http://www.thehindu.com/multimedia/dynamic/01484/NSA_SURVEILLANCE_1484962g.jpg

Congress is asking the wrong questions. I think if they really want to know what’s going on they would give Snowden immunity and bring him back and get him to tell Congress what’s really going on. But short of that, here’s what I would be asking if I were on the committee.

  1.  We now know you are getting information for the cell phone companies and major IT companies ike Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Are you also getting information from the banks? And if you are, are you accumulating a database of credit card purchases?
  2. Do you have the ability to include NSA code into operating system updates that would create a back door for the NSA to collect keystrokes, activate the microphone or cameras, read the file system, or modify the operating systems of Windows and mac computers or Windows, iPhones and Android phones?
  3. If you have an NSA back door into our computers and cell phones, what do you have in place to prevent China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Anonymous, or Al Quada from discovering the back door?
  4. If the NSA databases were hacked by China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Anonymous, or Al Quada, what would the security implications be?
  5. Since Edward Snowden had the access he had, what is the security implications for an evil Snowden who was selling this information on the black market rather that trying to protect America (rightly or wrongly) from itself?
  6. With an operation this large did you have any reasonable expectation it would remain secret? If not Snowden wasn’t it just a matter of time before we found out for someone else?
  7. Wouldn’t it be better to give Snowden immunity and bring him back here rather than risk that he be captured by an enemy and forced to reveal what he knows to an enemy?
  8. Because the NSA has extracted this data and is keeping it outside the source companies, doesn’t that increase the security risks and exposure of sensitive information?
  9. Isn’t our position that there are 2 kinds of people in the world, Americans and foreigners, and insult to 96% of the world’s population? Does this not cause them to respect us less and have no respect for our privacy when we have no respect for theirs?
  10. Does our spying set a world wide precedent whereby other countries will have the green light to spy on us because we spy on them? Doesn’t this put the whole world at risk?
  11. Assuming it was inevitable that this spying would eventually become public, doesn’t it put America in greater danger by alienating the rest of the world because we are spying on them? Isn’t this just the same argument as the torture argument, that we increase the number of enemies more than we prevent attacks? Isn’t this just going to be another terrorist recruiting tool?
  12. When you tell us that you are lying to us for our own good then why should we believe anything you say?
  13. Don’t laws that undermine and nullify the constitution, even if it’s for our own safety, make us a nation that is no longer under the rule of law? That secret courts and secret warrants making secret law make us no longer America?
  14. The secret NSA court orders require companies to lie to the public about what information they are giving to the NSA. If these companies tell the truth they are punished. What the government requires its citizens to lie and punishes the truth, how is that not an Orwellian society?
  15. What America lies to the world and we have secret courts that require citizens and corporations to lie, doesn’t that weaken America as a world power? Doesn’t that send a message to the world that we are not to be trusted?
  16. Doesn’t the appearance that we are taking the same kind of steps that one would take towards becoming an Orwellian society create at least an apparent threat to the world and undermine our international relations?
  17. With this kind of information is there not an opportunity for criminals, companies, or our enemies to blackmail our elected officials? For example, Senator Vitter is tracked using his smart phone GPS to 5 hotels. One could search for all smart phones in his vicinity to determine what women were with him at the same time and cross reference them based on how often these women frequent hotels in these areas to determine if he is seeing prostitutes again. And that this won’t be revealed as long as he supports some cause – such as NSA spying? How do we know this isn’t already happening?
  18. Doesn’t the NSA already effectively have a gun owner’s database? For example, if someone joins the NRA with their credit card online, buys ammo at Walmart with a debit card, and has his smart phone with GPS in his pocket while going to a gun club or firing range, don’t we know that are a gun owner? And because of their GPS phone, don’t we also know where they are so we can pick them up at any time?
  19. If we see government misconduct, like we find a CIA torture camp, and we want to report it to th press, doesn’t the fact that the NSA has the news media’s phones and email tapped discourage whistle blowers from reporting things that need to get out into the press to protect democracy? Doesn’t this threaten free speech?
  20. Since this kind of technology can be used to create an Orwellian society, what safeguards do you have to make sure that doesn’t happen? Have you considered this possibility and fully explored the ramifications?
  21. Taking all of the above questions into consideration, how do you repair the trust we should have in our government and how to we assure the “foreigners” that we are going to respect their rights as citizens of the planet?

