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Death By Metadata: The NSA's Secret Role In the US Drone Strike Program 202

Posted by samzenpus
from the dial-d-for-drone dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Glenn Greenwald reports at his new independent news site 'The Intercept' that according to a former drone operator for the military's Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the NSA often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. In one tactic, the NSA 'geolocates' the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist's mobile phone, enabling the CIA and U.S. military to conduct night raids and drone strikes to kill or capture the individual in possession of the device. The technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against US forces in Afghanistan. But he also states that innocent people have 'absolutely' been killed as a result of the NSA's increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic. One problem is that targets are increasingly aware of the NSA's reliance on geolocating, and have moved to thwart the tactic. Some have as many as 16 different SIM cards associated with their identity within the High Value Target system while other top Taliban leaders, knowing of the NSA's targeting method, have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers. As a result, even when the agency correctly identifies and targets a SIM card belonging to a terror suspect, the phone may actually be carried by someone else, who is then killed in a strike. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which uses a conservative methodology to track drone strikes, estimates that at least 2,400 people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have been killed by unmanned aerial assaults under the Obama administration. Greenwald's source says he has come to believe that the drone program amounts to little more than death by unreliable metadata. 'People get hung up that there's a targeted list of people. It's really like we're targeting a cell phone. We're not going after people – we're going after their phones, in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy.' Whether or not Obama is fully aware of the errors built into the program of targeted assassination, he and his top advisers have repeatedly made clear that the president himself directly oversees the drone operation and takes full responsibility for it."
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Death By Metadata: The NSA's Secret Role In the US Drone Strike Program

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  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Monday February 10, 2014 @07:24PM (#46213617) Homepage Journal

    You're it.

  • Some have as many as 16 different SIM cards associated with their identity within the High Value Target system while other top Taliban leaders, knowing of the NSA's targeting method, have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers.

    So instead of killing X you kill X's friends A, B and C.

    That doesn't sound like a good plan on their part.

    I'd look for ways to communicate without SIM cards. Or to trash used SIM cards. They're cheap. Really cheap.

    • by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Monday February 10, 2014 @07:35PM (#46213665) Homepage

      What makes you think A is really X's friend and not some random guy that bought what they thought was a new SIM and which turns out to be used one last owned by X?

      • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday February 10, 2014 @07:53PM (#46213753)

        What makes you think A is really X's friend and not some random guy that bought what they thought was a new SIM and which turns out to be used one last owned by X?

        PR-wise, it doesn't matter because we (USofA!) will still claim that we killed their #2 or #3 sub-commander.

        But you do raise an interesting point. Could those SIM cards be sold/donated to the enemies of X? So we (USofA!) end up killing X's enemies for him?

        Cut the speaker and display wires (no sound and no lights) and you now have a "homing beacon" for a drone attack that can be hidden just about anywhere.

  • Missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2014 @07:35PM (#46213659)

    The much more significant point would seem to be that the use of military assets to bomb civilian criminals is not the sort of thing the U.S. government is supposed to have the authority to do.

    These "terrorists" sound like they're criminals not soldiers, and as such they should be a matter for the Afghani police. They should be apprehended, brought to trial and if found guilty sentenced according to Afghani law.

    Whether it a drone that fires the missile, or a cell phone meta-data-mining program that provides the target is rather less important than the fact that blowing up a building to kill a target is an act of war and really not an appropriate solution.

    • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:06PM (#46213835) Homepage

      or a cell phone meta-data-mining program that provides the target is rather less important than the fact that blowing up a building to kill a target is an act of war and really not an appropriate solution.

      Every drone strike is authorized by the government of the country involved. That doesn't make it right, but it prevents it from being an act of war.

      Interestingly, the only foreign operation that wasn't cleared was the raid into Pakistan to kill Bin Laden. That was an armed invasion into an allied country. If that operation had gone poorly, it would have been Obama's ass.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @01:44AM (#46215465)

      16 different SIM cards associated with their identity within the High Value Target system while other top Taliban leaders, knowing of the NSA's targeting method

      They (terrorists)---knew--- of the US's spying tactics long before Snowden ever came along, everyone in the US seems to continue there arrogance about people in 3rd world countries not knowing anything, whether it be tech, and how that tech is used to track everything they do, or how the US's military complex works. I can promise you there is a lot more to this story on how terrorists can get around spying, but I seriously doubt Greenwald will print it.

