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United States Privacy

Former Head of NSA Calls For Obama To Reject NSA Commission Recommendations 316

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the not-what-you're-thinking dept.
An anonymous reader writes that USA Today reports "Retired general Michael Hayden ... called on President Obama Monday to ... reject many of the recommendations of the commission he appointed to rein in NSA surveillance ... 'President Obama now has the burden of simply doing the right thing,' ... 'And I think some of the right things with regard to the commission's recommendations are not the popular things. They may not poll real well right now. They'll poll damn well after the next attack ...' ... The commission ... said the recommendations were designed to increase transparency, accountability and oversight at the NSA. Hayden ... oversaw the launch of some of the controversial programs ... He defended them as effective and properly overseen by congressional intelligence committees and a special court. 'Right now, since there have been no abuses and almost all the court decisions on this program have held that it's constitutional, I really don't know what problem we're trying to solve by changing how we do this,' he said."
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Former Head of NSA Calls For Obama To Reject NSA Commission Recommendations

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:08AM (#45827937)
    He has no incentive to change anything. How it 'polls' is irrelevant. Someone with 2016 aspirations will need to make this their issue.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This clown was "lame" the day he stepped into office. His inability to actually take a stand and act on it, without wheeling and dealing for 2 years to get a "consensus" that compromises every facet of the original stand, has made him as effective as most vice presidents.

      He's going to gather "expert testimony", "listen to the people", and by the time he gets around to "gathering consensus", he'll have changed nothing. Just like Afghanistan, just like Iraq, and just like that gods-awful mess of an excuse for

      • by morari (1080535) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:42AM (#45829119) Journal

        All very true, unfortunately. Obama has been little more than a continuation of Dubya's reign. It's too bad the American people are so divided, so beholden to their preferred "team", or else they might notice how thoroughly they're being fucked regardless of which party is in power.

        And here I was, sincerely hoping for a Socialist, non-Christian president. If only Fox news were correct now and then. :(

        • by Deep Esophagus (686515) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:58PM (#45830121)

          It's too bad the American people are so divided, so beholden to their preferred "team", or else they might notice how thoroughly they're being fucked regardless of which party is in power.

          My kingdom for mod points! Amen, preach on! As a centrist, I manage to piss off my friends on the right and left just about every day when I point out the fallacies in their partisan logic. My Facebook profile lists my political preference as "They are all lying weasels, every last one of them".

          Our country's fondness for sports has made team affiliation creep into everything. Mac or Windows? Republican or Democrat? Plastic or paper? Die, heretic! We just aren't happy, apparently, if there isn't a "them" for "us" to oppose. And when there is a "them", we'll do and say anything, however outrageous, to bring "them" to utter destruction.

          • by AJH16 (940784) <aj@gcc[ ].com ['afe' in gap]> on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:16PM (#45830319) Homepage

            It's a little more insidious when you realize that is intentional and that both media and politicians fight to keep it that way. They intentionally use the most divisive issues possible and make their careers by making people as extreme as possible. It's horrible for the country, but great for accumulating power and wealth.

          • Weasles are amazing hunters, and very cute. Why insult them by comparing them to US politicians?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SJHillman (1966756)

      He still has incentive to keep his party in power. Politicans are loyal to themselves first, and their party and donors second. If it doesn't affect him, then he will do whatever is best for his party (not to be confused with his constituents) or his donors.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rmdingler (1955220)
      I respectfully disagree.

      Obama has the luxury of not seeking another term to guide whatever moral compass might remain within him.

      He has an opportunity to make the reform of government surveillance an even greater legacy for his presidency than his ACA program.

      Will he? Possibly not, but a newly elected POTUS will have even less incentive: any terrorist incident that occurs after a restructuring of the quasi-governmental snooping agencies will land at the feet of it's sponsor.

      • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:56AM (#45828217)

        Politics is compliacted.

        If Obama announced his intention to limit the powers of the NSA and impose more oversight from congress and the courts, then you can be confident that within a week there will be a republican-sponsored bill to remove what oversight they already have. It's a game of two sides: What one does, the other automatically opposes.

        • What you say is true, but many of these edicts that allowed the present system to run unchecked pre-Snowden seem to have been mandated by federal agencies. Perhaps for reasons of deniability, much of this has escaped whatever cleansing light that Congressional oversight might provide.