YES – please copy these questions and post them all over the internet. Feel free to add to the list.

 



  1. spsffan says:

    Let’s see….

    1. yes and yes.
    2. yes.
    3. Not much, really.
    4. Not much, really. Just 15% more death and destruction than today.
    5. Oops! We hadn’t thought of that.
    6. no and now that you mention it, yes.
    7. Better yet, cancel the shutdown of Guantanamo!
    8. You betcha!
    9. Yes, but they’re foreigners so who cares.
    10. No. We’re the good guys, and um, the whole world has been at risk since 1945.
    11. It’s our way and they already hate us.
    12. Because we have the guns, prisons, torture chambers, etc.
    13. See answer to #7.
    14. Are you unfamiliar with the concept of Doublethink?
    15. Would you buy a used car from Uncle Sam?
    16. Indeed. It is designed to scare the bastards into submission.
    17. Or we could just set up a bug in the Minneapolis Airport men’s rooms.
    18. Gun owner’s database…you mean the census?
    19. “Make sure this doesn’t happen”? Aren’t you about 25 years too late?
    20. War is peace. Freedom is slavery.

    • msbpodcast says:

      You forgot to answer question 21.

      This is ‘Murica buddy. Fuck yeah!!!! like that matters anymore.

  2. ECA says:

    Its funny,
    That if the gov. was OPEN with the people..
    the people COULD HELP IT..
    The people could TELL them when things are WRONG, even in their estimation..
    BUT, even the people in this country dont know how things are being run. We dont even know how many Agencies are IN THE GOVERNMENT..
    http://www.usa.gov/directory/federal/index.shtml
    ITS LONG.

    There is so much being kept PRIVATE from tis own citizens, they is incomprehensible and wont be RELEASED for 40+ years, when the Citizens CANT DO ANYTHING about it..
    WE are the people..WE are supposed to be participating IN OUR GOVERNMENT..

    I could say as much about Corps..but even our government does not know HOW they are being run, they cant even Trace the money MADE by them and where its going..

    • msbpodcast says:

      The politicians, lawyers and accountants, (all 1%ers and their minion,) have had centuries of bill scribbling and law passing culminating in a complex and contradictory set of laws, rules and standards that make up the Gordian knot that binds and gags us.

      Where is the modern Alexander the Great to slash through the veritable thicket of bullshit?

  3. deegee says:

    It is already too late.
    It has been too late for a long time.

    How else can the 1%’ers control all of the 99%’ers unless they do change the world to an Orwellian system. No doubt they are right on-track with their plans that were set in motion decades ago.

    This next decade will possibly see the collapse of all monetary systems (even the USA can’t sustain its current debt level); the starving and freezing multitudes will be left to mostly die off (or be killed off); while the 1%’ers enjoy their lives living off of the goods they have stockpiled off of the backs of the working 99%’ers.

    • msbpodcast says:

      This next decade will possibly see the collapse of all monetary systems

      No, money is too useful. We all need a medium of exchange.

      while the 1%’ers enjoy their lives living off of the goods they have stockpiled off of the backs of the working 99%’ers.

      The French 99%ers solved that problem in the decade from 1789 to 1799. They decapitated the oligarchs and gutted the system that the 1%ers used to assert control.

      At at time we had Jefferson saying things like The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

      • deegee says:

        By collapse of all monetary systems I am referring to all banks, exchanges, etc., being flushed down the toilet, and most probably a one world bank scheme set up to take over.

        A new world where the 99%’ers get a barcode and a few credits every month to pay for food and water.

        “The French 99%ers solved that problem in the decade from 1789 to 1799.”

        The modern world is no longer the same. Do you think a mob could get into the white house to get the president? Not likely. The government has been stock-piling ammo and weapons, what do you think that is for?

        • So What? says:

          Wow the tinfoil is thin, you need to add a few layers.

          • deegee says:

            So after all of the other countries that we have seen financially collapse and get bailouts, you believe that the USA’s increasing debt is actually sustainable?

            Have you not seen any of the news about the various US government agencies stockpiling millions of rounds of ammunition?

            I guess you have tinfoil over your eyes and ears. Better stick your head back into the sand.

