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posted by NCommander on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the wonder-how-long-until-the-staff-gets-wiretapped dept.

Cory Doctorow at bOing bOing reports Newly disclosed documents from the trove Edward Snowden provided to journalists reveal the existence of the Nymrod database that listed 122 world leaders, many from nations friendly to the USA, that were spied upon by the NSA. Included in the list is German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was already known to have been wiretapped by the NSA thanks to an earlier disclosure. Nymrod's "Target Knowledge Database" combed through the NSA's pool of global intercepts to amass dossiers of private communications emails, faxes, calls and Internet traffic related to the leaders.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by katterjohn on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:07PM

    by katterjohn (2905) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:07PM (#24373)

    ...this was an April Fool's joke.

    *sigh*

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Blackmoore on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:24PM

      by Blackmoore (57) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:24PM (#24386) Journal

      Well I'm going to keep submitting these articles as they come to light.

      I cant decide if we're living in Orwell or Kafka.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mendax on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:57PM

        by mendax (2840) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:57PM (#24405)

        We are living in both. The FISA court and Gitmo are quite Kafkaesque and the NSA's sniffing of all Internet traffic and phone calls add an Orwellian touch.

        --
        It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
        • (Score: 2) by Blackmoore on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:21PM

          by Blackmoore (57) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:21PM (#24420) Journal

          And here i was hoping for Asimov or even Douglas Adams.

          • (Score: 1) by Hawkwind on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:01PM

            by Hawkwind (3531) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:01PM (#24489)

            Feels more like Ghost in the Machine wannabes in a Douglas Adams world

      • (Score: 1) by sgleysti on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:25AM

        by sgleysti (56) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:25AM (#24553)
      • (Score: 1) by bill_mcgonigle on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:12AM

        by bill_mcgonigle (1105) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:12AM (#24586)

        Sadly, it's probably more Huxley [truthcontrol.com].

  • (Score: 2) by metamonkey on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:14PM

    by metamonkey (3174) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:14PM (#24379)

    Can we just have the list of people the NSA hasn't been spying on? That seems like it would be a much shorter list and save us all a lot of trouble. Thank you.

    --
    Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
    • (Score: 5, Funny) by Blackmoore on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:22PM

      by Blackmoore (57) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:22PM (#24382) Journal

      Can't. that would be a breach of National Security.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by unauthorized on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:24PM

      by unauthorized (3776) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:24PM (#24387)
      As requested, here is the entire list:
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by mendax on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:46PM

      by mendax (2840) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:46PM (#24479)

      The only person the NSA hasn't been spying on is my evil black cat. Yes, she's a cat but she believes that she is a person and that's enough for me and should be enough for the NSA. And because the NSA has not been monitoring my cat's activities means that they are incompetent because, after all, she is evil. She is the "Dark Lord of the Hiss". I have no doubt she is plotting the our downfall in her wicked brain.

      --
      It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bucc5062 on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:31PM

    by bucc5062 (699) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:31PM (#24429)

    I for one feel blessed that I am in the same rank as 122 world leaders as a person of interest by the NSA. To think that Chancellor Merkel and I have something in common to share whenever we meet. /s

    In a sad way, this just doesn't get old. When I was a child I read a book called Harriet the Spy. Harriet was quite good at her passion, spying on and writing down everything that her friends did along with other people of interest. It was all no issue until the day her journal/diary was discovered. Then all her friends turned on her and she was disliked for a long time.

    I loved that book and the lesson it tried to teach. A line that our government should act upon:

    Hearing of Harriet's troubles, Ole Golly writes to her, telling her that if anyone ever reads her notebook, "you have to do two things, and you don't like either one of them. 1: You have to apologize. 2: You have to lie. Otherwise you are going to lose a friend."

    I can accept that governments spy, mostly on enemies, but to do so to "friends" is just plain stupid and indicative of the power hunger Washington D.C has right now.

