July 28, 2015
NSA will destroy millions of American calling records (?) 

NSA will destroy millions of American calling records 'as
     soon as possible'

2. On the freedom I gained

This is a Nederlog of Tuesday July 28, 2015.

I have said yesterday that there is a pause in the crisis series, but that I will continue to write Nederlogs. And this is in support of these statements: I did select an item about the NSA, that is item 1 below, while item 2 is a brief reflection on the freedom that I gained.

1. NSA will destroy millions of American calling records 'as soon as possible'

The following article is by Associated Press and appeared on yesterday's The Guardian:
  • NSA will destroy millions of American calling records 'as soon as possible
This starts as follows:
The Obama administration has decided that the National Security Agency will soon stop examining – and will ultimately destroy – millions of American calling records it collected under a controversial program revealed by former agency contractor Edward Snowden.

When Congress passed a law in June ending the NSA’s bulk collection of American calling records after a six-month transition, officials said they were not sure whether they would continue to make use of the records that had already been collected, which generally go back five years.

Typically, intelligence agencies are extremely reluctant to part with data they consider lawfully obtained. The program began shortly after the September 2001 terrorist attacks, but most of the records are purged every five years.

The NSA’s collection of American phone metadata has been deeply controversial ever since Snowden disclosed it to the Guardian in 2013. President Barack Obama sought, and Congress passed, a law ending the collection and instead allowing the NSA to request the records from phone companies as needed in terrorism investigations.

That still left the question of what to do about the records already in the database. On Monday, the director of national intelligence said in a statement those records would no longer be examined in terrorism investigations after 29 November, and would be destroyed as soon as possible.

I say - and I think the basic questions are: Do you believe this? And what difference does this make?

First, do you believe this? This is an anonymous statement by some completely anonymous reporter ("Associated Press"), so I don't see why I should believe this is Gospel Truth.

Besides, I think I.F. Stone spoke the truth, and also said something important when he said:

All governments lie and nothing
           they say should be believed.

Notably, he did not say "
All governments always lie", which indeed is false.
To bring out why I think he said something important, I shall slightly reformulate Stone's statement:
You should not believe anything the government says,
because all governments may and quite often do lie:
You always need good evidence to support their statements.
And none of the above quoted statements from The Guardian come with any evidence: In fact, you don't have even have any idea about who wrote it.

This means that I am not going to believe the Obama government on this, except in very broad terms: they made a statement that - eventually - they may stop examining the data they collected and that
- eventually - they may even destroy the records.

Do I believe that? Well... they may have said so. Whether they meant what they said is a wholly different question, as is the next one: If they meant what they said, is there any evidence that what they said is true? You don't know, for you don't know who they are, just as you don't even know who the reporter is. (He or she may work for Associated Press, but even that is not known.)

The same holds for other statements, like "
most of the records are purged every five years". Who reported it? Unknown. Who said it? Unknown. If they said it, how credible are they? Unknown. Why would I believe any of this? I got no evidence of any kind about anyone, not even about the anonymous reporter(s).

But I will leave that to your interests, and turn to my second question: What difference does this make - and more specifically: What about Obama's
"allowing the NSA to request the records from phone companies as needed in terrorism investigations"?
My point is simply this: What I do know - I think, basically from Snowden and Greenwald - is that the NSA can get anything they want that is on any computer
or cell phone anywhere, provided that it is connected to the internet and provided it is not strongly encrypted. (And the encryption may be undone by having learned passwords, e.g. by keyboard tracking.)

Given that, I infer that the NSA certainly can get any phone data they want, especially from telephone companies that have been cooperating with them since circa 2007 anyway.

Therefore, Obama's "allowing
the NSA to request the records from phone companies" seems a totally empty piece of baloney to me, especially as the NSA is not controlled effectively by anyone outside the NSA - and this last point is again to the best of my knowledge, and is mostly based on information supplied by Snowden.

In brief: I was served a piece of US government propaganda without any source (not even a reporter's name) and without any evidence, that is served as if it is plain incontestable fact.

Well... it is not, and without good evidence it may be anything, from Gospel Truth to devious propaganda lies.

I don't know and neither do you - but I do know that I.F. Stone was right, and that, therefore, this report is a shoddy bit of "journalism", for you should not present as fact what you do not present any evidence of any kind for, especially
not about a very important secret service.

2. On the freedom I gained

I do feel rather good about not having to plow through around 40 sites looking for articles about the crisis every day, for this really was a chore.

But I will keep up with the news, and I will write about it when it is interesting.

And the above article is interesting, though not for what it says (which is very vague and very uncertain and is offered completely without any evidence), but for what it pretends (that totally anonymous statements without any evidence are statements of facts) and what it assumes (that Obama's government's speakers are a reliable source of information about its own secret services).

Because, as W.K. Clifford said:
"It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence".

       home - index - summaries - mail