NSA might have heard private calls

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WASHINGTON --- The Senate Intelligence Committee is examining allegations by two former U.S. military linguists that the super-secret National Security Agency based at Fort Gordon routinely eavesdropped on the private telephone calls of American military officers, journalists and aid workers.

NSA interceptors purportedly shared some intercepts of highly personal conversations, including "phone sex."

Fort Gordon spokesmen referred all questions Thursday to the NSA.

NSA spokesman Patrick Bomgardner told The Associated Press that some of the allegations have already been investigated by the agency and found to be unsubstantiated.

"Others are in the investigation process," he said.

A comment from the White House wasn't immediately available.

If the allegations are true, they could reignite a political fire storm over the Bush administration's post-Sept. 11 eavesdropping operations and its efforts to collect vast quantities of data about Americans' tax, medical and travel records; credit card purchases; e-mails; and other information.

President Bush and other senior officials have repeatedly asserted that after the Sept. 11 attacks, the NSA monitored only the private communications of Americans who were suspected of links to terrorist groups without court orders.

The recently adopted eavesdropping law requires the government to get court permission to listen in on American communications. The previous version required only the attorney general's approval.

"At NSA, the law was followed assiduously," said Mark Mansfield, a spokesman for CIA Director Mike Hayden, who headed the NSA during the period in question.

The allegations follow the release Tuesday of a study by a government advisory group that questions how useful the intercepts and another technique known as data mining are at ferreting out terrorist plots.

"The information sought by analysts must be filtered out of the huge quantity of data available (the needle in the haystack problem)," says a two-year, 352-page study by the National Research Council for the Department of Homeland Security.

"Even under the pressure of threats as serious as terrorism, the privacy rights and civil liberties that are the cherished core values of our nation must not be destroyed," the report warns.

An ABC News report Thursday quoted two former military linguists at Fort Gordon saying that the country's largest intelligence agency routinely recorded calls to homes and offices by hundreds of Americans in the Middle East between 2001 and 2007. The interviews were scheduled to be aired Thursday evening on ABC's Evening News and Nightline .

The ABC News story quoted former Navy Arabic linguist David Murfee Faulk, 39, as saying that he and other intercept operators at the Fort Gordon NSA facility monitored calls by Americans in Baghdad's Green Zone.

"Calling home to the United States, talking to their spouses, sometimes their girlfriends, sometimes one phone call following another," said Mr. Faulk, who served at the Army post from late 2003 until November 2007.

A second former Fort Gordon intercept operator, Adrienne Kinne, 31, an Army Reserve Arabic linguist, told ABC News that conversations monitored by NSA operators included calls by journalists and aid workers.

"These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones," Ms. Kinne said, describing the calls as "personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism."

Ms. Kinne, who worked at Fort Gordon for two years beginning in November 2001, contended that "collecting" the calls of innocent Americans hobbled the NSA's ability to find genuine terrorism-related material.

"By casting the net so wide ... it's harder to find that piece of information that might actually be useful to somebody," she said, echoing the National Research Council's findings. "You're actually hurting our ability to effectively protect our national security."

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Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 10/10/08 - 03:57 am
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I don't think any

I don't think any clear-thinking, logical citizen would object to telephone calls of potential or suspected "persons of interest" be tapped. We have forgotten what had happened on 9-11, and the further away the date goes by, the harsher we tend to criticize these very actions that are meant to protect us individually and our nation as a whole. We shouldn't allow these 2 un-Americans to cast a shadow of doubt and uncertainty over a program that was designed to intercept terrorist activities before they get a chance to fully develop. In the words of the great American Barney Fife, we have to "nip it in the bud!", and that's what this organization is working to do!

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 10/10/08 - 04:50 am
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Does this article support no

Does this article support no monitoring calls to the country from war zones? Doesn't the NSA have to monitor a call to see if it needs to be monitored? Are these two treasonous ex-employees (I hope) trying to harm a national defense effort or are they just Democrat operatives helping the election effort of the anti-national defense party?

Reality
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Reality 10/10/08 - 05:30 am
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I agree on several points.

I agree on several points. The media have pretty much done everything except, given out lat/long to find specific buildings. These people interviewed should not be talking about on going missions, that could be construed as treason. If you are out in the Middle East calling the US on a sat phone, there is a pretty good chance you will be recorded. I am glad that the data collection people are doing their job, how many lives have they saved????

marandan
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marandan 10/10/08 - 06:26 am
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IMO people who divulge

IMO people who divulge ongoing techniques and operations of our country to protect itself, should be treated as treasonists. It is like drug dealers lawyers complaining the cops are hurting their clients' livelihood, by surveilling the drug dealers house or cell phone. Speaking from experience, all people, civilian or military, working in these areas, are told they are being monitored. If you have nothing to hide, then why would anyone object? Have we lost the quality type of person, who has patriotism for our country first, and would NEVER divulge any info that would harm our National Security? Some things we as the American public, and them as terrorists(foriegn or domestic), don't heed to know.

disssman
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disssman 10/10/08 - 06:33 am
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Couldn't possibly be true!

Couldn't possibly be true! The NSA investigated the NSA and found the charges to be baseless. By the way the sex shops in NA will have new shopping areas for amateur audio tapes soon. The new tapes are guaranteed to be made by real life people, but they won't say where they are from!!!

55 F-100
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55 F-100 10/10/08 - 06:34 am
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ABC NEWS should be sanctioned

ABC NEWS should be sanctioned and Brian Ross fired for airing/reporting this story. Kinne and Faulk should be prosecuted, and following their sentences, they should be deported. Everyone who spends time in the Middle East, military, journalists, and others are advised that all commumications from that area to the U.S. will be monitored, therefore there is no expectation of privacy, therfore there are no "private, personal " communications! Sanctions, terminations, and prosecutions must be pursued swiftly and vigourously and then be published so that Americans may realize justice for these egregious actions!

HYPOCRITES 08
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HYPOCRITES 08 10/10/08 - 06:44 am
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Marandan, you must be Austin

Marandan, you must be Austin Rhodes because he said the same thing, almost word for word? No problem with monitoring but if it is decided that it is just a routine call between a solider and his wife, then the monitoring should be stopped at that point.

HYPOCRITES 08
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HYPOCRITES 08 10/10/08 - 06:47 am
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Yes lets fire the reporters

Yes lets fire the reporters for reporting what we already knew. What did they release that was not already public knowledge?

truthisouttherestill
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truthisouttherestill 10/10/08 - 07:12 am
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used to be traitors were put

used to be traitors were put in front of firing squads......oh for the good ole days

RedQuinoa
2972
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RedQuinoa 10/10/08 - 07:16 am
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Much ado about nothing. No

Much ado about nothing. No doubt these two canaries are already in trouble for violating their non-disclosure commitments signed at the time they received security clearances, and they're squirming for a way out. Kinne foolishly allowed herself to be used by the treasonous Iraq Veterans Against the War (http//ivaw.org) and has made similar outlandish statements before now. As the spokesperson said, this "issue" has already been resolved. These two are looking for a way out of sure trouble for unauthorized disclosure.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 10/10/08 - 07:29 am
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HYPO, suppose the call is in

HYPO, suppose the call is in code where "normal" words of a personal nature are really a clever system of relaying information. It's not likely, but it is possible. How would a person with a predetermined opinion, like the two employees speaking out, decide a simple conversation is too personal to transcribe? What if it turns out to be full of information vital to national defense? They aren't the ones making these kinds of decisions, they're just interpreters and transcribers. Other will decide what's important or not.

RedQuinoa
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RedQuinoa 10/10/08 - 07:40 am
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Sorry, the link in my 8:16

Sorry, the link in my 8:16 should read http://ivaw.org (omitted the colon).

aaa
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aaa 10/10/08 - 07:44 am
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When my mother died a few

When my mother died a few years back, I found several letters written to her from my father during WWII. He was stationed in the Pacific. Not a single letter was received un-edited! The military censors used to go through the mail and would literally cut out anything that they thought might provide valuable information if intercepted by the Japanese. Why do modern Americans not understand vital national security issues? Has everything become so politicized that we are no longer able to protect ourselves in any manner whatsoever? I'm sure that the "whistle blowers" will be praised as "true patriots" by today's twisted definition of that word.

noway
201
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noway 10/10/08 - 08:44 am
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They are not traitors. The

They are not traitors. The point is that innocent military soldiers, who are not terrorists nor suspected of terrorism were being targeted, i.e. any American, which hurts the real capabilities of NSA to actually seek out real terrorists. They are not being un-American, they are being vigilant. Of course, you wouldn't understand because you've never been in the military or worked for NSA. What ever happened to the right to privacy? There is a BIG difference between listening to personal conversations and possible terrorist conversations. It's ridiculous how you republicans support this administration and their overt, illegal activities that go against everything our fore fathers worked for.

GuyIncognito
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GuyIncognito 10/10/08 - 08:49 am
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I didn't realize how quickly

I didn't realize how quickly so many people were willing to give up their rights.

As Benjamin Franklin said, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

I welcome these types of stories and investigations by the media and the public. Just as it is the government's job to police the citizens, it is also the citizens' job to police the government.

eschamb
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eschamb 10/10/08 - 08:50 am
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This is an election year.

This is an election year. Things come out during these times to sway you from one side to the other. I am sure we will hear more "news" before the election in Nov.

