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Posted by on Aug 19, 2013 in Media, Society | 21 comments

More Movement On The NSA Leaks

Over the past few days we have learned of an internal audit of NSA programs that showed violations at a rate of 1000’s per year. Now we learn that Glen Greenwald’s partner was detained and questioned for nine hours at Heathrow Airport then being forced to leave without his electronic equipment which was confiscated by authorities. In response to the constant drip of information about NSA’s surveillance programs we are seeing more and more opinions forming and the movement is decidedly not NSA or administration friendly. The latest to speak out is Andrew Sullivan. Here is some of what he has to say,

Readers know I have been grappling for a while with the vexing question of the balance between the surveillance state and the threat of Jihadist terrorism. When the NSA leaks burst onto the scene, I was skeptical of many of the large claims made by civil libertarians and queasily sympathetic to a program that relied on meta-data alone, as long as it was transparent, had Congressional buy-in, did not accidentally expose innocent civilians to grotesque privacy loss, and was watched by a strong FISA court.

Since then, I’ve watched the debate closely and almost all the checks I supported have been proven illusory. The spying is vastly more extensive than anyone fully comprehended before; the FISA court has been revealed as toothless and crippled; and many civilians have had their privacy accidentally violated over 3000 times. The president, in defending the indefensible, has damaged himself and his core reputation for honesty and candor. These cumulative revelations have exposed this program as, at a minimum, dangerous to core liberties and vulnerable to rank abuse. I’ve found myself moving further and further to Glenn’s position.

As one of those pesky civil libertarians who made “large claims” early on, it is gratifying to see someone the stature of Andrew Sullivan step up on this subject. I also appreciate one other sentence from his piece. After admitting that he initially fell for the argument that no abuse has taken place, he says that he now remembers,

If a system is ripe for abuse, history tells us the only question is not if such abuse will occur, but when.

Please take the time to read the full article .

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Copyright 2013 The Moderate Voice
  • justcowboyway
  • justcowboyway
  • Thanks, justcowboyway.

    The Salon piece was thought provoking. Not sure I’d go as far as that author…yet.

    Though the drone ad from Amazon was a tad “off topic”, it made me smile. Btw, they are now producing drones the size of hummingbirds with built in cameras.

  • sheknows

    Elijah, I could not pull up the full article with your link.
    I did pull up JCBW’s link though, thank you.
    Funny, I can remember being called “paranoid” here at TMV not too long ago for thinking NSA surveillance was far too intrusive. I cannot imagine what I would be called if I said what I really think. 🙂 but here goes.

    I believe the president knows now, that this organization has tendrils that spread into every aspect of government. That there are those in power far above the president, and that he is given the task of telling the American people whatever…to keep them calm and in the dark. We must remember, many previous president’s just downplayed all this surveillance stuff and congress and the FISC have rubber stamped everything it has done from the beginning. Every change made is approved. Every move made is approved, and or ignored.
    All the previous attempts to alert the people by previous whistleblowers was immediately hushed up and forgotten. This time Obama was the unlucky president to get caught and couldn’t weasel out of it.
    I believe it is possible that our president, our lawmakers and our courts also answer to someone…or group of someones.

  • sheknows,

    Thank you for pointing out that the link was not working. It has been corrected and should now work properly.

    I’m not sure I buy into the conspiracy theory that there are those above the president who are his puppet masters. I know that’s not exactly what you said, but is my interpretation. As I said in response to justcowboyway, I’m not there…yet. But, I’ll keep an open mind as the evidence comes in.

  • justcowboyway

    Your welcome Mr Sweete. Yes sir, the Amazon link was off topic, but never the less, I find it interesting of things to come.

  • sheknows

    Thanks Elijah. Yes, I know I sound like a conspiracy theorist and should perhaps be blogging with a more extreme group, but it took me a very long time during this whole NSA thing to start seeing things I couldn’t explain otherwise.
    Who knows…. but one thing is for sure. That this surveillance will not be curtailed and it will not be overseen properly. For me, that begs the question…why? Why won’t these things get done?