          Public discussion of privacy versus security is at least being discussed now, and there may be some momentum that can be drawn upon.

        • by nobodyman (90587) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:11PM (#45829455) Homepage

          What one does, the other automatically opposes.

          Which is why it's so easy to control today's GOP with reverse psychology.

          Obama:Boy, it sure would be bad if you shut down the government.
          GOP:HA! Lets shut down the government!
          (time passes)...
          GOP:Shit, our poll numbers!
          Obama: Jesus this is too easy.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:07AM (#45828287)

      It took a very brave man, Edward R. Murrow ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_R_Murrow [wikipedia.org] ), to have the courage to stand up Senator Joseph McCarthy's communist witch hunt. Obama just isn't the man to do that. But you really can't blame him for that. Not everyone can be a superhero, and that is what the country needs to restore the NSA to what it once was. Old Cold War NSA retirees probably cry themselves to sleep every night when they think about what the NSA has now become. The NSA used to be very discrete, effective and restrained. Now they have gone entirely overboard and out of control. They need a military style stand-down to take an assessment of themselves. Discretion is the better part of valor. I'd like to see an NSA that we could be proud of again . . . not afraid of.

      Take a look at the Navy SEALS . . . the best fighting force in the world . . . but the US Army command does not send them off everywhere at a whim. And most of their operations we probably never hear about . . . because they are used very discretely and restrained. The NSA has expanded their surveillance to a point that the world is bound to discover what they are doing . . . because they just can't keep such massive operations secret any more.

      If the Navy SEALS came under the command of the NSA, the NSA would deploy the SEALS everywhere to shoot up everyone. And instruct them to search through the dead bodies, to see if any of the dead were, in fact, terrorists.

      • by spacepimp (664856)

        The NSA was corrupt then, and they created the FISA courts to resolve the abuses that were rampant. Now with the oversite of the FISA we see more of the same, just more political jockeying to codify their abuses as lawful and constitutional.

      • I'd like to see an NSA that we could be proud of again

        I'm not sure that ever existed. The NSA was happy to spy on Americans Nixon didn't like, just because he asked them to.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:39AM (#45829075)

      During the interview General Michael Hayen stated. "...and the only thing that people like me wish is: that when we do these kinds of decisions, that we base it on facts". Well, here are some facts for the POTUS to consider:

      FACT - U.S. Intellegence agencies ignored credible tips that could have stopped 9/11 (Flight Instructor).
      FACT - U.S. Intellegence agencies ignored credible tips that could have stopped the failed underwear bomber (Father).
      FACT - U.S. Intellegence agencies ignored credible tips that could have stopped the Boston Marathon Bombings (Boston Murder / Russia).
      FACT - Countries across the world are ceasing to use technology products with U.S. origin (Cisco, Google, etc), damaging the economy.
      FACT - U.S. (CIA specifically) drone strikes kill innocent civilians and create more enemies of the U.S.
      FACT - U.S. citizens killed by drone strikes are not provided due process.
      FACT - Documents released by Snowden indicate that FISA judges found NSA activities unconstitutional.

      In that light, General Michael Hayden and his ilk should be arrested for treason and war crimes. This may include members of the current and former exective branches (Read "Dirty Wars").

  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:14AM (#45827967)

    They'll poll damn well after the next attack

    The next attack will happen with or without illegal, unconstitutional domestic spying. I don't want you magic tiger protection rocks sir.

    • by WolfgangPG (827468) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:17AM (#45827989)
      I have to agree. The NSA may or may not have stopped any attacks with this snooping. They can of course point to attacks they claim to have stopped, but sadly we can't verify any of that. Instead we can point to the Boston Marathon Bombings where the US Government was informed by other countries to watch out for these guys and we still did nothing.

      We also have the Fort Hood shooting. Where any Army person was using army computers to contact terrorists and went on to shoot up an army base. Where was the NSA there?

