“Dude, that’s what they want.”

Babak Pasdar’s affidavit on Verizon’s Quantico Circuit reveals something about the government’s back-door access to all of Verizon’s data, one which might be familiar to you from the missing White House emails saga.

When the Steven McDevitt tried to reconstruct all OVP the emails from the period when Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney were coordinating their cover story, he discovered no logs from the emails of that period existed; thus, there’s no way to be sure that the 250 pages of email turned over to Patrick Fitzgerald constitute all the missing emails.

Golly. What a surprise, then, that the government didn’t want any logs taken of its back-door access to (presumably) Verizon’s data.

Pasder notes that (presumably) Verizon’s log collection system was very primitive.

I specifically remembered being shocked at the primitiveness and inadequacy of their log collection system. After all, this was a major carrier. After a cursory overview I was able to point out to C1 and C2 that their log collection system might not have been collecting all logs. This surprised C1 and C2. A subsequent test showed that the client’s log collection system was missing as many as 75% of the logs being generated, essentially rendering the whole system useless.

Mind you, that covered the whole system, not just the Quantico Circuit the government was using to access the system. But when Pasdar describes learning about the Circuit itself, he explains that there was no logging system for the Circuit. None.

This is a little narrative he tells about learning of the Circuit when testing the firewalls of the new system he was putting in.

At one point I overheard C1 and C2 talking about skipping a location. Not wanting to do a shoddy job I stopped and said "we should migrate all sites."

C1 told me this site is different.

I asked, "Who is it? Carrier owned or affiliate?"

C1 said, "This is the ‘Quantico Circuit.’"

Pasdar goes on to learn that this is a 45 mega bit per second circuit that supports data and voice communication. The consultants he was working with made it clear they weren’t supposed to put any access controls on it.

C1 said that this circuit should not have any access control. He actually said it should not be firewallled.

I suggested to migrate it and implement an "Any-Any" rule. ("Any-Any" is a nickname for a completely open policy that does not enforce any restrictions.) That meant we could log any activity making a record of the source, destination and type of communication. It would have also allowed easy implementation of access controls at a future date. "Everything at least SHOULD be logged," I emphasized.

C1 said, "I don’t think that is what they want."

As Pasdar continued to insist on securing the circuit, the consultants called in the Director of Security for (presumably) Verizon, the Director drove to the location to insist that Pasdar do nothing with the wide open circuit. After the Director left, Pasdar persisted.

I shifted the focus. "Forgetting about who [the circuit] is, don’t you think it is unusual for some third party to have completely open access to your systems like this? You guys are even firewalling your internal offices, and they are part of your own company!"

C1 said, "Dude, that’s what they want."

Finally, Pasdar asks whether there is any logging tied to the circuit.

"Does this thing have any logging or access list tied to it?", I asked C1.

He paused, shook his head in the negative and said, "I don’t think so."

For the balance of the evening and for some time to come I thought about all the systems to which this circuit had complete and possibly unfettered access. The circuit was tied to the organization’s core network. It had access to the billing system, text messaging, fraud detection, web site, and pretty much all the systems in the data center without apparent restrictions.

What really struck me was that it seemed no one was logging any of the activity across this circuit. And if they were, the logging system was so abysmal that they wouldn’t capture enough information to build any type of picture of what had transpired. Who knw what was being sent across the circuit and who was sending it? To my knowledge no historical logs of the communications traversing the "Quantico Circuit" exists. [my emphasis]

In other words, not only did they tap right into (presumably) Verizon’s circuits directly. But they refused to allow a record of what they were doing, once they got into the circuits, be made.

No wonder the Republicans refuse to allow segregation of US person data. No wonder they refuse to pull out information collected afterwards if it was later found to be an improper search. At the circuit level, at least, they’re not tracking that information.

And they didn’t want anyone to come afterwards and be able to track what they had done, either.

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109 replies
  1. Ishmael says:

    So much easier than the olden days, when they had to break in to the DNC and plant their bugs…..

  2. oldtree says:

    Nor could they expose the fact that they were monitoring the communications of all USA’s, both land line and wireless during the time period. One suspects Mr. Fitzgerald may have known this anyway based on what little he did receive. A question that should be asked perhaps?

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The crown jewels of any investigation into the illegal actions of the Bush surveillance state will likely relate not just to the massive amounts of data collected, but where it went, who got access to it – most especially, a horde of private sector contractors – and what they do with it.

    My guess? A small percentage relates to national security. The rest is oppo research and research database for the “defunct” TIA.

  4. Redshift says:

    The other thing this makes me think of — considering that Cheneyites appear to be capable of thinking of security and secrecy only in terms of how it can help their coverups, and not to protect the actual security of the United States (think official business over RNC email), it seems like an insane risk to allow them this kind of unfettered access. (Just from a basic operational reliability perspective, leaving aside data security.) Maybe we should look back through the news for massive Verizon outages that could have been caused by some Cheney aide bringing a virus-laden disk into a secure network…

  5. perris says:

    And they didn’t want anyone to come afterwards and be able to track what they had done, either.

    and that plan worked

  6. WilliamOckham says:

    The most telling part of this was the carrier’s refusal to setup any sort of logging. They have no way of knowing what is happening on that circuit. That has to be an explicit part of the deal with the “third party”. There is no way to spin that as legitimate, no matter who the third party is. It’s the electronic equivalent of outsourcing all your accounting functions to somebody who makes unsupervised pickups and deliveries in all your warehouses. They own you.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Agreed. Like opening the door to Ft. Knox or the NSA or Pentagon vaults, turning off the entry logs and security cameras, and not asking what was checked out or if it were ever returned. Just like the White House curiously inadequate e-mail system (notwithstanding statutory obligations to the contrary). And unlike the tracking of, oh, Democratic Party operatives access to National Archives paper files (eg, Sandy Berger).

      Are we seeing a pattern yet? And how does that pattern affect the planning for the Clinton or Obama presidency’s investigatory priorities?

  7. perris says:

    think progress has up an obama aid that is calling for telecom immunity

    my support just shifted back to the hill

  8. Bushie says:

    If Verizon, et. al captured massive amounts of email during the Plame outing, how about a FOIA request/suit against NSA for said emails?

  9. MadDog says:

    Couple points:

    1. It is unlikely that the NSA is the direct customer of the “Quantico Circuit”. The NSA is located in Fort Meade MD. Fort Meade is NE of Washington DC and Quantico is SW of Washington DC.

    2. It is also unlikely that the CIA is the direct customer of the “Quantico Circuit”. The CIA is in Langley VA which is NW of Washington DC, and again, Quantico is SW of Washington DC.

