back to article America restarts dodgy spying program – just as classified surveillance abuse memo emerges

The US Senate reauthorized a controversial NSA spying program on Thursday – and then, because it's 2018 and nothing matters any more, embarked on a partisan battle over a confidential memo that outlines Uncle Sam's alleged abuse of surveillance powers. The so-called section 702 FISA snooping system, renewed this week, has been …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The 'Mock' in Democracy

    "Intelligence services have fiercely disputed any suggestion that the extraordinary powers they possess have ever been used in anything but the most honest fashion. You know, cracking down on anti-West terror bad guys."

    No matter where you are, democracy (whatever that used to mean) is being corrupted. The Corrupt Politicians look more like the terrorists now. Whereas the official T's, are just a violent cult being used as a distraction.

    After all do the math... What's the odds one succumbs to a crim with a gun or a terror attack? Now which stats do corrupt governments sell-as-real???

    Who'd want to be an Investigative-Journalist / Human-Rights-Activist / Whistleblower / Protestor etc, in this climate. Its the very same game of deception in the good-ol UK of USA:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41651840

    1. Eddy Ito
      Facepalm

      Re: The 'Mock' in Democracy

      I think Senator Feinstein should win a mockery medal. Here's her twaddle feed a few hours before voting for this travesty.

      Note: As a Sud Californican, I'm not at all surprised.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The 'Mock' in Democracy

        Or "Rock" as in Rockwell

        Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me

  2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    I want off this rock...

    I'd even risk having to listen to Vogon poetry if they offered a lift. =-(

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: I want off this rock...

      "Oh freddled gruntbuggly, thy micturations are to me,

      as plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee..."

      Never mind the Vogons, I'd listen to recitations by the Azgoths of Kria (Grunthos the Flatulent, RIP) if it would get me a lift off this planet.

      Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings' stuff, on the other hand... *shudder*

  3. Hstubbe

    Good, let the yankees have some of their own medicine. US spying on the rest of the world, yankees don't care. US spying on their own citizens, the rest of the world really couldn't care less. Eat your own dog food, yankees.

    1. Rob D.

      Doublethink

      What is bizarre/ironic/entirely normal though, is that some of the American lawmakers (Reps only?) are simultaneously both vehemently for it (702 for 6 more glorious years) and vehemently against it (how could you spy on those all-American Trump folks).

      It's gonna be a great year.

    2. HieronymusBloggs

      "Eat your own dog food, yankees."

      I take it you're a Southerner.

      1. Daniel Garcia 2

        YANKEE, n. In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our Union, a New Englander. In the Southern States the word is unknown. (See DAMNYANK.)

        Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1906

        1. Agamemnon
          Pint

          Anyone who quotes Ambrose Bierce is pretty much good in my book. Especially when it's used to point out that pretty much everyone's got it wrong.

          Beer for you.

    3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Help is Available for Any Such Condition/All Such Situations. *

      Whenever the real danger is recognised to be a rabid Uncle Sam devouring its young to maintain the right to retain and restrain ancient secrets, is that a Greater IntelAIgent Games Changer

      *You do Know How and Who and What When and Where to Call for Affirmative ProAction and NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive IT Systems Services? Or are Available Helpers to Assume and Presume Stellar Lead with Novel Trails to Seed and Tail/Mentor and Monitor .......... and advise All in plain text as is being done right here, for its ease of transcription, and news propagation into any other mothered tongue/alien script, so as to Easily Create a Greater Singular United Future Mission for Extra-Terrestrial Travel in Virtualised AIdVentures ......... which to Codes in XSSXXXX be Heavenly Tasks which would Perfectly Tempt a St Anthony.:-)

      Or you can simply ignore that invitation to actively participate and be prepared to spectate and wonder in the silent majority at the events as they are unrolled before you ....... on your ubiquitous media streaming devices ....... which are quite perfect enough tools for anyone to do anything with .... whenever so enabled.