      And there is evidence that suggests a number far larger then 2,400 civilians killed, the authorities in those countries have covered up a number of reckless attacks from drone strikes, the number Greenwald gives is probably one he got either from the US, or from the authorities in there respective countries who were willing to acknowledge strikes that may have hit a "target". But it appears US intelligence doesn't have any hard evidence to confirm whether a person of interest is really a terrorist or just some innocent civilian, and they launch an attack anyway.

      It seems the US are world dictators, and have every country eating of there hand, even the Middle East. And if you live in the Middle East and deal with its politics, you already knows this, but the Middle East authorities use propaganda to say the US is the enemy, of course those same authorities are working with or for the US. That's not to say there isn't corruption among those authorities, who have to deal with the fall out and pay the price when terrorists decide to kidnap, torture, and even buy off officers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2014 @07:47PM (#46213723)

    Isn't this how wars are started? Discuss..

  • by djupedal (584558) on Monday February 10, 2014 @07:47PM (#46213727)
    'Death by Cop'
    'Death by Intimidation'
    'Death by Dieing'
    'Death by Failure'
    'Death by Circumstance'
    'Death by Stereo'
    'Death by Drowning'
    'Death by Crossfit'


    ...the press doesn't care, as long as someone dies. 'Death by Drone' is just today's flavor, nothing more.

    **If you have a domain to sell, speak up as clients are waiting** Sorry, they just left the room - never mind.
  • by elbonia (2452474) on Monday February 10, 2014 @07:48PM (#46213731)
    If the government has the SIM's ID to gather metadata then they have full access to tap the phone to listen to all conversations. So it's not just that A talks to B. It's that A talks to B discussing an attack.
  • by lophophore (4087) on Monday February 10, 2014 @07:50PM (#46213741) Homepage

    anybody think Obama is still not Bush 2.0?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2014 @07:55PM (#46213771)

      I do. Bush didn't put my health insurance, for me being a cancer patient, in limbo with double digit costs every year. I got to actually keep my health insurance and doctor under Bush.

      So, no he is not Bush 2.0, Bush 2.0 would have been much better.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2014 @07:57PM (#46213783)

      anybody think Obama is still not Bush 2.0?

      Nah.

      Bush didn't unilaterally change statutory deadlines by executive order.

      Bush didn't lie through his fucking teeth about his intentions regarding "terrorists". Gitmo closed yet?

      • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:10PM (#46213869) Homepage

        Gitmo closed yet?

        Obama ordered Gitmo closed on literally his first day on office. Congress overruled him. Sorry that constitutional checks and balances are inconvenient.

        • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:48PM (#46214065)

          Well...

          His Executive Order for closing same pretty much had all the loopholes it needed, since it required that prisoners be returned to their countries of origin if possible (and most of the countries of origin didn't want those guys back).

          Plus there was the part about "The Department of Defense has determined that a number of the individuals currently detained at GuantÃnamo are eligible for such transfer or release.", which implies strongly that there are also a number NOT so eligible.

          Then there's the "This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations." part, which provides plenty of cover for the DoJ to determine that any particular inmate is NOT eligible for release.

          In other words, the Executive Order was written so as to cover Obama's ass first and foremost, with the actual closing of Gitmo a bonus, if it happened.

    • by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @12:09AM (#46215103) Homepage

      More like Reagan 5.0. Puppets of US corporate mass media. Now who obeys who, does corporate mass media live in abeyance to the US government or are they both just obeying the same corporate masters which is why their message aligns. Kill for resources, kill for profits, people are of no value unless they can be controlled and exploited.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2014 @07:54PM (#46213759)

    This is BS because it's not the NSA who runs the drones, but the CIA. So, this story represents an attempt to smear the NSA instead of the CIA who is ultimately responsible for the application of the intelligence to their own drone program.

    P.S. I'm not a fan of either TLA, but I can at least recognize misattribution and FUD.

  • by bstarrfield (761726) on Monday February 10, 2014 @07:55PM (#46213763)

    The world is much more terrifying than you realize. The men and women at NSA, CIA, and DOD are protecting you against monsters. You sleep at night, content and happy, because good people are protecting you. This isn't a fascist plot - I've stood literally a meter a way from a man who would have no compunction murdering your entire family. And we actually did shoot him. This is life, this is the world. And please don't delude yourselves.