LeedsUTD
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LeedsUTD 10/10/08 - 10:25 am
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Not mentioned in the previous

Not mentioned in the previous messages is the reason behind these two servicemembers going public - they're part of the buildup to Mr Bamford's latest book release. Theres no better way to hype a book than to have a couple of "in the know" individuals spill the beans on what happens behind closed doors. And as the "unwarranted wiretap" program is already in the news having the "beans" be intercepted calls involving innocents abroad is just the ticket. Bamford has in the past autographed his books near the sites written about, so he may visit Augusta in the near future. The excitement will be difficult to contain!

aaa
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aaa 10/10/08 - 10:29 am
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NoWay said "There is a BIG

NoWay said "There is a BIG difference between listening to personal conversations and possible terrorist conversations." No Way, what is that BIG difference? Please explain them.

truthisouttherestill
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truthisouttherestill 10/10/08 - 11:08 am
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yes they are

yes they are traitors......they signed agreements to not disclose information regarding any work they did......that agreement is binding for life......when they break that agreement they become traitors

jack
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jack 10/10/08 - 11:43 am
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If you work for the

If you work for the government and use government communicatons equipment, you are fully aware that you may be monitored. Monitoring of the military is routine to assure that classified or sensitive information is not discussed (even your location in a combat zone can not be given as it is sensitive OPSEC information). I am taking bets that these two now work in some fashion for NObama. The two who divulged this info should be prosecuted, and if military, court martialed as they DID commit a crime of which they knew.

i.b.e.w..electric
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i.b.e.w..electric 10/10/08 - 11:50 am
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whats wrong with this

whats wrong with this picture????? for years we critisized the ussr for doing the exact same thing.THINK ABOUT IT PEOPLE ,the constitution and the bill of rights are becoming just another piece of paper thanks to BUSHES scare tactics.

jack
11
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jack 10/10/08 - 11:54 am
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No Way, I HAVE worked for the

No Way, I HAVE worked for the NSA and signed a non-disclosure statement stating that to do so would subject me to $10,000 fine or 10 years in prison or both. Now it is time to prosecute these two (court martial them if they are still Reservists, as they can be activated to do so) and let them pay for their treasonous, purely political actions.

jack
11
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jack 10/10/08 - 11:58 am
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IBEW, another 9/11 Bush warns

IBEW, another 9/11 Bush warns of and has prevented is a scary thing for most intellilgent folks (but that leaves you out).

griesella
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griesella 10/10/08 - 11:58 am
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Years ago when I worked with

Years ago when I worked with Ma Bell (a Union member)it was nothing to see employees make entry to a persons telephone number. If the line was in use, they would listen to see what the spouse, teen-ager, rival, etc was up to. It had nothing to do with the government just snoopy people prying into things they were nosy about. This is a "person" thing, not a government thing, and ABC should have known better.

cjohnson254
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cjohnson254 10/10/08 - 12:19 pm
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Adrienne Kinne who is the

Adrienne Kinne who is the female in this story was a reservist supervised by my husband. She did not want to return to duty after 9/11 and spent every moment she could lamenting how unfair it was. When she wasn't doing that, she was doing her college work instead of transcription work at the job. What she is saying is so untruthful. The Inspector General did investigate the allegations dilligently. They found my husband, and other members of the operation, in order to find out what went on five years ago. All of the other people confirmed that she was telling lies. When ABC news worked on this, they didn't contact anyone that worked with her. Rather, they just took her word. When my husband contacted them last night to speak about her lies, no one was interested, even though he was her direct line supervisor.

Tujeez
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Tujeez 10/10/08 - 02:09 pm
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The point here folks, is that

The point here folks, is that the TERRORISTS use SAT phones, OR DID. This information is traceable. to "intercept" the TERRORIST calls, you have to listen to them all. CAUSE: the TERRORISTS don't get on the phone and say, "HEY USA, THIS IS A TERRORIST SPEAKING, SO LISTEN IN OKIE DOKIE!" AND you are right, to leak this info is TREASON! Even if the terrorists knew they were being listened to. Some dumb guys and gals, if you ask me.
Hey,cjohnson254, ABC says, "The Obama train is heading out for DC." Just like jack234.Mebbe theys collaboratin'.

corgimom
38759
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corgimom 10/10/08 - 06:27 pm
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Everyone who has ever used

Everyone who has ever used the phone system at Ft. Gordon knows that it's unreliable and that someone could be listening. It's home to the Signal Corps, remember? Frankly, the NSA is welcome to listen to my phone calls to my husband or anyone else, for that matter- they'd bore themselves to death in about 10 seconds.

corgimom
38759
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corgimom 10/10/08 - 06:41 pm
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I need to elaborate on the

I need to elaborate on the Ft. Gordon phone system. You could dial an extension, whether from on post or off- maybe the last 4 digits would be 2468- and you would get a wrong number, something along the lines of 1679. We used to laugh that if someone at Ft. Gordon had to call the Red Phone in the White House in a nuclear emergency, they would switch it to the wrong phone. And sometimes, you would be talking and all sorts of clicks and buzzes could be heard. Or someone would just pick up the phone and their call would break into your conversation. and they were calling a 3rd number. That was in the early 80's and I doubt that it's any different now. This is old news for anybody connected to Ft. Gordon.

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