UPDATED: NSA admits it listens in on US phone calls and reads US emails without a warrant


41 Responses to “UPDATED: NSA admits it listens in on US phone calls and reads US emails without a warrant”

  1. jamois says:

    Looks like CNET jumped the gun on this. They didn’t wait for Nadler to comment, and now he came out to contradict their interpretation of his cryptic statement.

  2. differentdrummer says:

    Cory, no. You’re a little slow catching up today. Little Green Footballs has the video of the Mueller/Nadler exchange from C-Span and it’s pretty clear CNet got it wrong.

  3. McCullough is now rowing back from the original claim that NSA analysts can listen in on any conversation. 

    ‘James Owens, a spokesman for Nadler, provided a statement on Sunday morning, a day after this article was published, saying: “I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant.”‘

    • gratefulvideo says:

      ” the NSA cannot (legally) listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant.”‘  

      But I bet they can and do.

    • Boundegar says:

      Well that makes perfect sense. Against all the leaks of the past year, and the history of the Obama administration, and the history of the Bush administration, one spokesman says there is no warrantless wiretapping, ever.  Okay then. Nothing to see here.

      Isn’t it comforting to have the most transparent administration in history?

    • rocketpj says:

       Maybe I don’t understand US law, but can’t they listen to whatever they want, but not use it in court?

      • Rindan says:

        No.  The fourth and fifth amendments of the US constitution essentially (in theory) guarantee due process under the law, and makes illegal search and/or seizure without a warrant.  Further, it specifies that such warrants are only handed when there is a reasonable suspicion of a crime, directs that the warrant must be handed out in a way as spelled out by law, and that the warrant is limited to only things that described in the warrant.

        Basically, it says you can’t go fishing, regardless of what you do with that information.  So, it is utterly illegal for the state to, without warrant, spy on you.  You can sue the state if they do for violating your constitutional rights, and the ACLU and the EFF are doing that as we speak.

        On top of all of that, the state can’t (in theory) use that information against you in court, and information that is gained using that illegal information also can’t be used.  So, if they illegally get the location of the bodies, they can’t go dig up the bodies and use the bodies as proof.

        Again, this is all in theory.  Apparently the NSA, a military spy agency, is exempt from the constitution. Terrorist area really scary. Almost as many Americans die each year to terrorist as they do to bathtubs. Terrorist are really, really scary… if you are a fucking coward.

  4. sam2sam says:

    If you want to know what the NSA is REALLY doing with your life and communications, read Freedom on the Rocks – Tyranny versus Terrorism:


  5. awjt says:

    Haha, they are vacuuming, but trying to smokescreen it with flip-flopping and lies.  Jerks!

  6. oldtaku says:

    They can, therefore they are.

  7. Theodor Adorno says:

    Shut up slaves!

  8. miasm says:

    Can I get a pizza?

  9. acerplatanoides says:

    Did the Bish admin admit it?
    Did the Obama admin admit it?

    So, which is more transparent? Yeah.

  10. Phil Kolar says:

    The really scary part is not just that they can collect this information,but they can hold onto it forever until they can find a use for it.The ability to take entirely circumstantial evidence and turn it into something sinister in perpetuity.See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/15/opinion/collins-the-other-side-of-the-story.html?smid=tw-nytopinion&seid=auto

  11. Tano says:

    Nadler’s statement was not that hard for a rational person to interpret. This was a total hatchet job by CNET,, with BB following along without any critical thought.
    Bad show all around, especially since legions of knuckledraggers will go on believing this story true and repeating it.

  12. phoneybologna says:

    The difference between “Listening to phone calls”  and “accessing the content of phone calls” is significant here, in the day of decent speech-recognition and transcription software.  An analyst might very well be able to search/read/etc. the automated transcript of a call without “listening” to it — which would make BOTH statements true.

    Every comment from NSA, from the White House, and from all the companies involved is written VERY carefully, and should be read equally carefully.

    • awjt says:

      Precisely.  They don’t listen because they don’t have time to listen.  But are they able to wiretap instantaneously?  or are they able to access content and past content instantly through computer transcription? are they able to cross-reference content and metadata instantly?  If a battery of speech recognition and synthesis “listeners” could be analyzing every call, waiting for key content, don’t you think they’d be doing it?  Dude, the ARE doing it, and what they are feeding us is parsed bullshit.  Don’t listen to them.  They are lying.

      • Nigel Tolley says:

        Absolutely right – they can trivially lie by admission. Plus, of course they have machines do most of the work – there’s billions of words & phrases in hundreds of languages, so voice-to-text and translate, then add into the haystack, so you can create any needle you want, then justify it from that haystack. Because once your haystack is big enough, you can needle anyone.

        • acerplatanoides says:

          You must have a pretty large haystack.

          • Nigel Tolley says:

            Not my haystack, but yes, if you track everyone everywhere… Affairs, sources, pregnancies, job headhunters, cash working, porn, drinking, family issues… So judges, spies, politicians, lawyers, civil servants, journalists, and everyone else can be compromised, even if just by 6 degrees of seperation.

  13. skyhawk1 says:

    shoked, I’m shocked I tell you.

  14. That_Anonymous_Coward says:

    Latest report they issued was they stopped 300 incidents.
    This was after collecting the call data for “10′s of millions” of people.
    So the return rate of this program is 0.003% if you reduce the number down to 10 million.

    So I guess the next best question for those phone polls they love to run with questions that skew the answers is…
    To be 0.003% “safer” is it worth millions/billions and violations of the rights you think you have (because you don’t get to know the secret interpretations of the law that make it “legal”)?

    • donovan acree says:

      Let me fix that for you
      Latest ‘press release’ they issued was (that) they stopped 300 incidents.I don’t believe that 300 number for a minute. Are there secret trails taking place in secret courts with prisoners being sent to secret prisons? If not, where are these 300 terrorists arrested for criminal activity?

      • That_Anonymous_Coward says:

        Oh I’m pretty sure the number is BS, but wanted to point out that even if it was true… it is 0.003% or less effective using those numbers.

  15. xdir says:

    But the NSA had warrants, 3 month rolling.

  16. miasm says:

    Cheesus Spagbol Gryst!
    There are a lot of quotation marks on this page.

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