          • Tim says:

            That’s already the problem, deegee. The silicate in the sand (being a semi-conductor) is causing amplified ‘detection’ of the signal-o-bullshit. Perhaps, we should just leave them there listening to their soothing voices and be comforted that it will soon give them very un-affordable (unless they smoke pot, which they won’t) terminal brain cancer.

  4. dusanmal says:

    First one conceptual error about immunity for Snowden (or any other Government worker with info on any of recent Government scandals): yesterday on TV News one congressman claimed that they do NOT have authority to give or promise immunity to anyone. They may ask Holder for such immunity. It is 100% on Holder if he (and indirectly the President) wants to grant it. I’m not that much into the legal weeds but apparently that’s the sticky point.
    Now, the most important question (that some Senate creatures danced close to, but never pointed to the crux of the matter, hence the useless answers): One of the most important claims by Snowden, which is crucial even if all legalities for NSA spying are blessed by the Supreme Court – is that the collected data is recklessly stored and that it is trivial for Government employees to rifle through it without authorization or consequences. Hence, can NSA provide RIGHT NOW to the Congress precise and complete list of who, when and for what purpose have accessed this data and which particular items? Just the absence of capability or will to provide such list is GUILTY verdict. If list is provided – call by Congress to whistleblowers from NSA and related agencies who can prove access that is not documented by the list.

  5. bobbo, in Half Crouch says:

    Question: What do you get when you ask a liar a question?

    Answer:

    • Sam says:

      You get a typical political response that either dances around the question, or one that fakes personal outrage, declaring the question doesn’t warrant a serious response.

      Pressed for an answer, a politician (liar) evokes the “I don’t recall” defense.

      • bobbo, in Half Crouch says:

        I agree our Politicians are pretty dim witted–thinking their obvious evasions are anything but self evident.

        No, I was talking about asking the NSA leaders questions. They are liars. Not avoiders, spinners, equivicators, forgetful and the like. “No–we don’t collect any information on US citizens.” THAT kind of response is what you get from the NSA.

        The ability to do that without facial ticks is part of the selection and review process.

  6. MikeN says:

    Why would you give Snowden immunity, when it is clear he is making stuff up?

  7. Dee says:

    Snowden is a traitor. He did not reveal anything we did not already know. He took away a tool from me to find the bad guys. I have a theory. It goes like this. The NSA is trying to protect your ass.

    • msbpodcast says:

      The NSA is trying to protect your ass.

      I think that’s very commendable.

      So why they are they so ashamed of it that we, the people, on who’s behalf this is allegedly being done, not allowed to know about it?

    • iiipm says:

      You actually believe that liberal bullshit spin, you moron.

      Our current administration is gathering info on every one and making an enemies list that has nothing to do with terrorists and everything to do with politics look at the IRS.

    • msbpodcast says:

      Snowden is a traitor. He did not reveal anything we did not already know.

      Well, if he did not reveal anything we did not already know then how can you call him a traitor?

      He took away a tool from me to find the bad guys.

      How? I don’t see the NSA not using the data that is collected legally by commercial entities during the proper execution of their functions to achieve what the original TIA (Total Information Awareness) tried to achieve.

      You’re not making any sense.

  8. msbpodcast says:

    I would repeal the secrets act.

    I would declassify all documents and let the sun shine in.

    If you have a problem with letting it all hang out, maybe you should be well and truly hung.

  9. MikeN says:

    The last question has a flawed premise. You should not trust the government, with or without the NSA. Presidents have been spying on political enemies since before there was an NSA.

    ‘If angels were to govern men, no controls on the government would be necessary.’

    Also, there is nothing in the questions about Sheryl Atkinson’s computer being monitored by the government, perhaps NSA perhaps not.

  10. Dee says:

    No one has demonstrated the NSA is collecting any more information then they have disclosed. Snowden’s only real claim, that I can agree with, is the the processing of the information at the NSA is not watched close enough. The eventual outcome of this whole thing is bigger government to watch the NSA with lots more “checks and balances.”

  11. t0llyb0ng says:

    They can suck data out of Verizon & store it now & when the datacenter in Utah is finished they’ll be able to suck data from everywhere & store it.  NSA sucks.