    3. It is also unlikely that the National Counterterrorism Center is the direct customer of the “Quantico Circuit”. The NCTC is located in McLean VA which is NW of Washington DC, and again, Quantico is SW of Washington DC.

    4. The Quantico Marine Training Base is located in Quantico, but it seems unlikely that they are the direct customer of the “Quantico Circuit”.

    5. The FBI Academey is located in Quantico, but it seems unlikely that they are the direct customer of the “Quantico Circuit”. However, a component of the FBI Academy is the Investigative Computer Training Unit (ICTU). This critter could possibly fit the “scenario” as the customer of the “Quantico Circuit”.

    None of the above rules out any of the “satellite” locations of Government agencies who sprout like spokes in a wheel in the burbs surrounding the hub of Washington DC.

    So the questions arise of:

    -Who?
    -Why?
    -Under what legal authority (if any) is the “3rd Party” running amok operating?

    Lastly, Babak Pasdar’s affidavit describes the usage of “Network VCR devices” capapable of recording any and all communications that traverse a single point in the network. While Babak Pasdar did not explicitly state that the “3rd Party” was making use of these “Network VCR devices”, he very explicitly did make the point that the “3rd Party” was fully capable of accessing any and all of the network’s controls and facilities.

    The “Network VCR devices” sounds much like the capabilities in the NarusInsight Intercept Suite that we’ve discussed here before and is at the center of the ATT Whistleblower lawsuit in San Francisco.

    • looseheadprop says:

      5. The FBI Academey is located in Quantico, but it seems unlikely that they are the direct customer of the “Quantico Circuit”. However, a component of the FBI Academy is the Investigative Computer Training Unit (ICTU). This critter could possibly fit the “scenario” as the customer of the “Quantico Circuit”.

      That was my first thought as well.

      Remember I said that FBI doesn’t have the tech expertise in house to do most of the wiretapping? IIRC part of the Protect America Act had a provision to teach federal personnel and to set up access for both training and for them to test out theories and do experiments, which I always assumed where for them to try out various means of data mining and various filters.

      That might be what the Quantico circuit was MEANT to do. Whether someone abused that circuit access for their own purposes (yes, I’m think of Darth) we can only assume speculate.

      • CLSCA says:

        I understand we are talking about 2003 here, but this ICTU thing, when did it start? Does it go back to ‘95? Can you point me in the right direction.

      • Rayne says:

        and MadDog @ 10 –

        This makes PERFECT sense.

        Remember the movie “Enemy of State” with Gene Hackman and Will Smith? At the end of the movie the technical crew who’d been hacking and spying on people at orders of the gov’t bad guy rebut as a defense that they thought they were on a training mission.

        Yeah.

        Look at all the children this administration has hired for key roles — people without the moxie or experience to know exactly how bad their actions are, people bred for these roles at places like Regent U. What kind of people would you put on so-called “training assignments” on a wide open circuit? They certainly wouldn’t say, “Hey, didn’t Nixon get in trouble for this stuff?”

        Rickbrew @ 49 — Umm, yeah, they would do just that, they’d label it “Quantico”. If there’s no logs, nothing, no other documentation, they’d name it something obvious for ease of hand-off to others.

        And if you have youngsters “training” on it, why not name it something this obvious? It begins to legitimize it.

        (Dude, it’s what they want.)

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Look at all the children this administration has hired for key roles — people without the moxie or experience to know exactly how bad their actions are, people bred for these roles at places like Regent U.

          By design. Hiring children several steps above their earned responsibility – from the FCC to the DOJ to the federal courts – assures their loyal devotion, and that they must constantly refer back to Poppa Cheney for advice and direction. Many hands, one heart. Where’s the holly bough and the garlic?

          This program generates great depth on the bench, but assures that the voice of the coach prevails. It is very smart. Ad hoc staffing by the Democrats would be no match for it, particularly if Bush Dogs like Jamie Horlick, more GOP than Democrat, take senior posts in the next administration. That’s like borrowing the other teams players to fill out the backfield.

    • Rickbrew says:

      It is unlikely that the individuals responsible for naming the circuits would use names that actually identified the users. There is no reason to believe that anyone would be stupid enough to assign the name “Quantico Circuit” to a circuit that actually had any connection to a real organization at Quantico.

      It is more likely that someone has a random list of names to apply to various circuits. Such a random process would prevent any effective evaluation of the purpose of the circuit based on its name. Such a process makes your knowledge of government agencies and locations useless in effective analysis, and the people who actually work with the circuit don’t need to know what agencies are behind that name anyway. They just transmit the information. Only the people at each end have a need to know who is at the other end, and then not always.

      • MadDog says:

        It is unlikely that the individuals responsible for naming the circuits would use names that actually identified the users. There is no reason to believe that anyone would be stupid enough to assign the name “Quantico Circuit” to a circuit that actually had any connection to a real organization at Quantico.

        Perhaps or perhaps not. *g*

        If it were a government agency who chose the name, I would tend to agree with you. “Tend” only. Government agencies have been known to be incredibly stupid at times.

        Since it is probably the network vendor who named the circuit, it may well be geographically descriptive.

    • jdmckay says:

      The “Network VCR devices” sounds much like the capabilities in the NarusInsight Intercept Suite that we’ve discussed here before and is at the center of the ATT Whistleblower lawsuit in San Francisco.

      Absolutely… I was thinking same thing reading Pasdar’s *.pdf. Went back and read all the Narus stuff I had. I’m particularly stunned this QUANTICO “circuit” provided full access to user personal/billing data as well.

      It occurred to me, out of caution, that a scenario whereby Verizon operated this circuit independently in order to respond to FISA requests was/is possible. However, given (apparent) operation of of the SF AT&T site by gov. agency(s)(NSA?), this seems unlikely… my suspicions are further heightened.

      And thanks for posting this EW.

  10. LS says:

    Here’s a thought…the NAFTA memo between the Obama person and the Canadian government was leaked to 124 media sources….no one knows where it came from.

    Ahem.

  11. JEP07 says:

    “Dude, that’s what ‘they’ want…”
    So, will we ever know exactly who “they” are?

    That’s a loaded word, and doesn’t necessarily mean just Agency or Bureau ops, they all ultimately take their cues from the administration.

    And that is where the real “they” live and work.

    If it were singular, it would be “he,” and “he” would be Cheney.

  12. solai says:

    OT(sorry)-A diary at DKos is saying that the House is about to capitulate on FISA. Anyone know? I’m at work.

