NSA Bombshell Story Falling Apart Under Scrutiny; Key Facts Turning Out to Be Inaccurate

FILED TO: Politics

greenwald_nsa(UPDATE below.)

It turns out, the NSA PRISM story isn’t quite the bombshell that everyone said it was. Yes, there continues to be a serious cause for concern when it comes to government spying and overreach with its counter-terrorism efforts. But the reporting from Glenn Greenwald and the Washington Post has been shoddy and misleading.

We shouldn’t shrug off our weakened privacy as a merely a side effect of the digital age, either. We ought to fight to preserve as much of our privacy as possible. So if there’s any benefit to the NSA news, it’s to serve as a reminder that, yes, the government is serious about attaining information in its war on terrorism and that we should be aware of what’s going on — checking it when it gets out of control.

But with new contravening information emerging since the original stories were posted by Greenwald and the Washington Post, it’s clear that the reporting by each news outlet was filled with possibly agenda-driven speculation and key inaccuracies.

Greenwald told CNN, “It’s well past time that we have a debate about whether that’s the kind of country and world in which we want to live.”

Canonizing bad reporting as a means of inciting a debate is as bad as no debate at all. So perhaps some positive changes on domestic spying are eventually achieved, but at what cost? Greenwald, who doesn’t really care about “left and right,” isn’t concerned with anything other than his personal agenda and clearly he’s willing to do whatever it takes in pursuit of those goals. Specifics presently.

It’s a shame because there’s a way to have this debate without selling out to a misinformation campaign driven by clicks. Instead, we appear to be careening way off the empirical rails into hysterical, kneejerk acceptance of half-assed information.

Here’s how this story has played out since late Thursday.

1. Both Glenn Greenwald and the Washington Post reported that NSA had attained “direct access” to servers owned by Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Apple and other big tech companies in order to attain private user information via a top secret government operation called PRISM. Initially, this appeared to be a major violation of privacy. The implication is that the government enjoyed unchecked, unrestricted access to metadata about users any time it wanted.

2. Then, naturally, heads exploded throughout the blogs and social media. Left and right alike.

3. While everyone was busily losing their shpadoinkle on Twitter and the blogs, Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Yahoo, Microsoft, Paltalk, AOL and Apple all announced in separate statements that not only were they unaware of any PRISM program, but they also confirmed that there’s no way the government had infiltrated the privately-owned servers maintained by these companies. Furthermore, Google wrote, “Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a “back door” to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday.” Google also described how it will occasionally and voluntarily hand over user data to the government, but only after it’s been vetted and scrutinized by Google’s legal team.

4. The freakout continued.

5. Furthermore, Glenn Greenwald used the phrase “direct access,” as in unobstructed direct server access, four times in his article, most prominently in his lede, “The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.” Unless the tech companies were collectively lying, Greenwald’s use of “direct access” is inaccurate. And if it’s inaccurate, the most alarming aspect of this NSA story is untrue.

On Twitter, Greenwald defended his reporting by reiterating that NSA said within the PRISM document that there has been “collection directly from the servers of these US service providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook…” But this could mean that the data was drawn from the servers, vetted and handed over to NSA per Google’s stated process of legal vetting. And if the data was made available, it’s possible that the tech companies posted it on a server for NSA analysts to download, just as you might download a file from work or a friend via Dropbox or an FTP server. Regardless, it seems as if Greenwald’s entire story hinges on a semantic interpretation of the PRISM language. And his mistake was to leap from “collection directly from servers” to “direct access.”

6. More exploded heads anyway. Anyone relaying the new information is accused of being an Obamabot.

7. Additionally, the NSA whistleblower who provided the information to the Washington Post was quoted as saying, “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type.” Without direct access to the servers this would be impossible — that is, unless NSA was intercepting user data in transit. But that’s not what Greenwald reported, which was direct server access. This was the bombshell — that NSA could grab information at will — and, as of this writing, it’s inaccurate.

8. In spite of these new revelations, epidemic-level outrage continued to spread all around. Michael Moore and others applauded the anonymous whistleblower(s) who provided information to Greenwald.

9. By the end of the day Friday, Business Insider reported that the Washington Post had revised its article. The article no longer reported that the tech companies “knowingly” cooperated with PRISM. But, more importantly, the phrase “track a person’s movements and contacts over time” in the article’s lede was revised to “track foreign targets.” There’s a huge difference between the two phrases. Public outrage was almost entirely based on the idea that NSA was spying on everyone who uses those services — broad, unrestricted access to private information (as private as social media and email is). But the revision limits the scope of the operation to international communications.

As of Saturday, Greenwald, unlike the Washington Post, hadn’t corrected or revised his reporting to reflect the new information, and, in fact, Greenwald continued to defend his reporting on Twitter. (It’s worth noting how speculative Greenwald’s article was. The following line was particularly leading: “It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants.” There’s no indication whatsoever that the government was gathering information without warrants.)

10. Heads, sadly, continued to explode all over the place in spite of the total de-fanging of both stories.

11. Meanwhile, TechCrunch‘s Josh Constine reported on Saturday, “[T]he NSA did not have direct access or any special instant access to data or servers at the PRISM targets, but instead had to send requests to the companies for the data.”

This is vastly different from what Greenwald reported.

12. Rampant outrage all day Saturday.

13. And ultimately, other than the PRISM Power Point, the NSA’s surveillance story isn’t anything new. Some headline history via ProPublica:

Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts, New York Times, December 2005

NSA has massive database of Americans’ phone calls, USA Today, May 2006

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say), Wired, March 2012

U.S. Terrorism Agency to Tap a Vast Database of Citizens, The Wall Street Journal, December 2012

But the Greenwald and Washington Post stories are somehow bombshells, taken at face value. Has our collective attention span become so ridiculously short that we’re suddenly shocked by news of NSA attaining data about Americans as a means of fighting evildoers? Has everyone been asleep for the last 12 years?

To summarize, yes, NSA routinely requests information from the tech giants. But NSA doesn’t have “direct access” to servers nor is it randomly collecting information about you personally. Yet rending of garments and general apoplexy has ruled the day, complete with predictable invective about the president being “worse than Bush” and that anyone who reported on the new information debunking the initial report was and is an Obamabot apologist.

Speaking for myself on that front, I’m not apologizing for anyone. I’m merely noting that Greenwald and the Washington Post reported inaccurate information. I’ve spent a considerable chunk of my writing career eviscerating the post-9/11 surveillance state and its accompanying trespasses against privacy and civil liberties. While I’m encouraged by the president’s vow to begin rolling back the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, winding down the endless war and its accompanying endless war powers, I’m also concerned about the continued bartering of privacy for the sake of a little more security — a through-line that began under George W. Bush and continues today.

But this prioritization of security over liberty wasn’t invented by this president. It began as the unforgivable exploitation of fear in the days after 9/11 and became entwined in the American worldview. We’ve sadly become just as accustomed to unnecessary searches and privacy intrusions as the federal government has grown accustomed to going beyond its mandate to smoke out the evildoers.

UPDATE: This post by ZDNet’s Ed Bott is a phenomenal takedown of the Washington Post‘s reporting on this story, including a side-by-side comparison of the significant changes between the Post’s initial article and what it morphed into later. Clearly the Post rushed to press with a half-assed article, subsequently inciting outrage. Then, while everyone had run off to accuse the Obama administration of being “worse than Bush” the Post altered key facts in the story. It’s a dark chapter for American journalism.

(Special thanks to both JM Ashby and Charles Johnson from Little Green Footballs, whose coverage on this topic has been tenacious.)

Read ‘The Daily Banter’s  Official Helpful Media Guide to Interacting with Glenn Greenwald’ here.


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  • Rob26

    I disagree with Bob, here. Glenn Greenwald “isn’t concerned with anything other than his personal agenda…” he’s concerned with how much money he can make off uninformed people who believe the garbage he peddles.

    After all, this is the same Glenn Greenwald who defended George W. Bush while savaging “left-wing fanatics,” “hardcore socialists,and “lovers of Fidel Castro,” in 2005. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.


  • edan

    The Washington Post is the liar of last repute. It’s nice to know that the NSA story is as much a lie as the majority of their supposed major “scoops”.

  • Tom Baxter

    Great article exposing Greenwald. No one honest, could possibly say “collection directly from the servers of these US service providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook…” is direct access to their servers.

  • hwertz

    So, I wonder who paid you off to try to discredit coverage of these egregious crimes? You quibble over implementation, when the fact is the NSA is operating illegal and unconstitutional surveillance programs, and Congress’s effective single party is standing up to applaud this program instead of questioning it.

  • http://proamlib.blogspot.com/ Jenni Siri

    Great article, thank you.

  • NBeale

    Looking at “foreign targets” isn’t the same as targeting “international communications”. If we’re doing a post trying to correct inaccuracies we should be careful about such matters.

  • miserableoldfart

    I have it on good authority that two NSA people have died from boredom after checking my emails.

  • phill

    Just Let Me See If I Have This Correct –

    What Will Likely – And With More Info Yet To Come

    Turn Out To Be The Story Of The Decade

    The Title Of This Piece Is –


    NSA Bombshell Story Falling Apart Under Scrutiny;

    Key Facts Turning Out to Be Inaccurate –


    How Sycophantic – An Author

  • Shingo

    The desperation in this piece is palpable. Bob Cesca is trying so very hard to pretend that there is nothing to see here, more right along, by trying to split hairs.

    1. Having denied they know anything about PRISM, the tech giants are demanding that gagging orders be lifted with regard to their cooperation with PRISM. So the reason they denied knowing anything about PRISM is because they were required to do so.

    Strike 1 againts Cesca’s spin.

    2. PRISM involved breaking codes and high level description, which would clearly not be necessary if the companies were simply downloading from a drop box type service provided by the tech giants.

    In fact, in his desperation to deflect attention from Obama’s complicity, Cesca links to the story about Bluffdale, which will be a facility that stores 20TB of data every minute (and has the capacity to store 50 years of such data) and parallel processors for cryptanalysis and breaking codes.

    Poor Cesca has failed to realize that the funding for this facility has been approved under Obama.

  • Ygret

    And nobody is claiming this is all Obama’s fault, but he has continued it and expanded it, and brought it under the fig-leaf of “legality”. Although its convenient to forget that neither the president, congress or the courts are allowed to overturn the 4th amendment, which requires reasonable suspicion before the government gets to snoop through our data. A subpoena that doesn’t establish reasonable suspicion, even if approved by a court, is still illegal under the 4th amendment.

  • Ygret

    This article is technologically ignorant. Semantic games don’t work when the NSA’s own documents show that they have access to whatever they want. Whether they have to go to a kangaroo court to get a rubber stamp on a subpoena, what EXACTLY “direct access” means, are irrelevant. On top of that, PRISM is just one piece of the whole pie that has been exposed, and more exposition is on its way from Greenwald and the Guardian. This writer just loves his disinformation and propaganda. Good job sucking up to the surveillance state dude.

  • Brian Powell

    I find it quite interesting how your article turned from the premise of debunking the Post’s story to the atrocities of the Bush era sureveillance. All I see here is another wing of the liberal media acting as Obama’s spin machine. Another blatant attempt to water down controversial actions from a disjointed White House. I bet you were up in arms when Bush first propsed the Patriot Act weren’t you? I don’t hear much outrage here and from others when Obama is continuing its use. In fact, during his campaing he decried the program as a major privacy violation, yet now that he has his finger on the button, so to speak, it’s suddenly needed and necessary. It’s not an acceptable program when so much private information of law-abiding citizens is as easy to come by as it appears to be. And I use the word “appears” because I have to agree more Congressional investigation is warranted to determine just what is happenning. If you recall, the Constitution calls for checks and balances. This administration is doing an awful lot to reign in the rights of the average, law abiding citizen. News flash – Criminals and terrorists don’t care what laws and limits and restrictions and watching and listening you do. They live for getting around such obstacles. Hence the reason they are criminals and terrorists. It’s us average, law abiding citizens that are paying for their deeds and our government is behind it all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=735360265 Liam Bean

    The “dark chapter” has been a mainstay in American journalism since before this nation was founded. I know its hard to deal with, but there you are.

  • David_from_San_Diego

    “… the government is serious about attaining information in its war on terrorism …”
    Terrorism is a tactic. The Enemy is radical Islam. And the radicals hide among the non-violent Moslems that we have let colonize this country in the last 50 years (since the Immigration and Nationalities Act of 1965).
    Let’s send all the Moslems home, so we can get up the courage to name the Enemy: “Radical Islam”. That’s the Enemy’s name.

  • jeff419

    Who gives a fuck if the NSA spies on everything you do with direct access or if someone emails them a copy of everything you do. Stop trying to distract people from the fact that they should be sharpening their pitchforks and readying their torches.

  • Michael Murphy

    I saw this story ALL NIGHT LONG on current TV. They had previous CIA Whistleblowers and the general concensus is: The NSA has the right to monitor “Over-seas Communication” and the fact that they made Verizon turn over all of its phone records, Including the personal info of people placing those calls, is overstepping is boundaries.

  • Nagurski

    The agency’s acknowledged standard for determining whether a person is “foreign” is 51% or better probability. So there’s nothing for U.S. citizens to be concerned about there.

  • Simon Charles

    Is anyone at all surprised? Any relationship between what a Guardian hack writes and what is fact is purely coincidental. This charmer writes for effect and honesty is a casualty in the process

  • Bob

    I was directed to this article by someone on a different site…I would like to point out that another headline on this site states “If You’re Wondering Who Helped Pass the NSA’s Eavesdropping Powers, Here Are Some Familiar Names…”. So which is it? Is it essentially bogus, or is this one of the most obscenely partisan websites on the internet?

  • Dave
    • Cobbesca

      Boo hoo and yet the government has confirmed the general contours of Prism, thus proving its existence. So the relevant facts to the case, sans smears, are still intact. Now back to your regularly programmed character assassination.

  • Cobbesca

    Cesca’s “analysis” is so flawed and subservient that to take it seriously one simply has to do one thing, believe. That’s it, simple unadulterated faith in dear leader; trust us, we’re professionals. I hope you’re getting paid for this Bob, otherwise you’re loyalty is truly pathological. For a sane and fact based analysis I’ll take Barton Gellman. Just watch last night’s interview of Gellman on the Rachel Maddow Show and watch Cesca’s “analysis” fall apart under scrutiny where the facts turn out to be accurate and not a sycophantic exercise of Obama worship. Chez please knock Obama’s dick out of Bob’s mouth, he’s liabel to choke on it.

    • appleblossom

      Wow, he just pointed out that anyone who says anything else then “OH MY GOD, OBAMA IS WORSE THAN BUSH” will be dismissed.

      Which means you proved his point. Good on ya champ!

      Also, it has been well known for years that the Alphabet soup agencies have been doing this because the FISA court has existed since 1979. The agency does not literally have the time to examine everything you say. They got to eat and poop sometime.

