Patterico's Pontifications

9/8/2013

Obama Lied to Public About Whether Government Was Listening to Our Calls

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:15 pm



Hope and change? I guess an increased ability to surveil Americans is change . . .

From the Washington Post yesterday:

The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases, according to interviews with government officials and recently declassified material.

In addition, the court extended the length of time that the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted U.S. communications from five years to six years — and more under special circumstances, according to the documents, which include a recently released 2011 opinion by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, then chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

What had not been previously acknowledged is that the court in 2008 imposed an explicit ban — at the government’s request — on those kinds of searches, that officials in 2011 got the court to lift the bar and that the search authority has been used.

Note that the ban was initially imposed in 2008 at the Bush administration’s request (Obama took office in January 2009) and was later reversed at the request of the Obama administration.

It is, of course, apparent that the authority existed before the Bush administration request in 2008, so it’s not as though the request was unprecedented. However, it is striking that Obama, who as a candidate had criticized Bush on this precise point, was the one to reverse Bush’s request.

Still more striking is the fact that Obama blatantly lied about this in June.

Let me support that strong statement.

Although the article is poorly worded, it appears clear from the article as a whole that the actual content of the calls themselves are among the material that the government sought authority to search with respect to Americans. The article says “intercepted phone calls” are part of the material that the government sought authority to obtain. This conclusion is reinforced by this quote from Sen. Ron Wyden, who knows quite well the scope of what the government can obtain:

“The [surveillance] Court documents declassified recently show that in late 2011 the court authorized the NSA to conduct warrantless searches of individual Americans’ communications using an authority intended to target only foreigners,” Wyden said in a statement to The Washington Post. “Our intelligence agencies need the authority to target the communications of foreigners, but for government agencies to deliberately read the e-mails or listen to the phone calls of individual Americans, the Constitution requires a warrant.”

So government apparently has the authority, at Obama’s request, to “listen to the phone calls of individual Americans.”

But Obama said precisely the opposite in June 2013:

“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” President Barack Obama said Friday as he tried to reassure Americans who have had to digest a dizzying array of revelations in the past few days.

Watch the video, in which he clearly and repeatedly states that nobody is listening to the content of the calls:

Unless I am missing something, Obama stood in front of the American people and deliberately lied right to their face.

Would it be too much to ask our Watchdog Press to ask him a question about this?

69 Responses to “Obama Lied to Public About Whether Government Was Listening to Our Calls”

  1. So much for all the “Boooosh did it” defenses.

    SPQR (768505)

  2. Where is there anything in here about listening to…calls?

    The phone calls are intercepted and the metadata saved, while only the contents of e-mails and text messages might be preserved – but you use your eyes for that, not your ears.

    Sammy Finkelman (6f9f42)

  3. Non-story. Bush is evil, Obama is God and a Democrat and Black and is the most intelligent president ever. And all of you are racists for even thinking otherwise.

    As an aside, who in their right mind would ever watch Farting Illini football? Man you attract some strange people to this web site.

    Ipso Fatso (1e3278)

  4. Where is there anything in here about listening to…calls?

    The phone calls are intercepted and the metadata saved, while only the contents of e-mails and text messages might be preserved – but you use your eyes for that, not your ears.

    I addressed that in the post. As I said, the article is not crystal clear, but if you actually look at the quotes and evidence I provided in the post, rather than acting like I didn’t even address the issue, you might find some substance to respond to.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  5. “Would it be too much to ask our Watchdog Press to ask him a question about this?”

    Yes. It’s too much to ask.

    rrpjr (ea79ee)

  6. Well unless it was in the morning paper in 2011 President Obama surely did not know about it when he spoke in June 2013. So it’s silly and unfair to blame him for “mis-speaking”. Anyhow, it was prolly just some rogue low level bureaucrat in Dubuque who got that reversal and extension.

    elissa (6b3fdb)

  7. Excellent post.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  8. “This was the moment when the rise of the listening posts began, and every one of your written and spoken words were intercepted and analyzed.”

    – President Barack Hussein Obama, of the United States of Oceania

    Colonel Haiku (e8b3e4)

  9. Obama lies, and the usual suspects rush out to defend him.

    the only thing more disgusting than our SCOAMF are the scum who make excuses for his deliberate destruction of our country.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  10. Far too much to ask.

    htom (412a17)

  11. What? Obama listen to telephone calls? Nope. He may have the thinnest skin and one whoppin’ set of the biggest ears this side of the Great Rift, but he don’t hear no discouragin’ words. No sirree Bob.