    They use upstream fat-pipe splitters to hijack the photons & send ’em down the rabbit-hole.  Just like that guy in San Francisco was trying to tell us years ago.  They don’t just take the metadata.  That’s laughable & would be too inefficient.  They don’t need to listen to the conversations.  They’re saving ’em for later.

    Was on Steve & Leo’s podcast last Wednesday.  Get a plaintext transcript here:

    https://www.grc.com/securitynow.htm

    Ma tinfoil hat be lookin’ mighty fashionable these days.

  12. Mextli says:

    This questioning is the biggest comedy show in the capitol in a long time. Why bother? None of them are capable of telling the truth. James Clapper proved that.

    What I would like to know is where they are going with this besides total world domination.

  13. Cap'n Kangaroo says:

    My questions:

    “You claim that in the last 6 years of this program some 50 plots have been disrupted. If this number were only 25, would you still call this a successful program? If you only discovered one plot per year, would you still want to continue this program? If no plots are discovered in the next two years, would you shut this program down or would you continue it, perhaps expand it?

  14. sargasso_c says:

    Daylight is a wonderful cleaner.

  15. Dallas says:

    Other questions Congress can ask :

    – What’s wrong in allowing any NSA employee to go public with classified information he/she frowns upon?

    – Do you think the KGB and Chinese Intelligence Agency are laughing their ass off?

    – Google is reading all my email and Internet browsing habits to sell me vacation deals and gardening tools. When did the NSA get my permission to parse my stuff without giving me some nice deals ?

    • Cap'n Kangaroo says:

      Just include some keywords like “nuclear bomb”, “dirty bomb”, “Hezbollah”, “Al Quds Force” and the NSA will be happy to send you some travel vouchers to some resort at a bay on some island in the Caribbean Sea.

      • Dallas says:

        Doubt it. They’re after patterns or many high schoolers would be on an NSA paid vacation by now.

        This all of a sudden ‘national crisis’ is comical . As if this NSA computers didn’t sniff emails for a decade now.

  16. Glenn E. says:

    Kudos on Question no.3. That’s what I’d say to people who say such stupid things as, “Well if you’re not doing anything wrong, you haven’t got anything to worry about.” But what about anyone else using the same security holes, NSA created for themselves?

    And of course if you told them that maybe the NSA was checking out their baby monitoring camera. And if their precious little darling wasn’t doing anything wrong. Then they shouldn’t worry about the lack of privacy, there either. Then you can bet their attitude would do a 180, the moment their children’s privacy was compromised. They just don’t think it’s any big deal, that your privacy is compromised.

    This whole thing of the NSA prying into our lives, could quickly be brought to a head, by pointing out what possible effect it might have on the children. Always a hot button point, with Americas. “Won’t somebody please think of the children”, could defuse much of these “reasons of national security” excuses for stealing our rights to privacy. So why aren’t Congress and the President thinking of the children? And what lame excuse will they come up with for avoiding the question?

    • msbpodcast says:

      America pays lip service to this “Think of the Children” crap, but the gummint still sends your 99%er kids off to fight and die in foreign soils for domestic interests.

      That has to be the biggest, smelliest pile of shit fresh from the bull’s ass.

  17. Glenn E. says:

    Interesting thing about Question no.9, is that the US probably spends more tax dollars on defending foreigners’ way of life, all over the globe. Than is spent defending the rights and lives of US citizens, within the USA. So why all the concern about what that 96% are up to, after the US spent billions to keep them happy?

  18. Glenn E. says:

    And Question no.13, why hasn’t the Supreme Court chimed in on any of this as being Unconstitutional? Or have they just blanketly decided that anything goes, with the DHS? If the latter, then they really pick the right batch of judges to agree with the morons running the US into the ground.

  19. Glenn E. says:

    And one last point. That should probably be Question no. 21. With all this surveillance having gone on for more than a decade. Why didn’t the NSA catch the fact that the major Banks were dirty dealing with those Subprime Mortgages and Swaps, and jeopardizing the financial stability of the nation? Why didn’t the NSA catch any of the telltale signs of fiduciary impropriety talk, between the Wall Street financial CEOs and such. Aren’t the NSA, listening in on them? Shouldn’t they be? They’ve surely got the “International ties”, if anyone can be said to be. Maybe they’re funding the A.Q. And while the NSA is making sure they’re not. Maybe they should (or did) analyze their investment strategies, for taking dangerous directions.