    You Americans - you sit in safety without understanding what's happening around you. The world is full of horror, and there are people who are trying to protect you, and they do care about the Constitution. The darkness is around you, and you're oblivious to it. This is history. You have no fucking idea what the world is actually like. This is not a game. So please try to understand what the NSA is doing for you.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:02PM (#46213815)
      LOL
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:02PM (#46213817)

      YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:03PM (#46213821)

      1. They are killing people in your name to keep YOU safe
      2. They will not stop killing people in your name no matter what YOU say/do
      3. ???
      4. Profit!!!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:04PM (#46213823)

      Actually most folks on this planet are pretty nice. Unless -of course- you start randomly bombing them, or steal their resources, or invade their country. Then they stop being quite as nice. Look at New Zealand. They don't go around pissing people off in the first place, so they never get attacked :-P

      • by cold fjord (826450) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:58PM (#46214123)

        You don't understand the problem, it isn't about being nice, or anything wrong you might have done to them. They are ultimately going to come after New Zealand because New Zealand doesn't conform to the rules they demand you live under. Do you know anything about the age of Islamic conquest, such as when they invaded Europe or took Constantinople? That is what they are about, their goal is a Muslim world even if it takes force of arms. You don't want them to get stronger.

        Al Qaeda-Trained Terrorists in New Zealand, Prime Minister Says [foreignpolicy.com]

        • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday February 10, 2014 @09:40PM (#46214381) Journal

          Do you know anything about the age of Islamic conquest, such as when they invaded Europe or took Constantinople?

          Do you understand that the people who took Constantinople and invaded Europe further (to be stopped at Vienna) were different from the people who carried out the initial building of the Islamic Caliphate and invaded Europe several centuries prior? Different ethnicity, different nation, different language, different customs - that they had the same religion (though even that was practiced differently in many ways) is a relatively minor detail.

          I mean, by your own logic, every single war of conquest by a Christian state against a non-Christian one would be "Christian conquest".

          In reality, Islam didn't play any significant role as a driver of expansion other than in the very first campaigns (under Muhammad himself, and his first few successors). Ottomans took Constantinople and invaded Europe because they could, just as Europeans have invaded the Americas and subjugated the natives because they could, and in that day and age, "right of conquest" was the supreme law. In both cases religion was used as an excuse for propaganda purposes, but it was not the primary motivator.

          • by cold fjord (826450) on Monday February 10, 2014 @10:17PM (#46214545)

            You don't see the world they way that they do. To them there is only one Islam, without race or nationality. They are all part of the Ummah - the body of believers that constitute the Islamic nation. In Islam there are two main divisions of the world: Dar al-Islam (House of Islam - where Muslims rule) and Dar al-Harb (House of War - where Muslims do not rule which makes it subject to war). Their goal is to extend Dar al-Islam to cover the entire world, restore the Caliphate government dissolved with the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, make their flavor of Sharia law the law of the land, and return Islamic civilization to the glory of its former days.

            It really doesn't matter what the truth is historically, they act on their beliefs.

            As to conquest by "Christian nations," few of them are overtly Christian in any meaningful way anymore, and they haven't engaged in conquest expressly to spread Christianity in a very long time. Al Qaida and company is engaged in conquest expressly to spread Islam.

            • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday February 10, 2014 @11:36PM (#46214923) Journal

              I know about the divisions of the world in Islam etc. I also know about their practical place in the hierarchy of things. What your theory doesn't explain is why Muslims fought each other all along - not just Sunni vs Shia, but Sunni vs Sunni as well. Ottoman claims to Caliphate were, shall we say, contentious for quite a long time.

              In truth, Muslim nations are like all other nations. They also have nationalism, for which Islam is, at best, a notable but not overwhelming part of their national identity. Arabs revolted against Ottoman Caliphs numerous times for these reasons, and Turks themselves always had a nationalist streak that ultimately lead them to rediscover themselves as a nation in their own right, and substitute "Turkishness" for Islam.

