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The Executive Order That Led To Mass Spying, As Told By NSA Alumni

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the I-see-you dept.

United States 180

An anonymous reader writes with this Ars piece about the executive order that is the legal basis for the U.S. government's mass spying on citizens. One thing sits at the heart of what many consider a surveillance state within the US today. The problem does not begin with political systems that discourage transparency or technologies that can intercept everyday communications without notice. Like everything else in Washington, there's a legal basis for what many believe is extreme government overreach—in this case, it's Executive Order 12333, issued in 1981. “12333 is used to target foreigners abroad, and collection happens outside the US," whistleblower John Tye, a former State Department official, told Ars recently. "My complaint is not that they’re using it to target Americans, my complaint is that the volume of incidental collection on US persons is unconstitutional.” The document, known in government circles as "twelve triple three," gives incredible leeway to intelligence agencies sweeping up vast quantities of Americans' data. That data ranges from e-mail content to Facebook messages, from Skype chats to practically anything that passes over the Internet on an incidental basis. In other words, EO 12333 protects the tangential collection of Americans' data even when Americans aren't specifically targeted—otherwise it would be forbidden under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978.

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Need a big leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780397)

I would like a big leak to happen. Like, 100 million Facebook accounts with private conversations and photos (deleted or not). Can someone make that happen? I think that would be a good starting point for further discussions.

Re:Need a big leak (3, Insightful)

master5o1 (1068594) | about 4 months ago | (#47780439)

If it's just Facebook, then it'll be claimed as a Facebook security breach and not anything related to NSA.

You would want some sort of release of data that collates Facebook accounts to traffic offenses and something to do with cellphone data.

Re:Need a big leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780963)

I bet you could get that info from a facebook data breach as well.

1981 (5, Funny)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 4 months ago | (#47780403)

Three years early!

Re:1981 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781455)

Well, they had to have everything ready for 1984, didn't they?

Reagan is alive! (5, Insightful)

markringen (1501853) | about 4 months ago | (#47780415)

that man is responsible for every disaster on the globe since he ever was president..

Re:Reagan is alive! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780481)

Thanks Obama!

Different era (4, Insightful)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47780575)

That data ranges from e-mail content to Facebook messages, from Skype chats to practically anything that passes over the Internet on an incidental basis.

None of those things existed, when the order was signed, though. And if none of the subsequent Presidents — including the current "tech-savvy" wonder — have abolished it since then (when the explosive use of computers made it truly dangerous), then is Reagan really to blame?

Re:Different era (5, Informative)

AF_Cheddar_Head (1186601) | about 4 months ago | (#47780633)

Yes, Yes he is.

Union breaker
Deficit balloons
Trickle Down
Sandinistas
Iran-Contra
Ollie North
Nancy making decisions when he gets Alzheimer's

You fucking got me started

Re:Different era (5, Insightful)

Feces's Edge (3801473) | about 4 months ago | (#47780675)

He also ramped up the war on drugs, something that so many freedom-hating scumbags in our government have done. So he wasn't a good president, and he definitely didn't want "small government."

But what does that have to do with him being to blame for this specific issue?

Re:Different era (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781327)

Mr. Feces's Edge, tear down this president!

Re:Different era (3, Interesting)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47780741)

Yes, Yes he is.

Because?..

Union breaker .... You fucking got me started

I wish, you had anything on-topic to offer, when you get "started"... The topic, in this case, being the abuse of the Executive Order 12333 [wikipedia.org] by the intelligence community decades after the order was signed.

Re:Different era (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781539)

This started long before this order every happened.

THE FBI, CIA, a host of known and (still) unknown agencies. About 100 years ago, check your history on the "war on communism" civil rights leaders and just about anyone who spoke out against their political leaders or people that were rich and influential were being target. Howard Hughes, MLK Jr, John Kennedy (a little irony in a president being considered a communist who was battling communists) I could keep going with the list of famous people let alone everyday Jane's/Johns.

Really this all started back sometime in the 1920-30's and it only snowballed from there. And that spying was illegal but also kept secretive for some-time until people began to suspect they were purposely being targeted then it became public.

Re:Different era (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780767)

Union breaker - Good. Unions are a disease on this country. We seem to be doing pretty good with out them.
Deficit balloons - There's nothing wrong with deficit spending as long as it's controlled. The world wants our bonds.
Trickle down - Taking less money from the people that need it the most. The ones who actually create jobs and economic growth.
Sandinistas - As I understand it. Reagan had a policy of killing Sandinistas. That's a good thing since they were communists.
Iran-Contra - Getting weapons to the Contras so they can kill communist Sandinistas. Good.
Ollie North - Marine helping to get weapons to Contras so they can kill communists. Good.
Nancy making decisions when he gets Alzheimer's - Is there any actual evidence of this happening?

Re:Different era (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780979)

Union breaker - Good. Unions are a disease on this country. We seem to be doing pretty good with out them.

Sure if you're the ultra wealthy.

Re:Different era (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781045)

Try again, chief. Unions are why the auto makers needed a bailout, why you can't get rid of crappy state and local employees, and why our kids can't get a good education in public schools.

Re:Different era (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781839)

Don't forget, unions also caused global warming. Also don't forget that flagrant mis-management that also lead to them needing a bailout, I would say the problems with GM had very little to do with unions actually, they are just an easy scapegoat.

Re:Different era (1)

sasquatch989 (2663479) | about 4 months ago | (#47781743)

I have to work with unions (telecom). The sooner they die off the better

Re:Different era (3)

Le Marteau (206396) | about 4 months ago | (#47781239)

> Ollie North - Marine helping to get weapons to Contras so they can kill communists. Good.

Congress said "don't do it". North ignored the will of congress, which represents the people. And in doing so, therefore ignored the will of the people. He ignored my representative, therefore, he ignored ME by proxy. I didn't take kindly to such things then, and I don't take kindly when Obama does it now.

The man was no patriot. He was an outlaw. Fuck Oliver North.

Re:Different era (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781725)

> Ollie North - Marine helping to get weapons to Contras so they can kill communists. Good.

Congress said "don't do it". North ignored the will of congress, which represents the people. And in doing so, therefore ignored the will of the people. He ignored my representative, therefore, he ignored ME by proxy. I didn't take kindly to such things then, and I don't take kindly when Obama does it now.

The man was no patriot. He was an outlaw. Fuck Oliver North.

So, umm, what's your take on Obama openly ignoring the law with respect to such things as Obamacare deadlines, the bombing of Libya, the destruction of Lois Lerner's emails, and immigration?

Why do I think it's not going to be, "Fuck Barack Obama"?

Re:Different era (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781851)

Because you attribute to Obama things to which he has not done on top of Obamacare being quite legal and being ruled so in a court of law. Immigration? He sure has tried, and multiple times but he has a congress filled with senators with a stated out loud goal of trying to make him fail as a president. It's no wonder he's taken several missteps, he keeps trying to appease people that are openly hostile to him.

Re: Different era (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781435)

Fuck you. You seriously believe this "job creator" myth? And all that other crap?

The only thing keeping Ronald Reagan from being the worst president in US history is W.

Re: Different era (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781649)

And ...
Nixon
Grant
Buchanan
Jackson
Adams?

Re:Different era (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781511)

Propagandist shill identified!

The Elepahnt (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#47780879)

Yes, Yes he is....

Wow, if you did't like that list, you must REALLY despise Obama. He's given arms all over the map, and under Obama unions have faced massive reductions all over.

Re:Different era (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780895)

Union breaker
Look into the union that was broken. I knew a guy who was on the lines. His reaction? We deserved it. Basically they overreached on what they did for what they were asking for. Regan basically saw that air travel had ground to a halt. He took care of it. Any other president probably would have done something similar.

Nancy making decisions when he gets Alzheimer's
do you have proof of that? and I do not mean 'internet truth' but real facts.

The rest were enabled by a democrat congress. Being as they control the budget and let oliver north go.

You may 'hate' him because he is not on your 'team' but I give him one thing. He was a effective president. Unlike the last 4 who were more concerned about the polls than the public. I felt he actually gave a damn about us. Where as the last 4 jackasses seem more concerned about their party.

Re:Different era (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780907)

Union breaker - that was a good thing! Unions behave like mobsters! Most people are forced to pay these criminals (in Calif., Mass. etc.).
Deficit balloons - that did get the economy going. Unfortunately the government was unable to cut spending (surprise). It is better to do it this way rather than print endless amount of money (like they do now).
Trickle Down - if you earn the money, its yours. Right now the feds are handing free money to the Wall street folks and the rest of us will pay all that through increased inflation.
Sandinistas - always a good idea to take down communists (says someone who's been living right next Soviet Union for a long time)!
Iran-Contra - well, dealing with Iran in any way is always a bad idea. They should be isolated from the rest of the world permanently (just like North Korea).
Ollie North - see above.
Nancy making decisions when he gets Alzheimer's - BS: 1) presidents decision making is based on input from lot of staff members, 2) he was in good shape until the end of his presidency. What we have right now in the office is a total clown. He is run by wall street & unions - anyone left in the middle will loose.

