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tv   Consequences of Surveillance  CSPAN  August 31, 2014 12:15pm-2:01pm EDT

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feinstein questioned the president's approach. >> if i have learned one thing about this president, he is very cautious. maybe, in this instance, to cautious. i know the military, the state department, others have been putting plans together. hopefully those plans will coalesce into a strategy. that can encourage that coalition from arab nations, you know, jordan is in jeopardy, lebanon is in jeopardy, the uaa and other countries are in so, there is good reason for people to come together now and begin to approach this as a very real threat that this in fact is. >> the president back in january told new york magazine that it
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was the jv team. clearly wrong. >> i think that is wrong as well there it i think it is a major varsity team. if you want to use those kinds of monitors. i have seen nothing that compares with its viciousness. intelligencen the committee now since before 9/11 and i have watched this evolution of nonstate actors into world terror. very carefully and closely. groups really the first that has the wherewithal in terms of financing, the fighting structure,terms of a heavy equipment, heavy explosives, the ability to move quickly. they crossed the border into iraq before we even knew it happened. people whoa group of are extraordinarily dangerous.
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withnator dianne feinstein her view on meet the press this morning. the washington post writes a different take about it, with the headline -- dan pfeiffer said the president will continue to move at his own speed to respond to these crises regardless of criticism. "there is no timetable for solving these problems that will meet the cable news cycle speed. we would much rather do this right than do it quickly." the story goes on to say, this week, president obama will have an opportunity to show leadership at a crisis at summit with european allies. immediately afterward, secretary of state john kerry will travel, where potential partners are hoping for direction. director of the national count -- counterterrorism center, related to surveillance program to the
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current isis threat. a panel of national security experts at an annual meeting. this is just under two hours. deeply indicate the use and potential abuse of technology by government and nongovernmental actors. used technology to -- it's movements. said, movements reflect aspects of
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the society. -- often reflect or nearer the resources, tools and aspects of the societies they attack. they use digital technology to attack us, to build movements, and we use it to track them. in a sense, we see the very forces we are fighting, so digital technology is provided great benefits. it also enhance threats. many say it also applies to the nsa. it uses technology, digital technology to protect us from terrorism, but also the potential for abuse. i am reminded of james madison statement where he said we need governments to protect us, but at the same time, we need what we call precautionary cautions to protect us from the government. if there are angels, they do not
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dwell on this particular earth. we are fortunate enough today to have a very distinguished panel to discuss the nsa and set the stage for what i hope will be an interesting queue in day. i am donald downs, university of wisconsin and the moderator of the discussion. it is also special given the situation in the world today and iraq and syria and elsewhere, the discussion is all the more relevant. what the nsa does is difficult. for one thing, the government has modified the program ep diddley in recent years due to what i call pressure and adding to the fog is a classified nature of the nsa work and the complexity of the interaction with the fisa courts, congress and executive branch. in addressing the question we
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have to know what is going on, but also see the forest. i hope to pay all today will get the right balance. if the nsa is watching this plenary session, welcome. if jeremy is watching, welcome to you, to. we will give you a sample of the questions we will be dealing with. how legal art nsa programs? how effective are they? what are they? how serious a are the dangers and threats the nsa programs address and how do we define the dangers for legal policy or process? we are going to obtain data. if so, what are the same aren't?
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how much should the rules and norms regarding intelligence gathering differ from domestic law enforcement's? just how different is foreign intelligence gathering from domestic law-enforcement? how much overview is provided by checks and balances in the system? congressional review, congressional checking, public opinion, the press, inspector general's, executive branch oversight and have such checks insufficient? beensufficient question -- sufficient? the nsa has often done its job with secrecy, especially in the past. so what is the balance between secrecy and openness? and who should decide where that line is drawn? what is the role and legitimacy of whistleblowers and leakers in our system? what is the legal status of edward snowden?
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the leak has provided so much information, especially about the metadata programs. what about the other leakers and whistleblowers? or is spending a few years with putin punishment enough? how has the simple growth of new technology been responsible for the nature of nsa programs? how does the press deal with the publication of stories involving national security? how to public opinion of the press shape policy and government response. one of the classic trade-off between liberty and security? that security and liberty should reinforce one another if properly done. before i introduce the panel, i want to say something briefly about the program to set the stage, and the panelists will say a lot more about them.
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the nsa was established in 1952 on that though it was based on previous intelligence operations. those point is to gather foreign intelligence through surveillance. this is sustained from a normal operation of domestic law enforcement. indeed, when the foreign intelligence surveillance act was passed in 1978, it was based on the reaction to previous abuses of surveillance by the government. the main objective is to give the government a power -- the power to do what is necessary when it comes to foreign surveillance and preventing the power from reaching over to the domestic sphere. american citizens are sustained from foreign intelligence dangers. what happens when there is a
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third category? when american citizens are involved? that is the third area where a lot of the controversy arises. much of the controversy of the program pivot around the concern of non-foreign intelligence select into intelligence gathered regarding foreign intelligence. since 9/11, for the most part, this is the reduction to a simple formula, there are four basic programs used. what -- two of them are content-based surveillance, telephone and internet communications. section 702 addresses when the nsa may look into the content. if it is purely foreign intelligence, it lies the on the purview of the fourth amendment. but the intelligence pertains to american citizens, then there are legal standards if such investigation needs to be covered by the law. the second set of programs involve metadata collection.
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both internet and telephone. the internet program has been dropped as my understanding or seriously modified but the telephone program remains. this is largely covered by section 215 of the patriot act for the business records provision. made of data -- metadata is by government providers. includes those -- such thing as numbers dialed, time and length of the call, cell phone information, websites visited and the like. this data does not itself pertain to the actual content of those communications. at one time the supreme court held such information is not upheld by the fourth information because it does not deal with content. those decisions occurred many
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decades ago when technology was not nearly as developed as it is now. so there is a greater concern with the new technology. in order to get into the content of this, a fisa court authorization is required. there is a big debate that her first speaker will address is to whether or not prior authorization is required to look at the made of -- metadata itself. the communications content provisions are also approved by the fisa court. at the new york times published information in mid-2000. meanwhile, the extent is not really know until edwards noted until 2013. -- edward snowden in early 2013. after the fisa amendment act of 2008, all four programs were given legal cover.
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we now know the pfizer court and nsa have been involved in a lot of back and forth in recent years over compliance. some say this shows they are doing their job. others say it shows they have not been sufficiently guarding civil liberties. in the wake of the disclosure, the government in recent months has discussed three different reform proposals. i will not get it to those now for the reasons of time but i assume the panel will be talking about them. it will be interesting to see whether or not they can go forward given the events in the middle east. back in 2009 we have been christmas underwear bomber in detroit. the reforms were in the making back then but as soon as the act took place, reforms were stopped.