      "Days after the shooting, reports in the media revealed that a Joint Terrorism Task Force had been aware of e-mail communications between Hasan and the Yemen-based cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who had been monitored by the NSA as a security threat, and that Hasan's colleagues had been aware of his increasing radicalization for several years. The failure to prevent the shootings led the Defense Department and the FBI to commission investigations, and for Congress to hold hearings."
      • by ImOuttaHere (2996813) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:04AM (#45828265)

        I have to agree. The NSA may or may not have stopped any attacks with this snooping... We also have the Fort Hood shooting. Where any Army person was using army computers to contact terrorists and went on to shoot up an army base. Where was the NSA there?...

        Allow me to take this just a small step further. What good has the NSA spying been in preventing any mass shooting attacks [usatoday.com] on Americans?

        Tell me about how the NSA prevented mass killings (of 4 or more people) in Sandy Hook, New York, Paris(TX), Tulsa, Callison, Terrell, Phoenix, Rice, Washington DC, Dallas, Clarksberg, Santa Monica, etc, etc, etc?

        Please don't tell me that NSA spying is a matter of definition. Mass death is mass death, regardless of country of origin, skin color, or religious bent.

        • And in every one of those places, the NSA has no (well is not supposed to anyways) purview. Domestic issues are meant to be handled by the FBI.

          The NSA and CIA mandates are to operate outside the US, so yes, I have no issues whatsoever with the NSA spying on everyone and there mother outside the US, just like those same countries spy on everyone else. We just got caught with our hands in the cookie jar. Operating within the US is supposed to be illegal, although it appears no one in power wants to enforce

          • by berashith (222128) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:40AM (#45829097)

            are you saying that it is ok for them to defend attacks that may originate outside the borders by spying on people within the borders, but then have no responsibility for not stopping things as it isnt their job? If it isnt their job, then dont do it, problem solved. If they say the goal is to stop attacks, and they need complete autonomy in their behavior, then they are 100% failures every time something happens. You cant play both sides of the coin.

            As they havent been stopping things, and things are a decided rarity, how about they quit their nonsense and start following the real laws of this country ( not the ones that arent constitutional and cant be challenged ) .

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            And in every one of those places, the NSA has no (well is not supposed to anyways) purview. Domestic issues are meant to be handled by the FBI.

            That, sir, is prevarication. The NSA clearly is operating within that (this!) area, and therefore we ought to be deriving some good from it. The question of whether it should be stopped is a separate one from whether, if it is to be done, it should benefit The People. The answer is of course no, but it is still separate.

      • We also have the more important and fundamental issue, which is that things like the Boston Marathon bombing, Fort Hood and indeed 9/11 itself are worth it if the alternative is a totalitarian police state.

        The victims of 9/11 should have been martyrs of freedom, but the PATRIOT Act, FISA etc. negated the value of their sacrifice.

        • I agree with you; the problem is, how do you explain that to the families of the victims of Boston, Fort Hood, and 911? Many, if not most of them campaigned for putting the Patriot Act in place, and for beefing up internal and external security. They did so out of grief, anger, and trauma-induced xenophobia. How, as a society, do we counter that? Because in my experience it's nearly impossible to use reason with someone who's near out-of-their-mind with grief, anger, and a suddenly-awakened fear of stranger
          • I wouldn't expect explaining it to people who experienced direct loss to be either possible or -- ideally -- necessary. It is irresponsible governance for the politicians to respond to the impulsiveness of people too grief-stricken to think clearly.

            There were nearly 300 million people in the United States in 2001. Even if the loss of each of the 2,977 9/11 victims directly affected 1000 people, that's still less than 1% of the population. The President should have made a speech after 9/11 to explain this c

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:30AM (#45828075) Homepage

      Also, he's demonstrably wrong: After the whole Boston Marathon bombing went down, the support for the NSA spying went down, not up. A logical reason for this: the NSA had clearly failed to catch terrorists despite all their willful violation of the rights of all Americans, so the benefits for all that intrusion were approximately 0.

      Besides that, regardless of what the NSA does or doesn't do, your average American is about 15 times more likely to be killed by a drunk driver than a terrorist.

      • by compro01 (777531) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:55AM (#45828211)

        Besides that, regardless of what the NSA does or doesn't do, your average American is about 15 times more likely to be killed by a drunk driver than a terrorist.

        Hell, on the roads, every month is September, 2001. Roughly a 9/11 worth of people die every single month in vehicle accidents.