    According to Ear Leader, he sat in Reverend Wright’s church for 20 years and never heard any of the regular racist hatred dished up on Sunday mornings like potato salad at covered dish diners, only the metadata and the campaign contributions attracted his attention.

    ropelight (2536cc)

  12. If you like your health care you can keep it.

    Steve57 (35dd46)

  13. Barack Obama
    “No blood for ego!” peeps say
    Sean Penn MIA

    Colonel Haiku (e8b3e4)

  14. Barack Obama
    Dude lied and peeps said “no more!”
    Martin Sheen missing

    Colonel Haiku (e8b3e4)

  15. So then what does he do with those big Dumbo-sized ears ?

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  16. Your health care premiums by $2500.

    Steve57 (35dd46)

  17. Your health care premiums will go down by $2500.

    Steve57 (35dd46)

  18. I’m having the same problem with my keyboard that Obama is having with his teleprompter.

    Fortunately, I don’t have my trigger finger on the nuclear button.

    Steve57 (35dd46)

  19. For future reference, the EFF has an excellent timeline and summary of evidence regarding NSA surveillance.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  20. I like my health insurance and I want to keep it, but last week both my GP and my Dermatologist served notice that on 1/1/14 they’ll no longer be able to see me. I expect the same bad news from 2 other specialists on my next scheduled visits.

    I’d like to do to Obama exactly what he’s doing to me, and see how he likes it.

    ropelight (2536cc)

  21. The Syria adventure will be short term and finely tailored. You can take that to the bank.

    Steve57 (35dd46)

  22. Promise.

    Steve57 (35dd46)

  23. 4. Read and consider before commenting?

    Drive by vandals like me and Sammy are above propriety.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  24. Would it be too much to ask our Watchdog Press to ask him a question about this?

    A better question is, would it be too much to ask the American People to do something about the press?

    Because it’s beyond doubt (and has been for some time) that they just aren’t interested in doing their job.

    scrubone (e7e0ea)

  25. yes, it’s all part of the same thing;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJN3RllaGKk

    narciso (3fec35)

  26. Note the very explicit restriction that the calls must have a reasonable probability of being with foreigners. This is still intended as a foreign intelligence gathering operation.

    Hopefully NSA & FISAC have procedures to deal with what happens when a foreign communication is not involved.

    John Moore (3f1a01)

  27. That’s reassuring, it has worked so well in the past.

    Colonel Haiku (819c71)

  28. I still remember the echoes of “good man” on this site …. oh how time has passed.

    OT LOL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/10294082/Global-warming-No-actually-were-cooling-claim-scientists.html

    Rodney King's Spirit (ae12ec)

  29. You can trust content from Patterico because he kept an open mind about Obama, Rodney King’s Spirit. (I’m curious. Why did you choose that name?)

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  30. #29 “Why can’t we all just get along!”

    Rodney King's Spirit (ae12ec)

  31. #29 Plus I like to randomly change names that have meaning. Not to say that is always the case but I try.

    Rodney King's Spirit (ae12ec)

  32. The watch dog press is too busy preparing the bus for the next hit and run.

    mg (31009b)

  33. Go back and read how Obama won his previously elections. Using private data for his own gain is in his DNA. I sincerely believe that Obama is a textbook sociopath. Only when he leaves the Democrat Party in shambles will the true Obama be exposed. (In the end the media’s loyalty is to the party of the left, not Obama.) I predict the revelations will be mind blowing.

    Funeral Guy (c4b0a5)

  34. PS. I also believe that 90% of all politicians are sociopaths. The perfect profession for those lacking a conscience.

    Funeral Guy (c4b0a5)

  35. 4.”Where is there anything in here about listening to…calls?

    The phone calls are intercepted and the metadata saved, while only the contents of e-mails and text messages might be preserved – but you use your eyes for that, not your ears.”

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 9/8/2013 @ 1:47 pm

    I addressed that in the post. As I said, the article is not crystal clear, but if you actually look at the quotes and evidence I provided in the post, rather than acting like I didn’t even address the issue, you might find some substance to respond to.

    Yes, I see. There is one thing you can draw out out of hat the reporter says in his own name and there is another thing you can draw out of what senaor Ron Wyden says.