        • MadDog says:

          Yeah, Glenn updated his post with this:

          This report was based on unimpeachable sources close to the whole process. I’m getting a little bit of pushback already from others claiming that the plan and strategy of the House Democratic leadership is more nuanced than what I’ve described, and that the bill they will promote is better. I’ll be happy if that’s true, and hopefully, the fact that there’s a pushback means this is still a vibrant, ongoing process that can be changed. I’ll be happy to add any statements, denials and the like.

          And with Christy posting the contact info of:

          Speaker Pelosi:
          Phone: (202) 225-4965
          Fax: 202-225-8259

          Rep. Reyes:
          Phone: 202-225-4831
          Fax: 202-225-2016

          I got a feeling they’ll get an earful. Could be another one of Steny/Rahm’s “trial balloons” just like last week, but hitting the phones is still likely to be worth it!

  13. klynn says:

    O/T So, was it no mistake that Verizon WAS the major carrier in Iran? I guess good for Iran now they are not, post cable cuts..

  14. bigbrother says:

    Imagine all the corporation lobbyist, “K” Street, knocking on the doors of elected official with billions in hand for massive campaign funds at all levels in return for pork deals, which they got like never before over 7,000 2000 to 2006.

    That made corporations oh so profitable, imagine the opportunities for insider trading when the lobbyists got the high sign that their legislation was approved bt the republican causus under Delay and company.

    Information becomes Gold in this corporate culture and government environmant. Government is THE cash cow…your national treasury was is the target. Fort Knox was nothing compared to a permanent free ride from taxes. Jesus Fing Christ…we have been robbed about a trillion tome bigger than the Great Train Robbery. Families have to work three and four jobs to make ends meet.

    Without datamining this could not have been accomplished. It is about stealing not spying.

    They were never protecting our National Security they were robbing us and leaving us at risk and we were the fall guy in the con. Where is Redford/Newman when we we need them (Sting).

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Huge sting operation, but there was probably some spying tossed in as well.

      Plausible Deniability 2.0. Now digitized for massive money-laundering convenience.

      Plus, if Sybil Edwards ever turned out to be correct in her claims, a system like this could certainly be used to destroy or alter evidence of phone calls, text messages, and financial transactions, could it not?

      • LS says:

        I don’t think they would have gagged her if she wasn’t correct in her claims…there may be an investigation ongoing that we don’t know about.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Imagine the leverage the threat of such access would give a political party in control of the White House? Imagine the turbo effect on that leverage from having a political operative like Karl Rove in charge of real access to that info?

  16. MadDog says:

    OT – In case you aren’t blogging hereabouts this evening, you might want to partake of some PBS shows:

    Now – The use of torture by the U.S. is duscussed with filmmaker Alex Gibney, whose Oscar-winning documentary “Taxi to the Dark Side” explores the topic.

    Bill Moyer’s Journal – A report on GOP presidential candidate John McCain and his endorsement from John Hagee, controversial evangelist and leader of the Christians United for Israel.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The House’s secrecy in attempting to legislate this giveaway of constitutional powers to a criminally wayward president tells all. Pelosi doesn’t want to be Chris Dodded into a public failure, having DFH’s prevent the House, like the Senate, from Cheneying itself before Bush and corporate America. Whoever opined that that position was anatomically impossible Ms. Pelosi is about to prove wrong.

    Motivation? Rove’s Hoover files on key Democrats? The Dems true allegiance to its corporate supporters? Or their fundamental agreement with the prostrate GOP that only der Fuehrer can safely lead Amerika in the 21st century?

    Regardless of her motivation, Pelosi and Reid have declared war on progressive Americans and their Constitution. Let the games begin.

  18. CLSCA says:

    MadDog #12 covers the who they are question well, and bigbrother #14 answers my questions regarding who the victims are – virtually everyone except a small bunch of overlords. While BushCo is in that bunch, hasn’t the FBI been publicly asking for this sort of access to electronic information since the mid 90s, IIRC? It must have started before Bush’s watch.

    I know nothing of this technology and (perhaps prematurely despair any prospects of a political/techno solution. So, what do we, all of the victims bigbrother enumerates, do about it? Become electro-Ludites and burn our laptops? Return to using smoke signals?? Certainly yell bloody murder.

    Guess I’m not very imaginative.

    • jerikoll says:

      Well, if you are really worried, you can certainly resort to 256 bit encryption. See here what problems that would cause the snoopers.

      example recovery of passwords 256 bit encryption

      If you still worry but can program a little, use a proprietary (personal) slice and dice technique on the resulting code block as well.

      If you can do more, well then I don’t have to tell you.

      By the way, none of the above will help if your computer and all its peripherals are not “clean” of all viruses/worms/trojans/samplers and electronic tampering. Also the room you use the computer in must likewise be clean.

      Perhaps microdots will come back in vogue?

      I rethought the above, and realize that it is beyond what most would do, so just find two identical copies of old books and give one to the person you will send code to. Look for the words you wish to use and note the page, line, and order of the words, and enter that into your message. Try to find numerous incidences of the same word, and use them interchangeably. Add some odd offset number to the page, line, and word order number to further reduce the chance of recognition of the book.

      The book itself will have a code word.

      In case they subpoena or torture you later, periodically burn the books, and the codes relating to which book was used, and the arbitrary offsets.

      • CLSCA says:

        Thanks! Feel much better now.

        It’s not that I have secrets that I want to hide from Cheney (would that it were so easy to distract him) but I do worry about the political process with every candidate being bugged.

        Question is, can and do our representatives (I use the expression loosely) use effective counter-measures to this mass buggerying? It would appear not IMO.

        • Rayne says:

          Suspect? Look at all the unintentional holes they patch every damned month. There’s a point at which so many bugs must be features.

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I don’t think key private sector players will need to bid on access to that information. Having outsourced 40% or more of intelligence collection and assessment services, they already have it.

    Presumably, private sector players have it with few restrictions on how they commercialize its fruits, so long as they never reveal the underlying data or their role in collecting and analyzing it. The target doesn’t know why they’re subject to specifically targeted efforts, or why they are denied access to others (eg, jobs, insurance, healthcare).

    It’s almost like telling a property insurer when and where the next flood or hurricane will strike. Their commercial risks dwindle and profits soar and the public knows nothing except they can’t get property (or life) insurance at any price. It’s the next big industry in America, differential access to such data (like, oh, differential access to the Internet). Except no one but the players know the the game’s being played.

  20. klynn says:

    EW,

    Thanks for this and the previous post. It puts everything wrt this admin and the Dems into perspective. (Our thoughts on blackmail were not too far off.)

    Now that we know (what we expected all along), what should we do?

    In addition to impeachment…

    Reading the affidavit just made Rove’s “numbers” comment SO CLEAR…

    Could this be used as an part of an arguement for “obstruction” on a number of pending “fronts”?

