So it’s been over a week since the NSA leak came about and I figured I would weigh in. I don’t laud Snowden as some kind of hero, just as I did not laud Julian Assange. Both of them are narcissistic fools.
These leaks endanger all of us because the war on terror is NOT over. Obama and his supporters can claim it is but they all know it isn’t true, as evidenced by the very programs Obama keeps running from the Bush era.
Still, I understand the worries that people have about this program once you factor in the journalists who were snooped on, and at one point called a co-conspirator of treason, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the ongoing cover-up of the Benghazi attack, and so on.
All these intrusions into civil liberties and cover-ups make Nixon look, well, amateurish.
So now we find out the NSA is gathering data from millions of Americans and it worries me also. Obama has acted as a one man wrecking machine intent on destroying the two party system of our government and to trust that he wouldn’t use this NSA data against conservatives is naive.
After saying all that I still feel that this system is needed. Its target is only on foreign data from non-U.S. sources. That’s not to say that it won’t scoop up U.S. data:
Analysts who use the system from a Web portal at Fort Meade, Md., key in “selectors,” or search terms, that are designed to produce at least 51 percent confidence in a target’s “foreignness.” That is not a very stringent test. Training materials obtained by The Post instruct new analysts to make quarterly reports of any accidental collection of U.S. content, but add that “it’s nothing to worry about.”
Even when the system works just as advertised, with no American singled out for targeting, the NSA routinely collects a great deal of American content. That is described as “incidental,” and it is inherent in contact chaining, one of the basic tools of the trade. To collect on a suspected spy or foreign terrorist means, at minimum, that everyone in the suspect’s inbox or outbox is swept in. Intelligence analysts are typically taught to chain through contacts two “hops” out from their target, which increases “incidental collection” exponentially.
But what’s to stop the government from using that “incidental” data collected from a U.S. source to prosecute Americans for crimes unrelated to treason? The NSA and the administration say “trust us”….they have been proven to be untrustworthy.
Plus, why have this program but stop something like this?
Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee.
Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret.
We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel’s formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there.
Before mosques were excluded from the otherwise wide domestic spy net the administration has cast, the FBI launched dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists — inside mosques — and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland.
In the end I understand that we need this kind of program.
So what to do? Honestly I have no idea. Our leaders in Washington better be insisting on some heavy checks and balances placed on any program like this.
The leak of the program itself angers me but you know what else angers me? The blatant hypocrisy on display by liberals and the media. Bush’s surveillance techniques were vilified. He was subject to completely over the top unhinged criticism for the same damn thing that Obama is doing and now those same liberals are falling all over themselves to make excuses for Obama.
In January 2006, when George W. Bush was president, Pew Research Center asked Democrats how they felt about the NSA’s surveillance programs. Thirty-seven percent labeled the spying “acceptable,” and 61 percent said they were unacceptable. The reverse is true today, as 64 percent of Democrats believe that Barack Obama’s surveillance programs are acceptable and 34 percent say they’re not.
That my friends is hypocrisy.
Glenn Greenwald, who I disagree with more often than not, is one of the few liberals who have stayed consistent. Whether you agree with his arguments or not, he has not rolled over and played dead to support one President over the other.
Greenwald told Business Insider late Tuesday night that he thinks some left-leaning members of the media — such as Time magazine’s Joe Klein and The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin — have shifted stances on surveillance and civil liberties for “principle-free, hackish, and opportunistic” reasons.
“I’m not surprised,” Greenwald said in an email. “I’ve been amazed and disappointed for a long time at how the most slavishly partisan media Democrats who pretended to care so much about these issues when doing so helped undermine George Bush are now the loudest apologists and cheerleaders for these very same policies.
“If they started a club called Liberal Pundits to Defend the National Security State, no auditorium in the country would be large enough to accommodate them.
“To call them principle-free, hackish, and opportunistic is to be overly generous.”
He feels, just as he did under Bush, that these programs are too intrusive. Every liberal in America felt the same way under Bush.
But not under Obama. Now Drone assassinations are cool, NSA data collecting is cool, war in Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan is cool.
It’s all a-ok with Obama in charge.
We need to spend more time focusing on the true scandals. The IRS, Snooping on journalists, Benghazi, and spend less time worrying about a program that is needed in the war on terror.
Two more hypocrites: