Patterico's Pontifications

6/13/2013

How Is Obama Worse Than Bush on Surveillance? A Reader Provides a Link

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:37 am



Last night I asked for specific links and quotes that show Obama’s surveillance is more intrusive than Bush’s. Thanks to papertiger for providing this link to a Michael Isikoff article:

The FBI has dramatically increased its use of a controversial provision of the Patriot Act to secretly obtain a vast store of business records of U.S. citizens under President Barack Obama, according to recent Justice Department reports to Congress. The bureau filed 212 requests for such data to a national security court last year – a 1,000-percent increase from the number of such requests four years earlier, the reports show.

The FBI’s increased use of the Patriot Act’s “business records” provision — and the wide ranging scope of its requests — is getting new scrutiny in light of last week’s disclosure that that the provision was used to obtain a top-secret national security order requiring telecommunications companies to turn over records of millions of telephone calls.

Taken together, experts say, those revelations show the government has broadly interpreted the Patriot Act provision as enabling it to collect data not just on specific individuals, but on millions of Americans with no suspected terrorist connections. And it shows that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court accepted that broad interpretation of the law.

Apparently the number of requests has gone up, but I’m not sure that the focus on millions of Americans with no suspected terrorist connections is new. I know I keep quoting this article, but according to this USA Today article from 2006, Bush was collecting information on millions of Americans with no suspected terrorist connections:

The NSA’s domestic program, as described by sources, is far more expansive than what the White House has acknowledged. Last year, Bush said he had authorized the NSA to eavesdrop — without warrants — on international calls and international e-mails of people suspected of having links to terrorists when one party to the communication is in the USA. Warrants have also not been used in the NSA’s efforts to create a national call database.

In defending the previously disclosed program, Bush insisted that the NSA was focused exclusively on international calls. “In other words,” Bush explained, “one end of the communication must be outside the United States.”

As a result, domestic call records — those of calls that originate and terminate within U.S. borders — were believed to be private.

Sources, however, say that is not the case. With access to records of billions of domestic calls, the NSA has gained a secret window into the communications habits of millions of Americans. Customers’ names, street addresses and other personal information are not being handed over as part of NSA’s domestic program, the sources said. But the phone numbers the NSA collects can easily be cross-checked with other databases to obtain that information.

It sounds like the upshot of this is that Obama is not doing anything different in kind, but is doing something different in scope.

Which makes him a hypocritical scumbag for embracing and expanding a program that he had criticized when a candidate, as this video shows:

“No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime.” Oh, did I say “no more”? I meant 1000% more.

78 Responses to “How Is Obama Worse Than Bush on Surveillance? A Reader Provides a Link”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. Next we’ll find out he’s been ordering waterboarding. Really. Is anything out of the question?

    ukuleledave (c59551)

  3. It sounds like the upshot of this is that Obama is not doing anything different in kind, but is doing something different in scope.

    Which makes him a hypocritical scumbag for embracing and expanding a program that he had criticized when a candidate, as this video shows:

    No, Patterico, it makes Obama a realist once he took office and comprehended the necessity for extended security provided by the NSA.

    Furthermore, the excellent anti-terrorist record of both the Bush administration post 9/11 and the Obama administration to date attest to the effectiveness of NSA activities.

    Obviously there is the trade-off of privacy vs security. The current Snowden revelations ought to give us pause for further reflection.

    Gramps2 (4df89c)

  4. Perry is wearing out those knee pads.

    JD (b63a52)

  5. obama has conjoined the piggy piggy NSA snooping fetish with the creepy fascist ethos what permeates our failed third world government now

    this is the ethos whereby dissenters are targeted and persecuted

    by the irs

    by the epa

    by the fda

    by the cdc

    by the fbi

    by the whorebanging secret service even

    thank you disillusionment

    and thank you edward

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  6. Well, I explained how we knew this was worse in the last thread.

    Aaron "Worthing" Walker (23789b)

  7. cheap smear artist “Uncle Jimbo” quotes some hooch thusly to “allahpundit’s” tittering approval:

    Snowden was never a student at SWCS. He broke his legs while at Fort Benning. His intent was to enter the X-ray program – but that never happened and would not have happened because he only had a GED. Hope this helps.

    Janice Burton

    Deputy

    Office of Strategic Communications

    http://www.blackfive.net/main/2013/06/first-verified-lie-from-ed-snowden.html

    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/06/12/snowden-tells-chinese-paper-yes-the-u-s-is-hacking-chinese-and-hong-kong-computers/

    Do not believe these smears.

    Here are the official criteria to get accepted into special forces training. I used google to find them so you know they’re 100% accurate.

    Additional criteria exclusive to enlisted applicants:

    1. Enlisted applicants must be in the pay grade of E-4 to E-6 or E7s with no more than 12 years TIS and 9 months TIG. Successful completion of SFAS is a prerequisite to the SFQC.

