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In this Washington Post op ed Robinson notes

The modest reforms Obama proposed do not begin to address the fundamental question of whether we want the National Security Agency to log all of our phone calls and read at least some of our e-mails, relying on secret judicial orders from a secret court for permission. The president indicated he is willing to discuss how all this is done — but not whether.
but not whether -  that issues falls, of course, not just on the President, but also on the Congress, which established the legal framework within which this is occurring.

He is somewhat dismissive of the administration's white paper on what the NSA has  been doing, where it notes that are medical or library records are not being included, then writing that

we have no way of knowing what other encroachments on the Bill of Rights the intelligence court might have blessed, because the court’s rulings are classified.
Even if we change the legal framework to allow some adversarial argumentation by "privacy advocates" before the FISA court
What real difference would that make, though, if we are still denied the right to know about secret court rulings that redefine and abridge our constitutional rights? I’ll believe Obama is serious about reforming the intelligence court when he calls for all its interpretations of the law — without details of specific orders that would tip off terrorists — to be made public.
And he puts a large share of the responsibility where it rightly belongs:
And I’ll believe Congress is serious when it clarifies the Patriot Act and other laws to spell out that the Constitution still applies. The NSA’s capability to obliterate privacy is rampaging ahead. The law desperately needs to catch up.
to spell out that the Constitution still applies - what a remarkable idea.  Something we should expect from an administration led by a man who as a Presidential candidate advertised himself as someone who had taught and respected and would follow that same Constitution.

Read Robinson's column.

You'll be glad you did.

Peace?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wait til he writes on Crapper (13+ / 0-)

    being in charge of review!

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 03:39:35 AM PDT

  •  A good read, thx. (10+ / 0-)

    If I had more faith in our criminal justice system and our system of checks and balances working properly, I'd also have far more faith in govt. agencies collecting data.

    It's not in the NSA's charter to spy on Americans, so them doing so doesn't exactly inspire more trust.

    Our laws definitely need to catch up.

    Tipped and recced.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 03:46:50 AM PDT

  •  didnt nbc news declare "Snowden Won"? (6+ / 0-)

    now the reforms turn out not the be that much.  Chuck Todds next headline should be....."Obama Won"?

    •  You're funny (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tool, mikejay611

      Chuckles would never go so far as to say Obama is winning anything. The villagers would ostracize him and then what? No more dinner parties. No more interviews. No more television appearances.

      No, it is much more important to keep the media kabuki going.

      Don't forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor. - John Dickinson ("1776")

      by banjolele on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 05:13:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Privacy is a human right, which the Constitution (11+ / 0-)

    does not recognize, never mind respect.
    As I keep repeating, the Bill of Rights is a misnomer. The initial amendments to the Constitution enumerate some prohibited behaviors, addressed, as is the main body, to the agents of government. BUT, since there are no enforcement powers, other than the prohibition against using information acquired in violation of the restrictions to prosecute an individual in a court of law, the amendments are toothless.

    Worse, by appending prohibitions, the founders suggested that everything that is not prohibited is ipso facto permitted, thus violating the principle of the main body that agents of government are limited to doing only those things which are specifically ordered--e.g. since spying isn't mentioned, it wouldn't be allowed against anyone, foreign or domestic.

    Agents of government, like everyone else, prefer prohibitions because they are easy to get around. It isn't even necessary to appeal to an over-riding concern like national security. Murder is a good example. If agents of government want to make killing legal, they just call it something else (warfare, capital punishment, rapid response, targeted assassination, assassination by remote control, homicide, accident, collateral damage, etc.).

    The rule of law appeals because it holds executives harmless. When Rick Perry authorizes a killing, somebody else does it, legally.
    Deprivation of rights (human, civil, property) is supposed to be reserved as punishment for crime. That's entirely appropriate since crime is, in essence, a deprivation of rights. But, the U.S. legal system has always made the distinction that official deprivation (when the President does it) is OK. Indeed, we have all been persuaded that, as long as deprivation is meted out equally, we have no complaint. Rich and poor alike being deprived of their rights to liberty and life is presumed to be a necessary sacrifice to insure that, in the abstract, the rights exist.