  20. Joe Bob Tanner says:

    Another perspective on this issue just occurred to me. If you’re a foreign country with citizens using an American web service, would this cause you to consider blocking those services within your country, therefore affecting the company’s profits?

    For example, let’s suppose that the NSA is collecting Facebook status updates (just an example; I know it hasn’t been demonstrated). I could conceive of an algorithm wherein the NSA gathers intelligence about a country’s troop movements based on the private updates of individual soldiers (because the odds are, somebody is going to leak something to their family/friends).

    It seems like if they fully thought this through, it could give countries some serious concerns about letting American companies propagate freely. And I don’t think anybody would disagree that corporate profits play an outsized role in influencing American policy.

  21. Hmeyers says:

    Maybe only 2 decent questions in the list, but #13 is real good

    “13. Don’t laws that undermine and nullify the constitution, even if it’s for our own safety, make us a nation that is no longer under the rule of law? That secret courts and secret warrants making secret law make us no longer America?”

    Welcome to Feudalism 2013!

    Where government and business are friends and people in government officials want to curry favor with business to get their kids a job.

    And a judge never thinks the government is over-stepping its bounds because the government has no bounds.

    • Uncle Joe says:

      You may want to look up the word Feudalism. Here is the American Heritage Dictionary definition (from http://www.wordnik.com):


      n . A political and economic system of Europe from the 9th to about the 15th century, based on the holding of all land in fief or fee and the resulting relation of lord to vassal and characterized by homage, legal and military service of tenants, and forfeiture.

      n. A political, economic, or social order resembling this medieval system

      So if you mean that we are heading back to a time where there was a king/queen running things then it’s probably a pretty poor point since our American “royalty” is more likely to be a small group of businessmen/lawyers and not one single person. Or if you mean to say that we are all eventually going to be treated like serfs then again, a poor use of the word Feudalism but I do see your point.

      That said, I think you may want to consider 3 other words which may be a bit more descriptive to the way America is heading: 1.) Socialism (a favorite of most liberals in which all wealth would be distributed), 2.) Communism (not too bad if you don’t mind being treated like a worker ant and never actually own anything), And 3.) Fascism.

      Here is the Wiktionary definition of Fascism (once you get past the horrible Nazi thing and all):


      n. historical – A political regime, having totalitarian aspirations, ideologically based on a relationship between business and the centralized government, business-and-government control of the market place, repression of criticism or opposition, a leader cult and exalting the state and/or religion above individual rights. Originally only applied (usually capitalized) to Benito Mussolini’s Italy.

      n. – By vague analogy, any system of strong autocracy or oligarchy usually to the extent of bending and breaking the law, race-baiting and violence against largely unarmed populations.

      I’m just saying… (a better vocabulary may be something to think about.)

      • bobbo, we think with words and flower with ideas says:

        I think feudalism is closer to where we are headed than the adjectives you suggest. THE POINT of feudalism is the rule by a few over a dispossessed many.

        Socialism and Communism by definition are to benefit the MANY. Not so with Feudalism.

        Fascism is the rule by ONE or few that is more about rule by a political class over the means of production. Once again Feudalism emphasizes that the rulers and business combine to enslave the dispossed masses who are kept for their slave labor and to man the military.

        True, our Feudal Lords of today favor labeling everything socialism as if that were a bad thing and RightWing Radio tends towards communism and fascism whenever the Left does the same thing they do…. but Feudalism is closer to the mark in operation if not in pop lingo.

        Well done Mpod.
        FIE on those who want to oppress us with Boogeyman Labels. Yes……. FIE!!!!

        • bobbo, we think with words and flower with ideas says:

          Ah—sorry HMyers. Credit where it is due.

          I didn’t double check what fie means either. I was just forelonely forcing a feudal feel. Finally a fable?

        • deowll says:

          The point of the feudal government was to keep the power in the family for as long as possible. They often manged to do this for many generations. None of the socialist/Marxist/fascist governments seem to do that. Power transfers tend to be rather chaotic and may well be associated with a few people vanishing.

  22. laxdude says:

    I think that #17 is one of the reasons the politicians are not raising a stink.

