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Felt "forced to connect the Big Brother Machine" if he wanted to keep his job

Mark Klein, the former AT&T technician and whistleblower who helped kick off the AT&T/NSA eavesdropping scandal, clarified further details regarding what he witnessed while connecting a secret NSA eavesdropping facility: secure room 641A in AT&T’s San Francisco switching center, presumably commissioned by the NSA, received copies of all the traffic its splitters were connected to, including both international and domestic e-mails, web traffic, and phone calls, both from AT&T’s customers as well as other providers.

Previous statements by the government, AT&T and President Bush indicated that the only affected communications are communications relevant to national security, like those of suspected terrorists and suspicious foreign nationals. According to Klein, however, the technology used to connect the secure room was far more democratic, consisting of simple, dumb splitters incapable of any kind of contextual filtering: essentially, room 641A received “a duplicate of every fiber-optic signal routed through [AT&T’s] facilities.”

Klein, appearing on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann show, told viewers about his personal association with secure room 641A. “When I was a technician, I had the engineering/wiring documents, which told me how the splitter was wired to the secret room … I had to know [about those things] in order to do my job,” he said, “so I know that whatever went across those cables was copied; the entire datastream was copied into the secret room.”

Referring to the equipment itself, Klein states, “the splitter device has no selective capability, it just copies everything. We’re talking about domestic traffic, as well as international traffic, and that’s what got me upset to begin with.”

It’s important to note that what actually went on inside secure room 641A — what was actually being done with the data that it was fed — has yet to be discovered. However, the room contained several racks of equipment fine-tuned for data mining, including a Narus STA 6400, a device designed specifically for analyzing Internet communications “at very high speeds.”

Forged amongst the dust settled after 9/11, President Bush signed an order allowing U.S. intelligence agencies to monitor international phone calls and e-mail messages of thousands of people inside the United States without a warrant. This program was uncovered in December 2005, when the New York Times printed an article that would eventually push Klein to disclose his experiences, and sign an affidavit testifying in a January 2006 class action lawsuit filed by the EFF.

According to Klein, an NSA agent appeared at AT&T’s San Francisco switching center, interviewing management-level technicians for a “special job.” Shortly afterwords, Klein observed the construction of secure room 641A, which was housed adjacent to AT&T’s international- and long-distance call-routing #4ESS equipment. Eventually, said Klien, he ended up tasked with patching in optical splitters from the secret room and into AT&T’s production, backbone switching equipment.

More importantly, says Klein, internal documentation suggests similar equipment was installed at facilities in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Both the U.S. government and AT&T have tried adamantly to kill the class action suit, which is still pending. AT&T claims that it was following government orders and is therefore immune to legal action. The government has made multiple attempts at invoking the State Secrets Privilege, but so far with little success.

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No surprise here.
By leetruski on 11/10/2007 3:00:33 AM , Rating: 5
I remember reading 1984 a couple years back and thought to myself, "Hmm this seems quite familiar in some aspects." This doesn't surprise me at all considering where I'm from (former Soviet Union}. As technology advances so does the sophistication of spying techniques. Oh well gotta go and practice the daily ritual of Two Minutes Hate.

RE: No surprise here.
By JackBeQuick on 11/10/2007 3:26:59 AM , Rating: 3
Well, this looks like some pretty serious proof of Echelon to me.

RE: No surprise here.
By geddarkstorm on 11/12/2007 12:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
It's the Patriots : O! Pretty soon we'll be hearing about all terrain armored tanks capable of firing intercontinental ballistic missiles. That is unless They get to the information first and erase it. ;)

RE: No surprise here.
By HueyD on 11/12/2007 1:04:06 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, sounds like project Echelon which has been running since the early-mid 90's. This is not anything new. 60-minutes did a story on it back in the mid-late 90's.

RE: No surprise here.
By Alexstarfire on 11/10/2007 5:43:29 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think it's as bad as everyone is led to believe. I mean, if they really had ALL the information that passed through the station then they'd never process it all. I mean, I doubt everyone in the world as a whole has read EVERYTHING that's on the net. If the entire world can't read it all, then I doubt a coupel hundred government agents are going to have time to sift through all of the current information while gigabytes, if not terabytes, of information comes in a day. I'd be a lot more worried if they actually acquired only the "national security" stuff. Got to say it's still bad either way. But have you ever heard of having TOO MUCH information.

RE: No surprise here.
By togaman5000 on 11/10/2007 8:31:12 AM , Rating: 5
That doesn't matter to me.

Whether my rights are being violated for everything I do to communicate, or whether my rights are violated for 1% of everything to do to communicate, they're still being violated.

RE: No surprise here.
By fictisiousname on 11/10/07, Rating: -1
RE: No surprise here.
By theapparition on 11/11/2007 7:46:12 AM , Rating: 2
Not to nit-pick, but could you tell me exactly which of your constitutional rights are being violated?

RE: No surprise here.
By ahodge on 11/11/2007 1:02:04 PM , Rating: 1
Um lets see...One of our basic Civil Liberties is our right to PRIVACY.

I can see this also affecting at least the following:
Freedom of Association, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. Depending on how our government feels about who we are talking to online, about what, and what god(s) we worship. You see, that's why we have the right to privacy from our government...So that we don't have to live in fear of our own government.

It's the stuff our country was founded on. Separation of church and state is also an issue when the fundamental Christian right wing has such strong control of our government. That comes in to play if they decide that they want to create a database of all the Jews in the country or people researching Judaism for instance. Maybe they decide to use that information abusively later?

Freedom of privacy is important even if you're not doing anything "wrong" by today's standards. What happens if the government decides to change the standard on you?

RE: No surprise here.
By katorga on 11/11/2007 10:02:19 PM , Rating: 4
Umm. There is no constitutional "right to privacy". That is an interpreted right from case law. Unreasonable search and seizure is what you are looking for, 4th amendment.

That said, all of the "spying on citizens" stuff is a little late. The NSA has been monitoring all communications since the 1950's, and internet traffic since the 1990s.

RE: No surprise here.
By chick0n on 11/12/07, Rating: -1
RE: No surprise here.
By Duwelon on 11/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: No surprise here.
By kyp275 on 11/12/2007 1:19:06 AM , Rating: 5
Nobody wishes for terror cells to go unchecked, except for the terrorists, so just leave that argument at home, it just makes you look bad.

Regardless of one's stand on the issue, it's important to recognize that protecting ourselves from BOTH the terrorists AND possible future government abuses are both very important, and rightly so. You can't have bureaucracy hampering our ability to go after the terrorist when needed, and neither can you set a precedence of giving the government blank checks to do whatever the hell the guy in charge at the moment pleases either, that's one slippery slope that is not easy to climb back.

It's very much like the classic "do you want to jail more bad guys along with some that are innocent, or do you want to make sure that no one is wrongly jailed, but leave some bad guys out in the street?" Both are important, and frankly, unlikely to ever be perfect and will both never be good enough for the proponents at either end of the extreme.

RE: No surprise here.
By theapparition on 11/12/2007 7:15:26 AM , Rating: 5
Nowhere in our constitution does it guarantee privacy. I know exactly what you are saying, and happen to agree that unchecked government monitoring is a bad thing, but on a strictly constitutional basis, privacy is something not guaranteed or protected. So, fact of the matter is, NSA snooping has not, in any form, violated our constitutional rights as citizens of the US.

RE: No surprise here.
By TSS on 11/12/2007 9:59:48 AM , Rating: 1
what about my constitution?

i'm dutch, ours is a bit longer then yours... i'm sure privacy or something like that is in there somewhere. i don't want you americans snooping my bits :P

i haven't done anything illigal and i'm far too uninteresting to be checked up at all... however i am critical of bush's reign. what would happen if they'd pick up on that (the message say they have high speed package analyzing equipment so trust me if it's in a email or message they'll know) and i where to ever travel to the states? right now, the NSA could put me on the terrorist watch list without me knowing and if i'd ever set foot on american soil i could get arrested immediately. you guys could be picked up at any time.

it doesn't matter whats the truth, it's what you can prove. and if they can prove that you are a terrorist more then you can prove you're not (and they've already managed to start a war because of it so i'd pick my battles carefully) you're going to spend an awful lot of time in a jail cell.

RE: No surprise here.
By Machinegear on 11/12/2007 12:56:46 PM , Rating: 2
Keep in mind the US Constitution does not place limits on the rights of citizens, it only places limits on the Federal Government.

If you are looking for every God given right you have in the US Constitution, you have already failed your civics test.

The real question is where in the US Constitution is NSA allowed to snoop?

RE: No surprise here.
By Crank the Planet on 11/12/2007 9:30:40 PM , Rating: 2
Article 4 of the Bill of Rights:

"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."

