Edward Snowden Richard Burr Exposes IP Address Dragnet on Senate Floor

Update: As I show in this post, the transcription of Burr’s speech in the Congressional record removed the reference to IP addresses. 

Update: While Burr’s office did not respond to my request for comment, they did respond to Buzzfeed (which sadly didn’t ask the obvious follow-up questions). His office claims he misspoke, though apparently didn’t explain why he would confuse Section 215 and PRTT, why he would tie the Internet dragnet to phone calls, or why, if the current dragnet doesn’t collect Internet data but USA F-ReDux would, why that would not then be a welcome return for the Senator given his stated desire to track such collection. I have asked for comment again from Burr’s office on those questions. 

Since last summer, I have been emphasizing that the bulk of Section 215 orders collect Internet data, not phone records under the phone dragnet. I pointed to evidence that that production included data flows and noted FBI claims they use it to conduct hacking investigations.   But I have assumed that was primarily bulky collection, not bulk collection.

Not so. Earlier today, noted whistleblower Edward Snowden Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr revealed that there is also an IP address bulk collection program. (h/t Andrew Blake, after 2:15)

Now what’s bulk data? Bulk data is storing telephone numbers and IP addresses — we have no idea who they belong to — that are domestic. And the whole basis behind this program is that as a cell phone is picked up in Syria, and you look at the phone numbers that phone talked to, if there’s some in the United States we’d like to know that — at least law enforcement would like to know it — so that we can understand if there’s a threat against us here in the homeland [sic] or somewhere else in the world. So Section 215 allows the NSA to collect in bulk telephone numbers and IP addresses with no identifier on it. We couldn’t tell you who that American might be.

I thought when you leaked details like this it helped our enemies? I thought if you did such things you were a traitor, deserving of an orange jumpsuit at Gitmo?

Apparently not.

So it appears it’s the IP dragnet, and not the phone dragnet, that the Republicans are trying to save?

It’s a little late for that, though, given that the Second Circuit just ruled such dragnets illegal.

12 replies
  1. orionATL says:

    north carolina’s gift to senatorial density, sen richard burr, spake thusly:

    “…so we can understand if there’s a threat against us here in the homeland…”

    the “homeland” ??

    that’s 1950’s soviet, eastern european jargon isn’t it ? brought relatively recently to our political discusions by the late, dense senator joe liberman, creator of the highly dysfunctional u.s. department of homeland security.

    well, i suppose if you are going to condition our populace to perpetual fear of unlikely attack, it’s important to use the best of emotive language.

  2. Rayne says:

    Been watching some of the twitter exchanges about metadata and location info.

    Really need to go back to this story, including the video, and note what the engineers are saying about scope/reach.

    They have it ALL. They aren’t stopping at first hop, or second hop — if something attaches to a network, they have it *in real time*.

    The next question is whether they are playing semantic shell games: are they dicking with us about “bulk collection,” while they take snap shots in real time of interactive networks?

    So they tell us they aren’t bulk collecting, that they are only getting first hop. What happens if they take a network snapshot now? And another in five minutes? And so on…and then when they bloody well want to, they compare network photos, like astronomers compare timelapse pictures to locate a dark object or a comet’s path?

    • orionATL says:

      “snapshots in real time” ?

      let me extend your metaphor and suggest “videos in real time” :))

      i.e. hooked up permanently right at the water main.

      these federal policing bastards don’t need no reauthorization; they just want it for the cover of propriety and the in-court protections it offers.

  3. cokeefe says:

    The FBI pretty much does whatever they want with no repercussions. They killed Todashev in his own home while he was “cooperating” with their questioning.

  4. ya says:

    Thats wrong about homeland. It was gleaned by the propaganda bunch back when they were first rolling out a program of domestic coin tangential to selling the war in iraq. They found it in the words and poetry of a targeted group, and specifically an individual. They did not have their own talent that way, so basically stole it and used it to compel in the manner the original poetry imaged, although certainly the word itself obviously was not originated by the author. However, if one looks at the domestic timeline and original intent of said author and subsequent state appropriation and appearance in security theater, one would find a compelling reason to vomit, and not merely in the emotional sense.

  5. greengiant says:

    Do not anyone kid theirselves. Everyone’s IP is out there and Google will let you read your entire search history if you want. With Voice Over IP, the IC needs the IP just as they need the phone number.
    If you do not want your mother or the FBI to know, then do not do it on the internet.
    That being said, what our Orwellian government and their for profit contractor associates has done with their vacuum cleaner by
    blackmailing informants, persecuting whistleblowers, and entrapping the naive vulnerable is beyond lawful behavior.
    The price to illegally download a movie is about 7500 dollars and the price to download JSTORS is suicide.

    In this article are some links as to how the Italians rolled up the CIA with metadata, Hezbollah rolled up both Mossad and the CIA, and in turn Hezbollah was found out in the Hariri assassination.

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