which I wrote in a free-flowing discussion on a private list. Since these are my thoughts, and I do not quote or refer to the words of anyone else, I feel free to share them here.
Make of them what you will.
do not grant to the military-intelligence complex the right to determine for itself what are legitimate functions and targets of intelligence gathering. Surely in a system whose governing document begins "We the People" must have a mechanism the provides for strict oversight and control, and gives no blank checks or free get of out jail cards, whether for the intelligence gathering by electronic means or for the use of methods of torture in an attempt to "gain information" from human subjects.
That does not put me in the category of Henry Stimson who as Secretary of War in the early part of the 20th Century shut down our early efforts at signals intelligence by saying that gentlemen do not read one another's mail.
One clear function on signals intelligence should be the PROTECTION of American communications, those of our government, those of our business interests, and those of ordinary Americans. To do that certainly requires an awareness of all technological methods.
more below the fold
What we are confronted with now is clear evidence that the military-intelligence complex has gone wauy out of bounds, and when caught, no one is held to account:
- the CIA destroys the tapes of the waterboarding of suspects
- Panetta argues for no prosecution of CIA agents who committed abuses
- the US Government uses "state secrets" to shut down legitimate attempts to reach justice
- the NSA is found by the almost rubber-stamp FISC to have been well outside the bounds of what was authorized, yet there are no punishments and for years even that decision is left totally outside the purview of the American people and those who seek to inform us in the press
I could list many more exemplars of the problem.
When I use the framing of military-intelligence complex, it is in large part because the NSA is PART of the DoD and is always headed by a serving flag officer, and because often either the number 1 or number 2 in the CIA is a serving officer, and because many key personnel at CIA are active duty military.
Where do we draw the line?
What qualifies as appropriate controls and oversight?
With an administration which is demanding "accountability" for school teachers, why is there so little accountability in Intelligence and Military?
Of what meaning at this point are the protections of the 4th Amendment?
These are but a few of the issues that should be being debated, not whether Bradley Manning deserves a 35 year sentence or Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden are traitors - when the government suppresses all avenues of disclosure opf and responsibility for its wrong-doing, when it prohibits even those Senators who have at least some knowledge of the wrongdoing from speaking about it specifically, even to their fellow Senators, then we as a people become dependent upon others to force disclosure so that we can have the appropriate discussions.