Greenwald’s Latest Snowden Leak

Greenwald’s new ‘bombshell’ article about the NSA essentially details how the NSA collected email metadata beginning shortly after 9/11.

The screamer headline: “NSA collected US email records in bulk for more than two years under Obama.”

We already knew about this program. Most recently, Eichenwald has been writing about it for the last week or so.

But here’s the most revealing part of Greenwald’s article: the program was stopped by the Obama administration in 2011. As Charles Johnson tweeted yesterday, the article’s headline could actually be “Obama discontinued NSA email program started under Bush.”

Furthermore, Greenwald wrote: “It did not include the content of emails.” The NSA only collected metadata, authorized by bulk FISA court warrants. The program, like everything else, sought overseas communications, and those communications might have inadvertently included some data from US persons connected with the overseas emails. And, again, reminder: any data from US persons that’s inadvertently collected is anonymized, encrypted and destroyed. It’s only decrypted with an individual warrant.

What’s continuously astonishing to me is that corporation-hating liberals are freaked out about privacy yet appear to be totally fine with evil corporations collecting and storing all of this data — including content, which isn’t stored by the government.

Once again, I still don’t see any evidence of wrongdoing or abuse-of-power here.

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  • Bubble Genius

    I really hope the Guardian sacks Greenwald over this. If this is what constitutes reporting, I truly give up.

    • http://www.intoxination.net intoxination

      Sadly they won’t. They are getting out of Glenn exactly what they want, web traffic. As much as I love the blogosphere (and having worked in it for the past decade), this does show a problem. The lines have been smeared between actual journalism and opinion journalism. Of course the blogosphere isn’t to blame for that. It actually started gaining traction before the blogosphere with the 24 hour news cycle, or as I call it “the 24 hour opinion cycle”. What used to constitute opinion is now considered fact based reporting, and that is rather dangerous.

      • blackdaug

        What about the continuous bombardment of outrage headlines every time some new story is hacked together out of this common knowledge?
        Where in the hell have these people been?
        They have been writing and submitting, and editing material on computers for over four decades now (at least 1 for blogvania, before that message boards..ect..) email for a couple of decades…and yet, it’s like suddenly they discovered a big box on their desk that bit them! I know they have been here, I have been working with them since the mid 70’s. How could they not have known most of this stuff?
        Digital communications are not absolutely private? I may faint!!
        The list of things they are “astounded” by grows longer every day.
        “Large Heat Emitting Orb Appears in Sky, Mysteriously Vanishes Later”

        • http://www.dlancystreet.com reginahny

          Large Heat Emitting Orb Placed in Sky by Obama, Mysteriously Vanishes — Shot Down with Obama Drone? ;-)

          • blackdaug

            Obama Plays Golf As Source of All Life Droned From Sky by Rogue Security Apparatus

          • http://www.dlancystreet.com reginahny

            *snort / giggle* Perfect!

          • Rita D. Lipshutz

            lol!

        • beulahmo

          “The Guardian, may in fact reveal some earth shattering revelation about NSA or some other aspect of the security apparatus, but I will never know about it, because they lost all credibility with me when they published that misleading, inaccurate shambling monstrosity in the first place (and never properly retracted it!).”

          The Guardian, through Greenwald, is the modern Aesop character from “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

      • villemar

        The UK can always slap a DA-Notice on anything he writes, and they have every right to do so. He’d have to find another online periodical to ruin.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DA-Notice

  • http://www.intoxination.net intoxination

    Just before that article went up, Glenn and Ackermann had another one go up, “How the NSA is still harvesting your online data”. Now when you read that you instantly think any email we send here in the U.S. is going to the NSA. Well there’s nothing but speculation in that article about that, but the kicker they are focusing on is that the NSA bragged about processing their “trillionth” piece of metadata in 2012. In 2009 it was estimated the 294 billion emails were sent globally every single day, so that trillion is hardly anything, when you consider that 294 billion per day translates to about 90 trillion PER YEAR.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/27/nsa-online-metadata-collection

    And for the corporate hating liberals, as well as the privacy freaks. Just think of how many of them complain about this, yet share every aspect of their life on Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you want privacy, get rid of your electronics and move to the wilderness. You could get a big bear named Ben, but you better hope he isn’t talking to anyone!

    • PamB1

      Not just social networks, but if they want to, the Government can track you with your cell phone, your GPS. They have videos on Traffic lights and retail buildings–look how fast they got the Boston Bombers. I saw an ad outside a building the other day, “Free ID chips in your child for their safety” a whole new generation will merely be a number when they want to know where you are. Quit bitchin how the government downloaded your phone connecting to your Mother’s line today, at 4:30 where you talked for 10 minutes.

  • Ipecac

    And Firedoglake’s headline was “Bush NSA Bulk Email Collection Policy Continued Under Obama” filled with outrage that they continued the program for two years into his Presidency.

    • D_C_Wilson

      I suppose they get points for mentioning Bush in the headline, which is more than the Guardian did.

    • blackdaug

      Firebaglake….and Daily Kros

  • D_C_Wilson

    Nice headline, Guardian. Nothing like implying that Obama started this program instead of ending it.

  • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

    That’s funny, 26 Senators see problems with what the NSA is doing. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2013/jun/28/senators-letter-james-clapper

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

      On any given day, you can find 26 senators who will disagree with almost anything.

