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Comments about ‘NSA director says surveillance programs have foiled 50 terrorist plots worldwide’

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Published: Tuesday, June 18 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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tim_the_tool_man_taylor
Dallas, TX

If a mistake is made (which apparently happens pretty often), and a phone number is tapped by accident and later this is realized, then the data is "destroyed"

Wow! Thank you for being so honest and straight forward with us.
C'mon, how naive do you think we really are?

Do you honestly think these jokers destroy that data?

Any rational person knows better.

The more information they have, the more information that they have to stop a "terrorist attack"

Tators
Hyrum, UT

As more information about these NSA programs comes forward, it's apparent that critics who speak first and think later should now realize that personal privacy concerns should be very minimal. Zero calls or emails made and received within the US (99.9%) are not monitored or saved. Only very specific international communications are targeted.

Even at that, we should be willing to give up a very small amount of privacy for enhanced national security. It's a small price to pay. Too many people obsess about what could possibly happen negatively with gathered info, but realistically never will. Until there is a better basis for criticizing, it's pointless to do so.

Is the program perfect and does it catch every threat? No, nothing will do that. But it has been shown to catch and thwart many of them. I'm grateful.

Though I've been criticized in similar article comments for defending these programs, no one has yet explained to me exactly and specifically how and why this monitoring is illegal according the the Constitution and/or the Bill of Rights... and/or how they personally have suffered any specific negative consequences from this program.

tim_the_tool_man_taylor
Dallas, TX

@Tators

Did you watch the same USHR21 Select Committee on Intelligence meeting that I watched?

Let me assure you that the privacy concerns are not minimal.

We should not be willing to give up one ounce of privacy for security!

David King
Layton, UT

@Tators
"I've been criticized in similar article comments for defending these programs, no one has yet explained to me exactly and specifically how and why this monitoring is illegal according the the Constitution and/or the Bill of Rights"

The 4th amendment states that "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"

It's important to note that the 4th amendment is in part a response to the Writs of Assistance used by the British, which the American colonists thought were far too general. Now think about how many millions of customers had their phone records looked at by the federal government. Although they may have had a warrant (from a secret court), how did they fulfill the "probable cause" requirement? Is being an American citizen and using a phone now probable cause to believe someone is a terrorist? Until they can give probable cause, this is clearly a 4th amendment violation

Tators
Hyrum, UT

@ tim the tool man taylor:

The point isn't whether or not privacy concerns are minimal. Obviously they are not. It's whether or not they are valid. As more and more information comes out concerning the exact scope and limits of this particular program of the NSA, it's becoming more and more evident that the initial paranoia of the public is not valid. Nevertheless (and obviously), some of that paranoia still lingers.

Also, you should understand you've already given up privacy for security, but apparently without realizing it. It happens quite often whenever you list your social security number on a form. It happens whenever anyone registers a firearm purchase. It happens whenever you use your passport when traveling. It also happens in many other day-to-day ways that people (and obviously you) seldom think about. The reality is that we don't live in a perfect and idealistic world, and so sometimes small compromises are made to accommodate that reality. Nevertheless, we still have one of the best lifestyles and forms of government in the world. And yes, we do need to continue being vigilant in guarding that lifestyle and never losing it.

Tators
Hyrum, UT

@ David King:

Think about what the 4th amendment really says. Through this NSA program, nothing has been seized from any citizens. There have been no unreasonable search and property seizures made. Granted that the term "unreasonable" is a subjective term and there will always be some disagreement concerning what the limits of that would entail. There's no getting around that.

To keep this program in context, it's also important to remember that over 99% of calls are never looked at and nothing kept. There is no evidence to the contrary inspite of what paranoid people contend. The only calls effected are international and they are only monitored for key words such as bomb or terrorist. That truly does not sound like an unreasonable seizure of any citizens property to me. And given that 9/11 and the Boston bombing did happen with international connections... and given that over 50 other attempts at similar acts of terrorism are documented to have been thwarted... then yes, I would definitely say there is probable cause to proceed to monitor this extremely small and very select type of communication. How have you personally suffered because of this?