Basically it says I have a right to be secure in all my stuff- be that papers, effects, email, phone conversations whatever- against any search or seizure. If I'm being investigated for a crime then they have to state specifically in a warrant what they want to search or seize- they can't just do it on everything at their whim, especially blanket searching of everyone. What they are and have been doing is wrong. They have skipped the due process of law.

This article may not say the word "privacy," but that's what it's talking about. For those of you who are new to our country, this is another freedom of many that we hold dear and cherish.

Given the form of government we fought hard to seperate from, the Founding Fathers alongside the Costitution wrote The Bill of Rights to protect the people from that same type of corrupt government. That is why we fought so hard to be free. I like what Tony Blair had to say recently. He said I don't judge a country by it's decisions or political stance, I judge it by how many people want to get in. Millions of people come to this country every year to live. No other country can say that. Is America perfect? No...but we have what everybody wants. William Wallace said it best when he was tortured and then killed- FREEDOM!

RE: No surprise here.
By theapparition on 11/13/2007 8:23:38 AM , Rating: 2
Basically it says I have a right to be secure in all my stuff- be that papers, effects, email, phone conversations whatever- against any search or seizure.

Basically? I think your reading more into it than the constitution explicitly states. Your adding email, phone and conversation in there is somewhat of a stretch.
If you send e-mail on your own network, than I would agree that constitutionally, you have the right for that information to only be seized upon a warrant. However, your sending that information over a public network (the INTERNET), through a 3rd party (ISP) and to another party (email recipient). This invalidates "privacy", and makes it subject to less stringent legal challenges. Now, have you ever looked at your ISP's terms and conditions?
Same with conversations, if you have a conversation in your home, that is not admissible unless by warrant (or testimony by the person you were having a conversation with, hence the email recipient above). Now, if you have that same conversation at a restaurant, then it is now public and subject to be "snooped on".

Look, I'm not trying to argue against unchecked government monitoring, but there is still no legal argument against what the US government has done so far. We may not like it, and the only way to make it illegal is for us to let our elected officials know how we feel. It's going to be an uphill battle, since we now live in a society that is happy to take their shoes off before boarding a plane.

RE: No surprise here.
By RandallMoore on 11/12/07, Rating: -1
RE: No surprise here.
By knordberg on 11/13/2007 2:42:39 AM , Rating: 2
Fortunately, we have rights beyond those explicitly guaranteed in the constitution. So, while the right to privacy and its extension to freedom from electronic surveillance may be debatable, the provisions of FISA are not. Congress (our legislative branch) passed FISA which clearly makes warrantless wireless tapping illegal. In particular, this legislation makes it illegal for telecommunications providers to "voluntarily" turn over access to customer communications to the government without the government providing a warrant. What AT&T has done may or may not be unconstitutional ... but it is illegal nevertheless!

RE: No surprise here.
By goku on 11/10/2007 6:05:51 PM , Rating: 2
It didn't say it read everything, it said it read all the fibre that came and went from that office.

RE: No surprise here.
By FITCamaro on 11/10/2007 6:50:01 AM , Rating: 1
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm getting tired of hearing about that book every time an article like this is posted.

RE: No surprise here.
By RogueSpear on 11/10/2007 9:14:03 AM , Rating: 4
The truth sucks sometimes doesn't it.

RE: No surprise here.
By FITCamaro on 11/10/2007 9:28:27 AM , Rating: 2
How does a work of fiction become the truth exactly?

Yes it makes some good points but it still fiction. Last I checked Americans enjoy quite a high standard of living, are not constantly monitored, history is not being rewritten to suit the governments fancy (Michael Moore is far better at doing that), and we are not in a state of perpetual war.

American's enjoy far more freedoms than almost any other country world-wide.

RE: No surprise here.
By Rovemelt on 11/10/2007 9:42:29 AM , Rating: 4
Sure, we enjoy a lot of freedom here in the US. But I'd like to see those same freedoms in the future too. To ensure that, you have to keep this kind of spying crap in check. The people who make the decision to spy will eventually try to use it to their advantage, as people with power are wont to do.

RE: No surprise here.
By Noya on 11/10/2007 9:54:02 AM , Rating: 3
Last I checked Americans enjoy quite a high standard of living, are not constantly monitored, history is not being rewritten to suit the governments fancy (Michael Moore is far better at doing that), and we are not in a state of perpetual war.

High standard compared to whom, 2nd and 3rd world countries?

The above article shows monitoring. You live in a dream world if you think our government can't /doesn't tap into peoples lives and watch / listen to their every move without any discretion.

Hasn't the Bush admin. changed the Constitution on many occasions? That sounds like a re-writing of sorts to me.

Not in perpetual war? We've been in conflict for the last SIX years and it's bound to continue as resources dwindle and industrializing countries need more and more raw materials.

RE: No surprise here.
By Lord 666 on 11/10/2007 10:09:43 AM , Rating: 4
And if were not in war for six years, more than likely the US would be in a deep depression. Remember, the Great Depression didn't really lift until WWII.

People can even argue 9/11 was created to enter the US into war. Does anyone remember what happened right before 9/11? Enron collapse, WorldComm collapse, ArthurAnderson collapse. Why would the US knowingly enter a war? To prevent or lessen a deep recession far worse than the one started in 1929 now that the US is a service economy. After Bernanke stated that we are headed to worse economic times, it would only make sense that we pull out of Iraq until the US economy is better.

There is talk that GWB will be hailed as a hero in in the years to come because he saved the economy and the US. Harry Truman was not popular in office, but afterwards modern historians praise his actions.

These are not my opinions, but observations.

RE: No surprise here.
By Rovemelt on 11/10/2007 10:39:38 AM , Rating: 2
And if were not in war for six years, more than likely the US would be in a deep depression. Remember, the Great Depression didn't really lift until WWII.

I really doubt we would be in a depression in 2007 if we didn't go to war with Iraq. Who knows if Bush believed going to war would help the economy or not, but there's no doubt that some idiot neocons would rationalize it that way. The additional war spending and resulting oil price increase has added probably two trillion dollars to our national debt. That debt has eroded worldwide confidence in the US govt's ability to manage debt and now we've got a looming credit crisis. Seems like the war is at least part of the cause of our fiscal problems here in the US.

RE: No surprise here.
By clovell on 11/10/2007 12:31:58 PM , Rating: 2
Our economy is in its current mess because mortgage lenders got greedy and borrowers got illiterate / irresponsible. After the mortgages were finalized, they were repackaged as wolves in sheepskin and sold to tons of investors. Then, when said borrowers defaulted, these investments tanked on a large-scale.

RE: No surprise here.
By jackedupandgoodtogo on 11/10/2007 1:53:42 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, no. We're in this mess long before the mortgage meltdown. It started as soon as the Fed's started lowering rates to nothing just to prop up the potential economic crash of 2001 from 9/11. After the Internet bubble burst, rates were dropped creating a liquidity bubble where money flowed like water. Now that the spigot was shut off, everyone's blaming the lenders, when it really started with Fed's lowering rates to almost 0, and the governmental lenders (Freddie and Fannie) started lending at rates that commercial lender's couldn't compete with unless they lowered their standards.

So you can thank the government (again) for screwing things up with short-term thinking and "gains today, forget tomorrow" consumer mindset. Just look around, you'll see this mantra everywhere (domestic, foreign, energy, environment and just about every other policy).

RE: No surprise here.
By Ringold on 11/10/2007 2:45:48 PM , Rating: 5
Don't be a tool. The Federal Reserve has the longest term view of the economy of any government agency. Not that it's faultless, but it did what it thought it needed to in order to smooth the business cycle while keeping inflation under control (which is its primary responsibility).

The "unless they lowered standards" bit makes no sense anyway; they could of continued to compete over the people they knew historically would actually pay their mortgage rather than get lazy and fund no-doc loans. Berkshire Hathaway does this all the time, willingly shrinking its customer base at low points in the underwriting business to maintain a golden portfolio. Whats the difference? Discipline. Don't believe me? Check BRK's 10-Q.

And at any rate, we're whining about an economy that exists only in our minds. In the physical, real world, we've got full employment, wage growth is strong, and the economy is rapidly growing beyond expectations. It'll likely slow down further, but going from great to good isn't bad and expected after one of the longest economic booms on the books.

An interesting thing about economics is that we often get what we expect. The public has been fooled by Democrats and bears with honest intents in to thinking the economy is rotten; consumer confidence is dropping. People will probably therefore shop less, and thereby create what it is they fear but didn't previously have to actually occur.

RE: No surprise here.
By djkrypplephite on 11/12/2007 2:41:59 AM , Rating: 2
Fear created by democrats? See: Draft. THAT was introduced by democrats in an effort to stir the masses. And look, it worked. And you KNOW the pinko-commies on digg were flipping out about it. God those kids are stupid.

