Obama vs. Apple — The Road to Tyranny

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The ABC interview with Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook on Feb. 24, 2016, unintentionally revealed a CEO under siege, a CEO behind the eight ball, and a CEO who felt he had been betrayed by Obama.  He had been double-crossed by a politician he had helped elect.  Cook earnestly and effectively stated Apple’s quandary, nevertheless, he could not help but look like the deer in the head lights. He plaintively stated that he felt he should have received a heads-up from Obama.

Tim Cook

 

Has Cook not been paying attention for eight years to the endless fabrications that flowed from the Oval Office teleprompter?  He’s surprised that Obama threw him under the bus?   Not terribly insightful for one of the highest paid employees in the world.

Many seem to have misunderstood the nature of this imposition on Apple by the Administration.  The Obama crowd is not simply asking Apple to develop a one time key for a phone previously owned by a terrorist.   The Admin., the FBI, and the DOJ, succeeded in getting an “order compelling Apple Inc. to assist agents in search,” in The United States District Court For The Central District of California.

Much of the media is pretending that the FBI is asking for “help”.  THAT  is insane.  If this Administration wins against Apple, there will be nowhere to hide from the already invasive government bureaucracy, an invasion so ardently yearned-for by the left.  Some portions of this order have been cut and pasted in numerous publications, and yet the most troubling clause, and the most ignored is Clause #3.

It states:

  •     3.     Apple’s reasonable technical assistance may include, but is not limited to: providing the FBI with a signed iPhone Software file, recovery bundle, or other Software Image File (“SIF”) that can be loaded onto the SUBJECT DEVICE. The SIF will load and run from Random Access Memory (“RAM”) and will not modify the iOS on the actual phone, the user data partition or system partition on the device’s flash memory.  The SIF will be coded by Apple with a unique identifier of the phone so that the SIF would only load and execute on the SUBJECT DEVICE. The SIF will be loaded via Device Firmware upgrade (“DFU”) mode, recovery mode, or other applicable mode available to the FBI.

The wide open hole that is used in #3, is one often used in one-sided legal documents,   “. . . include, but is not limited to: . . .“    If the FBI demands it, whatever “it” is, Apple would have to comply — no limits. The sycophantish media uses milquetoast phrases like “Apple is to provide technological assistance.”   Lies.  This Admin wants much more than that.

For now, this order intends to mean a new operating system that the FBI can use to waltz into all phones and computers at will, whenever a politician or bureaucrat needs to know what you’re up to — usually for revenge purposes. Pretending that such a new operating system could be maintained in an Apple “vault” is an absurd pretence by an Administration bent on creating and maintaining an absolute and all-seeing eye on the populace. Have we forgotten the IRS retribution against Republicans fiasco?

The government wants more than a back-door into your technological devices, it wants undiluted control on state-of-the-art Encryption, plus, now it wants a new Operating System — the heart of all computers. Operating Systems are massively complex, multi-million lines of code and algorithms which amongst other functions, ‘translate’ instructions from the ‘applications’ so that the hardware can execute. Whether it might take months or years for Apple to develop a new OS, matters little.  It just shouldn’t. Remember, the government does not own your phone or computer and neither does Apple, . . . you do. OK, so  you’re only ‘licensing’ the software, but you are not licensing it from the government, and certainly not from Obama et al.  What else might this Administration, this government, force a company, or an individual to do on its behalf?

Once upon a time, the government seeking the best encryption algorithms and engines meant protecting its secrets.  Today, this means invading your privacy and your freedom. This Administration, the FBI and the DOJ, want to be able to USE the operating system in your device to reach in and control your computer, or grab whatever they are in the mood to take from it.

What would seemingly give the government such power? The very broad, but very short, All Writs Act (1789) signed by George Washington, which states,

  • (a) The Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law. 
  • (b) An alternative writ or rule nisi may be issued by a justice or judge of a court which has jurisdiction.

