Jay Rockefeller Told Us What Russell Tice Just Confirmed, Years Ago

On KO the other night, Russell Tice expanded on the details of the warrantless wiretapping program, revealing that, the government has been data mining both our telecom communications and our credit card transactions.

As far as the wiretap information that made it to NSA, there was also data mining that was involved. At some point information from credit cards and financial transactions was married in with that information. So of the lucky US citizens, tens of thousands of whom, that are now on digital databases at NSA who have no idea of this also have that sort of information that has been included on those digital files that have been warehoused.


This is garnered from algorithms that have been put together to try to just dream up scenarios that might be information that is associated with how a terrorist could operate. Like I mentioned last night, the one to two minute pizza delivery call, things of that nature, of which an innocent citizen could be easily tied into these things. And once that information gets to the NSA, and they start to put it through the filters there, where they have langauge interpreters and stuff and they start looking for word-recognition, if someone just talked about the daily news and mentioned, you know, something about the Middle East they could easily be brought to the forefront of having that little flag put by their name that says "potential terrorist" and of course this US citizen wouldn’t have a clue.


I have a guess where it was developed. I think it was probably developed out of the Department of Defense; this is probably the remnants of the Total Information Awareness that came out of DARPA. That’s my guess.

Again, this should surprise no one who has followed our detailed discussions over the last four years about the kind of data mining they were probably doing.

In fact, we learned as much from someone briefed on the program in the days following the first revelations about the program in December 2005. That’s when Jello Jay Rockefeller released the letter he had sent to Cheney about the program. That letter described the program in precisely those terms–the old TIA program that Iran-Contra retread John Poindexter had developed.

As I reflected on the meeting today, and the future we face, John Poindexter’s TIA project sprung to mind, exacerbating my concern regarding the direction the Administration is moving with regard to security, technology, and surveillance.

In fact, Jello Jay was not just pissing in the wind with his letter, as is commonly assumed. Rather, he was establishing a legislative record that Cheney was doing precisely what the Senate moved to forbid the very next day.  Jello Jay recorded his impressions that the Administration had briefed him (and the other intelligence committee heads) on a program that suspiciously resembled the TIA program the day before the Senate voted unanimously to prohibit money from being "obligated or expended on research and development on the Terrorism Information Awareness program." (I invite to you review this timeline on Senate efforts to defund this program, because it’ll make you vomit.)

And that’s why I’m rather more intrigued by Jello Jay’s bizarre performance on Tweety the other day than surprised.

Tweety: [Russell Tice] said that under the Bush Administration the NSA spied electronically on journalists. Do you know about that?

Jello Jay: I watched it, on your program, and I’m quite prepared to believe it. I mean, I think they went after anybody they could get. Including me.

Tweety: Okay. Incl–They didn’t eavesdrop on you, did they Senator?

Jello Jay: No, and they sent me no letters.

Now, to be fair, the entire performance was rather bizarre; I think everyone in DC was acting drunk last week out of sheer exhaustion. That said, this exchange, set against the background of Jello Jay’s efforts to establish a record labeling the warrantless wiretap program as TIA reincarnate, makes me wonder whether this wasn’t more of a subconscious revelation: "They went after me. No, they didn’t eavesdrop on me. They sent me no letters."

"They sent me no letters"???

What’s that supposed to mean?

None of this, of course, explains why Jello Jay didn’t waltz onto the immunity-protected Senate floor and reveal all this stuff on July 17, 2003, or in 2004, when it became clear BushCo had signing statemented away the Senate restrictions on TIA (which was, incidentally, about the time that Jim Comey was preparing to refuse to reauthorize the program). 

But to his credit (yes, I’m giving Jello Jay a bit of credit), Jello Jay was trying to get this information out in December 2005, just after the NYT broke this story.

  1. LabDancer says:

    “What’s that supposed to mean?”

    That perfectly appropriate question brought to you thanks to MSNBC’s intrepid newshound, Tweety. You know, I really, really like Henrik Hertzberg’s writing at the New Yorker, but his blogpatronage for the ultimate pillowhead of talkface tv is too much. The only time Tweety generates news is when he gets so cranky from impatience his intolerance goes on autopilot and we get exhibitions like that moronic numbcon Minnesota woman rep. The only reason we get things exhibitions like his evisceration on the Bushie talkover doll on diplomatic overtures being indistinguishable from capitulation is because he invites those sorts of subintellects on his show in the first place.

    Rant done.

    I think he meant to refer to National Security Letters – NSLs. Jello’s level of comprehension and imaginative extension is so limited I think he has trouble seeing himself getting rolled by means different than the BCA used to roll private citizens; but he at least knew something like that was going on here, and IMO he was trying to relate to the Joe and Josephine Ordinary Schuck. And as limited as Jello’s communication skills are, Tweety’s are worse, because that phrase was a clear invitation to a follow up, POSSIBLY leading to some expiation on how Jello himself perceived that the BCA rolled him.

    [My favorite talkingheads moment during the election season was when Olbermann lost it with Tweety during coverage of one of the conventions.]

    • emptywheel says:

      Agree that it may be NSLs. THough those would only be contextually appropriate if that’s how they got to the credit card data (and FWIW, I think this Tweety bit was taped b4 KO’s bit with Tice, though they may have taped Tice yesterday). And JJ probably knew all of whta Tice was saying.