RE: No surprise here.
By Rovemelt on 11/12/2007 10:13:51 AM , Rating: 3
In the physical, real world, we've got full employment, wage growth is strong, and the economy is rapidly growing beyond expectations.

I can see you're buying everything Rush tells you these days. Wage growth is NOT strong in the US and hasn't been since Bush has been around.

While you're letting that data soak into your head, try thinking about the fact that our national debt has risen from about 5 trillion to over 9 trillion over the last 7 years.

Bush still has the worst record of job creation of any expansion in the last 40 years.

From the BLS:

Here is a summary of that employment data:

2/61 - 12/69

Beginning number of jobs: 53,556,000
Ending number of jobs: 71,240,000
Total Jobs Created: 17,684,000
Compound rate of establishment job growth: 3.283%

11/70 - 11/73

Beginning number of jobs: 70,409,000
Ending number of jobs: 77,909,000
Total Jobs Created: 7,500,000
Compound rate of establishment job growth: 3.43%
3/75 - 1/80

Beginning number of jobs: 76,649,000
Ending number of jobs: 90,800,000
Total Jobs Created: 14,151,000
Compound rate of establishment job growth: 3.56%

11/82 - 7/90

Beginning number of jobs: 88,770,000
Ending number of jobs: 109,773,000
Total Jobs Created: 21,003,000
Compound rate of establishment job growth: 2.8%

3/91 - 3/01

Beginning number of jobs: 108,542,000
Ending number of jobs: 132,504,000
Total Jobs Created: 23,962,000
Compound rate of establishment job growth: 2.01%
11/01 - ?

Beginning number of jobs: 130,883,000
Ending number of jobs: 135,884,000
Total Jobs Created: 4,526,000
Compound rate of establishment job growth: .71%

So I guess this is all in my mind and not actually happening.

And, finally, regarding inflation...

Bush can't take the blame for the changes that were made to how we calculate inflation here in the US (I think it changed under clinton), but plain and simple, our BLS understates inflation. They use a geometric rather than arithmetic mean to calculate inflation, which is sort of a log smoothing function. Anyway, our BLS reported inflation numbers of ~2-3% are in reality more like 5-6%. Our government does this to reduce social security payouts and inflate GDP numbers and, well, make our economy look stronger than it actually is.

RE: No surprise here.
By geddarkstorm on 11/12/2007 1:30:11 PM , Rating: 4
That second link has nothing in it that's over a year old, other than the final table which doesn't have anything to do with the statistics. I'm saying that just so there's no confusion as people will look and go "huh?". I'm not sure if this will work, but from here$3F$3F$ one gets the data.

Now, interestingly, you did not keep your time gaps the same. This skews the data and is bad form. Never list statistics with variable time lengths like that in the context of trying to compare growth over periods of time; it is misleading to any casual observer.

Re-doing your table for standardized 10 year runs from the data, we get (all numbers are in thousands):
Start: 54105
End: 71335
Jobs gained: 17230
Percent: 1.32%

Start: 71335
End: 91289
Jobs gained: 19954
Percent: 1.28%

Start: 91289
End: 108374
Jobs gained: 17085
Percent: 1.19%

Start: 108374
End: 131826
Jobs gained: 23452
Percent: 1.21%

2001-2006 (five year span, half of the others)
Start: 131785
End: 136174
Jobs gained: 4389
Percent: 1.03%

Now it is easier to make comparisons and draw conclusions. You'll notice that the 1991-2001 span had the greatest growth. This coincides with the birth of the information age and the explosion of technological jobs. So that isn't surprising. Also, you should note that percentages of change continue to decrease over time while the total jobs gained remains relatively the same (except for 1991-2001). The economy there in is growing at the same rate, but as it grows, the percent change of that normal growth begins to look smaller and smaller. It's an artifact.

Also to note is that the 2001-2011 span is off to a slower start: about half the rate of say 1981-1991. However, there are still five years left so we'll see.

Changing the time spans, maybe doing it over presidential terms, and looking at this from multiple angles are ways to improve this minor analysis of mine.

Also, interesting to look at is (I hope the link works) showing how the GDP of the US dropped horribly in 2001, but then has recovered since that year (where we almost but didn't go into a recession).

Additionally from the BLS site, the average wage earned across the entire country averaged over all occupations from 1997-2005 (the only range I could find it over) as increased by $3.53 with the greatest gains happening after 2001. A break down of this figure would be helpful, but I don't have the time to do that.

Most intriguing of all, again from the BLS site, the unemployment rate for the country has fallen from 4.9% in 1997 to 4.4% in 2006, with '07 already on track to be even lower. However, there were spikes up to 5.8, 6.0 and 5.5 in 2002, 2003 and 2004 respectively. This can easily be explained from examining the GDP data from before with the crash in 2001 causing a ripple effect in the job market, as would be expected, which spiked in 2003.

So, in all, it seems the economy is doing just fine and is recovering from a rough time back in 2001, which is not surprising as there was the terrorist attacks, and Asian and US stock market crashes. There certainly isn't any doom and gloom going on here, at any rate, so no need to worry or blame Bush.

RE: No surprise here.
By clovell on 11/12/2007 11:12:28 AM , Rating: 1
Well, you've got me there - I wasn't completely aware of the particulars, but I definitely agree that the Gov't. bailouts don't help us out in the long run. Still, it's not the War in Iraq that has caused our current recession

RE: No surprise here.
By geddarkstorm on 11/12/2007 1:36:41 PM , Rating: 2
We aren't in a recession. All economic numbers are in the green and comparable to the 90's.

RE: No surprise here.
By clovell on 11/12/2007 1:57:19 PM , Rating: 1
Sorry, wrong word - should've used 'economic downturn'.

RE: No surprise here.
By wordsworm on 11/10/2007 11:06:29 AM , Rating: 3
Not in perpetual war? We've been in conflict for the last SIX years and it's bound to continue as resources dwindle and industrializing countries need more and more raw materials.

You're mistaken. In the last 100 years the US has only been in 1 or more wars for, roughly, 38 of them. That's not even half the time. OK, if you include the cold war, that adds another 46 years. But seriously, the US did a good job of staying out of WWII until Japan invited them and the Allies had already turned the tide against the Germans. Also, they managed to stay out of WWI until the Germans had begun losing by joining in 1917 Still, that isn't what I'd call perpetual war. Perpetual war would mean never ending, not 40/100. I can't really count American involvement in the days when the Taliban were being befriended by the Americans against the Russians, nor can I count any of the American involvement in rebellions against governments.

RE: No surprise here.
By Ringold on 11/10/2007 2:37:46 PM , Rating: 3
US did a good job of staying out of WWII

Roosevelt had us in the war with men and material loooong before Pearl Harbor. His son asked him why he had lied to the American people during his campaign regarding his intentions of the war and he explained that he had to as he'd never be elected if viewed as a warmonger, and yet the war must be joined.

Google is failing me on coming up with a digital copy of this letter, and Wikipedia is infuriating with its white-washed entry on Roosevelt, but we were clearly spoiling for a fight. Roosevelts largest concern before Pearl Harbor was probably how best to lie to the American people to get them in to the war, not how to stay out of it.

I'm not entirely convinced, either, that Pearl Harbor's attack was a surprise, but I'll check my paranoia to whats documented -- like those armed and loaded fighters we stored in that Colorado field from the Vincent Acts program that, by god, just amazingly disappeared all the time. And the training of "Canadian" pilots by Mr. Riddle in Florida, the "unprovoked" Reuben James and the whole convoy system, the cash-and-carry, the lend-lease, freezing of Japanese assets, Eagle Squadrons, Iceland being included in the Monroe Doctrine... the list goes on.

Roosevelts disregard for democracy and the constitution is both disturbing and glorious, as if we'd had our own Chamberlain we'd of been unprepared. I think his stealth dictatorship isn't publicly reviled simply because we were lucky and the war went our way, and, of course, history is written by the victors.

RE: No surprise here.
By sviola on 11/12/2007 6:32:56 AM , Rating: 2
Only in 1 war? Wow...You should review your history classes:

1 - WWI
2 - WWII
4 - CUBA
8 - AFGHANISTAN, part 1 (against USSR)
9 - IRAQ, part 1 (1990)
10 - SOMALIA (black hawk down incident)
12 - AFGHANISTAN, part 2 (against old friends Taliban)
13 - IRAQ, part 2

and these don't include the ones where no US soldiers were physically present, for those (the ones where the US had major part on it (be providing weapons and war expertise), like Angola, Moçambique, Iran x Iraq (where US helped Saddam against Iran), Cambodja, Sudan, and the Seven Day War in 1967. And these are the ones I can recall, but there might be more.

If you count all these, you get at least 19 out of the aledged 38, which is 50% of all wars in the last 100 years had some US involvement. So, there is almost a constant war going on for the US, and each government uses its propaganda machine to make them acceptable (today would be Fox News).