The Administration has nefarious ulterior motives in seeking to use this simple act as a sledge hammer against the world’s biggest corporation AND against you.  The government demands to have access to and control over, your devices, which means that its ingress will be pervasive. It will be given the capacity to watch and listen to not only what you transmit, transfer or say, but also to what sits or is saved on your device.  YOU won’t own your device anymore, Obama will.

There is little doubt that this order would place an unreasonable burden on Apple, exposing data and transmissions of millions of customers, violating the privacy and trust of its clients,  and opening the door for other governments such as the Chinese Communist Party to take similar invasive and oppressive actions.

The level of confusion related to this particular intended invasion of privacy and freedom is widespread.  Confusing opinions are bouncing all over the infinitely distributed internet walls. Just look at this bit of confused mind, owned by one of the richest guys on the planet, Bill Gates. He’s not only confused, he’s confusing, but he gets a pass for lacking acuity, given his massive financial support of all things far left.  Remember, he made his $75 billion fortune by vehemently protecting his MS DOS.

If the Administration wants to invade and control your phones and computers, it should draft and present a LAW to Congress.  Such extreme invasion should be thoroughly deciphered, debated and understood by the population whose freedom will be collapsed if such power is handed to politicians and bureaucrats.

The Administration winning this fight against Apple would not be the beginning of a “slippery slope”, this would the end game at the bottom of the slimy, treacherous downhill movement toward totalitarianism.  This is not a questions of government access, as many pundits have claimed.  It is a question of invasion.

If this Administration wins against Apple, Tyranny will have been achieved and the final spike will have been driven into the heart of a once free Nation by a resentful leadership seeking to change it.

A constituent of the vast baby boomer generation with a career which has been fortunate to know the ponderous corporate worlds, as well as the intimately pressurized, and invigorating entrepreneurial domains of high tech and venture capital, I have harvested my share of mistakes meandering through corridors of enterprise from Silicon Valley, to London and endless, colourful, sometimes praetorian points in between. The voyage has provided an abundance of fodder for a pen yielding to an inquisitive keyboard, a foraging mind, and a passionate spirit. Whether political or business or social or economic or personal, is it not all political? It is a privilege to write, and an even greater privilege to be read by anyone, and sometimes with the wind at my back the writing may occasionally be legible. I do not write to invite scorn, nor to invite respect, but if I get really lucky the writing can stimulate thinking. I also write for the very selfish purpose of animating my own processes, and engaging the best of what life offers. Above all, whether biting fire or swatting shadows, I am grateful to be gifted the freedom to write and publish whatever flows down to the keyboard. To all those who enabled this freedom, and to all those standing guard to preserve it, I am indebted.

40 Responses to “Obama vs. Apple — The Road to Tyranny”

  1. 1

    Petercat

    If the government wins, it will be enshrined in legal precedent that the government can enslave people at will.
    To force Apple to create and provide for free a completely new operating system would be to force it to provide labor and resources that are worth a fortune. If this happens, then none of us will be able to demand just compensation for our labor.
    If Apple loses, and I am certain that it will, it should sue the government for payment, in the amount that it would charge an ordinary citizen or corporation for creating that same operating system, and for the value of it’s own secrets that would be revealed by that creation.

  2. 2

    kitt

    And the government “Just wants the information to go after the accomplices of the San Bernadino terrorists”
    I had wondered why dont they just give them the data off the phone whats the big deal? The media was bashing Apple horribly for their unpatriotic behavior. When Fox joined in, I though no way should Apple comply, it has to be a civil rights thing for Apple to fight so hard. This is flat out Unconstitutional I hope they have the best attorneys to argue before the SCOTUS.
    Apple’s response for technical assistance must include, but not be limited to: telling them to shove it up thier arse.

  3. 3

    James Raider

    author

    @Petercat:

    If the government wins, it will be enshrined in legal precedent that the government can enslave people at will.

    Petercat, that is exactly what Obama is striving for, and not a single media outlet anywhere it talking about this being the very intent that this ‘order’ exposes’.

    If it was otherwise, the order would be very, very different. It just does not need to be so broad and far-reaching.

