which was a front=page iteo in MOnday's Washington Posy
His column is titled NSA’s misguided snooping on innocent people and it is well worth your time to read.
There are three key paragraphs in the middle3:
The NSA seeks something like omniscience regarding electronic communications. But it is not enough to have a crucial tidbit of information stored on a server somewhere. For that information to be useful, it has to be identifiable and accessible. The more indiscriminately you amass data, the harder it is to find the relevant bits.I offer a few thoughts of my own beneath the squiggle
The NSA’s position is essentially that the bigger the haystack it can gather, the more needles it can find. But given the ever-increasing volume of electronic communications around the world, what sense does it make for the NSA to clutter its data banks with information about people — foreign and domestic — who pose no threat? Retaining this material, apparently for up to five years, is not just an invasion of the targets’ privacy but also a waste of the NSA’s capacity for storage and analysis.
If NSA officials are so confident they can manage the unimaginably vast quantities of data the agency is assembling, then why have they repeatedly given public assurances that Snowden — whom they frequently describe as a lowly analyst — had no access to the kind of sensitive data he gave to The Post? Does the agency really have any idea of what is already in its databases? Does the NSA know who might be sifting through this material? And for what purposes?
First, I think Robinson is too willing to give the NSA kudoes for successes in using these programs. We know they have lied in the past about supposed terrorist plots stopped by using their snooping capacities. James Clapper has been caught in outright lies to the Congress, and it should not matter whether or not he was under oath, he should be fired if not prosecuted.
Second, we know the NSA has lied about what Snowden was able to access, as the latest post story makes clear.
There are many areas in which the Obama administration has been disappointing. For me, their continuation of and doubling down on the Bush education policy is something that I as a professional educator take very personally.
But as a threat to the well-being of this nation, Obama's failure to rein in the intelligence community has to be among the worst. Leon Panetta effectively preventing the prosecution of CIA personnel who tortured, in violation of US law and international agreements, has to be as bad as anything any administration has ever done. It besmirches the good name of this country. We the American people did not even tacitly agree to that, that there be no accountability.
The NSA is also very stupid in their attempts to spin this. Time and again they have made statements that subsequent publication of material released by Snowden have shown to be patently false. The Intelligence community repeatedly lies to the American people, which leads me to ask two crucial questions
1. do they similarly lie to and obfuscate to their overseers in the Congress?? We know the answer to that - James Clapper has conclusively demonstrated that they do.
2. Do they lie and obfuscate to the President of the United States? I do not know the answer to that, but it would not surprise me in the least were that the case. Nor at this point would it surprise me if they did not and Obama had full knowledge of how our supposed rights as Americans are constantly being violated.
I was surprised in 2006 for the first Yearly Kos that more of us were not either prevented from getting on planes or subjected to more intrusive searches. While there are things for which I respect and have praised this administration, the failure to rein in and hold accountable the intelligence community bothers me even more than the atrocious education policy.
That more Democrats in the Congress do not speak out more forcefully also bothers me.
I wonder it between the conservative majority on the Supreme Court and the unleashing of the intelligence community without meaningful accountability means the Fourth Amendment protections are now empty words>
Read Robinson's column.
Draw your own conclusions.
I have already drawn mine.