    2. Must be a high school graduate or have a general equivalency diploma (GED).

    […]

    http://www.sorbrecruiting.com/SF_criteria.htm

    Edward rules

    Janice drools

    let me know if you have any further questions

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  8. ==No, Patterico, it makes Obama a realist once he took office and comprehended the necessity for extended security provided by the NSA.==

    Then apparently, Perry, since you admit he didn’t know what he was talking about at the time, Senator Obama should not have been flapping his gums and making wild accusations about his predecessor, while issuing campaign promises that turned out to be lies. Really, does this line of “you should forgive him for he was green and uniformed” seem like a reasonable avenue of defense to you?

    elissa (cbe588)

  9. Office of Strategic Communications

    Is that like the Least Untruthful Statement Agency? Or the Senate Office of Inartful Statements?

    nk (875f57)

  10. elissa – Unqualified, empty suit is a better description.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  11. The NSA so far cannot give us any verifiable terrorist acts stopped by the data mining (two listed, one was found in the UK by normal investigative means and the second was regarding the Mumbai India attacks–Obviously did not stop those–and, again was found by UK using “normal” techniques).

    And our Boston bombings, with neon signs pointing at the brothers being state sponsored (Mass. welfare in the multiple $10,000 of support–with vacations back to the region where they “fled”… Not so much.

    And we have a proven investigative method that looks at Mosques for terrorists that is basically blocked by a governmental board that is completely secret (no members listed, no documentation of decisions, etc.).

    Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee.

    Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret.

    We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel’s formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there.

    Before mosques were excluded from the otherwise wide domestic spy net the administration has cast, the FBI launched dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists — inside mosques — and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland.

    And then there is supplying more than a billion dollars of cash and weapons to our self declared enemy Egypt:

    I’m very fond of battles. With the enemies, of course – with America and Israel, but this battle must be waged with maximum judiciousness and calm. Even though this is a secret meeting, we must all take an oath not to leak anything to the media, unless it is done officially by sister Pakinam [el-Sharkawy, a Morsi aide]. We need an official plan for popular national security, even if we…

    Out of the NYTimes Blog.

    It would appear that somebody wants us to fail at stopping terrorists.

    Hmm. Linking not working for me at the moment.

    BfC (a1cf00)

  12. happyfeet is correct about “Uncle Jimbo”.

    The initial media reports said that Snowden broke his legs in initial entry training, aspiring to get into special forces. Someone paraphrased that into ‘Snowden broke his legs while training for special forces’. A dishonest summary of this has resulted in claims that Snowden is some kind of SF poseur.

    But that error aside, I’m not a fan of Snowden’s behavior. Offering information about our intel operations in China is incredibly disloyal. No one who claims to be a supporter of human rights would do such a thing.

    I’m skeptical of Snowden’s motives given he was hooked up with Greenwald before he took the job he stole information from, but if he found something that alarmed him, he should have brought it to oversight committees and made sure he understood what he thought he saw.

    No, Patterico, it makes Obama a realist

    Gramps2/various other troll handles,

    Obama was a US Senator on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was meeting with the president of Palestine National Authority as a Senator. It is dishonest to claim Obama had no idea what the real world was like when he was running for president, and thus was honest when he condemned programs and promised to shut them down, but then immediately expanded them.

    Obama was unqualified for leadership, and immediately doing what he viciously attacked his predecessor for doing is not an uncommon sight when an unqualified person replaces a qualified person. Obama had/has no idea what he’s doing, so a clumsier and more ruthless version of what Bush was doing is the only way he can navigate the real world.

    Besides, if your theory is correct, obviously Obama should have apologized publicly to the thousands of hard working people he condemned, if Obama realized that ‘realists’ who care about this country will do these things to protect it.

    I’ve never heard Obama admit he was wrong or apologize to the Bush administration. I’ve only seen further condemnations of Gitmo and dishonest promises to eventually shut that kind of thing down.

    Obama thinks you are stupid. Obama knows he can have his cake and eat it too, thanks to his loyal sophists.

    Dustin (303dca)

  13. Why does Fisa courts even have “standing” in spying on Americans? Fisa is for foreign spying, not domestic.

    Kevin P. (1df29c)

  14. With FISA Court, there is rubber involved–Rubber stamp is probably the most used/least invasive uses:

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/06/fisa-court-nsa-spying-opinion-reject-request

    After last week’s revelations extensive National Security Agency surveillance of phone and internet communications, President Barack Obama made it a point to assure Americans that, not to worry, there is plenty of oversight of his administration’s snooping programs. “We’ve got congressional oversight and judicial oversight,” he said Friday, referring in part to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which was created in 1979 to oversee Department of Justice requests for surveillance warrants against foreign agents suspected of espionage or terrorism in the United States. But the FISC has declined just 11 of the more than 33,900 surveillance requests made by the government in 33 years, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. That’s a rate of .03 percent, which raises questions about just how much judicial oversight is actually being provided.

    BfC (a1cf00)

  15. Thanks BfC, but it still doesn’t answer my question.

    I knew all of that from my time in the Air Force, Target Intelligence.

    Muslims and their mosques are excluded from being spied on…..