      • Cobbesca

        Never said Obama worse than Bush but that would require critical thinking skills and reading comprehension. FISA is one thing; all communications is quite another. I’d point you to the Gellman interview on the Rachel Maddow last night but that might upend your fragile worldview. This Prism program is not the same thing you equate it to. Good luck with the stupid.

        • appleblossom

          Since I have to read your dreck, yes, I do need the luck with it.

          It is nice that someone went on TV and looked really professional and knowledgeable about something. That is nifty spiffy. Here is someone else who looked knowledgeable and professional: Oliver North. And was lying the whole time.

          • Cobbesca

            Yes one is pulitzer prize winning journalist investigating government overreach and the other was a military man convicted of criminal conduct who lied to cover his ass and Reagan’s, clearly birds of a feather. I’d repeat my previous comment about critical thinking skills and reading comprehension but it’s obvious you can’t process such nuance.

          • appleblossom

            Ah, so you are saying that because he has an award, it means that he is forever above criticism. That he can be excused for practicing shoddy journalism because he got an award!

            See, here is the thing, once upon a time that convicted criminal you so cavalierly dismiss out of hand was a decorated soldier who served with distinction. Who also went on TV, like Greenwald (who won an AWARD. YAY HIM) and looked professional and knowledgeable. But was lying the entire time.

            If someone says Greenwald is wrong-why does his looking “professional and knowledgeable with an award” mean that he is not?

          • chrisj

            The biggest thing I got from that Gellman interview was his analysis of the wording chosen by the big tech companies, implying that it was purposely vague enough so that PRISM could actually still have actual back door connection (effective splitter). He didn’t prove or disprove PRISM is actually splitting off everything, but your point is taken that the rest of the MSM seems to now downplay PRISM without good evidence.

            There is huge lack of oversight in NSA and Keith Alexander, and the debate should have been going on strongly back in 2005 and 2006 and not stopped. Good to restart it again, but I think there is some lack of oversight in Glenn G as well.

            Go ahead and rant about how small my brain is or whatever, but the major astonishing revelation from Snowden and Graswald that occurs to me is the ease at which they independently decided to leak a top secret document (this goes beyond the definition of whistle blowing). The whistle was already blown (IMO) more than seven years ago.

      • chrisj

        “They got to eat and poop sometime.”

        That gave me a laugh! If there are about 1/2 million folks with top secret (assuming they all can do what Mr. Snowden claims), then it’s just a 1 to 600 ratio of big brother to American citizen.

        They can use some nifty triggers in data mining algorithms to assist them. But I imagine eventually enough Americans (20 to 50 million) will start interjecting the triggers randomly in their messages to give too many false positives. Then the 5 zettaabytes the NSA potentially will collect at the Utah data center will be next to useless.

    • Bob

      Do you happen to have a link to that interview, cannot seem to find it currently. Post it if you have a moment. Thanks a bunch.

      • chrisj

        I just subscribe to her podcast (free) using itunes.

        She seems very friendly with both Glenn G and Barton G., so I’m not convinced she will objectively criticize Glenn G’s journalistic standards.

        Tonight she interviewed James Bamford, who mostly pointed out the never ending expansion of NSA’s power and the low probability of ameliorating it (discussing the history of domestic spying with Project Shamrock).

        • Bob

          thanks a bunch!

          • chrisj

            I’m glad I finally had time to discover and follow Disqus. I am just an academic scientist and usually don’t follow politics, but you and Mr. Willis have addressed the issues that the MSM (and Mr. Murdoch’s media suite) seem to ignore on this so-called “new and astonishing scoop” that I seeked clarification on.

            Hope you guys can keep it up!

  • http://www.cvn71supportgroup.8k.com/ GunNut2600

    Holy shit….”little green footballs”? What…”Stormfront” didn’t have a useable quote?

    This whole post is filled with so much unintentional hilarity.

  • Collapseable Sausage

    GO read the Guardian coverage, and leave these hacks to their character assassination of Greenwald.

  • Schneibster

    Greenwald made up another nontroversy.

    Big whup.

  • badweatherrr

    This is nothing more than a “nothing to see here, greenwald is a joke, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” article…

    I’m going to believe Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden on this one.

    It’s high time the security spooks got reigned in. They’re hurting America.

  • Robert Altman

    I dont get it, people get all upset over this issue but the whole thing goes back to the year 2001. The Patriot Act People….its been around a long time. You either want protection from terrorist or you want your privacy…you cant have both. Not surprised that the news media blew it out of proportion

    • Paul

      We’ve got neither.

  • PrintHead

    This article has a very high ratio of sweeping statements to actual facts. And the author seems to put a lot of faith in tech industry and government assurances that everything the PRISM program does is “vetted” by someone (which I guess makes it OK). The writer barely mentions the first wave of disclosures on the scale of the NSA’s data mining, which showed some past Congressional testimony by govt officials to be false. He discounts several specific statements by Snowden, the whistleblower in this case. He raises a couple of significant distinctions, and cites some real but partial evidence in support of them– but his lack of skepticism toward govt and corporate PR severely undermines the broad case against Greenwald he’s trying to make.

    Barton Gellman of the Washington Post, on the Rachel Maddow show tonight, did a very thorough, level-headed discussion of the lawyer-drafted loopholes in those tech industry PR statements– and how this surveillance program drives trucks thorugh them. Segment starts around 11 min. into the show, the interview with Gellman actually comes on around 3 min later (~ the 14 min. mark). Check it tomorrow online, it’s worth your time.

  • scrivenerNP

    The U.S. government, via military contractor Lockheed Martin, operates a celltower radio frequency weapon grid, deployed everywhere, that is capable of wireless real-time radio frequency interdiction — or manipulation — of digital data generated by any computer, anywhere. Every computer possesses a “globally unique identifier” code that facilitates such surveillance. This celltower weapon system also can be used to remotely manipulate any microchip-controlled device, and is capable of offensive attack at various amplitudes and frequencies of electromagnetic energy. In other words, this grid can inflict no-touch attack, or torture, impairment, altered mood states, even slow- or fast-kill death, upon any human or military target. This veteran journalist first exposed the “torture tower” grid nearly four years ago and has since updated his reporting: viclivingston.blogspot.com/2011/12/u.html

  • prettymeadow
  • Schneibster

    Hi, I like this article and will check out your site. Thanks for the good followup, and keep it coming.

  • RethinkThePink

    So the immunized telecom companies are denying these claims, and that means the story is “falling apart?”


  • DaeguDave

    The Obama administration in many ways IS worse than the Bush administration. Of course, that is not a popular idea at this website, so I am sure there will be many votes of disagreement by “Cesca and his crew” whose only interest seems to be defending Obama in everything he does and belittling anything Glenn Greenwald reports.

  • DavidHP1

    Not very convincing to me as a former Signals Intelligence Analyst for 22 years.

    • appleblossom

      So you are saying you were able to see EVERYTHING EVERY American wrote AT ALL TIMES?

      Logistically this is not possible.

  • JOe Smoe

    This totally reeks of propaganda this guy is pulling at strings. The entire presentation wasn’t publish at least not yet so you are jumping to conclusions yourself.

  • Ken Danieli

    Bob Cesca’s vying for the title of King of All Obamabots.

  • Alexander WJ

    Yes, that’s the most hilarious part. None of this is news, at least not the actual confirmed portions. Had Snowden documented abuse of these security systems, then yes, that would be bad, but all those who decried Bush… I guess they just assumed Obama would step into office and trash the Patriot Act….oh selective memory

    • appleblossom

      Yup. The executive branch, operating under the authority granted to them by Congress, went to the judiciary’s and got a warrant to do meta and other data analysis.

      Disagreeing with the USA PATRIOT Act I and II does not mean that it was not done under the law as passed by Congress.

  • Meta Wave

    Don’t let this or any gymnastics about “direct access” trip you up, “indirect access” will do just fine. Do you think there is a FIZA court being consulted for that too? Pay close attention to the crucial and critical details which are increasingly leading to the dystopian State cataloged and written about throughout history. And remember “fight the power”. -Chuck D.

  • MrEthiopian

    The only thing thats inaccurate is the reporting in this story, the US government had created the legal infrastructure back in 2006 enabling them to do exactly what has been reported (NSA backdoor into all corporations). Omitted (purposely) from this story is the PRISM secret presentation that was also leaked, that explains the capabilities of PRISM and exactly how it functions, this NSA secret document states that the NSA system PRISM does in fact have back-doors into the corporations in question and puts to rest any argument that this story is anything less the a blockbuster.


    This site is Questionable, given the verbiage of this story, did the NSA ask dailybanter to plant this story??

    Can this site be trusted???

    I want answers!


  • RenoRick

    None of this suprises me. Not one bit. Since we are all too lazy (myself included) to read User Agreements for apps, software, etc, we leave our info open to all. I saw this coming back in 2001, as I’m sure most readers of this site did.

  • MC1RMutant

    “Has our collective attention span become so ridiculously short that we’re suddenly shocked by news of the NSA attaining data about Americans as a means of fighting evildoers? Has everyone been asleep for the last 12 years?”

    No. Absolutely not. PRISM is obviously a small program with a $20m budget and getting hung up on Greenwald’s reporting of the details misses the larger point. The amount and kind of data the NSA is obtaining about Americans in order to “fight evildoers” should not be secret. It most certainly shouldn’t be governed by a FISA court system that rarely denies Federal requests for information. The idea that the NSA should just be able to suck in all of the calls/data and let Americans trust that it will do the right thing is ludicrous.

    Regardless of Greenwald’s reporting, we’re overdue for a public debate on the ethics of such programs. We have to decided what we’re willing to give up for a little bit of security. We also have to decide if we want to continue to increase these capabilities as technology evolves. It doesn’t matter if we’ve been doing similar things with ECHELON since the 60’s. It doesn’t matter if we’ve been trying to do things similar to “Boundless Informant” for the last 20 years. The length of these programs in no way decides if they’re okay.

    The bigger story, which seems to be missed here, is that privacy matters and Americans have a right to know how their government is watching them.

  • mmmmikkimac

    The news media today , in order to be ‘first’ in reporting, is doing more harm, and causing undue excitement, and causing suspicion among citizens, more than any time in the past 20-30 years of news reporting. Shame on those who jump the gun trying to be first, for soon you will cry wolf and no one will believe you, and then it will be the truth. How sad for the news media that being first is more important than being accurate. Of course, if you do err, you can always ‘apologize’ no matter how little good it does or how few people will believe you.

  • http://www.appmarket.tv Richard Kastelein

    The fact you thank Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs says enough for me.

    Using a source that once said:

    “Rachel Corrie was emphatically not a “peace activist”. She sided with terrorists and criminals, and advocated—in fact, was excited by—violence and mass murder.”


    “Al Jazeera English as “essentially a Muslim Brotherhood front” and described it as “JihadTV”

    You are sending kudos to a guy who runs a vicious, anti-Muslim hate site and whose reporting you apparently trust. Right.

  • Agent of Goldstein

    Keep spreading the “Pro Big Brother” propaganda you government schill. Double Plus Good I say.

    • ScottColbert

      Maybe you should reread the article again, your comprehension skills are severely lacking.

  • Laurel Hardy

    I hope you’re not suggesting that just because this came out on center stage during Obama’s administration that we should not be furious at the shadow government our elected officials have set up to in direct contradiction of the Constitution and effectively reducing citizens to subjects. It makes no difference that it was begun during Under President Cheney’s reign, Obama, great legal scholar that he is, talked himself into outdoing W and did so with help from those Democratic legislators privy to this stain on our nation. And by the way, before anybody starts jumping to conclusions, I voted for Obama twice and still find him way preferable to either man he beat. But I am thoroughly disgusted that under Obama it only seems a slightly slower erosion of our rights than we would have had under McCain or Romney. But the fact is, Obama IS overseeing this bullshit and he needs to stop. They all fucking need to stop. And people need to stop apologizing for him and the Democrat party, they are colluding in the destruction of the Constitution right along with the Republicans and if we engage in a cult of personality or wholly partisan politics we will all be condemned to become chattel.

  • disqus_mIocQCNBEa

    Divide and Conquer, The Wall Street bankers controlling politics in this country have done a masterful job and by reading these post most Americans have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. You really believe that GW3 and Obama don’t serve the same masters? GW3 Patriot Act, Wars, Gitmo, Executive Orders Obama enhances Patriot Act, signs NDAA, Wars, Gitmo… Monsanto Protection Act, Executive Orders, and Americans are attacking each other saying their side is right and the other is ignorant,, stupid,and idiots. Wake up people. We have all been sold a Coke/Pepsi duopoly by the wall street bankers controlling our destinies who own both Coke and Pepsi.. Stop fighting with each other over which taste best because no matter which one you like the same people are taking your money and your future away from you!

  • M.ark

    “Canonizing bad reporting as a means of inciting a debate is as bad as no debate at all. ” That, sir, is a beautiful sentence.

  • Monrocsol

    I haven’t paid attention to this. We already went through this during the Idiot Bush Era.

  • Joe knows who I am.

    Bullshit! You’re trying to justify the actions of the government for them, or more likely, because of them. I don’t trust the Post necessarily, nor do I trust U.S. Media as a whole. But there are other sources that I add a little more trust to such as the one that has been staying on top of this story with diligence, http://www.guardian.co.uk .

    js hooper: Your assertion about “Pres. Obama” being framed as Hitler, only serves to deflect blame, regardless of who it’s being perpetuated by. This isn’t a current office created issue. The President should share the blame though, and President Cheney and his Vice Puppet were the instigators of this and it makes me question my support of removing assault rifles from public sale for the safety of others. It’s getting pretty sad that the institution that I grew up with the most, the U.S. Government, makes me feel this uneasy and very deceived.

  • PJ

    RE Point number three: While I’m not saying they lied, you don’t expect that they’d actually admit it in a statement if it WERE true, do you? If so, then you are preciously delusional.

  • http://www.movies-suck.com/ Wastrel Way

    I suppose there’s no way to stop this writer from complaining about the death of responsible journalism, instead of complaining about government collecting data on its citizens for the purpose of “security.” This pathetic misdirection to a minor side issue, one that (like the surveillance itself) has been known for years, should be abhorred by rational beings.

  • roger crouch

    Which is worse, Google or the NSA?

    • joe smith

      What’s the difference?

      • appleblossom

        Technically as an American, you can vote someone in who will not authorize things like the Son of the USA PATRIOT Act. Google you only have the minute power of one person to not use it.

  • xarpen

    What a load of horse shit. Fucking lemmings.

  • joe smith

    . Damage control hit piece from The Daily Banter , one of the worst Obummer worshipping rags out there. The fawning adulation by the droves of Lemmings is getting to be a bit much, since the WH has been in full damage control mode for the last three weeks. They’ve really ramped up the paid sock puppet/fake profile on social media thing to a whole new level. Now it’s apparently “trendy” to dislike the Anointed One. And “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” – Herr Goebbels would duly impressed.

