Archive for the ‘National Security Agency’ Tag

Trusting Government Testimony   Leave a comment

In an interview with National Journal, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper clarified remarks over NSA snooping. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

In an interview with National Journal, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper clarified remarks over NSA snooping. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Obama has told us we should trust that his administration is doing the right thing with the telephony metadata that they are collecting.

Trust.

Here’s what James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, said in a public, senate hearing 3 months ago on surveillance.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon):

“Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

James Clapper:

“No.”

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon):

“It does not?”

James Clapper:

“Not wittingly. There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps, collect—but not wittingly.”

Last week, Mr. Clapper clarified what he meant when he said no:

“What I said was, the NSA does not voyeuristically pour through U.S. citizens’ e-mails. I stand by that.”

So there you have it. Mr. Clapper directly lied about what the NSA was doing. He lied, in public, in sworn testimony before the US Senate.

Here’s my bottom line: trust is a difficult thing to earn when you are known to lie.

And you know how I feel about people that lie.

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Trusting Big Brother

“Secret Blanket Surveillance”

Reason.com: Clapper’s Testimony

National Journal: James Clapper Clarifies…

“Secret Blanket Surveillance”   2 comments

For your consideration, Michael Moore on the left & Glenn Beck on the right. As always.

For your consideration, film maker Michael Moore on the left & media personality Glenn Beck on the right. As always.

Glenn Beck:

“I think I have just read about the man for which I have waited. Earmarks of a real hero.”

Michael Moore:

“HERO OF THE YEAR: NSA tech assistant reveals he is the source of stories on U.S. Gov’t domestic spying.”

It is a very rare day when Glenn Beck and Michael Moore agree on anything. What do they agree on here? That Edward Snowden – the guy who leaked the information about the NSA court order to receive all of the Verizon “telephony metadata” – they agree he is a hero for defying orders of secrecy. This is the same guy that some people are urging should get the death penalty for releasing government secrets.

For your consideration, President Obama on the left and Congressman Rand Paul on the right. As always.

For your consideration, President Obama on the left and Congressman Rand Paul on the right. As always.

Rand Paul:

“I have no problem if you have probable cause and you target people who are terrorists and you go after them and people that they’re communicating with, you get another warrant.

“But we’re talking about trolling through billions of phone records. We’re not talking about going after a terrorist. I’m all for that. Get a warrant and go after a terrorist, or a murderer or a rapist.   But don’t troll through a billion phone records every day. That is unconstitutional, it invades our privacy and I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking all the Internet providers and all of the phone companies, ask your customers to join me in a class action lawsuit. If we get 10 million Americans saying we don’t want our phone records looked at then somebody will wake up and say things will change in Washington.”

President Barack Obama:

“You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience.”

For your consideration, former Vice President Al Gore on the left and Glenn Beck again on the right. As always.

For your consideration, former Vice President Al Gore on the left and media personality Glenn Beck again on the right. As always … but here, they’re on the same side.

Glenn Beck:

We must NOT trade liberty for security any longer or we will lose both and deserve neither.

Al Gore:

In digital era, privacy must be a priority. Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?

Senators Merkley & Reid

For your consideration, Senators Jeff Merkley and Harry Reid. Both are Democrats. Merkley is on the left, but you’ll have to figure out who should be on the left & right here.

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon)

“The type of secret bulk data collection is an outrageous breach of Americans’ privacy.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada)

“Right now I think everyone should just calm down and understand this isn’t anything that’s brand new.”

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This is one of those rare issues these days that is not about right or left. It’s about right and wrong.

 

Obama and Reid are stating the government’s position clearly: the federal government thinks it should monitor EVERYONE. You know, because that way they just might find someone doing a bad thing. So let’s monitor EVERYONE.

 

A part of this discussion, I believe, is that Verizon uses cellphone technology, which uses the “public airwaves” – Verizon is licensed to use a part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which belongs to the public. They are licensed to use this spectrum just as radio and TV stations are. I believe that’s why the government sought the “public” information broadcast over those airwaves in the Verizon court order. Public information, such as a picture taken of you when you are walking down a public sidewalk, is fair game. But private information, like who an innocent person is calling? That’s exactly what the government is gathering – that we know about. We don’t know what other data they are gathering.

 

How much does this cost? Don’t know. How many terror plots has it already prevented? Don’t know. Is it constitutional? Don’t know.

 

But do I like it? No.

 

The only quote shown above that I really agree with is Rand Paul’s. (…and that’s the only time I’ve ever said that.)

 

I cannot state that Snowden is a hero at this point. He took the law into his own hands, and revealed a secret program that a federal court had judged to be legal. It is not heroic to tell the government’s secrets — and the Supreme Court may still rule that the telephony metadata was appropriately obtained. We don’t know.

 

Harry Reid’s comment is laughable, I think. We should tolerate the program because it’s old news?  Riiiight.

 

However, I don’t see that the program is outrageous, or obscenely outrageous. The government isn’t listening to the calls, and they’re not getting recordings of the calls. They are (apparently) just getting information about the calls.

 

I don’t think it’s right. I think it’s wrong.

 

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