    Things that make ya go, Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Kevin P. (1df29c)

  16. Just because it has “Foreign” in the title, Kevin P.? That’s meaningless. Like Obacare being called the Affordable Care Act. Or the Mongolian “beef” in a Chinese restaurant.

    nk (875f57)

  17. Well the FICS court did rule that the government exceeded its autority to spy on Americans–We think. But the (in-)Justice department does not want anyone to know that:

    http://www.ibtimes.com/fisc-will-not-object-release-2011-court-opinion-confirmed-nsas-illegal-surveillance-1305023

    A 2011 FISC court ruling had concluded that some of the NSA’s surveillance programs had violated sections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, a law aimed at protecting American citizens from surveillance programs targeted at foreigners.

    The nation’s most secretive court, as it has been called in the media, said that the 86-page classified opinion can be made public if a district court orders it.

    On Friday, the Department of Justice, or DoJ, had argued that the court’s opinion must remain secret and its release of the opinion would contradict the FISC’s own rules on disclosure of classified documents, according to NBC News.

    However, the court’s chief judge, Reggie Walton, rejected the DoJ’s arguments and said that the document, which is in the possession of the department, could be released under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, NBC News reported.

    None if this is real… It is just Kabuki theater. Or any number of Kafka-est or similar Catch 22, etc. terms. (Various courts have said it is “not us” blocking release see the next guy such as Justice who points to another court who points back to the original.

    BfC (a1cf00)

  18. Perry, are you a retired government bureaucrat ? A retired union thug ?

    What is your intense emotional stake in the Democrat party that elicits you to twist and contort yourself into such acrobatic justifications for The Obamessiah’s flip-flopping and lies ?

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  19. kabuki huh.

    A data mining operation would be vulnerable to all sort of malicious Trojan horses and what not.

    I’m thinking this is a job for anonymous.

    When Justice dept and the court collude with the dozing oversite of a congress which doesn’t want to see, to break a fundamental law of the land, like the State government putting up bird choppers that nobody wants in condor territory on the basis of a fairy tale that they all pretend to call science, it’s time for the public to toss in a monkey wrench in the gears.

    More than just time for, it’s our duty to posterity to fuck them up.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  20. They tell us there’s just no way to find, track, locate, 11 million illegal aliens.

    Obama shows us that they have way.

    Here’s someone using metadata from phone records to find noted domestic terrorist Paul Revere.

    Oh hell yes they can find them.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  21. #16

    Thanks, nk. That makes more sense than anything else. :o/

    Kevin P. (1df29c)

  22. Patrick, I believe President Bush over a USA Today reporter. As you know, when news first breaks, there is a lot of misinformation. I’d like to know the names these unnamed sources.

    Tanny O'Haley (2cdbfd)

  23. Dustin, the error about his Army career is his. And it’s not an error.

    From an ABC timeline based upon what Snowden told the Guardian about his own history (although ABC apparently verified Snowden’s dates of service with the Army).

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/timeline-edward-snowdens-life/story?id=19394487#.Ubo0W5zkq3c

    May 7, 2004: Snowden enlists in the U.S. Army Reserve’s 18-X program, designed to fast track recruits who want to join the U.S. Special Forces, popularly known as the Green Berets. Later Snowden will say he broke both his legs in training and was discharged. Army records show his discharge in September of that year. (Source: Army records, The Guardian)

    Snowden told the Guardian that he had been accepted for a specific enlistment option. This is the only way for anyone to go straight into Special Forces without serving until gaining some experience and seniority first.

    So Snowden wasn’t claiming to vaguely “training for Special Forces.” He was claiming to have gone in as a special forces candidate.

    And here’s what the Army had to say about the program back in 2007 (and as of October 2005 as I found the message the below superseded and the relevant portion didn’t change.) and the requirements are different than what a Google search might turn up if you look to see what the requirements are now:

    http://www.armyparatrooper.org/dropzone/showthread.php/9933-18X-Special-Forces-Enlistment-Program

    4. Soldiers who want to volunteer for the Special Forces may enlist
    under Program 9A, U.S. Army Training Enlistment Program, Option
    3 (U.S. Army Training of Choice Enlistment Option), Surrogate Military
    Occupational Specialty (MOS) of 18X (SF Recruit). Applicants must enlist for
    a minimum active duty service obligation of 60 months. Individuals, both
    non-prior (NPS) and prior service (PS), must be eligible to enlist and meet
    all additional prerequisites listed below:

    a. Must be 20 years of age by graduation of CMF 11 One Station Unit
    Training (OSUT) and have not reached their 30th birthday prior to ship date.

    b. Qualified for, and volunteer for airborne training (must have
    airborne stamp on physical).

    c. Must be a U.S. Citizen.

    d. Minimum scores of 110 GT and 98 CO.

    e. High School Diploma Graduate (Tier 1). HSSR/ENRL applicants are
    not authorized enlistment into CMF 18X.

    I don’t know when the Army decided to accept applicants with GEDs select the special forces candidate enlistment option, but they didn’t back when Snowden claims to have gone in as an 18X. For that you had to have a diploma.

    Steve57 (7895a0)

  24. Just so you know, from poking around on the various Army sites were I found the messages about the 18X program, people commented that when they tried to get an 18X contract they were told people with GEDs weren’t eligible.

    There were other routes they could take if the wanted SF, but not that one.

    And those comments are from 2007, so no one can accuse them of manufacturing smears to tar Snowden.