  • me d

    I see the opinionated, incompetent, government apologist shill who wrote this article doesn’t care all that much about accuracy either. In refuting the claim that the NSA had direct access to the servers, he used this phrase: “But this could mean that the data…” yada yada. COULD mean. The phrase “could mean” indicates CONJECTURE, not certainty. The writer flatly states that there was no “direct access” as other people understand that term. But on what does he base this attempt at contradiction? Well, he uses the word “could” – he thinks that we should simply accept his CONJECTURE arout what direct access *really* means and he presents absolutely NO credible evidence to support his conjecture. What does he present? A reiteration of denials issued by people who have a vested interest in denying – people whose companies and whose personal wealth would suffer from a public relations backlash if they admitted they worked with the NSA. And nowhere does he mention the inescapable fact that the denials from Google and others are tainted by the question of the motives behind their statements. So, this writer’s attempt to portray the Snowden statements as false is every bit as lacking in concern for truth as he claims the Snowden statements are. Two wrongs do not make a right, two lies do not add up to a truth.

  • joe smith

    A pathetic attempt at a damage control hit piece by the DNC sock puppets.

    Wake up little Froggies, the waters getting warm.

  • Kenneth Breden

    I think I’ll stick with Greenwald for the time being until it’s refuted by disinterested parties.

  • solly

    It may not be direct access in real time, but they had access to private user data held by these firms without warrants or probable cause. If they wanted a particular email or text message or posting, I am sure they could get it no matter how flimsy the reason. Yeah, i’m still pretty outraged by this.

  • Tom

    Nice try CIA

  • Scott

    I am amazed that the same group of people who twitter and facebook every tiny detail of their lives out to the public are OUTRAGED that someone might be spying on them…

  • Ken Lord

    Point of order, Bob… the NSA DOES have direct access to Verizon and some of the other ISP/Phone service providers, they have entire floors to themselves in the switching building in NYC. Maybe they only have “direct” access at some of the identified targets, and not all of them… but the reality is still that they’re doing warrant-less data collection on everyone in the US, then telling us to trust them that they won’t search or otherwise utilize that information unless they feel like they have a good reason to.

    • pdxuser

      What was reported was that the NSA got a list of phone numbers. No names, no content, just phone numbers and time stamps.

  • Honeyboy Wilson

    The best thing about this episode is that the right’s Obama Derangement Syndrome may just be the necessary prod to get Republicans to re-visit their Patriot Act insanity.

    Since the Democrats, being cowards, will go along with whatever the Republicans want on this kind of stuff, we may just get the laws re-aligned with democracy.

  • Hamish

    Agreed. If anything, we so called left wingers have the GREATEST obligation to tie our opinions and rants to the facts, if only to avoid the charge we make so often toward the ring wing, ”You makes things up!’

  • Daniel Wright

    One fact is off. This is a mountain out of a molehole post. And Greenwald’s story presented that “key fact” as being disputed.

    You gotta do better than this.

    • dbtheonly

      We can debate whether the original story is overblown or whether the excess comes in the Greenwald story.

      But the fact that it has gathered 200+ comments since the inception shows that it has hit a nerve.

      • Daniel Wright

        There are a lot of people interested in the story even misrepresentations of it.

  • Hermes S.

    Well, the NYT article specifically refers to both limited scope (hundreds or thousands), and to international communications only. And the USAToday article still speaks of limited scope, even if it does allude to the NSA’s greater aspirations. Not to say that I’m surprised by the recent news, but to compare ‘now’ to the stories past, when they do not begin to approach the breath and scale is either disingenuous or flatly dishonest…
    But, as foreseen, here comes the smears of Greenwald and Snowden, glad you’re willing to tow the party line on this one…

    • Hermes S.

      Oh, and I take none of my disdain for the actions of the NSA out on Obama directly, he just continued an existing overreach, what I do take issues with the wholesale disregard for our constitution and the claim that ‘well it’s legal’ is laughable. I’m sure you would have been hard-pressed to find a court in the south that wouldn’t have said the same thing of Jim Crow laws..

  • MadamDeb

    Well, Glenn, don’t be surprised if many of us don’t agree to be called “we” along with you.

  • hankusmc

    The Republicans (and everybody else up there) should be in Washington DC working on Bills and passing legislation that will benefit their constituents and the nation. That’s what they ought to be doing. Instead, they have all gathered together as a group to try to “bully” their own president., spending wasted taxpayers’ dollars. Bengahzi, the IRS, the AP scandal….ALL for naught. Let’s not worry about a Jobs Bill, let us just keep our oath and stick with our number one priority, and that is to make sure that President Obama is a “one Term president”. Republican friends, my dear Republican friends, can you not see what certain “powers that be” in your Party are doing? Call them out! Call ’em ALL out! Remind them of what they are supposed to be doing in Washington, and why YOU sent them there. It may “seem” to be out of control now, but it’s not. You (the Republicans) need to get “back in the game”. Bring these folks home, and send some people up to Washington who will be there to serve your best interests, not be up ther taking up a personal agenda to “fight the president” and forgetting all about you! Some have even convinced you to believe that what they are doing, they are doing for you. How can they “block” Bills that are desigend to help put the middle class in a better financial position by adding more jobs for the country and say that they are doing this for you? I don’t think so. And you vote to support these folks as if there are absolutely NO middle class Republicans……ALL because you they have convinced you that this thing they are doing will hurt the president. Enough of this foolishnish, he is everybody’s president, because he is the President of the United States. The Republicans are making it seem as though President Barack Obama is a separatist, but he’s not and history will show it. Wake up!

    • ejhill

      The GOP tried to make the last election about jobs. You liberals made it about contraception and a fake “war on women.” Now you want jobs. Make up your mind!

      • hankusmc

        Well now,
        I don’t know about that my friend, because when President Bush was, in fact the President of The United States of America, If you recall, ALL of America stood with him when we thought the invasion of Iraq was legitimate. I’m a Democrat (although I did not say that in my first post). But I am a Democrat and as many Americans, I showed my support for the President by wearing a US flag on my car. Democrats, Republicans are all the same to me because when it comes down to a crisis, we are all still Americans amd must try to work together. So let’s not make this “tit for tat”. To be very clear and specific, now we have a Democrat president in office who is “for” jobs, like (you say) the Republicans were “for jobs” during the last election. So the question is: Since President Obama is “for” jobs and your Party was “for jobs”, why did the Republicans vote down the Jobs Bill that President Obama supported and wanted to sign into law? Keep in mind what I told you. I may not have been a Republican, but I still paraded my US flag and supported President Bush when we first went into Iraq. Did you support President Bush’s WMD War? What was your feeling when we never found a single WMD?

        • ejhill

          We’re pretty sure chem weapons are being used in Syria and and Assad is a Ba’athist. There were rumors of large convoys between Iraq and Syria right before the war. So who knows?

          What we do know is that we cock-up on the intel as much if not more than we get it right. Terrible things about secrets… they’re secret. Neither of us know.

          And since we know Saddam gassed the Kurds it was a reasonable assumption.

          As for the “Jobs Bill” that wasn’t about jobs. Because of the behemoth we’ve created in the EPA you could never do a WPA-style project ever again. Five years for the Hoover Dam. How many years did it take at the WTC site?

          • MadamDeb

            You know what? We are not responsible for the world. Let those crazy people kill themselves. They have done it for my entire (very long) life and they will never stop. I wash my hands of them all.

          • hankusmc

            Hi EJHILL,
            Let me see….Your first three paragraphs are summed up with “that was a reasonsable assumption” You know as well as I do (with the number of lives lost) that people don’t go to war based on assumptions. They just don’t, so you will have to look at what happened including (but not limited to) lost lives. Why do you say that the jobs bill, which contained much in it that the Republicans introduced was Bill “that wasn’t about jobs”. That kind of “went over my head”. Sorry about that. The last two examples that you raised I can somewhat agree with because we are in a different tome now. But think about this. It took five years to build the Hoover Dam and it’s still standing. On the otherhand, it took many years to build the WTC, and less than three hours to put the whole thing down. That, my friend, was because of a lack of national security and misinformation.

        • Charlie Snyder

          Oh please. The President is for his version of “jobs” just like Republicans are for their version of “jobs.” But somehow the Republicans don’t seem to care all that much about what kind of “jobs” are created, whereas anyone with a D next to their name seems to make it their goal that only their conception of “jobs” are made, and to protect their constituents “jobs” as much as humanly possible in the process.

          • hankusmc

            I could not respectfully dissagree with you more Charlie. The Jobs Bill that the President wanted to sign contained a version of what the Republicans put forth, if I’m not mistaken. I still cannot figure out why Congress voted it down. I think I “know”, but won’t get into that. But you stilldid not answer my question about the weapons of mass distruction. That clealy has to be an issue that affected you, like it did me….or did it? Again….I told you that I was patriotic and displayed the flag in a show of support for our country, like everyone else at the beginning of the Iraq Invasion. But my question was: What was your feeling about that whole thing when it was found out that there were no weapons of mass destruction?

          • Charlie Snyder

            What’s your definition of WMD?

          • hankusmc

            Weapons of Mass Destruction is the accepted definition for WMD. Other than that, I do not have a definition of my own. Is your question a leading one, and am I missing something here?

        • MadamDeb

          I agree. I stood with Bush for at least two full years after 9/11. But the more Iraq starting to stink like the rat it was, and the more I realized the reason he took us into war, that is when I started to mistrust him and everyone around him. I already despised Cheney and do to this day. Because of him, I have not and will never vote for a Republican again, even for a local office. Even if it’s my own cousin.

  • AttilatheBlond

    Seem to recall a big ol fuss about CARNIVORE back in the Clinton years. Of course, that little questionable data collecting dream machine was a brainchild of pre-Clinton presidentin’. Nobody blamed George H.W. Bush or Ronny for it though. Nobody looked past the D for anyone to blame.

    Then came the George W. Bush, the lesser, malAdministration and all manner of violation of rights rammed through after that avoidable fracas on 9-11. You remember that little doo-flappy that made all over-reach acceptable? Nobody raised an eyebrow about the fact that the Patriot Act materialized, fully grown like Venus, out of seemingly thin air. And nobody who voted on it could have actually read it. Turns out, the damnable thing was a coup against Americans. But not too many journos or voters raised much of a fuss.

    Along comes the Black Dude, and he, like Clinton, has a D after his name (but you wouldn’t know it by policy). Low and behold, there is ruckus after ruckus about over reach, violation of privacy, and data collection.

    People, it’s the Intel Crowd and they get away with it every time there’s an R in the Oval, but their nasty habits are always used to beat on the temps when those temps in the Oval have a D.

    • MadamDeb

      It’s “lo and behold.”

  • http://prickly-pears.blogspot.com/ politicjock

    The question is: how much is the NSA paying you?

  • Cash Snowden

    Tinfoil hats: 13 You: 0
    All the confirmation bias in the world doesn’t change the facts. Tech companies are gagged under threat of prosecution. Derp.

  • http://www.dirtworks.nethttp://www.newenglandnatural.com Dirt Works

    I guess I’ve been in the minority all this time because I wasn’t shocked and I did protest the Patriot Act and all the revelations of the Bush years about wire tapping and spying on everyone through data mining and collusion with tech companies like ATT et. all and the rise of the national security state and the fatalist republicans apologist remarks about it like, “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about”. It all sucks and it’s just going to get worse but it’s not Obama’s fault. Technology is racing ahead of our own intellect and ability to reason and think things through before we do and say things and when I say “our own” I mean humanity in general, not just americans.

  • ejhill

    What would you expect these companies to do but DENY? Would anybody want to deal with them if they came out and said, “Yep, direct access. Felt it was our duty.”

    The “dark chapter” in American journalism is that you’ve sold your soul to the man in the White House. You care about the AP, you care about reporters as “co-conspirators” but every piece of skepticism and a curiosity is shelved to political cheerleading.

  • Mr X

    Cesca this defense sucks. You basically attack Greenwald’s credbility while offering no evidence that we should trust what Apple, in-Q-Tel founded NSA Gov-oogle, Microsoft et al. You are probably being paid by the DHS.

    • NintendoWii10

      Have enough tinfoil?

  • Mr X

    “Remember, GG said Benghazi was a completely legit scandal when he was on Bill Maher a couple weeks ago.” GG knows Benghazi was about MASSIVE GUN AND MANPAD SMUGGLING TO SYRIAN JIHADISTS you progressive Obama koolaid drinking jackasses!

    2, you take all these Internet companies nearly identically worded denials and descriptions of what they do as gospel, as if they could be trusted and couldn’t be subject to a massive class action law suit.

    3, so ‘trust us, we’d never do that’ is a sufficient answer when the feds have already been caught conspiring to…

    traffic guns to Mexican drug cartels (Fast and Furious)

    use the IRS to audit political opponents, right down to the absurd point of demanding the content of tax exempt applicants prayers. How do you rationalize that you authoritarian freaks posing as progressives?

    The WHITE HOUSE has NEVER disclosed where the hell Obama was when Benghazi was taking place while being ‘oh so transparent’ and revealing all when Obama heroically shot Bin Laden in the head

    You all defend the DHS for ‘needing’ 400 million rounds per year, with a 2 billion round order, saying all who insist it’s back door gun control or prepping for a 2nd Civil War are nutters. If that’s the case, why couldn’t a DHS spokesperson explain to Congressman Jason Chaffetz where the hell the other 390 million rounds DHS is buying per year to ‘save money’ are going while only 10 million are used for actual training and maybe 100 rounds are fired in anger by ICE per year?

    CONTEXT MATTERS. The NSA SPYING ON AMERICANS while the rest of the government is turned into a political secret police against conservatives and patriots to harrass and intimidate them MATTERS A HELL OF A LOT.

    • Lady Willpower

      So many conspiracy theories, so little time….

      • Masonic

        Clever reply, yet no facts. DHS buying the bullets is fact. Just because you cant find the time to read up on it yourself, doesn’t make it a “Theory”. Try getting your news from more than one or two sources.

        • Lady Willpower

          I’m guessing you get most of your “information” from YouTube.
          Your time would be better spent watching cat vidoes.

          • Masonic

            Actually I read the document on the U.S. gov’t procurement website which lists the gov’s requests for bids on all non-classified goods the gov’t wishes to purchase and then what it does purchase. The DHS acknowledged it had made the purchase after denying it had, once the proof was presented to the public. The DHS also said they were buying in bulk to save money and that most of the bullets were for target practice. Hollow point bullets are not used for practice. Why you might ask? Because they are too expensive!

            Most of my time is spent growing organic food and working as a Stone Mason. Could you tell me what cat videos are since you know so much about them?

          • Lady Willpower


            Our ruling
            Homeland Security has contracted to buy up to 450 million .40-caliber bullets — and that total exceeds the nation’s population. Significantly, though, the purchase contract covers five years; there’s no indication the agency is piling up the bullets in a hurry.

            More significantly, we found nothing to support the email’s ominous suggestions. Rather, the large size of the contract is explained as a way for the government to buy in bulk to save money on ammunition used routinely for training officers in a wide variety of agencies.”

          • Masonic

            The first link(below) is the actual request for bids. The second link (found on the first link’s page) is where it says the DHS wants hollow points for training. Hollow points are more expensive and are almost never used for training. In fact, Hollow points are banned in war by the Geneva Convention. Banned in war, but good enough for the DHS, Here on the streets of the U.S.