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there seems to be a pendulum effect into the immediacy of terror threats and the strength of proposals for reforms. it is a very distinguished group. the order that they will present additional accountants. georgetown university law school professor has green -- written extensively on the nsa and related matters including too expensive pieces that i have had the pleasure to read before the conference. she has advised leading privacy groups. professor donohoo -- donohue will talk about legal implications of the bulk metadata program and section 702. the second speaker will be matthew olson. mr. olson is now the director of the national counterterrorism center in washington. before that, he served as general counsel for the national security agency where he was
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position as chief legal counsel. he served as an associate deputy attorney general and responsible for supervising and coordinating national security and criminal matters. mr. olson also have the honor of serving the obama administration and bush two administration. he will talk about the nature of terrorism, the threat it presents and what the agency is doing to support counterintelligence efforts. he will also focus on the surveillance in the role of the programs in the ability to identify and disrupt terrorist threats. third speaker will be martin baron, executive director of " the washington post." he was the editor of " the boston globe" executive editor of " miami herald" and associate editor of ". new york times."
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i know for sure he will contribute to our panel. he will talk about the press and how the press deals recording national security stories and how it interacts and negotiate with the government. peter fever is our last speaker. peter fever is our last speaker. a political science at duke where he is widely known for work in international relations, national security, peace and conflict study.
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well-known for institutional studies. director of the duke program in american grand strategy. from june 2005 and july 2007 he was on the leave -- on the 2-d the director for strategic planning and international reform at the national security council staff of the white house where his responsibilities include national security strategy, regional strategy reviews and other political issues. he has written widely on issues as national security, simple military relations and the cost of war. he will focus on the larger political and public dynamics in play in the area and how they and hinge on policymakers calculations. so the formats are the following. each panelist will present five minutes and they may lead over.
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then we will have an exchange where they will reply to one another. after that we will open up to queuing and a from the audience. >> thank you very much. i the microphones working? >> we decided to discuss from the table. i would like to thank john for the introduction. a wonderful opportunity to come together and discuss the issues and i would like to thank my fellow panelist in advance for the discussion. there are two central programs that have really captured attention. the first is double collection section 215 and section 102. in light of the limited time i will really focus on section 215. what i will say up front is my primary concern constitutionally with how is being exercised related to the post targeting analysis and the use of foreign intelligence information and ordinary criminal prosecution without any of the protections one would otherwise see in a fourth amendment context.
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i would be happy to return to that during the discussion. there is a two-part series and harvard journal of law and public policy. the first one was just published. these deal with section 215 and 702. they are pretty much in the forest. feel free if you want to take a look or if you have questions, i welcome all of that as well. focusing on section 215. what i would like to say is free things. particularly bowl collection. first is that violates the whole purpose of the foreign intelligence surveillance act and is illegal under the statutory language passed by congress. as you can see, i do not have a view. other than that, nsa. first, it violates the purpose.
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there were a plethora of programs that all of us in this room know well that had to do with the collection of both information on u.s. citizens. at the nsa for instance, a project called an array, collected information on a total of 1650 p all. no more than 800 50 people at a time. operation tram rock -- shamrock they collected messages looking for ties for foreign intelligence. one characteristic is they started limited. this started by only monitoring americans traveling to cuba but quickly expanded to anyone involved in criminal activities, suspected drug activity, individuals with suspected international terrorism. this committee really led the
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church to say they did not want to create opportunities for executive branch agencies to collect bulk information on u.s. citizens. that was the purpose behind fisa. they were concerned that developments in technology would allow agencies to exploit ambiguities in the law to intrude upon american citizens privacy. these are stated aims of the legislation. to protect u.s. persons, not just from nsa surveillance but fbi programs, fisa established for import and protections. first, any information from an electronic intercept in particular had to be specifically tied to an individual. second, that individual had to be identified as a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power prior to collection of information on that person, minimization procedures had to
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be put into place, and the foreign intelligence surveillance court would oversee this process. initially they dealt with electronic intercept. 10 register and cap and trades and that is really what the issue in the metadata program, the number one title -- one dials and the one can be received. finally, business records is a provision. in regards to what has happened, and many of these basic principles and the approach of congress and the purpose of introducing fisa have really been countered by nsa actions. the orders issued by verizon or two arise in our book collection. no prior targeting.
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no probable cause the individual was involved in criminal or foreign intelligence related activity. before they had to know the target to get information. the argument is now they'd get the information to ascertain who they are. completely backwards from the approach they have traditionally had. the role is shifting. so that is the first argument. this is really contrary to the principles. this also violates the statutory language itself. there are in this regards three ways in which it does so. the first one i want to focus on is the language that says the government must have reasonable grounds to believe the tangible
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things sought are relevant to an authorized investigation other than a threat assessment. so again, there has to be reasonable ground to believe the information the tangible things sought are relative to an authorized investigation other than a threat assessment. so what is happening in this regard is the government argues that all metadata is relevant to authorized investigation. but that makes the phrase relevant to completely meaningless. if it is all many -- relevant,
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what is irrelevant? it also makes the reasonable ground statement. you must have reasonable grounds to believe that all records are relevant to an authorized investigation. it makes the prior clause out of existence as a statutory matter and establishes a very concerning precedent. if all metadata is relevant, then so is all e-mail, all internet metadata, all financial records are relevant. all medications and social media. all of this would be relevant to assessing potential threats to the united states. so what is irrelevant? this clearly contradicts intent. >> this is part of that phrase. the way it is being read by the nsa treats the search of the data, not the collection as the part that must be relevant to an authorizing investigation. the statue requires it must be relevant to an authorized investigation. an authorized investigation requires a level of specificity prior to collecting information.
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whereas old collection does not in this regard. the orders issued allows for the future collection of information so the investigation might not have yet been authorized and you are now granting the authority to obtain information without the information actually being in existence. the statute is clear it has to of artie been established. that is the first of ways to be established. this requires the type of information. it is pretty clear you cannot use subpoenas for fishing expeditions. i could not convene a grand jury in bethesda to see what is going on in the city.
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that type of use of subpoenas has been roundly rejected by the supreme court. individually this is related to individuals of a particular crime. this is not just a search for criminals who may have a particular them -- and there is an emphasis on past wrongdoing or current wrongdoing and specific crimes that have occurred. the third statutory information is 10 register and cap and trade. reading section 215 the way it does, the government has been an end run provision and that statutory language. this clearly sets of guidelines for how the information can be collected.