  4. 4

    James Raider

    author

    @kitt: #2

    This is flat out Unconstitutional

    Kitt, agreed. I’m convinced that the Obama & Jarrett crowd purposely set out to abuse the All Writs Act to do an end-run on The Constitution and stomp all over it. It should also not be used to force a company to break laws.

    It isn’t a surprise that the MSM is not giving this case the airtime and analysis it deserves.

    All part of protecting the Obama/Jarrett lunacy.

    One the reasons I focussed on Clause #3 of this ‘order’ is that it is so open ended, it purposely empowers Obama, the government, the politicians, to order a company to create something, anything, that does not currently exist.

  5. 5

    kitt

    @James Raider: You must be cautious the second you invoke Obama in this you lose legitimate support from nearly 50 % of the population, this type of action, if successful, leads to power that can be tyranny in any hands, the Patriot act was under Bushes watch and look what that has become in the wrong hands. I hope Apple doesn’t cave, this needs to get dragged out as long as possible, with hopes a constitutionalist is appointed to SCOTUS.

  6. 6

    James Raider

    author

    @kitt: #5

    You must be cautious the second you invoke Obama in this you lose legitimate support from nearly 50 % of the population, this type of action,

    Kitt, the problem here is that Obama now knows that if he gives this kind of power to ‘Bureaucrats’ and Mandarins, whether in the DOJ, or FBI, or whatever other gov agency, . . . it will be used and abused to GROW government. Bush was misguided and ill-advised in IMHO, on this front.

    With Obama, it is purposefully oppressive. He knows that Gov Bureaucracy is principally LEFTIST and STATIST.

    He’s planning to have support for his globalist views long after his Presidency, from all government bureaucrats, regardless who replaces him.

    If this ruling goes against Apple, it isn’t future Presidents I worry about, it’s more Mandarins and bureaucrats, as well as other politicians.

    That other 50% of the population you mention should be just as worried.

    And, BTW, this action is coming directly from Obama/Jarrett. Watching their representative clowns skate in front of Congress on this only proved it. They had their “politically” motivated talking points written out for them.

  7. 7

    Greg

    The wide open hole that is used in #3, is one often used in one-sided legal documents, “. . . include, but is not limited to: . . .“ If the FBI demands it, whatever “it” is, Apple would have to comply — no limits.

    What about the part of clause #3 that states:

    The SIF will be coded by Apple with a unique identifier of the phone so that the SIF would only load and execute on the SUBJECT DEVICE.

    That does, in fact, limit use of the requested key to only one telephone—namely, that belonging to two individuals who have already demonstrated that they were terrorists, beyond any shadow of a doubt.

    What? Are we worried about a precedent being set? God forbid that a court should inadvertently set a precedent that could diminish the privacy of terrorists who have not only already demonstrated what they are, but are also dead.

    Even with respect to that single telephone—one that could well open a window on any terrorist network the individuals in question might have had connections with—the clause #3 word “reasonable” precedes the word “assistance.” That gives Apple a legal basis for drawing a line somewhere else, if they feel that becomes necessary.

    There was an effort made by the killers to keep the cell phone from being found. It’s a fair bet there was a reason for that. It’s entirely reasonable for the FBI to want to examine the contents of that one particular phone. People are standing common sense on its head in an effort to turn this into a politically exploitable subject.

  8. 8

    kitt

    Some people are moronic enough to think the phone data from the terrorists is the wanted prize, the old I have nothing to hide so heres my right to privacy, theres nothing the government would want from me so heres my right to not be a slave and have them force me to use my resources at my cost for their benefit, why its patriotic.
    He enjoys strangers laughing at his naked body before entering a plane, yup small hands.@James Raider: See what I mean, post #7If it were Bush they would be screaming the house down.

  9. 9

    Greg

    @kitt, #8:

    What do you not understand about the fact that the key the FBI seeks is to unlock a single, particular telephone, which proven terrorists took pains to keep from falling into the hands of law enforcement?

    That is the wanted prize, and it’s the only thing that the District Court’s order grants.