    I would inerprte what Sen wyden says as referring to cases where a FISA court order authorized listening in to a telephone conversation BEFORE it was done.

    This cannot be ageneral subpoena because calls are not generally recorded snd can’t be trapped, and they can’t try because it is too many terabytes. Digital files take up far less space than analog. And voice calls are analog.

    Sammy Finkelman (324ec1)

  36. I’m sorry but I still don’t understand your name. I know who Rodney King is but I don’t understand the significance of using it here.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  37. If war we must
    Is war just?
    Or just Hte One’s ego?

    bobatHome (56b1d2)

  38. West Point cadets
    Pledge life for Hte One
    And us?

    bobatHome (56b1d2)

  39. DRJ (#36)
    Rodney King was a drug addict who spent some of his final years in Altadena. He was horrified by the violence that the MFM created over his beating. I think RK’s spirit is simply a reflection of things that might, or should, have been.

    bobatHome (56b1d2)

  40. Sammy:

    Digital files take up far less space than analog. And voice calls are analog

    Cell phones have been digital since 2008 and, as of 2011, 83% of Americans owned a cell phone.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  41. Thanks, bobathome.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  42. Landline voice calls are transmitted digitally between the telcos switches and have been for many years as well.

    SPQR (768505)

  43. 42. Like the early 80’s anyway.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  44. I have come to the conclusion that Obama is so stupid and so unaware of what’s going on that evil people are doing these things and just patting him on the head.

    Patricia (be0117)

  45. 42. Comment by SPQR (768505) — 9/8/2013 @ 6:51 pm

    Landline voice calls are transmitted digitally between the telcos switches and have been for many years as well.

    And like CDs it can be compressed – but the raw data is analog, and it takes up far more bandwidth per idea than does anything written.

    How many bytes is the preceding paragraph as text, and hiw many bytes would be the smallest audio file of those words being written?

    Sammy Finkelman (b71b87)

  46. Sammy, the dynamic range of telephone circuits is much narrower than CD quality.

    SPQR (768505)

  47. I think Obama, his advisers, and Cabinet members generally know the truth but they parse their words so they can claim they’re telling the truth. When that’s not possible, they forgive themselves for lying because it’s for a good purpose. And on those rare occasions when they know it’s a lie and they can’t find a good purpose, then they rely on the media to cover for them.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  48. 46. The bandwidth used for voice circuits is 4000Hz whereas for classical music the 16 Bit sampling format of CDs permits 44kzHz or 10 times the the range.

    An early encoding system for telecomm voice was 3Bit CVSD.

    Compression schemes aren’t something I’ve studied but 40% the original space would be a good rate, restoring to 99+% fidelity.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  49. Sammy, the lowest bandwidth speech circuits can come in at the 1000 bits per second range. (The public domain CODEC2 is 1200 bps, for example. MELP and CELP can be even lower bandwidth for decent if robotic intelligibility.) Suppose you read 600 six character words per minute or 60 characters per second. 60 characters is 60 BYTEs or 240 bits. So carry the math to the next step, how many WPM do you speak, yourself. {^_-}

    I only scanned above. But I did not notice anybody suggesting Obama had simply phoned it in again and never read any NSA reports. “He was out playing golf that day.” So the obvious question is whether he was intentionally conveying a known falsehood or was he conveying his utter ignorance. With the Obama creature I can’t be certain.

    If the former it’s not the first time “Obama Lied and Something (Somebody) Died.”

    {^_^}

    JDow (d8539e)

  50. Yeah, DRJ, Obama makes these blanket statements that are so easily proven to be lies. He starts parsing after the fact. I guess he knows his base doesn’t care! And his base includes the media.

    Patricia (be0117)

  51. If the lowest quality speech transmission is 1000 bits per second, or lets’s say 1200, that’s that’s 150 bytes (or maybe 120 if we account for check bits)

    And that’s more or less (punctuation and line feeds and maybe carriage returns count too) 120 characters and spaces which should be 20 words at best.

    Is that right?

    Sammy Finkelman (067111)

  52. and they can’t try because it is too many terabytes. Digital files take up far less space than analog. And voice calls are analog.

    Besides all telecommunications having been digitized for many years as other commenters noted, not heard of massive new NSA computer storage in Utah have you? Computers there not dealing with measly Terabyte they aren’t! Storage capability is dealing in Zettabytes!

