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Dec 27 2013

No, the NSA Didn’t Lie!

President Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice told 60 Minutes that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn’t lie to Congress when he told them that the federal government was not collecting data on virtually all Americans.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice has denied that NSA officials have ever deliberately lied to Congress about spying on American citizens as part of intelligence gathering operations.

Speaking to 60 Minutes on Sunday, Rice said NSA officials had never deliberately told lies but had ‘inadvertently made false representations’ which ‘they themselves have discovered it and corrected it.’…

House Republicans are currently demanding a criminal probe for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for his flat-out denial in March, three months before the Snowden leaks began, that the NSA was collecting data on hundreds of millions of Americans.

Oh, of course not. Clapper didn’t lie. He “misspoke.” Mistakes were made. The government wouldn’t lie to you, especially not the intelligence services! How dare you be so cynical! Rice is lying too, of course. They did not discover it and correct it, Edward Snowden’s leaks showed that they had lied.

14 comments

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  1. 1
    Modusoperandi

    No, no, no. It’s all fixed. Better, it never happened. Relax. Go back to your sexy phone talk.*

     
    * This message brought to you by the NSA. “The NSA; we’re ever so lonely.”

  2. 2
    Hank Fox

    And they’ll get away with it. PZ and I both did blog posts on this piece, Burn the Fucking System to the Ground, and its idea of a “high court” and a “low court” rings true. The irritating but hard-to-refute conclusion is this:

    “The system is not fixable because it is not broken. It is working, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to give the insiders their royal prerogatives, and to shove the regulations, the laws, and the debt up the asses of everyone else.”

  3. 3
    scienceavenger

    The key to their dance is that he said they weren’t doing so “wittingly”, and witless they are. Pity the congressperson doing the questioning wasn’t fast enough on his feet to follow up with “Were you doing so unwittingly?”.

  4. 4
    Marcus Ranum

    . It is working, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to give the insiders their royal prerogatives, and to shove the regulations, the laws, and the debt up the asses of everyone else.”

    It is called “society.” In humans, as with termites, wasps, and other social animals – being social brings a measure of benefit to all its members and disproportionately to its rulers. It’s as if the idea of civilization was invented by the nobility, or something, as a great big con-game.

  5. 5
    Marcus Ranum

    It’s only a lie if you care what the truth is.

  6. 6
    Acolyte of Sagan

    5.
    Marcus Ranum
    December 27, 2013 at 10:21 am (UTC -5) Link to this comment

    It’s only a lie if you care what the truth is

    It isn’t a lie until the truth emerges.

  7. 7
    colnago80

    Ole Suze might have been better advised to quote former Nixon press secretary Ron Ziegler when asked about previous Nixon administration claims about Watergate. Said Ziegler: It’s inoperative.

  8. 8
    blf

    One of the points I’ve always wondered about is this: The SSNSA has said they aren’t deliberately collecting data on USAlienstiani citizens, “only” on furringers — but as a USAlenstani citizen and a “furringer” (a citizen of another country — a dual national;), I’ve always wondered which excuse the USA’s pseudo-gestapo uses with respect to me…

  9. 9
    Marcus Ranum

    they aren’t deliberately collecting data on USAlienstiani citizens, “only” on furringers

    Let me translate that for you: they collect both sides of the communication, but the analysis software only processes the foreign side. If that’s got enough keywords in it, then the analysis software may also process the domestic end. It only gets “looked at” in NSA-speak when the analysis software brings it to the attention of a human being.

    They have no special excuse regarding you, because they’re collecting everything and they’ll only “look at” you if you trigger enough hitpoints in the scoring system to deserve the attention of someone like Eddie at the console.

  10. 10
    Marcus Ranum

    (addendum to previous) If you think about it, you’ll realize that’s the only way such a system could reasonably work. Otherwise you’d have the scoring system occasionally flag conversations that were already gone. What would be the value of that?

  11. 11
    caseloweraz

    Here’s the link from #2, fixed:

    Burn the Fucking System to the Ground.

  12. 12
    blf

    They have no special excuse regarding you, because they’re collecting everything and they’ll only “look at” you if you trigger enough hitpoints in the scoring system to deserve the attention of someone like Eddie at the console.

    Since I live in a “furrin” country (frog-eating moolsim “terrorist-infested” France, complete with snail-munching smelly furriners) and have infrequent but suspicious contacts with the USA (mostly in a “high-technology” field easily adapted to bomb triggers and similar), surprisingly few “family” contacts, and various other hitpoints I won’t enumerate, Eddie would have to be blind, deaf, and stoopid (we can assume the latter) to ignore me.

  13. 13
    brandthardin

    The dystopian fantasies of yesteryear are now a reality. We’ve allowed the coming of an age where the civil liberties our forefathers fought so hard for are being eroded by the day. Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly are mere ghostly images of their original intent. We’ve woken up to an Orwellian Society of Fear where anyone is at the mercy of being labeled a terrorist for standing up for rights we took for granted just over a decade ago. Read about how we’re waging war against ourselves at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/living-in-society-of-fear-ten-years.html

  14. 14
    Crimson Clupeidae

    Also:

    House Republicans are currently demanding a criminal probe for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for his flat-out denial in March[.]

    Are these the same house republicans that were screaming for a criminal probe of Bush and the rest of the merry band of cronies for lying about Iraq? I agree that the NSA should be investigated (or, burned to the ground), but some consistency would be nice. Just once…..

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