  • sheknows

    Just a note Elijah also. I have quoted Woodrow Wilson 2x now in his New Freedom speech from 1914. When you consider that was a president of the United States who recognized and talked about “pervasive and watchful powers” which exists within our government, and that he said it almost 100 years ago, it makes one pause for a nanosecond. How much more pervasive and watchful has it become in 100 years?

  • SteveK

    … that this organization has tendrils that spread into every aspect of government.

    I would certainly hope they do… That’s their job, that’s why they’re called The National SECURITY Agency… To keep us secure.

    How do you expect them to do their job, the ‘honor system’ or how about ‘Loyalty Oaths’?

    [snark] I’m sure the American people would all feel better and be a lot safer if that was all they did.

    Maybe they could even start a website were we could all go, any time, and see everything that they are doing. Of course you’d have to signup first to guarantee none of their information would be used for anything but to satisfy curiosity and make sure they aren’t looking at any of us personally. [/snark]

    Seriously though, if the NSA is being run by people that can’t be trusted or are incompetent those people should be replaced BUT their job is to know everything might be a threat to OUR (your, mine, even people we don’t like) security and to do that they have to know what’s happening.

    No President, not Obama, not W, should have authority / power over the NSA. Nixon did, that’s how he got his ‘Enemies List’… most think that that was a bad idea and I think congress passed a law to make sure that wouldn’t happen again.

    Again this is all just my opinion.

    I don’t feel threatened, I’m glad they are out there watching out for us, and I don’t feel this is a big deal so once again I’ll back off and leave the worrying to those who do… Peace!

  • sheknows

    I agree with you Steve. I do not think the president should have power over the NSA like Nixon did. I believe that our own congress should appoint an independent panel of qualified individuals to oversee the NSA and keep them within constitutional boundaries.

  • DaGoat

    JCW I read that Salon article yesterday. I agree with the author either Obama is intentionally lying or amazingly incompetent and clueless. I suspect the defense will be he was parsing his words carefully to give an impression that is counter to the truth, while technically not lying.

  • justcowboyway

    Agree with you DaGoat

  • justcowboyway
  • SteveK

    Regarding justcowboyway’s link to a Jim “The Father of the Patriot Act” Sensenbrenner’s OpEd on Obama’s abuse of the Patriot Act… I’d advise looking into Mr. Sensenbrenner actions past and present before giving credence to anything that man has to say.

    Wikipedia – Jim Sensenbrenner

  • dduck

    Thanks jcw.

  • sheknows

    Wasn’t Sensenbrenner also appointed to a review committee by Obama?

  • epiphyte

    @sheknows – I’ve also grown a fairly thick-skin w.r.t the accusations of paranoia these days – especially when they are levelled against statements which carry not a hint of personal, as opposed to societal, concern…

    @SteveK, sheknows – If the president shouldn’t have power over the NSA, then who should? The president can be impeached. The NSA – not so much.

    I’ve said it before, to a chorus of abject ridicule – but how much more scary would it be if the NSA had power over the president?

  • SteveK

    but how much more scary would it be if the NSA had power over the president?

    What would be more scary would be if the President had power over the NSA… National Security HAS to be more than any Democrat or Republican President.

    This country, the United States of America, is more important than partisan politics no matter which side of the aisle you live on.

    Why is this so hard to understand?

  • epiphyte

    @SteveK – I think I do at least have a glimpse into the dynamics of power in play here. Every executive function must ultimately be accountable to the electorate, which in this country means under the control of the president.

    There must also be legislative oversight and judicial review to ensure that executive power is used only in accordance with the law and the constitution.

    If you wall-off a chunk of the government, grant it omniscience + omnipotence, and declare it to be accountable to no-one, then you have lost democratic control of the government.

    Why is this so hard to understand?

    BTW – in case you think my opinion is colored by affinity with the current president, all I can say is that I spent much time and money helping to get Obama elected. Twice. But if he’s lying about this stuff and doesn’t come clean soon – he deserves to be impeached.

    That’s it.

  • JSpencer

    What epiphyte said. If this doesn’t get cleared up soon there are people in this administration who stand to lose the respect they have enjoyed for so long from many of their supporters. Truth still transcends party for many of us.

  • justcowboyway

    Thanks Dduck, epiphyte, sheknows, and JSpencer

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