Today the National Security Agency has 24/7 access to the mainframe computers of all telecom providers and all computer service providers and to all digital traffic carried by fiber optics in the U.S. The NSA has had this access pursuant to FISA court orders issued in 2005 and renewed every 90 days. The FISA court has based its rulings on its own essentially secret convoluted logic, never subjected to public scrutiny. That has resulted in the universal surveillance state in which we in America now live. The NSA has never denied this.
Now that to me seems a ridiculous claim. The size of that data is IMMENSE and trying to index it a mammoth task.
So when he goes on to say.
Sources have told Fox News that the British foreign surveillance service, the Government Communications Headquarters, known as GCHQ, most likely provided Obama with transcripts of Trump's calls. The NSA has given GCHQ full 24/7 access to its computers, so GCHQ -- a foreign intelligence agency that, like the NSA, operates outside our constitutional norms -- has the digital versions of all electronic communications made in America in 2016, including Trump's. So by bypassing all American intelligence services, Obama would have had access to what he wanted with no Obama administration fingerprints.
However I do love the qualifier - most likely, but here's the problem, somewhere along the line it would have to have Obama administration fingerprints. The President can't just go directly to GCHQ he has to ask someone to do it for him. And that someone has to be highly enough placed to have contact to GCHQ.
So essentially all we have is hearsay evidence based on News channel reports?
Also Donald Trump is quick to site "anonymous sources" as being the hallmark of "fake news", so maybe Fox should give up the names of these "intelligence sources", otherwise all I have to say is "You're fake news".
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Good point buffer6. I had thought of this earlier but after some discussion with the rest of the team we've decided this is ok. As it's not directly discussing politics but rather the technical aspects of the news story we're happy to leave this post as is
I'm going to respond publicly and say your challenge was a good call. I did think when posting that it may have been a little too close to the bone, and if the Moderator's had have decided to take this down, I would not have objected.
Personally, though I think a lot of people will read news stories, without having the wherewithal to challenge what is said. Certainly, to do so you need to have some indication of where the stories have originally come from and some people will no doubt eat up the idea that the NSA no doubt have all this information stored somewhere. The problem is when you consider the population of the US which in 2016 was given as 324,118,787, ask yourself this.
Judge Nap states on his blog
"Because the NSA has the digital version of every telephone call made to, from and within the U.S. since 2005"
How much data do you think an average phone call needs? How many phone calls does an individual make on a given day? For some very few, but for other's considerable more.
We can maybe squeeze a minutes worth of data into 60KB
so let's make a conservative estimate. One conversation recorded per person per day each around 1 minute.
So we have
60 * 324,118,787 = 19447127220 = 19447127.22MB
Now we'll multiply by 365.25 (to allow for leap years)
and finally since this has been going on since 2005 we'll multiply by 12
85236758605.3MB of information. However, in reality, people make more than one phone call in a day and these calls last much longer than one minute.
You then have the problem of indexing those conversations, so you can pick out the right one at a moments notice. While not inconceivable, the likelihood of a database able to hold all the individual index entries one would need is improbable, to say the least.
So when someone asserts such wild facts, can we really trust his assertions?
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The NSA may hold the metadata, which numbers called which numbers, when and for how long, but it's ridiculous to suggest they hold the content of the calls. Some calls may be ingested and run through pattern matching software but doubtful they'd be held indefinitely.
The idea that the NSA gives GCHQ unfettered access to its computer systems is laughable. They most definitely collaborate however they also, inevitably, spy on one another. I've no doubt GCHQ and the NSA have some systems that both have access to. They would inevitably provide each other with data, GCHQ's fibre taps in Bude are very useful for the NSA for example, and the NSA's enormous computing power is useful to GCHQ.
The idea that the NSA has access to the computers within telcos without management is far-fetched. They most certainly would have access to the telephony networks as part of lawful intercept, but wholesale slurping of all calls seems a bit much. There are specific provisions built into systems for lawful interception, these are not the same as the NSA being able to dip freely into telco computers.
I have no problem believing that GCHQ picked up traffic between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, however if they did the right question to ask IMHO would be why the Trump campaign was calling Russian officials that GCHQ was monitoring.
That GCHQ poured scorn on Sean Spicer's ridiculous assertion speaks volumes. GCHQ have been accused of a lot of things and refused to either confirm or deny them. They are as opaque as you like, and for them to comment on this is very unusual.
This guy has zero credibility. The idea that the NSA outsourced surveillance of the Trump campaign to GCHQ, among others apparently, then did nothing with the information seems crazy.