    Steve57 (7895a0)

  25. there’s like a thousand alternate ways to get Tier 1 status though

    http://www.usarec.army.mil/im/formpub/REC_PUBS/R601_101.pdf

    (start on p. 5)

    please let me know if you have any further questions about the military Mr. 57

    :)

    happyfeet (4bf7c2)

  26. A GED is Tier II. You can get Tier 1 status if you also have sufficient college credits, and it appears Snowden lied to get that Tier 1 status. From the ABC timeline I linked to earlier.

    2002: Snowden attends Catonsville Community College, according to his Army records, but a spokesperson for the school told ABC News that the name for that school had been changed in 1998 and there was “no record” of any student by that name. (Source: Army records, Community College of Baltimore County Catonsville)

    So he told the Army he attended a college but gave them the old, wrong name. And the school says they have nor record of him.

    Anyway, what do you think of your boy Snowden spilling his guts to the CHICOMs about US cyber warfare capabilities and intentions?

    Of course it’s possible those documents are forgeries like his college transcript.

    Steve57 (7895a0)

  27. so far me and Edward we’re all good

    happyfeet (4bf7c2)

  28. Steve, you yourself have documented that Snowden did enlist in the 18X program. This he was not lying to say that he was in this program, nor was it a lie to say he broke his legs while in training, with aspirations for special forces.

    it appears Snowden lied to get that Tier 1 status

    Maybe. Maybe a recruiter lied. Maybe a commander made an exception on the GED. Maybe he really has those college credits. Who cares? Snowden was in the 18X program, and broke his legs before he got to SF training, and it’s not his fault Uncle Jimbo doesn’t worry about getting details accurate on his posts.

    what do you think of […] Snowden spilling his guts to the CHICOMs about US cyber warfare capabilities and intentions?

    He should be shot.

    Dustin (303dca)

  29. BTW, Steve, keep FERPA in mind when considering a school offering no record of a student’s attendance to a reporter. Call your own school and say you’re a reporter and want to know if Steve 57 attended, and see what happens.

    I have no problem with Snowden making sure the American people know what is done on our behalf, and I’m confident there are people out there who are actively trying to smear him. I also think Snowden crossed the line in how he did his good deed, and I’m skeptical of his motives. But take anything said about this kid with a grain of salt.

    Dustin (303dca)

  30. I’m uncomfortable with this idea of shooting Edward

    happyfeet (4bf7c2)

  31. All this Uncle Jimbo/MM “Snowden faked his resume” stuff ignores that Snowden was vetted by experts for his security clearances, more than once. No?

    nk (875f57)

  32. good point

    happyfeet (4bf7c2)

  33. All this Uncle Jimbo/MM “Snowden faked his resume” stuff ignores that Snowden was vetted by experts for his security clearances, more than once. No?

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 6/13/2013

    That’s a good point. Remember that this is a rather minor requirement, and exceptions can (and in many cases should) be made.

    I’m not about to denigrate anyone’s military service, or their willingness to do something amazing and difficult to defend their country, especially when it ended in injury, unless I have some hard facts.

    I’m uncomfortable with this idea of shooting Edward

    Comment by happyfeet (4bf7c2) — 6/13/2013

    Life in prison would be OK too. Snowden crossed the line giving that kind of information to that government. He betrayed us, and that calls everything else he’s doing into question.

    Dustin (303dca)

  34. Why did the NSA ask for permission from Verizon? Was it possible for Verizon to say no?

    If it was then that would mean Verizon already possesses the capability to disrupt NSA’s activities.

    IF they can do it, they can market it.

    How about some NSALock &#169 ?

    What if millions of people bought it?

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  35. Life in prison would be OK too. Snowden crossed the line giving that kind of information to that government. He betrayed us, and that calls everything else he’s doing into question.

    Comment by Dustin (303dca) — 6/13/2013 @ 4:17 pm

    So did Clinton. Been calling for him to be shot? Put in prison for life?

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  36. Did Snowden even understand that the NSA surveils the enemy’s communications, that’s not even clear from his statements, he seems to labor under the same misapprehensions as his mouthpiece Greenwald,

    narciso (3fec35)

  37. cheap smear artist “Uncle Jimbo”

    I will take the word of UJ over feets anyday.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  38. Mr. Dustin i think the betrayals what the NSA has done on us dwarf anything Edward has done or even conceived of doing

    happyfeet (c60db2)

  39. I will take the word of UJ over feets anyday.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 6/13/2013

    The smearing of Michael Yon was illuminating, and it’s crystal clear from Jimbo’s responses in his discussion thread that he doesn’t care what the truth is. This kid didn’t say he was in SF training… the dumb media did. He was in the 18X program, and no one has shown he lied about that or to get into that program, although plenty are willing to say he did anyway.

    So did Clinton. Been calling for him to be shot? Put in prison for life?

    Comment by papertiger (c2d6da) — 6/13/2013 @ 4:22 pm

    Unfortunately, some people are above the law in this country. I was just a kid when Clinton supposedly gave weapons technology to China, and must confess I don’t know the specifics or authenticity of those claims. If he did do that, I guess he might have some kind of foreign policy defense (like he had to negotiate this away out of necessity), but that seems far-fetched.

