Massive NSA Data Mining misses the Boston Marathon Bombers

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 15th, 2013

Week in Review

The Obama administration says they need to track and store the metadata from our phone calls to mine data that will help them catch terrorists.  They’ve been doing this for a long time.  Starting long before the Boston Marathon bombing.  Yet they couldn’t catch these terrorists before they acted.  Despite all of that data mining.  Which is pretty sad considering they come from a hotbed of Islamist activity.  Dagestan.  Which is near Chechnya.  Another hotbed of Islamist activity.  Which has been a thorn in the side of Russia ever since the fall of the Soviet Union.

And as if this wasn’t enough, and don’t you think it should be, the Russians said, “Hey, this guy Tamerlan Tsarnaev?  He’s probably a freaking terrorist.  You should watch this guy.  Before he kills someone in America.”  And the FBI said, “Thanks.  We’ll look into it.”  Which they did.  And found nothing.  Despite all of that data mining (see Sensenbrenner: Data Mining Missed Red Flags in Boston Bombing by Lauren Fox posted 6/10/2013 on US News & World Report).

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., the author of the Patriot Act, says he thinks NSA’s dragnet data mining may have obscured clues that Boston Bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were planning to carry out a deadly attack…

Before a 2011 trip to Chechnya and Dagestan, a region from which Tamerlan sought asylum in the U.S., the Russians sent a notice to the FBI that the eldest Tsarnaev brother might have ties to radical groups in the region.

The FBI looked into it and said nothing suspicious materialized after an initial investigation. The FBI looked for things like “derogatory telephone communications, possible use of online sites associated with the promotion of radical activity and associations with other persons of interest,” the FBI said on its website. After that, the FBI did not continue looking at Tamerlan Tsarnaev because the Russian government did not respond to requests for more information and because, an FBI source told the New York Times in April, the agency didn’t have legal grounds to continue keeping track of Tamerlan.

No legal grounds to track Tamerlan?  But they have all the legal grounds to track all of our phone calls?  It just makes you wonder why they’re collecting all of that data.  And what they are using it for.  For Tamerlan Tsarnaev all but had a blinking neon sign on his head saying he was an Islamist terrorist who was here to kill Americans.  But they just couldn’t see this.  So if they’re not tracking terrorists with all of that data mining who are they tracking?  U.S. citizens?  To identify their political enemies?  Like the Tea Party.  So the appropriate actions can be taken?  Like those partisans in the IRS took against the Tea party?

It makes one wonder.

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FT173: “It’s hard to trust the government collecting our personal data once the IRS admits leaking it to attack political enemies.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 7th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

We need to Trust our Investment Advisors with our Retirement Money

Trust.  It’s hard to get.  And easy to lose.  Trust is important.  We want to trust the people in our lives.  We need to trust the people in our lives.  If you’re in the hospital for a risky surgery you don’t want the surgeon to introduce himself like this.  “Hello.  I will be during your surgery.  They call me Dr. Butter Fingers.  Funny story, really.  I was doing a kidney transplant and the little bugger slipped out of my hands and fell to the floor.  Pity to waste a good kidney like that.  Anyway, I just want to make a few notes,” he said pulling a pen out of his pocket.  Which slipped through his fingers and fell to the floor.  “Oops.”

Planning your retirement can be a confusing and complicated task.  You will be putting aside a portion of your income for a very long time.  And you need to trust that your money will be there when you retire.  Not like those poor people who trusted Bernie Madoff.  Who lost everything in his Ponzi scheme.  That’s why we need to trust our investment advisors.  And we’re not going to trust anyone who introduces himself like this.

“Hello.  I’m Devious.  Mr. Devious.  And I will be helping you set up your retirement account.  Might I suggest adding the Brooklyn Bridge to your portfolio?  Some lovely bottomland in the Florida Everglades?  And here’s something that may interest you.  I got this fax from a Nigerian prince.  It seems that he has billions of oil profits in a bank that he needs to transfer to some other bank to get his hands on it.  All he needs is your checking account routing number.  And a small fee to make this happen.  Sounds like a great investment opportunity to me.  And I highly recommend it to you.  You can trust me.  Yes, sir.  You can trust good old Mr. Devious with your money.”

Fool me once Shame on You, Fool me Twice Shame on Me

Buying a used car can be a crapshoot.  For you’re really at the mercy of the used car salesman.  And if he doesn’t care if you ever come back to him to buy another car he can sell you a lemon.  “That smoke?  That’s normal.  You see, we just overhauled the engine.  That smoke is just the sealing compound of the head gasket melting into place.  Once it sets that smoke will clear right up.  Making that engine as good as new.  See?  You can trust me, Mr. Lying through his Teeth.”

So you happily and unsuspectingly drive away.  And then the darnedest thing happens.  The engine seizes.  You see, all of that smoke was the oil leaking into the cylinders and burning away.  So that by the time you got home the engine overheated and seized.  Because it burnt away all of the oil.  You try to get your money back but to your astonishment the contract you signed said you bought the car ‘as-is’.  And it even said the engine needed work.  So you’re screwed.  Because it turned out that Mr. Lying through his Teeth was not trustworthy.

Fool me once shame on you.  Fool me twice shame on me.  People rarely get ripped off by the same used car salesman twice.  Because once the trust is gone they won’t go back to that person.  Or that business.  Because that person has shown himself as untrustworthy.  As has that business who hired an untrustworthy salesman.  And it will be a long time before they earn that trust again.  If they can earn that trust again.

The Thought of Trusting Government to Collect our Personal Data is not only Disturbing but Frightening

Whether it’s a doctor who has a problem holding onto human organs.  A financial advisor who gives you bad investment advice.  Or a lying used car salesman.  We don’t trust untrustworthy people.  They can fool us once.  But once they do it will be very difficult for us to ever trust them again.  Because they have demonstrated to us that it is unwise to trust them.

The IRS has admitted that they harassed conservative groups.  And conservative individuals.  They audited these people.  And collected personal data from them.  Including a list of donors to the conservative groups.  People who donated anonymously.  Because they didn’t want to be politically attacked.  But the list of these donors the IRS collected found their way to a far-left website.  Who published these donors’ names.  Who then suffered political attacks.  Scaring other people from making donations to conservative groups.  Lest they, too, suffer political attacks.

This is why the latest revelations about the government collecting data on private individuals is so disturbing.  Yes, they’re data mining to find patterns to identify potential terrorists.  And they’ve been doing it since the Bush administration.  Yet they couldn’t prevent the Boston Marathon bombing.  And the Russians even warned us about the one bomber and his Dagestan past.  They couldn’t stop that with their data mining.  But they were able to shut down the political opposition during the 2012 presidential election.  This is what’s chilling about THIS administration collecting all of this personal data.  If they’re not using it to stop terrorist attacks just what are they using it for?

Whether or not it is directed from on high someone is using our personal data to harm the political enemies of this administration.  Which is a violation of the sacred trust the people place in government.  And once the trust is gone it will be a long, long time before we’re ready to trust them again.  For the thought of trusting an untrustworthy government to collect, store and analyze our personal data is not only disturbing.  It’s a little bit frightening.

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