      • Also, he's demonstrably wrong: After the whole Boston Marathon bombing went down, the support for the NSA spying went down, not up. A logical reason for this: the NSA had clearly failed to catch terrorists despite all their willful violation of the rights of all Americans, so the benefits for all that intrusion were approximately 0.

        Besides that, regardless of what the NSA does or doesn't do, your average American is about 15 times more likely to be killed by a drunk driver than a terrorist.

        I thought the same thing. The next attack would show their ineffectiveness, not scare us all back into their arms. The powers that be will have to find something else with which to scare us all into compliance. This terrorism thing isn't working as well as it used to.

    • by ImOuttaHere (2996813) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:53AM (#45828197)

      The next attack will happen with or without illegal, unconstitutional domestic spying. I don't want you magic tiger protection rocks sir.

      I can't imagine how (some? many?) Americans take a face value any comment that says NSA spying will prevent attacks on Americans when it was not needed in 2001. There was plenty of clear intelligence information leading up to the events of 9/11. No vast spying on Americans was needed to warn the Bush administration [cnn.com] that something big was about to happen.

      "Here is a representative sampling of the CIA threat reporting that was distributed to Bush administration officials during the spring and summer of 2001:

      -- CIA, "Bin Ladin Planning Multiple Operations," April 20
      -- CIA, "Bin Ladin Attacks May Be Imminent," June 23
      -- CIA, "Planning for Bin Ladin Attacks Continues, Despite Delays," July 2
      -- CIA, "Threat of Impending al Qaeda Attack to Continue Indefinitely," August 3

      The failure to respond adequately to these warnings was a policy failure by the Bush administration, not an intelligence failure by the U.S. intelligence community..."

      It makes me wonder why the NSA is pushing so hard to keep unconstitutional spying programs in place. What are they really doing? What are they needing to justify? What snake-oil are they trying to sell the American people? What are they really afraid of? Who are they attempting to control?

      • The next attack will happen with or without illegal, unconstitutional domestic spying. I don't want you magic tiger protection rocks sir.

        I can't imagine how (some? many?) Americans take a face value any comment that says NSA spying will prevent attacks on Americans when it was not needed in 2001. There was plenty of clear intelligence information leading up to the events of 9/11. No vast spying on Americans was needed to warn the Bush administration [cnn.com] that something big was about to happen.

        "Here is a representative sampling of the CIA threat reporting that was distributed to Bush administration officials during the spring and summer of 2001:

        -- CIA, "Bin Ladin Planning Multiple Operations," April 20 -- CIA, "Bin Ladin Attacks May Be Imminent," June 23 -- CIA, "Planning for Bin Ladin Attacks Continues, Despite Delays," July 2 -- CIA, "Threat of Impending al Qaeda Attack to Continue Indefinitely," August 3

        The failure to respond adequately to these warnings was a policy failure by the Bush administration, not an intelligence failure by the U.S. intelligence community..."

        It makes me wonder why the NSA is pushing so hard to keep unconstitutional spying programs in place. What are they really doing? What are they needing to justify? What snake-oil are they trying to sell the American people? What are they really afraid of? Who are they attempting to control?

        Well said. There have been a number of people who have come forward to say that the intelligence agencies knew something big was going to happen before 9/11/01. Yet that is not covered much by the Media. Condi Rice got a lot more exposure than Susan Lindauer ever will.

        So it's no wonder to me that so many people still buy the bullshit. The Media generally can be counted on to keep a lid on uncomfortable information. The more uncomfortable it is, the less likely they are to actually tell their readers an

      • by MrLint (519792)

        "It makes me wonder why the NSA is pushing so hard to keep unconstitutional spying programs in place"

        CYA? Seriously, leadership never takes responsibility. When you dump every possible thing on the table for the leaders to look at, at no point can the phrase "we didn't know" be said honestly.

      • by JWW (79176)

        Captain Hindsight is that you??

        But you are right about one thing. If the NSA says they're doing what they're doing to protect us, but then an attack happens that proves they can't protect us, then their justifications for their spying are inadequate.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Captain Hindsight is that you??

          It's not just hindsight when you're forewarned. In that case, it's also simple blindness.

