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Anyone ever hear of Project Echelon NSA phone tapping is childs play:

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NSA phone tapping is a joke compared to Echelon:

ECHELON is a highly secretive world-wide signals intelligence and analysis network run by the UKUSA Community. [1] ECHELON can capture radio and satellite communications, telephone calls, faxes and e-mails nearly anywhere in the world and includes computer automated analysis and sorting of intercepts. [2] ECHELON is estimated to intercept up to 3 billion communications every day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON

During the 1990's under President Clinton, the National Security Agency monitored millions of private phone calls placed by U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries under a super secret program code-named Echelon.

On Friday, the New York Times suggested that the Bush administration has instituted "a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices" when it "secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without [obtaining] court-approved warrants."

But in fact, the NSA had been monitoring private domestic telephone conversations on a much larger scale throughout the 1990s - all of it done without a court order, let alone a catalyst like the 9/11 attacks.

In February 2000, for instance, CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft introduced a report on the Clinton-era spy program by noting:

"If you made a phone call today or sent an e-mail to a friend, there's a good chance what you said or wrote was captured and screened by the country's largest intelligence agency. The top-secret Global Surveillance Network is called Echelon, and it's run by the National Security Agency."
http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2...8/221452.shtml
 

Diogenes

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As I recall, Echelon was part of a Clinton program for international economic espionage, a somewhat less noble motive than Bush's program. Bush critics spent the first several years after 9/11 criticizing him for not connecting the dots, and now they are doing their best to make sure that the dots remain hidden from view.
 

oldreliable67

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Echelon is old technology. No one has complained about it before - so whatever the program is, its something more than plain vanilla Echelon.Ars Technica has a couple of good columns on the mystery program at the heart of the current kerfuffle. The article quotes AG Gonzales, Senator Jay Rockeller and NYTs editor Bill Keller, as follows...

> Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, telling reporters why Bush didn't simply ask Congress to pass a law making the program clearly legal: "We've had discussions with members of Congress, certain members of Congress, about whether or not we could get an amendment to FISA, and we were advised that that was not likely to be - that was not something we could likely get, certainly not without jeopardizing the existence of the program, and therefore, killing the program."

> Senator Jay Rockefeller, in a letter to Dick Cheney after being briefed on the program in 2003: "As I reflected on the meeting today, and the future we face, John Poindexter's TIA project sprung to mind, exacerbating my concern regarding the direction the Administration is moving with regard to security, technology, and surveillance."

> New York Times editor Bill Keller, explaining why the Times finally published its story last week after holding it back for over a year: "In the course of subsequent reporting we satisfied ourselves that we could write about this program — withholding a number of technical details — in a way that would not expose any intelligence-gathering methods or capabilities that are not already on the public record."

None of these quotes makes any sense if the NSA surveillance program involved nothing more than an expansion of a pre-existing program. Congress wouldn't have had any objection to supporting a routine program expansion;Rockefeller wouldn't have been reminded of TIA; and the Times wouldn't have had any issues over divulging sensitive technology.

According to the Ars Technica column, the reference to TIA is especially interesting. TIA was a massive electronic intelligence gathering program designed to mechanically sift through phone calls, emails, and other electronic communications in order to build pictures of how individuals fit into larger networks. TIA became public in 2002, and Congress quickly put the kibosh on it. This is right about the time that Bush secretly signed the executive order authorizing the new NSA surveillance program.

The speculation is that the undescribed new technology used in the NSA surveillance program is or was going to be a part of TIA's massive data collection efforts.

But remember, this is all speculation.
 
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oldreliable67 said:
Echelon is old technology. No one has complained about it before - so whatever the program is, its something more than plain vanilla Echelon.Ars Technica has a couple of good columns on the mystery program at the heart of the current kerfuffle. The article quotes AG Gonzales, Senator Jay Rockeller and NYTs editor Bill Keller, as follows...

> Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, telling reporters why Bush didn't simply ask Congress to pass a law making the program clearly legal: "We've had discussions with members of Congress, certain members of Congress, about whether or not we could get an amendment to FISA, and we were advised that that was not likely to be - that was not something we could likely get, certainly not without jeopardizing the existence of the program, and therefore, killing the program."

> Senator Jay Rockefeller, in a letter to Dick Cheney after being briefed on the program in 2003: "As I reflected on the meeting today, and the future we face, John Poindexter's TIA project sprung to mind, exacerbating my concern regarding the direction the Administration is moving with regard to security, technology, and surveillance."

> New York Times editor Bill Keller, explaining why the Times finally published its story last week after holding it back for over a year: "In the course of subsequent reporting we satisfied ourselves that we could write about this program — withholding a number of technical details — in a way that would not expose any intelligence-gathering methods or capabilities that are not already on the public record."

None of these quotes makes any sense if the NSA surveillance program involved nothing more than an expansion of a pre-existing program. Congress wouldn't have had any objection to supporting a routine program expansion;Rockefeller wouldn't have been reminded of TIA; and the Times wouldn't have had any issues over divulging sensitive technology.

According to the Ars Technica column, the reference to TIA is especially interesting. TIA was a massive electronic intelligence gathering program designed to mechanically sift through phone calls, emails, and other electronic communications in order to build pictures of how individuals fit into larger networks. TIA became public in 2002, and Congress quickly put the kibosh on it. This is right about the time that Bush secretly signed the executive order authorizing the new NSA surveillance program.

The speculation is that the undescribed new technology used in the NSA surveillance program is or was going to be a part of TIA's massive data collection efforts.

But remember, this is all speculation.
In reference to Rockefeller's supposed sealed memo that he wrote if just such an event as the Times article arose I would like to see proof that he didn't write the memo yesterday.
 
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