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on to the third and final set of arguments is a constitutionality of this. in my view this is unconstitutional, and this is why. the government relies on the case but don referenced. this is a local case actually for us here in d.c.. at the scene of the crime, she saw a 1975 monte carlo car. she told police she had sold a car and had been robbed. someone called her on her home phone. he basically had stolen her purse and called her and identified her as a person robbed her and told her to go out on the porch and made a number of threatening result -- remarks to her. he was trying to intimidate her and harass her. he called police and the police all the not -- 1970 five monte carlo in her neighborhood.
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they took a look at the clark and from the license plate they figured out who owned the car and went to the telephone company and said may be placed up 10 register on the phone line at that time? at that time there was no ability to record the numbers dialed or received. at that time they were built in minutes. when they placed the pen register on the phone, the next morning michael smith called her on the telephone. they used the information to get a warrant, went into the house and there was a phone book turned down, dogeared to the phone number. the supreme court says michael lee smith had no privacy interest for purpose of the fourth amendment and the numbers he down from the phone because it was out of his control.
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that gave rise to what is known as third-party doctrine. they said it is third-party data, just recording the information that the telephone company has, which includes not just numbers wild and received the trunk identifier information. and this information has been collected 24-74 years. so what is wrong with the reliance on this case? privacy interest implicated the current technologies are significantly different than the privacy interest implicated in 1979. there are tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people impacted by these orders. location information and the ubiquitous nature and long-term nature make the quality different than what happened in 1979. the court has recently decided a
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number of cases under trespass doctrine. i would suggest under either approach, whether it is an original trespass -- trespass approach or higher bark, that under either approach this is unconstitutional and unacceptable to collect them on american citizens. this is it -- what gave birth to this in many ways. william pitt, prime minister directed the governors of the american colonies to use general lawrence to go into homes -- general warrants to go into people's home and look for possible criminal activity. james lawrence aimlessly argued this was the worst instrument of arbitrary power. he said then and their child liberty was born. this was seen as the first shot in the revolution to say we will not accept lawrence. this included prohibition on general torrents.
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virginia and new york and the number of states as a condition of signing the u.s. constitution said there must be a prohibition on general lawrence. that is what madison said, to protect against general lawrence. giving the ability the government -- the government to collect metadata without any evidence of wrongdoing that looks like trespass on the private lives of american citizens. justice scalia in a recent case jones said at one cannot read the fourth amendment to write out of the existence of the founding. but there is an approach. there was a recent case u.s.
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versus jones wear a gps chip was placed on a car outside of the warrant -- the 10 days required by warrants and outside of washington, d.c. on a drug dealer's wife's car, suspected drug dealer. the court decided the case on trespass. there were five justices who came out and said under tax, one has to take account of reasonable expectation of privacy and technology is changing the picture, that technology is changing what these were like. they took on board directly and said this is something different. justice sotomayor said she would overturn third-party doctrine in light of the intrusive nature of the technologies. there are number of cases one could point to. i'm going to wrap it up because i know we are under limited time. we have 2010 versus war shack am a six the circuit case. we have caught her man -- cotterman a ninth circuit case. we have justice kagan look at the reflex expectation.
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we have this growing body of case law where the court is starting to recognize and say wait a minute, there is a privacy interest. this is a heightened interest in something different than we have previously seen. just to recap, section 702, the primary concern has to do with targeting analysis and use of the criminal -- use of the information for criminal activity. i see it contradictory to the purpose of introducing fisa as violating statutory language and unconstitutional. thank you. >> i am going to follow laura and not be easy as the nsa general counsel to follow laura. she has done a lot of very extensive and interesting work on this. let me say i am here in some ways more as the current role of the director amount -- national counterterrorism director.
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i will talk a little bit about the law at some point but i am here primarily because my daughter is a now a junior at the university of wisconsin and took the professor's class and last year i have the privilege of speaking to professor downs class with my daughter in it about national security and the first amendment. as a lookout that you all, i hope you're easier than that group was on my argument. they asked a lot of good questions. i will stay in the forest and not the trees for a moment. so i look at this now, nsa surveillance from an operational perspective. the national counterterrorism center is essentially a clearinghouse. a clearinghouse for analysis of terrorist information. the subject of today's talk is
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nsa surveillance and its consequences. i do have a perspective now of the consequences of the surveillance. my view is the surveillance is indispensable to protecting the country. it is our daily bread. every day i get a threat briefing. i have one every morning. it lasts about an hour. we go around the world and find out what is happening from a terrorist perspective. one of the primary sources about terrorism comes from the collection of information that nsa carries out around the world. it is really through these reports, nsa reports, but we
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have the opportunity to see the medications of the people who are targeted, the targeted terrorist that are seeking to carry out attacks against the world and here at home. so i approach these questions from a particularly operational perspective. i obviously understand there is a lot more to it than just the operational side and laura's remarks make that clear. let me take a few the limoneira comments -- let me make them to the primary threat. if we have the comments about striking the balance, and then went back about a black then you have the problem. i think you need to understand the nature of the threat, that the stare we are trying to learn more about to protect the country. i will talk about that and then i will talk about how nsa surveillance gets into that and then i will touch on the impact of the disclosure of the stolen documents and how that has affected our capability. so the short answer on the threat is it is increasingly complicated and persistent and diverse and geographically diffused. it has changed a lot in the past 10 years. much different from what we experienced in 9/11 and the years shortly after.
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al qaeda leaders who established a safe haven. we are not talking about a diverse range of actors. not just core al qaeda and pakistan by the number of groups and individuals who have varying degrees of affiliation with al qaeda. you cannot not see this when you turn on cnn or open a newspaper. you have groups obviously affiliated with al qaeda like al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, the group responsible for the 2009 effort to take down a plane over detroit. you have the group in somalia, newsgroup in affiliate -- and al qaeda. you have groups that are aligned with or even have splintered away from al qaeda. aligned groups like boko haram in nigeria.
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isis or isil, a group that has splintered off from al qaeda. beyond that, you have a number of individuals in places like libya, egypt who have varying degrees of adherents to the ideology. you have people here in the united states to adhere to the ideology of al qaeda here yet so the way the threat picture looks now is much more diverse and fragmented that i was 10 or even really four years ago. beyond the diversity you have geographic diffusion. as i mentioned initially, not just centered in the region, it is now spanning a wide geographic area going from south asia in afghanistan and the middle east and across north africa, all the way from east
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egypt to molly -- mali and the east. this presents a real challenge for us from a terrorism perspective. the third feature of the threat is it has proven to be quite adaptive. when we woke her -- when we were concerned about centrally planned and plotting from al qaeda senior leaders, we are now increasingly concerned about the change in tactics. we are there looking to carry out smaller scale, less sophisticated attacks but those that do not require planning, and people to travel or communicate directly with central planners or leaders in these locations. so they have changed the tactics. understanding that is a vulnerability for them. so we have a threat that is increasingly diverse, geographically diffused and adapted. the question is and the thing i wanted to mention is why is the
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nsa so important to collect information. this flows directly from the threat. it is very difficult to infiltrate the group. they are inherently sift -- suspicious. they kill people who they suspect are spies. one of the primary ways of being able to type -- understand their intentions and identify individuals who along to the group, is to be able to get access to the communications. it is also the case with the geographic spread of the threat that the ability to have human sources is limited because we cannot get to these different places. another reason why nsa collection is so critical. a third is the inherent reliability of this type of intelligence. it is a double standard.