      Or it could refer to a response back from Cheney that he did get. Since I suspect maybe he knows he WAS tapped.

      I don’t know. I think JJ has gone nuts with this stuff.

      • LabDancer says:

        I’m not sure how much difference it makes, except to cement my point about Tweety’s “skills” as a newshound, but I think the order was:

        Tice on KO cablecast #1 – at the end of which KO asks Tice for another “tomorrow night”, whatever that means in TV land –

        then the next evening Tweety pecks a bit at Jello, in which Tice on KO is referred to, with Jello saying, oddly I thought, that he’d watched it the day before “on your show” –

        then Tice on KO cablecast #2.

        FWIW I’m inclined to believe Jello did not, as he implied, watch KO like a regular member of corporeal beingdom, but rather was brought up to speed in some sort of office briefing. That would suggest more material than would be gained just from watching Tice on KO #1, and maybe a lot more. That’s my beef – as others here have recognized: Jello was ready, willing, able & armed to deliver up … something; certainly a lot more than Tweety allowed him room to – and we regular schmucks get the pffffpt end of the explosion and denied the boom.

        Whereas KO OTOH…

        This is one argument for Tweety running & winning a Senate Seat: we need a hell of a lot more than 2 hours of KO & Rachel, and maybe MSNBC would feel desparate enough to go with their advice one more time. Now, though?

        “TWEET – TWEETTWEETTWEETTWEET – TWEET Back in a moment”

          • Hmmm says:

            Possibly, but I wouldn’t necessarily read too much into that. A somewhat senior person such as JJ might well slip and say “I heard it on your show” when what he really meant was “I heard it on your network”.

        • tryggth says:

          Yeah – this seems probable. Barak comes in, gets the family jewels, goes “yikes!” and puts a fuller disclosure on that first week’s agenda.

          Perhaps JJ is telling us that some people were warned about the bank records vacuum cleaner. And he wasn’t – as the others were. Ergo “No, and they sent me no letters.” Whatever it is, it needs follow up.

          Also, in the phrase (am I super parsing?): “I’m quite prepared to believe it.” is the choice of the word ‘prepared’ referring to a recent briefing? Once USG became aware of Tice going on KO the Intelligence committees wer almost certainly briefed on what he might say.

          • LabDancer says:

            And just to run with your “bank records vacuum cleaner” take, recall that in both Lawrence Wright’s towering book on the government’s painfully slow process to realizing where bin Laden was headed, and Ron Suskind’s 1% Solution, neither of course anywhere near among the dozens of vacuous deadtree sacrifices to honor the fouriron-sight & prewdunce & wizdumb of preznit bunnypants – the one Crown Jewel in the BCA’s many & variously-flavored reactions to 9/11 – which for the most part were largely irrelevant to securing the nation from any threat, other than lib’ruls and DFHs of course, and OTT to boot – was supposedly the squeezing off of money to support the sho’-nuf-farious activities of yer WOT types [altho how that was supposed to jive with, at the same time, opening up a new wing of the US Mint dedicated entirely to printing greenbacks to hand over to Perez Musharraf, continues to elude me].

            Which brings us full circle to the al Haramain story – and perhaps one of the reasons [at least] it’s so important to the DoJ deadenders that they would [it appears] be so willing to put their entire cred, careers & [possibly even] personal liberty in jeopardy – – for all the world appearing to be up to some legal-beagle boys variation on Ollie North’s “heroic” stand on the Contra end [at least] of Iran-Contra.

            Hundreds of millions – IMO more likely in the billions to possibly tens of – have been tied up by government action over the last seven or so years, and because it mostly was/is associated with furriners and [supposedly] all with fightin’ turrur & turrurrists, it been as if all those dollars greeted their takers with flowers & parades.

            So while I have no doubt there’s a “Bush [subnom Cheney] Legacy” concern at work here, and certainly [as Fearless Leader & bmaz are kind enough to remind us periodically] a run-out-the-clock scenario, I suspect a concern at work here as well, that if this al Haramain can gets opened up, a whole lot more smelly fish of all manner of species and size will start to pour out – including that said one Crown Jewel is about as valuable as a radioactive zircon.

            • Loo Hoo. says:

              That was complicated (for me!) Are you saying that the Obama admin is going to open up the can? Cuz, of course, they should. Really wide.

              • LabDancer says:

                Not quite – I’m saying BushCo cannot be sure of Obama.

                Even to ask him would have to be appreciated as hazardous. Certainly that President Obama has kept on some key officials appointed by Bush – of most public note, Gates of course, who one should not forget was Bill Casey’s minder at the CIA during at least some part of Iran-Contra; and Poindexter’s successor, the first DNI McConnell, in some White House capacity – but also a number of DoD intell officials who, from what I’ve read at WaPo, are at leasting telling WaPo they expect to stay on – – that wouldn’t be inconsistent with this FISA flip-flop as senator, and imply some reason for comfort.

                But playing against that are things like the hurtee feelings expressed from BushCo on citizen Bush’ flight to Texas on Obinauguration day, the new president’s bothersome commitment to allowing sunlight into the governing process, and of course the trend implied in his executive orders – – so the comfort level can’t be very high. Moreover, from what we can see at least, candidate Obama was successful in leaving President Obama without a lot of pre-election compromises.