    To say the new NSA facility in Utah can hold massive amounts of data would be a bit of an understatement. As Catherine Herridge told us on America’s Newsroom, the facility, which is set to go online this fall, could theoretically hold records of every email, cell phone call, Google search and surveillance camera video in America for a very long time. The center will reportedly be able to store five zettabytes worth of information, and will now be looked at more closely after the recent revelations about the NSA’s collection of Verizon users’ records.

    Read more: http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/06/07/how-much-zettabyte-nsa-utah-facility-can-hold-immense-amount-data#ixzz2eNK3FMhq

    But Yoda knows this to be an understatement! Storage there will approach Yoda namesake, Yottabyte!

    Yoda (04dfe5)

  53. Psst! Prease not ask how Yoda knows this do not!

    Yoda (04dfe5)

  54. 53. Psst! Prease not ask how Yoda knows this do not!

    Comment by Yoda (04dfe5) — 9/8/2013 @ 11:46 pm

    Or else kill us must you.

    Steve57 (35dd46)

  55. IIRC, the original program, started after 9-11, involved tapping calls and emails that crossed the border, with the foreign participant being a person of interest. This program was blown by the NY Times, and it was quickly conflated with “tapping everyone’s phones.”

    Once Obama took office, the magic left-wing permission process took hold. It goes like this:

    1. In our fever dreams we accuse the Rethuglicans of X.

    2. Even if they aren’t doing X, they want to, because they are evil.

    3. Left gets in power.

    4. Gee, we sure could use some additional power — but only to help good people and punish evil people — and since the Thugs were doing X, we can too.

    See also: sophistry.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  56. Or else kill us must you.

    Comment by Steve57 (35dd46) — 9/8/2013 @ 11:50 pm

    No, Yoda more afraid of Emperor Palpatine causing exile to Dagobah for Yoda and friends!

    Yoda (a84075)

  57. Powerful with the Dark side the Emperor is, and no young Skywalker available to train this time, there is not!

    Yoda (04dfe5)

  58. .

    Unless I am missing something, Obama stood in front of the American people and deliberately lied right to their face.

    .

    And unless *I* am missing something, he’s been doing this for about 10-15 years.

    Jus’ Sayin’….

    Smock Puppet, Gadfy, Racist-Sexist Thug, and Bon Vivant All In One Package (afdedb)

  59. 58 – SP,G RST, and BV AIOP, You have missed nothing.

    mg (31009b)

  60. Bat guano.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  61. I have come to the conclusion that Obama is so stupid and so unaware of what’s going on

    I’ve often alluded to Obama’s ties (which were personal, emotional and political) to Jeremiah Wright, because I think that relationship truly is a window into Obama’s soul. For the person now in the White House to not just have been so comfortable with the extremist “goddamn America” rhetoric of the minister from Chicago that he happily listened to it for 20 years, but to have done no less than to make that person a major adviser of his speaks volumes about what drives the current president.

    If Obama appears to do things that makes both his leadership and, in turn, this nation look stupid, than that actually fits the desire of a person who thinks the US is damned or should be damned.

    Mark (58ea35)

  62. I apologize in advance for the old link, Judge P:

    http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2013/09/08/judge-jeanine-pirro-explodes-on-obama-over-syria/

    Son of Lies,
    Lord of the Flies,
    stands at the dais,
    innocent people die.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  63. I know, Mark. It’s stupidity or evil, isn’t it?

    Patricia (be0117)

  64. Obama told us he wanted to fundamentally change America and he has. I think we should assume his acts are intentional and he’s smart enough to know what the results will be.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  65. and we have destruction in the guise of fundamental change all around us.

    Colonel Haiku (819c71)

  66. Make it so.

    http://gizmodo.com/nsa-chiefs-former-war-room-was-modeled-after-the-stars-1277508181

    Yeah, we can fix this at the election booth.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  67. That makes me queasy, gary. What’s wrong with these people?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  68. 67. After the sexual harassment training they get the video convincing them they’re with the org because they are the proud, the chosen, the few.

    They never look back.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-09-10/more-nsa-lies-spy-agency-querried-16000-phone-numbers-without-warrants

    That thing about live fire inches over your head? Fluff.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  69. That guy and his hobbies and the people who help facilitate his NSA intelligence fantasies are just plain creepy, gg.

    elissa (6b3fdb)


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