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-- gold standard. we are not relying on someone to report on what they hear or they may have inherent bias or limitations on what they have access to. we are able to get the communications we are seeking to learn more about. we are getting their actual e-mails or telephone calls. all of this really goes to the point, the fundamental point i started with nsa surveillance of the general proposition as indispensable to our ability to counter the threats we are seeing and continuing to proliferate. a couple of cases in point. syria. obviously we are seized with what is happening in syria and iraq. in serious we have the unrest that has led to of magnets of foreign fighters. we have over 12,000 foreign fighters going to syria. the numbers going up all the time. more than 1000 from europe and more than 100 and the united states.
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going to syria to join the opposition. many of them joining the extremist group like al qaeda affiliates. our concern is as they go to the places, they will eventually get trained, further radicalized and then go home. one of the great challenges is identifying the individuals, understanding what the intentions are, and if they are involved in plotting, being able to disrupt that. that is why there is a very good example of the types of intelligence we get from nsa is critical for the ability to understand the emerging threat. another point or example i wanted to share, because it goes directly to laura talked about in terms of the particular program, section 215 . we will talk more about the legality of those. the specific example and has been more widely discussed
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[indiscernible] colorado veryin nsa using section 702 was targeting an individual in pakistan connected to al qaeda. by targeting that individual, they intercepted an e-mail between the individual and pakistan. because of that intercept, because of that collection, nsa identified that individual in colorado, shared that information with the fbi. the fbi instigated an investigation. the person was days from traveling to new york, was eventually arrested by the fbi while he was on his way to blow up the new york subway.
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the nsa and the fbi used 215 to corroborate the identity of an accomplice. it was a plot that was real, it was not aspirational, and it was stopped because of nsa and because of these programs. the third thing i want to say is -- i will talk on this a little -- is the impact of the disclosures. the bottom line is the documents stolen from nsa and disclosed have had an extremely damaging impact on the ability to collect information. we have lost the ability to intercept to of key terrorist operatives and leaders. we know these groups monitor the press. they are suspicious of our ability to collect data. it is not news to them that the
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nsa and the united states government and intelligence agencies around the world are trying to collect, but what this information did was confirm in detail the scale and scope of our capabilities. in many ways, it revealed information that had nothing to do with the privacy of or civil liberties of americans. it was information about the capabilities of u.s. intelligence agencies. we have specific examples of terrorists who have adopted greater security measures in the last year. this includes various types of encryption. they have changed internet service providers or ceased communicating in ways that they had before and dropped out of our ability for us to see what they were doing. it was an extremely damaging impact on our ability to collect these indications. we are at a point now where we are dealing with this, and the
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president has made significant changes in the 215 program. it knows longer looks like it was before it was described. we have a lot of work to do to address the erosion of trust that has been created. that is something that is part of why it is important to have discussions like this with informed and influential audiences like you and why i welcome the opportunity to have the discussion. so thanks. >> thank you, matt. what i will try to talk about here is how and why we decided to publish, how we went about our work, and how we think about national security issues in our coverage. i am not a lawyer. i will not pretend to be one here. i may be at some disadvantage, but i can speak in broad strokes about the role we see for ourselves in coverage of this nature.
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national security is an area that is of intense focus for us at "the washington post." it is one of the greatest powers of government. that is the power to make war, to spy on people, prosecute them, incarcerate them, and kill them. those are the greatest powers of all, and they are invested in our government as they are in every government around the world. we have to cover the federal government. in covering the federal government, those are not activities that we would choose to ignore. nor are those activities that in my view we can simply defer to the government's wishes on what we should reports, how we should report it, what not to report whenever the government asserts a national security rationale or whenever the basis for our
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coverage is classified material. the government has shown a proclivity to classifying documents of all sources. an enormous amount of information is classified, including information that is relatively innocuous. there can always be a rationale for keeping something classified. as a result, very sweeping government policies with profound implications for individual rights. fourth amendment we talked about right here. first amendment as well. those of been put in place in secret. the constitution begins with the phrase "we the people," and it presupposes the people will he involved in self-governance, that this will be a government of, by, and for the people.
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the premise of that is people actually have information about what their government is doing, that they have knowledge of that. our purpose is to try to provide that information so that we can actually have self-governance in fact and not just in name. at "the post," we have a highly experienced national security staff. the people on this panel are aware of that. they have a lot of interactions with the people on our staff. we do rely on their expertise and their history of navigating the most sensitive subjects imaginable. we recognize that there is a tension between self-governance in this country and national self-preservation and self-protection. there is no question about that. we are not dismissive of national security concerns.
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we take them very seriously. we recognize it is a dangerous world. as we have heard already, we certainly know that. nor do we doubt that the government needs to engage in intelligence activities and surveillance as well. so it is not an issue of whether we should have intelligence activities or no intelligence activities or whether there should be no surveillance whatsoever. reporters meet regularly with the pentagon, white house, intelligence agencies on the nsa documents that are issued here. we spent many hours on each story in detailed conversations with high-level officials. there was an occasion where there were 16 officials with our one or two reporters from pretty much every agency in government at the time. on many occasions at the request
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of the government we have withheld information that might disclose very specific sources and methods, and in withholding that information we have come into criticism from a segment of the population. we did not agree and would not agree to have every request made so by the government. had we done so, we would have had no stories whatsoever because the intelligence agencies would have referred we -- preferred we not publish a single word on this subject at all. so the director of national intelligence and leading congressmen have said chillingly that the journalist who revealed this information, the contents of the classified documents.
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one congressman has suggested we should have been prosecuted under the espionage act instead of being awarded the pulitzer prize. thankfully, i am here, able to attend this panel, and be in front of all of you. what we saw in the documents that we received from snowden was something that went beyond the specific sources and methods that the press had traditionally guarded on grounds of national security. the documents reveal that the nsa was engaging in and surveillance of breathtaking scope and breathtaking intrusiveness, at a scale that many would never have approved. what we have here we believe was a national policy, not just sources and methods, and a policy that have dramatically shifted the balance toward state power and shifted the balance
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away from individual rights, including privacy. there had been no public knowledge, there have been no public debate, and knowledge within the government itself was sharply limited. so now we have that debate. we are able to have panels like this and discuss public policy and not just have knowledge limited to a selected group in government who are shielded from the people they represent. i will turn it over. >> it is an honor to be on a panel like this, even though i realize my presence diminishers the average luster of the panel and perhaps the average salary as well. i'm hoping my being -- >> [indiscernible] >> take steps to rebalance that last piece of this. i will speak of five from positions of the group referenced in martin's remarks, namely "we the people."