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The proposed bill would nobble, if not prohibit, investigation of some of the worst criminal abuses of government authority in American history. Legislated by Democrats. Funny, I thought Vichy was in southern France, not on the Potomac.

    I guess that’s what Democrats mean when they talk about putting the past behind them and focusing on the future. They haven’t been Cheneyed, they’ve been Liebermaned.

    I suggest that both parties dispense with their oath of office, whether on a bible or Koran. Because they’d be lying if they said they were duty bound to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

    Very detailed voting records will be very helpful. More than a few Democrats who vote for this reckless legislation will have their public employment contracts cancelled.

  22. maryo2 says:

    This reminds me of how we never learned who the ten NSA taps targeted that John Bolton asked for.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06…..lton.html?
    WASHINGTON, May 31, 2005 – The information that the White House has refused to provide to Congress for its review into the nomination of John R. Bolton includes the names of American companies mentioned in intelligence reports on commerce with China and other countries covered by export restrictions, according to government officials who have been briefed on the matter.

    It had been reported that the White House was refusing only to hand over the names of 19 individual Americans mentioned in 10 intelligence reports by the National Security Agency.

    The names of the individuals and companies, which remain highly classified, were provided to Mr. Bolton by the National Security Agency in response to requests he made as under secretary of state for arms control. The Democrats who forced the postponement last week of a vote on Mr. Bolton’s nomination as ambassador to the United Nations argued that the Senate should insist on access to the same information.

    But the White House has said Congress has “all the information it needs” to make a decision on the nomination, and at his news conference on Tuesday, President Bush dismissed the request for more information as “just another stall tactic by his opponents in Congress.”

    The administration has permitted the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee to review copies of the 10 intelligence reports, based on communications intercepted by the N.S.A., about which Mr. Bolton requested the additional information. But the names of American people and companies were deleted, and the administration has refused to provide the names to Senate leaders.

  23. klynn says:

    September 2003. Do we have any guesses as to who C1 and C2 might be? This may be a crazy and WAY OFF BASE question. Do you think Truscott could be C1 or C2? Outamyarse crazy thinkinng…

  24. bigbrother says:

    In Place off my 14 and 26 typo correction with apologies to all;

    “Quantico Circuit”, a data mining faucet with NO LOGS and NO FIREWALL, is a help yourself to what you want Karl Rove political channel to RNC and big corporations. This was worth billions in influence, campaign contributions and privilege.

    Nice for the Libby defense attorney team.

    Nice for chummy crony bidding contractors on juicy government contracts that can just get under the competition.

    Nice for prosecution and control of the Department of Justice.

    Nice for dictatorial control of the whole government department apparatus.

    Wouldn’t some government professionals have to wonder how the Political office of the WHITE HOUSE knew what was occurring in their operations if it was information not exposed to political moles appointed as department heads.

    This is part of BUSHCO spy operation on the non political government. At every level of regulatory industry had the keys to the vault. Logically where there is smoke there is fire. So where motivation exists there is influence and data mining especially if things were not going Bush’s buddies way (where to look).

    This is an influence driven policy machine from environmental (energy, timber sales, water, wastewater and infrastructure) to USDA (food) All the major regs from FCC, FEC, EPA, Bureau of Mines and BLM, Just look at the federal register and you will see what occurred…grants for programs dropped, rules for banking and S&Ls ignored. The Fleecing of America think of how many trillions investor were skinned for, is a history of crimes against the American people. Look at all the recalled poisoned food under Bush’s laissez faire policy. Deaths from no or little medical treatment by Insurers, Whose and nursing homes.

    This is a key piece of sleuthing by you Marcy. The source of power is information. I believe at so many levels the opportunity presented themselves to Bush/Cheney/Rove to take advantage of their fiduciary duties that they were proactive in this as evidenced by the elections in 2000, 20004, 2006 and 2008 to use it against Dem candidates or office holders who were challenged by their horses. Alabama Gov Siegelman for one.
    This is the tip of the iceberg of crimes which needs the Constitutional power of Impeachment investigation to get to the bottom and create safeguards. Expose this and the Republican party is toast for decades.
    Theft in the name of National Security is still theft. Executive privilege and War on Terror forever does not reverse the constitutional protection of the citizens against the abuse of power by the government. Without these constitutional protection we are living in Corporate Oligarchy, a form of tyranny so insidious as to make us all life long slaves to the corporation and President who serves only the stockholders by fiat, a decree of Bushco.

    Big oil has robbed us blind since the vertical trusts of Standard Oil. Big oil has used our military might to gain control of foreign assets. Big oil as the energy source for global economy has taken the White House from the people. Both Cheney and Bush are Oil whores see the Molly Ivins and Marcy Wheeler writings on that and the Baker Botts oil connections in Houston with the Enron rip-off of California for $35 Billion dollars.
    We have to stop them with a new energy policy…get of off big oil…get on sustainable energy wind and solar.

    No Immunity!

    Imagine this:
    Imagine all the corporation lobbyist, “K” Street, knocking on the doors of elected official with billions in hand for massive campaign funds at all levels in return for pork deals, which they got like never before over 7,000 2000 to 2006.

    That made corporations oh so profitable, imagine the opportunities for insider trading when the lobbyists got the high sign that their legislation was approved by the republican cacusus under Delay and company.
    Information becomes Gold in this corporate culture and government environment. Government is THE cash cow…your national treasury was is the target. Fort Knox was nothing compared to a permanent free ride from taxes. Jesus Fing Christ…we have been robbed about a trillion tome bigger than the Great Train Robbery. Families have to work three and four jobs to make ends meet.

    Without datamining this could not have been accomplished. It is about stealing not spying.

    They were never protecting our National Security they were robbing us and leaving us at risk and we were the fall guy in the con.

  25. Hugh says:

    On the way to Quantico, you pass by Fort Belvoir. This is from the original Mark Klein article in Commondreams on the San Francisco Narus hookup:

    “For testing TIA capabilities, Darpa and the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) created an operational research and development environment that uses real-time feedback. The main node of TIA is located at INSCOM (in Fort Belvoir, Virginia)….”

    Among the agencies participating or planning to participate in the INSCOM “testing” are the “National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the DOD Counterintelligence Field Activity, the U.S. Strategic Command, the Special Operations Command, the Joint Forces Command and the Joint Warfare Analysis Center.” There are also “discussions” going on to bring in “non-DOD federal agencies” such as the FBI.

    http://www.commondreams.org/he…..517-10.htm

    Whether the Quantico circuit ever made it to Quantico or got shunted off somewhere before, I think it likely that the signal went through or ended up at Fort Belvoir. That’s my WAG theory anyway. *g*

    • MadDog says:

      On the way to Quantico, you pass by Fort Belvoir. This is from the original Mark Klein article in Commondreams on the San Francisco Narus hookup:

      “For testing TIA capabilities, Darpa and the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) created an operational research and development environment that uses real-time feedback. The main node of TIA is located at INSCOM (in Fort Belvoir, Virginia)….”

