U.S. to disclose number of Americans our government spied on as soon as January 2017

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/16/u-s-will-estimate-the-number.html

The current administration maybe telegraphing the threat of the coming administration.


What day in January? Because I bet there’s a day in January after which this become vanishingly unlikely.


This number is already disclosed in the US Census, under the listing “Total population”.


Nice bit of theater there. “as soon as January 2017” could also mean January 2, 2255. “As soon as” is nice and open ended. But let’s say everything works the way we want it to and the total gets disclosed. Who verifies the total? How can we know it’s not pulled out of a hat?
But, let’s say they give the real number of citizens who “were subject to surveillance under the pretense of capturing foreign espionage” which doesn’t include surveillance for other reasons. Espionage is spying. This won’t cover anyone under surveillance for suspected terrorism (domestic or foreign) or ties to suspected terrorists. It won’t cover surveillance for or by the FBI, DEA, or ATF. And most important of all, it will not cover intelligence shared by the other member of the Five Eyes partnership whom Edward Snowden described as “supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn’t answer to the known laws of its own countries”.
The UK could have every U.S. citizen under surveillance, share all of their info with the NSA and the NSA would never have to disclose that to anyone. Snowden obtained documents which revealed the Five Eyes have been spying on one another’s citizens and sharing the collected information with each other in order to circumvent restrictive domestic regulations on surveillance of citizens. This means the NSA doesn’t have to spy on anyone in the U.S. in order to have intelligence on every single citizens activities.


What’s the message, what’s the truth and what’s the lie?

A number? A single unitless number? And it includes both Osama bin and Auntie Mabel? This is good for exactly one purpose.

Betting pool.


I didn’t know he was American…

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Anwar al-Awlaki, then.


Alright. I’m going with the total population of the United States, multiplied by 1.3 to account for duplicate entries.


Let’s then pardon Snowden while we’re at it since clearly what he did was for the public good.


You got me. Insert your favorite scary American bad guy.

Are they allowed to spy on the President-Elect?

Since when has “being allowed to” anything to do with it?

Number and names, or it’s useless.

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