              The only Muslims today who care about all that Dar al-Harb stuff and who actually have any specific plans for the re-establishment of the Caliphate are Salafi, but they're also the ones who don't recognize the vast majority of Caliphs since Muhammad as rightful rulers (in particular, Ottomans), because they deviated from the pure original Islam. I mean, we're talking here about people who deem Saudi Arabia to not be sufficiently Islamic, on the basis that they don't solely base their jurisprudence on Sharia, but have a few other written laws as well as the ability of the king to pardon people duly convicted by a sharia court.

              However, Salafi are a minority among the Sunni. They are a dangerous minority, yes, and they will stir trouble, but the idea of enemy at the gates of the Western civilization is absurd in this context, and any parallels with the Ottoman conquests with Europe are superfluous. Salafi jihadists are a small group of fanatical rabble. By treating them as an army, and by advocating for the response on the scale that you do, you give them far too much credit and dignity. In practice, they are less dangerous to our civilization than, say, Mexican cartels.

        • by Sabriel (134364) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @06:25AM (#46216213)

          I understand the problem all too well: you think it's acceptable to fight fire with fire. That if terrorists commit torture, you can too. That if they can blow up innocents, you can too. That if they can call it jihad and sacrifice, you can call it enhanced interrogation techniques and collateral damage.

          Tell me, cold fjord, when the old terrorists are all finally dead, what are you going to do with all the new ones you've trained at home?

        • by sociocapitalist (2471722) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @03:19PM (#46220475)

          You don't understand the problem, it isn't about being nice, or anything wrong you might have done to them. They are ultimately going to come after New Zealand because New Zealand doesn't conform to the rules they demand you live under. Do you know anything about the age of Islamic conquest, such as when they invaded Europe or took Constantinople? That is what they are about, their goal is a Muslim world even if it takes force of arms. You don't want them to get stronger.

          Al Qaeda-Trained Terrorists in New Zealand, Prime Minister Says [foreignpolicy.com]

          Because Europeans have never invaded other countries...

          Oh sorry, I forgot that's okay when we do it.

    • by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:04PM (#46213825) Homepage

      It sounds like you ARE a man who would have no compunction murdering an entire family.

    • by linuxrocks123 (905424) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:06PM (#46213833) Homepage Journal

      If you think terrorists are scary, you should never drive or get in a car ever again, because doing that is much more likely to get you killed than the big bad oh-so-scary terrorists you're going on about.

      Is the world "scary"? Well, everyone dies eventually, and I guess death is scary, so sure. What's scariest about it? Cancer and heart disease. Yup. If you're going to worry about stuff that could kill you, worry about cancer and heart disease. Because it's about 80% likely that that is what will kill you. Terrorists well let's see they're like #2000 on the list of stuff that is likely to get you killed, if that. So, no, it is not we who are not understanding what's happening around us. It is you who needs a crash course in statistics. Badly.

      ---linuxrocks123

      • Oh, yeah, I almost forgot:

        FUCK BETA!

        ---linuxrocks123

      • by Jiro (131519) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:29PM (#46213963)

        If you seriously think that we shouldn't worry about things that kill fewer people than cancer and heart disease, bear in mind that not only are fewer people killed by terrorists than by cancer and heart disease, but fewer people are killed by ordinary criminals and by a whole host of other things that even you think it's the proper role of government to protect us against. Unless you're an extreme libertarian who would reduce the government's rule down to almost nothing, you really have no business saying the government should stay out of it just because it kills fewer people than cancer and heart disease.

        In fact, I'd consider this to be one of the least objectionable things the NSA does. It's what they're *supposed* to be doing, after all..

        (The single least objectionable thing the NSA does is spy on foreign governments. Since foreign governments have lots of funds and easy access to the press, they can get lots of favorable media coverage by hypocritically complaining about the USA doing things they're perfectly willing to do themselves.)

        • by Znork (31774) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @03:14AM (#46215705)

          Spending should be proportional to the danger because spending vast amounts of money on minor issues means more people die to the bigger threats.

          As terrorism over the last decade killed about as many as die in freak bathtub accidents (about 300 per year), we should be spending about the same as we're spending on bathroom safety on the war on those scary terrorists.

      • by Bite The Pillow (3087109) on Monday February 10, 2014 @11:48PM (#46214997)

        The human brain does not calculate statistics to decide what it is afraid of. Even in the face of statistics, fear is not based on what is likely to kill us.