Ronald Reagan was the best president US has ever had!

Re:Different era (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780981)

Ronald Reagan was the best president US has ever had!

That's like lining up murderers, pointing to one guy, and saying that that guy's the best one in the group. It means nothing, because they're all terrible. Ronald Reagan, who increased focus on the freedom-violating war on drugs (along with so many other presidents), was still a freedom-hating scumbag.

Re:Different era (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 4 months ago | (#47781077)

Yes, Yes he is.

Union breaker
Deficit balloons
Trickle Down
Sandinistas
Iran-Contra
Ollie North
Nancy making decisions when he gets Alzheimer's

You fucking got me started

Reagan was a puppet, Bush ran the country.

Re:Different era (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47781493)

Yes, Yes he is.

Union breaker
Deficit balloons
Trickle Down
Sandinistas
Iran-Contra
Ollie North
Nancy making decisions when he gets Alzheimer's

You fucking got me started

Obama was a constitutional law professor for fucks sake.
Regan was an actor.

So who exactly should you be more angry with again?

Re:Different era (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47781551)

Union breaker

Amazing how putting this on the front of your list just discredited your entire post instantly. Public labor unions are a particularly nasty parasite. The union in question, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Union got overly greedy and demonstrated an epic level of hubris.

The results were not so good. Not only did they get burned permanently (the strikers weren't only fired, but banned permanently from employment with the Federal government), but they also set back all labor unions by swinging public opinion massively against labor unions in general.

Re:Different era (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781633)

And the reason why is bad now was because the universities that created the internet and the telcos took the easy way out: use the existing POTS system.

Not the NSA. This is more of a failure of the Govt not changing laws to keep up with the times, nor reevaluating them today.

Re:Reagan is alive! (3)

SpockLogic (1256972) | about 4 months ago | (#47780625)

that man is responsible for every disaster on the globe since he ever was president..

No, no, the right will clam that their beloved President Alzheimer was non compos mentis when he signed 12333 and cannot be held responsible for fucking over the population.

Re:Reagan is alive! (4, Interesting)

Beck_Neard (3612467) | about 4 months ago | (#47780665)

Actually that's kind of the point, to some degree. It's now clear he was suffering from symptoms of dementia throughout his entire term, and they became especially pronounced near the end. His suggestibility and deteriorating mental health made him easy prey for those who wanted laws changed in their favor.

Re:Reagan is alive! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780851)

He was responsible for bringing the Bush Crime Family into power on a national scale by appointing one of their Dons as Assistant President. Raygun showed his true hatred of this country with that crap. Instead of putting every member of that crime syndicate in prison, he rewarded them which ruined this country. There is no hope for us now.

Re:Reagan is alive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781099)

"one of their Dons"

lol

Re:Reagan is alive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781223)

Leave President Ray Gun aloooooone!

Alumni? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780451)

You've misspelled illuminati.

Re:Alumni? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781289)

And alumnus.

Re:Alumni? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781531)

Both of what AC refers to are plural. Your suggestion of a singular is meaningless.

FISA fraud (1)

jodido (1052890) | about 4 months ago | (#47780511)

This shows what a scam FISA is. In case there's anyone left who still has any illusions.

Re:FISA fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780551)

How so?

Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780523)

President and agencies still swear to uphold the Constitution and have no business violating it, executive orders or not.
Any orders ought to be followed to the extent the Constitution allows, not beyond, and those going beyond deserve
to be punished. That should include Presidents, though such sanctions are pretty broken.

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780581)

The POTUS is punished by Congress through impeachment. Nothing is really broken. Convince your fellow voters to vote for candidates willing to impeach the President and you'll get your results. What parts of the order do you think actually violate the Constitution?

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780651)

The parts where they take the order to mean they can collect 'metadata' on innocent citizens without a warrant. Even if it explicitly said that, it would be unconstitutional.

You should not *have* to impeach anyone to get government scumbags to follow the constitution.

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780833)

Yes you should have to impeach someone to get them to follow the Constitution. That is what is outlined in the Constitution. Metadata isn't considered to be a part of your "effects" since it is third party information so it has nothing to do with the constitution. Collection of third party information without a warrant has been around since forever. The cops can go ask your neighbors about you. The neighbor can choose whether or not to talk to them.

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (2, Insightful)

Feces's Edge (3801473) | about 4 months ago | (#47780913)

Yes you should have to impeach someone to get them to follow the Constitution.

They swear to follow the constitution, so they should do that of their own volition.

Metadata isn't considered to be a part of your "effects" since it is third party information so it has nothing to do with the constitution. Collection of third party information without a warrant has been around since forever.

