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View Diary: NYT Lead: House Dems “Increasingly Unified” As “Momentum Builds Against N.S.A. Surveillance” (295 comments)

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  •  What worries me is that the NSA might not stop (34+ / 0-)

    even if Congress passes a law to rein in their surveillance activities. How would anyone actually be able to verify if they stop doing it or not? We may have a "secret government" situation on our hands now in this country, i.e. an unaccountable power that will just do whatever it wants, as long as it has funding. Because the NSA's activities are secret, they could claim they are following whatever law (old or new) and yet not be.

    I think the only solution might be for Congress to require an annual audit of the NSA, in which they have to publicly account for what they are doing with every dollar appropriated to their organization.

    The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

    by Eric Stetson on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 02:08:34 AM PDT

    •  That's been a concern of mine as well (19+ / 0-)

      The very nature of these agencies produces suspicion about their activities, and unless they become completely open, which would defeat their purpose, I don't see that changing.

      For anyone who isn't pro-surveillance/NSA, it's hard to put your trust in something you can't see or understand.

      I know I'll always have lingering doubts, regardless.




      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

      by DeadHead on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 03:31:57 AM PDT

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    •  When your whole gig is double top secret (18+ / 0-)

      you can probably say anything you want.

      I remember Rummy had some backroom operations going - Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)

      the new organization–the “Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)”–will carry out secret missions designed to “stimulate reactions” among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to “counterattack” by U.S. forces.
      -  and that was supposed to "stop" but turned up later under some other name, as did the TIA program, which now seems pretty-well ensconced.
      shortly after 9/11, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency initiated “Total Information Awareness,” a surveillance program that called for recording and analyzing all digital information generated by all U.S. citizens. (See Wikipedia for a history of the program.) After news reports provoked criticism of the Darpa program, it was officially discontinued. But Farber suspected that new surveillance programs represent a continuation of Total Information Awareness. “I can’t get anyone to deny that there’s a common thread there,” he said.
      So yeah - 'trusting' these sorts of operations to close just because some spook or politicians says so is daffy.
    •  This is why (18+ / 0-)

      I recently posted that I find it hard to believe that the NSA can be reformed and that I would prefer to see it abolished.  The very fact that it is a part of the Dept. of Defense and is being run by military people makes it problematic for being reformed.  Short of abolishing the NSA, our greatest hope for control is to put a very short leash on its funding.

      "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

      by gulfgal98 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 04:38:15 AM PDT

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    •  NSA... or the corporate "private contractors" (11+ / 0-)

      ... who are doing the actual collecting of the data and are, I've no doubt, keeping a duplicate set of records for their own corporate use (potentially to sell to the highest bidders).

      Remember, Snowden was not a government employee.  He was working for Booz Allen Hamilton - a corporation in which the Carlyle Group is heavily invested (yes, that infamous Carlyle Group that is also connected to the Bushista Crime Family):

      Founding and early history
      [last paragraph of that section]
      Carlyle's 2001 investor conference took place on September 11, 2001. In the weeks following the meeting, it was reported that a member of the Bin Laden family had been in attendance and that they were investors in Carlyle managed funds.[20] Later reports confirmed that the Bin Laden family had invested $2 million into Carlyle's $1.3 billion Carlyle Partners II Fund in 1995, making the family relatively small investors with the firm.[21] These connections would later be profiled in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911. The Bin Laden family liquidated its holdings in Carlyle's funds in October 2001.[22]
      Snowden tattled on what a powerful corporation was doing for the NSA..., so that may be more of a "crime" in corporate (and some politicians') eyes than in anyone else's.  And we all know powerful corporations have a very long memory, a very vindictive streak, and multiple nefarious ways to punish people who cross them.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 06:15:12 AM PDT

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      •  At least military officers get training on where (9+ / 0-)

        they fit WITHIN the Constitution and take an oath to defend it.  The corporations have no loyalty to anyone but their stockholders in Saudi Arabia.

        •  This is true! (4+ / 0-)

          Yet another reason to despise the corporate take-over of our government:  lack of loyalty to the US Constitution.

          The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
               — Franklin D. Roosevelt, April 29, 1938. Message to congress
          Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.
            -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

          I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

          by NonnyO on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 11:40:15 AM PDT

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    •  Oh, and I would FAR rather... (12+ / 0-)

      ... have ALL corporations kicked out of government.

      When Norquist says he 'wants government small enough to drown in a bathtub,' that means he wants corporations to take over the roles the government currently has so they can make hefty profits.  That IS what is happening.  Mercenaries have taken over certain military roles (and they get paid more than US military personnel).  Insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical corporations stand to make undreamed-of record-setting profits off of us who will be forced to buy insurance and use services with fees that will always go up (necessitating "co-pays" so we will end up paying waaaaaay more than the actual costs of these "services").  Corporations like Booz Allen are doing our spying..., etc.

      That's just wrong on multiple levels.  So, I repeat:  Kick ALL corporations OUT of government!

      The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
           — Franklin D. Roosevelt, April 29, 1938. Message to congress

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 06:23:25 AM PDT

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    •  That would be kind of high-risk (5+ / 0-)

      What seems more likely to me is that they will adopt a strategy of appearing to give in whilst actually getting enough seemingly innocuous weasel-words put in any bill to allow them to keep doing what they're doing.

      "That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything ... There would be no place to hide." - Senator Frank Church

      by jrooth on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 06:30:38 AM PDT

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    •  The NSA will not stop (13+ / 0-)

      until it is abolished.

      Hint hint hint.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 07:05:23 AM PDT

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    •  Annual audit? (0+ / 0-)

      I'd say at the very least, it should be monthly.   Too much can happen in a year.

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