  10. 10

    kitt

    That is not what is being demanded they want Apple to create software, something without compensation, that does not exist.
    The software must operate in a certain way Not limited to that anything else they can think up.
    Let them go get their friggin meta data and sort through that, it is there waiting to be retrieved. Apple was not the one who let lil Mrs terrorist wifey in the country. Do they need her selfies building a pipe bomb?
    You really think there isnt someone in NSA CIA that cant get the data off that phone? But cool encryption breaking code for free what a deal? All same model Apple phones carry the same encryption code so what they ask for is a key to every bodys phone not just this one.

  11. 11

    James Raider

    author

    @kitt: #10

    they want Apple to create software, . . . . that does not exist.

    Kitt,
    They actually want amongst other things, a new operating system. Software, technology, and programming languages are something I’m personally very familiar with — Obama, the DOJ, the FBI want the whole enchilada so that they can access phones and computers whenever they might claim to need that access in future.

    The MSM has done a good job of lying to the uniformed about what this means for them. They are ignorantly locked in ideology which blinds them to what that will mean to them in future.

    All they seem to know is, “if Obama wants it, we want it” — regardless what IT means.

  12. 12

    kitt

    @James Raider: Apple is under no obligation to provide services to the government. The Apple phone and the OS systems and encryption that protects Apple pay and other things we dont want in government “secure” systems to be hacked by China and Russia. It was developed not under government contract and is personal property of Apple. Demands for goods and services should be done by government contract with payment compensation. Slavery has been outlawed for a very long time. We can’t let the government enslave our free market companies for any of their purposes. If Apple does not want to work for the government that is their right even if it makes liberals and statists sad.

  13. 13

    Greg

    You might want to examine this article from 2012: The iPhone has Passed a Key Security Threshold.

    The gist of the article was that Apple was now providing terrorists and criminals with essentially unbreakable encryption, impenetrable to the agencies and law enforcement organizations tasked with protecting the nation.

    So, we’ve now seen the results demonstrated: There’s been a domestic terrorist attack. Fourteen people were killed and 22 were seriously injured. The terrorists are dead, and law enforcement has hit a brick wall trying to trace their lines of communication. For all we know, they were one cell of an extensive network, and it might all be there, on a telephone.

    What do you think should be done at this point? Is the brick wall an acceptable outcome? If it is, then I suppose we’re OK.

  14. 14

    kitt

    Damn I thought it was Global Warming that caused terrorism, now a I find its because the government cant steal technology from Private companies.

  15. 15

    Ditto

    Greg is such a fascist-socialist tool. If this were a a Republican administration he would be screaming bloody murder. As it is his beloved Emperor Obama, Greg wants to give the Big Brother full access to everyone’s devices any time “The Won” wants. Apple is trying to protect it’s users and itself from Obama’s KGB thugs, yet Greg naively (or more likely purposely,) thinks we will believe that it will only be used on “one phone.” The fact that they want Apple to install a backdoor for the government in future IOS products, is proof itself that this is a complete lie.

  16. 16

    James Raider

    author

    @Ditto: #15

    . . . . this is a complete lie.

    Ditto, if one reviews each and every ‘speech’ from the Obama/Jarrett teleprompter during the past 8 years, one can consistently encounter one or more lies.

    The truth is usually diametrically opposite to whatever is spewed from these two connivers.

  17. 17

    Greg

    Right. Fascist-socialist tool, yada yada yada. But no thoughts whatsoever about whether that impenetrable technological brick wall mentioned in post #13 is an acceptable outcome. No matter that terrorists could hide behind it, and are fully aware of that, and may very well be doing so on the very phone in question. Because, you know, Obama. Hey, you can waterboard them, but you can’t have access to their iPhone data.

    That’s something that merits some thought. Because, whatever other issues might be involved, the impenetrable wall actually exists, and is for sale to whoever wants it, for whatever purpose, no questions asked. That’s a real situation that will have real consequences. The moment a really dire one emerges, people will begin howling about the failure of government to effectively protect the nation from a clear and present danger.

    It’s innumerable instances like this that have convinced me the right is pretty much full of it, up to the gills.