      • Not really. What else did the CIA give bush? Briefings on 3000 other terrorist attacks just about to happen, from 250 other terrorist groups in 87 countries? All that intelligence is like an oil field and you're looking for that one quart of oil that's going to burn ultra-hot because of its unique composition. One day it ignites while you're sucking it out of the ground and the rig blows up, and people are like, "There were so many warning signs, the equipment was groaning, it was out of maintenance,

    • by hjf (703092)

      I read that as "Mr. President: you're dealing with powers you can't understand. It would be a shame if something bad happened to the country. CAPISCE?'

      For those who can't read between lines: If the NSA gets questioned, they will attack the country (probably even kill the president).

      I never believed the whole paranoid "9/11 was an inside job" theory. But what this guy just said.. wow.

    • I don't know man. I feel like the powers that be are in total control of things, and allow or disallow as they wish (I'm one of those stewpid '9/11 was an inside job' folks). Magic tiger protection rocks are really all We The People have now. I mean, until We The People band together to fight actual terror where it actually is, that is. In my mind, terror is whatever mankind as a whole allows.

      As for the spying, I mean, our courts have decided that it's all legal [wikipedia.org]. So what is everyone bitching about?
    • We have an acronym for this; it's called FUD.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:17AM (#45827983)

    Painful truths:
    NSA workers are not traitors that should be killed. Please look at the scum who cut off children's heads in CAR to understand what real tyranny is.

    NSA will be changed but domestic surveillance will probably go to the DOJ (who has a stellar track record)

    This has all happened before 20, 40, 70, and I think 150 years ago. It will probably happen again.

    Now, please, can we talk about changes without devolving into fake revolutionaries? You're pissed off. We all get it. Now let's do something useful other than scream.

    • by freax (80371) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:33AM (#45828103) Homepage

      I agree with this. I'm also really pissed that secret services refuse to create more transparency and do a lot of things that are not lawful (like dragnet surveillance, indiscriminate mass surveillance of ordinary law abiding citizens, economic espionage, etc).

      That, however, doesn't mean that we'll have any progress by calling workers at the NSA traitors who should be killed or even heavily sanctioned. Processes should however be fixed.

      I do think transparency and legality of their profession has to come back (by following the processes and requirements, and having a public debate on all this).

      It's not a deal society can make to allow a surveillance police state (even if it's here already; it still doesn't make it OK for it to stay). The US can and should make legislation deals with the EU on this if the fear is that internationally laws and processes aren't worth a lot. It can make such deals even with China or Russia, and with other BRIC countries too. There is no need to have invasive non-targeted worldwide surveillance of ordinary citizens for America to be much more safe than before 9/11. Whoever in the US military and/or government who's telling you that is lying.

      Right now, however, the US is showing absurd distrust in the rest of the world and actions done by your NSA as being seen in the population worldwide as military action against them. They are ordinary citizens with no intent to harm anybody in the US. But by invading their privacy so insanely massively you Americans ARE going to create a lot of nutcases for decades to come.

      Stop it.

    • by iamwahoo2 (594922)

      I agree that NSA employees should not be killed. But those that have abused this system should face justice if they have violated the law. We have at this point, irrefutable proof the James Clapper committed perjury. We know that other crimes have been committed within the NSA, an investigation needs to identify the parties responsible and they need to be brought to justice. It is also clear that there is rampant fraud, waste, and abuse in the forms of programs that have no value to US citizens and only ser

    • This is a very good troll, and it's a good thought-provoking post.
  • by jimpop (27817) * on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:18AM (#45827995) Homepage Journal

    ..who was on guard duty before 9/11.... why should anyone listen to him?

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      ..who was on guard duty before 9/11.... why should anyone listen to him?

      Guard duty? It's not like he was encamped atop the towers with a machine gun. Intelligence reports on a possible attack were made and not followed up on by the administration, which by the way was helmed by a member of a famly with a long-standing relationship with the family of the leader of the attackers.