            The third link is an actual report to Congress from the military at the height of the Iraq War detailing how many rounds are expended during battle: 5.5 million per month.
            Going by the military’s total, the DHS is purchasing enough rounds to fight a war in the U.S. the intensity of the Iraq war at it’s height, for at least 7-8 years.

            Maybe you should just watch cat videos on youtube instead?




          • Masonic

            By the way, your link is to the Austin American Statesman article from over a year ago. The DHS has bought hundreds of millions more since.

  • stevelaudig

    While watching O’s defense the following occurred to me:

    O is a smooth liar but watch with the sound off and focus on the eyes lips hands in silence, note the time, then go back and correlate what you think/believe is a deception [something other a full truth]. He’s not that good. The line about the government having to “go before a Federal judge” before ‘listening’, Then ask yourself, “Do I think a Federal judge will tell the government no?” My answer is “No, a federal judge won’t.” The entire presentation is a ‘non-truth’ that is sprinkled with occasional lies or irrelevant ‘factual truths’.

    The story truthful. It is the “denials” that are lieful. Call them “lienials” if you will. The Banter is merely that in this circumstance. If the Banter wants to be a scribe for O so be it. but quit pretending otherwise.

  • Plantsmantx

    It looks as if this article only pertains to Google, Yahoo, etc. First of all, it basically says that those companies have denied it. The article doesn’t mention Verizon, which is an internet connection provider. One can choose not to use Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft email and other services, but you can’t use the internet without a connection.

  • IronTheCurtain

    This entire article is dishonest nonsense from a dishonest person (Bob Cesca).

    • Lady Willpower

      Please elaborate.

      • IronTheCurtain

        The headline is pure lies evidenced by the fact that the article in no way backs it up. This is the work of somebody who sat down at the computer and decided to lie.

        • Lady Willpower

          That’s not an elaboration. That’s just saying the same thing again with a few more words.

          • IronTheCurtain

            You’re just too lazy to read the article critically on your own. You want me to do it for you.

          • Lady Willpower

            I read the article twice. Nothing in there shows me that the author (Bob Cesca) sat down and decided to lie about stuff. I’m asking you to prove it. You seem incapable or unwilling to do so, though I’ll stop short of saying you’re just “too lazy.”

          • IronTheCurtain

            Did you find any of the “key facts” to be “inaccurate”? Of course you didn’t. Cesca made that up. He’s a liar. The entire article is a lie.

  • Masonic

    Funny how a lot of posters here neglect to mention Obama said we are not listening to your phone calls and never denied gathering warrant-less metadata, in direct violation of the FISA Act. Court Order to use FISA: (From Wiki)

    “Alternatively, the government may seek a court order permitting the surveillance using the FISA court.[20] Approval of a FISA application requires the court find probable cause that the target of the surveillance be a “foreign power” or an “agent of a foreign power”, and that the places at which surveillance is requested is used or will be used by that foreign power or its agent. In addition, the court must find that the proposed surveillance meet certain “minimization requirements” for information pertaining to U.S. persons.[21]

    There is no provision anywhere in the FISA Act to gather massive amounts of metadata from U.S. citizens. Probable cause on millions of U.S. citizens at once? Please!

    Then there’s that executive order (NDAA) claiming the unconstitutional right to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without a warrant, evidence, or trial. Oh, and don’t forget assassinating U.S. citizens with drones without evidence, or a trial, and their children.

    I suppose the DOJ sent emails to the targets beforehand saying “Hey, stop being bad or we’ll drone you.” Fair warning right?

    If any one of you defending this administrations actions here, think that this is just a moment in time and wont continue with the erosion of our basic constitutional rights, hold it up to the historical evidence of any govt’s actions when allowed to wield this kind of power. Truly, ask yourself. Where is this heading?

    I voted for Obama the first time, so save your energy if you want to go down that road.

  • Scott Cornett

    Bonus points for using “shpadoinkle” in an article.

  • Truthspew

    But, the NSA and the like have been watching the stream of network traffic through POP’s all over the U.S. so actually it’s a bigger story.

  • ArtistGeneral

    We knew what Bush was going in–a Constitutional illiterate, a dipshit chickenhawk cowboy, from whom the worst was to be expected & he “delivered” in spades. Obama rightly raised “expectations”, with eloquent reference to this issue IN PARTICULAR. Maybe it’s time to lose the bullshit, like, well, he SAID all that but, shouldn’t we have known he didn’t mean it or wouldn’t “deliver”? MUST he be held accountable? There’s nothing right in retreating from that principle. If his eloquence becomes his own bitter medicine, so be it. He deserves no “pass”.

  • BDM

    Okay, so what you’re saying is that rather than being ‘worse than Bush,’ Obama is only as bad as Bush? How reassuring.

    • NintendoWii10

      How can Obama be only “as bad as Bush” when a lot of the shit Obama gets blamed for not only came from the Bush era, but he can’t get rid of with the stroke of a magic wand? Posts like yours help make sense why Greenwald is losing whatever little credibility he had, he makes arguments just like yours where you distort what someone says.

      • BDM

        Ah, yes. The ‘magic wand’ argument, an Obot standby. Five years into Obama’s presidency and we’re still stuck with Bush’s worst policies. If President Obama can’t undo any of Bush’s policies, then what difference does it make who the president is?

        • NintendoWii10

          And cue the “Obot” pejorative.

          Let’s take the Patriot Act. It was passed in 2001 by Congress under Bush. It would take an act of CONGRESS to repeal it, what could Obama do?

          The bully pulpit?

          Obama used the bully pulpit to push for gun control measures, what good did that do? The Manchin-Toomey bill got filibustered.

          Despite this DO NOTHING Congress, Obama has made some progress. We’re no longer in Iraq, the economy is slowly recovering, the deficit is being reduced, the housing market is recovering, and it helps to make sense why all of these “scandals” are coming into play. It’s to turn Obama’s “base” against him, seeing as the Republicans got their collective asses handed to them by Obama in two back to back Presidential election cycles, and one where they spent billions to get a zero return on investment.

          • BDM

            Do you have “Obama PR for Dummies” open on your lap? You are dutifully regurgitating all the DNC talking points. And you’re tossing in a nice evidence-free conspiracy theory for good measure.

            Here are some facts to counter your fact-free assertions:

            1. We’re not “out of Iraq.”

            2. Reducing the deficit is a non-issue.

            3. The so-called housing market recovery, such as it is, is due only to the fact that banks are buying up the houses they foreclosed on.

            4. Obama’s “base” started turning against him way back in the first months of his presidency when he made backroom deals on drug reimportation and the Public Option. The alienation continued when he nominated half of Wall Street to his cabinet, and Monsanto to the other half. He recently continued that trend by nominating Penny Pritzker as Commerce Secretary. Bush didn’t force him to make these nominations.

          • NintendoWii10

            I’m not a Democrat or liberal, so how could I be “dutifully regurgitating all the DNC talking points”?

            As to your points:

            1) Yes, we are out of Iraq, we have NO combat support forces in Iraq.

            2) You may not agree with it, but reducing the deficit IS an issue. Remember the Republicans harping on about it earlier this year? Now, they continue to rant and harp on about these “scandals.”

            3) “So called housing market recovery”? A talking point out of Mitt Romney’s playbook.

            4) Obama’s “base” turned on him in 2009 when he accepted a weak stimulus package because that was all the votes that could be accumulated for in Congress, as opposed to “standing on principle,” accepting nothing BUT a strong stimulus, having the stimulus package in Congress fall through the cracks, and the economy taking longer to recover than it already has. It also doesn’t help when Obama’s “base” falls for right wing crap, and you’re proving it with this NSA “bombshell.” Greenwald was a Bush backer, and the leaker is a Ron Paul Big brother guvmint conspirator.

      • Greyledge Gal

        The Congress re-authorized the Patriot Act last December. The “magic wand” you say Obama didn’t have – that would have been his pen – the power of the Presidential VETO. The election was over. Obama could have challenged the Congress to at the least take a new look at the Patriot Act and reign in its most severe abuses.

        Instead, repeal or serious overhaul of the Patriot Act were not even a part of the Obama 2012 campaign. Free contraception was the paramount issue of 2012.

        Additionally, as to the phone record surveillance — every 3 months Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States in whom the President has the utmost confidence, signs off on the warrant that goes to the FISA court for its continuance. Another “magic wand” that could stop all this spying if Obama said the word.

        • NintendoWii10

          Sure, Obama could have vetoed it, and he’d be seen as weak because Congress would have had enough of a two thirds majority to override his veto, and he’d end up being forced to sign it anyways.

          And the phone surveillance, you yourself said it, it has to be done WITH A WARRANT, making it legal. Do you honestly think that Eric Holder is going to sign off on a warrant just so the FISA court can listen to Jim Somebody boast during a phonecall about how he and his friends got wasted on the beach and enjoyed themselves? GET REAL!

          • Greyledge Gal

            I know Eric Holder signed off on a warrant that allowed spying on a reporter’s parent’s phone. I think this administration is capable of anything.

  • NintendoWii10

    Greenwald is Bob Woodward 2.0, except Greenwald never had his “Watergate” moment. He supported the Bush administration, didn’t bother to question the Patriot Act when it was first signed or when it was first renewed, but somehow he cares about civil liberties. He’s as much of a civil liberties hound as Keebler Elf Kucinich, who is currently on Fox bashing Obama day in and day out.

    • Daniel Kalban

      Woodward used to have credibility; he lost it a long time ago.

      • NintendoWii10

        Woodward lost his credibility when he decided to go the pundit route and allow Fox to troll his mind.

        • Daniel Kalban

          Pretty much.

          A loss for journalism, a gain for right wing propaganda.

          He gives their crap “legitimacy”

    • Mr X

      Well we couldn’t believe Whittaker Chambers about Communism either because he was a Communist for so long.

  • Gina

    Thank you, Bob. I’ve been aghast at so-called progressives lapping up this grandstander Greenwald’s unedited, unchecked, unrestrained “reporting.” He’s no reporter. He’s got an agenda, and it might be congenital. He reminds me of Newt Gingrich, a rebel looking for a self-aggrandizing cause, consequences be damned.


  • Daniel Kalban

    Oh, look, its yet ANOTHER fake scandal.

    Seriously, Greenwald is an insult to his profession by pulling this stunt.

    Looks like he and the GOP will do anything to lie and slander the President.

    I want an investigation into the GOP for possible sedition.

    • qualityrkc

      Get out of my country traitor. Government has no right to steal all of our communications you bootlicker.

      • Daniel Kalban

        Get out of my country, you supporter of lies and sedition.

  • James Michael McDaniel

    WP tries to appear independent and balanced in their reporting but I have noticed a thumb on the scale many times.

  • wesmorgan1

    I’ll also point out that the telcos denied participation in warrantless wiretapping when it first became public knowledge…do you really expect Apple/Facebook/Twitter/whoever to come right out and say, “Oh, my, yes, we’ve been doing that for YEARS!”?

    We’re to the point that our government goes to a secret court, provides a secret interpretation of the law (which no one is allowed to see, of course), and gets a secret ruling on whether or not they need a secret warrant to do [fill in the blank].

    That’s just wrong.

  • wesmorgan1

    As far as “direct access” is concerned, you wrote:

    “it’s possible that the tech companies posted it on a server for the NSA analysts to download…”

    Um, given the volume of data that has been reported (“97 billion pieces of intelligence from computer networks worldwide” in March 2013 alone), I think it fairly clear that precious little vetting was being done, and that a trove of data that large was not just “posted…on a server for the NSA analysts to download.”

    If the screenshot in the Guardian story (Google ‘Guardian Boundless Informant’) is accurate, the Boundless Informant database collected just under 3 BILLION ‘pieces of intelligence’ in the United States at the time the map was generated. If that’s the haul for a single month (March 2013), do you really believe that all 3 billion items were properly vetted? That’s just under 100 million data points PER DAY…

    That sounds like a fishing expedition to me – “let’s just grab it all and figure it out later” – and that isn’t what the NSA needs to be doing where US citizens are involved.

    Of course, this all goes back to the PATRIOT Act and FISA expansions. Both were wrong when enacted, and they’re wrong now. They should both be subject to either repeal or massive, PUBLIC overhaul.

  • yogi-one

    Yes, the NSA sifts through enormous amounts of data, and almost of all of it they ignore. They are sifting the ocean with a little cup with slits in it and catches only the big chunks in the seawater. When they do get something that triggers enough flags, it costs them manpower, time, and money to figure out what they have and whether it means anything. The possibility of them actually listening, in real time, to every single call made worldwide is the same as the possibility of knowing where every single molecule of water is in the ocean at any given time. Just compare the amount of raw data there is with the resources they have to analyze it with. Obviously, something has to REALLY trip a lot of triggers to get noticed at all.

  • David Ehrenstein

    Glenn Greenwald is Judith Miller 2.0

    • http://twitter.com/rickroberts Rick Roberts


      • joe smith

        The Obama- blowing here is stupefying.

  • RethinkThePink

    And yet, the administration still seized phone records of reporters. That’s the story. Period.

    • DetroitMark

      It never was the story to anyone except to Bush Stool Softeners like you.

  • http://thetimchannel.wordpress.com/ The Tim Channel

    Believing that our government has the kind of technology to assess all that data in real time is as crazy as believing there is an app called Shazaam that can listen to a few seconds of music and sort it out of millions of songs then tell you what it is and where to buy it. That kind of information processing is just something that can’t be believed. In reality, scores of well trained Chinese musicians are employed to listen to the streams from your cell phones and figure out what song it is. Enjoy.

  • muselet

    Things were too quiet so you decided to whack a hornets’ nest with a stick, eh?

    Seriously, though, thank you for the column. Bad reporting is bad reporting, no matter where it comes from.


  • Janice

    wrong, Bob. did you read Greenwald? Evidently not. Greenwald said that the NSA docs “claimed” to have direct access and that the communications companies said that they did not. that this disagreement needs to be aired, is what he said. He also addressed the lack of oversight, something that the NSA has lied about. Please do your due dilligence before “reporting.”

    • i_a_c

      Greenwald claimed that the government could access whatever it wanted to target without a court order, which seems to be wrong.

    • http://twitter.com/rickroberts Rick Roberts

      Is that you, Glenn? Those damn sock puppets!

  • http://twitter.com/macartisan macartisan

    Excellent article, therefore retweeted… but…”shpadoinkle”? I’ll need you to provide a map showing the geographic range of the dialect that includes ‘shpadoinkle’.

    • Lady Willpower

      I believe it’s from Cannibal the Musical.

  • FJN

    Greenwald does this all the time and his supporters will never care because he’s telling them exactly what they want to hear.

    • Lady Willpower

      That’s about the size of it.

    • Semanticleo

      Actually he’s bringing what we know to the surface for discussion, despite the inconvenience to the Administration, not because of it. Bush started the program, so he gets authorship, but Obama continues to publish and now shares top billing. That’s what y’all don’t like. It’s a shameless position to propound the continued enabling of this so-called Democrat.