Bull-fucking-shit, government bootlicker. The government has absolutely no constitutional authority to conduct such surveillance on citizens without a warrant. If this sort of surveillance had been used against the founders, they would have taken steps to prevent the newly-formed government from doing the same thing, just like they did on a number of others issues that they faced at the time, and since the spirit of the constitution is what matters, that's really what's relevant.

The idea that the government can get around the constitution by letting corporations collect the data first and then getting the data from them is absolutely ludicrous. And a lot of this spying is just sapping up information as it travels to its destination. Anyone who says this is even remotely constitution is an authoritarian of the highest caliber and despises freedom.

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (3, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 months ago | (#47780999)

If this sort of surveillance had been used against the founders, they would have taken steps to prevent the newly-formed government from doing the same thing, just like they did on a number of others issues that they faced at the time, and since the spirit of the constitution is what matters, that's really what's relevant.

So what did they do against the Alien and Sedition Acts?

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (2)

Feces's Edge (3801473) | about 4 months ago | (#47781033)

Violate their own constitution. But what they wrote was still there, regardless.

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781031)

"They swear to follow the constitution, so they should do that of their own volition."
Wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which happens first.

The government does have the authority to conduct such surveillance. They've been doing it for a long time. If you don't like it, then don't store your data on someone else's servers and give them ownership over it. Data that you don't own isn't a part of your "effects". The government isn't getting around the Constitution since what they're taking isn't constitutionally protected.

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (1)

Feces's Edge (3801473) | about 4 months ago | (#47781061)

The government does have the authority to conduct such surveillance. They've been doing it for a long time.

Unconstitutionally, at that.

If you don't like it, then don't store your data on someone else's servers and give them ownership over it.

No. How about if *you* don't like the fact that the government doesn't have such powers, *you* can move to North Korea.

Again, the *spirit* of the constitution is what matters. This is just a lazy end-run around the constitution that idiots like you like to pretend is valid. Anyone with a brain can see it for what it is, but sadly, people without brains--like yourself--aren't capable of understanding logic. The constitution is often not interpreted literally. The idea that the government can just get all your information from corporations and that's 100% constitutional is just absurd.

Look, I get it; you don't want to live in a country that's supposed to be "the land of the free and the home of the brave." You want to live in a police state hellhole. North Korea would be perfect for you.

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781109)

The "spirit" of the Constitution doesn't mean jack shit legally. The government can't do an end-run around the Constitution if the Constitution doesn't even apply in the first place. I don't want to live in a "police state". I actually think the policies on third party information should be changed, but I don't pretend that the "spirit" of the Constitution is going to do it. If I were you I would be careful. The "spirit" of the Constitution can be turned around on its head and used for tyranny.

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (1)

Feces's Edge (3801473) | about 4 months ago | (#47781121)

The "spirit" of the Constitution doesn't mean jack shit legally.

You're an idiot. The first amendment states, "Congress shall pass no law[...]" So, then, why can libel and slander be made illegal? Because the constitution is not interpreted literally.

The government can't do an end-run around the Constitution if the Constitution doesn't even apply in the first place.

It absolutely does apply. Again, the idea that the government can just get information from corporations that it couldn't other get in a constitutional way is absolutely absurd.

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781179)

I'm not aware of Congress ever passing any laws against libel or slander.

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (2)

Feces's Edge (3801473) | about 4 months ago | (#47781269)

The bill of rights was also applied to the states via the 14th amendment.

And if you really think the constitution is interpreted literally by the courts, you need to educate yourself.

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (4, Informative)

penix1 (722987) | about 4 months ago | (#47781543)

Did you even read the executive order?

First of all, it has been modified many, many times since Ronald Reagen the last that I can find was in 2008. http://fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo/... [fas.org]

Second, and more to your points, sprinkled throughout the document are statements like, any intelligence collected concerning United States citizens must go through the FBI / Attorney General. This is so they can begin criminal investigations using the tools (read WARRANTS) to gain physical evidence of a crime. And the collection of that data, according to the order, is tangential to foreign intelligence gathering. As an example, here is 1.1(a)

(a) All means, consistent with applicable Federal law and this order, and with full consideration of the rights of United States persons, shall be used to obtain reliable intelligence information to protect the United States and its interests.

[Emphasis added]

This is 20(A):

(A) The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall coordinate the clandestine collection of foreign intelligence collected through human sources or through human-enabled means and counterintelligence activities inside the United States;

[Emphasis added]

So sticking to the topic at hand, namely that this order authorizes warrantless surveillance of United States citizens, is patently false. That may be the way it is used but that goes counter to the executive order's language.