    I believe the laws should apply equally to Snowden and Clinton, for what it’s worth. China’s human rights abuses are horrible, and anything prolonging that government or strengthening its military is also horrible, in my opinion.

    Dustin (303dca)

  40. Mr. Dr. that is hurtful, what you said

    happyfeet (c60db2)

  41. Sigh. “Cheap smear artist”? This is why the personal insults being flung about obscure the topic. But folks seem to think that that style is all cutsie.

    However, it does have a cost. Speaking of “cheap”—the high school trash talking cheapens debate, and reduces discussion to series of faux-tough poses.

    But no worries. It’s cute.

    Even though the topic is actually deadly serious. Sounding cute is much more important.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  42. Mr. Dustin i think the betrayals what the NSA has done on us dwarf anything Edward has done or even conceived of doing

    Comment by happyfeet (c60db2) — 6/13/2013

    I tend to agree, although I want to make sure that the claims I’m hearing are accurate. Mr Snowden’s behavior is difficult to accept. This is a guy who broke his bones for his country and wanted to be a green beret. Surely he has the backbone to stand before congress and offer this information directly! Blow the whistle on Fox News of you have to.

    Perhaps you think that is too much bravery to demand, but surely you can see that the other end of the spectrum: hiding in a communist country and giving them intel on legitimate operations, is totally unacceptable!

    Dustin (303dca)

  43. It was this 1984 song I was thinking of in the other thread, MD.

    The written word is a lie
    and our children are spies
    yet I don’t want to die.
    Proof lies in the words that I write
    but if I were to fight
    would it be worth my life?
    They sing what ever they choose
    only birds and proles do
    why should I not sing to?
    what have I to lose?
    unless their price is you.
    You are a risk I will take
    for every law I can break
    proves I am their mistake.
    Beaten and broken apart
    it’s a science, an art
    but they can’t break my heart.
    We will do whatever they ask
    staying out of their grasp
    was an impossible task.
    Their wrong outweighs their right
    but how can I fight,
    when they threaten my life?
    Two and two equal five.
    In the place with no light.

    nk (875f57)

  44. . “Cheap smear artist”?

    Michael Yon had a series of amazing journalism pieces on Afghanistan, exposing huge problems. Bloggers who were not actually doing journalism, but rather just rehashing DoD press releases, all ganged up and concluded Yon to be crazy.

    It was then that I realized that a lot of the warbloggers would be unfair to those who cause problems for the DoD. Maybe they think they are doing a good thing, but it is good to be skeptical, and the BS about Snowden’s SF claims are a perfect example of where they get the story completely wrong.

    Dustin (303dca)

  45. Agee was upset about his Btasilian girlfriend being tortured, anyways that was the excuse why Simenov recruited him, Boyce was considered about Pine Gap, a NSA station in Australia, Ames about the Reagan arms buildup, that is never the actual reason,

    narciso (3fec35)

  46. Dustin, from what we know about Snowden he is exactly who the Army would not have wanted for the 18X enlistment option. When I was rooting around to find my information I came across this thread from 2008:

    http://www.socnet.com/showthread.php?t=81210

    18X Program

    I was tasked with reestablishing the 18X program in Apr 2001, well before 11 Sep. Part of the planning included extensive communication within both the active and retired communities. My job as a staff person was doing the nuts and bolts. We did extensive analysis of the original 18X program, and its attrition, conducted market analysis to determine potential recruiting pool, and coordinated (argued ad nauseum in staff speak) with HRC and Recruiting Command on minimum standards, and more importantly, optimal standards. We wanted to recruit mainly on colleges and in college and professional sports (minor leaguers, good athletes just not quite enough for the pros, etc).

    …Quality. Our average 18X candidate is 21/22, has 1-2 years of college, played organized athletics in high school. About 16% have BAs. Interesting, in studies I did 3 years ago, about 8% have experience as missionaries. Program is not supposed to accept GEDs, but some have slipped in. We wanted actual HSDG, since that demonstrates commitment.

    Commitment. Data clearly shows people who can not make a decision and con not commit themselves to a goal do poorly in our program…

    We know based upon what Snowden himself has said, and then some in the media have verified (or debunked), is that he dropped out of HS as a sophomore. Then he started taking courses at Anne Arundel Community College. He never earned a degree or certificate. In fact I’ve read he started a GED program while there, and never completed it. He later claims to have gotten his GED, but who knows.

    When the people at SWCS say they didn’t let him in and never would have let him in, that’s true. Had they known just what Snowden’s telling the Guardian, they wouldn’t have. He didn’t meet their standards.

    I would love to see what kind of package he put together to convince the Army to let him into that program.

    Steve57 (7895a0)

  47. Then he started taking courses at Anne Arundel Community College. He never earned a degree or certificate. In fact I’ve read he started a GED program while there, and never completed it. He later claims to have gotten his GED, but who knows.

    That’s interesting musing. Who in the world at the school is revealing that this person enrolled in programs and then didn’t complete them? Who is revealing what degrees he didn’t earn? Whoever that is, they are either a liar or they are breaking FERPA, right? So I would take that with a grain of salt.

    he is exactly who the Army would not have wanted for the 18X enlistment option

    Well, the Army put him in that program, so I guess you’re wrong.

