STELLARWIND Classification Guide

Also released today is the STELLARWIND classification guide, in conjunction with a New York Times article on how the FISA court expanded domestic surveillance. (Here's the previous story about STELLARWIND, from the Washington Post.) See also this NSA document. Both stories are based on Snowden documents.

Is it only me, or does anyone else wonder why a court with the word "foreign" in its name would rule on domestic intelligence collection?

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 1:14 PM • 14 Comments

Comments

anotherRabbitMarch 12, 2014 3:38 PM

In "Foreign Intelligence Services Act" it is the intelligence which is foreign, not it's collection, where it originated, or the Services who deal with it. If any part of any "intelligence" or it's means of transmission such as a solitary packet or single data byte ever wanders outside US territory, whether of it's own volition or with a little help (deliberate routing), then it's 'foreign intelligence' where-ever it originated and where-ever it's destination. Then we can has it all.

kashmarekMarch 12, 2014 3:53 PM

off topic (but maybe not):

Found on SlashDot:

How the NSA plans to infect millions of computers with malware

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/14/03/12/1738237/how-the-nsa-plans-to-infect-millions-of-computers-with-malware

My apologies if this has already been posted.

Can someone tell me why this isn't breaking the law? The NSA has become the KGB of the USA. The really sad part is that when the other miscreants learn how to do this the NSA-way, the problem becomes orders of magnitude worse. For all practical purposes, the internet becomes a dead zone when this happens (if not already).

Note that the article doesn't say "their malware" (the NSA malware).

tomMarch 12, 2014 4:55 PM

FISA Court was supposed to be a CHECK on NSA's power, and an overseer - NOT a group that helps NSA EXPAND its power, and rubber-stamp all of their requests.

How come no one in Congress hasn't even proposed a disband of the FISA Court yet?

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasonsMarch 12, 2014 5:11 PM

@ Bruce Schneier
"...wonder why a court..."

I wonder why anyone Federal institution is even functional. I am stating that all our institutions, public and private, are failed. Why, because we as lemmings cannot understand our individual responsibility as a citizen--it's interesting that "individuals" will not do what is required of them as citizens but wish to embrace the benefits of being one.
Here's my FAILED INSTITUTION LIST:

The congress, both senate and house, of the United States of America

The Supreme Court of the United States of America

The Executive of the United States of America

The financial and banking institutions incorporated in the United States of America

Institutes of higher education, colleges and universitys, of the United States of America

NobodySpecialMarch 12, 2014 5:23 PM

@tom : Because ...

Congress was supposed to be a CHECK on NSA's power, and an overseer - NOT a group that helps NSA EXPAND its power, and rubber-stamp all of their requests.

PeterMarch 12, 2014 7:16 PM

If one wonders about the FISA court, one should read some hard copy books about the history of NSA. This whole thing (the media fuzz) has to slow down to the pace of the old media.

AnuraMarch 12, 2014 7:28 PM

Is it only me, but does anyone else wonder why a court with the word "foreign" in its name would rule on domestic intelligence collection?

Because we are all foreign to those in power. We might as well be living in two different countries.

David BorhaniMarch 12, 2014 8:35 PM

Bruce, it is all of us, not just you!

Having lived through the lies and tragedies of Vietnam, anti-war protests, Chicago, Watergate (!), etc., I was so excited by concept of the Church Committee. Here was checks & balances in action!

But surely Frank Church must now be rolling in his grave... It's probably a good thing that he died in 1984, because events of today would have killed him.

After the news of Iran-Contra broke (1986), I slowly came to the realization that the Watergate-era reforms were already so warped beyond belief that anything was possible. Fast forward 3 decades: Events of the past year have shown exactly that.

They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
Benjamin Franklin, 1755

GregWMarch 13, 2014 8:30 AM

Is it only me, but does anyone else wonder why a court with the word "foreign" in its name would rule on domestic intelligence collection?

Hadn't noticed that one. Nice!

I have similarly wondered why the US "Department of Defense" would not take responsibility for "defense" and post-9/11 would be strongly in favor of creation of a whole new department ("Homeland Security") to handle that.

GregWMarch 13, 2014 8:39 AM

I also wonder why in the wake of various failures we keep creating these new bureaucracies to "centralize" intelligence... shouldn't the "Central Intelligence Agency" do that?

Ah well, as a programmer I do have some sympathy for the difficulties of naming and semantic shifts over time.

MikeAMarch 13, 2014 10:54 AM

Not that it matters, but I do wonder why the Department of Homeland Security was so named. Two possibilities stand out:

1) They are so inept that they thought no WWII vets or children of WWII vets would make the connection to Geheime Staatspolizei

2) They consider themselves so invincible (having enough info to Richelieu any politician that dared oppose them) that they didn't give a damn.

Of course, the depressingly likely explanation is that they correctly believed that a sufficient majority of citizens are dumb enough to consider this whole mess a good idea.

kashmarekMarch 13, 2014 1:43 PM

Foreigh...?

Check this out:

NSA using facebook login pages to infect computers with malware

http://www.majorgeeks.com/news/story/nsa_using_facebook_login_pages_to_infect_computers_with_malware_%28video%29.html

The last paragraph, attributed to the NSA, reads:

The NSA provided a statement regarding the leak, which simply read: "Signals intelligence shall be collected exclusively where there is a foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purpose."

I would simply say that NSA intelligence is as foreign as can be gotten, and most certainly of counterintelligent purpose to say the least...so the NSA must be monitoring itself (yeah, wanna bet?)

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