Intelligence Agencys monitoriing message boards and e-mails?

I’ve heard that various Government ( USA and UK) agencies can monitor e-mails and message boards for signs of terroist activity or code-words. Is this true, and is the SD Message Boards also under survelliance? What would happen if I were to write dispargingly of the Shrub and the Poodle?
Would I be recorded somwhere as a subversive, or- horrors- be visited by MIB at the dead of night???

Erm, I think you are safe (if you merely are going to “write dispargingly of the Shrug and the Poodle” at least) through sheer numbers. Those agencies have a tremendous amount of information to deal with (think of everything that is going through phone lines, over satellites, over the Internet) and I don’t think a mere Bush/Blair hater is going to draw their automated attention.

Unless, of course, you are planning on writing about how you are going to assassinate them, in which case all bets are off.


Also, under the PATRIOT Act, the FBI Carnivore system is made “legit.”

Over 100,000 people a year write e-mails and message boards about political threats and assassinations. The FBI / CIA / Secret Service have financial budgets which limits the number of agents and investigations they can afford. Cyber-threats probably don’t rank very high compared to a letter mailed to the White House!

Umn… not quite. IIRC, the Secret Service basically says the following : “All threats made against any of our protectees is considered serious and investigated.”

To wit…

from a 2001 story about a 14-year old emailing a threat to the President

(the whole story )

E-mailing a threat directly to the FBI, or “” probably is considered more of a threat than what the Fed reads on the SD message boards.

They can’t watch all boards of course, but it is commonly accepted that they do watch some of the more, err, politically controvertial forums. More than once I’ve heard about someone on a board I read getting investigated.

OTOH, There’s still quite a bit of sedition on the net, although it’s toned down a bit since 9/11. They could easily prosecute thousands more people if they wanted to.

I’m surveilling this board right now, and so are many others. :slight_smile:

And since you mentioned this board specifically:

If a thread started where participants discussed their plans to bomb something or kill somebody, I’ll bet the Feds would hear about it.

If a thread started where people posted encyphered messages that couldn’t be understood by the general members, it would be closed and deleted, I’ll bet.

But feel free to write disparagingly of GWB. I despise the man, he’s an idiot, and if he dropped dead I’d do a ::happy dance::

In retrospect, I apologize for publishing that opinion in this forum, which is for questions of fact rather than opinion. I should talk about my happy dancing elsewhere.

Should discussion of happy dancing for a dead president be in the BBQ Pit or Cafe Society?

I think I’m in trouble then. :eek: :smack:

I don’t know about emails and discussion groups, but apparently they monitor college newspapers - my friend wrote a satirical article for the Stony Brook Press praying to Jesus to ‘smite Bush’ and he got a visit from the SS. Apparently its bad to want the president dead even if Jesus does your dirty work. (There was an article in Newsday about this).

Careful, Boyo – something like that happened recently on k5 a while back; someone made a comment about killing Dubya, and the Secret Service got involved.

I don’t see anything in your link about this issue. Can you clarify?

BTW, if the SS stops by to discuss my comments, I’ll let you know.


You think the CIA is bad-ass, just try doing it in the wrong forum. :smiley:

If anyone were to monitor the forums, it would be the National Security Agency, who would then pass the information off to other agencies (FBI, CIA, Secret Service). According to * Body of Secrets * by James Bamford, the NSA is having difficulty monitoring the Internet, but there seems to be suggestion that it is in the NSA’s capabilities. The one thing that protects the citizens of the United States is the United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18). USSID 18 explains the rules for monitoring what it calls “U.S. persons” and places huge restrictions on this type of monitoring. The NSA is not allowed to target a certain individual for monitoring unless it gets a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Serveillance Court. To do this the NAS has to show that the person they want to monitor is an agent of a foreign government or involved in terrorism or espionage.

Frankly, I think the NSA has a lot bigger issues to pay attention to then all of us bitching about stuff.

I recall a message board I visit where some guy posted a wisecrack that, more or less innocently, contained the words “bomb,” “President,” and White House." Poor guy was terrified when the “read” count on his post climbed to over 1000 after a few minutes (it pretty much died out at 10,000 – this on a grammar message board).

Well, let’s see if something similar happens here. The key words have been provided.

The work around is that US agencies spy on citizens of Freedonia whilst Freedonia agencies spy on US citizens. The agencies share the information.

It happens. Someone on Fark not long ago got a visit from the Secret Service for making a lame joke about GWB and a threat (it wasn’t a threat in itself, but it wasn’t something you should go around saying either). Two agents visited him at work, and explained that they realize it was likely a bad joke but they have to follow things up. He apologized and was never charged with anything.