    It's not a matter of surrendering liberty for security. Security is the antithesis of liberty. Getting people to give it up is a tour de force.

    Three hundred million people sacrificing liberty for the national interest! What a coup is that?

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 04:59:44 AM PDT

    •  The Constitution Orders Privacy (18+ / 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 Consitution specifies our right to be secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects, and protects us from violations of it. That is privacy. As the Supreme Court recognized, even in the case of a medical decision like having an abortion, where the Federal government's jurisdiction is secondary to each of our own over our own person.

      It's the legislature, the executive, and often the passive judicial branch that ignore their only source of power in violating our rightful privacy.

      Which is why we need a simple (under 5 pages), hammerlike Federal law citing the 4th Amendment that revolutionizes our government's proteections of our privacy rights, reversing the centuries of increasing violations of them.

      The Constitution is right about privacy. The blame for our violation is on us for tolerating the violations the officials we elect and allow to create and perpetuate these violations of us. We are the ones failing to do what the country says it should do.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 06:13:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The sun shall rise on the morrow and (7+ / 0-)

        the moon shall not be stopped in her tracks! By whom?

        Whose going to ensure those mays and shalls are respected? The judiciary has no control over the executive.  Judges can order stuff until they are blue in the face, but it's the executive that employs force to carry out orders or restrict behavior and, if the executive doesn't want to follow orders, it doesn't have to. UNLESS THE CITIZENRY STEPS IN and replaces recalcitrant office holders.
        There is method in the madness of having clowns running for public office. As long as they entertain, they're not likely to be challenged on their actual capacities and talents. Because, time is limited. Every moment given to frivolous quips and jokes is a moment not given to a rational and logical account.

        On the other hand, some of our commedians have given clear evidence that good evidence can be provided in bits and skits--if the agents of information are intelligent.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 06:29:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If the executive defies a court order (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KJG52, Mr Robert

          Then it is time for impeachment.

          There’s no way for a healthy human being to maintain the level of outrage warranted by the situation. - Dave Roberts, grist.org

          by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 10:11:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Impeachment is fine. Conviction and removal (0+ / 0-)

            from office is the hard part.  
            Besides, when the legislative branch has given the go-ahead, who is going to convict the executive?

            As Justice Kennedy says, it is up to the citizens to enforce the laws. The people have the power to hire and fire.

            We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

            by hannah on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 02:11:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The Constitution (0+ / 0-)

          You went on about

          Privacy is a human right, which the Constitution

          does not recognize, never mind respect.
          As I keep repeating, the Bill of Rights is a misnomer. The initial amendments to the Constitution enumerate some prohibited behaviors, addressed, as is the main body, to the agents of government. BUT, since there are no enforcement powers, other than the prohibition against using information acquired in violation of the restrictions to prosecute an individual in a court of law, the amendments are toothless.

          Worse, by appending prohibitions, the founders suggested that everything that is not prohibited is ipso facto permitted,

          You are very simply wrong. Factually, the Constitution recognizes and thereby respects the right to privacy. Logically, the Constitution says its creation of powers is the only source of them, so its instructions to respect privacy rights are the only powers the government has - as far as the Constitution goes.

          Everything done without Constitutional support is against the Constitution. But even without that logical implication, the Constitution itself recognizes and respects privacy. You went far too far saying it doesn't.

          You also make the logical fallacy saying that adding prohibitions to the original Constitution implied that the original Constitution allowed what was later prohibited. That is a false inference; it is your implication. In your logic, any clarification defies what was clarified, but that is obviously false.

          I agree that the Constitution is powerless, or at least not powerful enough, to enforce its rules. Because of course the Constitution is in fact a piece of paper with inked writing penned centuries ago and copied many times. It has the power only to be read. If the readers don't act according to it, its instructions will not be enforced. Its actual implications will not be inferred, its ideas not executed.

