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Thread: Report: U.S. spied on Americans' intimate conversations abroad

  1. #1
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    Report: U.S. spied on Americans' intimate conversations abroad

    [SIZE="5"]Report: U.S. spied on Americans' intimate conversations abroad[/SIZE]

    * Story Highlights
    * Ex-Army Reserves Arab linguist said the U.S. government listened to private calls
    * Another linguist said NSA eavesdropped on 'pillow talk' conversations
    * U.S. surveillance program allows calls related only to terrorism to be monitored
    * Linguists said that when they complained, they were told to keep listening

    By Pam Benson
    CNN National Security Producer

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Congress is looking into allegations that National Security Agency linguists have been eavesdropping on Americans abroad.

    The congressional oversight committees said Thursday that the Americans targeted included military officers in Iraq who called friends and family in the United States.

    The allegations were made by two former military intercept operators on a television news report Thursday evening.

    A terrorist surveillance program instituted by the Bush administration allows the intelligence community to monitor phone calls between the United States and overseas without a court order -- as long as one party to the call is a terror suspect.

    Adrienne Kinne, a former U.S. Army Reserves Arab linguist, told ABC News the NSA was listening to the phone calls of U.S. military officers, journalists and aid workers overseas who were talking about "personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism."

    David Murfee Faulk, a former U.S. Navy Arab linguist, said in the news report that he and his colleagues were listening to the conversations of military officers in Iraq who were talking with their spouses or girlfriends in the United States.

    According to Faulk, they would often share the contents of some of the more salacious calls stored on their computers, listening to what he called "phone sex" and "pillow talk."

    Both Kinne and Faulk worked at the NSA listening facility at Fort Gordon, Georgia. They told ABC that when linguists complained to supervisors about eavesdropping on personal conversations, they were ordered to continue transcribing the calls.

    NSA spokeswoman Judith Emmel said the agency's Inspector General has investigated some of the allegations and found them "unsubstantiated." Other accusations are still being looked at, she said.

    The NSA operates in "strict accordance with U.S. laws and regulations," she said. "Any allegation of wrongdoing by employees is thoroughly investigated" and if misconduct is discovered, "we take swift and certain remedial action."

    CIA Director Mike Hayden, who was the head of the NSA when the terrorist surveillance program began, has always maintained that private conversations of Americans are not intercepted and if it should happen inadvertently, the name is removed from the record.

    "At NSA, the law was followed assiduously," said Hayden's spokesman, Mark Mansfeld. "The notion that Gen. Hayden sanctioned or tolerated illegalities of any sort is ridiculous on its face."

    Author Jim Bamford was the first to interview the two former NSA linguists for his new book, "The Shadow Factory," which will be published next week. Bamford told CNN the accounts from the whistle-blowers demonstrate the NSA was listening to the private conversations of Americans, transcribing them and keeping them.

    "They don't delete them," he said.

    Bamford has written two other books on the NSA and was a party to an unsuccessful ACLU lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

    The ACLU issued a statement on Thursday saying the allegations show that the government "misled the American public about the scope of its surveillance activities."

    The ABC report "is an indictment not only of the Bush administration, but of all of those political leaders, Democratic and Republican, who have been saying that the executive branch can be trusted with surveillance powers that are essentially unchecked," said ACLU official Jamell Jaffer.

    Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, called the allegations "extremely disturbing."

    "Anytime there is an allegation regarding abuse of the privacy and civil liberties of Americans, it is a very serious matter," said Rockefeller, adding that his committee is prepared to take whatever action is necessary to ensure the government is following the strict procedures to protect U.S. citizens against unwarranted surveillance.

    A House Intelligence Committee spokesman said the panel has been in contact with the NSA and is awaiting the agency's response.

  2. #2
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    Way to support the troops...listen to their phone calls to their wives...

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    [QUOTE=PlumberKhan;2797718]Way to support the troops...listen to their phone calls to their wives...[/QUOTE]

    Hey, some people get off on that kind of stuff.

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    clearly another major embarrassment and overstepping of civil rights by this regime and this country, so sad.....and even sadder that this fell to the bottom of the page with only two responses

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    Not good.

    Not really bad either, honestly, since I see no mention of any [U]actual[/U] harm done and I am not sure I agree with the premise that international phone calls should be completely private given our circumstances. Guess this topic will eventually go to the supreme Court at some point, so we can get a "Is it privacy or not under the constitution" ruling. So eh.

    So, this is the Govt. I am supposed ot trust and have faith in, and GROW under the pending Obama Administration then, eh?

    Wonder if Govt. drones will be any less abusing with my medical information than they are with phone monitoring.

    Or will Obamaunist drones be more upstanding and moral than Bushovick drones have been?

    Ah, the joy of knowing the Govt. in inept and corrupt, and the solution coming down the pipe.....more Govt.

    Joy.

  6. #6
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    I wonder if they consult with Belichick on these matters.
    Last edited by JetPotato; 10-10-2008 at 04:04 PM.

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    [QUOTE=Guido Monzino;2798305]I wonder if they consult with Belichick on these matters.[/QUOTE]

    LOL. Well done!