  18. 18

    kitt

    Terrorist tool, terrorist tool well so were the pipe-bombs and guns and cars and the house they were living in. That she got here with very little to no vetting as a mail-order jihadist bride the government itself was a tool.
    Yes a phone that can access my accounts and pay for goods and services should have state of the art encryption.
    And this security and privacy is available to everyone isn’t capitolism grand! Freedom to not have every second of my life open to the government isn’t freedom wonderful!
    Unfortunate that our government that got us to the moon first has fallen so terribly behind in technology, they should HIRE such a company say….Apple to help them catch up. But if Apple is too busy to help them they need to look elsewhere, not take them to court and force them to work for free. Loads of people know how to unlock that phone so it must be something more the government wants. So for the one lone liberal troll that would sign his soul to eternal torture rather than be free, I hope Apple tells them to kiss there processor, shove it up their rom.

  19. 19

    Greg

    Every right we have necessarily comes with certain exceptions. State a fundamental right, and any intelligent person can think of some unique situation that requires a totally rational exception to be made. This is an example of one such situation.

    Not allowing law enforcement access to a particular cell phone used by people who have already committed an act of terrorism and may have been in contact with other such people preparing to commit similar acts, or worse, is just plain crazy. Given the magnitude of the terrorist threats that might already exist, or could exist in the very near future, I don’t know why people can’t see that.

    How would you like an impenetrable wall around a cell phone that’s about to be used as a triggering device? Or maybe a contact list leads to an extensive terrorist network. If they’re already here, they’re not communicating using postcards. The particular cell phone is the end of a thread. Why should I feel my own privacy is threatened, if law enforcement is permitted to follow that one particular thread to see where it leads?

  20. 20

    kitt

    @Greg: You are flat out wrong, if the government was so concerned about terrorists in this country they wouldn’t allow so many in. They are coming in on visa, as refugees, across the southern border, and radicalized here. Enough already giving our rights away so they can secure us, they are failures at it. My 2nd amendment I will rely on. Let them find the missing 6 billion that is unaccounted for when Hillary was in the State Dept and use it catch up with modern technology, but using the judicial system to enslave and steal from private businesses is unconstitutional. I cant wait til O gets his eviction notice.

  21. 21

    Greg

    @kitt, #20:

    You are flat out wrong, if the government was so concerned about terrorists in this country they wouldn’t allow so many in.

    No doubt the right knows of some infallible litmus test that can instantly identify the terrorists among the 60–70 MILLION foreign nationals who visit the United States in the course of any single year.

    My own theory is that when two terrorists have already been identified with absolute certainty, as a result of the fact that they have already committed an act of terrorism, it’s crazy not to allow the FBI to examine the stored data on their cell phone. To me, this seems kind of obvious. I don’t know what it has to do with Obama, other than that some people’s obsession with Obama seem to be impairing their clarity of thought.

  22. 22

    Ditto

    @Greg:

    But no thoughts whatsoever about whether that impenetrable technological brick wall mentioned in post #13 is an acceptable outcome.

    The thoughts were there but Gestapo Greg is too dense to perceive them.

    An oppressive, tyrannical and paranoid government doesn’t trust the people, and will demand all means possible to do away with the citizen’s freedoms from government invasions on the citizen’s privacy. Only a goose-stepping fascist would hold the complete disregard for the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections that Greg and his Furor Obama does.

    When government officials fear the wrath of the people you have freedom, where the people fear the government you will have oppression.

    Should Greg incorrectly think my opposition is because of support for Republicans, I would refer him to search my past arguments with Mata regarding the issue of unchecked government intrusion into cell phones. I am a small government – freedom loving Constitutionalist, not a GOPe loyalist automaton. (Note: that doesn’t mean I am saying that Mata is a tool of the GOPe, only that I disagree with her defense of and support for the warrentless NSI invasions.

  23. 23

    Ditto

    Greg: -“Every right we have necessarily comes with certain exceptions. State a fundamental right, and any intelligent person can think of some unique situation that requires a totally rational exception to be made. This is an example of one such situation. “

    Benjamin Franklin: -“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
    deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

    Only would-be oppressors would argue to that for us to ‘feel more safe’ that we must give up our free rights (that the Constitution and Bill of Rights were specifically designed to recognize as essential to protect us from tyrants).