        In fact, especially in the face of statistics, because we know how likely lightning is, as an example. But terrorists could be literally anywhere, and that's scary.

        For the record, you are correct. But, since that's not how people work, you are also wrong.

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:09PM (#46213863)

      The world is much more terrifying than you realize.

      Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives! You don't want the truth, because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like "honor", "code", "loyalty". We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said "thank you", and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!

      Asshole.

    • by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:12PM (#46213883) Homepage
      Yes, the world is a dangerous place. It was a dangerous place 200 years ago too. More dangerous, by any metric. Yet we still banded together in the name of freedom and not only shrugged off our cloak of protection (England) but actually engaged it in war, in the name of freedom. Yes, indeed, there was a day when we consciously gave up safety for freedom. How far we have come...

      There was a time when people understood that safety wasn't the holy grail we should be chasing after. That no matter how much you give up, you can never be truly, totally safe. That some things are more important than safety. Cattle are safe. Their protectors guarantee this to a great extent. Not only are they protected from predators, they're also protected from disease and have all their routine needs for food and shelter met. Is that the type of existence we should be striving for?

      I don't believe your claims, but let's forget about that. Let's say that your claims are all indisputably true. Why should I be any more scared of these monsters that threaten to take my life than I am of my own government, which is actually succeeding in taking my freedom?

      Are you one of those people that believes that life in bondage is more valuable than death in the name of freedom? How do you reconcile your stance with the attitude that prevailed at the founding of this country, which Patrick Henry summarized in 1775 with the words: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
      • by The Grim Reefer (1162755) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:26PM (#46213953)
        Thank you for posting this. It's certainly the most enlightening thing I've read on /. today.
      • by sociocapitalist (2471722) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @03:21PM (#46220501)

        "Cattle are safe."

        I just want to say how much I appreciate this part of your comment. :-)

        I'm with you on all the rest as well by the way.

    • by BoRegardless (721219) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:18PM (#46213909)

      An old CIA hand said the only way to get REAL intelligence is to buy counterspies on the ground!

    • by ffkom (3519199) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:18PM (#46213915)

      If you honestly think that the "world out there" is "full of horror" and "monsters", you've got serious mental issues. Maybe you can help yourself by travelling the world - not in an army uniform, and not just to places where you are sent to shoot people your employer dislikes.

      Maybe you would realize then that people all around the world have much better things to do then to conspire against people living in some remote country. Unless of course, they are being approached by you dropping bombs on their houses.

      If you want to be scared about dangers to you life, why not calculate the probabilities of dying early from car accidents, lack of health insurance, being shot randomly by some disgruntled gunman on a rampage at home - all in relation to the risk of becoming the victim of some sinister terror plan?

      And BTW: You might have noticed that there are many developed countries in the world that run nothing remotely similar to the NSA, CIA and DOD that have not seen any significant amount of attacks from foreign "monsters".

      • by Bite The Pillow (3087109) on Monday February 10, 2014 @11:42PM (#46214957)

        I believe it's not satire, and although you might have traveled the world, you didn't go where bstarrfield did.

        I can guarantee that, because peoples' opinions are colored by where they have been and what they have seen. A church missionary might say they saw all walks of life and they were kind, generous, and beautiful people. A soldier may see a few of these people, but have their opinions made from a line of people who would, if possible, behead them and their children. A CEO's wife may see foreigners as subservient, since they are rarely seen outside the role of hotel or wait staff.

        They visit the same places, possibly see the same people, but spend more time with certain members of society. Depending where I live in New York City, I could form an infinite number of opinions about the geography and people, just by selecting the right square mile.

        Your opinion of what "facts" are is highly biased by your experience. If bstarrfield was not sincere, there are enough people who do believe exactly that so we can assume it is sincere. And that opinion is just as much biased as yours, and for the same reasons. And it remains "fact", just not to you.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:25PM (#46213947)

      Please, spare me the paranoid paternalistic byeline. Of how you are all doing this to protect us. Yes, protecting democracy by installing many dictatorships across four fucking in contients. Remember "we have to destroy the village in order to save it". I guess we have to save the constituion as well then. Don't worry about all of the travesties, loss of liberties, and piling up debts to pay for the military-intelligence industrial complex revolving door. I'd rather have /actual/ freedom and /actual/ control over our government than leaving "daddy" with impunity so he can go kill the bogeymen in the dark.