                If one of us were able to ask President Obama [I’d nominate Fearless Leader.] if he’s considered this, I don’t think he’d lie [With Ms E Wheel, good luck if he even tried.], but he might well decline to answer, and the most I’d expect from him is something like: Yes – I’ve given some thought to this matter – – leaving open that it remains something that he’s going to think about a lot more – and at least until the all the Bushwood is cleared away.

        • dakine01 says:

          I think he had to do the longhand because they wouldn’t allow any staffers in the briefings. Because of the level of classification and the ban on staff, he basically had to do it for himself.

        • scribe says:

          I think there are three good and one not-so-good (but funny) reasons:

          1. Likely committee staff, e.g., secretaries, were not read in to the program(s) briefed, so they couldn’t type anything about it.

          2. When was the last time you saw a purely manual typewriter? Even if there was one of them, Jello couldn’t use one for his letter because the ribbon will retain impressions of what was typed, breaching security. This, even if it was an old cloth ribbon, and not one of the newer film ribbons. The film ribbons are ridiculously easy to read.

          3. All electronic typewriters and computers, when they are used to type, create an electronic signature. Skilled operators using appropriate equipment can capture these signatures and they can be decrypted to determine what was being typed. You’ll note on yor electronics equipment that it has a sticker saying it “meets FCC standard [number] for RFI” (radiofrequency interference). The low level of electronic interference created by your electric typewriter or home computer (that’s low enough to meet FCC standards) can still be “read”. That electronic signature is the basic reason for something called TEMPEST, which is (as I understand it from open-source material) an unclassified codeword denoting office equipment built to comply with a particular set of government standard(s) to prevent the electronic “leakage”, i.e., a higher standard than the FCC standard applicable to your home equipment. Jello likely did not have access to a TEMPEST qualified machine, so he could not type about the programs without violating security. Of course, these special machines are always (like anything else special) in short supply and therefore allocated as a means of showing favor, power or trading. Thus, Addington had one in his office, but I’d bet Congress couldn’t get one for love or money. Plus, the presence of one of these machines in Jello’s office would have been a great big red flag to security operatives and potential spies saying “location for potential breach Here!”

          4. No, it’s not that Jello’s a Rockefeller and therefore can’t do something as menial as typing.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Oh, lordy, that rant did me good. Still laughing.

      Here’s what I think, “They sent me no letters” means:
      “They sent me no ANTHRAX letters (as they did to Leahey, KO, and Tweety).”

      Isn’t that what he meant by ‘letters’?
      Also, IIRC, Jello Jay had back surgery… and missed some hearings. Sorry, but I don’t recollect the timing. Now, back surgeries tend to involve major meds, so let’s hope that Jello Jay’s meds were all correctly filled.

      Meanwhile, Cheney could have had the NSA tap the fax to the pharmacy, or the doctor’s phone line, if he wanted more info on what kinds of meds Jello Jay was taking, eh?

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        In mentioning Jello Jay’s back surgery and meds, I didn’t make clear that meds can really knock a person sidewise. It’s possible there were weeks there where his memory is particularly fuzzy.

        Which only supports my hunch that he’d have remembered — even in a fuzzy state — whether or not anyone mailed him an ANTHRAX letter. I’d guess that’s what’s on his mind.

        Which really underscores the sub-theme: They were intimidating e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e, even the highest ranking Dem on the Sen. Judiciary Committee. And Tweety — for his myriad, absolutely maddening faults and blather (!!) — was pushing back about Cheney, and Rove back in July 2003, when the news of Plame’s ID was leaked. And IIRC, anthrax letters were addressed to KO and also to Tweety, and arrived at MSNBC.

        Total Information Awareness.
        And Total Intimidation.

        Here’s hoping Jello Jay’s memory sharpens up real quick-like.
        And hat tip to Mr. Tice, who will no doubt face rather large legal fees.

        • LabDancer says:

          “They were intimidating e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e”

          Right; well, they certainly tried it with everyone, and clearly succeeded, not least with Jello.

  2. Hmmm says:

    Hate to say it, ew, but if these folks are not going to move on their own then someone is going to have to collect and publish the evidence in a clear, compelling form that will force them to move — I mean, of course, a book — and AFAICT you are the one best equipped with means and motive. I hope you can arrange the opportunity.

  3. skdadl says:

    “They went after me. No, they didn’t eavesdrop on me. They sent me no letters.”

    That logic flabbergasts me too, although by letters, doesn’t he mean national security letters?

    That speech of Lawrence Wright’s at Princeton in 2007, btw, which KO refers to at the beginning of that clip, is very rich. You can watch it here.

  4. Loo Hoo. says:

    So jello unsaid it. Kinda like being undead?

    I agree with LabDancer that Jello wanted to talk, but tweets wasn’t listening.

  5. Hmmm says:

    “They sent me no letters”???

    What’s that supposed to mean?

    Actually that didn’t strike as strangely as the other part:

    Tweety: …They didn’t eavesdrop on you, did they Senator?

    Jello Jay: No…

    You would know for sure if you hadn’t received a letter. But how would you know you hadn’t been eavesdropped on? What, did he ask them, and they said no, and he just believed them? I know we’ve established how very limited JJ’s imagination is, but nobody’s that credulous. How can he know this?

  6. Alison says:

    They didn’t send anyone a letter, did they?

    They just took all our information, and AFAIK, are still taking all of our personal information.

    Jay Rockefeller threw in his lot with the wrong crowd and has no idea how to recover what he lost in the process.

