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Serious questions have been raised regarding the surveillance programs employed by the United States government, based on reporting and information that has been leaked by sources and by statements and information released by the government itself in response. The reporters on the matter have been doing careful work, well sourced and based on the reported record. As a result of this careful work, the hostility of the government regarding the reporting has been overwhelmed by public concern, both from public officials and the electorate.

This careful work has led to a serious debate and hopefully, much needed reform.

If instead of taking this careful approach, the reporting and commenting on the subject had instead fallen into irresponsible "just asking questions" conspiracy theory mongering, it is my view that these legitimate issues would have been dismissed.

At one time, Daily Kos enforced, both through community norms, and subsequently, through site rules, an anti-CT diary policy, with the following quote capturing the policy -"extraordinary claims and theories require extraordinary proof."

The genesis of this approach sprang from the desire to have the site be an effective activist mechanism for arguing for change and organizing for change. The issue gained prominence in 2004, after John Kerry lost a close election to George W. Bush, and some groups and persons were claiming that the election was stolen in Ohio through electronic fraud, an extraordinary claim.

Many of us were skeptical, to say the least, of the claims. We believed that voter suppression was the issue that required our attention and that unsupported claims of electronic voting fraud were not only outlandish and unsupported, but counterproductive to addressing the issue of voter suppression.

It is my view that outlandish unsupported claims regarding alleged actions of the government intelligence services are also counterproductive to addressing and arguing for real reform in this area.

I hope that folks who share the goal of addressing the issues of the government's surveillance activities takes this into account when they decide to support unsubstantiated and unsupported  speculation regarding actions of the government intelligence agencies.

"I'm just asking questions" is no defense for this type of behavior, as the counterproductive effects far outweigh the discussion that ensues.

Does the site still adhere to the anti-CT view? I believe it should. But I speak for me only not for the administration of the site.

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