      :-) As you can surely appreciate .... the Perfect Temptations for a St Anthony are much sort after and and rightly coveted too say avid fans of addictive attractive sins that can satisfy vices.

      1. DeKrow

        Re: Help is Available for Any Such Condition/All Such Situations. *

        So you're saying they've brought it upon themselves?

        If so, I agree, but I lament for the minority that are being swept along by the rest.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Fundamental Situational Correction ... Lunatics in Charge of the Asylum vs AI Bombes in Nations

          So you're saying they've brought it upon themselves?

          If so, I agree, but I lament for the minority that are being swept along by the rest. .... DeKrow

          ???????? Surely, DeKrow, it is much more lamentable that the majority is being swept along and abused/misused by a few who may even consider themselves chosen and doing God's works? And the fact that it is being done knowingly is a double whammy of impudence.

          However,..... such in the future requires a continuance and continuity of pervasive ignorance to such an arrogance and would do ill-advised battle in Newly Minted Virtual Virgin Fields of Exploration and Exploitation which in ITs Beings freely share secret sensitive intelligence and enlightening information stealthily to crush with flash crashes all operating systems dependent upon such a Gross Abomination with AI Bombes in Nations.

          1. DeKrow

            Re: Fundamental Situational Correction ... Lunatics in Charge of the Asylum vs AI Bombes in Nations

            Yes, you're right, I didn't see it initially, I was one layer too low.

            It's the ultra-minority influencing the voting majority such that the informed minority are left without a voice. To quote Jeffrey Lebowski "my thinking about this case had become very uptight"

            Thanks for loosening the hinges on the doors of perception.

          2. Alistair

            Re: Fundamental Situational Correction ... Lunatics in Charge of the Asylum vs AI Bombes in Nations

            Essentially, the point you make is correct, AMFM, but it becomes less and less likely in the Good Ole' excited snakes that the education system will be able to handle correcting the drift. Even the "most educated" youth coming from the "Best Schools" have been either mollycoddled and bubble wrapped, or blatantly lied to sufficient to prevent them from being able to perceive the hypocrisy and outright lies that they've been taught. Thus they continue with the "Might is Right" and "Democracy (tm) for all" that was started back in the 1850's, and has continued with the "Velocity of Money" doctrine espoused in the mid 1940's.

  4. elDog

    You would think that the ruling (drooling) party in the US would want less scrutiny..

    But they are expecting to be able to control the investigations and where the information flows.

    But they don't know how stooopid they are. They need to rely on 21-yo interns to fire up their devices and lobbyists to interpret anything more than 2 sentences.

    ----- Oh, wait: "First, kill all lobbyists!" (Hey, PTB, this is satirical, really. Noooo - don't take my keyboard...)

  5. John Crisp

    Liar liar....

    So the guvinment illegally spied on a bunch of crooks committing crimes and who then got elected?

    Or am I missing something?

    Do they have prison cells in the US?

    1. Rob D.

      Re: Liar liar....

      Pedantically that is somewhat cart before the horse - more or less there are no serious convictions, even though I think in the court of world opinion Trump is already proven a bit of a liability.

      In exactly the same way that Trump would willingly concede Hillary Clinton is innocent despite much heated, repeated accusation, Trump et al are also in the same boat - a lot of noise, possibly convincing noise, but not proven in a court and hence innocent.

      Still 2018/2019 should provide much entertainment in this area. And I completely get where you are with the general sentiment!

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: "I think in the court of world opinion Trump is already proven a bit of a liability"

        Congratulations, sir, you have just been awarded the Understatement of the Week trophy.

        Your restraint is admirable.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Liar liar....

        Clinton and Innocent don't belong in the same context.

        She's demonstrably guilty of Perjury - gave evidence on oath that she released ALL pertinent emails from her time at State and the FBI investigation located thousands that weren't released; Obstruction of Justice - 3 days or so after a subpoena was given on her emails, 33,000 or so were deleted and scrubbed - by underlings but her responsibility; and also security violations by negligence - secure information was stored outside secure systems on her email server, and some were backed up (including to Anthony Weiner's laptop) outside that again. And those are the easy ones for which we have publicly available information.