      Among the agencies participating or planning to participate in the INSCOM “testing” are the “National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the DOD Counterintelligence Field Activity, the U.S. Strategic Command, the Special Operations Command, the Joint Forces Command and the Joint Warfare Analysis Center.” There are also “discussions” going on to bring in “non-DOD federal agencies” such as the FBI.

      Most excellent possible!

      From Wiki:

      The United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), a major Army command, conducts intelligence, security, and information operations for military commanders and national decision makers. INSCOM is both an organization within the United States Army and the National Security Agency, the nation’s unified Signals Intelligence Organization. Within the National Security Agency, INSCOM and its counterparts in the Navy and Air Force are known as Central Security Service.

      Fort Belvoir is about 10-15 miles up the road on Interstate 95 from Quantico.

      Perhaps NSA was the originating customer for the “Quantico Circuit” order to Verizon.

      • klynn says:

        + Hugh @ 38

        Whether the Quantico circuit ever made it to Quantico or got shunted off somewhere before, I think it likely that the signal went through or ended up at Fort Belvoir. That’s my WAG theory anyway.

        I think you got it!

        BTW here’s what EFF is stating about this:

        The White House is putting heavy pressure on lawmakers to grant the telecoms immunity from lawsuits over the spying as part of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) legislation pending in Congress. But in today’s letter — written by John Dingell, Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Ed Markey, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet; and Bart Stupak, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations — the congressmen argue lawmakers must not “vote in the dark” on the immunity issue when “profound privacy and security risks” are involved.

        “When you put Mr. Pasdar’s information together with that of AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein, there is troubling evidence of telecom misconduct in massive domestic surveillance of ordinary Americans,” said Cindy Cohn, Legal Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). “Congress needs to have hearings and get some answers about whether American telecommunications companies are helping the government to illegally spy on millions of us. Retroactive immunity for telecom companies now ought to be off the table in the ongoing FISA debate.”

        We need to give backing to Dingell, Markey and Stupak. We need to let our reps know we are well aware of the whitsle blower stories and that a vote for immunity should be interpreted as an act of war (information war) on citizens, an act of treason and a violation of the constitution.

        Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

        The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

        I know, preaching to the choir…

  26. maryo2 says:

    This also reminds me of the $140,000 spent on computers for Cheney’s office.

    http://www.citizensforethics.org/node/23680
    “Cunninghams’ war record got him a spot on the Appropriations Committee in 1997, where he was a natural for the defense subcommittee. He was put on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 2001 and this year was named chairman of its Terrorism, Human Intelligence, Analysis and Counterintelligence Subcommittee.

    Cunningham’s committee assignments, as well as his increasing seniority, gave him a unique opportunity, government procurement experts say. As a member of the Intelligence Committee, he was in a position to promote particular programs, and much of the committee’s work is classified and thus shielded from normal oversight.

    As a member of the Appropriations subcommittee on defense, Cunningham could push for funding approval for programs such as the digitizing system…

    The first contract, worth $140,000, came from the White House — to provide office furniture and computers for Vice President Dick Cheney.

    The money and gifts MZM gave Cunningham were a small price to pay for the ultimate prize. In September 2002, the General Services Administration signed a so-called blanket purchase agreement with MZM totaling $250 million over five years.

    Under the agreement, specific computer services for the Pentagon would be contracted to MZM without competition.

    Such contracts are typically used to expedite routine ordering of such things as office supplies, but in recent years they also have been used to buy sophisticated equipment and services from specialized technology companies.”

  27. Ishmael says:

    OT – but the latest twist in NAFTA-gate from our distinguished Prime Minister, from Canadian Press….

    “OTTAWA — Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton never gave Canada any secret assurances about the future of NAFTA such as those allegedly offered by Barack Obama’s campaign, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office said Friday.

    With the NAFTA affair swirling over the U.S. election and Canadian officials skittish about saying anything else that might influence the race, it took the PMO two days to deliver the information.

    After being asked whether Canadian officials asked for — or received — any briefings from a Clinton campaign representative outlining her plans on NAFTA, a spokeswoman for the prime minister offered a response Friday.

    “The answer is no, they did not,” said Harper spokeswoman Sandra Buckler.”

    Please accept the apologies of the 65-70% of Canadians who do not support the Harper government for fucking with your elections.

  28. randiego says:

    OT alert

    Blackwater has withdrawn their application to establish a training facility in Potrero, in eastern San Diego County. Sweet!

    http://weblog.signonsandiego.c…..ion_f.html

    Of course, this doesn’t mean they are done. Like Cheney and the cabal, they are the undead. They keep coming back until they get what they want.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      Whoo Hoo on the Blackwater backoff!

      With regard to this post and the last one, what are patriots to do? I can see a meeting in an ACLU office where a leader first passes around a piece of paper saying, “Meet at the library at 3rd and Elm tomorrow at 10:00 AM. Bring no phones. Let’s say over the phone and via email that we’re meeting at 5th and Madison.”

      It’s like there needs to be an underground patriotic group right here in America.

      This is off the charts.

    • bmaz says:

      The Surf Dudes are our best weapon! First Randiego and friends save the Trestles beach; now they’re kicking Eric Prince and Blackwater’s ass! Clearly all we need to do is replace Pelosi, Hoyer, Emmanuel and Reid with Surfriders!

  29. maryo2 says:

    missing emails timeline:

    Late 2001 to early 2002: White House deactivates ARMS system put in place by Clinton Administration to archive emails.
    August 2002: MZM gets $140,000 for computers for Cheney’s office.
    September 2002: the General Services Administration signed a so-called blanket purchase agreement with MZM totaling $250 million over five years
    Between 2002 and 2003: White House converts from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Fits perfectly with the period of time when Andy Card (fall 2002) was noting that ‘August is too early’ to roll out plans for the Iraq War, during the period when WHIG was making their plans to ’sell’ the Iraq War, and IIRC the period in which Wilson went to Niger.

      Also during the period in which the huff-n-puff over ‘Yellowcake Documents’ were swirling around DC.

      Convenient timing for the WH.

  30. looseheadprop says:

    BTW, I gave a quick read to that affidavit and I think EW will be parsing stuff outta there for days.