    As an American I feel a level of shame and embarrassment at the actions of some members of our government. Little to our current politicians understand that is is easy to lose respect, much much harder to gain it back. In some ways I feel these leaks are hurting the US yet I can accept them as both a punishment for our hubris and for the opportunity to "clean house".

    --
    The more things change, the more they look the same
    • (Score: 1) by starcraftsicko on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:11PM

      by starcraftsicko (2821) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:11PM (#24495) Journal

      #699 spake: I can accept that governments spy, mostly on enemies, but to do so to "friends" is just plain stupid and indicative of the power hunger Washington D.C has right now.

      You are just wrong on this. Bad organizations, bad governments, bad politicians, even genuinely evil agencies like the NSA -- even they sometimes do what they should. This is one of those times.
      .

      Sovereign nations may be allies; they may be friendly; they may share interests; they may support similar policies; they may together use semicolons when they could have used commas -- but they have an interest in seeing that these good things continue and knowing when and why these things might change. Friendly nations have good reason to keep an eye (er... spy) on each other even if to make sure that they remain friendly.

      .

      Nations spying on the leaders of other nations is not a crime against common sense or against international law and should not be counted amongst the crimes of the NSA.

      --
      This post was created with recycled electrons.
  • (Score: 2) by sl4shd0rk on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:34PM

    by sl4shd0rk (613) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:34PM (#24431)

    I'm wondering if it will ever come to light that the NSA kept "dirt" on elected officials, Supreme Court justices or others who could potentially bring charges against the organization. Imagine having that kind of leverage.

    • (Score: 1) by spxero on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:47PM

      by spxero (3061) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:47PM (#24436)

      If only someone would martyr themselves and expose it, but the ones that would/could probably figure nothing would come of it anyway. Sad thing is they're probably right.

    • (Score: 1) by urza9814 on Tuesday April 01 2014, @08:02PM

      by urza9814 (3954) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @08:02PM (#24439) Journal

      Imagine if someone leaked not only that the NSA had that "dirt", but *exactly what it was*.

      The dirt is gone because the secrets are out. And the officials the dirt was on would be PISSED.

      THAT is how we dismantle the NSA!

    • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Tuesday April 01 2014, @08:05PM

      by bucc5062 (699) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @08:05PM (#24441)

      Given that 122 World Leaders had their panties raided, you really think the NSA would not have done a beta test on a more local and reasonably accessible raw material.

      The fallout is two fold, if the NSA is caught with actual proof they tapped our own leaders then it is an egregious act against the Constitution, laws were broken, and head should roll. However, heads wont roll, because people who'd be in the best position to act may really really really not want information to see the light of day. Thus a situation where the head of a spy agency in the USofA can lie under oath and feel any repercussions.

      That could never happen in this country. /s

      We did have one Senator stand up and say the CIA acted very poorly and shame on them...how'd that go?

      --
      The more things change, the more they look the same
    • (Score: 1) by GmanTerry on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:01AM

      by GmanTerry (829) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:01AM (#24529)

      This is my concern also, but on a larger scale. Even if we dismiss blackmail by the NSA as was practiced by J. Egar Hoover, when he headed the FBI. There is the total subversion of the democratic process becoming possible. The NSA has the information to control elections as well as people. Information is power and the NSA has information on everyone. This includes judges, journalists, Congressmen and Senators. Does anyone really trust politicians and bureaucrats to not use this information and power for corrupt purposes? I don't believe this country can survive for another decade with secret courts feeding a secret government watching and recording the activities of 100% of the citizens.

      --
      Since when is "public safety" the root password to the Constitution?
    • (Score: 1) by bill_mcgonigle on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:09AM

      by bill_mcgonigle (1105) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:09AM (#24584)

      Yep. Hold onto your hats when the reporters with the Snowden briefings start dropping relevant stuff in September and October.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:34PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:34PM (#24472)

    Why is this such a big deal? Isn't this the official purpose of the NSA? Sure, you can disagree with the details of whom should be spied on and for the most part I may agree with you. But I also disagree with many details of how the armed forces are run, the department of transportation, and foreign policy in general.

    What the NSA unquestionably did wrong was spy on American citizens. Spying on other countries is expected. (And of course that includes their leaders!) Spying on "friendly" countries is similarly unsurprising. This would be a problem only if the NSA did this spying against the orders of the U.S. government or if the U.S. had a "no-spy" treaty with any of these countries. This seems not to be the case because no one ever mentions it.

    Snowden was wrong to release this data. and unless it can be shown that it was inextricably tied to the data on domestic spying. He has lost my sympathy as apparently his good deed of informing the U.S. public was merely an accident of his greater desire for attention and/or influencing foreign relations.

    • (Score: 2) by etherscythe on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:43PM

      by etherscythe (937) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:43PM (#24514) Journal

      Unsurprising is not the same as acceptable. MPAA or RIAA making another ridiculous claim of copyright damages is unsurprising - but definitely not acceptable.

      Here's the thing: do we presume that only Americans have rights? It might seem that the Constitution was written specifically to give rights to Americans, but the way it's set up, "inalienable" rights refers to those rights naturally owned by all persons, and in spirit aught to refer to people in other countries, because the Constitution actually does not give rights - it merely honors what is already there, by its own definition. So the Fourth Amendment is really in trouble by this measure - because we're searching and violating the innate privacy rights of people all over the world, by our own rules; and not just any people, but the heads of state. You could make an argument that you don't expect Saudi Arabia to respect those rights globally, but we Americans really have little excuse, since we're attempting to claim the moral high ground as world police and such.

      It's an egregious and fundamental failing and that's why it's important.

      --
      "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @11:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @11:29PM (#24521)

        Your position sounds absurd. You are suggesting that the U.S. do no spying because it violates the privacy rights of people in other countries. Are you under the impression that the U.S. is the only government that spies on others? Or do you think the U.S. should be the only country that doesn't spy on others?

        Do you honestly think the founders thought that spying on foreign nations is forbidden by the fourth amendment?

        • (Score: 1) by bill_mcgonigle on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:50AM

          by bill_mcgonigle (1105) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:50AM (#24621)

          Yes, that's what natural rights are about. Jefferson felt strongly about this, but he also did not support the Constitution nor did he do a great job following it.

          If Jefferson can't get it right, pretty much nobody else has a hope of doing so.

        • (Score: 2) by etherscythe on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:33PM

          by etherscythe (937) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:33PM (#24908) Journal

          No, I'm suggesting that we have a problem with being hypocritical - our foundational documents suggest we aught not to be spying on anybody. Realistically, it's a very useful thing to do, getting a heads-up on events and circumstances affecting our interests; this is why it is done. But maybe we shouldn't trumpet to the world that we have the greatest aspirations and are the most morally upstanding folks, whilst simultaneously spying not only in violation of our own core principles but on the symbolic figureheads of other nations, which by extension is kind of like simultaneously violating the rights of every single citizen in that country.

          If we want to be honest about our place in the world, maybe we should change our constitution to reflect it.

          --
          "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by starcraftsicko on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:47PM

    by starcraftsicko (2821) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:47PM (#24480) Journal

    I'm not sure that this is news. I'm not sure that this is bad or abusive.

    .

    The leaders of nations, and those who aspire to be leaders of nations are legitimate surveillance targets of national intelligence agencies - even intelligence agencies of nations that I dislike. As the citizen of an alleged world power, I'd be outraged if my national intelligence agency wasn't at least trying to do this. Seriously. GO NSA!

    .

    The scandal with the NSA and its counterparts that we should be focusing on is the combination of trying to spy on everyone and selectively sharing the information gathered with (domestic and foreign) agencies that act in a 'law enforcement' capacity. This is contrary to the US constitution and constitutional principles as I understand them and leads to ethically questionable (and possibly illegal) practices like parallel construction.

    --
    This post was created with recycled electrons.