May 12, 2006

More Aiding And Abetting - The NSA Hysteria

You know very often when a meme like this hits the 'net, I don't put to much effort into posting about it because it's so widespread there's not much I can add to it. But a couple of issues really gall me about this, which I'll get to in a minute.

You can always count on the MSM to blare a provocative headline and bury relevant details in the story. Most people are too busy to look at the details and draw their conclusions from the headline, which are reinforced by the Left-leaning talking heads on TV.

To look at the front page of yesterday's copy of USAToday (a paper they have to give away at hotels to get people to read it) you would never know what the true nature of this program is. It's external data. That is, it's just a bunch of phone numbers. There are no names and addresses assigned to them. Yes, it's easy enough to find that info. Hell, I can do it with a Google search. But it wasn't even requested from the phone companies. 99% of that information is extraneous for what it's used for.

The database is used to find patterns - calls going to the Middle East and calls coming in to the U.S. from the Middle East. If a pattern is identified, the numbers are checked against numbers associated with known and suspected terrorists. If it finds nothing, they move on to the next pattern. The NSA is trying to find Al Qaeda sleeper agents in this country. And I guaranty you it's worked in the past. Bull Moose observes:

"As of yet, there is no evidence that the government was eavesdropping on private conversations of innocent citizens. What we know is that it is a collection of phone numbers that were put into super computers to detect patterns of suspect activity. The Bushies were not using information to destroy their political opponents. The NSA is legitimately obtaining data to thwart terrorists.

Has it been a mere coincidence that the American homeland has not been attacked since 9/11? It is likely that the hard and innovative work of dedicated patriots at the NSA and other national security agencies has kept our nation safe." [emphasis mine]

This type of program has been used before and while it is wider is scope that those in the past, it is far less intrusive that policies of past Presidents - including Democrats like Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Clinton. The most recent example is the ECHELON program.

The emphasis here is national security, which has just been breached. Once again, another Clinton-toady intelligence official has leaked information about how we identify enemy activity. This should be an outrage. But no where outside of the Right blogosphere is that issue even discussed. Michelle Malkin weighes in:

"So what if spilling the beans about all of our highest-level efforts to monitor al Qaeda operatives undermines the War on Terror, eh, fellas? Anyway, all the cool kids in elite journalism are doing it. Why should The Washington Post and New York Times get all the glory, right?

And thus, USA Today tapped its anonymous, loose-lipped, illegally leaking sources and breathlessly disclosed a classified data-collection agreement between private phone companies AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth and the National Security Agency. According to the newspaper's piece (a naked attempt to derail former NSA head Gen. Michael Hayden's nomination as CIA chief):

"The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans - most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews."

Note, please: "This program does NOT involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations."

They're looking at massive amounts of numbers and phone-call patterns, not eavesdropping on teenage lovers' quarrels or your neighbor's pizza order or Susan Sarandon's heart-to-hearts with Cindy Sheehan.

And: "The spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity."

Translation: The counterterror experts at the NSA are - gasp - doing their job. And - to their credit - some American companies are stepping up to the plate to help them."

The most amusing aspect of this whole flap is that so many individual Americans - who do not make or receive calls from known or suspected terrorists - actually believe that the government gives a crap about their phone activity. Please.

When you consider the kind of personal information we regularly provide the Federal Government, it puts this silliness into perspective. As the Media Research Center's Rich Noyes explains:

"Given that another government agency — the IRS — maintains information on American citizens’ employment, banking, investments, mortgages, charitable contributions and even any declared medical expenses, this hardly seems like a major assault on personal liberty.” Ooh! Shocking new report! The IRS has a database with your personal information in it! That story is just waiting to be discovered."
UPDATE: 11:55am
Oh, and apparently even the WaPo has to admit that the majority of Americans support these NSA programs:
"The new survey found that 63 percent of Americans said they found the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate terrorism, including 44 percent who strongly endorsed the effort. Another 35 percent said the program was unacceptable, which included 24 percent who strongly objected to it.

A slightly larger majority--66 percent--said they would not be bothered if NSA collected records of personal calls they had made, the poll found."

The same poll shows 51% of respondents approve of the President's handling of these matters. And, considering how skewed to the Left these WaPo polls are, the real number is probably much higher. ABC News has a similar poll with respondents approving of these measures by 2-1. To the MSM, I say "nice try".

Posted by: Gary at 09:06 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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May 09, 2006

"Every Year Is Worse Than The Previous Year"

I wasn't going to bother posting on this topic, as some of the "biggie" blogs have it covered. But this is war.

Al Qaeda is sucking wind in Iraq per a transmission intercepted by CENTCOM who's author bemoans the deteriorating situation of the "jihad" movement against the forces of Democracy. Captain Ed has an excellent analysis.

They are unorganized, running out of ammunition and failing in their attempts to manipulate the U.S. media. They are slowly but surely diminishing from a threat to a nuisance. In other words WE ARE WINNING and THEY ARE LOSING. Big Time.

So desperate are these mujahidin thugs that they are resorting to hacking blogs with Denial-Of-Service attacks. Such an attack went after the and Blogspot sites this morning. Dr. Rusty Shackleford has the details.

Nice try, scumbags.

Posted by: Gary at 12:02 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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May 08, 2006

Bush Names Hayden To Head CIA

The President announced today that Tom Hayden Sterling Hayden Hayden Christensen Michael Hayden (that's General Hayden to you) as the new Director of the CIA, replacing Porter Goss.

Hey, I've been paying no attention to this since Friday so I don't know Gen. Hayden from Adam but the folks at Wizbang are high on this appointment:

"General Hayden is a superb choice for several reasons:

1) He used to run the NSA and the terrorist surveillance program, so he is an expert in these areas.

2) His nomination will bring to the surface those lawmakers who are for a strong national security, particularly the terrorist surveillance program, and those who are not. With the November elections approaching, the American people will need to know this information.

3) He is a military man. In spite of the claims from Rep. Pete Hoekstra that this is a problem, many military men have run the civilian CIA. I'm hoping General Hayden can infuse into the CIA two very important things it needs: discipline and loyalty."

Looks good to me.

Posted by: Gary at 12:14 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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