scared, be quiet, be compliant...while they steal everything that isn't nailed down and then they'll steal you and sell your services to the highest bidder.

It's a prison for your mind. -- Morpheus
Courtesy of Rovus Vulgaris Americanus: nasty, freshly-demoted, soon-to-be-indicted co-conspirator

While I was scanning the web for more information on the subject, I came across a reference to VoicePrint.

Not only do they offer technology to record calls, digitally, but they also offer the data mining tools to analyze these recorded calls:

Actionable Intelligence from Each and Every Call Activ Insight's state-of-the-art speech recognition technology converts recorded conversations into text, which can then be searched and analyzed to uncover valuable business intelligence for trending and other purposes. Unlike other speech recognition and data mining technologies available today, Activ Insight's advanced capabilities provide multiple search criteria and trending features, which in turn deliver a broader scope of actionable business intelligence.

Analyze 100% of Calls
Organizations traditionally expend massive resources in telemarketing campaigns accompanied by exhaustive manual playback sessions in order to uncover business intelligence. By using Activ! Insight's data mining capabilities in conjunction with Voice Print's Activ! Suite of digital recording technology, businesses can immediately begin analyzing 100% of their calls.

So dig a little further on their website... Who are their customers?

Well, among their client list, you'll find:

* U.S. Air Force
* U.S. Army
* U.S. Marines

And if you click through to their Government Agencies link, you'll also see the logo of the F.B.I. rotating through in the upper left corner of the page on their list of government clients.

The question which should be asked about the NSA data collection effort is: How did the NSA avoid collecting information about the John Kerry campaign and staff? Unless they took special steps, they would have information on everyone Kerry called and when. So the White House could have found out everyone Kerry called to raise money or discuss strategy with. If the White House had access to this information, then they had a tremendous, unfair advantage in the last election. [NOTE: If you're asking more formally, ask the White House to release the access control list and the audit records for this data.]

Freedom may or may not be on the march but aircraft carriers are steaming toward Iran.
Who ya gonna call, DiFi, Patty, Maria, Hillary, or any one of the Democrat men?

"It's the Government, we're hear to help you."

How I know the worm is getting ready to turn? Andrew Sullivan is contemplating flipping:
This monarch, already eager to perpetuate a dynasty, needs more scrutiny. It may require voting Democrat this fall to give it to him.

"As individual fingers we can easily be broken, but all together, we make a mighty fist" Watanka Tatanka (Sitting Bull)

The (Tens of) Millions-Mined March
Good day for it: September 17 is Constitution Day, the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam Creek -- an appropos day for America to redeclare her independence.
Come on down and protest around!
You don't have to shout, the SS has great microphones to record you. Cameras too! So fix your hair up and dress nice! Say cheese for the cheesy administration...
As an old Scout, I'm sure I could come up with a torch (Scouts are all pyros - it's a prerequisite) - to add to the protest...
Let your voices be heard, fellow Patriots!

Why not have everyone bring two dixie cups and a string to the protest???
(Cheers to Lenny Bruce, who warned us that if we screw around with the phone company we'll all wind up with a Dixie cup and string and Dr. Johnny Fever--man, you weren't paranoid after all. There really are Phone Police!)

And, lest we forget, "God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly." -- Less Nessman, who some believe is safely in residence at Faux News

Of course, there's always Les Kinsolving in the WH Press Room. That's close enough.

Q: There are Canadian news reports that the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has contended that one of the sexual orientations is sadomasochism, while in Ottawa, the Justice Department has called for the legalizing of polygamy. And my question: Does the President recognize these developments as logical progression from the current demand for same-sex marriage by the sodomy lobby?

A: Well, direct your questions to Canada.

Translation: Ladies and gentlemen, Les Kinsolving! The one member of the press corps that we can be absolutely certain, when everyone else is asking about the Vice President shooting an old man in the face, will ask a question about the "sodomy lobby".

"I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

So here's a question for the community. And am I right in assuming that, if we looked, we could find administration officials and right-wing pundits vowing up and down at each stage that the next stage was a complete impossibility, a mere fabrication of paranoid minds?

And what will be the next revelation that we're told, by the exact same government sources and partisan hacks that assured us none of what we now know to be happening was happening? That the White House or other government agencies, say, have been sporadically requesting call data for specific individuals? Say, Christianne Amanpour?

Richard Clarke?

Dana Priest?

Of course not. Don't be silly. This is a very limited program.

"Le sens commun n'est pas si commun." -Voltaire

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The thing is, no legislation will compel W to obey anything because rather than veto the bill, he'll cheerfully sign the it and add a signing statement that basically says "unless I say otherwise."

Marla R. Stevens | May 16, 2006 12:19 PM

I don't support new legislation, just enforcement of the current ones, which the NSA is currently violating.

It's time for a special prosecutor.