    Doesn’t Tennessee Williams have a character in Night of the Iguana who claims that “Every month the full moon comes out and turns my daughter into a virgin.”? Perhaps that’s what Rockefeller wants.

  7. oldtree says:

    Or that jello can’t believe anyone would tap him? What a public statement. Is it supposed to inspire trust?

  8. SaltinWound says:

    Jay only pays full attention to letters he mails to himself. So for “they,” it’s safe to assume he meant “I,” meaning he didn’t know he was eavesdropped on and so he didn’t mail himself a sealed letter about it.

  9. barne says:

    Rockefeller came right out and said “including me,” then Matthews backed him off the statement. Makes you wonder about Chris, big time.

    Maybe what’s been wrong with our media for the last 8 years is the result of a great age of intimidation through blackmail. Maybe we need to pass a sort of amnesty period where journalists, and others, can come forward and blow the whistle on what they know about corrupt surveillance designed to intimidate political and media types. If dirt is then thrown at the whistleblowers, we forgive them, and protect them, and their families, finances and careers. Anybody who tries to silence a whistleblower, or reports any dirt on a whistleblower will be heavily scrutinized.

  10. freepatriot says:

    excuse me ???

    how does jello jay KNOW they didn’t evesdrop on his calls ???

    because they TOLD HIM SO ???

    how fucking stupid IS THIS CLOWN

    did they tell you it was raining while they were pissing on your head ???

    and did ypu believe them then ???

    fucking moron

    does he expect ME to be stupid enough to accept that as an answer ???


  11. vinner38 says:

    Kieth Oberman is such a GD Nazi
    What a Bush bashing creep
    I guess he doesnt want the US to be safe at all

    • freepatriot says:

      ya have to do better than that around here, cheetoo breath

      that’s the lamest troll dropping I ever seen

      three sentences, totally off topic, and you’re a supporter of presnit bunny pants ???

      guess you must be pretty far down on the freeper email list, cuz they didn’t send you the memo telling you to stop embarrassing yourself trying to defend george bush

      you freepers are supposed to act like george bush didn’t exist

      it helps hide the hypocrisy

      like you could hide hypocrisy like that

      so go back to public school, and try to get beyond 4th grade this time

      it’s shameful in the blogtopia to have such illiterate trolls, so stop embarrassing this site

  12. scribe says:

    Re: Jello’s meds. Deadeye and his crew didn’t need to do any tapping anywhere. Since 2005, all prescriptions filled in the US have been entered into a database (actually, the feds get copied on the documentation) which the feds maintain. The stated purpose is to find out whether Canadian drug imports are doing something or other, or some other health-care related bullshit, but the cops can get into that database at a moment’s notice. Didn’t anyone notice, when the information on the Virginia Tech shooting came out and the shooter was identified, how they were able to say (and they did) he was (or was not) on any psychotropic meds in the same press release announcing his being identified?

  13. MadDog says:

    I have a guess where it was developed. I think it was probably developed out of the Department of Defense; this is probably the remnants of the Total Information Awareness that came out of DARPA. That’s my guess.

    Specifically, from a DoD press briefing emc’d by Tory “Would I lie to you?” Clarke back on November 20, 2002 (remember this date!) where Pete Aldridge, the DoD Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, had this to say:

    Q: Can you help us to better understand what Admiral Poindexter’s operation is all about, and how far along he is in developing his program or plan or — (inaudible)?

    Clarke: I can’t, but I have someone here who can. (Laughter.) And Undersecretary Pete Aldridge, who was thinking: Okay, I’ve been here for a while, time for me to leave — (laughter) — would be happy to address that question.



    Q: What’s a nice guy like him doing in place this?

    Clarke: That’s right.

    Aldridge: I asked the same question.

    Well, I — we anticipated that this issue may come up, so I have prepared a very short statement, and then if that statement doesn’t clarify what we’re trying to do, I’ll stay up here for a few minutes for some questions.

    My statement goes along the following: The war on terror and the tracking of potential terrorists and terrorist acts require that we search for clues of such activities in a mass of data. It’s kind of a signal-to-noise ratio. What are they doing in all these things that are going on around the world? And we decided that new capabilities and new technologies are required to accomplish that task. Therefore, we established a project within DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, that would develop an experimental prototype — underline, experimental prototype, which we call the Total Information Awareness System. The purpose of TIA would be to determine the feasibility of searching vast quantities of data to determine links and patterns indicative of terrorist activities.

    There are three parts to the TIA project to aid in this anti- terrorist effort. The first part is technologies that would permit rapid language translation, such as you — as we have used on the computers now, we can — there’s voice recognition capabilities that exist on existing computers.

    The second part was discovery of connections between transactions — such as passports; visas; work permits; driver’s license; credit card; airline tickets; rental cars; gun purchases; chemical purchases — and events — such as arrest or suspicious activities and so forth. So again, it try to discover the connections between these things called transactions.

    And the third part was a collaborative reasoning-and-decision- making tools to allow interagency communications and analysis. In other words, what kind of decision tools would permit the analysts to work together in an interagency community?

    The experiment will be demonstrated using test data fabricated to resemble real-life events. We’ll not use detailed information that is real. In order to preserve the sanctity of individual privacy, we’re designing this system to ensure complete anonymity of uninvolved citizens, thus focusing the efforts of law enforcement officials on terrorist investigations. The information gathered would then be subject to the same legal projections (sic) currently in place for the other law enforcement activities.