    I would love to see what kind of package he put together to convince the Army to let him into that program.

    He probably had a great GT score and was asked to take a DLAB and did well on it.

    Now, I’ll give you this much: hindsight being 20:20, of course he was not a good match for any program of importance or with any confidentiality.

    Dustin (303dca)

  48. Dustin- For awhile Michael Yon was seen as a top notch reliable journalist. I did not follow his fall from the spotlight. I know that not only did some mil-bloggers think he was not reliable, but he also stopped showing up on Hewitt, which is where I first learned of him. I never knew enough to make a judgement.

    My limited experience with a few mil-blogs, Blackfive being one, is I’ve never seen them to be a mouthpiece for the DoD. A mouthpiece for the soldier, yes, but not for the DoD.
    And I’ve always thought there has been a very fair comment section there. You could see trollish behavior, but you also saw other military with different views on things. In fact, more than once I have seen different BlackFive bloggers post contrary views on a subject.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  49. BTW, I think a “GED isn’t good enough, but a public school diploma is” is a poor requirement. Our public schools are simply not of sufficient quality to justify that.

    I also think these candidates should be enlisted 11B and then if they excel they can be sent to SF school (After they succeed in the prior other schools). That how I thought it was supposed to work.

    Dustin (303dca)

  50. My limited experience from the son of a friend who enlisted in the Army/ 82nd Airborne about 5 years ago was that regular army wasn’t even taking GED’s at the time.

    In some ways, I don’t care. I think Snowden probably could have gone to someone in Congress on an intel committee rather than going to the press, and who knows what anyone is doing. Heck, we all watch Obama and Holder and Clinton lie to our faces and nothing comes of it, we shouldn’t we expect that some people in NSA, etc. are doing things we don’t like.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  51. MD, I think Jimbo is well intentioned, but biased. I wouldn’t say he’s a mouthpiece of the DoD either, but I think he has his friends, some of them are PR types associated with high ranking brass, and human nature is what it is.

    There’s no question in my mind that the way Yon was treated was atrocious, and that it was caused specifically by Yon complaining about the situation in Afghanistan well before it became clear the scope of our problems there. It was a coordinated smear.

    Dustin (303dca)

  52. My limited experience from the son of a friend who enlisted in the Army/ 82nd Airborne about 5 years ago was that regular army wasn’t even taking GED’s at the time.

    That was certainly the case when I joined the Army in 1998, not far from when Snowden joined. But waivers can be granted, and in many cases, they should be granted.

    Dustin (303dca)

  53. Dustin, FERPA allows schools to disclose what’s called “directory information.” That includes dates of enrollment and degrees or certificates the individual may have received.

    Which is why Anne Arundel Community College confirmed that information to ABC news. There’s nothing illegal about doing so.

    In any case the proper response if they get a request for information that a school can’t legally release is to say they can’t discuss that information. Not to say that they have no record of that student ever attending.

    So given that Anne Arundel public schools and community college confirmed for reporters that Edward Snowden attended without violating FERPA, but Catonsville and Johns Hopkins told reporters that they have no record of a student by that name ever attending then the simplest conclusion is that Edward Snowden didn’t attend those schools. Because if he did they’re publicly calling him a liar, and that is no way to respect a former student’s privacy. Not to mention defamatory.

    Steve57 (7895a0)

  54. == giving them intel on legitimate operations==

    Aren’t there at least a few doubts about whether these are all entirely legitimate operations? Some are already being de-classified. If they turn out not to be legitimate or not properly authorized in some respects, then how is Snowden or in fact any whistleblower to know who else in government is “in on it” or who can be trusted? Are you so certain that there would be no danger to him in “going through legitimate whistleblower channels’ or “going in front of congress?” Would there have been a car that lost its brakes on the way or a sudden heart attack in the anteroom? Don’t misinterpret my comment. I wish he had not flown the coop to another country. It does look dicey. It does lessen his credibility. But I think some here are quite naive to think that there would not have not been official attempts to shut him up or to disappear him before he told his story if he had even been granted the chance to make a case. I know I won’t and can’t and shouldn’t know everything the government does in the name of national security. But I would sure like to know a lot more than I do now about what “my” government is doing, and I am not the only one who feels this way.

    elissa (d6d80a)

  55. In 2003, much like with the CIA, they probably had a surfeit of candidates for Special Forces, when Manning enlisted some years later, not so much,

    narciso (3fec35)

  56. Dustin, FERPA allows schools to disclose what’s called “directory information.”

    Sure, unless the student objects. Then what? A lot of schools ask outright and a lot of students decline.

    In fact I’ve read he started a GED program while there, and never completed it.

    I don’t think starting a GED program and not completing it is directory information. Not that I even know where you read this.

    In any case the proper response if they get a request for information that a school can’t legally release is to say they can’t discuss that information.

    That’s not really correct. At least at my school, if you decline, you won’t be in the publicly accessible database. The only way to get the information is for the student to personally go to the registrar and request the information. Otherwise, it’s easy to see whoever answered the phone call from the reporter either not seeing the information or at least saying something that ABC would paraphrase as such.