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what is the broader context? the first proposition is the public is not nearly as -- as that coverage might make you think it is. tired of war, wanting to retrench at home, and fearful the government is a bigger threat to their freedom than terrorists are. i commend your attention to a poll that surveyed the public on a wide range of matters that will be released very shortly. the data there are striking. this is data collected before isil became a household name. only one in three thinks the restrictions on the national security agency should be increased.
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more people think it should remain the same, and there is a small number that thinks there should be fewer researches. it is a plurality of public that thinks that the budget for general information gathering, the nsa budget and matthew's salary, should remain the same as it is now. and seven in 10 say it is more important for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats even if that intrudes on personal privacy. so they tell the privacy security balance and direction of security. they want gitmo more than they want to close it. the general public does not view snowden as a hero.
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but another way, this is a public that the nsa could work with. this is more of an nsa kind of public than a wrong poll public. there are very outspoken minority groups that hold to the ron paul view, but in general the public is more sympathetic to what the nsa is doing. the second proposition is that the public is not panicky about terrorism, but nor is it sanguine about the terrorist threat. the public is still quite worried -- this is now 13 years after 9/11 -- still worried about terrorism, and they actually even are more worried about terrorism than they have been in a decade. the 2014 data is higher than the decade ago. 34% say terrorists have a greater ability to date than terrorists had on 9/11, and a decade ago you would've only had 24% who said that. about a third of the public say that the president has made the country less safe in this area.
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and all of these data before attorney general holder said that the isil terrorist was more frightening than anything he had seen and before secretary hagel described the threat in apocalyptic terms. this is before the most recent isil revelations. third, because of the first two propositions, the politics do not favor -- the threat. i think that president erred when he dismissed isil as a j.v. threat. you can be sure that if isil ever does succeed in attacking the homeland that the lead in
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"the washington post" -- the president understands that was a mistake. the communications team does. that is why they have gone to such things to attack and deflect the president's choices, going to remarkable lengths to attack people who say that effort by him will get harder and harder to do because the more criticisms are now coming from members of his team, former members of his team. secretary of state clinton, secretary of state steinberg, former ambassador ford, they have all registered very compelling and thoughtful critiques, and more democrats have spoken with martin's staff about the problem.
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it is impossible to dismiss this criticism as partisan. paradoxically, the president's -- or the success in terms of rescuing the yazidis refugees on a mountaintop, that is going to increase the intensity of the political vice in which the president will find himself. that is, if isil successfully attacks the u.s. homeland and the president has not authorized strikes against them in syria and elsewhere, than the question will be, why didn't he use it. -- use tools that were successful for him in iraq to deal with the threat in isil when his advisers said you are not going to be able to contain this threat indefinitely without confronting them in syria. the fourth proposition --
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these numbers -- the poll numbers i described are likely to spike in favor of a more robust counterterrorism effort, including a robust intelligence collection, rather than the other way. i do not think we are heading into a time where the public will be clamoring for even more restrictions on nsa. i think the global instability trendlines point in the other directions, and it is easier for me to imagine scenarios where the public concern about this will increase tremendously than it is for me to imagine scenarios where the public will become more sanguine. and that intensifies further the political pressure on the administration. particularly, the pressure to be more expansive on intelligence questions.
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one of the reasons the bush administration in the fall of 2001 moved as quickly as they could, accelerating and throwing out existing war plans and creating a new war plan in order to attack al qaeda in afghanistan on an accelerated basis, the administration was very concerned that al qaeda would go up 2-0 on the u.s., that they would get a strike in before the u.s. have been able to avenge the first strike. and they were concerned in such a climate, if al qaeda had gone up 2-0 on the u.s., that the pressure from the public for an unrestrained, for an overwhelming response, using all elements of national power, including perhaps even weapons of mass destruction, the nuclear option, the pressure on the administration would have been even greater. so part of the reason for moving
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so quickly was to bring the political environment back in to align with a more reasonable counterterrorism strategy. ironically, president obama has put even greater pressure on the intelligence community. ben rhodes, the president's chief spokesperson in the national security area, recently said about a week ago that at that time there was no need to attack isil in syria. and the reason was that they did not have clear indications of that isil was going to pose a direct imminent threat to the homeland. but ben rhodes insisted if we did get that clear indications and warning, the president would authorize a strike. what that does is put a tremendous amount of pressure on your indications and warning capacity.
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that was a shot across the bow of the intelligence community. the quote, because in political terms, that was saying we do not need to act now, because the intelligence community has not told us we do not need to act now. if we are wrong, if there is a strike, intelligence community has not warned us adequately, it is betting the political predicate for a blame shift, which has an effect that it will make sure that not a single possible threat that goes unnoticed. so the reason for my fifth and final proposition, there is an interesting policy maker and academic gap in this area, in the study of this issue. let's stipulate for the sake of this panel, let's stipulate that some level of homeland risk is irreducible, that even if the
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team does all the work, there some irreducible threat that remains retired heard many academics accept that premise. they wonder why are we doing us to reduce it? what are we going to such great lengths, including accepting trade-offs on security and privacy from an essay, why are we doing so much to reduce it? the policy makers i have interacted with see it in a mirror image. they say the threat is that this your adjustable level precisely because we are going to such extraordinary lengths to reduce it, and that is why we have to maintain the extraordinary lengths so that the threat remains at whatever is the irreducible level. so i close by saying i think the pressure on the president will increase in this area. and i call to your attention with the president said a day or two ago in a speech to veterans.