    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:30PM (#46213965)

      yawn.

      I fear what my own government can do to me FAR more than I fear any 'terrorist'. and the chances of a US authority figure fucking us over (cops, judges, politicians, etc) is likely in our lifetimes while being hit by a terrorist is extremely unlikely.

      we are tired of this 'rule by fear'. we understand you like to control us that way, but we are hip to your bullshit and one day, the tides will turn and your 'culture of fear' won't be so popular anymore.

    • by retroworks (652802) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:43PM (#46214035) Homepage Journal

      On the one hand, I would mod up your comment. I think that too many people who criticize NSA and CIA would turn to jelly in the world without them. On the other hand: Alexis de Tocqueville

      “What good does it do me, after all, if an ever-watchful authority keeps an eye out to ensure that my pleasures will be tranquil and races ahead of me to ward off all danger, sparing me the need even to think about such things, if that authority, even as it removes the smallest thorns from my path, is also absolute master of my liberty and my life; if it monopolizes vitality and existence to such a degree that when it languishes, everything around it must also languish; when it sleeps, everything must also sleep; and when it dies, everything must also perish?

      ...

      When a nation has reached this point, it must either change its laws and mores or perish, for the well of public virtue has run dry: in such a place one no longer finds citizens but only subjects.”

    • by m00sh (2538182) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:54PM (#46214107)

      The world is much more terrifying than you realize. The men and women at NSA, CIA, and DOD are protecting you against monsters. You sleep at night, content and happy, because good people are protecting you. This isn't a fascist plot - I've stood literally a meter a way from a man who would have no compunction murdering your entire family. And we actually did shoot him. This is life, this is the world. And please don't delude yourselves.

      You Americans - you sit in safety without understanding what's happening around you. The world is full of horror, and there are people who are trying to protect you, and they do care about the Constitution. The darkness is around you, and you're oblivious to it. This is history. You have no fucking idea what the world is actually like. This is not a game. So please try to understand what the NSA is doing for you.

      No, the world is not terrifying. It is a beautiful place. It is people like you who make it terrifying by trying to gain from it being more terrifying.

    • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <(tms) (at) (infamous.net)> on Monday February 10, 2014 @09:21PM (#46214275) Homepage

      The men and women at NSA, CIA, and DOD are protecting you against monsters.

      The U.S.'s brutal and stupid foreign policy, carried out by the NSA, CIA, DOD, et al., does at least as much -- possibly more -- to create monsters than protect us from them. It's a wonderful cycle for the military/industrial/security complex: the complex fscks over nation A, nation A gets angry and makes aggressive noise, the complex points at nation A and says, "See? See? Danger! Feed the complex so we can protect you!"

      Of course kicking the hornet's nest and then telling people, "Hey, we need to go kick hornet's nests because look at how dangerous these hornets are!" is hardly an American invention. But we are the current masters of it for sure.

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday February 10, 2014 @09:43PM (#46214387) Journal

      For the night is dark, and full of terrors.

      So, who are we going to hoist onto the sacrificial pyre today?

    • by strikethree (811449) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @04:29AM (#46215909) Journal

      The world is full of horror, and there are people who are trying to protect you, and they do care about the Constitution.

      They would not need to work quite so hard to protect me (and you!) if they would stop trying to prevent me (and you!) to protect myself (and yourself!).

      Caring about the Constitution is great but when your care leads you to thoughts (and laws!) that justify violating the Constitution, you have lost your way. Caring is not enough. The Constitution MUST be priority #1 when evaluating the creation of any new laws. If the Constitution is inconvenient, either accept it or use the legal methods to change it.

      Now about that horror stuff... Perhaps you are right and the average American is so sheltered that they could never deal with such things, but that is what enables the abuses. There are still horrible and terrible things happening daily. It might be something like cancer or it could be something like a car wreck. Dying a terrible death is NOT limited to terrorism and using terrorism to justify the abuses we have seen is the sign of a sick and predatory mind.