And as long as I know, the current "War against Terror" is a never ending one, as it has been over 20 years that it has been going on (the oldest terror attack I can recall is the PAN AM flight over Scotland in 87).

RE: No surprise here.
By clovell on 11/12/2007 11:15:15 AM , Rating: 1
He meant 'more than one [at a time]'.

RE: No surprise here.
By Hare on 11/10/2007 10:31:06 AM , Rating: 2
American's enjoy far more freedoms than almost any other country world-wide.

Are you serious? Let me give you a couple of examples. Germany, Spain, Italy, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Island, n+1 others. You actually said "almost any other country". Too funny...

Have you ever been abroad?

RE: No surprise here.
By Hare on 11/10/2007 10:39:42 AM , Rating: 2
Ísland (native name) = Iceland

RE: No surprise here.
By SavagePotato on 11/10/2007 11:56:27 AM , Rating: 4
For some Americans there is no rest of the world, It's just all about America all the time.

Don't forget England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, hell lets just say "europe" and save time...

RE: No surprise here.
By throughhyperspace on 11/12/2007 1:31:00 PM , Rating: 2
I love how Italy was included in this when the SISMI was complicit in the CIA's extraordinary rendition of Iman Rapito.

Checks and balances are important to prevent Government abuse, but I doubt any of the counties listed turned down information from the NSA because of how it was obtained.

RE: No surprise here.
By clovell on 11/10/2007 12:05:32 PM , Rating: 1
And those are examples of what? What freedoms do they have that we don't? Have you ever constructed an argument?

RE: No surprise here.
By mindless1 on 11/10/2007 1:16:53 PM , Rating: 1
Perhaps you should educate yourself instead of trying to place a burden on others!

RE: No surprise here.
By clovell on 11/12/2007 11:17:04 AM , Rating: 1
Ah, no thanks - you build your own argument - I don't work for free.

RE: No surprise here.
By Hare on 11/10/2007 1:42:03 PM , Rating: 4
There are also things called safety ghettos. People living inside tall fences to keep others out. Freedom? I can tell you one thing most countries don't have. "The Patriot act". More surveillance = less liberty.

it has been criticized from its inception for weakening protections of civil liberties. In particular, opponents of the law have criticized its authorization of indefinite detentions of immigrants; "sneak and peek" searches through which law enforcement officers search a home or business without the owner’s or the occupant’s permission or knowledge; the expanded use of "National Security Letters," which allow the FBI to search telephone, email and financial records without a court order; and the expanded access of law enforcement agencies to business records, including library and financial records. Since its passage, several legal challenges have been brought against the act, and Federal courts have ruled that a number of provisions are unconstitutional.

I'm not saying that Americans have less freedom than others. I just think it's absolutely idiotic to say that the US is more "free" than "almost any other country". That's what FITcamaro said and that is the reason for my reply. People like FITcamaro are living in their little dream and think that the countries outside the US are automatically "less free" or otherwise still living in the middle age. That's ridiculous and I bet FITcamaro has never been abroad. My reply was directed to FITcamaro only.

Don't take this personally. I was only replying to the OP. I know enough smart Americans to not label the population as whole.

RE: No surprise here.
By Ringold on 11/10/2007 2:48:31 PM , Rating: 2
In an absolute sense, you're still wrong. Liberal Europe is most definitely a minority compared both to the global population living without such political freedoms and absolute number of foreign nations operating without them.

And in terms of economic freedom, America is more free than Europe by many measures. Most measures. Except drug posession..

But I get your point.

RE: No surprise here.
By sviola on 11/12/2007 6:38:15 AM , Rating: 1
Well, there are other countries that do have Freedom, besides US and Europe. I point some for you:

Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Israel, Turkey.

RE: No surprise here.
By FITCamaro on 11/10/2007 6:35:29 PM , Rating: 1
I can tell you one thing most countries don't have. "The Patriot act"

Yes European countries just monitor things without talking about it.

And you're right, I've only been out of the US once. Thats not for a lack of wanting to. I just didn't grow up with parents who could send me on trips to Europe for the summer. I would love to go visit Europe and see the sights. But I wouldn't want to live anywhere else but here.

RE: No surprise here.
By Hare on 11/12/2007 12:02:21 AM , Rating: 5
And you're right, I've only been out of the US once. [...]
But I wouldn't want to live anywhere else but here.

I don't blame you. I think the US is a wonderful place to live but don't you think you should travel more before making absolute statements? That's kind of like saying that "my favorite restaurant is McDonalds. Nothing beats their hamburgers. I've once tried a different restaurant and I've made up my mind" ;)

RE: No surprise here.
By teckytech9 on 11/12/2007 12:50:13 AM , Rating: 3
Yes European countries just monitor things without talking about it.

They also shoot the bad guys first and ask questions later. Having lived in Europe,
the Europeans in general, have a greater sense of trust and respect for authority.
Maybe its tradition, culture, and how crime is downplayed in the European media.
Criminals usually have a brown bag over them and not shown to the general populace
and criticized as in the US media. This all results in the percentage of criminals
per population that is much lower than in the US.

RE: No surprise here.
By MamiyaOtaru on 11/12/2007 12:20:45 AM , Rating: 3
The UK has the US beat on CCTV. London is practically a Panopticon. Ghettos? One word: banlieue. But blanket statements are fun whichever way they swing.

/lived in europe for 5 years

RE: No surprise here.
By choadenstein on 11/11/2007 2:50:01 AM , Rating: 2
How do your example countries enjoy the same amount of freedoms as the US?

I think a working definition of freedom might be helpful, but don't blindly look to Europe (home to basically all the countries you mentioned) for a utopia of ideas and expression.

Take for instance Germany, one of your listed countries... Sure they have free and open elections... But how about the right to free speech? Nope, not so much. For instance, it is actually against the law to make allegations or statements about certain things that occurred in WWII.

Or another thing about Germany. If a German wanted to become a US citizen, there's a well laid out procedure that an individual can follow. However, for someone to become a German citizen, you must be of German ancestory. All others need not apply. Sounds really free to me.

Or how about Italy. Where there is legislation being pushed forward requiring all citizens with blogs to register them with the government and be taxed. Oh, and defamation can actually land you in prison in Italy.

Don't get me wrong, I love many European countries. I just got back from Italy not too long ago, but I am still glad and proud to be an American.

Americans unquestionably have more freedoms and benefits than any other country in the world. I have been abroad, and all over the world. Everywhere I go people want to come and live in America. There is no doubt why so many people want to come and be a part of what we have. It is because what we have is incomparable.

I guess maybe what would be helpful is if you actually could point to some freedoms these countries have that we don't actually enjoy as Americans. I doubt you'll be able to list all that many.

I should say that my examples above were primarily based on the freedom of speech (other than the freedom to naturalize without genetic lineage). I would say that is one of the most dear to Americans; it is our first amendment in the bill of rights after all. It still is one of our greatest freedoms. We protect almost all speech and expression.

RE: No surprise here.
By wordsworm on 11/11/2007 5:24:50 AM , Rating: 1
I guess maybe what would be helpful is if you actually could point to some freedoms these countries have that we don't actually enjoy as Americans.
The Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam is one freedom that comes to mind.

Now, this freedom you refer to... did you know 1 in 3 black males don't have the right to vote in the USA, not to mention many blacks who were legally able to vote having their vote discounted in the first Bush II election so that Bush II could become president... I'm sure you remember the Michael Moore film that documented that. As far as Katrina is concerned, it seems that disaster relief is for whites only.

Sure you're free in the US, if you're white, you don't take drugs, you're not nailed to poverty or religion.

I seem to recall that the University of Utah will kick you out of their school if you're caught fooling around. Apparently there are many things companies and organizations are allowed to restrict people from exercising their freedoms. I seem to recall a teacher being fired for having his nude photos leaked online. How is your country free? Sure, he might not be going to jail, but his career is ruined. That's not having your freedoms protected. Not too long ago Jackson got in trouble for a nipple slip on a Superbowl halftime performance. That's not freedom.

I seem to recall that some guy was wearing some Arabic script on his t-shirt at the airport. The next thing he knew he was subjected to some intense interrogations.

The US isn't Utopian by a long shot. Is there a country that is? Not that I'm aware of. But before you call yourself free, take a few minutes to think of the many freedoms you don't enjoy, and the democracy that's denied to a significant portion of citizens on the basis of incarceration. I do believe Canada allows convicts to vote. That is the democratic thing to do after all.

Freedom - it's a word used by the people who don't feel constricted by the rules against speech, democratic power denied to them, and their morals don't collide with organizations and companies who force their morals on their employees or students.

That's my rant of the day.

