Word for word
Posted by Charles II on August 3, 2013
So, the News Hour, which is usually worthless, actually had something interesting on Friday:
RUSSELL TICE: Well, two months ago, I contacted some colleagues at NSA. We had a little meeting, and the question came up, was NSA collecting everything now? Because we kind of figured that was the goal all along. And the answer came back. It was, yes, they are collecting everything, contents word for word, everything of every domestic communication in this country.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Both of you know what the government says is that we’re collecting this — we’re collecting the number of phone calls that are made, the e-mails, but we’re not listening to them.
WILLIAM BINNEY: Well, I don’t believe that for a minute. OK?
I mean, that’s why they had to build Bluffdale, that facility in Utah with that massive amount of storage that could store all these recordings and all the data being passed along the fiberoptic networks of the world. I mean, you could store 100 years of the world’s communications here. That’s for content storage. That’s not for metadata.
Metadata if you were doing it and putting it into the systems we built, you could do it in a 12-by-20-foot room for the world. That’s all the space you need. You don’t need 100,000 square feet of space that they have at Bluffdale to do that. You need that kind of storage for content.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what does that say, Russell Tice, about what the government — you’re saying — your understanding is of what the government does once these conversations take place, is it your understanding they’re recorded and kept?
RUSSELL TICE: Yes, digitized and recorded and archived in a facility that is now online. And they’re kind of fibbing about that as well, because Bluffdale is online right now.
And that’s where the information is going. Now, as far as being able to have an analyst look at all that, that’s impossible, of course. And I think, semantically, they’re trying to say that their definition of collection is having literally a physical analyst look or listen, which would be disingenuous.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But the government vehemently denies it is recording all telephone calls. Robert Litt is the general counsel in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He recently spoke at the Brookings Institution.
ROBERT LITT, NSA general counsel: We do not indiscriminately sweep up and store the contents of the communications of Americans or of the citizenry of any country.
I’ve been looking for the specific allegation that the Obama Administration is storing phone calls. This is it.
Added: To understand that this is an important point, note Marcy Wheeler’s comment, “The Guardian has repeated Snowden and Bill Binney’s claims the NSA collects everything, without yet presenting proof that that includes US person content aside from incidental content collected on legitimate targets.”
This is what would galvanize the public and produce major change.
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