    • by Lehk228 (705449) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @11:22AM (#46217733) Journal
      Poe's Law: can't tell if excellent satire or bootlicking chode
  • by The Grim Reefer (1162755) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:02PM (#46213813)

    and targets a SIM card belonging to a terror suspect,

    So someone could take a box with a dozen or so of the SIM cards and place it in a mosque, wedding, or other gathering of completely innocent people. Suddenly it's a meeting place with many "high value" targets and a bunch of innocents die, known SIM cards get destroyed and the bad guys need to get new phones. Or SIM card anyhow. So this harmless metadata, or so the NSA says, is enough information to fire missiles at people. But it's not something that I should be concerned with being tracked if it's from my phone?

    The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which uses a conservative methodology to track drone strikes, estimates that at least 2,400 people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have been killed by unmanned aerial assaults under the Obama administration.

    That's considerably more than I would have thought the total of all drone strikes ever. As scary as the cold war was, this "war on terror", or what ever it's called these days, is far creepier to me.

    takes full responsibility for it.

    That phrase doesn't seem to mean what it used to.

    • by uffe_nordholm (1187961) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:25PM (#46213941)
      One thing I wonder about the "takes full responsibility" bit is this: if it is proven in the future (and I'm sure it will) that some drone strike has killed only innocent people and no 'legitimate target', would the friends and families of the killed people be allowed to kill Obama? If yes, then he is indeed taking full responsibility. If not, then he is not taking full responsibility. Settling the matter with money does not count.

      Personally I could settle for having Obama (or the president of the day) put on trial for premeditated murder if/when it is proven that a drone strike only killed innocent people, but it's a more interesting discussion taken to the limit.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:15PM (#46213899)

    The story of al-Awalaki's 16 year old son doesn't get enough coverage. Presumably, he's one of the 4 americans that have been (officially) killed by drone strikes.

    Obama's campaign staff said that the boy should've "had a more responsible father."

    http://www.theatlantic.com/pol... [theatlantic.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:23PM (#46213933)

    The tracking system is actually in its beta phase. They'll get it sorted in a few decades, I'm sure.

  • by strstr (539330) on Monday February 10, 2014 @09:43PM (#46214389)

    They really don't use your cellphone to track you. They use your unique brain signature, and as you move around (even in buildings/under cover), they can watch you and see where you go. This allows them to track you 24/7 wherever you are, without use of cellphone or other tracking device.

    The only problem with this method, is, it's covert, and therefore cannot be used in a court of law. But it can be used everywhere else. If a target happens to get killed when the person wasn't the true target, it's all a lie; they intended for that person to die.

    Look up their massive radar and satellite system. This is 90% of what Signals Intelligence is, and it has been equipped with brain reading technology since 1976 (according to Dr. Robert Duncan, DOD/CIA/US DOJ whistleblower): http://www.oregonstatehospital... [oregonstatehospital.net]

    Other things they do with their satellite technology: track heart rate, breathe, vitals, and license plates.

    Yeah your body is like a lightbulb from space in the 0-100Hz realm, and it travels through walls pretty easily (billions upon billions of neurons lights you and the inside of buildings up pretty good). ;)

  • by nicoleb_x (1571029) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @12:07AM (#46215095)
    "...Whether or not Obama is fully aware of the errors built into the program of targeted assassination, he and his top advisers have repeatedly made clear that the president himself directly oversees the drone operation and takes full responsibility for it." The press making up excuses for all that tee time? Fuck That!
  • by fredrated (639554) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @09:12AM (#46216747) Journal

    the President of the United States is nothing but a murdering sack of dripping human waste.
    I say this as an ashamed life time Democrat that will never vote for the Democratic party of murdering scum as long as I live. Which may be just until the next drone strike. Fuck you you vile evil scum-sucking bastard.

  • by ivi (126837) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @07:07PM (#46223389)

    So, there could arise a market for "[recently] used terrorists' 9tSIM cards"
    (Terrorists might see 2 incentives for selling their old SIMs into it - at
    least if they're very mobile: reduce chance of being killed & some easy $$).

    Who'd buy?

    Well, anyone wanting soneone -else- dead; instead of paying a high-priced
    professional killer, all that person would need to do (theoretically) is to:

    1. buy such a SIM & a cheap phone [equipped with GPS]
    2. plant phone (with the SIM installed) into target's briefcase, etc.
    3. await news of target's "death by CIA"

    This is yet another reason to -stop- these pre-trial killings by CIA, et al.
    We have enough geniune "collateral damage" already, without the above.

A motion to adjourn is always in order.

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