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View Diary: What the MSM Did Not Report About Edward Snowden's Testimony Before the Council of Europe (249 comments)

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  •  The European Parliament conducted a six-month (8+ / 0-)

    investigation into mass surveillance practices and its findings included statements like:

    • "Numerous concerns as to the lack of control and effective oversight by the US political authorities over its intelligence community."
    • "The possibility of these mass surveillance operations being used for reasons
      other than national security and the strict fight against terrorism."
    • "US Treasury Dept officials refused to respond on whether the US administration was aware of all NSA mass surveillance activities."

    In general, the problem is with a program that has permanence directed by individuals who are temporary. What continuity is there in the executive and Senate? Who had the the Intell Committee before Feinstein? When the first Snowden disclosures came out last year her story wasn't straight. No one's was. How do they verify the information they get is complete when they rely on others to deliver it? Do they have a routine to document that they ever asked for complete information?

    Feinstein seemed willing to go along. Then the CIA went to the DOJ with a problem about her staff. Who's in charge?

    Secrecy is a good cover. Check out the Intelligence Committee calendar of hearings. Almost all of them are closed. At the end of last month a delegation from the European Parliament came to Washington to confer on the progress of legislation. They attended a hearing on mass surveillance. When they got home, one of the members reported that there was no individual present with competence in technology.

    My guess is that these programs were left on auto pilot long ago by people who have occupied their seats for far too long. Its funny how many members have announced that this term is their last.

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 02:08:27 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  In Other Words: (4+ / 0-)

      The NSA and some of the other "security" agencies are in fact rogue agencies.

      being rogue means you can LIE to congress and get away with it.

      "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

      by Superpole on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 03:42:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are as many possible explanations as (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Knucklehead, freakofsociety, DeadHead

        anyone can imagine.

        My guess is they started by collecting data to look for signs of terrorist activity, or at least that was the story, and they discovered a variety of mundane criminal activity instead.

        They can analyze financial transactions linked to an individual and check it for tax evasion. It can be tracked for money laundering, connected to trafficking in contraband by adding in cell phone location data. Over time they could get good at identifying that kind of activity and it becomes the focus of their work, not terrorism. Whenever they go after somebody, they'd have to conceal the initial processing of raw data without probable cause. They may believe it's justified if they get prosecutions out of it. It probably wouldn't cause a lot of alarm with the public compared to other possible uses for bulk data.

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 05:06:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If they are a (4+ / 0-)

          rogue agency, IMO, it matters little what they started out doing, or how many "justifications" one can come up with for why they ever did it.

          What matters it A) they do this stuff right now; B) it's dangerous to all of us, and C) it needs to stop. If these are rogues doing these things, then how are they to be stopped? Why is this not being discussed?

          This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

          by lunachickie on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 08:28:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not using that terminology, 'rogue,' because (0+ / 0-)

            I'm confined to true statements that can be proven. Common sense says something stinks here. There's more than justification. There's lawyers who explain it away.

            A few weeks ago there was a Senate confirmation hearing for the Asst Attorney General for National Security. The nominee came up through the previous administration and was rubbing elbows with Ashcroft and Gonzalez in those years. Imagine that.

            Vague laws interpreted to make room for law enforcement to do its job while there's no room to even consider civil liberties. And a population that has been trained to recite nonsense refrains instead of demanding explanations.

            For discussion, I imitate my European cousins. This is an issue that transcends politics and individuals. I don't serve pie with this and I don't expect anyone else to agree about that. It comes down to what works and what doesn't.

            There is no existence without doubt.

            by Mark Lippman on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 02:28:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "Sorry", there's also Deduction (0+ / 0-)

              the agencies in question are not transparent for (how convenient) "security reasons".

              that means direct proof of abuse is almost impossible to obtain-- except when a brave soul like Mr. Snowden comes along.

              as I've stated before-- Snowden's whistle blowing now renders feeble excuses by liberals worthless. we can no longer legitimately claim crap like "Gee, we really didn't know just how F***ed up and corrupt our government is/was".

              thus the actual progressives out here owe a real debt of gratitude to Mr. Snowden.

              "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

              by Superpole on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 05:40:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Many Here Don't Like DIRECT Questions (0+ / 0-)

            "how are they to be stopped?" IS a very valid question-- but just not in Bloggo world.

            the sad fact is, as I've pointed out here before-- when it comes to several major policies, it's IRRELEVANT who occupies the white house, which political party-- the absurd, abusive policies continue on unchecked, UN-challenged.

            "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

            by Superpole on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 05:34:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  You are one of my favorite posters (0+ / 0-)

          On this subject. :)

          I love president Obama!!!

          by freakofsociety on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 08:34:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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