          That is our fault, as I wrote in my reply. That point is debatable, though you and I seem to agree on it. But the Constitution's recognition and respect of privacy rights is a matter of fact. You were very wrong when you said that.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 03:43:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I would think that between the natural right (8+ / 0-)

        to privacy, the 4th amendment, and the 9th, our privacy would be assured, constitutionally at least, except in cases where the government has a constitutionally granted and demonstrably justified right to invade it.

        This is not about law, but its abuse.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 06:32:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This Is About the Constitution (0+ / 0-)

          My post to which you replied was a response to Hannah's post that said the Constitution doesn't recognize or respect privacy rights. That assertion is badly wrong.

          The NSA's domestic spying is about abuse, not about a lack of the Constituion to recognize and respect privacy rights. Quite the contrary. The NSA is abusing the Constitution when it abuses us.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 03:45:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  No, the 9th amendment takes care of that (12+ / 0-)
      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
      The obvious reading of this is that congress only has the powers that congress has been granted, and the people retain all rights, whether enumerated or not, that are not denied them by the constitution.

      The elastic clause complicates all this of course, and has been abused by the powerful. But it doesn't change the plain text meaning of the 9th.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 06:30:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, there is a hint, an implication of "other" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sunspots

        rights. But, what are they?  The U.S. Senate has refused to ratify even the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
        That makes us exceptional. Only Somalia has similarly refused.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 06:53:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My take is that we already have these rights (5+ / 0-)

          Rights can only be taken away, presumably for good and demonstrated cause and pursuant to the constitution. Do I need an explicitly spelled-out right to eat ice cream? No, even thought the government has the power to prohibit anyone from making, say, cyanide-laced ice cream, for my safety.

          Hamilton and Madison made all these points in the Federalist Papers:

          I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colourable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretence for claiming that power.

          Hamilton, Federalist 84

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 07:12:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  "Security is the antithesis of liberty". (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      left turn

      Are you serious?

      It's really interesting how people who live in a pretty secure country come up with these kinds of bizarre theses.

      I guess that you haven't really been to less secure parts of the world, else you would know that an absence of security doesn't exactly mean that there's an increase in liberty....

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 07:07:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The advance of the police state is Obama's biggest (15+ / 0-)

    fail by far.  Unbelievable, both as a policy fail and insight into his thinking.

    In Feudalism, you bow to the King. In Libertarianism, you bow to the King's wallet. They are so obviously totally different!

    by ban48 on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 05:07:04 AM PDT

  •  Congress NEEDS to have (11+ / 0-)

    another vote to Defund,

    certain portions of the NSA ...


    The one's we don't know about.

  •  Midterm Confidence Votes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sunspots, lotlizard

    If America's Constitution required a midterm confidence vote for a president to stay in office, presidents might not get so much worse after being elected. They'd have another "accountability moment".

    In the regular national elections in the 2nd year, hold a confidence vote on the ballot every time. If 75% of voters vote "No", or just a simple majority that's larger than the total that elected them 2 years earlier, then the president immediately resigns. If the VP also receives a "No", the House Speaker is temporarily president, else the VP assumes the office. If not the VP, then the following month another national election the same as any presidential/VP election installs a new president and VP.

    We see this desperate absence of process in many republics. In Egypt for example, their entire coup was necessary because the failed president refused a referendum on his office. In the US we obviously don't impeach Republican presidents for even the most blatantly catastrophic "misdemeanors" (misleadership), though Democrats are impeachable for a blowjob. We need regularly scheduled recall votes, so the people can change the president without relying on the establishment to do something unusual - which it will never do.