  • by bazmail (764941) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:19AM (#45828003)
    He argues that it is legal because it is useful. Using that logic, I should be allowed use claymore mines to protect my property from intruders. Indiscriminate, illegal but probably effective. He should remember, if you subvert the constitution, you corrode the very fabric of the nation. We're becoming just another regime.
    • by gmuslera (3436)
      What is doing is like putting claymore mines in all the city, and inside your house to protect it, yes, could be effective, or you or your children could hit one of your own claymore mines, or some thieves instead of stepping on one of them, just throw a pebble to it to make it explode and hurt you and your family. And don't forget that the people that installed the mines can dodge them and enter with no problem at your house anytime. Eventually your wife and children will leave you to not be with such risk
    • by Kjella (173770)

      He's a general and his job is to win a military victory, they're generally in the "All's fair in love and war" corner. Of course the US is not actually in a war, but generals are always preparing for one or he's taken the "War on Terror" to mean that the US is always at war against their enemies. He's thinking like on the battle field, if he thinks the enemy is hiding in a building he doesn't ask for a warrant he assaults it because good intent is enough. If there was collateral damage, well it was for the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I really like the part about "there have been no abuses". Perhaps Hayden would like to tell the US public the truth. Let's see how long it takes before he gets a bullet to the face, let alone a prison sentence.

    Scumbags.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Desler (1608317)

      LOVEINT wasn't an abuse? The FISA courts taking about how the NSA was deceiving them wasn't abuse? What the fuck is Hayden smoking to be making such outlandish claims?

  • Formal fallacy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    [quote]They may not poll real well right now. They'll poll damn well after the next attack ...'[/quote]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_probability

  • In this comment "Right now, since there have been no abuses and almost all the court decisions on this program have held that it's constitutional, I really don't know what problem we're trying to solve by changing how we do this" the key word is... ALMOST.

    • by Desler (1608317) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:31AM (#45828085)

      His claim about there being no abuses is a bald-faced lie. Why should anyone believe anything in that sentence after the first major lie?

      • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:07AM (#45828283)

        "There have been no abuses"

        What about LOVEINT?

        http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/09/26/20709855-loveint-nsa-letter-discloses-employee-eavesdropping-on-girlfriends-spouses?lite

        I'd certainly call using your "catch the terrorists super-spying" powers to eavesdrop on your girlfriend an abuse of power. Of course, he'd probably just hand wave that away as inconsequential because [super spooky voice]TERRORISTS!!!!!![/super spooky voice]

    • No abuses?

      One word:
      Loveint

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:29AM (#45828071)

    I'm not an America, although I am a citizen of one of the 5eyes - the one with a fundamentally criminal past.

    Freedom is about being about being able to live your life as you choose. Freedom is about disagreeing with other peoples' choices as to how they live their life, yet accepting that choice, as long as it doesn't to detrimentally affect yours.

    "O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

    Question mark is very well placed. The question mark was in the positive for around 200 years, however I think it is conclusive now. The answer is "Nope."

    There is no question about America now about being home of the free and the brave. Terrorism won, because terrorism is about causing terror, and therefore ridiculous levels of measures against it.

    (heh, this post will probably get me on the NSA list, but I'm probably already there anyway.)

    • You could still call it the 'Land of the free-er-than-most.'

      There isn't really much to judge the 'brave' on any more. No domestic wars in living memory, no wilderness in need of conquoring, no natives left to forceibly display. Life is quite comfortable for most, so there just isn't any need for brave.

      • You could still call it the 'Land of the free-er-than-most.'

        Is this what the US aspires to now? To be slightly better than average? What happened to the "best country in the world"?

  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:33AM (#45828101)

    The record of prevented attacks, according to the official report, is zero. The surveillance programs the NSA runs have prevented no attacks. They have, however, fundamentally undermined our Constitution and the entire rule of law in the United States of America. The citizenry has been watching, stunned, while the Congress, Whitehouse, and courts in DC have been wiping their collective behind with our foundational document, and are now looking at each other, waiting to see who's gonna pick up the gun and put the mad dog down. The criminals in DC and Wall Street misread the apparent lack of reaction with acquiescence or agreement. It's not. It's the entire mass of the country, who already have their hands full with many, many deep problems, discovering this massive systemic betrayal and trying to process what the best course of action is. If DC does not act now to channel things into productive reform, they will explode to the detriment of all, but especially to the detriment of DC and their masters on Wall Street.

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:36AM (#45828129)

    "After the next attack"

    Wait a second - you mean that you admit the NSA is not able to prevent the attacks? OK, so explain again why it is a necessary, nay, "vital" government agency?