        If you go back to Whitewater where she escaped because the statute of limitations came into force, her criminality can't be doubted. For those who think she was exonerated in Whitewater, she was involved in a criminal conspiracy to defraud a local S&L Bank and only escaped prosecution because the necessary legal records needed to unequivocally tie her to the conspiracy went inexplicably missing (physical records missing and computer records scrubbed - why does that sound familiar) and then those same billing records turned up in an unused room in the White House after the statute of limitations meant that she could no longer be prosecuted. The contents of those records showed her culpability and involvement in the conspiracy to defraud. Her co-conspirators server a number of years in prison for fraud.

        1. KSM-AZ

          Re: Liar liar....

          I'm so confused when people downvote stuff like this. Get your head out of the freking sand. Even the liberally biased media reported this stuff (On page 4, but I digress). Wake up people and think critically. Where is Sam Clemmons when you need him? Hillary is is as Dirty as Nixon ever was. Playing political strong arm is plain wrong no matter the side of the aisle you are on. Sheesh

        2. Wiltshire
          Mushroom

          Re: Liar liar....

          Not forgetting Hilary (as the Clinton Foundation) receiving millions as "donations" from Russians for allowing the sale of uranium to Russia...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Liar liar....

            Not quite correct, the payoff came from a Canadian businessman who started the whole affair off by buying stolen (abstracted perhaps) Khazak Uranium assets for a pittance - and used Bill Clinton to schmooze the Khazak President to allow the transaction to go through. For a few $M the assets went to a Canadian company, and thence through a chain of companies and a reverse takeover or two, to be sold to the Russians for $3B ort so, which is a nice profit and well worth $145M "donated" to the Clinton Foundation.

            Make no mistake, the Clinton's have been in on this from the start. If you don't know the story, you can't just dismiss it as another anti-Clinton fairy tale, there's corruption writ large, and the final Uranium transaction was just the icing on the cake, the money had mostly been made by that point, and the US assets were not the main game.

        3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Liar liar....

          She's demonstrably guilty of Perjury

          Show me a politician who isn't. I'm sure that Gruppenfuhrer Trump may have been economincal with the truth from time to time..

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Liar liar....

            Perjury is a specific offense, not just lying but lying when under oath not to do so. It is a foundational part of our legal system.

            I get that you think Clinton should be allowed to, but why ? Aren't the public, the voters, entitled to be able to demand the truth from politicians in some cases and be able to legally sanction them if they lie in those specific circumstances ? You or I would certainly be penalized, what's so special about Hillary that she should get a free pass ?

            I'm a firm believer that if the law is to be enforced, it must be enforced against everyone. If not, you don't live in a free country but a tyranny. Even if you're OK with that, I'm not.

        4. Alistair
          Windows

          Re: Liar liar....

          @ the AC "Clinton and Innocent don't belong in the same context"

          I thought those missing records were in the basement of a pizza parlour ........

          Oh, and I have this bridge......

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Liar liar....

      Do they have prison cells in the US?

      Yes we do but not for the likes of CongressCritters, high level officials, etc. They go to a special "prison" that even has a golf course.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Liar liar....

        Guantanamo has a golf course? Who knew?

        1. Bernard M. Orwell

          Re: Liar liar....

          "Guantanamo has a golf course?"

          No,no. That's the bit labelled "Furriners Only" and has no one in it*.

          *may not be accurate.

      2. Bernard M. Orwell

        Re: Liar liar....

        "They go to a special "prison" that even has a golf course."

        Ah, that's the bit labelled "whites only".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Liar liar....

      Yopu're missing a lot.

      It's more like a bunch of crooks with assistance from the top officials in the NSA, CIA, and FBI, spied on the opposition political campaign with the intent of influencing a US Presidential election. That campaign had no (as far as has yet been uncovered) illegality associated with it regarding contacts with foreigners yet that excuse was used to eavesdrop upon sensitive communications to assist the other camapign win.

