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When “incidental” intel collection—isn’t incidental

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posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 06:04 AM
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This is from Sharyl Attkisson, a former CBS reporter, probably best known for her coverage of the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal, who is currently suing the Dept of Justice and Eric Holder for "computer intrusion" to disrupt/obstruct her reporting. A judge recently denied the Federal government's Motion to Dismiss, which she excerpts here. So Ms. Attkisson has personal knowledge and experience of her own with government spying.

When “incidental” intel collection—isn’t incidental

I’ve spoken to a small group of reliable, formerly high-placed intelligence officials who have dropped a few interesting tidbits on me of late. Here’s my understanding, based on the discussions...

The article is well worth reading in its entirety, but here are the highlights:
  • It’s not true that surveillance of U.S. citizens can “only” be done with a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court order.
  • Surveillance can also be done under Title III authority -- as they did in the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” case.
  • Presidents can issue secret presidential directives authorizing otherwise illegal acts; these may come with pre-planned cover stories if the operation is exposed, and they come with indemnity for those involved, giving them permission to lie about the operation or their involvement without fear of prosecution.
  • Most who see them must sign agreements that promise nondisclosure.
  • Computer surveillance is a grey area with many insiders arguing the traditional privacy restrictions and surveillance rules don’t necessarily apply.
  • The term “wiretapping” generally refers to electronic eavesdropping, though actual “tapping” of “wires” is not necessary with today’s technology.
  • Surveillance of domestic communications conducted in international waters where U.S. law doesn’t apply.
  • “Back-door” ways -- without Title III or FISA court authority -- may consist of “inventing” an excuse to surveil the target.
  • Surveillance can be contracted out to third parties or to foreign parties who aren’t bound by U.S. law.
  • Incidental collection may be “orchestrated” for political reasons -- with no fingerprints.
  • Requests to “unmask” U.S. citizens captured during surveillance of a foreign target may be preceded by a chain of communications intended to provide a pretense justify the unmasking.
I don't doubt that any/all of this is true. Nor do I blame just one party or one president. They ALL know what's going on and if they're not part of it, they don't have the backbone to do something about it either. I know it will take sacrifice. If the threat of criminal prosecution for violating "confidentiality" agreements and nondisclosure clauses and secret orders from secret courts aren't enough to intimidate, there's always blackmail from whatever unsavory details the government spies can find on them, and of course whatever government hackers can plant on their computers...

Unfortunately, I have no hope that Trump will do anything about it. I have no hope that congress, or governors, or law enforcement or anyone will do anything about it. I have no hope for the intelligence hearings, which seem to be on hold for lack of cooperation from the intelligence agencies.

My best guess now is that Trump used the spying on himself for leverage, made a deal, got what he wanted, and is willing to let it go now. Just more secret deals with the devil. And that's the problem with giving anyone this kind of power over others: It will be abused for personal gain. Especially when the truth is criminal.

But sunshine is the best disinfectant. The only thing I can think of that the average person could do is invite whistleblowers to speak their truths loud and proud... and we the people exercise our right to jury nullification and refuse to convict anyone under color of law for doing the right thing. And I know that ain't much. But it only takes one person on a jury to refuse to convict. And it is our right to judge the law as well as the facts.

Any other ideas??? I'm open to suggestions.




posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 07:07 AM
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Very good OP (S&F). You've probably dumped more salient information on American's Privacy (or lack thereof) than Snowden did ... and you didn't break the law.

The common American citizen needs a law to protect their privacy. I kid you not. We should demand such a law and prescribe horrible penalties upon anyone who even approaches breaking the law. I'm talking about an immediate revocation of any perp's citizenship, confiscation of all their worldly possessions ... (Hell ... do this to their family and friends as well), and dump them in the ocean to 'swim for it'.



posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 07:16 AM
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a reply to: Snarl


Very good OP (S&F). You've probably dumped more salient information on American's Privacy (or lack thereof) than Snowden did ... and you didn't break the law.


Thank you -- I'm glad you appreciate it.


The common American citizen needs a law to protect their privacy. I kid you not. We should demand such a law


I agree -- well, actually, we shouldn't even have to demand such a law. It's very disturbing to me when the bureaucrats deem electronic privacy an exception to our privacy. Our privacy is sacred. Our freedom of speech includes the right to keep silent... and therefore the right to keep secrets.



posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 08:19 AM
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I have no hope that congress, or governors, or law enforcement or anyone will do anything about it.


thats not true,
theres bipartisan support for an exemption to prohibit the spying on of Members of Congress, The Supreme Court and Executive Branch...



posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 08:50 AM
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a reply to: Boadicea


...who is currently suing the Dept of Justice and Eric Holder for "computer intrusion" to disrupt/obstruct her reporting. A judge recently denied the Federal government's Motion to Dismiss, which she excerpts here. So Ms. Attkisson has personal knowledge and experience of her own with government spying.


I can think of many better pursuits than getting all embroiled in that system, carrying the 'good fight'. Now she has them right where they want her:

Embroiled in a hopeless tangle of process and deceit. They will play along with her as long as she wants...

Disengage ma'am, just go back to reporting the truth.



posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 09:25 AM
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a reply to: Boadicea

How basic detective/surveillance work happens is they obtain info...dont have to say where...and they move onto that info...however obtained. People shout "they need a court order!"...or..."They can't use a polygraph as evidence against me in court!"...and..."they cant use this recording, video tape, photo without my permission".