    They have either already been threatened, bought off, or even better – both.

    With these massive data sets, just imagine the insider trading you could do just based on calling patterns of senior executives – not to mention just reading reports before they are released. With high speed trading, you could make a mint with just seconds of foreknowledge – with days/weeks notice – well, you could make enough money to not have to threaten most politicians at all.

    They have always willingly broken the law, I mean they just used to have the Canadians and Brits spy on Americans so they did not have to break the domestic prohibition and offered the same service in return.

  23. Peace and Love says:

    Emilio Gentile describes fascism within ten constituent elements:[28]
    a mass movement with multiclass membership in which prevail, among the leaders and the militants, the middle sectors, in large part new to political activity, organized as a party militia, that bases its identity not on social hierarchy or class origin but on a sense of comradeship, believes itself invested with a mission of national regeneration, considers itself in a state of war against political adversaries and aims at conquering a monopoly of political power by using terror, parliamentary politics, and deals with leading groups, to create a new regime that destroys parliamentary democracy;
    an ‘anti-ideological’ and pragmatic ideology that proclaims itself antimaterialist, anti-individualist, antiliberal, antidemocratic, anti-Marxist, is populist and anticapitalist in tendency, expresses itself aesthetically more than theoretically by means of a new political style and by myths, rites, and symbols as a lay religion designed to acculturate, socialize, and integrate the faith of the masses with the goal of creating a ‘new man’;
    a culture founded on mystical thought and the tragic and activist sense of life conceived of as the manifestation of the will to power, on the myth of youth as artificer of history, and on the exaltation of the militarization of politics as the model of life and collective activity;
    a totalitarian conception of the primacy of politics, conceived of as an integrating experience to carry out the fusion of the individual and the masses in the organic and mystical unity of the nation as an ethnic and moral community, adopting measures of discrimination and persecution against those considered to be outside this community either as enemies of the regime or members of races considered to be inferior or otherwise dangerous for the integrity of the nation;
    a civil ethic founded on total dedication to the national community, on discipline, virility, comradeship, and the warrior spirit;
    a single state party that has the task of providing for the armed defense of the regime, selecting its directing cadres, and organizing the masses within the state in a process of permanent mobilization of emotion and faith;
    a police apparatus that prevents, controls, and represses dissidence and opposition, even by using organized terror;
    a political system organized by hierarchy of functions named from the top and crowned by the figure of the ‘leader,’ invested with a sacred charisma, who commands, directs, and coordinates the activities of the party and the regime;
    corporative organization of the economy that suppresses trade union liberty, broadens the sphere of state intervention, and seeks to achieve, by principles of technocracy and solidarity, the collaboration of the ‘productive sectors’ under control of the regime, to achieve its goals of power, yet preserving private property and class divisions;
    a foreign policy inspired by the myth of national power and greatness, with the goal of imperialist expansion.

    • Uncle Joe says:

      You get no argument here. America is indeed reminiscent of 1930’s Germany / Italy. About the only missing element is some crazy guy in power shouting at the masses (although we do have Hollywood).

      You might even note the majority of citizens in those pre WWII countries too. Those who weren’t identified as enemies of the state, that is.

      Now look at most Americans who can’t even get up off the couch to protest or for whatever other reason say they “have better things to do”. The worst ones are the ones who say that there’s no point and/or have never read the Constitution!

    • noname says:

      Hum,

      “a new political style and by myths, rites, and symbols as a lay religion designed to acculturate, socialize, and integrate the faith of the masses with the goal of creating a ‘new man’;”

      Isn’t this what the Repukes do?

  24. Tim says:

    #22. Consider this hypothetical; If you had gathered live-time intellegence against a deranged DEA agent who hated WhiteSnake, locked the doors to a nightclub (which he knew to be soundproofed with shredded mattress innards) so the pot smokers could not get away, and then set it on fire.

    Would that be *actionable* intellegence or would that kind of thing need to stay on the downlow because the only way to monitize this system is for insider trading because it is illegal and defunded by congress when it was called TIA?

  25. Somebody says:

    These are all good questions, but a congressman is more likely to ask: “Is my wife screwing the pool boy?”

  26. Paul says:

    There are some really stupid questions on here. Very naive.


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