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I am sure this has been considered - and probably dismissed as tinfoil hatism.

One possible reason why Obama et. al. can't take legitimate steps to stop NSA abuses is that there are things that they know that he does not want to be disclosed.  This goes for Feinstein, Clinton, Cheney, et. al.

Knowing that the NSA can and has been dragnetting all,  ALL, communications for years it is fairly easy to see scenarios where an newly elected President could discover that everything he has ever said, everyone he has ever talked to is known.

This seems to me the biggest threat from the NSA.  Institutional power that is beyond the control of any elected public servant.

All good intentions and objectives could be quickly co-opted by this type of institutional power.

Just sayin. . .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Recycle of Hoover (8+ / 0-)

    J Edgar Hoover was widely believed to have extensive blackmail files against large numbers of people in government, protecting his position.  The national surveillance state has complete files on everyone, which works until they hit someone who does not care about the threat and is adequately placed to put the national surveillance state down.

    Restore the Fourth! Save America!

    by phillies on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 08:20:07 PM PST

  •  Perhaps, but... (11+ / 0-)

    I think he just approves of these activities and really doesn't want them changed.

    He's practically had to be forced into whatever steps he's taken to address the issue so far. Even then, he seems to consider it little more than an inconvenient PR problem.

    If his heart was in it, people would have been fired and he would've handled the Snowden affair a lot differently.

  •  The NSA and DSL, like the Pentagon, have become (5+ / 0-)

    a power unto themselves, with their own constituency. There's a lot of money going to contractors and suppliers who have the means to swing elections with campaign contributions.

    I have no doubt that the NSA has the means to blackmail many members of Congress. But I suspect the President is simply avoiding battles that he doesn't have the strength to win.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 10:04:09 PM PST

    •  I don't know whether you're correct (4+ / 0-)

      but that comment makes sense to me.

      Also, once a person or group or organization has been bequeathed power, they are loathe to give it up.

      And so it is with the NSA -- to all our peril. Including POTUS's.

      English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

      by Youffraita on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 01:04:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Worse, however..., (5+ / 0-)

        ... is the fact that a government agency has given their power to collect this information to a CORPORATION.

        That, in my book, is unforgivable.

        The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.
             — President John F. Kennedy
        I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
             — Thomas Jefferson, 1816
        The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
             — Franklin D. Roosevelt, April 29, 1938, message to Congress
        Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.
             — Benito Mussolini

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 02:53:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Youffraita. Cf: (0+ / 0-)

        Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

        by Tortmaster on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 05:04:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  You're right on both counts: (0+ / 0-)
    "I am sure this has been considered - and probably dismissed as tinfoil hatism."
    Hence, the hide rate for conspiracy theory. I can tell it is CT because you provide no facts to back up your massively horrible allegation. Moreover, you chose to single out two Democrats. The other easy tell was the fact that you provide no other options. You leave Occam's Razor on the shelf. What if the President thinks that Government works and that the foundation of Government is to strike a balance between privacy and security? Perhaps the President and Secretary Clinton also believe in the Rule of Law, not suspecting that somebody would knowingly risk their freedom for decades to steal and use this type of material for personal or political gain, but just in case, having healthy deterrents in place? What if the President is a little more familiar with the safeguards provided by the three branches of Government than you are?

    In other words, the only thing you are peddling is conspiracy theory.  

    Your post also gets into "capability" versus "reality." Where is the evidence for this statement, and do you understand the difference between content and metadata:

    ... dragnetting all,  ALL, communications for years....
    I've seen many people site the Church Committee for what they did in 1975 and 1976. Did you know that in the interim, during those 37 years, the following has happened (and this is missing a lot):

    1979 - Hostages taken at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran
    1983 - Bombing of U.S. Embassy in Beirut
    1983 - Bombing of Marine barracks in Beirut
    1983 - Bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait  
    1984 - CIA Station Chief William Buckley kidnapped
    1984 - Bombing of U.S. Embassy annex northeast of Beirut
    1984 - Hijacking of Kuwait Airways Flight 221
    1985 - Hijacking of TWA Flight 847
    1985 to
    1986 - Hijacking of cruise ship Achille Lauro;Bombing of Rome, Vienna airports
    1986 - Bombing of La Belle Discotheque
    1988 - Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103

    H.W. Bush

    (If you check out this chart at Mother Jones you'll see that more terrorism on a per annum basis occurred during this President's tenure than even his predecessor and successor.)