By the way, the "human enabled means" is the metadata you are talking about.

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (1)

Feces's Edge (3801473) | about 4 months ago | (#47781605)

Did you even read the executive order?

This particular discussion is not about the executive order itself, but more about the collection of citizens' information without a warrant, which absolutely is unconstitutional.

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781555)

And if I encrypt data, then I most cetainly retain control over it. The only thing that anyone else might own is the encrypted copy--not the key, and not the plaintext (if you start from the ciphertext, to get the plaintext requires interpretation of the ciphertext via a key). So why can I be held in contempt for refusing to disclose FURTHER information, which is clearly my own (the key)?

Re:Haply so, but exec orders and agencies (1)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about 4 months ago | (#47781371)

The cops can go ask your neighbors about you. The neighbor can choose whether or not to talk to them.

Yet my email can't choose whether or not to be read by them. That's one reason why I encrypt everything whether it's needed or not.

The other reason I encrypt emails is the assinine spam filter a certain ISP uses that many times falsely detects my emails as spam and does not deliver them. I'm too much of a gentleman to mention the company by name, but it rhymes with Horizon and it starts with the letter V.

There's no "led to" (3, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | about 4 months ago | (#47780553)

Everyone involved made specific, intentional choices. It didn't happen on autopilot.

Re:There's no "led to" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781635)

True. The full extent of what the NSA does to Americans pales in comparison to Snowden. That's why I'm quitting my job. It's just too much and I'm becoming ill.

It isn't due to an EO (2)

hsmith (818216) | about 4 months ago | (#47780561)

EO's have no real weight to create policy. They are simply instructions for federal agencies (which the President is in control of since he is the executive) to do.

Congress then up until now allowed it and the blame lies on their shoulders alone for creating the surveillance state.

Re:It isn't due to an EO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780721)

EO's have no real weight to create policy. They are simply instructions for federal agencies (which the President is in control of since he is the executive) to do.

Congress then up until now allowed it and the blame lies on their shoulders alone for creating the surveillance state.

Funny how you state executive orders have "no real weight" when they've kept all of Congress at bay for over fourty fucking years.

Re:It isn't due to an EO (1)

hsmith (818216) | about 4 months ago | (#47781221)

Constitutionally they don't really do anything.

Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (4, Insightful)

turp182 (1020263) | about 4 months ago | (#47780579)

This is crazy. It seems Executive Orders are non-legislation afforded the impact of law.

Executive Orders should expire after a couple of years, or when a Presidential inauguration occurs, whichever comes first. Continuation should require Congress to pass it as ACTUAL law. And changes outside of that period MUST be ACTUAL LAW!!!!!

WTF!?!?!?!?

Sorry for the caps, I RTFA and it pissed me off.

I would suggest Executive Orders be done away with completely, they are an "I am the King" method of ruling. Not leading, ruling, controlling.

Re:Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780649)

That would require a constitutional amendment.

Re:Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (3, Interesting)

justcauseisjustthat (1150803) | about 4 months ago | (#47780679)

If the president had to go through congress to do everything, nothing would get done. I think the Obama administration is still trying to get appointments through congress from 2 years ago.

On the other hand the expiration idea has merit.

Re:Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780715)

If the president had to go through congress to do everything, nothing would get done.

I'd rather nothing get done than allow one man to be able to use 'I am king' orders.

Re:Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780737)

The rules were changed by Harry Reid to only need 51 votes for an appointment required by the Senate. The DNC has well over that 51 votes. Any problem getting those past the Senate has nothing to do with the GOP, it would have to do with his own party at this point. Been that way for about a year now.

Re: Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (1)

belg4mit (152620) | about 4 months ago | (#47781195)

GP did not place blame on a party.

Re:Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (2)

turp182 (1020263) | about 4 months ago | (#47780787)

So be it. I would take nothing over the Executive Orders. Congress passed the Patriot Act (terrible, terrible legislation), they would support some things.

No action is better than enforced action "requested" by a very small group (or a single person). Regardless of the implications (freedom an liberty before "risk" type stuff).

Checks and balances appear to be nothing more than bank notes and the ability to stand upright.

Re:Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780805)

It's called the legal process you dumb fuck.

Re:Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 months ago | (#47781305)

If the president had to go through congress to do everything, nothing would get done.

That's...exactly... the... point.

The US government was designed to prevent things being done, because it was supposed to do very little. Probably 90% of the things the Federal government do are unconstitutional.

Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780837)

The simple fact is that *most* executive orders are perfectly valid, and discontinuing them would serve no purpose.