    I'm not saying I'd vote November 2014 to recall Obama, or that even a majority would. But, as Oscar Wilde said, "nothing focuses a man's mind so much as knowing he is to be hanged in a week". With another election hanging over him, the people might be able to "hold Obama's feet to the fire" the way he always insisted we assume responsiblity for his administration. And his disappointments might not be accelerating at this point. To say nothing of the President Palin sometime in our future.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 06:04:09 AM PDT

  •  I'm thankful Eugene R... (10+ / 0-)

    Has finally started to write about this issue.
    It took him a while but his conscience probably started bothering him...

  •  Congress may be responsible too (6+ / 0-)

    But it's Obama who has the power to use or not use the powers it has given him. So the "But they're making me do this" excuse holds no water, especially given that he's already refused to exercise certain congressionally-granted powers, like enforcing DOMA. He's insulting our intelligence with this grade school shit. With each passing day, he's even more of an embarrassment.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 06:25:08 AM PDT

    •  Nobody's making him do this but he's the President (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mikejay611

      ... just like other presidents who uses the power that is given to him. He is not a lesser president, because of the color of his skin or whatever reason people come up with. He isn't going to limit himself just to please folks who supported these laws to begin with. So in the mean time he's going to use these laws to the fullest. Don't like it? Change the laws. Change congress.

      It's no secret who responds to war mongering, who gets scared to the point of paralysis when a terrorist attack happens, who becomes more neocon and hawkish when they feel threatened. There's only one demographic that continues to vote republican so that nothing gets done, and that's Caucasians. Right now the left is hoping that voting demographics continue to shift, and as that is happening the further to the right Caucasions get.

      Also people get the respect that they deserve. All the war mongering in the past brought about these laws and these are the consequences. I guess folks didn't understand that going after terrorists (who were never much of a threat to national security but people believed the rhetoric anyways) would bounce back on them like this. What a privileged life one must have to be that naive.

      •  You're conflating issues (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mikejay611, elwior, Sunspots

        If Obama is trying to appear to be tough on terror because he's afraid of how white people would react if he didn't look so tough, then not only would that be pathetic, it would be immoral. I don't think it's white people per se, though, but rather conservatives, who of course tend to be white, but so do many lefties, because whites are still the biggest group in the US.

        But this has nothing to do with skin color, and everything to do with ideology and the politics of posture. He wants to look tough, so he's doing all these things, not because they're actually keeping us safe. But as president, he has the power to use each power he's granted as he sees fit. Why hasn't he gone harder after Wall St., even though he has the power to do that? Because they are more powerful than he is right now, not because it's not warranted. Why did he refuse to enforce DOMA? Because people who support gay rights are now more powerful than people who don't.

        It may not be entirely about politics. I suppose the man has some convictions and wants to do some good, when and where it's not too hard and risky. But politics is by far the biggest driver of his policies.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 07:05:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So minorities do not react to fear mongering? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        left turn, elwior

        Really?

        By the way, plenty of Caucasian progressives exist. Furthermore, Obama promised to roll back the Patriot Act and stated he was opposed to interfering with ones civil liberties. He also promised more transparency.

        I supported him for a long time, and still do in may ways. But he is just plain wrong on this one. Frankly, I think he is being pushed/scared by the Hawks and Defense Contractors. They did the same thing to Kennedy.

        "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian... America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance." The Real Ron Paul

        by 815Sox on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 07:14:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good post Teacherken. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, mikejay611, T100R, elwior

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 06:33:22 AM PDT

  •  Obama's inaction or nonaction (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Grandma Susie, mikejay611, elwior

    doesn't surprise me. Once a YUPPIE always a YUPPIE. I wonder if the new WAPO owner will keep guys like Robinson on staff? T and R!!

    Through thoughts, words and actions, we live the truth we know. -- L. Spencer

    by orlbucfan on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 06:43:59 AM PDT

  •  Obama is a Republican (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sunspots

    I can't even call him a neo-liberal anymore....

    I didn't abandon the fight, I abandoned the Party that abandoned the fight...

    by Jazzenterprises on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 06:48:19 AM PDT

  •  Dick Cheney, an Obama advisor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Sunspots

    One of Obama's advisors on Constitutional law and how to violate laws without consequences. Torture, drones, spying on our own, prosecuting whistle blowers and what else we may not know about yet.