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he said that if isil killed americans, he would avenge their deaths. and no one should out his willingness to do so. i accept that at face value. i do not doubt his determination. he has proven he will use all elements of national power to avenge the death of americans. and americans do want the president to avenge those deaths. but they want even more for the president to take all reasonable measures to prevent those deaths. they are not just interested in avenging. they want prevention. so go back to my political vice problem for the president. if the president does not take action against isil because he is waiting for clear indications and warning of a homeland
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attack, and if he does not get those clear indications and warnings, because of restrictions that have been placed on the nsa, then in that hypothetical the blowback will be severe, and the debate as whether the approval is overly general, i do not think will have much resonance with voters. >> thank you, panel. very interesting, and we want to speak to any questions. we have until 12:00, and we have ample time for questions and answers. let me speak about what peter just said. given his assessment of the political vice, can we expect to see any kind of reform of nsa, and, if so, what will it look like? >> i will jump in. i do think the president made a very important speech earlier this year in which he outlined
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the challenges that we face in this area, much along the lines we have all discussed. he identified, for example, his speech about the revolution, the civil war, world war ii, talked about intelligence gathering, and the inherent difficulty that we have been tying to national security and private and civil liberties. one of the points i wanted to make today that is crucial from my perspective, having worked on these issues for several years, including under the past administration, is this discussion did not just begin with "the post" story or "the guardian" story last year. this has been an ongoing debate with lawyers, policymakers, congress, the courts, and with the public. and we can talk about how much can be public and how much should be public.
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this debate has been going on. and the president pointed out there have been big changes. the fact after 9/11 we are talking about threat inside the united states, that the biggest threats are asymmetric actors, and that led the president to announce a series of reforms in his speech earlier this year. the quick answer then is, yes, there will be changes, yes, congress has undertaken legislation right now. there were changes that we made on the executive side that did not carry, including going to the fisa court for every time we look at the data that is collected under 215. but notwithstanding lawyers' points about the ways in which 215 is out of whack with fisa, under the statute, and constitution, the reality is it is legal and it is constitutional, because every judge who has looked at it with
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the exception of one judge, but every fisa court judge who is a that it has said so. -- looked at it has said so. as long as i am in the seat at the national counterterrorism center, we are going to try to take advantage of those laws that allow us to do these things. this is going to be maybe where laura wanted to go, but now where does not. the president said they would end bulk collection. we are going to work with congress to end bulk collection. we will still maintain a capability that is roughly equivalent with what we have now. >> can you work with these changes? >> we are working through that. what we are working with we can -- yes. >> i would like to highlight a reason why we have to have those reforms.
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it is a problem when the law says you have to have reasonable grounds to believe information is worthy of investigation, and it turns out all phone calls are relevant. you may not knowingly collect entire domestic conversations and the nsa says we collect tens of thousands of domestic conversations, but anyone in stance we might not know at that time, but we're still going to collected. it is a problem when the law says you have to be able to obtained this, and no court will allow you to collect metadata. it is a problem when the laws say one thing and inside a super secret classified world that only a handful of people have access to, something very different is being done in the people's name. the second point, disclosure has damaged intelligence, but so
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does the use of the law in a manner that looks so different from what it actually says on its face. that also create damage, and the damage is to democratic governance. on the constitutional point, something we have not touched on is 702, and what is being done there is not just information to or from -- 702 deals with non-u.s. persons located outside the united states, the collection of information on it. 703 deals with persons outside the united states. 704 is u.s. persons outside the united states. different standards apply to each category. 702, you are collecting information on non-u.s. persons, and one of the concerns is this would be reversed targeting. they would say that the concern is intelligence agencies will say we are targeting foreigners, and we're going to collect all international indications, but we are not hurting americans in the united states.
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-- targeting americans in the united states. the discounted target over seas. that is why they introduced these other provisions, other mechanisms to prevent this from happening. what is happening is this is being interpreted, not just to or from targets overseas, but information about related to those targets, which is a broader understanding. you can collect more information. if i communicate with somebody and there is reference in the content of my communications to a selector, that information can be collected and mined for communication. this is to, from, or about. this tfa is allowed to collect more information that it otherwise would be allowed to collect. it is not allowed to clear the
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-- now allowed to query the database using u.s. information, names, affiliations, titles, and you query the data. you can query this database, which the fbi has co-mingled with traditional fisa, and there are no records being kept of this. under the fourth amendment, the right of the people to be secure against unreasonable search and seizures shall not be violated. we have this right, and yet u.s. personal identifiers are being used to clear this database. the fisa court said there are reasons why the war and its were not required. warranthere was not a were not required. they were good reasons. the purpose of the surveillance is not garden variety law-enforcement, where there is a high degree of probability if you were to require a warrant it would impede the government's ability collect information and would hurt u.s. national security. you can collect information.
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none of those conditions hold when the fbi goes back to the database to see if there is any evidence of criminal activity. in bin laden, the southern district of new york said it is in bin laden, the southern district of new york said it is hard to get warrants. it is hard to predict the impact of seeking a warrant. there's a danger of notifying enemies by warning foreign officials. when we have the information in our hands, it is hard to argue why you should not be required to get a warrant to search the database for evidence of criminal behavior. the privacy and civil liberties warned came out with a report where the said the fbi frequently does this. they do not keep a record of this. there is no probable cause required. this amounts to an end-around of the fourth amendment. >> i want to change course a bit and maybe address some of the
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things that peter said, because i felt there was a bit of a characterization of what we think at "the washington post," how we are, and all that sort of stuff. let me offer some clarifying remarks. we never said that snowden is a hero, by the way. what we suggested is in these documents that he provided us and "the guardian" that there was information that the public and had important public policy implications. and that probably should lead to a debate, such as the one we are involved in here today. we have never suggested that the public is not concerned about terrorism. we are concerned about terrorism. we cover it every single day. by the way, we feel is very acutely, the individual who was recently beheaded was a journalist, and there are other
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journalists who are being held by terrorists throughout the world. we are not pollyanna-ish about that subject. we did not say that a majority of americans favored greater restrictions on the nsa. we conducted our own polls, which is pretty much what was reflected in the polls that peter cited. nonetheless, to say that one in three say more research and should be in place is not to -- we have said that and do feel that the level of surveillance does raise important constitutional issues, as laura has been talking about, and is potentially subject to abuse.
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there is no question that we are in a period of terrorism threat, and there is no question in a period like that individuals are willing to give up their rights in favor of security. but that is a decision that the american public can make through debate such as this one. the american public can arrive at a policy that they think is appropriate, and i suppose if they choose in some manner to give up their rights, they can do so, although we have a constitution and those things have to be contested and discussed in courts and in forums -- political forms and in forums such as this one. i agree with laura that while perhaps disclosure of these documents has had an impact and perhaps a very serious impact on the government's ability to conduct surveillance, it is
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important in the field of the fight of terrorism, non-disclosure of all this, the fact that all of this was largely secret from the american public does do damage to our civil liberties and our ability to govern ourselves. >> peter, any response? >> i think you misunderstood -- i was not attributing those to the views of the editorial board of "the washington post," but you're right that there has been a marked change in the tone of coverage of these issues, even since the tragic beheading. the reporters i talked to there approach on this issue is different than it was two or three months ago, and at the height of the snowden revelations, when the outrage was mostly directed at the nsa, and i think there has been a return to a more balanced
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perspective that you just articulated, i think there has been since then. the public has voted on these issues, voted to reelect president bush. it voted to elect the people who passed the patriot act. it voted to reelect president obama, and both president bush and president obama defended these kinds of actions. there is now obviously lots of reasons why the public votes for a president. but the public -- that is, the gist of my distillation of the argument is the public outrage at the nsa probably hit a high-water mark, is what i would say, at the height of the snowden coverage, and that world
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events are likely to push the public away from that, further and further away from that, more likely to do in that direction than to push them more in the direction of laura's camp. that does not speak to reflection of policy reforms. they have been made and there will be more tweaking on the margins, and certainly if there is umph or any new action, it will be much more tailored and restricted and the original 2001 . it is not to say that the public will force the politicians to be unrestrained, but it is to say we are moving more in the direction of taking more risks to confront terrorism than it is accepting more risks from not confronting terrorism.