A typical executive order simply designates procedures and requirements to be followed by people working for the Executive branch of the government. (Such as requiring that they not enter contracts with companies discriminating against employees for various reasons.)

This, however, is not a typical executive order. It is, quite simply, unconstitutional, and an explicit violation of laws written and passed by Congress. This is something that Congress, the States, and the People, *should* be getting upset about. Unfortunately, it won't happen, because roughly 50% of the country doesn't want to acknowledge anything that will make Republicans look bad, and roughly another half doesn't want to acknowledge anything that makes Democrats look bad. That leaves a few rational stragglers stuck in the middle, saying "WTF is up with you boneheaded ****wads?!!"

Re:Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (4, Insightful)

penix1 (722987) | about 4 months ago | (#47781757)

A typical executive order simply designates procedures and requirements to be followed by people working for the Executive branch of the government.

Which is EXACTLY what this executive order does. It is implementing at the Executive Branch the legislation to which it is based, namely the National Security Act of 1947 as amended. It even says so at the start of the order:

by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, (Act) and as President of the United States of America, in order to provide for the effective conduct of United States intelligence activities and the protection of constitutional rights, it is hereby ordered as follows:

http://fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo/... [fas.org]

Also, nothing in this executive order "led to" the warrantless wiretapping as alleged in the story. In fact, there are several places in the order that state that if US citizens are involved, it MUST go through the FBI / Attorney General. Read it. You will see what I mean.

Re:Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 4 months ago | (#47780921)

In a democratic republic, the president plays the role of emporer. Why does that surprise you?

Re:Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about 4 months ago | (#47781039)

Per your sig, which I love more than any other song to play on guitar (excepting Follow You Into the Dark, which my 4 year old daughter requests at bedtime, my son requests Jack and Diane...), we are all in a cage if there is an emperor. I thought, via Civics in high school, that we didn't have an emperor.

Apparently, I have been wrong in my assumptions.

Re:Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47780967)

Executive orders are merely relatively formal written orders from the person in charge of the executive branch, the US President. If you do away with executive orders then no one is in charge and the only meager control you have is via Congress's power of the purse.

Re:Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (3, Insightful)

Patent Lover (779809) | about 4 months ago | (#47781153)

Actually executive orders are orders that excercise lawful powers given to the President by Congress. The problem is that there are always lawyers making up their own interpretation of a vague law passed by Congress. C'est La Vie.

Re:Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781573)

Congress shouldn't be able to give the president any powers to begin with. If the constitution doesn't say they can, then they can't.

Re:Executive Orders Need to Expire, and Quickly (1)

rea1l1 (903073) | about 4 months ago | (#47781357)

Executive Orders, according to sovereign lore, relate to the idea that the original united States' Constitution died during the Civil War (late 1800's) and was reinstated as a corporate charter, while creating a corporation under the name UNITED STATES. Only corporations issue executive orders. Many youtube videos on this subject. It supposedly leads back to the Vatican, the Crown, and the District of Columbia all being agents of the shadow of government. Our government is actually a farce. Look into the IRS, registered voting, driving without a license, sine die (what ended the Constitution(contract) and replaced it with a constitution),

No law other than common and contract law ought to exist today as all people are considered sovereign.

YATDRA (3, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | about 4 months ago | (#47780583)

Yet Another Decent Thing Destroyed by the Reagan Administration.

I should have known.

NSA was collecting data in the 1960s (5, Interesting)

garyebickford (222422) | about 4 months ago | (#47780641)

A friend of my sister's worked for NSA for eight years in the 1960s. At that time the fact of its existence was classified - insiders said the acronym stood for "No Such Agency". He spent most of those eight years in a shack on a hill in Japan, listening and recording phone calls and telegraphs in and out of Japan. He came out of those eight years imbued with an extreme level of paranoia that he never did shake off. It cost him his marriage among other things.

So 1981 wasn't the beginning. I would be more likely to think that the directive in question was created to paper over and legalize what had been going on for decades before. The agency was founded by Harry Truman in 1952 based on signals intelligence units from WWI, per Wikipedia. I saw an article recently which asserted that spying on foreign (and some domestic) entities really came out of the period before and after World War I, and it made sense.

Having said all that, I recently learned that the NSA is not just "spooks peeking into our bedrooms" and getting everyone upset. That is just one of three branches.