    If we were weak-kneed Democrats, we would demand a “safe zone” to protect us from the speech of scary Progressive Fascist-socialist NAZI’s like Gestapo Greg.

    The Bill of Rights protects even “useful idiots” like Greg as well, and gives him the power to try to talk us out of giving up our rights to please his masters. Don’t be fooled folks.

  24. 24

    Ditto

    …some infallible litmus test …

    Greg his strawman arguments. Few things are infallible and both idiot & criminal proof. There are however many means to attempt to weed out possible terrorists and criminals from presumably, (possibly) actual refugees and immigrants. Unfortunately his Furor Obama refuses to allow most of such (many proven in Israel) tests.

    My own theory …

    Most of Greg’s theories are caca. (That’s Spanish) That’s why he is recognized throughout FA as a “Useful Idiot (aka leftist troll).

  25. 25

    kitt

    Despite what the F.B.I. says, many in the industry worry the San Bernardino case could be a prelude to many others, and they point to a number of other pending cases in which the government wants Apple’s help to unlock iPhones.

    Though officials like Defense Secretary Ashton Carter say it is not the case, industry leaders worry the government is trying to create a permanent “back door” that would allow investigators or spies to circumvent encryption or password protection.
    From NY times just 1 phone tra la la liars.

  26. 27

    Ditto

    @kitt:

    What Greg want’s to ignore is that Obama’s administration has been the king of data-mining and using the alphabet agencies to gather mass amounts of information on and outright spy on citizens and political opponents to a greater level than any other administration before. He has also used various agencies as his own political enforcers to target and harass those on his enemies list. Yet Greg thinks we’re stupid enough to go along with giving this untrustworthy thugocracy even more power, to force it’s way through our personal device’s back-doors in a BS claim that it’s only to make us more safe.

    No dice Herr Greg.

  27. 28

    Greg

    @Ditto, #27:

    What Greg want’s to ignore is that Obama’s administration has been the king of data-mining and using the alphabet agencies to gather mass amounts of information on and outright spy on citizens and political opponents to a greater level than any other administration before.

    That’s a load of manure. It was never about mass spying on individual citizens. It was about sifting through enormous volumes of data using computer algorithms capable of revealing suspicious patterns of activity. It was a way of searching for needles in haystacks. The great masses of data being sifted remained anonymous. Data would only become associated with specific persons when the patterns raised a warning flag. At that point, human beings would be alerted take a closer look.

    Consider the 70–80 million foreign nationals that visit the United States every year. Is it possible for every one of those persons to be reviewed by human beings in any meaningful way? No. It isn’t. Nor is it possible for human beings to effectively watch over the nation for patterns that would indicate a mounting terrorist threat. The warnings signs would all be obvious to a human being looking back from the aftermath of a major terrorist attack, but lost in the haystack of millions of seemingly unrelated daily activities up until that point. There are just too many dots for any human being to have much hope of finding the meaningful patterns.

    Why should I care if my personal data drops constantly through a terrorist-searching sieve like anonymous grains of sand? I’m unaffected by the process. My privacy is actually compromised to a far greater degree by corporate America every damn day, with a far less important purpose.

  28. 29

    kitt

    @Greg:

    That’s a load of manure. It was never about mass spying on individual citizens. It was about sifting through enormous volumes of data using computer algorithms capable of revealing suspicious patterns of activity. It was a way of searching for needles in haystacks. The great masses of data being sifted remained anonymous. Data would only become associated with specific persons when the patterns raised a warning flag. At that point, human beings would be alerted take a closer look.

    And did this expensive and intrusive policy stop what happened or any other terrorist attack? Did it give them the data to catch the others that were involved in San Bernadino?
    No slavery No slavery No slavery
    Mercy Massa Barry He had been double-crossed by a politician he had helped elect.