RE: No surprise here.
By Clienthes on 11/12/2007 9:23:53 AM , Rating: 2
Freedom has never meant the right to do whatever you please. Freedom comes with resonsibility. Some freedoms outweigh others.

did you know 1 in 3 black males don't have the right to vote in the USA

I don't want to get into a debate on the effects of poverty in the U.S., but needless to say that many people, not just blacks, living in poverty have resorted to criminal acts. It happens to white people too, so don't make it a racial issue; studies have shown that it has far more to do with economics. They made poor decisions, and by law lost their right to vote. It is unfortunate that such a large portion of the black community lives in these conditions, but it is for the moment a reality.

I'm sure you remember the Michael Moore film that documented that.

Using Michael Moore as a reference for your argument should be grounds for immediate downmodding to -6

I seem to recall a teacher being fired for having his nude photos leaked online. How is your country free?

This is parents excercising their right to decide how their children are educated. Parents rights outweigh the right to show your bare ass in public. Administators have a responsibility to parents FIRST to ensure that stadards are maintained. Had it ben a corporation, that privately held institution has the right to set and maintain their own standards of conduct. Employees have the right to seek other emplyment if those standards do not suit them. No one's rights are violated when these standards are broken and employment is lost.

That's not having your freedoms protected.

His freedom was protected, his employment was not. He made a choice, now he lives with the consequences. That is what freedom is.

I seem to recall that some guy was wearing some Arabic script on his t-shirt at the airport. The next thing he knew he was subjected to some intense interrogations.

This is individuals making a mistake. It gets airtime because it plays into the media's strategy of making Americans feel guilty for being Americans to sell more crap. I'm willing to bet the people who made the mistake suffered the consequences

Freedom - it's a word used by the people who don't feel constricted by the rules against speech, democratic power denied to them, and their morals don't collide with organizations and companies who force their morals on their employees or students.

Don't confuse state sponsored repression with bearing the consequences of violating public standards. Ple se don't make the mistake of viewing mistakes of judgement as state sponsored repression. Never doubt that liberty must have limits. We may disagree on where those limits should lie, but the must exist. Of course, you have the right to disagree :)

As for the article, I do believe that the person making the claims this atricle is based on is correct that the NSA monitors internet traffic patterns. The idea that monitoring traffic patterns over a network as large as the internet for security purposes possess a threat to anyone's personal liberty is just silly. The NSA is responsible for all U.S. cryptosecurity and COMSEC. It would stand to reason that monitoring internet traffic patterns would yield benefits to that mission. This guys just has a sensational story to tell, and knows he can make money from telling it.

RE: No surprise here.
By Duwelon on 11/12/2007 12:26:24 AM , Rating: 2
Ever since Bush came into power, i've lost my rights to... pop popcorn on a daily basis. I can't shower anymore because of Bush either, at least not without a tin foil hat. Another thing Bush has done is prevent me from buying milk. Still another, I can't walk across north/south streets on wednesdays.

Seriously though, the "erosion of personal freedoms" claims are total bs. Nobody has had to give up one stinking thing that I have seen as a result of anything Bush has done.

RE: No surprise here.
By bob4432 on 11/10/2007 3:13:24 PM , Rating: 5
How does a work of fiction become the truth exactly?

because it was never fiction....

RE: No surprise here.
By Josh7289 on 11/11/2007 5:48:05 PM , Rating: 2
Hm. Yes. I give an approving head nod to that.

RE: No surprise here.
By nilepez on 11/11/2007 12:13:42 AM , Rating: 1
How do you know if we're monitored or not? There was a time that the NSAs mandate said they didn't spy on Americans. Now they do.

If they're monitoring all traffic on AT&T (and i bet they're getting it off the backbone, which means virtually everyone has traffic going across those pipes), and it sounds like they are, then you can be sure, they're not waiting for some court order.

This is the politics of fear. It's not exclusive to either party, but the current administration has done more to circumvent the constitution than anyone other that I can remember, and that's saying a lot.

RE: No surprise here.
By Clienthes on 11/12/2007 9:27:28 AM , Rating: 2
That mandate still exists. The FBI handles all domestic investigation. The NSA does handle communications security. Thus the monitoring of internet traffic patterns.

RE: No surprise here.
By spluurfg on 11/10/2007 3:27:52 PM , Rating: 3
I think we should be thankful that the sort of posters here have at least heard of it. I think most people out there find Harry Potter pushing the limits of their literary abilities.

But since you asked for a different work, how about Leviathan? The concept of an agreement between citizen and state where a small fraction of rights are sacrificed to defend the bulk of the rights of society as a whole. Personally I can agree with that concept in principle but I think the current administration has a pretty horrific record when it comes to having an open process to determine where the line is drawn (heck they're not even telling us about this stuff...) and moving the line ever further away from civil liberties....

RE: No surprise here.
By djkrypplephite on 11/12/2007 2:40:20 AM , Rating: 2
That's because people who think their lives have been in any way affected haven't really read much else.

I'm not "for" the monitoring, but you can't deny that it hasn't changed your life one bit. The only thing that's happened is longer security at the airport. Beyond that, I can still get the anarchists' cook book and download music and do all the fun things I've always done. I mean shit I blow stuff up in my backyard just because it's cool. Am I being looked at? Maybe. Do I care? No, I'm not planning a terrorist attack, nor would I being a Marine.

Mostly the people who REALLY complain are people who think they're a SOMEBODY in this world. You have to realize how small you really are in the entire scope of things, and then you'll being to realize THAT THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT YOU. YOU ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT.

If you go to shit like and look up architecture plans for a big building, and write blogs about allah and talk about how much you want to be a martyr, yeah, they're going to be looking at you. Otherwise, nothing in your life has changed. I believe in privacy and all, but it's not like there's a guy sitting at a desk somewhere that's looking at what I bought on newegg three days ago and laughing to himself or something.

Nobody gives a shit about you or me, we're just people. So unless you're a terrorist, you're not really being watched anyway. And complaining about it is kind of like anti-capitalists organizing their marches on cellphones, making signs with Sharpies and Posterboard from Wal-Mart. I mean really this stuff gets ridiculous after a while.

RE: No surprise here.
By robinthakur on 11/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: No surprise here.
By Clienthes on 11/12/2007 10:33:39 AM , Rating: 3
Diplomacy and dialogue depend on being able to hear each other speak not having your words drowned out by the sound of bombs dropping.

It also depends on a mutual give and take. When one part know he has something the other wants, but wants nothing from the other party, then there can be no diplomatic solution. If you are going to bring up Iraq, then you have to understand that since they did not comply with U.N. mandate,and they really wanted nothing from us except not to be blown up, there were only a couple things that could have been done. We could impose harsher economic sanctions, but when th U.N. itself was helping Iraq illegally export its oil, that wasn't working. the only other real option was military. Unfortunately, since the U.N. was already taking advantage of Iraq's situation financially, it was unlikely to approve such a measure. The U.N. didn't need a sack, it needed a conscience. So now the U.S. is laughed at and feared because the U.N. was intent on making itself irrelevent due to corruption and inaction, and the U.S. would not be dragged down with it. All Iraq had to do to prevet this was comply with the weapons inspectors. After all, they didn't have any CBR weapons, did they?

A nation cannot let other nations believe that they are weak. As much as we would like to believe that the world is evolved enough that war is no longer necessary, it just isn't true.

The administration chose to spin the war as part of the war against terror. That was a lie, and for that Bush is guilty. In the long run, the Iraq will be better off. The U.S. will probably not suffer any long-term ill effects. The folks who like to look at human tragedy and point fingers at the easiest to blame will have moved on to a new victim de jour. Life will go on, and it will all happen again, again and again. Its bad, and it shouldn't be necessary, but as long as people are bad, bad things will happen. Your condescention won't stop it, your wishful thinking won't stop it, and your smug over-simplification of the U.S.'s foriegn relations problem won't stop it. In fact, as long as bad people know that people like you will sympathize with them, it'll make it worse.

RE: No surprise here.
By robinthakur on 11/13/2007 11:35:26 AM , Rating: 2
Clienthes, While you do make some good points, I think we disagree in part, and some of what you said is actually factually inaccurate ("U.N. itself was helping Iraq illegally export its oil" can you prove this?). Regarding Iraq, when you say "they really wanted nothing from us except not to be blown up" I don't think that's asking a great deal. When one looks back at the flimsy, falsified evidence for going to war its glaringly obvious that somebody somewhere thought that they could either lose alot of money or that they would lose face by not going to war. I don't disagree that wars are a sad neccessity in life, but it must always be the last possible resort when you are being directly threatened. The public understands this, hence Tony Blair trying to shock the public saying that Saddam "could launch WMD's within 90 minutes at the UK" and other hilarious threats to national security. We all laughed at him at the time, because it seemed so crazy, and look who's still laughing! I actually can't stand people who advocate peace in the face of obvious hostility, and would be more than willing to fight and die for my country against an aggressor, but not in the Iraqi war because its simply not right and it was contrived fora purpose. History will indeed judge who was right and who was wrong. You are somewhat over-optimistic in believing that the world will forgive and forget so quickly, wherever I've travelled recently in Europe and even in the UK, i've been somewhat shocked at how much people actually dislike the US which never used to be the case. Democratic discussion should never be blamed for encouraging extremism, and my opinion is not over simplified, any more than your arguments over complicate the situation, ironically increasing the fear of ordinary people. If you're implying that I sympathise with these 'Bad People', by which I assume you mean islamic terrorists, I find that deeply insulting and untrue. Just because a tiny handful of religiously crazed people chose to blow themselves up and those around them in the US and the UK does not justify closing off our freedoms, our attackers are in the wrong! If I wanted to live under such draconian conditions, I'd move to Saudi Arabia and live under Sharia law. My major worry in the UK is ironically not being blown up on the tube on the way to work, but being mugged/killed by the heartless home-grown killers of my own country.

RE: No surprise here.
By Clienthes on 11/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: No surprise here.
By fifolo on 11/11/2007 12:29:11 PM , Rating: 2
I left a communist dictatorship over 30 years ago, and have to agree with my more cynical compatriots who say the US is turning into "communism with food." It breaks my heart.

Privacy vs. Security
By cochy on 11/10/07, Rating: 0
RE: Privacy vs. Security
By Montrevux on 11/10/2007 1:49:11 PM , Rating: 5
"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

-Benjamin Franklin

RE: Privacy vs. Security
By Ringold on 11/10/07, Rating: 0
RE: Privacy vs. Security
By spluurfg on 11/10/2007 4:06:58 PM , Rating: 2
Only Sith Lords speak in absolutes.

This is why I wish people would read more.

RE: Privacy vs. Security
By cochy on 11/10/07, Rating: 0
RE: Privacy vs. Security
By MajorPaver on 11/10/2007 4:37:36 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah. Not so much.

Indeed, no one CANNOT demonstrate that any attack has been averted based on the patriot act. We have to take the word of the Bush admin. Do you *REALLY* want to believe them?

You can just as easily chalk the lack of any attacks to

a)our actions in Afghanistan that disrupted large parts of the training regime of Al Quaeda and

b) the fact that they pretty much shot their wad on the 9/11.

Your comparison to Nazi Germany is also inapt. Why? Because Nazi Germany did not START with massive discrimination. Hitler used anti-semitic rhetoric in early election victories, but then throttled back until he was in full power before unleashing his full program.

So any day now, it's possible that you could be a part of some group that is deemed "suspicious". Let's say libertarians since they are so easy to pick on. Well, now the government can go about harassing libertarians without any real checks (much as the Hoover-led FBI did against various groups). In a worst case scenario, suddenly legislation gets passed. Uh-oh. Where are we now?

You could be Baptist, Catholic, Ruritan, or a freakin' Jaycee and suddenly be on the outside looking in.

You have to look forward, not just at the present. And frankly, if your last name was Arabic, you'd probably be singing a different tune about not being discriminated against.

Security is a myth. It's been used for centuries to dupe the general populous in many nations to acquiescing to policies and actions they would normally find abhorrent. AND IT NEVER WORKS LONGTERM.

I know the TSA and their 30% bomb detection rate makes me feel safe. Makes having to take my shoes off all worth it. NOT.

RE: Privacy vs. Security
By cochy on 11/10/07, Rating: 0
RE: Privacy vs. Security
By MajorPaver on 11/11/2007 1:53:38 AM , Rating: 2
Hours later now - but yeah, legislation can "Just be passed". That's how that piece of crap the "Patriot" Act got rammed through giving unprecedented powers to the Feds. Powers that hopefully sunset or get zapped in court - but still have plenty of life to mess with civil liberties in the meantime.

And even though it was not legislated, think of the Japanese Intern camps.

You get back to me on that "can't happen" line.

And Britain? They are finding those cameras have very little effect on crime prevention and not so much on crime solving. Mostly, the police get paid to look at pretty pictures.

RE: Privacy vs. Security
By cochy on 11/11/2007 10:44:34 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Privacy vs. Security
By MajorPaver on 11/10/2007 4:41:12 PM , Rating: 2

Obviously I was trying to say that one CANNOT show the patriot act has done diddly squat. Grrr. Stupid double negative.

RE: Privacy vs. Security
By Gibby82 on 11/12/2007 4:01:17 AM , Rating: 2
Way to use a quote that's hundreds of years old and doesn't apply to today's world. Old Ben didn't have to deal with any of the technology we do today. I've seen tons of people use it and no one realizes that times were very different.

RE: Privacy vs. Security
By sviola on 11/12/2007 6:56:11 AM , Rating: 2
But yet, some quote the Bible which is even older. Should we discredit it because it was made in different times, where things were different?

RE: Privacy vs. Security
By rcc on 11/12/2007 2:35:10 PM , Rating: 2
And yet, the various organized religions "reinterpret" the bible on a regular basis to meet their needs in the the modern world.

By SandmanWN on 11/10/07, Rating: 0
RE: Meh!
By James Holden on 11/10/2007 3:26:03 AM , Rating: 2
Uh, did you read any of the original story in 2005?

One lone cable monkey? He also provided the AT&T manual; AT&T, the NSA, George Bush and about 50 other people ADMITTED to what was going on; there has not been a single shred of evidence to discredit his claims, which are now more than 2 years old.

Be amazed only one person has come forward, but dont be skeptic of THIS one person, as he's clearly been put through the paces.

RE: Meh!
By SandmanWN on 11/14/2007 10:17:17 AM , Rating: 2
A manual for the wiring diagram... Please tell me what that has to do with what the equipment actually does, or stores, or monitors, or anything whatsoever.

RE: Meh!
By TomCorelis on 11/10/2007 3:32:25 AM , Rating: 3
I failed to mention it, but Klein was an AT&T employee for over 20 years, and has provided teh EFF with mounds of technical data and schematics detailing the specifics of that operation. And the case was filed started long before Klein mentioned anything... he's merely supporting evidence.

I would think that anybody tasked with installing optical splitters into backbone fiber for the purposes of routing to a 'secret room' is more than just a simple cable monkey. These guys would run circles around most of the folks that come out to homes and businesses.

RE: Meh!
By Lord 666 on 11/10/2007 9:45:38 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed, the staff at AT&Ts IDCs are very skilled and talented. These facilities are meant to be lights out and can be remotely managed, but if an AT&T employee needs to go into a cage to provide remote hands, they have to be able to assist troubleshooting; hard rebooting, checking connections, logging into wide variety of OS's and systems.

Definitely no cable monkey.

RE: Meh!
By NickWV on 11/10/2007 1:30:38 PM , Rating: 2
not to mention that he was not just an run of the mill tech, from the article he was a management level tech, so I would say he was a little higher up that you give him credit.

RE: Meh!
By SandmanWN on 11/11/2007 2:26:30 PM , Rating: 2
Schematics of everything leading up to the room. Never what was actually there. It is speculation as to what was in the room and what it did and no amount of fiber optic wiring diagrams will ever tell you what the purpose of the room was.

Your suggestion that someone splitting wires to run to a room requires anything more than the most basic cable monkey is hilarious at best. A one month rookie on the job could splice a fiber optic cable and put a splitter on it. My good friend never completed high school and performs this operation on a daily basis.

Really man you are stretching this beyond preposterous now. Remove the tinfoil hat now please.

RE: Meh!
By Lord 666 on 11/11/2007 3:59:56 PM , Rating: 2
But the NSA wasn't interested in interviewing one month rookies now as it? They only met with experienced union staff, AT&T then laid them off but rehired them as non-union managers.

What I am suprised is that the NSA doesn't have their own in-house team to visit the site and do the work themselves.

RE: Meh!
By SandmanWN on 11/14/2007 10:12:09 AM , Rating: 2
It doesnt matter who they hired, damn near anyone could do this. His word doesnt mean anything more than a month old rookie. Thats the point.

Why buy when you can rent as needed. They learned this after the clinton years of having their budget slashed left and right. Not to be a partisan thing. It is what it is.

RE: Meh!
By Lord 666 on 11/14/2007 1:30:35 PM , Rating: 2
You get what you pay for. If they used their own internal NSA staff, it is highly doubtful there would be a leak of this magnitude.

Land of the free....Yeah right
By BZDTemp on 11/10/2007 9:10:32 AM , Rating: 2
Renditions, unclear answers from the Government on anything regarding civil liberties... I would be VERY pi.... with my government if I lived in the US. Seems to me Bush is quickly destroying the trust and respect in his Office - and the US!

