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James Bamford is a jounalist and author and has written copiously about US Intelligence
Agencies.  According to what I've read, his work is respected as being accurate.

Here's the link to his recent article in the Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

There have been numerous excellent diaries on the current NSA scandal and Snowden including several currently in the Rec list.  Bamford's article appears factual and should be read by those on both sides of the arguments that have developed here.

My own brief thoughts appear below:

Too much of what goes on at every level of government...local, state or federal is done in secret.  No citizens or journalists allowed.  There's always an excuse.  "It's a personnel matter."  "This matter is in flux, and we don't want people to be misled...."  "It's a security issue...."  "You're not cleared for that."  

The truth, often, is that we're not supposed to know because we'd be outraged and cantankerous and the politicians/government would have to at least defend their misuse of the powers we've bestowed upon them.  

In my opinion Snowden has done us the great service of telling us what's actually going on.  It doesn't matter that we might have or should have guessed this is so.  Now we know.  If it's a crime to tell people they're being spied upon, it's only a crime because those in power made it a crime to tell the truth...in the name of "security" of course.

Meanwhile, the government's access to the citizenry's every electronic transaction, conversation, inquiry, search, or document continues unfettered.  If we cannot know or control why and under what circumstances the goverment seeks this information, we certainly cannot control how the goverment will use it.  

Unacceptable.  Period!        

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante Alighieri

    by Persiflage on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 05:20:32 AM PDT

  •  Who is this "government"? (0+ / 0-)

    After 9/11, our security activities were largely contracted to contractors whose main goal is to make money not necessarily to keep us safe. The intelligence community both under the roof of civil and military government are bound by their oaths, meaning they are less likely to abuse the trust put in their hands in general. It is not perfect but works. Since 9/11 however, a monster greed machine was created under the name of "keeping us safe from the moooslims," which had nothing to do with the original intent of keeping America secure. Contractors hired people with questionable ethics who jumped on the gravy train, milking it to the bottomless levels. We now see its natural exposure, as it was expected, and looking for scapegoats to blame it on.

    We are all the blame. President Obama does not have the kind of power to fix this enormous monstrosity, we do. He is doing what he can: opening the dialog. No one person can be hold responsible without having someone else directly or indirectly enabling what has happened during the last decade and that still is in power. The president cannot expose them without putting nation's security in danger since the good is attached to the bad thus the only way to fix this is by an honest dialog tosee what can be realistically done about this without chasing illusions.

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 06:03:16 AM PDT

    •  How does this dialogue proceed? (2+ / 0-)

      Who gets to talk and who doesn't?  What becomes of all the words spoken during the dialogue?  When does the dialogue end?  And is any action taken after the dialogue?  How would that action be selected and who would take the action?

      "Dialogue," in this context, seems to be a substitute for leadership and responsibility, a substitute designed to preserve the status quo.

      "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

      by KateCrashes on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 06:12:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is happening now, as we speak... (0+ / 0-)

        The very act of asking those questions are the part of that process. The interesting thing is the assumption that ' a dialog can end, ' which is the sign of our absolutes chasing mentality. Truth does not work that way. Dialogs do not end and as a matter of fact our nation's history is a testament to that. We are always moving forward, bettering ourselves without 'arriving at perfect answers and solutions' that are non existing outside our heads, figuratively speaking. What will happen ' after the dialog'? We will know it 'after the dialog.' We wouldn't need the dialog if we knew the answer to that question beforehand,  would we?

        Looking for 'perfect leaders who have perfect answers' is the mentality that empowers tyrants.

        Fact: we will never fix the intelligence gathering process to the level that is 100% abuse proof. We will never be able to make all state secrets transparent because of the very reason we have a 'representative' government and that we need to have representatives.

        The dialog will not only help open the eyes of the public but also the members of the intelligence community, the contractors, etc as they too are human beings, learning from these communications.

        What we are dealing with is human nature not ' bad guys who must be defeated forever by the good guys.' That is an illusion.

        The presidentif the US is wise. We are lucky to have him.

        "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

        by zenox on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 06:50:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Twice I voted for the president, (0+ / 0-)

          but as it stands today I'm not so sure we are lucky to have him. The most fundamental duty of our elected representatives is to protect and preserve our constitution. Failing  to do that for any reason means they are threatening our most basic freedoms.