      Frank Church weeps.

      • FJN

        No, I like honest reporters who are capable of correcting their mistakes and Greenwald doesn’t fit the bill. I take everything he says with a grain of salt and always will, he’s been caught to many times now fudging facts to fit his narrative. Facts do matter.

        • Semanticleo

          I’ll ask you the question i put to Cesca;

          Do you have any sources other than Google and Apple as to ‘direct’.

          • FJN

            Did you read the techcrunch article he linked to? The Wash post changed their story to better support the facts, why can’t Greenwald?

          • http://pfoct.blogspot.com/ James Knauer

            It quotes tech giants who have no reason to tell the truth after cooperating for so long. This has been going on for a decade. What did you expect them to say?

          • FJN

            And it quotes from sources who actually are involved in the technical workings of the program, the same sort of sources Greenwald cites in his piece.

          • FJN

            “My sources confirm that the NSA did not have direct access or any special instant access to data or servers at the PRISM targets, but instead had to send requests to the companies for the data. These requests must be complied with by law, but only if the government narrowly defines what it’s looking for.”

          • http://pfoct.blogspot.com/ James Knauer
          • Lady Willpower

            If you’re only going to believe the part that supports your narrative, then literally NOTHING will change your mind.

          • http://pfoct.blogspot.com/ James Knauer

            Less physchobabble, more debate, please.

          • Lady Willpower

            Say it in English, Jimmie.

          • http://pfoct.blogspot.com/ James Knauer

            Your preoccupation with the made-up narrative you think I need to support is an indicator you are projecting your own need of your own narrative onto me, a sure sign you feel you are losing the argument.

            Is that enough English? Or do you need to continue to insult a perfect stranger in a public blog to show us all how brilliant you are?

          • Lady Willpower

            Wow, now who’s making with the “physchobabble?”

          • http://pfoct.blogspot.com/ James Knauer

            Ok, let me dumb it down for you:

            You made up a narrative for me to have, which I do not, in fact have.

            Your troubles began shortly thereafter.

            Stop assigning narratives to perfect strangers in a blog and you may just actually hear something.

          • Lady Willpower

            Hey, you just intimated that I’m dumb! That sounds suspiciously like you’re insulting a perfect stranger on the internet. Which is impossible, because we know you’re against that.

          • http://pfoct.blogspot.com/ James Knauer

            I called your argument dumb. Please stay focused.

          • Steve Farnell

            Because the Washington Post is more often than not the official stenographer of the Obama administration.

        • NintendoWii10

          Greenwald continues to excuse his ass kissing of Bush in his preface as opposed to openly admitting that he was wrong to kiss Bush’s ass, like many of the Democrats who openly supported Bush’s war in Iraq. Greenwald can’t even be honest with himself, let alone be honest to his followers.

    • truthzone333

      And what’s even more ironic is that Greenwald is an obvious libertarian flavored wingnut…NOT on the side of the Left. yet Michael Moore and other leftists are too dumb to see it.

      • NintendoWii10

        Michael Moore is a fat piece of shit hypocrite. He claims to be for the middle man, but you NEVER see him in his homestate of Michigan fighting Snyder and his cronies. He’s another publicity hound, which helps to make sense that he would be a Greenwald fan.

    • Iggy Aztec

      So, kind of like MSNBC? I doubt it.

  • http://pfoct.blogspot.com/ James Knauer

    Cesa’s story fell apart right here:

    “On Twitter, Greenwald defended his reporting by reiterating that the NSA said within the PRISM document that there has been “collection directly from the servers of these US service providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook…” But this could mean that the data was drawn from the servers, vetted and handed over to the NSA per Google’s stated process of legal vetting.”

    In other words his entire argument rests on information he doesn’t have. All he’s saying is, “Well, if the process happens this way the we couldn’t really say the NSA has direct access. His entire is pure supposition, whereas the documents obtained by the Guardian specifically state it collects via direct access to the servers.

    So absolutely nothing has changed, other than establishment journalists covering for the intelligence community by spreading confusion.

    • i_a_c

      Bullet point 11.

      • http://pfoct.blogspot.com/ James Knauer

        Bullet point 11, regrettably, not made of silver. After cooperating so long with the government, what else did you expect (alleged) “tech giants” to say?

        Secret program. Secret court. Only thin assurances from a government that lies to the world, holds no one accountable, and is becoming increasingly unable to function.

        But if Google and Facebook says “all’s fine,” well, who are we to argue? Why not let google’s legal department write Cesca’s next article.

        • i_a_c

          The NY Times article also says that the companies are complying with FISA orders, and that’s not just coming from the denials from the tech companies.

          It’s legitimate to wonder whether the FISA court power is too far-reaching, and I’d tend to agree, in which case the PATRIOT Act and FISA Amendments should be scaled back or repealed.

    • truthzone333

      He’s a wingnut…wingnuts to not deal in fact. This sounds like the same reasoning used by wingnuts to claim that Obama wasn’t born in this country. It’s time for the Far Left to stop being so dumb in regard to the people it gives legitimacy to, because this is why they have lost every battle until Obama came on the scene and had the commonsense to ignore them.

    • DHaradaStone

      “The NSA said”? You’re assuming “the NSA” wrote and approved the Powerpoint, which isn’t at all clear. And even if some low-level employee at the agency did prepare it (it frankly looks like it was done by someone with only a rudimentary knowledge of Powerpoint), it is not clear whether it was an early draft or if it was ever vetted for accuracy by someone in management at the agency. The statements by the industry, former insiders and real journalists who have covered this stuff before suggest otherwise.

  • martinchill

    nowhere in this apologist refutation is the fact mentioned that the law prevents these companies from even discussing the program.

    “The following line was particularly leading: “It also opens the
    possibility of communications made entirely within the US being
    collected without warrants.” There’s no indication whatsoever that the
    government was gathering information without warrants.”

    does the word ‘possibility’ mean anything to you, Bob?

    • truthzone333

      The statements by the companies are pretty clear and direct. If they couldn’t discuss the program, a program that they all said they had never heard of before Greenwald’s printed lies, they could be liable for lying…and they aren’t stupid.

    • DHaradaStone

      Possibility = Glenn Greenwald imagines it. Also, the law does not require the companies to lie about the program. A simple “no comment” would suffice. That’s not what we’re getting from them, however.

  • ericdeamer

    I don’t expect any kind of reasonable response to this given the tone of the comments here so I’m not going to respond to any responses but this post above is itself weak and shoddy. The author claims to actually be laying out factual inaccuracies of the Washington Post and Guardian stories and for the most part does not and instead engages in grade school level word games about what constitutes “direct access” etc. and ad hominem attacks on Glen Greenwald and assumptions about his motives. Then he pretty much gives up and switches to saying pretty much “Hey this isn’t a big deal! We’ve been doing this for a long time.” That may or may not be true, but the promise of “key facts” being “inaccurate” is never delivered in this piece.

    The first thing the author does is simply accept the denials of the big tech companies at face value. This ignores the fact that the denials amount to nothing more than word games about what constitutes “direct access to servers” a “backdoor” etc. etc. Since then there’s been a well-reported New York Times story about how all the big tech companies have pretty much admitted that the denials were bullshit.

    Then the bulk of the piece is just more semantics and juvenile word games about the difference between “direct access” and “access to servers.”

    Then, after not having proven a single innacuracy, the author switches gears to saying this isn’t a big deal, we’ve been doing this since 9/11 etc. There may be legitimate arguments to be made about why people are freaking out about this now and not 12 years ago etc. or whether too much has been made about this story, but that’s not what this story sets out to prove. It says there are factual inaccuracies in the Greenwald and WaPo stories and then doesn’t show a single one.

    • i_a_c

      Here’s what Greenwald said:

      The Prism program allows the NSA, the world’s largest
      surveillance organisation, to obtain targeted communications without
      having to request them from the service providers and without having to
      obtain individual court orders.

      That appears to not be the case. It now seems as if the tech companies are responding to FISA orders.

      • ericdeamer

        Based upon what? Denials by government officials? Denials by the service providers? Again, Cesca has not proven a single inaccuracy, has done zero reporting of his own and has no source of his own. He’s merely reading the same stuff the rest of us are and then siding with the government’s or the tech company’s claims in every case.

        • i_a_c

          Your Times article, for one.

          The companies that negotiated with the government include Google, which owns YouTube; Microsoft, which owns Hotmail and Skype; Yahoo; Facebook; AOL; Apple; and Paltalk, according to one of the people briefed on the discussions. The companies were legally required to share the data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. People briefed on the discussions spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are prohibited by law from discussing the content of FISA requests or even acknowledging their existence.

          That’s a far cry from accessing whatever they want to target without requesting them with a FISA order.

          • ericdeamer

            So the particular molehill you’re trying to make into a mountain here is that the NSA has to request the data from the FISA court, a court that meets in secret and keeps completely secret its reasoning, that according to some reporting grants requests in something like 99% of cases. Not to mention the fact that because of changes in the law the NSA only needs to get requests from the FISA court 72 hours AFTER the fact of the snooping. Yeah, that makes me feel a whole lot better. Basically, nothing you or the author have said has gone beyond quibbling over semantics. Nothing has discredited the thrust of the stories about PRISM: basically that an (until now) secret program called PRISM exists which gives the NSA pretty much carte blanche to piggy back on all of the creepy data mining already done by pretty much all major internet and telcom companies (except for twitter so far). The only safeguards are a secret court and there is absolutely no transparency about the process. This endless quibbling about the details and character assassination of the messenger reminds me of the story of Gary Webb.

          • i_a_c

            So, after being shown that the NSA does not, in fact, have access to servers where it can go digging at its whim (which is what everyone freaked the fuck out over), the goalposts have been moved to complain about FISA powers more generally. Not that I don’t complain about them as well, but we already knew about them a long time ago with the PATRIOT Act and FISA amendments. If the gov’t were shuffling through whichever files they wanted, that would be something new. This is not new, therefore not much of a bombshell.

          • Mr X

            “So, after being shown that the NSA does not, in fact, have access to servers where it can go digging at its whim” Bullshit, you’ve shown nothing.

          • SwimmingTowardsPie

            Seems to me you’re basically splitting hairs. With or without the rubber-stamp court order, they’re STILL skimming our data without probable cause or even any suspicion of wrongdoing.

            I also find troubling your willingness to accept the legitimacy of the FISC (NB: The “F” stands for “Foreign”) allowing spying on American citizens.

    • truthzone333

      So in other words, you want to make a statement but not be challenged on the potential inaccuracy of your statement? Yep, you’re a Greenwald ditto head.

    • Mr X

      “ericdeamer • 9 hours ago−

      I don’t expect any kind of reasonable response to this given the tone of the comments here so I’m not going to respond to any responses but this post above is itself weak and shoddy. The author claims to actually be laying out factual inaccuracies of the Washington Post and Guardian stories and for the most part does not and instead engages in grade school level word games about what constitutes “direct access” etc. and ad hominem attacks on Glen Greenwald and assumptions about his motives. Then he pretty much gives up and switches to saying pretty much “Hey this isn’t a big deal! We’ve been doing this for a long time.” That may or may not be true, but the promise of “key facts” being “inaccurate” is never delivered in this piece.” +1 NOTHING rebuts what Greenwald has put forward. The WHOLE POINT of having one whistleblower come out is to get more to come out of the NSA woodwork, with documentation that PROVES NSA is domestically spying against all dissidents left, right or libertarian.

      Death to the New World Order. All you shills on this thread will your god government feed you in the FEMA camp when what they have planned is unleashed?

  • David Worthington

    Just the latest “Acme” mail order contraption destined for a spectacular failure.

  • http://pfoct.blogspot.com/ James Knauer

    ” But the NSA doesn’t have “direct access” to servers…”

    Only because the government and Bob Cesca say so. The line between data and meta-data may not even be 1 bit wide. It’s right there. To then say no one, in the decade this has been going on in secret, looked at it is childishly naive.

    Secret program, secret court, from a government that continues to lie, and is increasingly unable to function.

    Not buying the separation of data, sorry. Not buying the “no direct access” line either. What if they are working off perfect mirrors? Would that appease Cesca?
    Would THAT be OK?

    • Semanticleo

      Udall was on CNN; Crowley asked ‘Are they recording everything’, he winces, looks up and says ‘They’re not LISTENING to everything’

      No Problem

    • Lady Willpower

      “Still a man hears what he wants to hear
      And disregards the rest”

      -Simon and Garfunkel

  • Roman Berry

    By the way…you really ought to go back and read the reporting by Greenwald and the Guardian on this again because you seem to be either misunderstanding it, miscomprehending or otherwise misrepresenting. Greenwald and The Guardian were clear that they were reporting on what these leaked documents said and also were clear in reporting the denials from government officials and telecoms. Did you just miss that those denials were reported or what?

    That’s what the public debate is for and why it’s so vital. It’s to work out the truth, to give people an insight into what a government that is supposed to be operating within the limits of the Constitution may be up to, even if it’s outside the limits of the framework of limited powers that were granted to it by the people under the Constitution.

    Far from falling apart. the story is having the exact intended effect. We are having a long overdue debate. And all you seem to want to do is take potshots at the reporting that got this debate going.

  • blackdaug

    Well, hasn’t this devolved into quite the clusterf&$k?
    The Post and the Times have changed the narrative of the story so that it goes back to being another “thing everybody already knew” nothing burger, but it is too late. What is the axiom again? Something about a lie traveling twice around the world, while the truth is still lacing up it’s shoes?
    How many more articles from the middle of the last decade, basicly detailing all of the “bombshell” components of this story as “common fucking public knowledge” will have to be drug out and aired before GG is confronted by someone during his triumphant tour?
    Here is a protip for future “bullshit journalism” detection: If the original story does not include quotes from the major principles…in this case..even something like “The major ISP’s refused to comment when contacted” (because they most assuredly would have commented…quite loudly!), then it is not a real story!
    In next weeks riveting installment of “Short Attention Span Media”:
    “Leaked “Post It Note” Proves President Travels World in Huge Winged “Super Plane” …..at Taxpayer Expense!”

  • Lisztman

    Ask any reputable journalist, editor, publisher. They will tell you that News goes on the News pages. Opinion goes on the Opinion pages. There is ZERO room on the News pages for opinion — unless the opinion is in quotation marks, and ascribed to a particular individual or organization. As I was taught, when on the staff of my HS newspaper. And I was taught to do the research to make sure all the fact was, indeed, factual.

    Unfortunately, too much of what passes these days for “News” is agenda-driven. I’m not referring to the “cast” of a particular publication or broadcast. The selection and placement of stories; the choice of subjects for said quotation marks; et al, can be steered toward the left or right with equal ease. But the “Fox News” banner rides across every show on Fox News. MSNBC does a poor job of noting whether a given presentation is raw News — or delivered opinion.