  • What (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lagomorpha2 (1376475) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:36AM (#45828131)

    "They may not poll real well right now. They'll poll damn well after the next attack ..."

    So... these things aren't popular now... but the next time they fail to stop an attack... Americans will be glad the NSA was here to fail to stop the attack?

    The sad part is he's probably right, the public actually is that stupid.

  • by Chas (5144) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:39AM (#45828149) Homepage Journal

    He's right in one way. It's probably not going to change.

    And then he pulls the boogie man out of his pocket.

    "The next attack."

    "The next attack."

    So we're supposed to just huddle up in a corner and live in fear for the rest of forever. Just so that, MAYBE, some day, they catch another underpants bomber?

    Uhm...

    Not to put too fine a point on that, FUCK NO!

    At some point, reality sets in and people need to realize that The Real World (not the stupid "reality TV show") is NOT a safe place. And NO amount of watching will curtail EVERY attempt.

    Nor will throwing away our rights like a hot potato make us any safer.

  • Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:39AM (#45828153)

    Looking at it from the outside, i.e not being a US citizen:

    1. You piss of everybody else on the planet, so do not expect any goodwill.
    2. There were abuses, please do google loveint.
    3. Snowden walked ot of NSA with *all* their goodies, so how says that that did not happen before ? He was just the first to go public with the abuses.
    4. How can any US citizen still talk about the "land of the free", that is totally ridiculous and hypocrite at the same time.
    5. You do have the best democracy that money can buy

    • Snowden wasn't a high-up NSA officer. He was a lowly contractor, and could only sneak out so much of that little he did have access to. For all that he has revealed, it's almost certainly just a tiny fraction of what the NSA is up to. There are probably all manner of even worse things they were so secret about Snowden didn't have access. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were involved in manipulating elections around the world to favor US-friendly politicians, or stealing commercially sensitive informa

      • by spacepimp (664856)

        Snowden was an administrator and had fairly high level access to documents. He also found ways to get the data he felt relevant. He walked with millions of documents.

  • Since many of these atrocities started on his watch. He is responsible for untold abuse of power.

    • by spacepimp (664856)

      Didn't he just inherit it from the TIA which was defunded by congress under Poindexter? Then blame him... Passing the buck because you inherited something doesn't mean you aren't guilty. If you don't stop the abuses you are promoting them.

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:56AM (#45828213) Homepage

    is why I have not had an elephant knock my fence down. The evidence is there - my fences have stood strong after I replaced them in the gales a couple of years ago. If I were to cut the tree down I would run the risk of damaged fences; it is far safer to keep the tree.

    Likewise: we know that if the NSA had not been snooping then there would have been worse attacks than the Boston bombers, etc. They just have to deny their achievements to protect their effectiveness. If they are reined in they will loudly tell everyone how it could have been prevented when the next attack happens.

    (The fact that I live in urban England is surely irrelevant on the absence of elephants in my garden.)

  • No abuses? (Score:5, Informative)

    by godless dave (844089) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:57AM (#45828223)
    "Right now, since there have been no abuses..."
    NSA employee spied on nine women without detection [theguardian.com]
    NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds [washingtonpost.com]
    No abuses, General?
  • Doesn't LOVEINT count?

    Even if it doesn't, that's not the point.

    I think we can all agree that having these sorts of communications records is a despot's wet dream. The fact that it hasn't been abused yet is immaterial. It's too tempting a tool for those with the wrong motives.

    • If some contractor (Snowden) can get access to such a huge quantity of secrets then so can the terrorists. If I can think of a dozen ways a terrorist could use that information to harm America, I'm sure the terrorists could think of a thousand. Spending Billions of American taxpayer dollars just to have the bad guys use it to harm your country is not safer.

  • They'll poll damn well after the next attack ...

    And they'll STILL be wrong.

  • need to be hung by the neck until dead-dead-dead.

  • Sounds like a threat, like he knows there will be an attack. Perhaps he is correct, because he has inside info.
  • "far safer and privacy is far more secured with NSA holding the data than some third party."

