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View Diary: Not content with wild exaggerations, Glenn Greenwald goes into full Beck/Jones conspiracy territory (324 comments)

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  •  If all we did was debate what changes to the (20+ / 0-)

    USA PATRIOT Act needed to be made, there would be mostly agreement that the entire thing needs to be pretty much scrapped and no pie fights.

    John Roberts? Melville Fuller?? WTF is the difference???.

    by Walt starr on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 10:13:44 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Without the Snowden/Greenwald NSA revelations, (42+ / 0-)

      there would be no national debate on the future of the Patriot act. That discussion wasn't taking place...

      and now it is.

      For that alone, even the most vicious critics of Snowden and Greenwald owe them both an enormous debt of gratitude.

      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

      by PhilJD on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 10:54:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  WRONG. The discussion WAS taking place (12+ / 0-)

        Or have you simply wished away the major policy speeches Obama gave on these issues a month before anyone had ever even heard of Snowden, just because they don't fit your narrative?

        Here's one long, policy-filled speech about the competing interests and the need for review and reform given by Obama in May:

        http://www.nytimes.com/...

        Here are some notable excerpts, although the whole thing is worth a read:

        In the midst of all these challenges, however, my single most important responsibility as President is to keep the American people safe. It's the first thing that I think about when I wake up in the morning. It's the last thing that I think about when I go to sleep at night.

        And this responsibility is only magnified in an era when an extremist ideology threatens our people, and technology gives a handful of terrorists the potential to do us great harm. We are less than eight years removed from the deadliest attack on American soil in our history. We know that al Qaeda is actively planning to attack us again. We know that this threat will be with us for a long time, and that we must use all elements of our power to defeat it.

        Unfortunately, faced with an uncertain threat, our government made a series of hasty decisions. I believe that many of these decisions were motivated by a sincere desire to protect the American people. But I also believe that all too often our government made decisions based on fear rather than foresight; that all too often our government trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions. Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, too often we set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford. And during this season of fear, too many of us -- Democrats and Republicans, politicians, journalists, and citizens -- fell silent.
        Now let me be blunt. There are no neat or easy answers here. I wish there were. But I can tell you that the wrong answer is to pretend like this problem will go away if we maintain an unsustainable status quo. As President, I refuse to allow this problem to fester. I refuse to pass it on to somebody else. It is my responsibility to solve the problem. Our security interests will not permit us to delay. Our courts won't allow it. And neither should our conscience.

        Now, over the last several weeks, we've seen a return of the politicization of these issues that have characterized the last several years. I'm an elected official; I understand these problems arouse passions and concerns. They should. We're confronting some of the most complicated questions that a democracy can face. But I have no interest in spending all of our time relitigating the policies of the last eight years. I'll leave that to others. I want to solve these problems, and I want to solve them together as Americans.

        National security requires a delicate balance. One the one hand, our democracy depends on transparency. On the other hand, some information must be protected from public disclosure for the sake of our security -- for instance, the movement of our troops, our intelligence-gathering, or the information we have about a terrorist organization and its affiliates. In these and other cases, lives are at stake.
        I understand that. I ran for President promising transparency, and I meant what I said. And that's why, whenever possible, my administration will make all information available to the American people so that they can make informed judgments and hold us accountable. But I have never argued -- and I never will -- that our most sensitive national security matters should simply be an open book. I will never abandon -- and will vigorously defend -- the necessity of classification to defend our troops at war, to protect sources and methods, and to safeguard confidential actions that keep the American people safe. Here's the difference though: Whenever we cannot release certain information to the public for valid national security reasons, I will insist that there is oversight of my actions -- by Congress or by the courts.
        And we plan to embrace several principles for reform. We will apply a stricter legal test to material that can be protected under the state secrets privilege. We will not assert the privilege in court without first following our own formal process, including review by a Justice Department committee and the personal approval of the Attorney General. And each year we will voluntarily report to Congress when we have invoked the privilege and why because, as I said before, there must be proper oversight over our actions.

        On all these matters related to the disclosure of sensitive information, I wish I could say that there was some simple formula out there to be had. There is not. These often involve tough calls, involve competing concerns, and they require a surgical approach. But the common thread that runs through all of my decisions is simple: We will safeguard what we must to protect the American people, but we will also ensure the accountability and oversight that is the hallmark of our constitutional system. I will never hide the truth because it's uncomfortable. I will deal with Congress and the courts as co-equal branches of government. I will tell the American people what I know and don't know, and when I release something publicly or keep something secret, I will tell you why.

        We see that, above all, in the recent debate -- how the recent debate has obscured the truth and sends people into opposite and absolutist ends. On the one side of the spectrum, there are those who make little allowance for the unique challenges posed by terrorism, and would almost never put national security over transparency. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are those who embrace a view that can be summarized in two words: "Anything goes." Their arguments suggest that the ends of fighting terrorism can be used to justify any means, and that the President should have blanket authority to do whatever he wants -- provided it is a President with whom they agree.
        Here's excerpts from another major policy and reform speech from May:
        Thwarting homegrown plots presents particular challenges in part because of our proud commitment to civil liberties for all who call America home.  That’s why, in the years to come, we will have to keep working hard to strike the appropriate balance between our need for security and preserving those freedoms that make us who we are.  That means reviewing the authorities of law enforcement, so we can intercept new types of communication, but also build in privacy protections to prevent abuse.

        That means that — even after Boston — we do not deport someone or throw somebody in prison in the absence of evidence. That means putting careful constraints on the tools the government uses to protect sensitive information, such as the state secrets doctrine.  And that means finally having a strong Privacy and Civil Liberties Board to review those issues where our counterterrorism efforts and our values may come into tension.

        The Justice Department’s investigation of national security leaks offers a recent example of the challenges involved in striking the right balance between our security and our open society. As Commander-in-Chief, I believe we must keep information secret that protects our operations and our people in the field.  To do so, we must enforce consequences for those who break the law and breach their commitment to protect classified information.  But a free press is also essential for our democracy.  That’s who we are.  And I’m troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable.

        Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs.  Our focus must be on those who break the law.  And that’s why I’ve called on Congress to pass a media shield law to guard against government overreach.

        So, unless, you're claiming Snowden is a time-traveller, then your claim is utterly without merit.

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