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>> at the political science convention, the relationship between law and politics. judges will often decide cases somewhat differently, based on circumstances. perhaps press, at least in terms of what it publishes. there is a relationship between politics and the law. the panel, laura would seem to be the most uncomfortable with that proposition. >> that the courts solve politics? >> it has always been a separate domain for law. >> obviously, we need to teach constitutional law. you are aware of the political context in which decisions are made and of the orientation of the justices.
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also the effort to reconcile decisions with substitution provisions. >> before we go to the audience? >> i would like to throw out -- both an observation and i may have a question for marty. the observation is -- this is an important discussion, and the discussion of where the law is heading, an important part of this debate. i think it would be wrong and is a myth that has been widely shared that nsa is flawlessly making these arguments and going forward on its own, implementing these programs. the fact is on 215 the fisa court, independent article 3 judges, have upheld 215, including since the revelation of the snowden document, invisibly the debate in the public. the federal judges, three out of four have upheld 215. congress passed 702 fully understanding how it would be implemented, and the one judge
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that has looked at it has upheld it as constitutional, within the statute. it may be the case that some day articles laura is writing will change the law, but that is not today. from my perspective, we have an obligation to execute the law in a way that then protects the country and takes full advantage of the laws and tools on the books. i think it is a misimpression that the weight nsa is implementing these laws, because there are a lot of people within the justice department, they say the branch, within fisa courts, congress, validating them, reauthorizing them come and determining they are within the constitution. >> i think it is an important issue, and you made a very reasonable opening comment about how -- and i agree with you how
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"the washington post" approaches these issues. the challenge i think is the initial story that "the washington post" -- said that nsa had directly tapped into the servers of internet companies, 9 internet companies. this turned out not to be true. this was the lead story. a lot of people might think then and even today that that was the case. in fact, what that program was talking about was section 702 of fisa, which had been validated by the courts. i understand the pressure on the press to publish when you have something like that based on what you know, and there may be
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timeliness pressure as well. the problem is unringing that bell. that turned out to be not true. but it was the lead paragraph of that initial story. it is very hard to change that impression once it is out there. i think there is pressure. there is a back and forth, and maybe we have gotten better at it in working with the press, but the other problem is not every press outlet is "the washington post" and engage in that type of discussion with the government and is responsible. >> let me address that. first of all, we had discussions with the nsa before publishing that story. the second point is that was an actual nsa document that said
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they could tap directly into it, so it was an actual account of what nsa was doing its own people in its own documents. in addition, the story did not stop there. it said that the nsa and the government denied it was doing that, and it quoted extensively of technology companies saying they were not aware of this, it did not happen, so it did not stop by just saying that government can just willy-nilly cap into these networks. it actually quoted from the government saying this is not the case. it quoted from the technology company saying it was not the case. it also quoted from the actual nsa document incident which said it was the case. as far as every media outlet not being "the washington post," i appreciate your deference there to the paper. the reality is snowden could have done what was done in the
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case of wikileaks. he could have actually turned this over to wikileaks. all of this information, without intermediary involved, the intermediary being us and "the guardian," he could've posted it out there, anyone to look at, any terrorist organization, any other country, to take a look at and pore through and look at it to their heart's desire. for reasons he articulated, he gave it to us to exercise our judgment and in exercising our judgment we spent an anonymous amount of time with the government going over this information. and actually withholding information that the government felt was far too sensitive. we spend months on some of these stories. we have spent enormous amount of time and an onerous amount of
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money. we have taken enormous percussions with the security of the documents we have. i do not think that is an act of irresponsibility in any way. and i think certainly the government would argue that nothing should be out there, that the government should essentially know everything and the public should know almost nothing. that is not a position -- >> [indiscernible] >> that is the position of some, and that is not a position that i think i feel is consistent with the very principle of self-governance. >> laura would like to make one quick final point. please line up buying the microphone. if you just ask your question back there, i can then take it up on the media. >> a comment. this reliance on the fisa concerns me, because if we look
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across the board from the past 10 years, from the 20 judges on the court, only three were democratic appointees. all of the judges on the court to review that had issued these important decisions bringing down the law between -- two of the judges on the panel, have actually said fisa was unconstitutional in the first place. the applications that come for the court, in the past decade, only eight have been denied in whole and only three in part, out of 18,000 cases come before the court. there's no advocate opposed to the government at the courts. these are in-camera proceedings. there's no advocate constitutional advocate or advocate that may challenge this at the time it was being put forward.
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you see the impact of this. the judges that have released opinions, one of the opinions, it spends a page and a half dismissive of any question of third-party data had a note treatment of advanced technologies come of these cases that have been handed down. we have other cases we can look to come and none of it has been cited, and there is no contrary opinion being at rest of the court at the time. i would ask that they were not designed to be in court to create prescedent and not a fourth amendment warrant exception, which is what had happened in regard to 702. it is now found that there is a warrant exception which has never been recognized at a domestic level, and since 1978 fisa has controlled those collections. when you have a secret court that is heavily skewed to one direction, at least in terms of the appointments, the tense to
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agree to all of the order requests that are put before it, and it these are secret, they look at that the president for a court that was not designed to have president with no contrary counsel to rely on this as a state of the constitutional provisions, i find concerning. >> you would support and advocate? >> absolutely. >> and will panel could be devoted to that one question alone. panel could be devoted to that one question alone. >> my name is steve, from the cornell law school. i have a question about -- i want to push back a little on the third-party doctrine argument. i think the statutory arguments you've made were absolutely compelling. on third-party doctrine, you argue it is qualitatively different, and the argument is a greater invasion of privacy. and it strikes me -- i am opposed to third-party doctrine from the beginning. and third-party doctrine knew there was a violation of privacy, but said it is irrelevant.