- Signals Intelligence Directorate is the one that has been upsetting people, and may in fact be as crazy as people think they are;

- Information Assurance Directorate one might consider the "good guys" - they are working with US industry and agencies to prevent security breaches - one might consider this the "anti-spy" group, and you'll see guys from IAD at conferences regarding improvement of the security infrastructure of the net, to prevent spying and other problems. By all accounts the Information Assurance Directorate is working very hard to protect us, and has had some successes preventing or stopping serious hacking and other incidents against both public and private organizations in recent years that they, of course, can't ever tell anyone.

- Technical Directorate, which I assume is the people inventing the HW and SW the rest of the gang uses.

TL;DR - don't paint the whole of NSA with the same tar and feathers. Some, at least, are out there actively helping with things like Tor as we read recently - spy agencies including NSA have regularly helped Tor find and fix bugs, even while other groups in the same agency are trying to exploit them.

Re:NSA was collecting data in the 1960s (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 months ago | (#47781007)

Yes, and they were slapped down by Congress via the Church Commission for doing what they did in the 60s.

Clearly Bush's fault. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780671)

I mean, really, he was once head of the CIA, and once he became VP, why not persuade the President this was good for America?

Please RTFA (4, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | about 4 months ago | (#47780687)

Read the FA. THe summary doesn't explain exactly what is happening. EO 12333 originally allowed for collection of data abroad, but today, the collection happens in the USA -- in domestic Internet hubs. Naturally, the vast majority of the data scooped up this way is purely domestic and concerns US citizens, but the NSA claims that this is purely incidental. That's right -- the majority of the collection is "incidental". Yeah, right.

FISA? That rubber stamp is bypassed while collecting masses of data on US citizens.

"This program was started at least back in 2001 and has expanded to between 80 and 100 tap points on the fiber optic lines in the lower 48 states," he said by e-mail. "Most of these fiber optic tap points are not on the East or West coast. This means that the primary target of this collection is domestic... Most collection of US domestic communications and data is done under EO 12333, section 2.3 paragraph C in the Upstream program. They claim, near as I can tell, that all domestic collection is incidental. That's, of course, the vast majority of data."

Petition the White House (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47780795)

Time for a petition to repeal executive order 12333. Be interesting to see what happens if the petition reaches the action threshold, since there's no way the administration can say it's not within their power.
https://petitions.whitehouse.g... [whitehouse.gov]

Only government workers and contractors (2)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 4 months ago | (#47780883)

It's good to see that EO12333 has been placed in the spotlight. It always irked me how it tries to run around the constitution. The whole order is filled with phony "prohibitions" on government power with open-ended exceptions that can be invoked at any time.

My favorite parts:

2.3Collection of Information.
(e) Information needed to protect foreign intelligence or counterintelligence sources or methods from unauthorized disclosure. Collection within the United States shall be undertaken by the FBI except that other agencies of the Intelligence Community may also collect such information concerning present or former employees, present or former intelligence agency contractors or their present or former employees, or applicants for any such employment or contracting;

So basically any government agency can be tasked to collect domestic information without the pesky oversight the FBI has to deal with.

2.4Collection Techniques. Agencies within the Intelligence Community shall use the least intrusive collection techniques feasible within the United States or directed against United States persons abroad. Agencies are not authorized to use such techniques as electronic surveillance, unconsented physical search, mail surveillance, physical surveillance, or monitoring devices unless they are in accordance with procedures established by the head of the agency concerned and approved by the Attorney General. Such procedures shall protect constitutional and other legal rights and limit use of such information to lawful governmental purposes. These procedures shall not authorize:

(b) Unconsented physical searches in the United States by agencies other than the FBI, except for:
        (1) Searches by counterintelligence elements of the military services directed against military personnel within the United States or abroad for intelligence purposes, when authorized by a military commander empowered to approve physical searches for law enforcement purposes, based upon a finding of probable cause to believe that such persons are acting as agents of foreign powers; and
        (2) Searches by CIA of personal property of non-United States persons lawfully in its possession.
(c) Physical surveillance of a United States person in the United States by agencies other than the FBI, except for:
        (1) Physical surveillance of present or former employees, present or former intelligence agency contractors or their present of former employees, or applicants for any such employment or contracting; and
        (2) Physical surveillance of a military person employed by a nonintelligence element of a military service.

They've tried to be clever and hide what they did here with a double negative spread across two clauses. Effectively all defense contractor employees are subjected to domestic spying which was part of the rationale for justify creating the surveillance apparatus. They don't disclose that when you sign the contract suspending your rights when you apply for a security clearance. Note that that much of the internet enabled surveillance programs were instituted pre-9/11 under Clinton and not by Bush2 and this was going on before the PATRIOT act madness.