    Q: Protections.

    Aldridge: Protection. Legal protections.

    It is absurd to think that DARPA is somehow trying to become another police agency. DARPA’s purpose is to demonstrate the feasibility of this technology. If it proves useful, TAI [sic: TIA] will then be turned over to the intelligence, counterintelligence and law enforcement communities as a tool to help them in their battle against domestic terrorism…

    (My Bold)

    Note the second bolded part which describes all the various databases planned for usage in the TIA program.

    Then note the third bolded part which states authoritatively (but not truthfully as we’ll see), that only imaginary and fictitious data will be used to test the TIA program.

    Now compare and contrast that authoritatively stated untruth with this FOIA-released memo prior to Pete Aldridge’s “statement”:

    From: ddyer (Lt Col Doug Dyer, PhD – DARPA/IAO)
    Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 11:41 AM
    To: jpoindexter (Adm. John Poindexter); rpopp (Bob somebody or other)
    Subject: Recommendations on Acxiom

    John, Bob,

    I’ve spoken about these recommendations to both of you separately, but to recap:

    Acxiom is the nation’s largest commercial data warehouse company ($1B/year) with customers like Citibank, Walmart, and other companies whose names you know. They have a history of treating privacy issues fairly and they don’t advertise at all. As a result they haven’t been hurt as much as ChoicePoint, Seisnt, etc by privacy concerns and press inquiries. Essentially, Acxiom buys or otherwise acquires transaction information, uses a key, proprietary technology they cal Abilitec that links these transactions uniquely with a person/address pair (UUIDs for both), and then projects from this database to provide datasets to their customers. Abilitec is important because it is about 99% accurate despite differences in spellings and errors in data and because of high performance (hundreds of millions of these links/second on current hardware). Customer data sets Acxiom creates can be relational databases or in some other structured format. Acxiom also hosts supercomputers that enable their customers to do analysis and data mining. One example of this data mininng pays off is to determine who to send pre-approved credit card applications to. They also do mass mailings and even host a few high-performance web sites.

    Coverage claimed: Acxiom spends about $50M for data on US data and covers more that 80% of the population. They have 80% coverage in the UK and have some coverage in Australia, Canada, and Germany. They are interested in expanding when it makes sense financially and do continual analysis to assess costs and payoffs (so they know many of the data sources that exist around the world–and hae incentives to keep up to date).

    I think we can win with Acxiom in four ways:

    1) Engage Acxiom in conjunction with the Rand Study to identify all the relevant databases (without knowing Rand’s knowledge base, I’m guessing that Acxiom has more current knowledge about commercial databases).

    2) Have Acxiom provide us with a statistical data set (using UUIDs rather than any identity or address information) for use in the TIA critical experiment (I don’t know if we have a name for this yet, but it’s the one which involves discovering the red-team signature, discerning bad behavior from odd or normal behavior). We can use this real, large, but private data set to accelerate our critical experiment.

    3) Acxiom’s Jennifer Barrett is a lawyer and chief privacy officer. She’s testified before Congress and offered to provide help. One of the key suggestions she made is that people will object to Big Brother, wide-coverage databases, but they don’t object to use of relevant data for specific purposes that we can all agree on. Rather than getting all the data for any purpose, we should start with the goal, tracking terrorists to avoid attacks, and then identify the data needed (although we can’t define all of this, we can say that our templates and models of terrorists are good places to start). Already, this guidance has shaped my thinking.

    4) Ultimately, the US may need huge databases of commercial transactions that cover the world or certain areas outside of the US. This information provides economic utility, and thus provides two reason why foreign countries would be interested. Acxiom could build this mega-scale database…

    • MadDog says:

      Oh, and in a little noticed recent OLC opinion that evidently has escaped comment by the commentariat – Requests For Information Under The Electronic Communications Privacy Act, one should ask what was/is the FBI trying to do with NSLs (National Security Letters which by definition do not require a Judge’s review and approval and can simply be issued to Telcos for call records by the FBI administratively) that even the Bush/Cheney OLC says:

      “No way Jose, you can’t do that!”

    • Hmmm says:

      NB, as described, all you need to break the anonymity of the data set is to find out what the person’s UUID is.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Well, if you want to get into sci-fi territory, it’s only one teensy little step.
        Suppose you wanted to set someone up? If you had overwrite privileges, then couldn’t you make their data look pretty damn suspicious?

        Single key UUID + ‘contractors’ = no permanent, civil service oversight system to rein this all in. Wonder what the FBI thinks of it.

        • Hmmm says:

          Not sci-fi at all, in fact in my opinion as a computer science professional that’s a level-headed explanation of how susceptible to misuse that particular technical design is. Plus from the legal defense POV, if all that transaction data purportedly associated with the defendant, as well as the analysis techniques used on that data, are considered non-discoverable in a court of law because of national security issues, then there is no way to challenge their veracity nor efficacy. Screwedville.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Screwdville, indeed.
            We’ve out-stalined Stalin.

            Osama Bin Laden must be laughing his ass off. (And now I must quickly get that image outta my head!)

    • Rayne says:

      You know what this reminds me of? William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition.

      Actually, more like Idoru.