  31. maryo2 says:

    IS&T = Information Systems and Technology
    SIS = Single Infrastructure Store (MS Windows 2000)

    • randiego says:

      why the reference to a DS3? I assume thats the type of circuit we’re discussing as the Quantico circuit. It’s a firehose…. and can be expensive for some folks but probably not the customer we’re talking about.

  32. maryo2 says:

    wiki on SIS –
    “When used in conjunction with a backup solution, single instance storage can reduce the quantity of archive media required since it avoids storing duplicate copies of the same file. Often identical files are installed on multiple computers, for example operating system files. With solutions that use single instance storage, only one copy of a file is written to the backup media therefore reducing space.”

  33. Mary says:

    14 – wasn’t the “they” Verizon?

    35 – “That might be what the Quantico circuit was MEANT to do. ” Then why no logs? I don’t buy they were setting up a no logs access for training exercises. It’s a good thing we aren’t talking about an institution that, over the years, has blatantly and with no remonstrances and no checks broken the laws and procedures regarding thousands and thousands of NSLs. And it’s not like it’s a department that has sat on the torture crimes of the Bush administration for years – never saying a word or doing a thing. It’s not like it’s a department that tried to ship GITMO detainees to Jordan for some pre-questioning torture. It’s not like it’s a department that has devoted itself to the farce of, Pilate-like, “cleansing” the infomration from GITMO.

    Really, no matter what you were talking about, institutionally, years back – over the last half decade anyone calling any shots within DOJ, including FBI, has been someone who is in some version of love with Bush and who is willing to allow this country as a whole, and lots of individuals as components, be abused and degraded and humiliated and who are willing to have any system of law and justice in this nation be forever corrupted into something that is lawless, reprehensible, and ultimately evil. Look at what Larry Thompson was doing while he had Maher Arar tortured to order – and look at how everyone hopped into place to support and cover up that effort, and wonder whether or not you really need to create a Cheney tie in to what was going on?

    Once the corruption has not only begun, but been basically embraced institutionally, it’s a perpetual motion machine of its own. You don’t need a Rove or Cheney to set up every incident – their image is self-replicating in everyone who stays on to support a torture state.

  34. JohnLopresti says:

    randiego, I was trying to provide a scale; it is a fat pipe but in the dawn of broadband merely the equivalent of one good cablemodem; and now modern flavors of DSL have achieved bandwidth over 1Mbps; more likely, for a DS3, it was hooked to maybe a campus of POTS lines and maybe a few T1s, perhaps the latter serving as some above suggest, as a tech sandbox. It is a lot smaller than one OC3, so perspective says it is smaller than tapping all the telephones in one congressional office building in modern times. So where was the testbed for the dpi box evidently Klein wrote about in the mirrored bitstream matter in Hepting, asking rhetorically there.

    • MadDog says:

      …I was trying to provide a scale; it is a fat pipe but in the dawn of broadband merely the equivalent of one good cablemodem…

      Well, not just one cablemodem. *g*

      DS3 (or T3 as it also called) is quite commonplace for a medium to large sized corporation/organization these days. A 45 Mbps pipe terminating at a site would be used both for data and voice communications.

  35. maryo2 says:

    About Allen Weinstein from the Society of American Archivists, April 14, 2004:
    “We are concerned about the sudden announcement on April 8, 2004, that the White House has nominated Allen Weinstein to become the next Archivist of the United States. Prior to the announcement, there was no consultation with professional organizations of archivists or historians. This is the first time since the National Archives and Records Administration was established as an independent agency that the process of nominating an Archivist of the United States has not been open for public discussion and input.”
    http://www.archivists.org/statements/weinstein.asp

  36. portorcliff says:

    Let’s shine the light on all the spigots we can accurately identify.
    Right now I know about 2. The magic door in SFO and now the Quantico Circuit.

    If we identify with 90% accuaracy where the spigots are and confirm that they are unmonitored, unprotected taps what Telecom provider will want to be associated with that? They all will be looking to get the blame properly placed (on the government that coerced their cooperation). Whaddaya say? Anybody want to go on a hunt?

    • bmaz says:

      Let’s shine the light on all the spigots we can accurately identify.
      Right now I know about 2. The magic door in SFO and now the Quantico Circuit.

      You can add San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose, Seattle and Atlanta into that list.

  37. maryo2 says:

    Did anyone ever see the guidance from Harriet Miers? From the supplied link – page 37 of 50:

    “also, we would still very much -appreciate your sending us a copy of the updated records guidance that Harriet Miers issued , superceding the Gonzales guidance of February 2001, and any other such guidance.”

  38. maryo2 says:

    Love this snark to Theresa Peyton by Sam Watkins in the email on page 47 of 50 –

    “I refer to it as a “message collection system” even though we all understand that it hardly qualifies as a “system” by the usual IT definition.”

  39. LS says:

    Wow…from reading that affidavit…they could sure manage to get some “juicy” information on anyone they wanted to spy on. I notice that there is no discussion of anything “overseas” anywhere in there.

    Is Third Party, like Fourth Branch…/s

  40. josiahbartlette says:

    Going way back, there was a lot short selling on airline stocks right before 911. Those profiting were never revealed. Could they have been acting on information from the early implementation of this system. Just wondering, it would have been a good reason to keep those rascals hidden.

  41. JohnLopresti says:

    [email protected], The T3 equivalency was off my chart, as the equation would be long. One of the concepts that came to mind was frame over ATM. Perhaps we get back here to bmaz’s ancient question about Symmetricom; paraphrasing ~what happens when a mirrored stream meets the original stream at the Narus vhs smte timecoded box; well if one stream has, say, a proprietary log, maybe no crashes.

    • dcgaffer says:

      The equations are not really that difficult, but unnecessary.

      A DS3 is a pretty big pipe, but certainly not big enough to do “real time” monitoring of many voice calls – even when you consider the erlang (tech talk) capacity of the circuit.

      The real issue is that they – supposedly have an open door into the entire OSS or simply (back office) systems.

      Tying into the OSS, just like a tap, you could immediately know when a a known target was using the phone and listen in.

      Now considering that Verizon is the ILEC for DC, itself, should we presume this is just for “foreign intelligence” intercepts?

      Want to buy a bridge in Brooklyn?

      • MadDog says:

        Now considering that Verizon is the ILEC for DC, itself, should we presume this is just for “foreign intelligence” intercepts?

        Want to buy a bridge in Brooklyn?

        Tis the same path my thoughts were following.

        If snooping is going on (likely), the sandbox the snoopers are playing in consists of Washington DC and environs.