      • GG

        Right. One of those signatures being Al Frankin who just defended the program.

        http://thehill.com/video/senate/304819-franken-defends-nsa-surveillance-

      • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

        Thanks for replying. Do you think Ron Wyden has problems with the NSA’s interpretation of the Patriot Act and FAA? And the lack of transparent oversight by Congress?

    • http://www.dlancystreet.com reginahny

      And that’s why they attended the briefings, voted against its reauthorization and proposed better transparency measures? As well as promoting a conversation about how to handle the extreme changes wrought by the digitalization of pretty much “the world”? Yeah. Didn’t think so — it’s so much easier to be “against” something than “for” something you’d have to promote.

      Pretty much no one, especially not Bob, is saying that we don’t see problems with what the NSA is doing. We are saying that we see problems with grandstanding the release of already known information — leaks that actually don’t move the conversation forward. In fact, this whole circus will probably lead to less transparency.

      Strawman much? Who on this blog has said they don’t see problems? Speaking for myself only, I have a lot of learning to do about how to live in this relatively new digital world and how privacy can be protected, if at all. These endless non-leaks of already known info aren’t helping me, or anyone think that through.

      • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

        Which is worse- what NSA or Greenwald is doing?

        “this whole circus will probably lead to less transparency.” That is ridiculous. How and why would that happen?

        Where is Bob’s post that gives more attention to the problems than attacking the messengers?

        • stacib23

          Greenwald. Whatever his reasons, there are real conversations to be had around privacy in this technological world, the Patriot Act, whether or not somebody should reign in the FISA courts, but he just hijacked it with bullshit, innuendo and flat out lies. Now, the conversation is about GG and Ed Snowden and how quickly their story is falling apart – any real substance has been buried.

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            Are you saying the documents released are forgeries? Who is making the conversation about GG and Snowden? (Both rhetorical)

          • stacib23

            No, not forgeries, just nothing new to anybody who was genuinely pissed when this news was first reported years ago. Who is making the conversation about GG and Snowden? Uh, just every flippin media outlet “reporting” on Snowden’s whereabouts, and GG is sucking up so much of the blogosphere with people disproving his “facts” that anybody that hasn’t been paying attention has to be totally confused in trying to separate fact from fiction from opinion.

    • beulahmo

      Don’t really understand your point. If so many legislators are concerned that either the oversight structure, as it exists, should be changed, or that the technical processes used by NSA should be changed, or that the access afforded to U.S. intelligence agencies (through judicial oversight) should be changed, they should work together to address those things. I don’t see where Bob has ever argued against legislators doing that.

      • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

        The point is that without Snowden’s leaks, the letter never gets written. Only a handful of Congress members get to actually see the legal justifications and descriptions of the programs. They can’t take notes and they can’t discuss it with anyone. Ron Wyden has been warning about this for over two years. But his hands were tied until these leaks.

        • beulahmo

          “The point is that without Snowden’s leaks, the letter never gets written.”

          I agree that far too much is off-limits to discussion because it’s classified. And I’ve noticed that one point of consensus among journalists, whether they’re sympathetic to Greenwald/Snowden and their methods or not, has been that there’s far too much being classified seemingly without sufficient reason. But I think that problem could and should be addressed and rectified without a person like Snowden coming along to leak in order to force the discussion.

          I really have no problem with demanding that people in power be accountable to the public, and I hope the Senators who signed onto that letter are sincere and persistent. My problem with Snowden is that it’s possible for him to have a limited enough perspective and know little enough about covert operations that his judgment about whether his leaks do not harm the U.S. could be wrong — maybe disastrously so.

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            Just to be clear, the only decision to publish that Snowden made on his own is the Hong Kong and China hacking published by the HK paper. Of course they would print everything of that sort that they got. (And GG said he would not have published this) But the Guardian US and WaPo made every other decision to publish. Watch two Guardian editors discuss it with Charlie Rose. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7pdzzZB7Xgo

          • beulahmo

            But has he not threatened to publish everything in his possession? And though it’s likely impossible to prove, even people who support everything Snowden has done / is doing concede that China and Russia have likely gotten the rest of the documents. I hope they haven’t gotten them, but it’s true that they had the power to extort them from Snowden, nonetheless.

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            He’s said if he is killed, access to all files will be given to those he wants to automatically. Again with the “Snowden is stupid” bit? He didn’t go to the airport with all the files in the computers!!! They are stored in servers around the world. And they are encrypted. What power to extort do the Chinese and Russians have?

    • blackdaug

      How about: 26 Senators stick their fingers in the air to make sure their asses are covered in case anything does turn up?
      P.S. Do you ever read anything but the Guardian, because you drop links to their stuff in here every day?

      • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

        Yes I do. Marcy Wheeler has great stuff, a recent piece in Salon is good. John Cassidy and Amy Davidson at The New Yorker. The ACLU. That’s just off the top. I can give you more with links if you like.

  • PamB1

    Use your landline, folks. I have not seen where any calls outside of Verizon, ATT, other cell phones are being downloaded.

  • trgahan

    Greenwald/Snowden better play the “ace” in their hand soon because trying to win this game with unsuited 2’s and 4’s while reclining in nations that smash the balls of their own citizens but allow moneyed expats to do whatever isn’t going to cut it much longer.