  29. 30

    71 Grad

    Let me insert in here, Sheryl Atkisson. She reported that her computer, which was connected to the internet, was accessed by someone and top secret documents were inserted into it. Some Government agency could then get a warrant on a trumped up charge, search her computer, and consign her to the big house for some unknown period of time. She was a liberal reporter working for CBS, not some right wing loon. I believe that the Government already has the ability to insert data into your computer via the internet. Now they want to look inside anyone’s computer and save themselves the time it takes to place incriminating data in there.

  30. 31

    kitt

    A dogged reporter with a well-earned reputation as a “pit bull,” Attkisson filed a series of groundbreaking stories on the Fast and Furious gunwalking program, Obama’s green energy boondoggle, the unanswered questions about Benghazi, and the disastrous rollout of Obamacare. Her news reports were met with a barrage of PR warfare tactics, including emails and phone calls up the network chain of command, criticism from paid-for commenters and bloggers, and a campaign of character assassination that continues to this day. Most disturbing of all, Attkisson reveals that as she broke news on Fast and Furious and Benghazi, her computers and phone lines were hacked and bugged by an unrevealed but tremendously sophisticated party.
    CBS threw her under the bus and all of MSM saw what happened to her and became compliant sheep.

  31. 32

    Greg

    @kitt, #29:

    And did this expensive and intrusive policy stop what happened or any other terrorist attack? Did it give them the data to catch the others that were involved in San Bernadino?

    Much having to do with the program remains classified. An internal National Security Agency chart that was declassified in July 2013 throws some light on that question, however. At the time the chart was created, 13 planned terrorist events within the United States had been prevented. Of those 13 intended attacks, data mining technologies had contributed to the successful disruption of 12. So, yes, it was an important tool in the fight against terrorism.

    Unfortunately, it was instantly converted into a useful partisan political weapon that was turned on the Obama administration after Edward Snowden exposed some of the nation’s most highly classified programs. I guess some people have different priorities.

    The program only became intrusive if you were a possible terrorist. Otherwise, your personal data was nothing more than anonymous grains of sand falling through a computerized sieve. The grains had to form a certain sort of suspicious pattern before it would come to anyone’s attention. Do you recall even a single instance of anyone being affected in any way by the computerized search for warning flags? Do you imagine there aren’t meaningful patterns to be found that are very clear warnings of danger, but are also like needles in haystacks?

  32. 33

    kitt

    @Greg: Pathetic chart shows nothing I could fabricate it in a few minutes putting anything in the bubbles I wanted.
    They solve more potential terror attacks by pretending to be terrorists on chat lines. Like they catch child molesters by pretending to be little girls online.
    The overall problem for U.S. counterterrorism officials is not that they need vaster amounts of information from the bulk surveillance programs, but that they don’t sufficiently understand or widely share the information they already possess that was derived from conventional law enforcement and intelligence techniques.
    “This was true for two of the 9/11 hijackers who were known to be in the United States before the attacks on New York and Washington, as well as with the case of Chicago resident David Coleman Headley, who helped plan the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai,” the report from New America Foundation,says.
    Russia told us about the Boston bomber in advance.
    You argument for enslavement is weak minded and pathetic.

  33. 34

    Greg

    @kitt, #33:

    The chart was produced for internal use by the National Security Agency and subsequently declassified for public release. Do you think that somehow makes it less credible than the bullshit stories the right accepts without question, that can’t be traced back any further than a FOX News story?

    Gen. Keith Alexander, 16th director of the NSA, directly confirmed that the program had played a part in the disruption of 54 terrorist plots, 13 of which related to planned terrorist events inside the United States. Gen. Alexander was a Bush appointee, whose NSA leadership continued under Obama until March 2014. His function was not political. His function had to do with the reality of guarding the nation against terrorism.

    You don’t like the chart’s sketchy details? At least there are some specifics, and it’s known exactly where they come from. You don’t seem to have any problem with the fact that the accusations concerning classified information on Hillary Clinton’s server have been made without providing any details whatsoever.

