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The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

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March 18, 2014 - 11:37 am
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For the second time since Russia’s offensive against Ukraine began, NSA leaker Edward Snowden has taken aim at the United States from Russian soil. The first occurred when he addressed SXSW via web video from an undisclosed location within Russia, where he has been granted asylum. That chat signaled to the world that President Obama and the United States are impotent to stop Snowden, and strongly suggested that Putin is controlling him. The latest disclosure, reported by the Washington Post, is about to cause a massive diplomatic headache for the United States.

The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden.

A senior manager for the program compares it to a time machine — one that can replay the voices from any call without requiring that a person be identified in advance for surveillance.

The voice interception program, called MYSTIC, began in 2009. Its RETRO tool, short for “retrospective retrieval,” and related projects reached full capacity against the first target nation in 2011. Planning documents two years later anticipated similar operations elsewhere.

In the initial deployment, collection systems are recording “every single” conversation nationwide, storing billions of them in a 30-day rolling buffer that clears the oldest calls as new ones arrive, according to a classified summary.

The call buffer opens a door “into the past,” the summary says, enabling users to “retrieve audio of interest that was not tasked at the time of the original call.” Analysts listen to only a fraction of 1 percent of the calls, but the absolute numbers are high. Each month, they send millions of voice clippings, or “cuts,” for processing and long-term storage.

At the request of U.S. officials, The Washington Post is withholding details that could be used to identify the country where the system is being employed or other countries where its use was envisioned.

The most likely targets are North Korea and Iran. Both are dangerous enemies bent on developing nuclear arsenals, and both are determined to cause havoc and destroy U.S. allies if not the U.S. itself. However, both North Korea and Iran are capable of surprising us with nuclear tests, missile launches and the like, so they may not be the targets, at least not yet. NSA might have developed the technology by targeting a much smaller and less governed country, say Yemen, with an eye to replicating it on a larger scale once the technology was sufficient. The U.S. does seem to find high numbers of terrorists to drone in Yemen.

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Top Rated Comments   
Can I despise traitors no matter what form they take?

Yep.

I stand firmly against the small c communist cabal and its lawlessness, its overthrow attempt and its propagandizing. The gang rapes of our information stream and our checks and balances, our freedoms, our liberties and our Constitution.

Uncovering their masks and administering swift and harsh justice for their treason is on the to-do list, if we get back the reins of this government from the seditionists.

I am grateful when information exposes them.

However, hurting the small c communists now in power by helping jihadists and large C communists make better plans for our demise doesn't give me the warm and fuzzies. The "trade off" is not made with a "hero".

Conflating the second danger with the value of the information against the first danger is not what I prefer to do.

I MUST recognize that it is NOT a wonderful situation. Snowden is slime. The drug addict, murdering, rapist informant who gets immunity for squealing on the mob...isn't a hero. He's a trade off, but he's still slime.

I want the information. I don't have to like the guy giving it to me.

Arguing that he's wonderful, doesn't cut it for me. He's a traitor. I don't like him.

But, his information exposes the totalitarians and sometimes we prosecute bigger offenders by getting slimy offenders to turn on them. That's how I see this.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
What will it take for these faux Libertarians to see that they are being used by Putin to discredit US intelligence.

I am going to use all caps.

Start shouting

EDWARD SNOWDEN WAS WORKING FOR RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE. THE REVELATIONS ABOUT PRISM WERE BOTH A DIVERSION AND A TACTIC DESIGNED BY THE RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE TO DISCREDIT NSA. ANYBODY WHO SUPPORTS EDWARD SNOWDEN SUPPORT VLADIMIR PUTIN.

end shouting

Edward Snowden is the faux Libertarian's Alger Hiss.

25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
The fact that he is dropping these dimes when it most helps Putin doesn't bother you?
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (117)
All Comments   (117)
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What's a bigger act of treason -- Snowden revealing the NSA spying or Obama surrendering control of the internet?
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Regardless of how many pieces Snowden deserves to be cut into, he's performed a valuable service to the American public. Namely, he has shown how much our leaders have lied to us.

This latest revelation of retroactive phones, for instance. I was suspicious about how much protesting that Obama did about how "only metadata" was collected.

With the ability to sneak into other countries' phone exchanges, is there any doubt the same thing is happening here? No sneaking required, just a Nat'l Security Letter.

You may now assume that every last phone conversation you've had in the last several years is on a gov't hard drive. If you ever wondered who paid for Google Voice transcription software to be written, now you know. It was all of us, through the IRS and back to the NSA, who paid whomever wrote the voice recognition algorithms.

We're so far past illegal search and phone tapping I'm feeling sick.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is old. In '81 when US Gen. Dozier was kidnapped in Italy by the Red Brigades word was that we listened to every telephone conversation in Italy with computers looking for key words. He was rescued.

We have been listening to all or most of the telecom calls in Russia for decades. That's why the US government discouraged our telecom companies from filling a RFP from the SU to put in fiber optics.

In the mid to late '80s I had a Russian Jew working for me who told me that when he finally got permission to leave the SU that he was interviewed by two Americans. He said I was a telecom engineer of the seventh level, the highest, but when I talked to these men I realized I knew nothing about the system!
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Divide and conquer.

They sure got our number don't they?
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Exit question: Is it time to regard Edward Snowden as a Russian intelligence agent, or is it past time to regard him as a Russian intelligence agent?"

I think a better question would be:

Is it time to regard apologists and defenders of Edward Snowden as useful idiots, or is past time to regard them as actively anti-American despite their protests?
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
The NSA might as well be an invention of Hitler or Stalin. They would both adore it. The Founding Fathers, to a man, would utterly abhor it.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Comrade O and Comrade Snowden go together like peas in a pod. Exactly which one is a better version of Putin’s Poodle is still up in their air though.

25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Clearly he is a tool of Putin. I'm sure Putin has told Snowden if he doesn't cough up everything he will hand him over to the USA...The moment the guy dropped into Russia he became a traitor and a Russian agent.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
>> adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. <<
There is no question that Mr. Snowden has adhered to the Enemies of the United States. By moving there, he did it literally. And by now he cannot have any delusions about Russia NOT being our enemy, if he ever had any.
There is also no question that he is giving them Aid and Comfort.
So, Edward Snowden is a traitor. By the definition spelled out in the Constitution.

When he exposed, at a great personal risk to himself, the enormous and unconstitutional abuse of power by our government, he became a hero.

He could have stayed a hero, but instead he chose to become a traitor.

Snowden is not the first one to do that. General Arnold was probably the earliest and most infamous manifestation of this phenomenon.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
The history of America's land of the free past
The NSA wants to bury in darkness and shadows cast
Erased through all of eternity
No more hope for humanity
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
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