Report: NSA can see 75% of U.S. Web traffic, can snare emails

“The National Security Agency — which possesses only limited legal authority to spy on U.S. citizens — has built a surveillance network that covers more Americans’ Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed, current and former officials say,” Siobhan Gorman and Jennifer Valentino-Devries report for The Wall Street Journal.

“The system has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans,” Gorman and Valentino-Devries report. “In some cases, it retains the written content of emails sent between citizens within the U.S. and also filters domestic phone calls made with Internet technology, these people say… Officials say the system’s broad reach makes it more likely that purely domestic communications will be incidentally intercepted and collected in the hunt for foreign ones.”

Gorman and Valentino-Devries report, “The NSA’s U.S. programs have been described in narrower terms in the documents released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. One, for instance, acquires Americans’ phone records; another, called Prism, makes requests for stored data to Internet companies. By contrast, this set of programs shows the NSA has the capability to track almost anything that happens online, so long as it is covered by a broad court order.”

“NSA has discretion on setting its filters, and the system relies significantly on self-policing. This can result in improper collection that continues for years. For example, a recent Snowden document showed that the surveillance court ruled that the NSA had set up an unconstitutional collection effort,” Gorman and Valentino-Devries report. “”Officials say it was an unintentional mistake made in 2008 when it set filters on programs like these that monitor Internet traffic; NSA uncovered the inappropriate filtering in 2011 and reported it.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: United States Constitution, Amendment IV:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Join The Electronic Frontier Foundation in calling for a full congressional investigation here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

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46 Comments

      1. Here’s a great game to play at YOUR Privacy Party!
        http://www.buzzfeed.com/azrockstar/nsa-trigger-happy-word-game-91cu

        The new fun game to make their life more difficult and stop them from being lazy and do their job correctly without harassing us is to use trigger words against them! The idea is to come up with fun short phrases or sentences using as many trigger words as possible! Using the list from Department of Homeland Security…

        It’s goofy.
        It’s fun!
        It’s silly.
        It’s whacky!
        And it will ensure your constitutional privacy rights.
        Play now!
        Ask over your friends and relatives!
        It’s the ultimate game for the ultimate Privacy Party! 😀 😆 😀 😆

    1. Don’t worry, you’ll never be “profiled” by the information they read in your private email and text messages or by what you view on web browsers! They are only looking for stuff like terrorists, bombs, nuclear bombs, dirty bombs, al Qaeda, Muslim radicals, blowing up planes, blowing up the president, blowing up the White House, and words like that! :o. I hope I woke up one of those NSA fuckers from a deep deep sleep!

      1. May Allah bless your wisdom and keep it from bombing down to the low levels of those infidels who wish to assassinate all true followers into nothing but free radicals blowing up onto the plane of the dirt from whence they launch their rocket-like attacks on our piety with their terrorist social depravities from their white houses. 😆

  1. “If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about,” explains the secret government organization that has been hiding its surveillance programs for years. The secret branch of the same government whose leaders frequently abuse that secret intelligence to attack their political enemies.

  2. Yeah yeah, and nobody will do anything about it. Who’s going to be the president, congressman or senator renowned for reigning in those national intelligence tentacles only to see another terrorist attack occurring on American soil? Which party will be most responsible? Because that’s the party that won’t see office on a grand scale for decades to come when Americans rush back into the strong, warm embrace of big brother and demand that it’s all brought back.

    1. It didn’t stop the Boston attack this year. They haven’t stopped anything yet. Just got to break the foundational laws of our land with our tax dollars against our will and lied to us about it. Yeah yeah, no problem here. Move along move along now. Nothing to see here.

          1. Indeed Thelonious Mac! But I don’t expect most folks are ready to deal with the facts of 9/11 just yet. Point them out and you typically get ‘conspiracy theory’ insults and no brain penetration. It’s all a bit too psychopathic to comprehend and believe by the average kind and caring human being.

            But for those who are interested, here’s a great place to start, run by professionals providing factual data and scientific analysis, with no politics:
            http://www.ae911truth.org

    2. You hit the nail on the head, nobody will do anything. American society is too weak, disorganized, spineless, whatever but it takes an incredibly weak society to all the havoc that Bush inflicted upon the world. He should be brought to the Hague to be tried for war crimes, heck Kissinger should join him as well, but no, you keep them hidden behind the feathered curtain.

      It’s not surprise that you have to be paranoid in the US about a terrorist attack but heck after what you did in Iraq, you more than deserve it, after all the US is now without any doubt a terrorist nation.

      Wise up or face the reckoning.

        1. Obama is the Third and now 4th Bush Term. Nice Republican President.
          If the Teabaggers were smart they would work with him as he has very strong Republican Tendencies. Was is hobnobbing at Columbia and Harvard or working at the University of Chicago that turned the “community organizer” into the DINO Obamanation is today?

        2. You are missing the point Thelonious Mac, it’s not about which president is guilty or innocent, it’s about the people. All smart and smug about quoting and thumping chest about the constitution and amendments is fairly useless if the people allow this to happen their country to become a terrorist nation and you are most definite becoming one, going from superpower to global policeman to global bully to global terrorist.

          I did not mention other presidents such as Carter, Raygunn, Bush Sr. Kennedy, Lincoln, Washington because I was talking about the people.

