NSA pervs listen to steamy phone calls by Americans abroad

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/10/09/spying.on.americans/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

Of course we can trust the good men and women of the NSA! They are responsible professionals, only interested in protecting our homeland from terrorists. Why would anyone have thought otherwise?

Pit. Please, the pit.

I’d be down with that.

That’s where this belongs. That’s disgusting.

One honest question, though- is this more “warrantless wiretapping” or are military calls regularly listened in on?

It’s the warrantless wiretapping. If you read the article, it quotes another linguist as saying they listened to the calls of “U.S. military officers, journalists and aid workers overseas”.

Such is my understanding, that they also monitored calls from American troops in Iraq home to wives and girlfriends. Recording conversations they found particularly titillating, and sharing them with co-workers. Monitoring like a motherfuck.

Yep, good old Constitution, limiting government power, works like a charm…

Moderator’s Note: Request [del]intercepted[/del] received.

Moving thread from GD to the Pit.

He he…

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes cornesces?

They probably listened in when I called my wife from Baghdad to say that this was the greatest mistake in the history of US foreign policy. I really wished they had passed that on to Bush.

Yeah, maybe, but a thing like that could go on your permanent record.

Well, I feel safer already, don’t you? Wonder if McCain was listening to these calls when he came up with his plan to get Bin Laden?

This is a legitimate practice; soldiers are prone to spontaneously shouting out sensitive information—say, troop coordinates—in the throes of passion. For their part, the eavesdroppers always take care to press the “mute” button on their own phones.

Because a couple of idiots at a single listening post (Ft. Gordon) behaved inappropriately, then it must be standard practice, right?

There’s not enough details in the article to determine (it depends on where, exactly, those journalists and aid workers made their calls). I can tell you that it’s made clear when you’re overseas on a US installation that using comms provided by the US Gov’t are subject to monitoring, and most US-owned phones and networks have a sign posted stating that use constitutes consent to monitoring.

And before I’m construed as condoning what these guys did – let me reiterate that I think they’re idiots. However, attributing their behavior as standard practice throughout the program without more facts is just as ignorant (and I find actual facts in very short supply in that article).

Nobody said it was standard practice. Anyway, the problem isn’t how many idiots are behaving inappropriately, it’s that there is no oversight. If this whistle-blower hadn’t come forward, we wouldn’t have known about any of the idiots.

From the article:

and

My bolding in both quotes.

So it was just two fuck-ups who happened across fuck-talks? Or they were ordered to transcribe the conversations of people who were “targeted”?

Good, save it for posterity.

Is that supported by facts? Or is it simply phrasing meant to provoke outrage?

I wasn’t trying to single out those two, though I see where I phrased it as if I were. Certainly, Ft. Gordon needs a good scrubbing, and probably other sites as well, but I don’t see those two as being particularly innocent and just following orders. It certainly isn’t part of standing orders to pass juicy recordings around to your co-workers (and then feel bad about it later on national television). And there are procedures in place for dealing with orders you feel are unlawful. Somehow, I doubt that investigative journalists are part of the reporting chain of command in such instances.

To be more clear, here are questions I have which are not addressed in the article:

  • Were individuals “targeted?” Or did they happen to be using a line that was being monitored in general?
  • What lines were they monitoring, anyway? Are they gov’t-operated lines on an installation with a consent to monitoring notice? Or are they commercially purchased by these “targets?” (If you’re having phone sex on an unsecured military-owned phone line, do you have an reasonable expectation to privacy?)
  • Was it the job of these intercept operators to actually analyze the data? Or was it their job to just record, transcribe, and forward to analysts?
  • What are the actual analysts doing with this data? Is it forwarded into a database of Americans’ dirty laundry? Or is it destroyed when it turns out to be innocent phone sex?
  • How were the operators’ complaints being handled? Was no action taken because the analysts were destroying the recordings anyway, and nobody bothered to reassure them? Or were they just being ignored because they were mere “operators” with no real clout?
  • And again, why did they not pursue these complaints further up the chain when they felt their immediate OICs were ignoring them? I find that turning to the media as anything other than a last step to be sensationalist and unsavory, at best.

Upon rereading the thread, I realize this is just an initial report and nobody is really up in arms about the whole program (just yet). Yes, there needs to be more oversight … I suppose I got all blinded and rolly-eyed about the sensationalist tone of the article, and I allowed my disdain for contemporary “journalism” to color my responses (especially with at least one of these whistleblowers being such an obvious fucktard). Mea Culpa, and all that.

Still, can anybody without a security clearance truly hold an informed opinion about the activities of this nation’s various secret agencies? We all know where ultimate policy is formulated, so I suppose the only answer is to vet your candidates carefully before voting on 4 Nov :stuck_out_tongue: