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July 2013[edit]

This talk page section is not relevant to the improvement of the Edward Snowden article. Please do not readd it. Your talk page violates WP:NOTBLOG. If you continue to use your talk page as a blog, it will be deleted. TippyGoomba (talk) 16:46, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

Please note that Tippy has no authority to level threats. Now, back to business, is Greenwald actually claiming that the content of every phone call made since 2006 is somehow being recorded? I'd like to see him try to say that in the hearing, and how he'll respond when someone says, "Prove it." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:00, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

Slide showing PRISM's tasking process
All the various NSA and Telecom whistleblowers blur together at some point. That's more the bailiwick of Mark Klein (Room 641A) and Babak Pasdar (Quantico Circuit). William Binney and Thomas Drake also assert this, but don't have documents (Klein does). See Thinthread, Trailblazer, Stellarwind, and Turbulance), one point of overlap between the above is a program called TRAFFICTHIEF. Revealed by Drake in the Baltimore Sun back in 2007, and also appears in a PRISM slide. It is a cyber snooping part of Turblence and probably malware related. (remember the jobs postings I posted about? Malware analyst is a job associated with this program)
I believe that Greenwald too is asserting phone content, and not just metadata, via Snowden's statement "I, sitting at my desk could wiretap anyone". But I REALLY want to wait to see what Greenwald brings up on the House floor, and coming issues of the Guardian or O Globo (Greenwald lives in Rio and speaks fluent Portuguese). One Prism slide that backs him up, so far, is the flow diagram, suggesting that the system is retroactive, imports stored communications the moment the analyst makes a decision, and we get approval later.
Greenwald suggests in his latest interview that thinks like ordinary typos have led to "overcollection".
The phone metadata, and content, would be a separate program from PRISM (different companies involved). The phone metadata we can prove via the FISC order. I'm waiting for the documents proving telephony content. I really really want to watch that testimony.
Overall, I suspect the following are collected directly or indirectly:
  • License Plates (via local police departments)
  • Mail Covers (Via post office)
  • Phone records (via FBI FISA Order)
  • Internet Activity (Prism)
  • Passwords (special requests --strongly resisted -- for now)
  • Search History (Xkeyscore)
  • Google maps (Xkeyscore)
  • Voip (prism)
  • Video (Prism)
  • Chat/IRC/IM (Prism)
  • Private Facebook (Prism)
  • Cloud storage (Prism)
  • Email (Prism and Stellar Wind - discontinued?)
  • Login data (Prism)
  • Public Twitter (via Library of Congress)
  • Itunes (apple is a prism partner)
  • Onstar (via FBI) *

Quite possible the following are bugged too:

  • Geolocation (denied)
  • Cell towers (denied)
  • Phone content (wait and see what Greenwald publishes)
  • Credit card purchases (suspect)
  • Netflix, Amazon, etc (suspect)
  • Xbox Kinnect (MS denied)


I just find it unbelievable that literally every phone call made anywhere in the USA (and possibly elsewhere) since 2006 is somehow recorded. How many tera-tera-terabytes would that require? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:03, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

The new Utah Data Center alone is expected to be in the range of 3-12 exabytes. It's not the only fish in the sea by far. Add that to existing capabilities, and other new plants. Another new plant in Maryland, using 60 megawatts, my back of napkin calculations based on Utah turned out to be pretty close to professional estimates once the plans were leaked(see the talk page). Applying those same to Maryland, gets 3.8 exabytes, on the conservative side. Another in Texas, the budget says this is a comparative small fry. And then there is Moore's Law, the capacity can be expected to increase by orders of magnitude in the coming years. -- (talk) 01:22, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Forgot about Menwith Hill in the UK, the site of another NSA/UK project Tempora.
A slightly better list and pictures of facilities, though you'll have to search through them. It's not all NSA, It's not even all USA. But you'll get an idea just how massive the NSA security apparatus really is. -- (talk) 01:54, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Ultimately, we'll have to see what the court decisions are. That is, whether this is going on, and if so, whether it's outside the specifications of the Patriot Act; and whether it's constitutional or not. They might draw a distinction between recording such information vs. accessing it. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:02, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
The news and testimony in the coming months will reveal a lot on this front. You should also watch for new non-Snowden leaks. Just this month: A CIA agent involved in rendition came forward, the plans to the Utah Data Center were leaked, telecom insiders revealed the password requests, and apparently the NSA can track a cell phone that is powered off. The feds, and NSA have a LOT of 'splainin' to do. -- (talk) 02:21, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
PS. if you check the comments of the Forbes (Utah data center) article, the author seems to be fine with uploading the blueprints to wikipedia. -- (talk) 02:33, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
The government and private industry both have been collecting information on us for centuries now. The issue, as I see it, is what they do with that data. Private industry you can be pretty sure is up to no good - primarily targeting people they want to sell stuff to, or possibly more nefarious things (which is why I don't use any of the "social media" stuff). For example, the national change-of-address list is apparently publicly available, as I've noticed that junk mail has followed me around when I've moved. With the government, we hope that there are sufficient legal walls around the data. For example, the IRS and the Social Security Administration know lots of stuff about us, which they are legally and morally bound to keep confidential. Likewise with information connected with drivers' licenses, which the cops typically have full access to. Census data is contained within the government, but the only information available to the public is summary data. The details are kept confidential for 72 years. I guess we'll find out soon enough, whether any of those social contracts have been breached by the government. I suspect the argument point is going to be whether the mere collecting of such data violates the constitution, as opposed to going on fishing trips as Snowden alleges he had authority to do. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:54, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Depending on where you are, there are a number of state censuses that are publicly available (on microfilm) from as recently as 1970. I suspect that the NSA or FBI taps into as many of these private marketing databases as they can. The legal walls have been greatly eroded by the patriot act, sec 215 in particular. It's been construed in such a manner as to give the feds virtually limitless authority to collect records held by a third party to be demanded by a secret national security letter, which is not backed by a court order. Ron Wyden speaks on this issue especially eloquently. Check out his latest video.
--23:51, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
One NSA guy who testified today denied that they have the ability to routinely listen to phone calls. Someone's fibbing. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:24, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Note how often they say "under this program" -- (talk) 00:03, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
They try to choose their words carefully. OK, you may or may not find this funny: On Tuesday night, after Manning was convicted of lesser chargers but acquitted of aiding the enemy (even though some of his leaks had turned up on Bin Laden's computer), David Letterman said that Manning had been sentenced "to 20 years in the Moscow Airport". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:28, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
It's worth a slight grin. :) -- (talk) 00:07, 2 August 2013 (UTC)


Assuming Snowden has been allowed to be aware of today's Manning decision, it erodes his claim that he can't get a fair trial in America. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:41, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Snowden does have access to the news, a computer, and communicates. But there is another, lesser known case to watch. It is the case of Stephen Kim, accused of being a source for James Rosen, the case sounds very weak, so the government has decided to cheat: the judge in this case has ruled that the prosecution does not have to show proof that an enemy was aided for a conviction on that charge. Of concern too it that the judge in this case is also a FISA judge, one of the rubber-stampers for the government. The treatment of Manning, prior to trial remains a concern.-- (talk) 19:12, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Is there any tangible evidence of Manning being abused while in jail, or is it only his word against others'? Meanwhile, today there are indications that the US government is going to expand the transparency of the NSA work to some degree. Ultimately, the president might have to make some executive decisions about these guys. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:40, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Once Amnesty and the UN get involved, it's a solid case. -- (talk) 20:26, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Forgot to address the transparency issue: Yes, maybe, and maybe, and eventually. -- (talk) 20:44, 30 July 2013 (UTC)