          You make my point in kind of a way, I did mention Kissinger and Bush but I mentioned as well the people, the weak society. Your comment towards me about your current president, well that is kind of what I am getting at. After all one of the things common between the two is that they were supposedly elected by the people and for the people but the reality is looking like more forked tongue talk.

          And the people eat the bread and games they are fed.

  3. What “full congressional investigation”! This is not LEGAL!

    If I am braking the law and a police officer knows I am involved in breaking the law, they stop the unlawful activity. Period! If I am traveling the wrong way down a oneway street, do I tell the officer that he needs to do a “full investigation” before he decides to stop me?

    Just because those breaking the law say it is Ok, that doesn’t mean they get to keep violating the law until we investigate what our Congressional Rights are.

  4. Whats the big deal. Every one is so worked up about this privacy and rights issues. Who cares about your love letters or kicky notes or etc… Nobody.!!! Trust me .. Dont be so self centered and anal !
    Let them read all my emails and communications…
    As long as it prevents a major disaster .. Like a shopping center blowing up or worse! With thousands of innocent lives going up in smoke.
    Times have changed so should measures for security!

    1. You’re being a bit naive. The potential for abuse is mind boggling. These people can’t even find it in themselves to tell the truth about what they’re doing to anyone who asks. They’re already showing signs of paranoia, disconnect from the American public to which they supposedly report, and a rather condescending attitude toward anyone who asks a question.

      On top of this, supporting them is the one thing that that Obama, Republicans, and Democrats all seem to agree on? Seriously?

      More than once, one man with a gun changed this country forever. Consider what a government agency with that much data on every American could do. They’re already bypassing laws when it suits them.

      Consider the ramifications of that much information on political candidates alone.

      How does that Ben Franklin quote go? “… Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety….”

      And here’s another little secret. Guess who doesn’t use unencrypted email to communicate? People who do have something to hide. So basically they’re primarily collecting data on you and me.

      This is quite possibly the single most serious issue on the table right now and, as others have indicated, Americans are too busy watching Duck Dynasty to notice or understand.

      Do you really want to live in a totalitarian surveillance state?

      There needs to be non-partisan, civilian oversight for this. It astounds me that everyone wants to regulate Walmart, but no one wants to regulate the government.

      We can’t allow this to continue. We have got to put aside our political differences and come down on this shit hard.

      I swear each time someone says, “If you’re not doing anything wrong, what is there to fear,” about government spying, every dystopian science fiction author from Orwell to Huxley to Philip K. Dick to Ayn Rand to Margaret Atwood to Ray Bradbury turns over in their graves, and I think if we checked we’d find the ground near their graves rumbling as they spin and spin and spin… these days.

      What is that expression? 1984 wasn’t supposed to be an instruction manual?

      1. U may call me naive.. And i call people with your point of view. Paranoid!
        There are much more important things at stake here for NSA Than following Your personal correspondence and potential abuse of it.
        Lets say your emails have been looked at… Has it made a difference in your life that u are aware of ?..
        This paranoia is more about ideology than practicality !

        1. I don’t think Thelonious Mac is paranoid or politically motivated in this case, unless concern about constitutional law can be construed as a psychiatric disorder or an ideological blind spot. The writer Philip K. Dick was haunted by both, and left us disturbing meditations on privacy, social place, and personal identity that continue to haunt us all to this day. Recent events are playing out like one of his novels, and that is truly disturbing. Ordinary life oughtn’t to be a thriller, but these days, it’s shaping up like one.

      2. The whole argument about “if you have nothing to hide…” is complete and utter Bullshit, yet the bulk of the chattering class in DC and NYC have spouted this like it was demanded on cue.

        Even if the people at the NSA and the contractors are as pure as the driven snow with only the most legitimate intentions, they have been given every tool to set up and enforce a totalitarian surveillance state. Should a bad guy or gal get the keys, the establishment of a dictatorship would almost be a pushbutton event.

        I am a progressive, but not a big government progressive. I distrust big government and especially secret, crony government lined with tons of corporate courtesans (take your pick from SAIC to General Dynamics to Booz Allen Hamilton to whatever Blackwater/Xi/Academi is called these days) that profit from the national security state.

      3. There will always be a section of any society that are paranoid to the point of being extremists. The trouble at the moment is that the 9/11, 11-M, 7/7 events and similar have allowed those people to set the agenda in our governments.

        These are the same people who will tell you that you MUST have a gun in your home or your daughter will get raped by intruders (or something). It’s projection of their own extreme fears about the worst possible situation being the most likely to occur, and expecting everyone else to go along with their nonsense because otherwise that worst possible thing will happen to us.

    2. Oh dear Yojimbo007. You are totally missing the point.

      Directly quoting Benjamin Franklin:
      They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

      Directly quoting Theodore Roosevelt:
      To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

      Quoting Benito Mussolini:
      Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.
      . . .
      The keystone of the Fascist doctrine is its conception of the State, of its essence, its functions, and its aims. For Fascism the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative.

  5. I just read in today’s Salt Lake Tribune that all texts and emails at the 2002 Winter Olympics were tapped and read by the NSA? How the hell did Obama pull that off? He had some kind of voodoo power? I wonder if Mitt the Olympic savior had any knowledge of that?

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