It is VERY problematic with a NATO partner that will not recognize international law except when it fits with it's own agenda. Try and google US WAR CRIMES or US TORTURE and you will see why even NATO partners are getting critical about the partnership with the US.

PS. If you get your news from FOX then change the channel - that channel is a joke except for it being tragic instead of funny.

RE: Land of the free....Yeah right
By clovell on 11/10/07, Rating: 0
RE: Land of the free....Yeah right
By BZDTemp on 11/12/2007 3:55:59 PM , Rating: 2
The US does not want a level playing field! If it was so then why not follow international laws?

For starters the US could allow for International law to cover the behavior of US soldiers but of course this will not happen since two seconds later guys like Kissinger would be on trials for crimes against humanity. (

International law is something all countries should abide to for the greater good. Not something a country with a democracy should be forced into but then again one can of course wonder if the US is in fact a Democracy.

RE: Land of the free....Yeah right
By Ringold on 11/10/2007 2:59:04 PM , Rating: 2
Studies show Fox is only roughly as biased as all other forms of media in the US.

Would someone not from America actually believe me if I said that life with Bush is largely no different than life before him? Except, of course, we're all a bit more wealthy due to several years of strong economic expansion. Day to day life, however, hasn't changed at all. Apple has done far more to change American lives over the last 7 years than Bush ever has.

As far as I'm concerned, Bush couldn't be any worse than Clinton, impeached not for sex as Democrats would say but because of perjury and obstruction of justice. 16 years of poor leadership in my view, not just 8. The only time it was effective was when Republicans were still Republicans from 94 - 00.

And NATO loses more respect from me anyway every time a member starts to wobble on Afghanistan. Abandoning them last time led to the Taliban, but I guess expecting pacifists to remember history is asking for too much. It's also easy to criticize when we're the only ones that ever do anything.

RE: Land of the free....Yeah right
By mmntech on 11/10/2007 4:26:57 PM , Rating: 2
Studies show Fox is only roughly as biased as all other forms of media in the US.

That's true. Fox viewers are however the most misinformed, followed closely by liberal leaning CNN. A PIPA study/survey confirmed this.

On topic, this subject is unfortunately within a legal gray area. The Fourth Amendment doesn't clearly state what computer user's rights are concerning searches and Supreme Court rulings haven't made things much clearer. The Fouth technically does not apply to private individuals, including private organizations. A common misconception is that the Fourth prevents you from being searched without a warrant or reasonable cause but in reality, it only means that illegally obtained evidence is not admissible in court.
It's technically not illegal for AT&T to spy on it's customers though what they collect might not be admissible in court should they find you conducting illegal activity. In terms of computer law, it is illegal to install programs onto somebody's computer with the purpose of spying without the user's knowledge. However, AT&T isn't exactly doing that.
That doesn't make it right though. There need to be laws that clearly state that it's illegal for private companies to collect information from customers without explicit consent. Unfortunately, a lot of laws do not reflect the information age. Your data is about as secure as leaving your car unlocked and running on a dark street of any given big city.

RE: Land of the free....Yeah right
By Rovemelt on 11/12/2007 10:51:57 AM , Rating: 2
Here's to 'informed' Fox News viewers:

The Right
By chiechien on 11/11/2007 12:54:29 AM , Rating: 5
In the past, I've been subtly amused by the burning hatred of DailyTech readers directed at Al Gore, anything suggesting the existence of climate change, or a critique of the current White House administration.

So, I see this article about the NSA's spying, which has been well-known for years now, and I wonder what the reaction will be. Will the DailyTech readers reveal themselves to legitimately just be small-government conservatives and libertarians, in which case they will stand up and protest their loss of rights? Or, will they be, well, FOX News lackeys?

And the reaction is a mixture of outright denial ("There's no spying going on!") and eager acquiescence ("I'm glad they're spying on me! There're terrorists out there that hate us for our freedoms!").

And so, while before I thought that perhaps the average DailyTech reader might have been doing research that led to their opinions, now I know that I don't have to read the comments here anymore.

RE: The Right
By clovell on 11/12/2007 2:02:17 PM , Rating: 1
Good for you.

RE: The Right
By Machinegear on 11/12/2007 3:33:18 PM , Rating: 2
Chiechien - I agree most comments are ill thought and quite disappointing to anyone who places a value on liberty. But I must object to your conclusion.

Stupid people will always make up the bulk of any argument in quantity. Smart people therefore have the obligation to make up for their lack in numbers in quality. It is this personal responsibility combined with the realistic understanding of the futility of any situation that makes one smart... and free.

Who did he go to?
By MagnumMan on 11/10/2007 1:52:08 PM , Rating: 3
A question that stands out in my mind... if you have evidence of something like this going on - who in the world do you confide in? Do you call the FBI? Wait, they are run by the government. Justice Department? Again, a government agency. You certainly wouldn't call the CIA. That's what amazes me the most here, that he wasn't taken away by the myriad agencies who could have.

The prevailing factor I suppose is that most people want to do the right thing, no matter where they are. That's the only way he could have been able to confide in anybody at the government level.

RE: Who did he go to?
By rudy on 11/12/2007 8:05:46 PM , Rating: 2
You goto reporters.

And yes the fact he gets to talk shows you the NSA really isnt all that bad like people make it out to be. This guy would be in prison in some other countries (China).

Why are people surprised and why do they even care? This is a government body whos job is to investigate through any means possible Terrorism or any other "threat". In the old days they had to Pay a spy or double agent. Then it was tapping phones and now you can run search algorithms on internet use. If you are actually doing something wrong you should be encrypting your data with encryption only you can decode. No different then 50 or 500 years ago. If you aren't doing anything wrong then what are you worried about? Is it that the people doing wrong are so lazy now they don't even want to put an effort into covering up their tracks?

whats to stop me?
By AlvinCool on 11/12/2007 8:40:26 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe I'm missing something here. What is to stop me, if I was a sleeper cell agent, from communicating within video games? Lets say I knew to play Counter Strike at a certain time on one of several servers. And I sent a coded message during the game then just played a while and left? Wouldn't this be almost impossible to pick up since it's within the game itself and is not a "stream" to pickup? Maybe my code would be "Fart in the wind it stinks from the east". The problem I have is who in their right mind would send a straight out message? The answer is nobody

RE: whats to stop me?
By RandallMoore on 11/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: whats to stop me?
By AlvinCool on 11/12/2007 3:25:23 PM , Rating: 3
There lies the rub. See most people won't complain because the misguided peoples intentions are good. I can't accept throwin my tax money down the drain. There is a good reason they severely raised our national spending cap, and just as good a reason we have maxed that out too. We are making sure that tiger tooth lions don't get us, but there are no tiger tooth lions. We empower these people, and I say people, and we expand the "terror" groups with our policys. If we had just paid them no attention and went on with covert activitys we would have been so much better off. All this has severly weakened our economy and that cap still has to be paid for. Our dollar is so weak that , no kidding, third world countrys come HERE to shop for bargains. Somehow I don't think this was what we intended

What I just Googled
By hobbes7869 on 11/11/2007 9:44:48 AM , Rating: 3
I read this article early this morning, and sitting here I decided what is most likely to get the men in black suits and cars here? So i googled how to make a nuclear bomb and where to buy plutonium. Perhaps they are navigating the satellites directly over my house at the moment, trying to figure out how much of a threat I am. One can hope

Arsenal Gear
By adam92682 on 11/10/2007 12:52:18 PM , Rating: 2
The US is building Arsenal Gear in the secret room.

By iFX on 11/10/2007 3:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
... has been around for years. This is simply one monitoring sub station for the system.

The Internet is really a PostCard....
By Darkk on 11/13/2007 12:31:34 AM , Rating: 2
I really don't know why you guys are complaining. The internet is not a secure medium as everyone is led to believe. Every time you send out an e-mail it's really like sending a postcard through the postal mail for everybody to read. Granted the postal workers aren't supposed to be reading postcards but who doesn't?

If you want to secure your e-mail then make use of PGP or encryption technology. That way if the NSA manages to crack your encrypted e-mail they better have a good reason for doing so via a court order or other legal means.

Long as you're not doing anything illegal then you have nothing to worry about...least I hope so.

NSA, hell what about GOGGLE!
By eGuepard on 11/15/2007 10:18:08 AM , Rating: 2
We're so worried about the NSA listening to our conversations! GOGGLE keep a recod of every search, email, map search, etc. They and Yahoo helped the Chinese with there purge! At leased the NSA isn't making your family buy the bullet! So who else is helping and producing the Tech. Get encryption is it is a problem and you developing a LOVE bomb!