You may find this editorial of interest.[1] Reading between the lines, Russia might have granted him temporary asylum both to make themselves look good in some eyes, while keeping a lid on him and buying a year to figure out what to do with him and not harm their own interests.
It's pretty telling that some Russian spokesman yesterday said there was "nothing new", nothing they didn't already know, that Snowden had.
An editorial yesterday said that Snowden's revelations are actually far more damaging, potentially, to US interests than Manning's were. Just today it has come out that some US embassies are being closed temporarily due to a planned al-Qaeda attack on them. (Which ones specifically, not announced.) Making lemonade from lemons, maybe the now-widespread knowledge of some of our means of tracking al-Qaeda, etc., along with saying, "We know what your plans are", could work in the US's favor. If (and that's a big IF) they know they're being watched all the time, or that they could be being watched all the time, it could have a chilling effect (we should only hope).
I saw on the news yesterday that the US government is considering compelling the phone companies to retain this information, so as to create a theoretically better wall between that info and government "fishers". That's what they should have been doing in the first place. But we'll see if anything comes of that. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:04, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
With regards to Al Qaeda, they already knew. In fact they have developed their own super-strong encryption, and other technical means of hiding. [1] They've always been operating under the assumption that somebody's security services were watching them, and even infiltrating. Just their M/O. So no real change. I believe is more effective to fight them socially, rather than militarily. Suicide bombings are just counterproductive in the long run.
I've caught the proposals about demanding more data retention from the telecoms, and believe that they have merit. Like him or not Snowden has started a much needed discussion that should have taken place years ago. I can't help but think if the reforms Obama had promised in his campaign had come to bear more fruit, then Snowden would still be living it up in Hawaii. -- (talk) 16:56, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
PS: The editorial is pretty good, for being CNN. I don't see Al-Qaeda being any madder then they already were. And with other nations being found out to also be guilty, no real change in relations other than the shouting. The one real effect is social. Increase in usage of encryption, TOR, and private search engines means that encryption stops standing out as a "you have something to hide" factor. Which would probably bug the crap out of the security State. -- (talk) 17:04, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
You may be right. Maybe within the year, Obama will be ready to tell Snowden, "All is forgiven, come on home." Not yet, though. (I still wonder if Snowden is actually doing this as a government mission.)
The Republicans are doing their level best to prevent any of Obama's economic plans from happening. The recovery has been going on in spite of GOP stonewalling. Approval rate for Congress is below 20 percent, which is terrible; but approval rate for one's own congressman is over 50 percent - and therein lies the problem. CBS news last night reported that the 113th Congress is on track to pass the least amount of legislation in the history of America. (Some would argue that at least in general terms that might not be a bad thing.) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:20, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
A pardon from Obama, if there will be one will be one of those last-week-in-Office deals. The one other positive impact this has had is that we have an issue that forces bipartisan cooperation, that is just too important to allow to devolve into the usual backbiting. I blame congress, the GOP in particular (thought Dems are NOT at all blameless) mostly for torpedoing the biggest reforms, closure of Gitmo, etc. Once we are past this year of Scandal, I see potential improvements on several fronts.
Another thing to watch in the coming week is that Benghazi may be something darker. That embassy was filled to the gills with CIA, and what's more, the possibility of covert arms smuggling to Syrian rebels may have been part of their mission there. [2] -- (talk) 17:45, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
There's certainly something fishy going on as regards Benghazi. The GOP may have been criticizing that disaster for the wrong reasons. There's also no question that the Democrats got complacent after gaining a monopoly of power in 2008, and that led to the current gridlock. Every time one party is totally the "outs", the media declare them dead. They're both still alive and well (i.e. still with us). The GTMO situation is disgraceful. They need to be either put on trial or sent home. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:19, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes. Perpetual limbo is shameful. -- (talk) 21:54, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Snowden had best not wait for Obama to pardon him, as his term expires 3 1/2 years from now. A lot can happen in the interim. If this leads to changes of procedures to put better walls between the government and the data, he may find legal advocates who will negotiate some kind of deal that will allow him to come home. His father wants that right now, but it's too early. I would assume that Snowden, in the end, would prefer to be living in his homeland, but we'll see. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:46, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
We'll see. That year he's got certainly buys a bit of breathing space. And a chance to rebuild family ties. According to the lawyer, Snowden misses his girlfriend (but I bet she might be hard to win back). I feel family matters more than country, if he can reestablish those sort of connections while in Russia, he may stay. And whatever he does from now on will be constrained by his legal and security situation. I don't have that sort of crystal ball to say more precisely.
Meanwhile, he's proven to be a wily one. Remember the "stop harming our American partners" speech. Putin forgot to include the British. :) [3]--23:37, 2 August 2013 (UTC)


You may find this of interest:[2]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:45, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Yes, indeed. Russia is problematic from a public perception perspective. In other news, I'd be more cynical about the Embassy scare if it hadn't been for MASSIVE prison breaks in Lybia, Iraq and Pakistan that evaporated from the headlines. [4][5][6][7] In short, lots of troublemakers just got loose, and Al -Qaeda issued a "We're mad that Morsi's gone, blow stuff up, we're not overly picky about what." type of statement.[8] -- (talk) 00:04, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Oops, I messed up the spelling. Good fix. I wondered, when those prison break happened, basically 2 things: (1) What are they up to? and (2) Who's minding the store? I just wonder if the controversial surveillance fed into intel on upcoming potential attacks, or whether it was from other sources. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:12, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Two out of the three were external breakouts(Pak and Iraq). Taliban and Al-Qaeda operations, guards faced with overwhelming firepower. The Lybian one was a massive riot. It is plausible that open source Intelligence is responsible (troll Jihaddist websites), and not the more controversial programs. It smells a bit like they wish to avoid another Benghazi Incident, but are grasping at straws on the specifics. If they had something more specific, they would have closed only one or two Embassies. -- (talk) 00:27, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
There's no question they're trying to avoid another Benghazi. They were caught flatfooted on that one. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:03, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

I've signed up for an account so i can upload images. --Paulmd199 (talk) 02:14, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

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