    Sorry, your evidence is weak and you already showed us that the Army accepted Snowden into the 18X program. Whatever they used to verify enrollment, I guess they did that. I seem to recall I had to go to my registrar and get a certified and sealed transcript.

    Dustin (303dca)

  57. Aren’t there at least a few doubts about whether these are all entirely legitimate operations?

    All? Of course. I think your question should instead as if “any” are legitimate operations. I think that our espionage programs against China’s computer systems are “legitimate” secrets.

    Dustin (303dca)

  58. narciso, according to the news reports and later confirmed by the Army, started increasing the number of recruitment waivers in 2005. The trend in the prior four years was that the Army was issuing fewer waivers.

    So it’s unlikely they would have waived the HS diploma requirement just to get Snowden in.

    Besides, the point of the 18X program was to get in quality recruits. The Army was trying to recruit applicants that could complete the training pipeline and make it into special forces. They were trying to avoid recruiting applicants who wouldn’t do well. Snowden fit the profile of someone who wouldn’t do well.

    Steve57 (7895a0)

  59. Snowden flees to that
    bastion of freedom China
    one oar in water

    Colonel Haiku (221436)

  60. I think you’re avoiding my question about what his options were. And I don’t think it’s the idea of secret espionage programs against China’s computer systems that have people in America up in arms.

    elissa (d6d80a)

  61. Barcky 0bama
    observing from teh sidelines
    Man Who Wasn’t There

    Colonel Haiku (221436)

  62. I think you’re avoiding my question about what his options were.

    I thought I had discussed that a while back.

    I think Snowden should have gone on an American news program, or before an oversight committee. He then would have had to face consequences, in all probability. I believe he should have been willing to do so.

    But suppose you don’t agree that a whistleblower should be so brave. Surely you can see that practically defecting to China to document our intelligence operations one doesn’t agree with is not in the American citizen’s best interest. Which is why I question this guy’s motives.

    I guess I take it for granted that someone with common sense can think of a few better options, but maybe I overestimate others.

    I don’t think it’s the idea of secret espionage programs against China’s computer systems that have people in America up in arms.

    You’re probably right, but so what? Revealing documents about the kind of program is blatantly illegal, as well as immoral. He should be given a harsh penalty, and I’m sincere when I say that the harshest penalty of all is justified.

    Dustin (303dca)

  63. Dustin, the student can’t opt out of releasing some types of directory information.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/34/99.37

    (c) A parent or eligible student may not use the right under paragraph (a)(2) of this section to opt out of directory information disclosures to prevent an educational agency or institution from disclosing or requiring a student to disclose the student’s name, identifier, or institutional e-mail address in a class in which the student is enrolled

    Snowden’s name would have been in the publicly accessible data base.

    Steve57 (7895a0)

  64. unshaven woman
    somewhere in New Mexico
    you lawless hussy

    Colonel Haiku (221436)

  65. Res f***ing ipsa loquitor, Steve. He was given top secret clearances. He was investigated. By the FBI for sure and whoever else does this stuff. No matter what the internet says now. And if he used the mystical powers he acquired in Tibet to confuse the minds of everybody who vetted him, so what? What does it have to do with the rocks he turned over and the grubs writhing in the sunlight?

    And, BTW, if we are going to start shooting people let’s start with the ones who made us the Muslim Brotherhood’s air force in Libya and now want to make us Al Qaida’s air force in Syria. Those are the dangerous traitors.

    nk (875f57)

  66. How ’bout that John Kerry! The loutish wannabe Lothario gifts our self-proclaimed enemy Egypt with a billion dollars.

    Colonel Haiku (221436)

  67. Let the Syrian people enjoy the type of friendly relations their leader(s) have employed in Lebanon and Iraq. Not our problem.

    Colonel Haiku (221436)

  68. Next we’ll find out he’s been ordering waterboarding. Really. Is anything out of the question?

    Comment by ukuleledave (c59551) — 6/13/2013 @ 7:55 am

    Only on Tea Party members and Christians. He sends terrorists weapons, and aids them with air support.

    peedoffamerican (ee1de0)

  69. Dustin did you even read my comment at 54 concerning issues with his going to a domestic news program or oversight committee or congress? Being willing to accept punishment is one thing. Putting yourself in a position to get dead or disappeared even before you can speak your piece about a secret agency’s programs isn’t brave. It’s suicidal. It’s setting yourself up as a sitting duck. It’s stupid if your main goal is to make public something you believe should be made public and you already know you don’t trust the government. Did you notice I mentioned that I agree he should not have gone to Hong Kong? You seem awfully scarily sure that what he did was illegal and immoral, yet since everything is classified we really don’t know that what the government is doing wasn’t even more illegal and immoral, do we? And how do we ever find out these things once they’ve been classified? Maybe some of us are just more curious than others about what goes on behind the closed doors of the NSA, and are more cynical about how things get classified and how data is used. It almost sounds like maybe without any additional info you just decided that he should be shot as a traitor now, or that you would not mind at all if he had been killed before he could speak.

    elissa (d6d80a)

  70. …you already showed us that the Army accepted Snowden into the 18X program.