      And they were so incompetent that although they tried to rig the election with all that high priced help, and yet they failed.

      Make no mistake, this is way bigger than Watergate. Just remember, Nixon tried to use both the IRS and the CIA against his internal opponents and was rightly widely reviled for it. Obama successfully used the IRS and the NSA/FBI/CIA etc against his opponents and .....crickets from the media and the usual chattering classes.

      Interesting snippet, Samantha Powers' name was used in hundreds of "unmasking" requests to reveal US citizens names when captured by surveillance on foreign persons - and yet she claimed under oath that she did not issue those requests - so who did ? Either she is lying (on oath) or someone else has committed a serious crime in using her name to do so.

      And one of the people at the centre of this is Rod Rosenstein of the DOJ, the assistant AG who appointed Mueller. If he is as is suspected heavily involved that will effectively invalidate Mueller's appointment and drag Mueller into this issue. His selection of other alleged conspirators (Strzok, Page, Ohr) into his team will damn that even further.

      As noted though, all the more strange that the renewal of the surveillance should get such bi-partisan support. Maybe the Republicans seek to do the same to the Democrats at the next election ?

      1. Michael Thibault

        Re: Liar liar....

        "As noted though, all the more strange that the renewal of the surveillance should get such bi-partisan support. "

        Trump has veto power on that. It would make for interesting theatre if he were to closely consider it, at his leisure.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Liar liar....

          >It would make for interesting theatre if he were to closely consider it, at his leisure.

          As long as he has his carer nearby to explain what the long words mean..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Liar liar....

        So, more revelations about the text messages between Strzok and Page. It does rather look like a large scale corrupt set up, I do hope all the down-tickers are following the story and are getting ready for some massive disappointments when it comes out.

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Liar liar....

      Do they have prison cells in the US?

      Yes, but not for politicians and rich people. Unless they annoy people with more money and politician-ness.

    5. Bernard M. Orwell

      Re: Liar liar....

      "Do they have prison cells in the US?"

      Yes, but unfortunately most of them are still labelled "blacks only".

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    8 YEARS OF BUSHBAMA UBERSTATE ORGASM

    16 years of pure cancer.

    One a hapless clown. One narcissistic with a side-order of playing the race card.

    Both beholden to Drone Kills, the $ethnics and the Deep State (the very concept of which has been declared as un-american crimethink by such esteemed propaganda outlets as the NYT)

    What should one expect? That liberty rings?

    The only amazing thing is that some people believe that the "russian investigation" clownshow has any grounding in any objective reality whatsoever.

    But dumb fucks can be found anywhere.

    Just be thankful for the slight Trumpian respite. Having The Hillary of Babylon at the helm would have meant immediate borking of everything, and smooth takeover by literally Satan himself, likely followed by a neocon-cheered war with Russia. 4 years of delayed end is nothing to be sneered at.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: 8 YEARS OF BUSHBAMA UBERSTATE ORGASM

      Not sure if serious.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 8 YEARS OF BUSHBAMA UBERSTATE ORGASM

        Why not ? It's perfectly correct - as much as you Obama groupies don't want to acknowledge it. He was a prime, A grade, fuckwit, from start to finish.

    2. Roger Kynaston Bronze badge
      Pint

      Re: 8 YEARS OF BUSHBAMA UBERSTATE ORGASM

      I should like to nominate this person for flame of the week.

      Beer for the weekend and getting hammered seems the best thing to do in these interesting times.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: 8 YEARS OF BUSHBAMA UBERSTATE ORGASM

      Forgot you dried frog pills Bursar?

    4. DryBones

      Re: 8 YEARS OF BUSHBAMA UBERSTATE ORGASM

      Unsure if satire or not.

      Really, that's the big problem with all this, is that you hear and read some people that say this sort of thing like they'd be waving a bible if they'd remembered to bring one with them.