        All those Congressional folks with their staffers by the dozens, all those K Street Lobbyists, all the Stink-tanks, all of these folks yakking away on the cell-phones, passing each other virtual nods and winks via text messaging, all done within the confines of the Beltway, which just so happens to be where this “Quantico Circuit” provides some 3rd Party with unrestricted and unlogged access to Verizon’s family jewels.

        Bridges in Brooklyn, oceanfront property in Phoenix, a glorious tropical paradise in International Falls, all this and more is yours for just a wee downpayment.

        Our Agents are standing by for your calls. *g*

      • JohnLopresti says:

        dcg, Comcast sells cellphone service N VA area now, but I forget the history of Comcast’s license for that service in the region. Also, that timeframe was one in which FCC was vetting competitiveness guarantees to let the baby bells market in each other’s territories; so, how about a colocation agreement with Ameritech; or with BellSouth. Both now part of the reconstituted parent entity. BellSouth served NC, TN; but BellAtlantic was the ilec for insideTheBeltway longtime. I think the internet has some key noc type locale in the vicinity, too; so what are the patches that input into that ds3~

      • Dismayed says:

        There you have it, John. There you have it. The executive branch has long had all the tools needed to conduct appropriately targeted and immediate survelliance under FISA. If they had what they needed for legitimate needs this must be for something else. The logic is simple enough for a 5th grader. Actors within and/or with the concent of the administration have been conducting illegal intellegence for purposes of politial, or financial advantage, anyone who can’t see that is either blind or not interested.

        We live under tyranny at the moment, it’s that simple.

        • dcgaffer says:

          All the switches are interconnected. They have to be for the phone system to work. That has always been true.

          What gets missed in all this, is that technology changes haven’t made this harder (how many times have you heard FISA hasn’t kept up with the times.) It has made it easier.

          So for example, to your point of interconnectedness, the system (for cellular at least) generally works like this. You have have the “local” switch which manages the call between a group of “local” cell sites. If you are calling a number outside the territory of the “local” switch, then the call has to be routed and connected to the “local” switch of whom your calling (whether it be another cell phone or a landline).

          The way cellular (at least with GSM which is the most common cellular technology) keeps track of this is it has 2 basic additional “boxes” (essentially databases), the HLR and the VLR. The HLR is the “home location register” which is the database with your customer information (name, address, billing info, ESN). The VLR or “vehicle information register” (kind of misnomer nowadays since all cellphone are handhelds) keeps track which switch is currently communicating with your handset.

          In the old days, when a call was initiated, the phone system created an actual direct and dedicated pipe between the handset and the device being called. Today, its mostly sent in IP packets.

          Because it is not “pipes” but packets, you can easily divert those packets, as long as you forward them along to their end destination.

          So having access to the back office systems, you can basically tap into everything – if you want – with effectively 1 connection.

          Again, in the old days, you would have had to have a PHYSICAL presence or connection, to every switch.

          • Synoia says:

            Technically correct. There are bandwidth issues if one taps the complete US phone system from a central point. And the network is a mesh, not a start with a single routing point.

  42. Sedgequill says:

    How weak would the security be in the setup Pasdar describes? Can the carrier be relying on the agency or agencies getting the feed to be taking care of all the security? Would foreign intelligence or criminal organizations or varied hackers home in on any likely vulnerabilities in the setup? How’s national security doing these days?

    • sojourner says:

      It depends on how you define ’security.’ If you have a government that you trusted to not be snooping — to be actually using such a setup for true national security, with legitimate oversight and court orders in place, then maybe you could call it secure. On the other hand, this is simply an open door for anyone in this government to monitor the email traffic of anyone on that network. As someone else pointed out just above, that would include much of the DC area… including senators, congressmen, and anyone else of any interest to someone with nefarious needs.

    • MadDog says:

      How weak would the security be in the setup Pasdar describes?

      From klynn’s link to those talking points:

      2. Intentional, extraordinary, uncontrolled access

      The long term consultants were adamant that the Quantico Circuit was to be uniquely exempt from all security measures and access control. This violated all standard security protocols, and any legal duty to protect its customers’ privacy. It was highly unusual for any third party to have unfettered access in any form to the inner workings of a major telecom or any similar organization. Even the telecom’s own branch offices were firewalled, with strictly limited and controlled access to specified data center systems. By contrast, the Quantico Circuit had uncontrolled, blanket access to all systems.

      And this:

      6. Vulnerability to en masse surveillance

      …In his affidavit Mr. Pasdar is careful not to draw conclusions beyond what he personally witnessed. Many of the technical conclusions are qualified as what is likely or only a vulnerability, because he does not have direct proof. He is sure the security loopholes were intentional, however, and not only because they deviated from corporate and professional SOP. The telecom was adamant that the system be structured to create the vulnerabilities, and to keep itself ignorant of whether or how they were used, or abused.

  43. klynn says:

    Cannot add to the tech info but Wired has this up:

    Pasdar has executed a seven-page affidavit for the nonprofit Government Accountability Project in Washington, which on Tuesday began circulating the document (.pdf), along with talking points (.doc), to congressional staffers hashing out a Republican proposal to grant retroactive legal immunity to phone companies who cooperated in the warrantless wiretapping of Americans.

    http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/

    You’ll need to scroll down 4 stories at this link to read the whole entry.

    And O/T you might enjoy reading at Wired how a British factory worker received emails containing the flight patterns of AirForce One by accident…some security there folks!

  44. klynn says:

    Here’s a better, direct link to Wired article:

    http://blog.wired.com/27bstrok……html#more

    Be sure to link to the “talking points” doc.(It’s a pdf.) Well worth the read. I’ve tried to link it twice, no luck.

    We really need to follow this document circulation with letters to our reps letting them know, “We know about the whistle blowers and what their stories imply.”

      • klynn says:

        Thank you so much!!!

        Cannot wait to read what bmaz has to write about your links @ 82.

        O/T I for the life of me have yet to get the link icon on EW’s to work for me. Every time I try, my computer freezes. But if I just copy and link (most of the time) that works for me. I could link on her old site just fine (even pdf’s). Arrgh!

        Thank you. I knew you would help out!

        • MadDog says:

          Cannot wait to read what bmaz has to write about your links @ 82.

          I look forward to his and our other resident Legal Eagles analysis too!

          In particular, the AT&T response documents everything bmaz has written about their Corporate Legal Beagles (as opposed to our good folks who are Legal Eagles).

          AT&T laughs at the need for Congressional Retroactive Immmunity!

          As Emptywheel posited about the CCIA, AT&T believes it has covered itself 100 ways to Sunday with Administration authorizations that shelter it from any liability regardless of whether those authorizations are legally sound or not.

          FWIW, on the linking problem you are having, one thing came to mind.