    It’s all about the advertising dollars. Which is all about the ratings. Which is all about the “entertainment” content. As long as the Becks and Greenwalds are allowed to jump on a story, with insufficient research, and an agenda to boot, the quality of journalism in this Nation will continue to decay — and it becomes more and more difficult for anyone, of any stripe, to separate fantasy from reality.

    • truthzone333

      Well said.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca


    • missliberties

      Beck and Greenwald, drama queens.

  • Roman Berry

    Canonizing bad reporting as a means of inciting a debate is as bad as no debate at all.

    No, it’s not. There’s nothing worse than no debate at all. I don’t really care what got the debate started, I’m just glad that it has begun. And you should be too.

    • truthzone333

      I disagree. It’s that this country has become so use to debating lies and not facts that this country AND the media is in the sorry shape it is now. Journalists are suppose to be factual and accurate, PERIOD, and any debate that stems from reporting that is not is a false and misleading one.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

      Well, you have one thing in common with the Republicans.

      • Roman Berry

        Yeah? And what is that, Bob?

  • Semanticleo

    Feinstein invoked Headley on This Week. Of course Steph wasn’t prepared with a follow-up “Mumbai’ ? you are touting that disaster as one of your TWO successes?

    As to direct….It’s Greenwalds source or sources. Do you have one of your own other than Google and Apple?

  • Peabody Nobis

    Is it just me, or does the series of so-called “scandals” seem to be orchestrated? Popular Dem president overwhelmingly re-elected just 6 months ago…Could it be that Hillary was right about the VRWC?

    • Janice

      it’s just you

    • Daniel Kalban

      I have to agree. Manufactured BS scandal after scandal.

      At this point, GOP and Libertarians are crying wolf.

    • dbtheonly


      It’s called Fox “News”. And I’ll disagree only to say that the “sacadals du jour” didn’t start 6 months ago; but rather on 1/21/09.

  • annabellep

    Kool aid swill. This is what it looks like.

  • wardmundy

    It might be worth remembering that the reporters were covering a Top Secret project so the fact that some of the details may not be 100% accurate is certainly plausible. “Direct access” and “backdoor” are words of art in the technical community. They have a different meaning to others. In layman’s terms, direct access means you can get any of the information you want. There are plenty of unsubstantiated suggestions in your article that this access required some sort of “Mother May I” procedure. To date, I haven’t seen any factual basis for your assertions either. The statements of both Google, Facebook and the others are “carefully worded” to put it charitably. Perhaps we should wait and see what we see before condemning those that disclosed this ongoing spying operation.

    • RethinkThePink

      Thanks – exactly my point. Those relying on info coming directly from EITHER the government OR these portals are jumping the gun. Remember the telecom immunity provision? If I were Google, et al,, I wouldn’t spill either.

      • Shingo

        “Those relying on info coming directly from EITHER the government OR these portals are jumping the gun.”

        So what do you suggest? Keeping everything under wraps indefinitely?

  • Steven Skelton

    “Still, you will hear voices that incessantly warn…..that tyranny lurks just around the corner. You should reject those voices…..and your grandma called yesterday. You really should call her back.”

    -Barack Obama

  • http://twitter.com/Mugglefucker Fishbulb

    You’re a joke. We’ve seen the photos of the secret rooms they have at AT&T and other ISPs and communications companies.

    • Thunderstruck

      Eschelon lives, and has lived, since the 90’s.

      remember PGP? Stood for “pretty good Privacy” and was so good it was
      ILLEGAL IN THE US for sending overseas e-mail. Why? Because the
      Gubbment couldn’t decode & read it.

      Anyone who thinks we have privacy has been hiding with their head int he sands for decades.

      remember – we’re paranoid! No one is coming for our guns. No one is
      coming for our privacy. No one is coming for our freedoms. No one is
      quietly eroding our future.

      Go back to sleep Sheeple – some of us have been worried about this for DECADES. But we’re just crazy, right?

      • Lady Willpower

        I can’t believe it took this long for someone to bust out “Sheeple.”
        You fruitcakes are really slacking.

        • Mr X

          You DHS trolls need to speed up your response time. You were 48 hours late.

  • Linda Perry

    Facts Must matter. However, these days like in in stand your ground laws; shoot 1st and ask questions laters……..unfortunately in Journalism the US style, it is push out a narrative, story, then seek information to affirm the narrative is today’s Journo 101.

  • BlueTrooth

    Glenn is an activist and a writer. He left Salon and joined the “journalist” ranks at The Guardian in late August of 2012. Within 4 -5 months, one of his loyal readers decided to share classified documents with him because he felt comfortable working with Glenn. Glenn also attends many conferences throughout the year, often as an invited speaker. Jeremy Scahill, Michael Moore and Glenn are quite popular among Civil Libertarian and related organizations and it’s not uncommon they share a stage. In an interview on MSNBC designed to promote “Dirty Wars”, just after the initial leak appeared in The Guardian, Scahill assured the audience there would be more leaked information in the coming days. It seemed odd at the time, and still does, that Scahill would essentially say he is aware of more leaked documents and imply that he knows the contents of these leaked, classified documents. Especially when he tweeted he “feared for Glenn” later that night. But the bottom line on this “reporting” is that it is a choreographed “drip” of information. There was planning in the sequence of the contents and the timing of the publications. That’s really not “reporting”, it’s more like presenting a case for the Prosecution in the Court of Public Opinion. Unfortunately, Glenn has embellished and exaggerated in his argument against the White House (primarily) which, in all likelihood, Glenn has calculated into his strategy. It’s unfortunate because Glenn has chosen to focus on “firing up” his fan base, rather than opening up a reasoned, rational dialogue on the issue of privacy with regard to metadata, probable cause, reasonable seizure, virtual property, virtual identity and so much more. The internet is still a “wild frontier” and the NSA isn’t exactly an “innovator” in the data collection department. While people are lighting their hair over the “government” having access to the metadata, they fail to realize the metadata is already compiled and archived by Corporations that owe no allegiance to anyone’s privacy if they choose. Does the NSA create the metadata or initially compile it? According to reports, it is “dumped” or siphoned from an existing database. A database that makes the internet a profit center and a vast marketplace of ideas, products, services and advertising. If your target market was al Qaeda, where would you go to get the data for a targeted advertising campaign? Probably the same place the NSA is going.

    • ericdeamer

      This comment shows zero understanding of the ideal role of journalism and reporting in society. Yes Greenwald is an activist on civil liberties issues with strong opinions about these matters, so what? If anything that makes the story more valid, not less. How exactly does a choreographed “drip” of information make that information more or less accurate? Your argument is similar to those conservatives who think any sort of factual reporting on anything can be dismissed because of “liberal bias.” Of course there are biases, strong personalities, ambitions etc. at play, just as there were during the reporting on Watergate etc. Like the author of the original post it seems you think ad hominem attacks on Greenwald, imputation of sinister motives etc. is the same thing as proving factual inaccuracies with his information. There is a long proud history of advocacy journalism, of investigation journalism being used as tool for “Prosecution in the Court of Public Opinion.” I guess you think that the information would only be valid if it came from someone who showed a history of not giving a damn about civil liberties and didn’t want to change public opinion on these issue. Here’s the thing: such a person would never do the work to uncover these things! We need folks like Greenwald for this purpose even if they are somewhat crankish and annoying, have their own agenda etc.

      • DHaradaStone

        Glenn Greenwald has taken a cheesy Powerpoint of questionable provenance and decided to interpret it as he sees fit. That is the entire basis for his story, which seems to bear no relation to reality whatsoever.

        • ericdeamer

          What, specifically is “questionable” about the “provenance”? Are you suggesting that it was made up by someone not actually connected to NSA in any way? That there is no such program? What are your sources and what reporting have you done on the issue?

          • DHaradaStone

            Assuming that it is an NSA document, we don’t know who authored it or at what level, whether it is a draft, or whether it was ever vetted by anyone in NSA management. For all we know it could be a draft by someone’s secretary doing his or her best to approximate what they were told by someone with the requisite security clearance. The fact that it looks like something anyone could produce on a computer in less than an hour doesn’t help.

          • ccaffrey

            Do you really think that this young man, knowing the likely consequences of his actions, would release these just for 5 minutes of fame before facing 10-20 years in a penitentiary?

          • http://deep.mastersfamily.org/ John Masters

            And really DHardaStone, would the government be launching an investigation if the PowerPoint you are talking about was just some “made up” document? Seriously…think before you speak. All the programs cited have now been verified by Congressional Committee Chairpeople and the Administration.

          • Lex

            yes, of course. just because it is stupid or illogical for someone to do something, is not evidence against them having done it. people are stupid and illogical all the time.

  • kfreed

    So… how many times exactly does Greenwald need to get caught lying before people get wise to his tatics and begin to realize what “Libertarian Glenn Greenwald of Cato Institute” is doing since reporting isn’t it:


  • DHaradaStone

    Bravo, Bob. Yours is one of the few sane voices right now on this story. The Post’s cowardly and unethical refusal to admit that it bungled this story, and Greenwald’s trademark intellectual dishonesty (funny that someone so self righteous and puritanical on civil liberties seems to believe that ends do justify means, after all) have given the fear mongers carte blanche to spread their bullshit. Reason is in full retreat throughout the mainstream media and the liberal blogosphere.

  • DHaradaStone

    Bravo. Yours is one of the few sane voices right now on this story. The Post’s cowardly and unethical refusal to admit that it bungled this story, and Greenwald’s trademark intellectual dishonesty (funny that someone so self righteous and puritanical on civil liberties seems to believe that ends do justify means, after all) have given the fear mongers carte blanche to spread their bullshit. Reason is in full retreat throughout the mainstream media and the liberal blogosphere.

    • Mr X

      Half of you are paid DHS troll bots. We know from Doug Hagmann’s sources that there are 1,500 full time White House trolls. DHS and NSA probably have hundreds or thousands more of paid hacks to swarm every comment thread on the web. Desperate times breed desperate measures.

      • Lady Willpower

        You’d be better off getting your news by reading animal entrails than from Douglas Hagmann.

      • dbtheonly

        I can get paid to do this? Where?

        • Lady Willpower

          IKR, I need the money!

  • damspam

    Exactly. I smell a snow job, and Greenwald cooked up a blizzard of bunk.

  • nathkatun7

    Is Glenn Greenwald a real journalist? A real journalist would have made an effort to do an in-depth research on the NSA program instead of simply relying on a leaker who may have a political motive. It’s really sad that both the Washington Post and the New York Times chose to go with Greenwald’s unsubstantiated claims. But then again, this is really nothing new for these so called prestigious papers. I am sure many of us remember how reporters and pundits, from both papers, became cheerleaders for the invasion of Iraq while pushing the false claims that Iraq had WMD ready to unleash on the U.S. and the world. I am sorry, but I have zero trust in either the Washington Post or the NYT. After this manipulated story by Glenn Greenwald, whose sole motivation is his visceral hatred of President Obama, I’ve lost trust in the “Guardian.” It’s indeed very sad to see the supposedly well respected papers, like the UK Guardian and the Washington Post, behave like Murdoch’s New York Post.

    • gn

      He’s a terrible reporter.

    • JustTheFacts

      Britian’s Guardian, is a Rupert Murdoch owned publication — Fox News/New Corp. This is the media maven whose British newspaper News of the World spied on public figures and crime victims and released their phone messages for years before being caught.

      • joe smith

        The Guardian is not owned by Murdoch, you fucking liar.

      • iamfantastikate

        You’ve got your facts wrong, JustTheFacts. The Guardian is owned by Scott Trust.

    • drklassen

      Please tell us how you do “in-depth research” on a top secret program? I think the best option is: go to press with what you have, then let the government answer for it. Which is what happened.

      Without this story, do you really think Obama would be wanting to “have a conversation” about it?!

  • Lady Willpower

    Haha, you’re about to be inundated by the insane ramblings of Greenwald worshippers. That should be amusing.

    • Lazarus Durden

      Secure the hatches! They’re coming!

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

      They’re becoming indistinguishable from Alex Jones disciples.

      • Lady Willpower

        I don’t even think they’re indistinguishable anymore. We’re through the looking-glass on that one.
        It’s the same exact kind of person: pathetic, misanthropic shut-ins who they think they know the SECRET HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

    • DavidHP1

      Or the insane ramblings of those who worship Obama and will not believe that he kept Gitmo open, expanded the war in Afghanistan, expanded domestic spying – true believers. Maybe you have no problem with being spied on by the government without due process or probable cause, but I sure do..

      • Lady Willpower

        The Government’s not interested in anything you have to say, Davey. Don’t flatter yourself.

  • JarekAF

    “collection directly from the servers of these US service providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook…”. . . [] this could mean that the data was drawn from the servers, vetted and handed over to the NSA per Google’s stated process of legal vetting.

    Wow. You really called him out on his false story. He reported direct access to the servers. The slide says directly from the servers. I’m sorry but where’s the inaccuracy?

    • JMAshby

      The slide says….

      That’s the problem. The slide isn’t accurate. It’s just some dumb slide from a power point presentation. And if Greenwald or WaPo had bothered to contact each company prior to printing their salacious story, they may have learned that it was bogus.

      • Lady Willpower

        But JM, you’re just an OBAMA CULTIST, obvi. You got paid 30 pieces of silver or something.

      • JarekAF

        The slide isn’t accurate? Then why has the government confirmed everything in the slide? They contacted the tech companies and published their denials.

        You ever think the tech companies may be misleading? They did after all issue the most vaguely worded denials known to man.

    • DHaradaStone

      A real reporter doesn’t rely for a “blockbuster” story on a cheesy Powerpoint presentation that looks like it was done by a middle schooler. Greenwald’s article was about as thoroughly sourced as one of Glenn Beck’s rants.

      • JarekAF

        A cheesy powerpoint?

        WTF. It’s a Top Secret document! The cheesy middleschooler is the NSA.

  • decora

    “Initially, this appeared to be a major violation of privacy. The

    implication is that the government enjoyed unchecked, unrestricted
    access to metadata about users any time it wanted.”

    Considering the FISA court is completely unreglated and unoversighted, yeah. They can.

    If you put CALEA on top of that, YOU, my friend, are the one who is inaccurate. It’s a requirement of tech companies to build back-doors into their products.

    Now pile on top of that the fact that NSA is burrowed into the major backbones of the internet. Evidence- the Hepting v AT&T trial, the Thomas Drake case, Drake’s friends Binney, Loomis, et al.

    ” Google also described how it will occasionally and voluntarily hand over user data to the government, but only after it’s been vetted and scrutinized by Google’s legal team. ”

    That includes thousand and thousands of National Security Letters? Which Google isn’t even allowed to talk about? Not even librarians are allowed to talk about it?

    “data was drawn from the servers, vetted and handed over to the NSA
    per Google’s stated process of legal vetting.”

    Dude. Come on. What kind of world do you live in on where Google has a bunch of lawyers carefully deciding what to hand over to the government? When they get an NSL, they have to jump and jump high and if they don’t, they go to prison. Stop arguing semantics and pinhead angels.

    You still havent dealt with whether or not the slides Greenwald published actually came from the NSA or not. If they are legitimate, then what the F**** are they? Are you denying there is a program called PRISM?