    This data is not safe for long term storage ANYWHERE.
  • and no successes either....it seems the NSA is an expensive boondoggle (insert link to pics of Keith Alexander's Star Trek Bridge) and should therefore be culled to 10% of the current size.
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:02AM (#45828725) Homepage

    'I really don't know what problem we're trying to solve by changing how we do this,' he said.

    We know you don't, pudding. Now go sit down and be quiet.

  • Is a creep.
  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:15AM (#45828851)

    Hayden: 'And I think some of the right things with regard to the commission's recommendations are not the popular things. They may not poll real well right now. They'll poll damn well after the next attack ...'

    So, appeal to emotion. We can safely disregard your message then since it is, by definition, not well thought out.

    • by PPH (736903)

      Actually, they'll poll really well if some SWAT team kicks in some doors and stops the next attack. And the NSA's contribution to that is revealed. I don't think the current surveillance regime (what we knew of it, anyway) polled terribly well after Boston. The Russians told us to watch these guys and still our entire bag of tricks didn't stop them.

      • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:05PM (#45830209)

        Actually, they'll poll really well if some SWAT team kicks in some doors and stops the next attack. And the NSA's contribution to that is revealed. I don't think the current surveillance regime (what we knew of it, anyway) polled terribly well after Boston. The Russians told us to watch these guys and still our entire bag of tricks didn't stop them.

        True. Results would be a more effective argument. But they're not really interested in results -- at least from what people like Hayden do and say -- they're interested in pursuing unconstitutional total dragnet surveillance of everyone's communications for its own sake (and whatever nefarious uses they can come up with now or in the future). As you say, the system didn't help catch the Boston bad guys. It was never intended to. The Boston guys could have been caught by acting on the tip, getting a warrant based on that, which a judge would have certainly approved in a Constitutional, above-the-board process, tapping their phones, searching their place, interviewing acquaintances and other old-fashioned police work. All things that could be done with regular oversight and due process. No new laws, no secret courts, no black budgets.

        The NSA and the Executive branch want unfettered, unlimited, unaccountable surveillance for their own reasons. "Catching terr'ists" is just the excuse. I've even got a car analogy. Back in the day, I wanted a 4 barrel carburetor and high performance manifolds from my Mustang. I told my dad that it would get better mileage that way -- you know, 'cause "better breathing." Of course he didn't fall for that, he knew I just wanted it to go faster to impress friends and (in my mind) girls.

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:19AM (#45828891)
    I wonder if this idiot general realize people are beginning to be more afraid of the nsa than terrorists. And I would say the level of incompetence the nsa has shown in being able to manage this enormous power with a single individual able to walk off with their intelligence crown jewels indicates no one should have these types of power. More innocent people are at risk from nsa and government incompetence than anything they think they are doing. The tsa is security theater not adding any actual security, and now the nsa is now is showing a level of intelligence theater whose only value may be their agents abusing to spy on their girlfriends.
  • by Mansing (42708) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:26PM (#45829657)

    He [Michael Hayden] is currently a principal at the Chertoff Group, a security consultancy co-founded by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Hayden also serves as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Mason University School of Public Policy and was elected to the Board of Directors of Motorola Solutions effective January 4, 2011.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Hayden_(general) [wikipedia.org]

  • by Roger Wilcox (776904) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:37PM (#45829839)

    This article is from a mainstream source, USA Today, which might be the most widely circulated periodical in the nation... and this "Hayden" says what?

    They'll poll damn well after the next attack

    Reacting reflexively to irrational human impulses is not good leadership. What Hayden is talking about is called "taking advantage of the public to further political goals."

    there have been no abuses

    Bullshit. A flat out lie. Most of the data collection the NSA does is an abuse simply by its nature, and that's ignoring the blatant abuses we already know about.

    almost all the court decisions on this program have held that it's constitutional

    What? All one out of two cases? Another flat out lie.

    This is a propaganda piece, plain and simple. Grease the peons for the next move no matter how toxic the lubrication. Enzensberger said the "consent industry" was the most important of the twentieth century. And so it is in the twenty-first as well.

    If you have a brain and a proper education, you will see through this swill immediately. Unfortunately, the nature of the media machine and the ignorance of the masses will mean this story gets eaten up by many of our more gullible brothers. Consider the peons greased.

Real programs don't eat cache.

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