2.5Attorney General Approval. The Attorney General hereby is delegated the power to approve the use for intelligence purposes, within the United States or against a United States person abroad, of any technique for which a warrant would be required if undertaken for law enforcement purposes, provided that such techniques shall not be undertaken unless the Attorney General has determined in each case that there is probable cause to believe that the technique is directed against a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. Electronic surveillance, as defined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, shall be conducted in accordance with that Act, as well as this Order.

This is the kicker. This mealymouthed legalese effectively suspends the 4th amendment by granting the USAG a rubber stamp to authorize warrantless collection. Just like FISA this is an approval that is always given.

Re:Only government workers and contractors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781015)

Clinton and Gore also gave us NSAKey and CALEA.

did you know.. NSA does more than email (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781017)

And telephone data collection?

They also got satellites and over the horizon radar with full ground and building penetrating tomography. This let's them secretly spy on Americans even when they are under cover of a house, taking better than iPhone camera HD clit pics from space, and enabling full remote brain and body and thoight and memory scans. They also have been targeting Americans for torture and assassinations using these same interferometric platforms for decades, which allow electromagnetic frequencies or signals intelligence to Imping targets bodies for slow kill, instant death electronic and mind invading assaults.

They call part of the brain hacking technology remote Neural Monitoring and Electronic Brain Link and this is their most classified system used in surveillance.

Read the covering articles, patents and listen to Dr. Robert Duncan's whistleblower interviews about the technology here (Duncan's degrees from Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and Dartmouth, and he worked for the CIA, DOD, US DOJ, and NASA on designing dozens of different surveillance / electronic warfare systems): http://www.OregonStateHospital.net/d/story.html#nsabrainlink [oregonstatehospital.net] ..

FISA is crock (1)

jodido (1052890) | about 4 months ago | (#47781149)

Just shows what a scam FISA is. As if the "FISA courts" weren't proof enough.

Re:FISA is crock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781295)

So who do we blame, Ronald Regan or the current FISA "court"? I am inclined to blame the contemporary perpetrators, the NSA and the Senate Intelligence Committee - especially Dianne Feinstein. It is the duty of the Intelligence Committee to protect the Constitution and they have abdicated that duty.

Another idiot lefty blames a Republican (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781367)

Move along -- same old nonsensical crap that doesn't even follow a logical path put out by lefties who swallow the kool aid without engaging their brain.

P.S. "It's all Bush's fault" and "It's all Reagan's fault" are both getting really old.

There is no privacy on the Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781395)

1. Gov't is over reaching and conveniently interpreting (ignoring) the 'IAW applicable laws' clause.
2. A lot (not all) of this would not be a problem if people would realize the simple fact that nothing on the Internet is truly private.
3. "Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead."

Re:There is no privacy on the Internet (1)

Feces's Edge (3801473) | about 4 months ago | (#47781585)

2. A lot (not all) of this would not be a problem if people would realize the simple fact that nothing on the Internet is truly private.

Why not apply the same thing to your house, your phone calls, and every other thing that the government wants to spy on? Just because your privacy *can* be violated, that doesn't mean it *should* happen. You can have a relatively private conversation on the Internet, and especially if you use encryption.

This would still be a problem if people believed that there is no privacy on the Internet. The government should not be collecting all this information to begin with.

The Constitution does not stop at the border! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47781483)

What alarms me is that every branch of the government seems to think the Constitution stops at the border. That anything that happens outside our territory is fair game. But the President has no authority except that which is imparted by the Constitution. So it irks me to no end that the 4th Amendment is completely ignored just because the data collection is happening on foreign soil. I'm sure the Executive branch will claim that this is all for the national defense, but the massive collection of material unrelated to national defense negates that claim. The plutocracy that is running this country seem to be ok that if the government can do something, then it is OK to do it, especially if it is not in our backyard.

Re:The Constitution does not stop at the border! (1)

Feces's Edge (3801473) | about 4 months ago | (#47781597)

I'm sure the Executive branch will claim that this is all for the national defense

Which is irrelevant to whether or not it's constitutional, anyway.

My question (1)

TheDarkener (198348) | about 4 months ago | (#47781533)

After hearing so many of these stories, I have to wonder: Do these orders of govt agencies "slurping up" data, whether American citizens or not, include encrypted communications, or are they disgarded as it would take more time to "get to the meat" of things?

"otherwise it would be forbidden "? (2)

jcr (53032) | about 4 months ago | (#47781703)

Bullshit. It's ILLEGAL, period. Executive orders don't trump acts of congress, and acts of congress don't override the constitution. Every NSA minion involved in collecting this data without a warrant issued by a judge naming a specific person and stating what they're looking for and why, is a CRIMINAL.

-jcr

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