SCfan
clearfield, UT

Remember the 1963 movie the Manchurian Candidate? A senator was running around claiming there are 57 communists in the American government. He got that number by reading a ketchup bottle. I wonder what brand the NSA director uses.

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

It was actually 500...

I saw it on Drudge.

Fitness Freak
Salt Lake City, UT

A lot of us don't trust the government much anymore. No, its not a "R" or "D" issue.

How about taking "oversight" including, but not limited to, the "FISA" court OUT of the hands of the government?

How about appointing 3-7 people who are NOT in the government to monitor the monitors?
Clergy, laypersons, ex-military, (but retired), etc.

Why not? People like the above named have no vested interest in continuing nonsensical eavesdropping(if in fact that has happened).

We NEED someone we can trust if we plan to continue the program.

tim_the_tool_man_taylor
Dallas, TX

@Tators

So I am going to assume that you did not watch or read the transcript from this morning's USHR21 Select Committee on Intelligence meeting.

Let's be completely clear about this, FA 702 and FA 215 are the two sections of the Patriot Act that were discussed in the meeting. Under these two sections, your statement is true: "To keep this program in context, it's also important to remember that over 99% of calls are never looked at and nothing kept".

Well, kind of--because you see in the meeting (the one you didn't watch or listen to), they brought up other scenarios like "accidentally" tapping the wrong phone line. They said this happens quite often, and when it does they just purge the data. When questioned on this purging, the answer was something to the effect of--it's a complex process.

I am not paranoid, but someone who does their homework. If you think I am paranoid, just do any small amount of research on CALEA and soon you too will be paranoid!

SCfan
clearfield, UT

There You Go Again

500 terriorist attacks, or 500 communists?

worf
Mcallen, TX

Yesterday it was twenty plots.

One thing I have learned well. Political leaders with the press, will lie to get what they want.

The question is. How many times will the public fall for it?

Education, bridges/roads, & helping the poor/sick have been effective means of getting legislation passed.

the truth
Holladay, UT

Funny how they couldn't stop the Boston attack.

Even the slightest research into the two bombers should have raised red flags.

Someone is not telling the truth. (and it is those that desire more power)

Giving someone more power over you for empty promises of security or protection is a serious and grievous mistake.

worf
Mcallen, TX

No answers for guns to Mexican cartels, Benghazi, IRS targeting, AP seizure, troops dying in wars, or a seventeen trillion dollar debt. We've been lied to, and scammed.

Is there one reason we should trust our political leaders to spy on us?

Is foiling 50 terrorist plots a truthful thing, or a lie like the video starting the Benghazi attack. Or our taxes not going up a single dime? Remember our commander saying he would not sign any legislation that would add a single dime to the debt?

How can we believe, surveillance programs have foiled 50 terrorist plots worldwide? Are we spying in other countries too?

iron&clay
RIVERTON, UT

"Some fifty" Hmmm. So you really don't know specifically how many foiled?

Seems to me the the NSA is simply attempting to justify it's expensive, invasive existence.

JWB
Kaysville, UT

And we are to trust these individuals, even with uniforms on? Data can't lie? What are they doing with the information other than what they say? Do they correlate it with the IRS and HIPPA?

Mainly Me
Werribee, 00

The proof?

Sneaky Jimmy
Bay Area, CA

Foiled 50 plots? Really? Could you point to just one where people have been prosecuted for these terrorist plots?
Another point for "Tators" The fact that the Gvt is storing this personal information is cause for concern. At some point in the future the government will be able to constuct any scenario they need to prosecute you as a terrorist or enemy of the state. If you dont believe that read "1984", study Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany. The same tactics were used with the existing technology of the day.

UtefromAZ
Phoenix, AZ

I'd like to see some evidence of this. Like a hard document. Because I really think they're exaggerating this number.

lket
Bluffdale, UT

their own site tells you they are spying on dometic only. go look at it. nsa utah county. they are going to spy on all electronic info. credit cad, debi, medical records. here the thing private contractors are doing some of the work. what would stop them from using it for profit.

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