    Then why did the source give them to Greenwald?

    “They quite literally can watch your ideas form
    as you type.” Without direct access to the servers this would be

    Again. you are wrong. If NSA has access to the network cables, as they do, then they can watch what you type. If you have stuff encrypted, they will need encryption keys – of course, if the NSA / FBI gave an NSL to Google asking for those keys, Google couldn’t even tell us about it. And that wouldn’t require any direct access to any server.
    “Michael Moore and others applauded the anonymous whistleblower(s) who provided information to Greenwald.”

    Again, you are ignoring the obvious facts that most normal people care about. If these documents are legitimate, then what are they? What is PRISM? Why does it exist? Who created it? What does it do, exactly? You say its all a legal vetting process. . . WHAT legal vetting process? Overseen by whom?

    “Public outrage was almost entirely based on the idea that the NSA was spying on everyone who uses those services — broad, unrestricted access to private information (as private as social media and email is).”

    So is the Verizon request legit or not? If they are tracking phones, what makes you think they arent tracking email? Have you heard of Team Themis? You know they scraped facebook, right? You know they were planning on using hacking techniques, do you not? Have you read Bamford’s books? Have you read about the Thomas Drake case?

    “There’s no indication whatsoever that the government was gathering information without warrants.”

    Other than the existence of a massive warrantless surveillance program that Bush spent tens of millions of dollars (at least) sending the FBI to track down the leaker of, after the New York Times risked everything to publish the story in 2005, while Alberto Gonzales was contemplating whether to jail those reporters under the Espionage Act for decades.

    ” Heads, sadly, continued to explode all over the place in spite of the total de-fanging of both stories. ”

    For years we have been connecting the dots and connecting the dots and connecting the dots. Now, here are the dots. An actual FISA court order for the NSA to mass-pull phone records. Its ridiculous.

    “But the Greenwald and Washington Post stories are somehow
    bombshells, taken at face value.”

    Yes. Because finally we have someone inside leaking Top Secret internal NSA documents that prove a lot of what people have been speculating about for years. At risk of prosecution under the Espionage Act, like so many other people have been? After Jim Rosen was named a co-conspirator to violate the Espionage Act? An unprecedented thing in US history?

    “Has our collective attention span become so ridiculously short”

    No. This is when everything comes to a head. All of the stuff thats been building up for so many years is finally coming to a head. Something might Actually Happen.

    Now, either Greenwald was duped and leaked false info by some jerk, or the docs he has are legit. And if they are legit, they represent gross proof of things that we have been speculating about for ten years, but they also represent the will of journalists and leakers to persist and persevere in the most repressive climate for journalists in a long, long, long time.

    And you, if you have been covering this stuff for all that time, should recognize what this moment in history means. If you can’t figure it out, go ask Thomas Drake, go ask John Kiriakou, go ask Jesselyn Radack, go ask Thomas Tamm, and dont write another word about this until you do.

    • http://www.pbcliberal.com/ PBCliberal


      “It’s a shame because there’s a way to have this debate without selling
      out to misinformation. Instead, we appear to be careening way off the
      empirical rails into hysterical, kneejerk acceptance of half-assed

      We have, over the last week, gone from Clapper’s legacy testimony that there’s nothing at all like what the FISC Verizon document made real, through the “we can’t confirm but if there is” to today’s “Yes there is, but it’s not like you say.”

      This debate was never intended to be undertaken; the few cases we know of where the courts have balked remain secret because the executive branch begs that the decisions be sealed because the public wouldn’t understand them.

      How can anyone claim we ought to have a debate about this and then trash the leaked information and the journalists who write it, when the official story has been lie heaped upon lie?

      A lot of us are taking a very measured approach. Heads aren’t exploding because yes, we’ve expected this all along from the several cases you note that all had brief moments of sunshine. We all knew that the Catch-22 of “you can’t sue because you only have suspicions” would one day come crashing down. Thank god that has finally happened, and that is the significance of where we are today.

      I want that debate that the president says he wants. But I want all the prep cards for that debate. The number of weasel words in the denials is off the charts. When the proof offered up of “possibly agenda-driven speculation and key inaccuracies” is what “direct access to servers” means, I see a panicked NSA trying to find any semantic sleight-of-hand that might support a general denial.

    • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

      It is not unregulated. It obeys the law as written by Congress in 2007, in a major reform. As Bush had been doing this, it was not subjected to courts at all, and now it is. Also, Bush was not informing the Congress of this activity, and now it has been. For the past six or seven years. So… what do you mean, drama queen? You’re a paranoid, whether of left or right I con’t care.

      • ultraviolet_uk

        Quite. Decora has, like almost everyone else, failed to separate out two key questions.

        Question 1: has the NSI done anything in breach of the law? So far, the answer to that question appears to be a categorical no – or at least that there is not one iota of evidence to suggest it has. There is therefore no scandal beyond the fact that Bush and Congress passed the Patriot Act.

        Question 2 is the question we really should be debating, which is what should the limits of the law be? Unfortunately, the emoprog left has been so keen to turn this into another “Obama is worse than Bush” story that they have pretty much destroyed any prospect of having a reasoned debate on this issue.

        • dbtheonly


          I’d like to add another 2 questions.

          Since the information is being gathered & used to target advertising to the individual; what privacy can/should be expected?

          To what extent should “government” be restricted from using information gathered for advertising purposes?

          • ultraviolet_uk

            Fair questions both.

          • dbtheonly

            Thank you. I wish I had good answers.

      • SwimmingTowardsPie

        You know, your defense reads almost EXACTLY like the Right’s defense of the warrantless wiretapping program under Bush.

        It’s really irrelevant if Congress approved it or not. Our civil liberties are not subject to abrogation by a mere act of Congress, any more than it would be legal for a duly-constituted court to order Americans held without trial indefinitely, or executed, or for a newspaper to be shut down for publishing things the authorities don’t like.

        The fact is: NSA is collecting information – personally identifiable information – about our communications. Which includes what websites we visit, what phone calls we make, who our online friends and followers/followees are, etc.

        By collecting information on domestic activities, the NSA are in violation of their charter. By doing it without probable cause, they’re violating the Fourth Amendment.

    • villemar


    • leadingedgeboomer

      At this point it seems that PRISM is a piece of software used by agencies. There are similar products being sold to commercial entities for data mining.

  • js hooper

    It’s too late Bob. Unfortunately the damage is done. Greenwald and his crew got exactly what they wanted out of this story and they have ZERO INTEREST in retracting any of it.

    The outrage has been cranked to 15 and Pres.Obama is now Hitler. This is just chapter 5 in the SUMMER OF SCANDAL.Just like with drones, Benghazi, IRS & the AP story….People who are invested in pushing the outrage aren’t interested in the details that get in their way.

    • decora

      its not about Obama, its not about the right, its not about Bengazi.

      Its about the Espionage Act of 1917 being used against journalists. Something that has never, ever happened before, in US history. EVER.

      It has nothing to do with the particular president in power or their party. This is purely about the foundations of civilization that go back to the Magna Carta. It’s about the fundamental structure and values of society.

      • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

        It was not used here. The unfortunate phrase about the Fox journalist being a “co-conspirator” was used in the prologue, as in the phrase, “almost like a co-conspirator,” when they described the spycraft that he used. He was not indicted, nor did they try to indict him. No journalist has been jailed, or threatened, or anything else. But you can bet that he, like Greenwald, will be delighted to tear his shirt and cry the victim.

      • Stephen Bryce

        Did you even read the article?

    • Marti Joyce

      Obama is now Hitler? Apparently you don’t know your history. Try reading.

      • JozefAL

        Well, you might follow your own advice since you obviously can’t grok “sarcasm.” The far-right (along with FoxNoise) have been attempting to make EVERY LAST THING that Obama’s done either “Hitleresque” or “Stalinesque” (and don’t bother trying to follow that “logic”–it’s typical right-wingerism; use scary terms that they barely understand and about which their sheeple don’t have the vaguest understanding)–at least until recently when they started turning to “Nixonian” (forgetting, of course, that Nixon was one of theirs all along–which shows just how Orwellian thigns are becoming with the far right).

        • KristineAz

          haha! That’s fantastic. It’s typical right-wingerism–except when the left would not STFU about Bush being Hitler for eight years. Oh, wait, I bet you think it wasn’t “scary terms” when you did it, it was Truth!

          Really? Nixonian? Are you so ingrained in your bigotry that you can’t even accept it when a “right-winger” won’t agree with the actions of a past Republican President? Does it make your head explode? Can you even disagree with your own representatives? Ever? Or will the Lefties come hunt you down?

          Talk about sheeple. Hypocritical sheeple.

          • Zach Machuca

            Wow, I really didn’t enjoy that at all..

        • Rob

          ANyone that seriously tries to use adolescent terms like “grok” are immediatley ignored. Grow up and use real language.

          • Drew Humberd

            Like “ANyone” and “immediatley”?

          • Rob

            Well, good for you Drew, you seem to have never made a typo, boy aren’t you special.

          • Drew Humberd

            If you’re going to dismiss an argument because the person you disagree with isn’t using “real language,” you might want to have a handle on what you’re calling “real language.” Your grasp of comma usage is pretty slipshod as well. Perhaps this link will help? http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/diagrams/diagrams.htm

          • horklet

            “grok” is a term that’s been around since 1961, when Robert Heinlein coined it as part of his novel “Stranger in a Strange Land.” Not exactly teen-age slang, and a very good term for what it means.

          • Rob

            Yes, I know the word the book and what it means, most educated people stopped using the term when they hit puberty.

      • js hooper

        I assume you are an alien who is not familiar with the humanoid concepts of sarcasm & hyperbole.

        Also, people on reddit and in the alt media universe are indeed comparing Pres.Obama to Hitler. Don’t blame me for simply using their extremist language to mock them.

    • villemar

      Remember, GG said Benghazi was a completely legit scandal when he was on Bill Maher a couple weeks ago.

      • ultraviolet_uk

        Well, it is very trendy in media and blogging circles to be anti-Obama now, whether from the left or the right. Fortunately, this circle jerk is having little impact on the real world, where Obama’s approval ratings remain refreshingly high for a second-term President.

        • Mr X

          THE APPROVAL RATINGS, like Obama ‘winning’ every single swing state, are FAKE, the are fraudulent!

          • Lady Willpower

            It’s like WorldNetDaily came to life and started commenting on Daily Banter articles.

          • dbtheonly


            Please allow me to offer commiserations on going through life with people asking you to spell your name. It has not dampened your positive spirit.

            Now, on topic kinda, Ben gets paid by the number of clicks he gets on the site. You, me, the “regulars”, can only generate so many. With WND appearing in force, Ben will eat well this month. My only complaint is that it is hard to follow the ongoing arguments.

          • dbtheonly

            So President Obama didn’t carry the swing states except NC?

          • Fred Brooks

            Of COURSE he did! By as much as getting 140% of the registered voters in each one!

            Yeah, sure he did. Nothing to see her, move along.

          • dbtheonly


            You got a creditable source?

            ’cause the final vote tallies I saw certainly didn’t look half again as many voters as previous elections.

          • Fred Brooks

            Sources? Sure! Glad you asked!

            How about http://www.punditpress.com/2012/11/breaking-st-lucie-county-florida-had.html

            or http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/obama-gets-majority-of-140-florida-vote-wins-the-state/

            or maybehttp://www.redstate.com/2012/09/04/colorado-counties-have-more-voters-than-people/

            or, how about http://obamavoterfraud.blogspot.com/

            then there’s always http://www.ted.com/conversations/14936/zero_votes_for_romney_in_many.html

            What about http://citizenwells.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/did-obama-lose-california-or-was-vote-closer-romney-votes-missing-obama-votes-plummet-mail-in-ballots-problem-something-rotten-in-state-of-ca/

            Then there’s the liberal take on it here: http://citizenwells.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/did-obama-lose-california-or-was-vote-closer-romney-votes-missing-obama-votes-plummet-mail-in-ballots-problem-something-rotten-in-state-of-ca/

            Any of these ring a bell? You actually weren’t aware of this? Not surprised… none of you pinheads pay any attention to what’s really happening anyway.

            That’s why you’re known as a Low Information Voter.

            Just pathetic.

          • dbtheonly


            Pathetic is citing an “obamavoterfraud” blog as a legitimate site.

            But you’ve missed my point. I’ve stated that the 2012 total voter tallies are similar to those in 2008 in raw number of voters proportionately. for your argument to work; you’d need an extra ~20% of total voters. Raw numbers & they simply aren’t there.

            The only way your math works is if you postulate that Romney would have carried those states because some 50% of Obama voters stayed home & the Obama Campaign somehow replaced only those voters necessary to get to the ~51% that he got in those swing states.

            That requires the whole “skewed polls” argument to be valid because the legitimate polls did not show such a Romney lead & that issue was addressed at the time. So the Obama Campaign had no raw figures upon which the base their “fraud”, no way to know what the “right” number would have been, no way to know how many votes to “fraud in”.

          • Fred Brooks

            Maybe you’re missing the point. How exactly is it possible for a precinct to report ZERO votes for a candidate? Statistically, that simply doesn’t happen. And how again is it possible for a precinct to report that, even though they may have only, say, 100,000 registered voters, that they somehow received 140,000 votes for one candidate? None of this requires any knowledge of “right numbers” to “fraud in”… it simply demonstrates the result of queering the count somehow. Not hard to imagine, given the hijinks that DNC has been known to pull.
            Simply disgusting… worse though are the legions of koolaid drinkers that just suck it up. Not sure if you’ve noticed but the country is really starting to swirl down the drain now… and your boy isn’t doing jack shit to help anyone other than the actual 22 million illegals he’s cultivating at our expense.

          • Jan Civil

            those are opinions by bloggers. do you actually have no idea at all what a ‘source’ is? Jesus.

          • edan

            After Bush rigged the voting to get elected not once but twice, can we ever trust the voting booth? Exit polls never lie, but the voting booth does.

          • JoeNCA

            Is this just the math you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?

          • Monrocsol

            Yes, and Mitt is living in the White House and Queen Anne sits on the throne.

        • joe smith

          Trendy? LOL..

        • Shingo

          “Well, it is very trendy in media and blogging circles to be anti-Obama now, whether from the left or the right.”

          Bush apologists used to talk about Bush derangement syndrome. It’s not anti-Obama so much as anti security state. Obama was critical of this stuff before he came to office, and I believe he is still critical of it, but he has discovered that the system is bigger than he is, so he is forced to justify it.

      • js hooper

        I do remember. He breathlessly spouted Fox News talking points. It was interesting to watch “faux progressives” who had been silent on Benghazi because they knew it was bullshit…instantly rally around Greenwald and protect him from criticism.

        Greenwald is like the Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck & Alex Jones of the Paultard / Naderized left all rolled in to one. Everything he says is gospel and he must NEVER be scrutinized.

