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The Immediate Phone Dragnet Fixes Obama Rejected

In its report, PCLOB makes it clear that President Obama had most of its recommendations before he gave his speech last Friday. PCLOB briefed senior White House staff on the Board’s tentative conclusions on December 5, 2013. The PCLOB provided a near final draft of the Board’s conclusions and recommendations on Section 215 and the […]


PCLOB Report, Working Thread

The report is here. I will do a running update of my comments. Page references will be to the report page numbers, not PDF. (4) Note PCLOB had access to “various inspector general reports.” (6) Note the dates when WH got these conclusions. (9) PCLOB confirms what I was the first to point out: this […]


Project Minaret 2.0: Now, with 58% More Illegal Targeting!

For weeks, I have been trying to figure out why the NSA, in a training program it created in August 2009, likened one of its “present abuses” to Project Minaret. What “unauthorized targeting of suspected terrorists in the US” had they been doing, I wondered, that was like “watch-listing U.S. people for evidence of foreign […]


Jeremy Scahill: Two Degrees of Separation from the Dirty Wars Dragnet

Congratulations to Jeremy Scahill and the entire team that worked on Dirty Wars for being nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar. This post may appear to be shamelessly opportunistic — exploiting the attention Dirty Wars will get in the days ahead to make a political point before the President endorses the dragnet on Friday — […]


Dragnet at Bernie’s: On Spying on Congress

It turns out that Mark Kirk — not Bernie Sanders — was the first member of Congress to raise concerns about the NSA spying on Senators after Edward Snowden’s leaks started being published. Kirk did so less than a day after the Guardian published the Verizon order from the phone dragnet, in an Appropriations Committee […]


Is PCLOB Holding Out for EO 12,333 Information?

As you know, I’ve been tracking the way President Obama seems to want to game the various legislative and review group recommendations with his own. Which is why I’m interested in this anonymous complaint, from someone in the White House, that PCLOB has not yet released its report. Before making his final decisions, the president was […]


How NSA Hunts Metadata “Content” in Search of Your Digital Tracks

Der Speigel has posted a set of slides associated with their story on how NSA’s TAO hacks targets. The slides explain how analysts can find identifiers (IPs, email addresses, or cookies) they can most easily use to run a Quantum attack. Because NSA is most successful hacking Yahoo, Facebook, and static IPs, it walks analysts […]


The Purpose(s) of the Dragnet, Revisited

As I noted the other day, one basis Judge Richard Leon used to find that the dragnet was likely unconstitutional was that it wasn’t all that useful. But I was particularly interested in the evidence he points to to establish that (see page 61 of his ruling), because it and the underlying basis for it reveal far […]