      Seems far fetched at first, but it makes perfect sense. It’s the same kind of approach that the Republicans have been using for years to fine-tune their mass mailings (hello, Karl).

      It also make the Q-loop (h/t to JLopresti for the reminder) an essential part of this discussion.

      • MadDog says:

        Gibson is one of my favorite authors!

        It also make the Q-loop (h/t to JLopresti for the reminder) an essential part of this discussion.

        And as for that “Quantico Circuit”, one should keep in mind that when the DARPA’s (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) TIA was “canceled”, it was moved to the NSA’s ARDA (Advanced Research and Development Activity).

        Testing of TIA was done at Fort Belvoir (Quantico Circuit?):

        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 was located at INSCOM with additional TIA nodes located at subordinate INSCOM commands and at other participating organizations throughout DoD and the intelligence community. INSCOM was testing TIA technologies using information gathered by routine intelligence means.

        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 either participated or planned to participate with DARPA and INSCOM to test TIA capabilities.

        Note that INSCOM – U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command is a component of, and reports to the head of the NSA:

        The United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), a direct reporting unit that 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. INSCOM is headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

        • MadDog says:

          And continuing on this trail of breadcrumbs, the Christian Science Monitor reported that TIA has morphed into:

          The issue resurfaced again earlier this month when, during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Ron Hayden (D) of Oregon, one of the chief critics of TIA, asked John Negroponte, the head of Domestic Security, Robert Mueller, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Gen. Michael Hayden, the former head of the NSA, if ” Poindexter’s programs are going on somewhere else?” While Mr. Negroponte and Mr. Mueller said they did not know the answer to the question, Gen. Hayden said he would only answer the question in closed session. In early February, the Christian Science Monitor reported on the government’s plan for a massive data sweep that “could troll news, blogs, even e-mails.” The program that would do this is called “ADVISE,” Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement.
          ADVISE “looks very much like TIA,” [Lee Tien, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation] writes in an e-mail. “There’s the same emphasis on broad collection and pattern analysis.”
          But [Peter Sand, director of privacy technology], the DHS official, emphasizes that privacy protection would be built-in. “Before a system leaves the department there’s been a privacy review…. That’s our focus.”

          And what may you ask is ADVISE?

          ADVISE (Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement) is a “research and development program within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), part of its three-year-old ‘Threat and Vulnerability, Testing and Assessment’ portfolio. The TVTA received nearly $50 million in federal funding this year,” Mark Clayton reported in the February 9, 2006, Christian Science Monitor.

          ADVISE is “at the core” of a “massive computer system” “being developed by the US government … that can collect huge amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and e-mail to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity,” Clayton wrote.

          “The system – parts of which are operational, parts of which are still under development – is already credited with helping to foil some plots. It is the federal government’s latest attempt to use broad data-collection and powerful analysis in the fight against terrorism. But,” Clayton wrote, “by delving deeply into the digital minutiae of American life, the program is also raising concerns that the government is intruding too deeply into citizens’ privacy.”

          Lee Tien, a “staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that programs like ADVISE “are about connecting” the dots of the “traces” we leave behind everywhere, “analyzing and aggregating them – in a way that we haven’t thought about, … as we live our lives and make little choices, like buying groceries, buying on Amazon, Googling,” Clayton said.

          ~~~ModNote: FDL and affiliated sites have to maintain quoted material within Fair-Use limits, about 200 words. Thanks.~~~

  14. behindthefall says:

    That Dyer to Poindexter memo describes the antithesis of police work, doesn’t it? You could probably figure out a profile for likely speeders, but does it really beat waiting behind a billboard? Or checking flight schools?

  15. behindthefall says:

    information provides economic utility

    Oh. Wait. That memo wasn’t about a security operation: it was a stockholder’s prospectus.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Glad that someone else has the same take on this that I do — can you say, ‘infiltration’ or ‘Madoff’?

      freep, thanks for the cleanup.

      scribe… actually, I don’t recall ever knowing that all cops can access all med information. So now, I’m wondering whether prescriptions for Congressional Viagra go by code names: “Yes, Cong. Wanker will pick up his supply of Extra Large Kleenex later today…”

  16. MadDog says:

    And for all those of you who use Microsoft’s Windows (as I do), you may start looking over your shoulder…like years ago:

    Microsoft offer to resolve “questions about NSA_key”, then put up a brick wall.

    Background : Duncan Campbell gave a presentation on Global surveillance and the Echelon network at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy 2000 (CFP2000) conference held in Toronto, Canada from 4-7 April 2000. During the presentation, he instanced the NSA_KEY controversy as one of a number of oustanding issues related to security and surveillance.

    Richard Purcell, Microsoft’s Director of Corporate Privacy, also attended the CFP2000 conference. After the presentation, Purcell approached Campbell. He said that he wished to resolved the doubts about NSA_KEY. He would see that this was done.

    Campbell then put a number of key questions, politely but persistently. After three weeks, Microsoft backed off. They refused to answer outstanding questions. They declined even to explain why they were unwilling to continue contact. They stopped answering e-mail…

    Much more in the link that makes you wonder why Microsoft called the Window’s Crypto component by the name of “NSA_key”.

    • tryggth says:

      Wouldn’t it be funny if in the source code for that module the comment right above that variable declaration was:

      // spook provided key

      Of course only people who have seen that source code would know that.

      Actually, I think the legit reason for that key was that NSA wanted to use Windows internally but didn’t want MS to have to sign the module.