        • RenoRick

          Here Here! He is NEVER wrong, just ask him…

        • Shingo

          “He breathlessly spouted Fox News talking points. ”

          Why, because anything that contradicts the Obama administration is a Fox News talking point?

          • Jan Civil

            the key problem in that rather desperate looking attempt is ‘anything’. no, specifically these talking points. try and keep up.

          • Shingo

            I have no trouble keeping up, but I am having problems deciphering your incoherent response, which is another clear sign of desperation.

      • robert buttcheek

        he didn’t say “completely legit”, he said it wasn’t a “zero” like democrats say and it wasn’t a “ten” like republicans say.

      • Shingo

        “Remember, GG said Benghazi was a completely legit scandal when he was on Bill Maher a couple weeks ago.”

        No, he said that the government handling of it deserved an explanation. Even Obamabots would agree they blew it.

        • villemar

          The fact that you use the tiresome perjorative ”Obamabot” means this is the part where I tell you to fuck yourself with a rusty chainsaw.

          • Shingo

            The fact you have to resort to the kind of invective I am used to seeing at blogs sites like Little Green Footballs and Instantapundit during the Bush years, goes to show how far off the deep end Obama fanatics have gone.

    • RethinkThePink

      IRS scandal = fake.

      FISA abuse = real. No matter how you nuance it.

      • ultraviolet_uk

        No, what is real is that Bush forced these powers through, and told those of us who objected that we were terrorist-loving commies. It is the legislature’s job to decide on the limit of the security services’ powers. And then it is not just their job but their absolute obligation to use those powers to the utmost in their task of keeping Americans safe.

        So there is nothing scandalous in what Obama or the security services have done. The only scandal is that the security services were given these powers in the first place.

        If, all of a sudden, the country has decided that people other than terrorist-loving commies might think these powers are not necessarily a great idea, well, thanks for waking up at long last, but where was the outrage when it was needed?

        • Danny Adams

          You’ll find that there are few things Republicans hate more than someone pointing out to them that what they supported under Bush they attack under Obama. With links for a back-up.

        • SwimmingTowardsPie

          You’re absolutely correct that this is Bush’s baby (though I’ve seen discussion that this initiative existed before 9/11, even, which suggests that it originated even earlier).

          Still, the President campaigned on putting a stop to this bullshit. And he didn’t.

          In fact, he seems to have expanded it, or at least basically let NSA do whatever they want – not only in violation of their charter, but also the Fourth Amendment (at least) which cannot abrogated by a mere act of Congress.

          For that, he deserves all the disapprobation and scorn which can be heaped upon him.

    • Daniel Kalban

      All these scandals are fake. Each one gets taken down. The GOP and their allies have cried wolf so many freaking times why do we listen to them?!

      • Stephen Satornino

        All these scandals are fake? They have all been proven to be true. Even the government is admitting it. This latest prism scandal is even true albeit it’s a fresh scandal more will be coming out and there is sure to be some false and inaccurate information. But it is not fake by any means.

        • Daniel Kalban

          Yes; they’re fake. Each has been disproved in turn.

          • joe smith

            Yes, because they trot out the little circus monkey Jay Carney and he explains it to you. Please kill yourself.

      • tomasiepants

        All these scandals are fake… except when it’s against the Republicans right? Republicans blame Dems. Dems blame Republicans. Yawn. Think on your own and stop trusting government!

        • Daniel Kalban

          I basing this on the facts of each case and the fact every scandal the GOP has brought up putters out.

          Bush outed a spy, THAT IS TREASON

          • SadDayInAmercia

            Only a monkey would come to the conclusion that when the IRS admitted to targeting Conservative groups for extra scrutiny based on their political affiliation, it was really just part of the vast Right Wing Conspiracy. And when the WH admitted that the Benghazi talking points were altered by the State Dept to delete words like Al qaeda and terrorist, they really believed it was over some idiotic you tube video for nearly 2 weeks. And when the DOJ admitted it listed journalists as co-conspirators to get a court order to collect phone numbers on 100’s of journalists in a dragnet style investigation, there was no intent to send a chill to everyone providing intel to journalists. There are three types of people: the informed, the uninformed, and the misinformed. The third type is the most dangerous.

          • Daniel Kalban

            Someone’s been drinking the Fox Kool Aide.

            1. Yet the only group who had their status revoked was a liberal group.

            2. Yet it was revealed that those “White House Bengahzi Memos” were not the actual memos, but reedited and faked ones.

            3. BS!

            Republicans don’t like reality, now do they

          • SadDayInAmercia

            I was going to say: I’m just smiling and backing slowly out of the room because I think someone has Rachael MadCow disease. However, that is unkind so I won’t. I do think that watching the hearings on CSPAN and listening to the parties involved would go along way to stamping out ignorance on the subject on the Internet though. Rock On my Friend! :)

          • Daniel Kalban

            Ah yes, typical Bagger, resorting to personal attacks.

            I think the GOP should be treated like children.

          • SadDayInAmercia

            don’t take my word for it my friend, take it from the AP. They used to get thrills up their legs, but no longer. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/column-mounting-controversies-are-all-about-trust

          • Daniel Kalban

            Bush outed a spy.

            That is treason.

            So is obstructing government in a way that resembles a temper tantrum.

            So I guess you support traitors.

          • SadDayInAmercia

            YES! Yes I do. Why is it my job to do your research!? Sheesh!

            On July 13, 2006, Joseph and Valerie Wilson filed a civil lawsuit against Rove, Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney, and other unnamed senior White House officials (among whom they later added Richard Armitage) for their alleged role in the public disclosure of Valerie Wilson’s classified CIA status. Judge John D. Bates dismissed the Wilsons’ lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds on July 19, 2007, the Wilson’s appealed. On August 12, 2008, in a 2-1 decision, the three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the dismissal.

          • Daniel Kalban

            So you’re supporting the Bush administration getting off scott free for outing a spy?

          • Shingo

            >> Bush outed a spy. That is treason.

            Obama has murdered Americans without due process. That is tyrrany

          • Daniel Kalban


          • Shingo

            >> Oh, you mean a TERRORIST?!

            No I mean an American who never faced a day in court. The Obama administration admits he never even committed acts of terror.

          • Shingo

            > Oh, you mean a TERRORIST?!

            What terrorism has he carried out?

          • Daniel Kalban

            He declared war on his own nation, I think that counts.

          • Shingo

            No it doesn’t. Declaring war on your nation is a constitutional right.

            You might think it’s an act of terror, but you’d be wrong.

          • Danny Adams

            Nothing in this reply actually contradicts the points he made. Name-calling doesn’t count as arguments.

          • Danny Adams

            On top of all that, the Inspector General’s report–the one that put the Ohio IRS office in the spotlight in the first place–also says that 69% of the conservative groups were, by its own analysis, engaged in “significant political intervention” in campaigns that normally would have denied them tax-exempt status. Yet they all got that status anyway. So how exactly does that fit into the scandal?

          • Daniel Kalban

            Seems Republicans are afraid of facts and the IRS is too chicken to do its job.

            The real scandal is that the GOP is helping these far right groups get away with this BS

          • Pjay (Patti) Pender

            Actually, if those groups admit POLITICAL affiliation they were not singled out for extra scrutiny, they do not qualify for tax exempt status and they should not have been scrutinized, they should have been denied. The fact is there are MANY Tea Party groups claiming tax exempt status who ARE politically active and therefor do not qualify for tax exempt status.

          • SadDayInAmercia

            First misnomer, the so called tea party is not a political organization. It is an anti-tax, anti-government waste organization that has been characterized by some on the Left as a political organization. T.E.A. Taxed Enough Already, has a stated mission to educate the people on the dangers of overspending by our government. They protest Republicans and Democrats alike. I am positive that the political affiliation of ANY of its members is not scrutinized under the 501 c4 provisions and it clearly meets the definition of a “civic organization”.

          • SadDayInAmercia

            On the spy thing, I believe Libby went to prison for releasing the information. If it had gone up to Bush like Benghazi does to Obama, yes I would have supported Impeachment. I am sick of feeling powerless to stop an out of control Federal government, on either side period.

          • johnsawyer

            So why did you gleefully present a summary of the Plame case’s dismissal, as if a dismissal alone meant their case wasn’t valid?

      • Robert Altman

        good analogy. But I stopped listening to the GOP long ago….

    • joe smith

      And scumbags like you cheer for damage control hit pieces like this fucking cock throating worship.

    • http://deep.mastersfamily.org/ John Masters

      The author of this story, and those attempting to debunk the Guardian story, are trying to make a distinction without a difference. It is true that “the government” doesn’t have direct access. They have a single contractor who has direct access, and then this contractor provides the information to the NSA. It’s the government giving itself plausible deniability, but the end result is the same…the government has access, in real time, to the information that’s being discussed here. It matters little to me if that data is going directly into government processors, or is being passed through a government contractor on the way. To me, that makes the situation even less tolerable.

      • Frank Kavanagh

        I thought everyone would see this as clearly as you obviously do,I take it you are not American?

      • Shingo

        Superbly put John.

        This is just a case of Obama fanatics wanting to defend the king. Oh the government gets it wrong, but should a reporter be imprecise about the details – that’s outrageous.

    • Robert Altman

      LOL, you people are nuts. There is no scandal with Benghazi- the only scandal is Congress refused to fund additional security. The IRS thing, well that was a little nuts but it too goes back to Bush and 2007. The only Summer of scandals would be Republican driven maniacs

      • Fred Brooks

        No scandal? As in, our US citizens requested, several times, additional security, help, protection from the savages surrounding them, and your moron Obama did NOTHING??? Is THAT the non-scandal you’re referring to?

        You pinhead.

    • Mandy Evans

      Maybe we should let Hitler speak for himself and we’ll see who he sounds more like: “Today Christians stand at the head of Germany. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit. The national government will maintain and defend the foundations on which the power of our nation rests. It will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality. We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press – in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past (few) years.”

      – Adolf Hitler
      Source: The Speeches of Adolph Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872.

  • Dafna Yee

    I think this story is an admirable and illuminating report on so-called spying.

  • john galt

    http://arstechnica.com/uncategorized/2006/04/6585-2/ Did you get the requisite 15 pieces of silver for this story, or were they too cheap for even that?

  • Marti Joyce

    You are criticizing the Washington Post and Glenn Greenwald?? Have you even read your article which is chalk full of misspellings and bad grammar. YOU lack credibility. Seriously??

    • Lazarus Durden

      I see you’ve post a lot of counter points and sources to back up your assertions… Oh wait yeah no.

      Oh and yeah I’ll take Bob Cesca and David Simon everyday of the week over Glenn Greenwald and the Washington Post.


      • Marti Joyce

        “Counter points” and “sources”?? My source is the article above. Just read the freaking thing. Or can’t you spell either?!?!

        • Marti Joyce

          Hmmmm. Seems he is saying above the exact opposite of what this NYT article is saying. “Counter point”, Lazarus???


          • Lazarus Durden

            Wait that’s your rebuttal source?


          • Marti Joyce

            So, now it’s the New York Times that isn’t ‘reputable’??? Wow. Just wow.

          • Marti Joyce

            I’m sorry. I’m laughing. Hard to take someone serious whose name is “Lazarus”!

          • Lazarus Durden

            I know. I’m not a serious person. In fact I may not even exist at all. But you however have shown an intellectual depth that is only matched by your due diligence when it comes to fact based analysis and research. Kudos! You’re doing great!

          • beulahmo

            Me, I lurrrrvs the name Lazarus! :::bats eyes:::

          • Kitty Smith

            The only name Marti can take seriously is “Glenn Greenwald”.

          • AntonSirius

            Your ignorance is appalling, Marti. I suppose you’d dismiss the Federalist Papers as ridiculous and un-serious too, since they were cranked out under the absurd name ‘Publius’ rather than under the names of James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay.

          • Archie Jones

            yep, you’re an idiot. and horrible at trolling.

          • Lazarus Durden

            Here I’ll do you a favor since you obviously didn’t read Simon’s piece:

            “When the Guardian, or the Washington Post or the New York Times editorial board — which displayed an astonishing ignorance of the realities of modern electronic surveillance in its quick, shallow wade into this non-controversy — are able to cite the misuse of the data for reasons other than the interception of terrorist communication, or to show that Americans actually had their communications monitored without sufficient probable cause and judicial review and approval of that monitoring, then we will have ourselves a nice, workable scandal. It can certainly happen, and given that the tension between national security and privacy is certain and constant, it probably will happen at points. And in fairness, having the FISA courts rulings so hidden from citizen review, makes even the discovery of such misuse problematic. The internal review of that court’s rulings needs to be somehow aggressive and independent, while still preserving national security secrets. That’s very tricky.

            But this? Please. This is bullshit.”

          • DHaradaStone

            Apparently you haven’t read the NY Times article. It says that the NSA does NOT have direct access to the internet companies’ servers. Rather, information is provided only pursuant to specific court orders, and then through an electronic “lock box.” Only information responsive to a specific, individualized court order is provided, and then only after review by the companies’ lawyers. The key assertions in the Post and Guardian stories, that the NSA can trawl through data streams, browsing emails, chats, etc., are FALSE.

        • Lady Willpower

          Should you really be making digs at anyone else’s spelling?

          • Marti Joyce

            I’m sorry. Should I be taking someone
            seriously who’s name is “Lady Willpower”? I mean…really?

          • Lady Willpower


          • Lazarus Durden

            Is that your go to insult? Should I take seriously?

          • Marti Joyce

            Don’t you ridiculous people have better things to do?!

          • Lazarus Durden

            No because we’re ridiculous! Deliciously so!

      • leadingedgeboomer

        The WashPo used to be a real newspaper. They are in deep financial trouble–just fired all their photographers and are telling reporters to cover that with their smartphones. Their paywall plan is bound to fail since they are not starting with a big enough customer base.

        This episode is born of desperation.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

      What misspellings? By the way, it’s “chock full” not “chalk full.”

      • Marti Joyce
        • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

          That was your response? Bye now.

          • Austerity Sucks

            Take that Obama dick deep down in your throat brah.

          • ultraviolet_uk

            Wow, what a compelling rebuttal of the FACTS that Bob has posted. And not at all repellent and offensive, oh no.

          • Lady Willpower


          • Archie Jones

            you’re kind of an idiot, huh?

          • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

            Ah yes. Clearly liberals can be homophobic, too.

          • SJLAW

            That escalated quickly…

      • Marti Joyce

        Seems a large portion of your article hinges on tech companies not having ‘direct access’, etc. See Times article above. Seems you are…ah…wrong!

      • Marti Joyce

        Well, gee, YOU are the professional “director, producer, writer, actor, blogger and political commentator”, not I.

    • MaryLF

      You mean chock full, not “chalk” full.

    • Lisztman

      “chalk full”? Perhaps you mean “chock full”… Methinks you should stick to the discussion and stay out of “grammar and spelling”…

  • a4alice

    Excellent Bob thank you for clearly stating what needs to be said.

  • chris ellis

    the way you sum up my thoughts on so many issues in a far more palatable manner is quite great for me as i can copy and paste (and link) your stuff. Thanks, Bob.


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