4th amendment, edward snowden, government corruption, internal revenue service, james clapper, jerrold nadler, national security agency, operation fast and furious, operation gunrunner, police state, prism, rep mike rogers, rpe dutch ruppersberger, surveillance state
As per The Hill, it seems as if the political class or “would be aristocrats”, as I like to call them, aren’t too concerned with the blatant violation of your 4th Amendment rights by the National Security Agency. A briefing by NSA chief General Keith Alexander on the controversial, and while probably legal, certainly unethical and immoral PRISM program drew less than half of the Senators.
Here’s the gist of the problem:
The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”
If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.
Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA’s formidable eavesdropping apparatus works domestically, it also suggests the Justice Department has secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.
Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, Nadler’s disclosure indicates the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval.
No, it seems grabbing a quick vay-key is more important to the ancient codgers and statists, than sorting out their shop. Worse, as of the Sunday morning talk fests, the aristocracy was doubling down on the government ass-covering, with Nadler now lying his fool head off with this beauty, “I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant.”
Hey, Representative — your statements..? They don’t just disappear, anymore. A quick Google search turns up your previous statements. So either you lied then…or in the usual half-assed attempt by the government to cover-up a scandal (and it’s always the cover ups that blow up in politicians’ faces), you are lying now.
Also on the CYA bandwagon are the ranking members of the House Intelligence Committee — Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) — were impugning the alleged whistleblower Edward Snowden, with Rogers claiming, “He was lying. He clearly has over-inflated his position, he has over-inflated his access and he’s even over-inflated what the actually technology of the programs would allow one to do. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do.”
Perhaps…but as Glenn Reynolds points out, shouldn’t they have already known that?
Rogers’ assertion that Snowden is a traitor is questionable, if he is right. Revealing malfeasance on the part of the government is a duty of a citizen. On the point of him revealing techniques and possible government actions against other nations is not treason, either; it’s espionage. Legally, not the same thing. Depending on his intent, and right now a lot of the stuff coming out of Snowden’s mouth is part of his deal with the Chinese to stay out of US authorities’ hands, it might not have been treason by design, either.
Considering the question of misuse of FISA authority has cropped up several times over the course of the past decade (see the C/Net article linked above), I find the Representatives’ and the Senators’ “assurances” to be questionable, at best. If anything, the lack of attendance of the senators and the two day response to the briefing make me suspect the closed-door meeting was really a “how the hell do we cover this up?” session. In the wake of various other scandals showing the utter lack of respect for rule of law, the privacy and rights of the American people — the use of the Internal Revenue Service to harass and disempower conservatives and libertarians before the 2012 elections…and lied about it; they allowed a consulate to be attacked and the staff (including the ambassador) murdered to further their belief that they were improving relations with the Muslim world — then openly lied about the events and the reasons for it; they sold weapons to Mexican and Honduran criminal gangs in Operation Gunrunner (Fast & Furious and Castaway are under this umbrella) in violation of US, Mexican, and international law…then lied about the program (and still are); and lastly, after the administration’s intransigence to confirm the can’t use drones to spy on or murder Americans under the provisions of the 2012 NDAA at the same time as they pushed to disarm the American people….
…well, this op-ed sums it up well: While I love my country and the Constitutional governance that was promised to us, I don’t trust the government — and the political class. I don’t believe the government nor the political class on anything they say — not their intentions, not their results, not their statements…nothing.