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you can take people's trash, get their bank records, you can get their e-mail, you can get the bank records, including credit cards, and so forth, you can get their telephone records. we know that invades privacy, but it is not within the scope, is not a search, there's no reasonable expectation of privacy. so if it is all attentively different under third-party doctrine, it does not make a difference. the second point is it is not clear to me that it is qualitatively different. if you give me a choice between having the government get my bank records, my phone records, search in my trash, and so forth, versus their knowing who i called, there is a much eager -- deeper invasion of privacy. it is qualitatively different in the sense, of more people are
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involved but in terms of the particular invasions of privacy, the third-party doctrine already was doing greater invasions of privacy than the metadata of the nsa. the final point i want to raise with respect to this is a question. the requirements for a subpoena are not constitutional, and i am wondering, if verizon says you cannot get this without a subpoena, what is the relationship between the requirement for a subpoena and probable cause? i ask that because i do not know. >> ok, so feel free to jump in. >> please be brief. >> all right. so probable cause is not required for subpoena. i had a discussion in the paper of the subpoena cases relevant to this.
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the longest period is two years. that is the longest time, and probable cause is not required in that instance. on this broader point, whether there is a distinction, we have information available to us that was not available then. social network analysis. on ayou put one cap -- tap man's phone, that is different from saying let's look at the social network and who is related to whom in this network, which would levy the most power. that is the kind of information one can get. you can also get trunk identifier information. before when you had land lines, you cannot tell where michael went every day. now we have cell phones, so the technologies that allow us to
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track cell phone towers, allow to find out where one can is different kinds of information to the same third-party records. even the telephone records are different from before in terms of the privacy interests, and beyond this limit the type of information we now have with third parties is qualitatively effort. -- different. on the icloud, the amount of information you put up about our personal correspondence from our private dealings with others, the concept of inside the home, the filing cabinet is sacrosanct and you need a warrant to get into the filing cabinet, just because we keep the contents of that cabinet in our pocket, this is what the right case was about. whether you have privacy when the police arrest you this is a new world we live in. and in the intelligence committee, the idea just because this information is given to apple or google or any where on the cloud, i think that does not
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understand the privacy interests now indicated by how technology has changed the context in which we live our daily lives. >> it is really important to emphasize one point after laura, which is when the government seeks under fisa to obtain the contents of communications of u.s. persons, they have to get a warrant. the thing we are talking about undermines that basic proposition. the government is going to get the contents of this information, they must get a warrant. >> university of utah. this is a question about the contemporary structure of data and analytic techniques. with surveillance of the area of health, you do not know what you are looking for until you see a pattern.
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you do not know whether there is something of significance or who might be the relevant entity. i am actually very interested in privacy, and the question is to ask you, are there any ways given that feature of analytics to try to craft or form so that when you cannot identify the target in advance so that we can figure out ways to think about relevance and the use of subpoena powers and so on, given that fact about the power data and analysis. >> my thought, this presents a national security as a haystack argument. senator whitehouse is big on that haystack. you cannot build a haystack to find a needle. don't we need on this information so we can find the needle that we are looking for in a haystack. the general warned allows you to
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collect a lot of information to find evidence of wrongdoing, and i would say that is part of the criminal matter under u.s. law in the fourth amendment. there is no automation exception. if the government were to put cameras in all of our bathrooms and to record us, they would say we do not access, we are only going to access it when we suspect there's activity, and we're going to look at general patterns of behavior. that would be a privacy violation. you build this haystack using computers and assume there is no human intervention, that is not established as an exception to the fourth amendment. while i understand your concern with privacy -- with regard to health law, looking for patterns, when it comes to criminal matters where you can imprison people or kill people, this is something very different from that is where constitutional protections come into play.
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>> i would add this gets us to an aspect we have not talked about yet, but i think will prove increasingly politically relevant, and that is while it is a fact that nsa is not targeting each of us individually in this room or on this panel, i'm pretty sure, we are in fact targeted by google, facebook, by private companies who are actually doing precisely the things that you just ascribed. they have assembled a haystack and are looking for things, and if you have any doubt of this, check out the ads that you see when you're checking out pandora. the internet companies do this. i recognize there is an important constitutional distinction between the government doing this and private companies doing it, and we accept that companies will do this, and that makes it legal. from the political view, i think the public will get increasingly uncomfortable with that level of
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targeted surveillance come and you may see pressures for reform coming in through that door, and maybe eventually migrating over to the national security area. >> hi. i am at ohio state university. it has been a great panel. thank you very much. i am in international relations. that underlies the thrust of my question. to see that the terrorist information data environment tie is the primary repository for c.t. information, and we know the nsa is one of the primary collectors of that information, and i assume, feeds in c.t. that information. we know the u.s. as information agreements with other countries. there is a foreign partner extract of the terrorist watch list.
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it seems there is an international dimension here. can you comment a bit -- i know you will be limited on what you can say -- on how foreign partners are benefiting from an essay surveillance activity -- from nsa surveillance activity, and is the c.t. database becoming a global clearinghouse? >> very well-informed question. they never our business pretty well. we have the statute to make sure that there is a government consolidated database. we share that subset of that class by database with the terrorist screening center, which is then responsible for using it for various screening purposes, airports, and the like. some of that information is shared under agreements with other countries. i think the important point is when it comes to u.s.
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information, that the nsa collects, that they have a series of rules and laws and policies that limit what can be shared about u.s. persons. minimization for seizures based on what they could, so every step in the process, from the initial step of that collection of the information which use in classified databases, its use for screening purposes, and sharing them with other countries, there are a number of steps all designed to protect privacy and civil liberties of u.s. persons that are taken along the way. that is about the best way to answer. it is probably a longer answer to get to the debate, so your question, is there a number of safeguards placed into the system to perfect privacy of the u.s. persons? >> thank you. i am from george mason
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university, i was wondering what reforms you think you can do to optimize both the need for the people to provide oversight to the nsa and also the nsa's needs to protect ways and means? >> one i did not mention before that i touched on his possible changes to the way the fisa court operates. one of this just seems there, a judge who wrote a letter recently that touched on this, addressed this issue. advocating an amicus role in certain cases at the discretion of the court. that seems to me like a reasonable way to increase public confidence in the work of the court. the work of the court is necessarily classified, much of it. it is not a secret court. we know the court exists. we know who is on it. it does operate much of the time in a classified environment because information being
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presented is classified. one way to build additional trust is to have an amicus role. that is one that makes sense. >> they do not have the resources to monitor the things that they are asking nsa and others to do. almost three years the nsa was clearing data without reasonable suspicion even though the courts had required it. when the new administration came in they realized what was happening, within a week reported it to the courts, and i want to say although there is no contrary advocate on the other side, doj has done an exemplary job in terms of trying to present contrary arguments.


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