Friday, May 19, 2006

Telcos hire bag men to give your records to the NSA?

So Paul Kiel and Justin Rood of TPMmuckraker have a fascinating inside story about how the Telcos might have gotten around the "we didn't give your info to the NSA" situation.

Did Telcos Hire "Scapegoat" To Give NSA Phone Records?

Very clever. And given how they parsed the words on WHO they gave the records too the ever brilliant John Aravosis, at AmericaBlog has other info about the tricks the telcos are using.

Regarding all this. I have three words. Oversight. Oversight. Oversight.
And no Rubberstamps folks (I'm looking are you DiFi.)

And for the record, several of my 21 readers are in the NSA and CIA, especially the NSA. They are more aware of the laws regarding what is and isn't acceptable than anyone I know. It pisses them off when their work is used in ways that they think is illegal. As a group they are scary smart, patriotic and more concerned about personal privacy than the average citizen, partly because they know just out easily it can be breached with the click of a button.

They are the ones constantly worrying about the boundaries of the law and the line between protection and exploitation. Partly to protect themselves, but also because they know the difference between bullshit and real threats. Remember, someone hirer up "pulled the trigger" on this op. You can bet a LOT of people within the group knew this would eventually come out and warned management against it. And like the NASA engineers who warned about the o-ring problems, they too were overruled by more "political" people higher up in the organization.

They could be saying "I told you so" but that doesn't make people in the center offices of the puzzle palace happy.

To see where the problem lies in the NSA look UP, not DOWN within their ranks.

And finally to all my friends at the NSA, yes we know how lame Dan Brown's characters are in his non-famous book but wasn't it kind of fun to read about heroes in the biz? Be well. Do what's right. Stay safe.


Pliny said...

The only problem with this story, is that it apparently didn't happen. Both Verizon abd Bell South deny they ever handed over any records to the NSA (but we can't believe them can we?).

7:07 PM  
spocko said...

Hi Dennis!

It's all about the wording. I recognize a sneakily worded document when I see it. Also, they got that great little statement that said, 'If you have to give the government the records for national security you don't have to tell anyone you did it."
Now THAT was a great bill.
Ranks right up there with "Ethics Wavers"

7:11 PM  
betmo said...

there is apparently some sort of law or something passed through homeland security, etc., that gives them the ability to not tell the public about revealing stuff. how convenient. qwest probably would have too- they were offerred a lucrative government contract- but changed ceos under a cloud of suspicion. i can't understand why people aren't more up in arms about the whole thing. i can't tell you how infuriated i get when i hear- and i have heard it often- 'i have nothing to hide and we need to be safe.' yeah, we need to be safe morons- from dictatorship in our own country. your post on the radio guy really ticked me off. i am currently cooling off so i can think clearly enough to post on my own blog. thanks for a personal view of the conservative strategy.

1:48 PM  
PTCruiser said...

I'm with betmo on this one.

3:43 PM  
kelley b. said...

While I'm sure we can all trust the all the NSA personnel with all of our records [rolls eyes], it's still the mistakes that they make that will hurt people.

26 million datafiles from the VA have been stolen

It's not what they intended when they put all that data together. I'm sure.

11:23 PM  
spocko said...

Mistakes were made. Now where did I hear that before? Was it Nixon or Reagan.

If you watch the TV Show numbers I'm sure they would come up with some complex math theory that talks about "Given the number of people that touch the data, and the amount of "leakage" the percent of all data that leaks will be greater than zero." As the size of the data set grows the number of leaks will also group until the data will be leaking at the rate of X+1 records a day. This doesn't even begin to take in to account the possibility to misuse this data which, if we look at the history of this kind of information in the hands of the government, has been used 100 percent of the time (at least until FISA was established). The first president to go back to the bad old days pre-FISA? George W. Bush.

I'm reading Glenn Greenwalls book right now. Truly frightening.

11:30 PM  

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