    •  Just a few questions... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades

      "The Intelligence community...bound by their oaths..."
      As you said it's not perfect, but what makes you think it's working when its leaders lie to Congress and on national TV?

      Why are all of us to be blamed?  What great power do we the people wield over such matters an how are we complicit?  The only peaceful, civil, things I can think of we can, could, and many did, is to protest.  The result?  Arrests...for disobeying a "lawful" order to disperse...or "trespassing."  

      Why does Obama have to expose anything before shutting it down?   Seems to me that's like saying you can't cure a disease without killing the patient.  If he doesn't know what's going on he could and should...and apparently he does and approves.  

      So...you said "we" can fix this.  Tell us how.

      The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante Alighieri

      by Persiflage on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 08:22:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama cannot "shut it down." (0+ / 0-)

        ...and you have asked all the right questions. About , "how we can fix the things, " first we gotto figure out who this "we"is.

        And true no disease is 100% curable without killing the patient.

        Thanks for being part of the dialog and raising the questions that contain the seeds of the answers within them..

        Evolving is never easy...

        "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

        by zenox on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 09:29:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think he can shut it down (0+ / 0-)

          or at least bring it under rein.  Yes, diseases are curable without killing the patient.  I believe we're evolving..if that's the appropriate term, towards violent civil disobedience.  That does not bode well for anyone...least of all the people in charge of the Bastille.  

          The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante Alighieri

          by Persiflage on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:52:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  People in charge of Bastille... (0+ / 0-)

            ...did not have this information technology we are using to communicate instantly. If they did, I don't know how it would be but history would not be the same.

            This is a different world. No matter how hard NSA or anyone else tries to keep tabs on this phenomenon, they wont be able to match up with its unknown dimensions. Especially the social media is expanding like crazy, with the younger generations being more skilled at it than the older ones and that means the older generation will not be able to control today's generation for too long. Oppressive regimes trying to control the Internet won't be able to, either.

            This really is the technology revolution enabling the 'citizen journalist' all around the world. 21st century's power belongs to the citizen journalists and to the tech skilled youth enabling them. All money spent in buying the media will be wasted. The old world is literally dying.

            Diseases: Generally speaking, we start with health and end up with a disease, don't we? Then we are sold a "cure." No, diseases are always with us. Only healthy life style, physical and mental, keeps diseases from striking. Medicinal "cures" are temporary measures sending us back to being "healthy" again. The beginning of the cycle, that is.

            Can Obama bring the abuses under rein? Only with strong public and CONGRESSIONAL support. Otherwise, his every attempt in reining will strengthen his opponents.

            Knowing Obama, he would rather want to bring the members of the intelligence community back to reason and work with them.

            "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

            by zenox on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:16:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Unacceptable. I couldn't agree more. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilK, Persiflage, ranger995

    A lot of people want to make it all about Snowden, or Assange or Manning, etc - but it's not about the revealers it's about that which has bee revealed. Attacking the messenger is really old and tired...and beside the fkin point.

    Thank Persiflage. Good post.

    In my opinion Snowden has done us the great service of telling us what's actually going on.  It doesn't matter that we might have or should have guessed this is so.  Now we know.  If it's a crime to tell people they're being spied upon, it's only a crime because those in power made it a crime to tell the truth...in the name of "security" of course.
    Well said. Right on brother.
  •  I liked this one line (0+ / 0-)

    Although I believe that diaries should generally contain more than one link and provide analysis, I think you have a theme that could be developed in your comment that "Too much of what goes on at every level of government...local, state or federal is done in secret. "

    If you were to provide some examples (with links) that would elevate the value of this diary significantly. Some things that one might mention:

    * Congressional intelligence oversight is increasingly concentrated in the hands of the Gang of Eight

    * Media increasingly report on celebrities and gossip, making it difficult for citizens to understand what their government is doing. See, for example, here.

    * Legislatures attempt to rush through legislation to prevent public comment. This is currently happening in Texas, and was also a major factor in negative reaction to Wisconsin's union-stripping legislation.

    * Shadowy organizations like ALEC manipulate state legislatures.

    I agree with you that the NSA wiretapping scandal is occurring in a context in which citizens are increasingly becoming distrustful of their government precisely because there is so much secrecy. And, as the Bamford article you link shows so well, that secrecy promotes dishonesty.

  •  Nice catch, Persiflage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995

    Thanks for posting.

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