  •  Can we get a look at these Spy Inc. contracts? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    How much of this hoovering of information is driven by these corporations? And do they get access to and use of the information they collect on us?

  •  Strange bedfellows (0+ / 0-)

    The beauty of this scandal is that plenty of corporate crooks (who aren't associated with the programs) wouldn't like the idea of their data being collected.

    To the incorrigible cynic, that provides reason for plenty of optimism and explains the uncharacteristic good journalism taking place.

    "Yes We Can!" -- Barack Obama

    by Sucker Politics on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 08:11:18 AM PDT

  •  I don't think anyone has proposed serious reforms. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, mallyroyal

    Not even the reformers.

    Here's what I see. I see a lot of people upset that the NSA collects everyone's phone metadata. Those who are upset then propose that the NSA may only collect some of that metadata, and only the metadata of those under immediate suspicion.

    Well, okay. All of that data must still be recorded and collected somewhere in order for that of persons under suspicion to be available at all. So we're essentially saying that the NSA can't take all of the library books off the shelf at once; only some of them.

    Now, let's say a suspicious person butt dials me accidentally. Under the proposed reforms, the NSA would still have grounds to look at my phone records even though I've done nothing wrong. So the proposed reforms would still allow the NSA to access the phone records of millions of innocent people.

    On the other hand, bulk records presumably allow the NSA to construct a graph of relationships that could be used to rule out innocent people. A graph of all records would allow the NSA to immediately determine that none of the suspicious person's associates have ever called me. But reformers believe that capability is somehow a threat to our privacy, and that an incomplete picture of relationships will somehow lead to fewer people being erroneously targeted simply because the NSA won't be able to access those records without additional court orders.

    This is bullshit.

    Eugene Robinson has it exactly right. What NSA reforms?

    •  I like your comment a lot, but I am pretty (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Knucklehead, Sunspots, fou

      sure it has been documented as going much further than only phone meta-data:

      Here's what I see. I see a lot of people upset that the NSA collects everyone's phone metadata. Those who are upset then propose that the NSA may only collect some of that metadata, and only the metadata of those under immediate suspicion.

      Well, okay. All of that data must still be recorded and collected somewhere in order for that of persons under suspicion to be available at all. So we're essentially saying that the NSA can't take all of the library books off the shelf at once; only some of them.

      Mark Klein began trying to get people to pay attention as far back as 2006.  Snowden's documents do nothing but confirm what Klein said then and more.

      Here's Mark Klein in an interview (linked above):

      When you spotted this, you'd been in the room; you've seen the splitter; you've now got the documents; you've seen the Narus; you've gone to the Internet; you've seen what this technology show is about. What is it you think is going on here? What's your reaction?

      My reaction -- that's why I practically fell out of my chair -- was that from all the connections I saw, they were basically sweeping up, vacuum-cleaning the Internet through all the data, sweeping it all into this secret room. ... It's the sort of thing that very intrusive, repressive governments would do, finding out about everybody's personal data without a warrant. I knew right away that this was illegal and unconstitutional, and yet they were doing it.

      So I was not only angry about it; I was also scared, because I knew this authorization came from very high up -- not only high up in AT&T, but high up in the government. So I was in a bit of a quandary as to what to do about it, but I thought this should be halted.
      ...
      ...
      Much later the president comes out and says, you know, we're just monitoring Al Qaeda communications with America, and we're following specific calls, and we're trying to track terrorists. How do you know that it isn't what they say it is; that the Narus or some other piece of equipment isn't just targeted in on 50 individuals in this area, and all those billions of pieces of data are just flowing off into the ether?

      ... The administration's first presentation of it is disingenuous. They present it as about phone calls. They're just watching a few bad people who make phone calls to Al Qaeda and the Middle East, and you notice they don't talk about the Internet hardly at all. That part of it hasn't been revealed, because if they did, Americans would realize it's not just a few people; it's everybody, because the data they're handing over is not selected out. When you run fiber optics through a splitter and you send all that data to a secret room, there's no selecting going on there at all. ...

