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View Diary: Obama Launches 'Open' Discussion on Whistleblower Protections w/ Espionage Charges for Snowden (272 comments)

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  •  What noble purpose (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart of the Rockies, Kevskos
    What noble purpose did Snowden's revelation to the world's nations that the President of the United States routinely asks the NSA to do its job and covertly monitor possibly enemy states?
    Snowdon's revelations about US cyberattacks on China let the American people know that that DoD was committing acts of war (the US considers cyberattacks worth threats of nuclear retaliation) on a state that is not officially an enemy and might also be committing acts of industrial espionage on behalf of US corporations.

    That puts the decision for war and peace in the hands of General Keith Alexander without effective oversight by the executive, Congress, or the judiciary.  That is a legal violation of civilian control of the military--unless the President authorized a secret war with China and Hong Kong.

    You think that all foreign nations don't already know what US capabilities are and US intentions for spying?  Do you think that other nations didn't know before the American people did that the US carried out an act of cyberwar on the uranium centrifuges in Iran with the Stuxnet virus?

    We have a military that is engaging in very risky offensive cyberwarfare and endangering the most cyber-vulnerable nation on earth--the United States.  Shouldn't the American people know?

    Of course it's illegal under the very broad espionage law that Woodrow Wilson passed in order to round up German-Americans and that Congress in a show of "strong on defense" has made more draconian over the past century.

    He has not told NSA methodology of anything.  High-level briefing papers, training materials for employees, and copies of FISA court orders are not methodology.  What he has done is expose sources --- Verizon, Google, Facebook, ...and let the world know that NSA intends to mirror and archive the internet in its network of data center, a project costing hundreds of billions of dollars and for what purpose?  Tracking how many terrorists?

    And American citizens should not know how billions of dollars are being wasted and the Constitution trashed spying on billions of suspicionless individuals?  While schools are closing; health clinics are closing and the economy is in shambles.

    It's time that American citizens had an adult conversation, stripped of the fear-fear-fear, about foreign policy, national security institutions and intelligence institutions.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:16:49 AM PDT

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    •  Look, you'll (0+ / 0-)

      Never convince me and I'll never convince you.  You think one guy at the NSA decides which country to monitor?  

      Cyber is how it's done now.  Why does Snowden get to decide which monitoring is worth telling the world?

      You seem to be saying we should do away with the NSA and CIA and for that matter. The FBI - because they might use current technology to monitor stuff you don't think they should monitor.  

      Who gets to decide who we monitor?  The tech guy?  Or seasoned agents doing their job?

      Who decides which secrets should be declassified?  The tech guy?  Or folks who knows bit more about what's happening outside the server room?

      Do we make okay it to tell paranoid leaders with nuclear capabilities that our government is checking them out covertly while Kerry is making diplomatic overtures?

      I'm not naive enough to believe the government is wholly benevolent but neither am I naive enough to believe there is never a need for it to conduct activities that should not be broadcast to the world.

      Snowden had options.  Wyden would have listened.  He expressed publicly his concerns over FISA and he wasn't alone.  He didn't have to give the info directly to the media.

      Wholesale release of every covert operation would be disaster.  Two words:  Valerie. Plame.  

      I'm not defending the data collection.  I'm saying there are legitimate reasons for some things to be kept inside and the tech guy doesn't get to decide to leak everything with total whistleblower coverage.  

      Again, as example, CIA operations are secret.  We don't get to reveal the agency's names or their phony fronts just because we don't like the subject matter.

      Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

      by delphine on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:13:51 AM PDT

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      •  The Constitution says.... (0+ / 0-)
        The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
        The courts get to decide who gets monitored based on the specifics.  That is not happening.  The tech guy became aware that that is not happening and exposed the phony process and very little else so far.

        And letting NSA decide on its own who gets monitored is a very dangerous precedent, one which was reined in by the Church Committee in the 1970s and has come roaring back under the CIA-friendly Bushes.

        The doctrine of state secrets was not formalized until 1953 and when it was it was to keep a military contractor from having to pay for its negilgence and not to protect national security.  (US v. Reynolds)

        The question is whether Democrats are going to allow the sort of sweeping investigation into intelligence abuses that Republicans alowed in the 1970s (albeit in reaction to the resignation of Richard Nixon).

        This issue is not going away.  President Obama either leads the investigation honestly instead of the current stonewalling or events are going to roll over him.  The White House is in denial about the seriousness of the abuses in this surveillance.

        50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

        by TarheelDem on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:26:07 AM PDT

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        •  You aren't (0+ / 0-)

          reading my comments, so I guess whatever passes for conversation is over.

          The courts are deciding who is monitored, but that system is broken and needs to get fixed so it is a real analysis and not a rubber stamp.

          That has nothing to do with my comment, which is that the tech guy revealed dangerous stuff that doesn't serve us in any way to know.

          You have specific abuses in mind that tell you that we need to know everything the government is doing, even when it comes to covert monitoring of other countries, and whatever else is in the NSA's charter.

          I say that doesn't mean we allow the tech guy to just spew everything without a thought to the consequences (for US, not for HIM) and rely on whistleblower protection when he's not reporting on crimes or unconstitutional behavior, but on things he just doesn't understand and therefore condemns.

          He doesn't get that we monitor other nations when we're not at war with them?  And because of that he thinks he can leak whatever he wants about it?

          Obama isn't stonewalling and that's just ridiculous to say.  Is he telling us everything?  

          Should he tell us everything?

          I say no.  You say yes.  I like that he has called on the NSA to declassify as much as possible, and called the privacy commission to look into this, and stepped away while they investigate instead of continuing to defend it, and you say he's stonewalling.

          I don't want the government to tell me about every covert operation that the NSA conducts around the world.  

          You do.

          I mean it seems like you wouldn't even go for it if we have the NSA make the decisions of who they would like to investigate, based on a healthy warrant application that would then be approved by a diligent court.

          It's the NSA's job to coordinate electronic intelligence activities.  If you want them to stop doing that, then you don't want them to do their job.  

          Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

          by delphine on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:27:49 PM PDT

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          •  A diligent court (0+ / 0-)

            ...would have a means by which evidence could be tested so as to remove suspicion.  

            A diligent court would have protections to prevent the prosecution of dissent.

            The National Security Agency was born in 1945 out of executive overreach.  The effort in the 1970s to bring it into line did not work.

            Clearly the current organization and its current charter under the Department of Defense does not and cannot prevent abuses.

            Secrecy and espionage do not fit that well with a democratic society; it will take some clear thinking about how to create those capabilities if they are truly needed.  So the first conversation that needs to happen is exactly why those capabilities are needed.  The notion that it does anything to prevent terrorism is ludicrous.  More likely its most effective use is into blackmail foreign nationals into being agents of the US.  Why else would one cast so wide a dragnet, except to create informants?

            It serves us to know that the court orders are overbroad, that analysts have discretion to view information on US citizens through various ruses, that the intent of NSA is to capture every bit of electronic communication, that the US and other nations avoid laws against spying by spying on each others' citizens and swapping the information, that the DoD is pursuing offensive cyberwarfare against states with which we are not at war.  Those policies endanger our freedoms and our own information systems.  The government was not about to level about those risks.

            The privacy commission is not a public airing and is likely to be captive of the very agencies that it is overseeing.

            Given that NSA is conducting risky operation that could blow back on US private information systems, folks jolly well need to know what they are up to.

            And stonewalling.  Yes the President is stonewalling with nonsense about "We can't have 100% security and 100% privacy" and the continued assertion without evidence that this widespread surveillance prevented terrorist attacks.  The first is condescending; the second just eats at his credibility.  This President doesn't need to be Nixonized because of the intelligence monstrosity his predecessors created and an overzealous and inflated prosecution of leaks in his administration.  But that is the direction that he is heading unless he starts leveling with the American people.  And it makes me angry because it is such a tragic waste of his talent and promise.  Those who are circling the wagons and attacking the messenger do him no favors.

            And if intelligence community blackmail is constraining him for leveling with Americans, we need to know that too.  We elected him to lead this country, not them.

            50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

            by TarheelDem on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:15:40 PM PDT

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            •  Yes, (0+ / 0-)

              a diligent court is what we do not have right now.  

              I'm saying that a diligent court actively monitoring warrants instead of rubber stamping them would go a long way for me.

              I don't think it goes far enough for you because you just don't like espionage.

              I think it's naive to believe we can monitor threats without cyber intelligence.  The NSA was created to do this, and the tools have become exponentially stronger.  It's time we update our thinking.  What would you suggest?

              I don't think we can have 100% security and 100% privacy.  We will never be 100% secure.  We will never have 100% privacy anymore.  The phone company knows where you are and who you call and who you text to and who you photograph, the internet knows your age and what you like to eat and purchase and which pages you visit and what your favorite searches are.  

              It's not nonsense to me that we can't have 100% privacy because even if the entire US intelligence apparatus disappeared tomorrow your information will still be collected by folks who have no business having it.  

              Neither is it nonsense that monitoring phone traffic might be an effective tool.  What would you suggest they do?  I can't answer because I'm not a national security expert.  If you think it's nonsense then you are saying it's a complete lie, that this is in place only to spy on us and the rest is just bullshit cover story.

              I don't buy that.  

              You seem to be calling for an end to any covert operations.  Were you angry at Libby for outing Plame?  Those two can't exist in the same universe.

              By the way, I'm not attacking Snowden for revealing the NSA overreach.  I'm saying his other revelations aren't covered by whistleblower protections.

              Plus I think this prosecution announcement is a warning shot because Greenwald and Snowden have indicated they have even more stuff to reveal.  

              If Snowden has gone to Russia (?) with his purloined intelligence information, what does this mean?  

              Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

              by delphine on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:20:12 AM PDT

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