      • Hmmm says:

        Naw, IIRC NSA has long demanded that any cryptosystem that goes into civilian release MUST MUST MUST be transparent to them. Remember the Clipper chip? Same requirement. Software crypto in computer OS’s is transparent to NSA either because of a backdoor key, or else because they can snoop the citizen’s key repository on the computer, or else by virtue of NSA’s sheer compute horsepower available for breaking keys.

  17. alabama says:

    “They went after me. They didn’t eavesdrop on me. They sent me no letters.”

    So yes, they went after him by “spying on him electronically”–i.e. by reading his emails, and not just the emails they sent him as replies to his snail-mail.

    Eavesdropping, by this reading, would be restricted to telephone calls.

  18. JohnJ says:

    Just to throw it out there, now that everyone is finally realizing that they are watching EVERYTHING (al la Big Brother); is your cell phone on?

    It was mandated that cells now all have GPS (not just tower triangulation) built in. If your phone is not turned OFF, the local police on up can see what stall of the bathroom you are in. Supposedly so they can respond to 911 call better.

    All the cops I know would not hesitate for a second to track the wife, girlfriend or turned down date with it.

    I have found NO information on how to turn it off.

    • Hmmm says:

      Or don’t carry it with you wherever you go. I don’t particular like being reachable 24/7 so I leave it home and switch the ringer off lot of the time. Yes, I realize turning the ringer off doesn’t affect the GPS.

      • JohnJ says:

        Turing it off (hold the hang up button for 5 seconds) should be enough. It takes too much power to run a GPS system to get away with leaving it always on.

        (That’s an engineering opinion, not a known fact. Rechargeable batteries can be sensitive to low current drain when discharged. I got to work on the new projector that Nokia will have out this year. Yeah, a projector in a cell phone.)

  19. JohnJ says:

    While I’m babbling about spying with cell phones, did you know there is an autoanswer feature on most so it doesn’t ring, just connects and listens?

    A friend caught her (now) ex in the act that way.

    • Hmmm says:

      Is your friend in law enforcement? I thought that functionality, along with “lawful intercept” of conversations, was not available to mere mortals.

      • JohnJ says:

        No she setup his phone while at home to auto answer before he left. She had physical access to the phone.

        I just thought it was funny and somewhat on topic.

        • Hmmm says:

          A quick google shows that some phones have this feature as a user-settable option, others don’t. Thank you for the learning experience!

  20. MadDog says:

    And not to be outdone by the NSA, the IRS datamines for American Snooping Terrorist Surveilling – IRS Reveal Program (that combines sixteen government databases with databases maintained by private companies):

    …To help the IRS increase its ability to organize and share sensitive financial information, the agency’s law enforcement arm began in 2002 building a sophisticated data-mining system it named Reveal. Current and former IRS officials say this system has been invaluable in building cases against suspected terrorists and money launderers.

    “What we’re finding in our work is the majority of counterterrorism mostly has to do with charitable organizations that have been established in the United States that are sending money back to countries that support terrorism,” said IRS spokeswoman Patti Reid.

    One of the IRS databases mined by Reveal includes tax returns for nonprofit organizations and charities, according to government documents. Some attachments on these returns include lists of major donors.

    Reveal also searches IRS databases of individual and corporate tax returns, and the records of financial institutions, accountants, banks and casinos, all of which are required to file reports with the Treasury Department and the IRS.

    ~~~ModNote: Once again, shorter excerpt please. Try to keep us within the Fair-Use limit of 200 words. Thanks.~~~

  21. pseudonymousinnc says:

    Suskind talked about the credit card stuff in The One Percent Doctrine. And the idea that DOMECHELON could be switched on at a moment’s notice is not really news to anyone.

    Remember too that Jello Jay is a severe victim of SSCItis, the disease that afflicts anyone with exposure to Super Seekrit Seekrits. Common symptoms: sighing and caving to the demands of power-hungry presidents, raised eyebrows, “I know something you don’t know” dances, etc.

    M-x spook: “9705 Samford Road INSCOM MIT-LL jihad digicash Al Jazeera AGT. AMME Guantanamo 9/11 Craig Livingstone bootleg mindwar Pine Gap Jiang Zemin Audiotel”

  22. bobschacht says:

    Y’know, it just crossed my mind that Napolitano’s new deal at Homeland Security is going to go all electronic an’ everything (I’m basing that on a hazy recollection of a news report I read weeks ago). Do you suppose she’ll be supporting all this hoovering of citizen data?

    On the other hand, she was bmaz’s choice for AG. Here’s what the Homeland Security website has to say about it:

    Homeland Security Information Network

    The Homeland Security Information Network is a computer-based counterterrorism communications system connecting all 50 states, five territories, Washington, D.C., and 50 major urban areas.

    The Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) allows all states and major urban areas to collect and disseminate information between federal, state, and local agencies involved in combating terrorism.

    * helps provide situational awareness
    * facilitates information sharing and collaboration with homeland security partners throughout the federal, state and local levels
    * provides advanced analytic capabilities
    * enables real time sharing of threat information

    This communications capability delivers to states and major urban areas real-time interactive connectivity with the National Operations Center. This collaborative communications environment was developed by state and local authorities.

    But that page dates to October– before the election, so this is Chertoff’s thing.

