Prague Twin

Thursday, May 11, 2006

NSA Tracking Call Patterns

Washington Post reports today...

President Bush, responding to a newspaper report on a previously undisclosed program to track the phone call patterns of millions of Americans, insisted today that U.S. intelligence activities he has authorized are lawful and aimed strictly at the al-Qaeda terrorist network.


Wait.... Millions of calls and their efforts are directed at the al-Qaeda network? Either terrorism is way more prevalent than anyone thought, or we have been lied to: pure and simpe.

The thing that bugs me the most is how easily a huge data base of calls would create a network of information, like an organism. Everything could be shown to be connected.

Anyone they want can be connected to a terrorist. How hard would it be to be just a couple of degrees away from a terrorist without even knowing it?

Have you ever played Six degrees of Kevin Bacon?

Now imagine how easy it would be for you or me to be "linked to terrorism". We can all get terrorism ratings to go with our credit ratings! JOY!

Here is how it works: if I know a guy who, knows a guy, who knows a guy who is a terrorist, that makes me a 2. I'm not sure what my number would actually be. I met a Basque guy. I'm sure that connects me with a terrorist. Heck, maybe I know a terrorist and don't even know it? Maybe my terroist rating is 1. I really can't be sure.

Want to know your number? Just ask the NSA.... They know.

Or better yet, why not ask Michael V. Hayden himself? Oh, what luck! Looks like we will get the chance!

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12 Comments:

  • I think we should get 5,000 people to each send $10 to the Palestinian Authority so we can clog up the federal courts and disable the system.

    By Blogger Elizabeth, at 12:22 AM  

  • Living in NY, I have a feeling my terrorist rating is pretty high. If I didn't come into contact with a "terrorist" the last time I took a cab or when I bought my paper from the kiosk at 42nd Street today, then some of those Muslim kids in my class must be "terrorists."

    Please tell me the American people will be outraged by the revelation that information from tens of millions of domestic calls has been bought and logged by the NSA.

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 12:23 AM  

  • Elizabeth,

    That is a great idea. Too bad that will get you on a no-fly list faster that you can say Franz Kafka.

    RBE,

    Oh yea, you lefty teacher types, might as well just round you all up now, just in case.

    So we can all be safe. Funny thing, suddenly I don't feel safe, but rather quite the opposite. Ironic isn't it?

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 12:26 AM  

  • Try the six degrees of Qevin al-Baqon.

    Mike

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 12:47 AM  

  • Mike,

    I am LMFAO! Perfect!

    RBE,

    some of those Muslim kids in my class must be "terrorists."

    That makes you a terrorist supporter. You are providing them information that they can use against us. As a government employee it is your duty to alert the authorities!

    This is where we are heading folks, unless we fight like screaming, kicking, little children. Americans have been complacent to long, and we are starting to get the government we deserve (for being complacent).

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:24 AM  

  • I really find the propensity of some "conservatives" to defend the administration's Big Brother initiatives to be the most troubling of all their various hypocrisies (e.g., budget, nation-building, etc.)

    I don't care if it's a Democratic administration or a Republican administration that is compiling the largest database of domestic calls ever. Either way, I'm against it. Honest conservatives like Bob Barr feel the same way. But then you have the hacks, like Pat Roberts, Jon Kyl, John Cornyn, etc. who are defending this program when you know damn well they would be screaming "Black Helicopters" if this was a Kerry administration program.

    Scary. They don't seem to believe in anything other than the perpetuation of their own parties power.

    Will we ever have a time where people in both parties stand for something and cling to their beliefs no matter the consequences for their own power? I know John McCain is often given credit for being that kind of "integrity" politician, but that was before the Jerry Falwell/Bush love-in the past couplf of years.

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 2:41 PM  

  • Anyone want to guess just who signed into law the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (I guess the 1994 thing gives it away)

    Maybe we should play six degrees of Bill Clinton? Were you guys all in fervor when he signed it into law? I guess the media didn’t care to inform you then, since a Democrat was in charge at the time.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 12:48 AM  

  • You mean the one that requires phone companies assist in..

    1) expeditiously isolating and enabling the government, pursuant to a court order or other lawful authorization, to intercept, to the exclusion of any other communications, all wire and electronic communications carried by the carrier within a service area to or from equipment, facilities, or services of a subscriber of such carrier concurrently with their transmission to or from the subscriber's equipment, facility, or service, or at such later time as may be acceptable to the government; emphasis added.

    That one?

    Please, arch, name the specific "lawful authorization" for this specific program.

    And I do mean specific: not Article II, not the war powers act. What specific legal authorization was granted the president for collecting information on Americans domestic activity?

    Hmmm? And isn't the bigger point that Bush specifically said that that he was only monitoring international calls involving a member or associate of al-Qaeda? In this case, he specifically lied.

    Yes, Clinton signed this law into effect, and Bush is abusing it by not providiing sufficient legal justification (i.e. "legal authorization") for his program.

    I'm not the only one who doesn't understand what legal authorization is being used. In a letter to John Negroponte, Republican Senator Olympia Snowe (Maine) asks,

    "Do you believe that this operation is legal, and, if so, on what legal and constitutional authority?" she asked.

    Other questions included, "What does the NSA intend to do with the information collected via this program?"


    I'm all ears. (Old NSA joke).

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 10:28 AM  

  • I like the old NSA joke, praguetwin. Also the part about "pursuant to a court order or other lawful authorization."

    Bush's lawful authorization seems to be "I'm the president. Whatever I do is lawful."

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 5:17 PM  

  • RBE,

    That is it. Basically he is saying that if Article II doesn't give him authorization to do whatever he wants, then the war powers act does.

    This is exactly the type of argument that the founders were trying to eliminate with the checks and balances system.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 2:47 AM  

  • How can you hide behind the fourth amendment when it comes to the tracking of phone records - something the private sector does routinely - and then insist that article II not be applied to the defense of the presidents actions? As usual, the defense of the constitution is not what actually animates the Left; it is simply another attempt at de-legitimizing the president because he is a Republican. Bitch about not connecting the dots pre 9/11 and then bitch about collecting the dots to be connected.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 4:47 PM  

  • You may be right about the left at large, but you can bet your ass that protecting the constitution is important to me.

    I am partial to the Bill of Rights vis a vis Article II, because these are absolute limits on Federal power which were enacted by the states.

    They are, in effect, states rights. I'm sure you know that the states wouldn't sign on to Article II (or Article I or III) unless these 10 things were guaranteed.

    So, if I have to pick between Article II and the 4th Ammendment, my choice is clear. The president is allowed to act under the authority of Article II so long as the rights spelled out in the Bill of Rights are not infringed

    What if the president said he had the right to take your guns away under Article II? That is right: you would direct him to the Second Ammendment and tell him to kiss your ass.

    That is what I am saying with regards to my privacy.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 6:14 PM  

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