    Have I? I haven’t shown anything except that ABC has confirmed that Snowden was in the Army for a few months. Other than that we have some anonymous Army source telling Politico one thing about Snowden being an 18X while special warfare is telling them another.

    If he was an 18X is still an open question. But if he was an 18X then I’d like to see what was in his package that convinced the Army to accept him. Because they were giving fewer waivers in 2004 then they had in 2003, and fewer in 2003 than in 2002, etc.

    In addition to his GED his pattern at school later fit the pattern of someone they didn’t want according to the guy who designed the program.

    Commitment. Data clearly shows people who can not make a decision and con not commit themselves to a goal do poorly in our program. Specifically, we have tried to block prior service accessions onto 18X. The pass rate is comparable to the 18 year old market. You were AD, didnt like it, went NG, didnt like it, now not just want, but demand, SF and priviledged status and treatment.

    He’s talking about prior service in this case, but it applies to their minimum and optimum standards in general. They tried to weed out applicants who have a track record of starting things and not finishing them.

    Another reason I am suspicious of Snowden is that he apparently didn’t tell the Army recruiter about all those courses he took at Anne Arundel Community College. ABC was pretty meticulous about citing their sources for each item in the time line. When they have multiple sources they cite that fact.

    1999-2005: Snowden takes a variety of classes from Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland. He does not take any cyber security or computer science classes, however, and he never earns a certificate or degree. (Source: Anne Arundel Community College)

    2002: Snowden attends Catonsville Community College, according to his Army records, but a spokesperson for the school told ABC News that the name for that school had been changed in 1998 and there was “no record” of any student by that name. (Source: Army records, Community College of Baltimore County Catonsville)

    When I went in I had to get certified copies of all my HS and college transcripts. I couldn’t pick and choose.

    Steve57 (7895a0)

  71. elissa, that’s comment 55 for me for some reason, and yeah, I read it.

    You seem awfully scarily sure that what he did was illegal and immoral

    Yes, I am quite sure that revealing our clandestine operations against China is illegal and immoral. Don’t conflate that with blowing the whistle on the NSA collecting information about innocent Americans.

    we really don’t know that what the government is doing wasn’t even more illegal and immoral, do we?

    No, we don’t. Why is it necessary to reveal how we spy on China in order to reveal crimes against the American people?

    It almost sounds like maybe without any additional info you just decided that he should be shot as a traitor now, or that you would not mind at all if he had been killed before he could speak.

    Then I must have communicated poorly. I believe that Snowden’s revealing our clandestine operations against a brutal country that could very well be hostile to us in the near future was treasonous and that this makes Snowden a traitor.

    I would have preferred he blew the whistle on any illegal activities and then stopped short of committing horrible crimes. Then he’d be a good guy instead of a bad guy.

    I’m not convinced Snowden has actually given us any interesting information, and suspect this is a bit of a show and his motives are selfish as well as far from concerned for American citizens.

    Check out bona fide NSA Whistle Blower Bill Binney. I believe this is a more credible and important discussion of the very same things that Snowden has be lauded for exposing. Seriously, take a few minutes and watch it.

    Dustin (303dca)

  72. And, BTW, if we are going to start shooting people let’s start with the ones who made us the Muslim Brotherhood’s air force in Libya and now want to make us Al Qaida’s air force in Syria. Those are the dangerous traitors.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 6/13/2013

    I regret the comment now! OK, instead of shooting him I just want him given a fair trial and then maybe an injection.

    It is ridiculous what Obama is setting us up for in Syria.

    I fail to understand the significance of this ‘he only had a GED’ thing. Hell, are we that proud of public schools now?

    Dustin (303dca)

  73. You know it’s almost impossible to be too cynical about how this government seems to support our enemies and demonize our top intelligence officers;

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/13/cia-lawsuit-stalling-war-crimes-inquiry?guni=Network%20front:network-front%20main-3%20Main%20trailblock:Network%20front%20-%20main%20trailblock:Position5

    narciso (3fec35)

  74. You actually made me curious as to whether military executions were still by “musketry”. They’re not, they’re lethal injection now.

    nk (875f57)

  75. It sounds like the upshot of this is that Obama is not doing anything different in kind, but is doing something different in scope.

    Except that with Bush, there was no judicial or legislative oversight, thus making the potential for abuse more likely.

    That, and scope, are the two differences.

    Kman (5576bf)

  76. This is as subtle a retreat as from Stalingrad;

    The Guardian has not revised any of our articles and, to my knowledge, has no intention to do so. That’s because we did not claim that the NSA document alleging direct collection from the servers was true; we reported – accurately – that the NSA document claims that the program allows direct collection from the companies’ servers. Before publishing, we went to the internet companies named in the documents and asked about these claims. When they denied it, we purposely presented the story as one of a major discrepancy between what the NSA document claims and what the internet companies claim, as the headline itself makes indisputably clear:

    narciso (3fec35)

  77. This supposedly explains the current program, but he asks us to take it on faith;

    http://www.vanityfair.com/online/eichenwald/2013/06/prism-isnt-data-mining-NSA-scandal?mbid=social_retweet

    narciso (3fec35)


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