    Bob in HI

    • Hmmm says:

      Huh. So once some not necessarily reliable nor admissible-in-court suspicion of an individual is created (I tried not to use the term “ginned-up”, really I did), it can be sent straight to the screens of beat cops everywhere in the blink of an eye. That sounds great! I think I read about 40 sci-fi short stories featuring this way back when I was 12.

  23. bobschacht says:

    Hey, um, this is kinda related to the threads about bailing out the Big 2.5, and the fact that EW lives near Detroit–

    Any of y’all seen the new Clint Eastwood flick, Gran Torino? Warner Bros. suggested that the movie should be shot in Michigan due to tax rebates intended to lure television and film productions to the state. The scene locations included Highland Park, Detroit, Center Line, Warren, Royal Oak, and Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, according to the wikipedia. Clint Eastwood’s main character, Walt Kowalski, is depicted as a retired car plant worker. His prize possession is a Gran Torino.

    The movie is a lot better than I thought it would be. I noticed, however, that Walt doesn’t help his new young friend get a job in the auto industry. I think there were a few comments made in the movie about employment opportunities (or the lack thereof), but I can’t remember exactly what was said.

    Bob in HI

  24. freepatriot says:

    those bushco claims about theso called “terrorists” in Gitmo are startin to explode at an exponential rate

    you say these are the worst of the worst, huh ???

    show us the fucking files

    wadda you mean YOU AIN’T GOT NO FILES ???

    if you ain’t got any fucking files HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’VE GOT ???


    it looks like there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for how 61 former detainees ended up back on the battle field


    george better collect some evidence QUICK

    cuz if he don’t come up with some evidence against these guys …


    that is EVIDENCE, ain’t it

    cept not the kind of evidence that saves george’s ass

  25. perris says:

    As far as the wiretap information that made it to NSA, there was also data mining that was involved. At some point information from credit cards and financial transactions was married in with that information

    how many times has perris said the ONLY reason they don’t want someone checking to make sure they aren’t stealing is if they ARE stealing?

    how many times have I said this?

    THAT is the only method of framing we can use that will get traction, using the old;

    “it violates our constitutional riiigghhtttss” will NOT work

    privacy protection is NOT only to gaurd against revealing secrets we are ashamed, it is to guard against secrets we are most proud

    if I have an invention that makes engines more efficient, (I do), they can steal that before I go to patent, if I have an important source, an important contact, they can steal ALL my information

    they can play the stock market and steal against ALL of us with the kind of spying they did without someone to make sure they are not stealing

    they can blackmail our lawmakers into allowing the very same crimes that gave them their blackmail in the first place

    they can manuever their political oposition

    it is for stealing plain and simple

    all a warrant does is insure they are not stealing, having someone look at the data aquired and saying “yes, the government needs that information”…if they don’t want to demonstrate government need for the data that means there is NO government need for the data

        • bmaz says:

          Long ago when you first showed up here we had a discussion about the deleterious effects of your relentless posting of conspiracy crap. You subsequently became a fairly productive contributor here; however, you have returned to the same old crap. You know the ground rules in this regard, you have shown your ability to operate within them; I sincerely, but strongly, urge you to return to doing so. I applaud your passion, but this is not the place for that portion of it.

  26. JEP07 says:

    I’ve said it for years: …if you want to know the true scope of the domestic spying we have suffered, just look at the ultimate agenda of TIA, what it’s ultimate goals were, and just what the “T” meant in that arcimoniuous acronym.

    And then, just simply accept that it was not shelved or shut-down, as we were led to believe, Poindexter’s TIA was realized to its full capacity, as the NSA’s domestic spying program.

    How deep the guilt goes, and how many whistleblowers it might produce, we have yet to discern. Here’s hoping The Truth will someday set us free.

    Except for those who ordered this un-American activity.

  27. JEP07 says:

    PS; just a hunch, but I would guess the “A” in TIA once meant “Access” but since that was too anti-constitionally transparent, they changed it to “Awareness.”

  28. al75 says:

    Others may have noted this: Poindexter and Oliver North were working on “emergency” government plans back in the Reagan years. North’s work was never discussed much; at the time it seemed a chilling indication of their long-term goals to me.

  29. brantl says:

    There is a difference, Jay says that they may be tapping everyone. Tice says that they did specifically tap journalists, and not momentarily, to know who to exempt, they were being tapped 24/7. One is supposition, the other a statement of known fact. Entirely different in scope and importance.

  30. brantl says:

    Why are you hitting plunger so hard, but not perris? I’m not suggesting you go after perris, just even it out to lighter on plunger, to match.

  31. MartyDidier says:

    NOT SO FAST with Rockefeller! I would put a hold on any opinion with considering him as a good guy. Wait as everyone will witness the truth later. This is important!

    Marty Didier
    Northbrook, IL

  32. Hugh says:

    Jack Bauer kneecaps somebody and they tell him:
    “The guy you’re looking for is 4′10″ and recently read Proust.”

    CSI guy picks up small bug with tweezers and says.
    “The guy you’re looking for is 4′10″ and recently read Proust.”

    Math guy from numbers slaps forehead:
    “Of course, this is an example of a Monte Carlo simulation of an Alfred E. Newman function. It’s obvious. The guy you’re looking for is 4′10″ and recently read Proust.”

    See the pattern? Fiction becomes the operative paradigm. It is not that these things work in the real world. It is sufficient that they work well on TV.