          In order to use the “link” icon here, you must “allow” scripting to take place. Perhaps you have “scripting” turned off in your browser’s settings. This is not unusual, and in fact may be the default setting these days for security reasons.

          You may want to check and see if you can enable “scripting”, but don’t do it if you can’t make it “only” for this site.

          If it is a global setting on your browser, I would not enable it because then you would be vulnerable to malicious scripts that you might run into on other sites.

  45. MadDog says:

    Wrt to the NSA Wiretapping Program Participation, for those of you interested in finding out when AT&T believes it can give it all up to the Government, you might be interested in reading this AT&T response to Congressmen Dingell, Markey and Stupak.

    And here is how Verizon responded to Congressmen Dingell, Markey and Stupak.

    And to round things out, here is how Qwest responded to Congressmen Dingell, Markey and Stupak.

  46. sojourner says:

    I just remembered something… EW, a long while back we were speculating about how it was that it seemed that all of the “troops” seemed to be marching in such lockstep with no one, but NO ONE, revealing anything. With all this information being revealed, I would have to say that they WERE AFRAID to! I wonder if people ‘disappeared’ if they revealed too much? All it would take would be one or two mysterious firings and a few planted rumors to scare any potential whistleblowers into submission.

  47. KenMuldrew says:

    As long as this snooping is targeted and basically business as usual (except for the innovation of being too arrogant and lazy to seek out warrants), then I can see it happening as many here imagine (outsourced to contractors, FBI trainees (that one’s a bit of a stretch), etc.). But if the traffic from the entire OSS is being datamined with even the most primitive level of sophistication, then we’re talking about a Manhattan Project scale of industrial surveillance. This traffic is many orders of magnitude larger than the grandest databases that any sane person is seriously attempting to analyze at present. So it will take much more than just access to the lines and the tech folk to collect it. We’re talking hundreds of math and compsci PhDs (and none of your run-of-the-mill sort either…these are going to be “top men” (and women, obviously, but with a new Indiana Jones pic in the works, I couldn’t help myself)). So unless Renaissance Technologies and the Simons Center at Stony Brook and the other rumored acquisitions by Jim Simons are part of this nefarious plot, then someone should be checking for a bunch of spaced-out academics buying railway tickets to Albuquerque to figure out whether anyone is actually doing the work. Could be that this whole project is as messed up as Kurchatov’s archive of bomb secrets.

  48. MadDog says:

    And to dot the “i” and cross the “t” in bmaz (and our other esteemed Legal Eagles) assuredness that the Comm-cos ain’t worried ‘tall about Retroactive Immunity, from AT&T’s response to Congressmen Dingell, Markey and Stupak (or as they say down on the farm, direct from the horse’s mouth *g*):

    When a carrier such as AT&T responds to duly authorized requests for assistance from law enforcement or intelligence agencies in a good faith belief that the requested assistance is lawful, it has been the condsidered and consistent legal and policy judgment of Congress and the courts that no liability should attach to the carrier. That is true even if the government or government officials are subsequently determinted to have acted unlawfully.

    …This same principle – that a telecommunications carrier who cooperates in good faith with authorized law enforcement or intelligence activities considered lawful by the executive – underlies numerous defenses and immunities reflected in existing statutory and case law. For example, 18 U.S.C. 2511(2)(a)(ii) provides that “[n]otwithstanding any other law,” carriers are authorized to provide “assistance” and “information” to the government whenever the communications service provider receives a “certification” from the Attorney General or his designee “that no warrant or court order is required by law, that all statutory requirements have been met, and that the specified assistance is required.” When the Attorney General furnishes an appropriate certification, Congress has decreed that “no cause of action shall lie in any court.” It does not matter whether the Attorney General’s judgment reflected in the certification is ultimately determined to have been right or wrong: as long as the carrier acted in pursuant to such a certification, national policy forbids a lawsuit. Congress felt so strongly on this point that it included a supplementary good faith defense, such that a carrier is insulated from liability even if the carrier itself is wrong.

    Laughing? AT&T and the rest of the Comm-cos are rolling on the floor wrt to Retroactive Immunity.

    Shorter AT&T (and the rest of the Comm-cos): “We don’t need no steenkin’ Retroactive Liability!

    Which leaves the obvious question of why Junya and crew insist that the Comm-cos do? And we all know the answer to that:

    Criminals covering up their crimes don’t want no witnesses to testify…ever!

    • klynn says:

      bmaz will NOT be surprised…

      bmaz, LHP, Mary anyone one of our LB’s… got a question:

      If we have written statements from telecoms and CCIA stating no immunity needed and we have whistle blowers (ATT, Verizon, Qwest)but congress votes to pass immunity because they still state the arguement “telecoms need it,” does that not give us recourse?

  49. RichinFla says:

    @ MadDog way back at 10

    Ever wonder how someone calls your cell in your home town and it rings when you are across the country? It stems from the direct connection of each switch to at least two others on each carriers network, so that the when a call comes in to your home switch where your number is based, the system finds your phone in a spit second. That same type of direct connection within
    carriers networks may make the physical location of the tie in point kind of moot. Once they’re on Verizon’s network they may and I emphasize may becasue I don’t know for sure, may have access beyond our ordinary suspicions.

  50. Sedgequill says:

    We’re not sure which agency or agencies are receiving the feed, but maybe there’s something applicable in Wired’s Ryan Singel’s Point, Click … Eavesdrop: How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates. Bruce Schneier quotes from the article and has related links and discussion here, including this zinging comment by Nick Lancaster:

    So if it’s all automated down to a point-and-click system, why is it, exactly, that a warrant can’t be assembled within 72 hours?

  51. BayStateLibrul says:

    I think we can safely say that Bush is a “monster”
    after his veto today… Waterboarding is a okay….

  52. BooRadley says:

    dcgaffer, really appreciate your’s (and others) lucid explanations of extremely complex and changing telecom technologies.

  53. Rayne says:

    The entire network was supposed to be hardened after 9/11. We spent huge gobs of money on it.

    Some guy who likely has NO security clearance was allowed to get close enough to see this “Quantico Circuit”, let alone the circuit exists without any rational, reasonable form of security on it.

    Everything the administration did to harden the nation’s information infrastructure has to be viewed with complete skepticism at this point.

    If I were Pasdar, I’d be terrified; I’d have papers on my person and locked away with trusted resources.

    It’s every bit as bad as we thought, and likely far worse. There’s NOTHING that any commercial entity like Google could do that’s more egregious than this, short of publishing personal information like our health care data.

  54. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Some bugs are features.
    Others are just bugs.
    The difference can be, as they say, ‘contextual’.

Comments are closed.