    1993 - The first World Trade Center bombing
    1995 - Attempted crashing of plane on White House
    1995 - Oklahoma City bombing
    1996 - Khobar Towers bombing - Saudi Arabia
    1998 - U.S. Embassy bombings Kenya/Tanzania
    2000 - USS Cole Bombing - Yemen


    2002: Hesham Mohamed Hadayet kills 2 at the El Al ticket counter at LAX.
    January 22, 2002. Calcutta, India. Gunmen associated with Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami attack the U.S. Consulate. Five people are killed.
    2002: Beltway Snipers John Allen Muhammed and Boyd Lee Malvo kill 10; Malvo later testifies attacks motivated by "jihad."
    June 14, 2002. Karachi, Pakistan. Suicide bomber connected with al-Qaida attacks the U.S. Consulate, killing 12 and injuring 51.
    October 12, 2002. Denpasar, Indonesia. U.S. diplomatic offices bombed as part of a string of “Bali Bombings.” No fatalities.
    February 28, 2003. Islamabad, Pakistan. Several gunmen fire upon the U.S. Embassy. Two people are killed.
    May 12, 2003. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Armed al-Qaida terrorists storm the diplomatic compound killing 36 people including nine Americans. The assailants committed suicide by detonating a truck bomb.
    July 30, 2004. Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A suicide bomber from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacks the U.S. Embassy, killing two people.
    December 6, 2004. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida terrorists storm the U.S. Consulate and occupy the perimeter wall. Nine people are killed.
    March 2, 2006. Karachi, Pakistan again. Suicide bomber attacks the U.S. Consulate killing four people, including U.S. diplomat David Foy who was directly targeted by the attackers. (I wonder if Lindsey Graham or Fox News would even recognize the name “David Foy.” This is the third Karachi terrorist attack in four years on what’s considered American soil.)
    September 12, 2006. Damascus, Syria. Four armed gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar” storm the U.S. Embassy using grenades, automatic weapons, a car bomb and a truck bomb. Four people are killed, 13 are wounded.
    January 12, 2007. Athens, Greece. Members of a Greek terrorist group called the Revolutionary Struggle fire a rocket-propelled grenade at the U.S. Embassy. No fatalities.
    March 18, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Members of the al-Qaida-linked Islamic Jihad of Yemen fire a mortar at the U.S. Embassy. The shot misses the embassy, but hits nearby school killing two.
    July 9, 2008. Istanbul, Turkey. Four armed terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate. Six people are killed.
    September 17, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Terrorists dressed as military officials attack the U.S. Embassy with an arsenal of weapons including RPGs and detonate two car bombs. Sixteen people are killed, including an American student and her husband (they had been married for three weeks when the attack occurred). This is the second attack on this embassy in seven months. (This is not my work see links above).

    Yeah, I know that I missed a ton. There's no President Carter in the lists above. As you can see, there's a "capability" versus "reality" issue that needs to be dealt with, and that's another reason for the hide rate for ct. The Government is "capable" of ordering the two million people it provides weapons to to subdue the public or destroy an opposition party. Why no ct about that? Historically, that's the way these things go down. Do you believe in the rule of law when it comes to two million men and women with tanks and bazookas but not when it comes to 22 men and women with restricted access to metadata?  

    Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

    by Tortmaster on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 04:59:32 AM PST

    •  What is your point? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There's a vast difference between failing to stop terrorists and holding the threat of blackmail over someone's head.

    •  A list of intelligence failures does not mean (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      there is no chance for abuse of secret power.

      I meant to include rebublicans as examples but skipped it.

      The point is that the NSA power structure is beyond scrutiny  and has been pretty well exposed for vast domestic spying - on EVERYONE.

      It was fairly clear in recent Congressional hearings that it at least includes Representatives and Senators.  Snowden gave the example of the President.  And it is true that the NSA was capturing private communications of foreign allies.

      In this context, why would you not expect that any newly elected President not discover that any mistake, weakness, foible, wart, etc. in his past is known to the people that he might attempt to rein in, cut budget, restrict illegal operations, etc.?

      Without oversight, this is clearly possible and a fundamental threat to democracy - as cited in the quotes above.

    •  Well, at least you took the time... (0+ / 0-)

      to actually leave a comment explaining your HR, for a change.

      You're making progress, Tortmaster!

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