      And they could be getting domestic-to-domestic [communications]?

      That's right. They have no way of sifting it out unless they look through it later. Now they can claim, "Oh, we are right as rain; we're only doing the legal thing and selecting out a few people that we're legally entitled to," but that's only after they get all the data.

      The analogy I use: If the government claims, "Well, when you do your taxes, why don't you just write me a blank check and we'll fill in the amount? Don't worry. We'll do it legal. We'll fill in the right amount," would you do that? Nobody would trust the government by writing a blank check to them. It's the same thing with the data we're giving them. ...

      When the founders wrote the Fourth Amendment, they had a specific antagonism against what were called general warrants, as you might know. General warrants is when the British troops would come in with a warrant and say: "We have the right to search your house. We're looking for something. Looking for what? We can't tell you. We're going to ransack your house." That's a general warrant. They can turn your life upside down, and the colonialists [sic] hated that.

      So the Fourth Amendment specifically bans general warrants. It calls for specific warrants in which the things to be seized and the persons to be seized are specifically named. There's a reason for that. It's to protect against arbitrary government power. And what they've done is to trample over the Fourth Amendment by basically instituting a general warrant on the Internet.

      Notice even back then, he was talking about all the data - not just meta-data on phone calls - but all the data from the Internet hubs being fed to the NSA. Directly.

      The interview is long but interesting. Snowden's documents back this up. So do Binney and many others. There have been several NSA whistleblowers over several years.

      The interesting thing is that they do not contradict each other.  Each time a new one appears, they agree with what's been revealed.  Binney, for example, was a rather high level official within NSA. He agrees with Klein and Snowden (first and latest whistleblowers) both.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 10:59:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Respectfully, I think you've missed my point. (0+ / 0-)

        Of course it was news in 2006 that the NSA itself was collecting this data, but the fact remains that even if the NSA wasn't collecting all this data, its collection elsewhere is not a secret.

        It's not a secret that phone companies collect and store that data. Anyone with a cellphone gets a copy of their monthly record.

        It's not a secret and Internet companies store user data.

        So, by now, this is not at all a secret; so I don't see why Blinney and Snowden's revelations are particularly insightful. Any reasonably intelligent person can infer that "all the data"
        exists somewhere, right?  And guess what? So long as "all the data" exists, all of it will be available to analyze.

  •  Another good piece from Robinson nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Knucklehead, 3goldens
  •  Logic is a little tweeting Bird, who's song.... (0+ / 0-)

    ... smells bad. I cannot tell a lie. I'm lying.

  •  The day we discover even Lilly Ledbetter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    is being spied upon, the gig is (hopefully) up.

    No matter what this administration will have ultimately achieved in the face of eight years of Republican obstructionism, its defining characteristic will be Obama's transformation of the nation into a surveillance state, with "civil liberties" substantially redefined.

    While Hooveresque abuses have certainly taken place throughout our history, its the normalization of massive domestic data gathering that is truly remarkable.

    Let the 28th Amendment be one to amend the amendment process itself. Then, perhaps, we can transform our Constitution into a living document. (Who CARES what the Founders thought of digital data gathering?)

    by WisePiper on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 12:42:32 PM PDT

  •  So Eugene is demanding ending FISC altogether? (0+ / 0-)

    The entire reason Carter created FISC in the first place was to allow for judicial oversize without compromising national security.  Demanding that all FISC rulings be public removes the raison d'etre of FISC.  (Unless Eugene is asking for something more moderate like making FISC decisions public after 18 months or something.)

    If elimination of FISC is the ultimate goal, then great.  At least we're getting down to brass tacks instead of dickering around with changing the way appointments to FISC are made (rather than just being made by SCOTUS chief) and whatnot.

    BTW, has Wyden actually put forth a bill yet that enumerates his desired reforms?

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