    National Security Director: "It was a misinterpretation of the rule...(mumble) (mumble)...we will comply going forward."

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2798295]Not good.

    Not really bad either, honestly, since I see no mention of any [U]actual[/U] harm done and I am not sure I agree with the premise that international phone calls should be completely private given our circumstances. Guess this topic will eventually go to the supreme Court at some point, so we can get a "Is it privacy or not under the constitution" ruling. So eh.

    So, this is the Govt. I am supposed ot trust and have faith in, and GROW under the pending Obama Administration then, eh?

    Wonder if Govt. drones will be any less abusing with my medical information than they are with phone monitoring.

    Or will Obamaunist drones be more upstanding and moral than Bushovick drones have been?

    Ah, the joy of knowing the Govt. in inept and corrupt, and the solution coming down the pipe.....more Govt.

    Joy.[/QUOTE]

    Ah, the "everybody does it" defense, the last refuge of the Bush defender. Everybody decidedly does not do it -- Bush has been a uniquely inept and corrupt President & since he never governed, this cannot be laid at the feet of "government" as a general proposition.

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    Did they spy on non-intimate conversations too? Or just the intimate ones?

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    [QUOTE=fukushimajin;2798358]Ah, the "everybody does it" defense, the last refuge of the Bush defender. Everybody decidedly does not do it -- Bush has been a uniquely inept and corrupt President & since he never governed, this cannot be laid at the feet of "government" as a general proposition.[/QUOTE]

    I must have missed the part where I "defended" or even mentioned George Bush. Perhaps you could point it out for me?

    But since you bring it up, I do not see in the article where they claim or prove that President Bush listened in on these calls personally, or ordered that these calls be listened in on illegally. The report makes it sound like the people tasked with call monitoring simply broke the rules, and the law. And for that they should be prosecuted, certainly.

    Doesn't mean I feel any need to get all worked up about it, as I generally use harm as my guide, and I don't see any here. Doesn't mean I approve, just that I'm not going to let my blood pressure rise on the topic.

    And while I respect your right to you opinion, as one more than familiar with the Federal Govt, I can tell you that this kind of abuse is neither limited to "Bush", nor nearly as uncommon as the politically minded might like to believe.

    As I said, if you trust teh Govt. with your most intimate medical secrets, good for you. Just don't be shocked if they don't stay secret for very long.

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2798387]I must have missed the part where I "defended" or even mentioned George Bush. Perhaps you could point it out for me?

    But since you bring it up, I do not see in the article where they claim or prove that President Bush listened in on these calls personally, or ordered that these calls be listened in on illegally. The report makes it sound like the people tasked with call monitoring simply broke the rules, and the law. And for that they should be prosecuted, certainly.

    Doesn't mean I feel any need to get all worked up about it, as I generally use harm as my guide, and I don't see any here. Doesn't mean I approve, just that I'm not going to let my blood pressure rise on the topic.

    And while I respect your right to you opinion, as one more than familiar with the Federal Govt, I can tell you that this kind of abuse is neither limited to "Bush", nor nearly as uncommon as the politically minded might like to believe.

    As I said, if you trust teh Govt. with your most intimate medical secrets, good for you. Just don't be shocked if they don't stay secret for very long.[/QUOTE]

    I dont see this as another isuue solely on the shoulders of Bush but I do think he or any other president dont really control what happens inteh intelligence arena for the most part, I think this is an exposure of how dirty military and government agencies really are, big brother grows because the heads of these organizations are off the grid and not term limited like presidents, they have more real power in some ways than presidents do.

    whether there was 'actual harm' or not is not even an issue and its pretty disappointing honestly that you would say that Fish, when you say stuff like that it seems as if your dismissing these illegal activiteis as saying no harm no foul,are you becoming that apathetic?

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    Honestly, I think it's OK to listen in on private calls of American Military personnel.

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    [QUOTE=Mean Bro Green;2799264]whether there was 'actual harm' or not is not even an issue and its pretty disappointing honestly that you would say that Fish, when you say stuff like that it seems as if your dismissing these illegal activiteis as saying no harm no foul,are you becoming that apathetic?[/QUOTE]

    Not apathetic per se. Well......maybe apathetic.

    Even though I am not big on Govt., the one area I am is National Defense. As such, I see a difference in that aspect of Govt. service and all others. I see it as the one field the public sector not only cannot do, but should not be tasked with doing.

    As such, in theory, while I usually prefer privacy and freedom, I am okay with selective evesdropping on international calls. I see tyhe value of being informed, and acting if needed to save American lives.

    The trouble, as it always is with Govt, is that they simply cannot be trusted, cannot do things right, cannot stay within the law, etc, etc, etc.

    So yes, I am unhappy the Govt is, yet again, absuing it's power. It's reason 1a why I don;t what to give the Govt. any MORE power, and get irritated at Libs who cry about this whilst signing away our market, bansk, and medical records to that very same Govt. and those very same Govt. Beaurocrats who cannot be trusted.

    Whats the answer? Well, doing the job within what the law allows is step one. Till we can trust teh Govt. to do that, I can only throw my hands up int he air and say "typical Govt".

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