    Gen. Alexander, in May, 2014:

    “Remember, under three hundred numbers each year were approved for B.R. FISA queries in 2012. Every one of those is audited. Each one has got to have a written rationale for why we’re doing it. This is the most overseen program, I think, in our government. Now Congress is saying they’re not sure they understood it. O.K. So go back and debate it. And then, if something bad happens, then my comment would be, O.K., you took away that tool. But if there’s a terrorist attack, know that you made our job harder. I really am concerned that something bad’s going to happen. And I don’t want to be Chicken Little. But I do think people need to know that we’re at greater risk, and there’s a lot more coming my way. It’s easy to stir up public emotion by saying: They’re listening to your phone calls. They’re reading your e-mails. And the answer is, if they’re doing that, they should be punished. Unless there is an authority to do it.”

    Of course, they weren’t listening to our phone calls or reading our e-mail. They were storing and screening data with computers, which searched for red flag patterns. If the computer found something, only then would the examination focus on specific individuals, and only if legal authorization was first obtained to do so.

  34. 35

    Petercat

    @Greg: #34
    The key statement is this one:
    “The program only became intrusive if you were a possible terrorist. ”
    For now. Under the current rules. Until they are changed. As long as they are not ignored “For the greater good”.
    Kitt, in her comment #31, provided just one example out of several that we know about where the rules have already been ignored.
    The politicians and bureaucrats have devoted a lot of time and effort to teaching us that we can not trust them, should we ignore those lessons and give up even more of our liberties in exchange for a little transitory safety?
    I would rather the government be slightly limited in it’s ability to prevent others from harming us, than be unlimited in it’s ability to harm us.

  35. 36

    kitt

    @Petercat: So trusting are some that cannot find out what gets you on a no fly list, or how to get off this list, Ted Kennedy was on the list. Our freedoms in the hand of the unelected, unacountable. Many of us have had enough of the creeping infringments to our constitutional rights.

    God rest Nancy Regan the woman behind the man, a truly great lady.

  36. 37

    Greg

    For now. Under the current rules. Until they are changed. As long as they are not ignored “For the greater good”.

    Which elevation and empowerment of an authority for the purpose of upholding the law and protecting the public doesn’t carry with it such a risk? There’s always such a risk. That’s the nature of things. There’s always a difficult balance point that must be closely watched.

    As for #31 and Sheryl Atkisson, it was never established that her computer was hacked at all, let alone hacked by the U.S. Department of Justice or any other governmental agency. She has filed a suit against Eric Holder, unnamed DOJ agents, and the United States Postal Service, alleging that they all made her the object of illegal surveillance. I don’t think I’ll jump to any conclusions about the merits of her allegations. It has been pointed out that the video she claims to demonstrate real-time hacking of her computer actually shows nothing more than a defective delete key on the computer keyboard. She might be the central character in her own drama. She might be a bit paranoid. She has turned the story into something she’s selling—namely, a book, which has a target audience.

  37. 38

    kitt

    Having the government complain to your employer on your reporting, and running out on a two year contract cause they wont run any anti Obama stories during the campaign. But she isnt the subject ADA boy, its about the government ordering a free market company to provide unconstitutional services in an unconstitutional manner isn’t it, try to keep to the thread.
    New York court has already told them they cant do this.https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2729399.html#document/p1
    13 amendment, 1st amendment why are they trying to trash the constitution? Why do YOU want to see it trashed?

  38. 39

    Petercat

    @kitt: #36
    I’m on the no-fly list. Even though I was able to pass a federal background check that was so detailed that it would have made a decent novel. (I’ve had an…interesting…life.)
    I’ve never been able to find out why I’m on that list.
    I’ve never been able to get off of it.
    Greg would have federal agents break my door down to take my guns – maybe my life – because some unnamed bureaucrat typed my name into a secret database.
    No thanks.

  39. 40

    kitt

    @Petercat: The federal government has grown so far out of the original intent the framers would wonder why we haven’t rebelled. States have long since given up their rights for federal dollars. The power in the hands of unelected and unaccountable covered by union protections. We have to bust it up a bit, they are out of control, we are slaves and the master is not a wise steward.

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