  7. Lysenko

    Good news for Yandex and AliBaba

    Obviously, you're still in the NKVD NSA firing line if you're routed over American (or compromised) infrastructure, but at least your data will be 'secure' once it hits the DC. You'll still be a risk of FSB and PLA snooping of course, but last time I checked those organisations weren't firing off extradition requests all over the planet, kidnapping people off Italian streets or asserting that Chinese court orders supercede Irish data protection laws.

    1. Uffish

      Re: Good news for Yandex and AliBaba

      Sorry, China is a great place full of great people but it is a shame that it is run by a despotic system of government. I prefer democracy, even the version currently existing in the USA.

      1. Lysenko

        Re: Good news for Yandex and AliBaba

        I prefer democracy too. That means I prefer that someone sitting in Milton Keynes is subject to laws of England & Wales, as enacted by a democratically elected Parliament, and not subject to laws passed by a US Congress (which is an entirely undemocratic body from the perspective of a UK citizen who doesn't get to vote).

        That's the position in Russian. If you're sitting in Smolensk and decide to pen-test the Pentagon the only relevant law is that passed by the Duma of the Russian Federation. American law is an irrelevance to Russian Courts because it is a basic pillar of democracy that you have a say (a vote) regarding the laws you are subject to. Pretensions of extra-territorial jurisdiction are fundamentally anti-democratic.

        If the Americans can extradite you based on an offence under US law that wasn't committed on US territory then that's identical (in principle) to Tehran or Riyhad claiming universal jurisdiction regarding blasphemy or Thailand extraditing me if I say something uncomplimentary about their King.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Good news for Yandex and AliBaba

          "That's the position in Russian. If you're sitting in Smolensk and decide to pen-test the Pentagon the only relevant law is that passed by the Duma of the Russian Federation. American law is an irrelevance to Russian Courts because it is a basic pillar of democracy that you have a say (a vote) regarding the laws you are subject to. Pretensions of extra-territorial jurisdiction are fundamentally anti-democratic."

          Ah, so what about killing people in London? Is that a nice thing to do? Shouldn't Britain get its justice too?

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: Good news for Yandex and AliBaba and Great Game News for Knights of the Virtual Realm

            If you're sitting in Smolensk and decide to pen-test the Pentagon the only relevant law is that passed by the Duma of the Russian Federation. ....... DavCrav

            If in the likes of Smolensk, is pen-testing the Pentagon against any Duma of the Russian Federation law and criminal activity? Or is such a facility/utility naturally considered and treated as a Superior Remote State Command and Control Asset for Support and Sponsoring/Import for Export?

            1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

              Re: Good news for Yandex and AliBaba and Great Game News for Knights of the Virtual Realm

              Are there any here who be Emboldened and Think Themselves Perfectly Qualified to Venture a Virtual Opinion on the Matter shared from the Above Pen-Test?

              As a Practical Invisible Weapon is IT Virtually Invincible and Almighty.

              And that makes its IT Extremely Valuable and Priceless to Markets/Regular and Irregular Rogue State and Non State Actors.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good news for Yandex and AliBaba

          If the Americans can extradite you based on an offence under US law that wasn't committed on US territory

          Are you saying that the place an offence is committed is always limited to the place where the *offender* was physically located, rather than the *victim*?

          If someone hacks into a computer which is on US soil, then something in the US was damaged. It's not hard to argue that the offence itself took place on US soil.

          Not that physical location always matters to the US, when more abstract concepts like citizenship take over (when it comes to taxation anyway).

          1. Lysenko

            Re: Good news for Yandex and AliBaba

            Are you saying that the place an offence is committed is always limited to the place where the *offender* was physically located, rather than the *victim*?

            Yes. Otherwise, a person in Kabul exposed to and injured by your (hypothetical) disparaging comments regarding a prophet of God has a perfect right to demand your extradition and execution. An injury inflicted in one country from the territory of another is an inter-governmental matter that should be dealt with according to the laws of the originating country; that's how the US First Amendment trumps [sic] Afghan blasphemy law.

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