Correct that they CANT use any of the above LEGALLY. But the info obtained can lead them to a terrorist, criminal etc....If a murderer is discovered, or a person admits something...now they know...and that just leads them to find other usable info that CAN be used. So, they wont use any info illegally obtained...but they wont, cant, arent gonna sit on the info without acting on it.

Same with gov...they listen, they record...once they get something...even illegally...they have their answer....and they act on it with different and legal actions that will stand up in court. They in general dont have to divulge what lead them to their conclusions.

They use everything above, everyday, everywhere around the world...they dont need to use IT...but the info obtained FROM IT...with evidence they go and collect LEGALLY.



posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 10:09 AM
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a reply to: AttitudeProblem


thats not true,
theres bipartisan support for an exemption to prohibit the spying on of Members of Congress, The Supreme Court and Executive Branch...


Oh! I want to laugh... and I did a little... but that just sounds too much like something that would actually happen with those critters



posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 10:14 AM
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a reply to: intrptr


Disengage ma'am, just go back to reporting the truth.


I give her credit for even trying to fight the good fight! But neither would I blame her for doing exactly that.

Even the judicial system has been rigged to such an extent that it's damn near impossible to win against "deep pockets," and the government has the deepest pockets of all.



posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 10:17 AM
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a reply to: mysterioustranger


Correct that they CANT use any of the above LEGALLY. But the info obtained can lead them to a terrorist, criminal etc....If a murderer is discovered, or a person admits something...now they know...and that just leads them to find other usable info that CAN be used. So, they wont use any info illegally obtained...but they wont, cant, arent gonna sit on the info without acting on it.


And when that info does make its way to the defendant, they'd rather withhold that info and let the perp go than to reveal it... just like they've done recently in a child pornography case....

Oh damn. You are so right. I should have thought about that!



posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 10:33 AM
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a reply to: Boadicea

Yeah...theyll gain info even illegally...thats how they go and solve things out. Theyll never admit what FIRST lead to that info...because theyll just go and find other evidence...once they get evidence illegally obtained...and THAT will be legal to use.

Thats how the gov's and detectives have always worked....
edit on 16-4-2017 by mysterioustranger because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 10:39 AM
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originally posted by: Boadicea
a reply to: intrptr


Disengage ma'am, just go back to reporting the truth.


I give her credit for even trying to fight the good fight! But neither would I blame her for doing exactly that.

Even the judicial system has been rigged to such an extent that it's damn near impossible to win against "deep pockets," and the government has the deepest pockets of all.


Entrenched bureaucracy, so many hurdles, flaming hoops and obstacle course pitfalls to reach the brass ring, just like they designed it. Part of our conditioning began in hi school, they called it 'track'.



posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 10:49 AM
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Sheryl Attkisson has a new article out this morning:

Obama-era Surveillance Timeline

Too much to even excerpt -- but another good read with many examples that have become public. From the coverup of the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal that killed a Border Patrol agent, to the reporter James Rosen, as well as the known lies told to the public by government officials such as James Clapper.



posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 10:58 AM
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a reply to: intrptr


Entrenched bureaucracy, so many hurdles, flaming hoops and obstacle course pitfalls to reach the brass ring, just like they designed it.


Yup. It sure isn't a coincidence that the vast majority of congress critters are attorneys. They know just how to make the rules -- for us -- and how to break those rules (or at least bend them into pretzels) for themselves.

I was reading an article about the doctor that was dragged from the United Airlines plane, which basically accused him of doing it all for the $$$ at the end of the litigation rainbow. Someone in the comments pointed out that even those who win a lawsuit in the end never ever want to go through that legal wringer again. I've done it twice -- both criminal and civil -- and both cases came out in "my" favor... but oh my god what an eye-opener. Delusions shattered guaranteed!



posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 11:07 AM
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a reply to: Boadicea


I've done it twice -- both criminal and civil -- and both cases came out in "my" favor... but oh my god what an eye-opener. Delusions shattered guaranteed!

Lesson learned, one of the most important is while you are pursuing the legal, moral path, they are already gone, plotting their next malfeasance to steal somebody else's wealth, freedom, sanctity. They are in fact depending on you, counting on the provided distraction to occupy you so they can continue to operate with impunity.



posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 01:01 PM
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a reply to: intrptr

Boy did I learn a lot! The hard way. But it's good to know. And I have made changes in how I do some things to better protect myself.

Even here on ATS. I'm not about to fool myself into thinking I'm invisible or truly anonymous. If "they" want to track me down, of course they can. But I try not to make it too easy either! I might be more worried if I thought my postings had any real impact... More often than not, I just feel like I'm preaching to the same choir and the rest of the world is busy blaming and fighting and hating each other. Ugh.



posted on Apr, 16 2017 @ 04:19 PM
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a reply to: Boadicea


More often than not, I just feel like I'm preaching to the same choir and the rest of the world is busy blaming and fighting and hating each other. Ugh.

There this whole lurking choir that listens. Keep preaching...



posted on Apr, 17 2017 @ 12:09 AM
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a reply to: intrptr

Thank you


But some folks -- who wish I'd just shut up! -- are probably cursing you for that!



posted on Apr, 17 2017 @ 07:24 AM
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a reply to: Boadicea

Freedom of speech, whats that? Like when theres a demonstration and the cops show up and gas everyone?

Tear gas is choke gas, it attacks the mouth, throat and lungs, the chemical weapon antithesis to free speech.



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