By Schadenfroh on 11/10/2007 8:39:41 AM , Rating: 1
Their internet access never works, why would the NSA bother unless they intend to fix the ISP's problems before monitoring the traffic?

big deal about nothing
By Pwnt Soup on 11/10/07, Rating: -1 else do you suppose they do this?
By Gibby82 on 11/10/07, Rating: -1
RE: else do you suppose they do this?
By FITCamaro on 11/10/07, Rating: 0
RE: else do you suppose they do this?
By cenobite9 on 11/10/2007 8:17:34 AM , Rating: 3
We want information...

Who are you?

The new Number 2...

Who is Number 1?

You are Number 6...

I am not a number, I am a free man!


By FITCamaro on 11/10/2007 8:27:23 AM , Rating: 1
I'm not sure whether you need to do less drugs or more.

By ancient46 on 11/10/2007 10:36:33 AM , Rating: 2
As a fan of the old BBC series "The Prisoner" the quotes from the show's opening fit this thread perfectly.

RE: else do you suppose they do this?
By Lord 666 on 11/10/2007 9:38:22 AM , Rating: 2
Obviously you have never configured an Internet filter for corporate use. From what is described in this article, this is exactly what the NSA is doing but on a larger scale.

1. Connect splitter on a high-speed connection at AT&T Point of Presence that sits on Internet backbone (OC-48 and higher).

2. Plug the splitter into a port Gix/yy set to monitor the traffic being sent past. The actual Cisco command is

monitor session 1 source interface Gix/yy
monitor session 1 destination interface Gix/zz encapsulation dot1q

3. Plug in a monitoring appliance such as Websense to keep record of all Internet requests into Gixx/zz. Remember, its on a much larger scale and the database will be very large.

Because of the high rate of speed, they are not selectively filtering at line rate, but have alerts setup that will be reviewed later. This is where there is an issue of domestic spying. Within a web filter, you can run reports based on who accessed porn, they simply changed the filters to see who is looking for terroristic activities.

RE: else do you suppose they do this?
By FITCamaro on 11/10/2007 6:26:25 PM , Rating: 1
Yes its reviewed later. And the crap that wasn't what they're looking for is thrown out.

Should they simply not monitor traffic for terrorist activity because, god forbid, its possible that they saw you were watching Dallas does Dallas? That's such a better solution. Don't do anything because sometime, somewhere, someone might feel offended.

The best defense is a good offense. It's far better to be proactive in the search than reactive when a car full of explosives goes off as it crashes into a shopping mall. I have no doubt in my lifetime that a nuke will go off in a city inside US borders. But I'm damn sure not going to stop the government from doing everything they can to prevent it.

RE: else do you suppose they do this?
By Lord 666 on 11/10/2007 6:51:37 PM , Rating: 2
No sir, you are wrong.

In any security monitoring and forensic investigations, it does not make sense to "throw" out data. What if the "enemy" is hiding messages within .jpgs of puppies on a new site and at first it does not match the known patterns? This new pattern, while first overlooked, would then be reviewed if it raises a red flag in the future based on what source and destination IPs and the frequency of access. If there is a connection in the future, they will need the historic data to try the case.

The issue is the matter of disclosure and expectation of privacy from Joe Average's perspective. I have been involved in forensic investations and it is amazing how people have no clue on what is actually logged, but only used in connection with a criminal investigation.

What is new with this is the NSA is proactively monitoring all domestic traffic looking for patterns.

RE: else do you suppose they do this?
By SandmanWN on 11/11/2007 2:19:41 PM , Rating: 2
preposterous. Do you have any idea what the storage requirements are to store all the data flowing through the AT&T network, not to mention all the other networks. Of course they throw out data. And you are probably wrong to begin with. The shear amount of data collected would be impossible to sort through no matter how many employees and data sorting methods you have. That is unless you are suggesting the NSA has more capacity, equipment, and engineers than AT&T and every other network in the US.

By its very nature and the mass amount of information that is involved it is ludicrous to believe it is anything other than selective by sheer logic.

RE: else do you suppose they do this?
By Lord 666 on 11/11/2007 4:37:56 PM , Rating: 2
Remember we are talking about the NSA. A department that has executive authority by the President to protect and serve the nation at all costs. Storage, equipment, and budget are limitless; don't limit their capabilities based on what is done in the corporate environment.

The particular device that was on the Bill of Materials is specifically intended for ISPs to monitor traffic on OC-192s at Layer 4 and up to OC-48 for Layer 7 in real-time. I do not know how well versed you are in networks or security products, but this particular device can handle inspecting the billions of packets per second. Check out the product, very impressive.

RE: else do you suppose they do this?
By SandmanWN on 11/12/2007 10:23:34 AM , Rating: 2
You are contradicting yourself. Now you are stating that they only monitor in real time. If they are only monitoring not storing the data then there is no real issue here. The illegal portion comes when they store data that is not covered by a particular investigation, or court order or law, etc.

And I am very much correct in understanding that it is quite impossible to store that much data no matter what organization you are. It is simply unfeasible to capture a 5Gb 48 or 10Gb 192 on a network like AT&T's where there are literally hundreds of these connections for any large amount of time. They simply must be targeting specific areas such as a given IP range, certain ports, traffic directed at open proxies, and other suspicious activity.

I helped build an ISP backbone from the ground up. A mere 12 of us put together a backbone that stretches across the entire US and across the pond to a large portion of western Europe. Half the people we had never finished college. This simply isn't rocket science.

RE: else do you suppose they do this?
By Lord 666 on 11/12/2007 11:32:47 AM , Rating: 2
What part of " Because of the high rate of speed, they are not selectively filtering at line rate, but have alerts setup that will be reviewed later. This is where there is an issue of domestic spying. Within a web filter, you can run reports based on who accessed porn, they simply changed the filters to see who is looking for terroristic activities" didn't you read?

Nope, you are assuming I am saying just in real-time; they are doing both. While I do not have any hands on experience with a Narus, I use a CS-MARS device. Very similar concept; its rule based that sets off alarms if certain behaivor is triggered.

In essense we are saying the same thing; the NSA is not keeping record of all traffic in bit for bit form. However, based on certain criteria, even though some of the traffic from suspicious IPs looks benign, for forensic reasons they are keeping that suspicious evidence.

By SandmanWN on 11/14/2007 10:15:18 AM , Rating: 2
Alerts reviewed later doesnt mean anything other than an event was recorded. It could mean little more than an IP address and a time frame, which would be recorded later and analyzed. It says nothing in absolutes because the guy had absolutely no idea what anything did. He just wired things up. He's not an analyst just a cable monkey hired to run wires. Hes blabbing for money to tell a story he is making up about things he never really saw.

By mindless1 on 11/10/2007 1:20:58 PM , Rating: 2
We dont have to be concerned if all was stored, only what was being done with it.


Allow me to give you a little hint:

Others felt "safe" too, before bad things happened to them. They thought others were paranoid and upheld the illusion of justice, privacy, etc, then they were woken up. I hope you're never woken up.

RE: else do you suppose they do this?
By Ringold on 11/10/07, Rating: 0
RE: else do you suppose they do this?
By SandmanWN on 11/11/2007 2:22:16 PM , Rating: 1
The only arrogant thing here is your assumption that these other governments dont already monitor this traffic. And secondly that they would share this information with anyone outside their own intelligence agency.


RE: else do you suppose they do this?
By Lord 666 on 11/11/2007 4:08:01 PM , Rating: 3
Just as preposterous an idea as the US having prisoners in Cuba or running secret prisons in Poland.

By SandmanWN on 11/14/2007 10:07:11 AM , Rating: 2
Actually Im rather fond of the idea. Already have enough overcrowding in the prisons here. And the petty lawyers want to give those people the same rights as American citizens. I think its downright smart to keep them elsewhere.

By Gibby82 on 11/12/2007 4:22:10 AM , Rating: 2
Mod me down, I don't care.

It's sickening that it's "cool" to hate the government. I read comments and blogs and all kinds of crap all over the net...people always complaining about the government. They blame the Republicans....without thinking for a moment that Democrats would have to vote too....or it's the other way around.

WHEN, WHEN are you all going to wake up and face facts? The media plays with your emotions. They don't give you one bit of useful information. The government? Here's the real deal-both parties suck. Congress is a large group of overgrown children arguing over who is better-all the while lying to you and not getting a damn thing done. And..truth be told-THEY RUN THE COUNTRY. They pass all the laws. And get a grip on this "oh god they are monitoring us" BS. You think that's new? You think they JUST started that? Maybe it's because some of you are dirty little a**holes who would hurt the country. But if we don't look for the hell are we going to know? Boy...I bet if we had monitored Timothy McVie's comm traffic we might have prevented Oklahoma City. The government watchs us all and hides things from us-deal with it. In some instances, it's very important. Things such as the development of new technologies, such as the B-2, do NOT need to be announced. But I'm sure all of you had a fit about that too.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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