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This diary is based on two excellent pieces on NPR on the NSA.

They interviewed Thomas Drake who is a member of DK and a client of Jesselyn Radack. The links for the articles came from her twitter feed.

unR̶A̶D̶A̶C̶K̶ted ‏@JesselynRadack 7m
Re: Hiding truth f/ #overseers, the running joke at #NSA was: "Who are we at war with, the terrorists or Congress?"
http://n.pr/...
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 unR̶A̶D̶A̶C̶K̶ted ‏@JesselynRadack  12m
#NSA #whistleblower '@Thomas_Drake1 on @npr Morning Edition yesterday, http://n.pr/... , & today http://n.pr/...
#surveillance

I will link each article directly in the text below the squiggle.

Do the citizens have the right to know what is being done in our name at the NSA and other 16 surveillance state organizations?

Suppose a top leader at the NSA thinks that they are violating the constitution and the citizens should know about it, what should be done with them?

I think this could be called intimidation.

Bill Binney worked at the National Security Agency nearly three decades...

...Binney recalls the July morning seven years ago when a dozen gun-wielding FBI agents burst through the front door of his home, ...

"I first knew that they were in there when they were pointing a gun at me as I was coming out of the shower," Binney says.

Well there are checks and balances and a chain of command to congress which has oversight. Our founding fathers fought to construct a republic to preserve privacy by being based on the rule of law as described in the constitution.
...other NSA colleagues who also quit tried sounding the alarm with congressional committees. But because they did not have documents to prove their charges, nobody believed them. Snowden, he says, did not repeat that mistake.
Thomas Drake says that Snowen had such an impact because he had the documents. Drake tried to speak out on potentially unconstitutional programs but
"The only person who was investigated, prosecuted, charged in secret, then was indicted, then ended up facing trial and 35 years in prison was myself," he says.
This is from the first NPR article

Before Snowden: The Whistleblowers Who Tried To Lift The Veil

I'll give the link to the second NPR article at the start

The Challenge Of Keeping Tabs On The NSA's Secretive Work

At the NSA's closely guarded headquarters in Fort Meade, Md., there is little evidence of tension with Congress. A large sign on the wall of the agency's briefing room for visitors reads: "Fully Committed to Protecting the Privacy Rights of the American People."
Now that we have the Snowden documents, previous whistle blowers can speak out more.
"And the joke that went around NSA was who are we at war with, right, the terrorists or Congress?" Drake says. "It was clear that the priority by NSA leadership was, we're at war with Congress — we're not going to let them know what the truth is. NSA had a lot to hide."
Even though Clapper lied, congress could do nothing about it.
Though Wyden knew Clapper's answer was not correct, he could not say anything at the time because the program remained secret. But when Snowden's revelations about the NSA went public, Clapper was pressed about the answer he'd given Wyden. He called it "the least untruthful" statement he could have made about the secret program. Later, Clapper wrote Congress to say the answer he'd given to Wyden's question had been "clearly erroneous."
A couple of weeks ago there was a congressional hearing of NSA and they were not sworn in. What has happened to our "democracy'?

And the article final paragraph

Of course, before Snowden's revelations, the American people didn't know what their elected representatives knew about when it came to what was going on at the NSA. And those representatives still can't be sure that they know all they should.
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Comment Preferences

  •  At war with everyone... n/t (10+ / 0-)

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 10:21:39 AM PDT

  •  The NSA is a rogue operation (18+ / 0-)

    The only thing that will bring them under control is full transparency, more Snowdens or a budget cut.

    How much is the $52 billion “Black Budget,” really?

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 10:26:30 AM PDT

  •  What has happened to our "democracy"? (8+ / 0-)

    It seems so elusive now. Assaults on democracy coming at such a steady pace, that it is WTF, felt over and over again.

    _______________The DOD/ War Department, which consumes 22% of the national budget, is the world's largest employer with 3.2 million employees.

    by allenjo on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 10:49:49 AM PDT

  •  Thank you Edward Snowden... (13+ / 0-)

    for helping to reveal the man behind the curtain.  The danger for the PTB is allowing Snowden to escape punishment; that will only ensure more Snowden's come forth.  

    The most un-convincable man is the one whose paycheck depends on remaining unconvinced. -- H. L. Mencken

    by kharma on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 10:50:28 AM PDT

  •  "Everything is awesome!" (7+ / 0-)

    "Everything is cool when you're part of a team!"

  •  Thomas Drake....... (9+ / 0-)
    I never imagined in ’75 that in a short 26 years later that I would become confronted by the stark reality that my own government would jettison the Constitution.
    And doing so in the deepest of secrecy under the mantle, the excuse, the label of “national security”. I shudder every time I hear national security invoked. Somehow it’s some “special dispension” when you use it in any sentence, that “justifies” anything when it’s done for (ostensibly) national security purposes.
    It’s not rule of law. This secret law, secret rule, executive authoritarianism has saddled up again. [Indeed, the government now uses secret evidence, secret evidence, secret witnesses, and even secret laws.]
    In many respects, the most virulent form [of tyranny] is when it’s least obvious.

    There’s already a digital fence all around us. Extraordinary reach by the government, often in direct partnership with certain corporations, usually very large corporations.

    It’s actually replacing the body politic with an alien substance. And it’s certainly not the form of government – or substance of government – that I took an oath to support and defend four times.

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/...

    _______________The DOD/ War Department, which consumes 22% of the national budget, is the world's largest employer with 3.2 million employees.

    by allenjo on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:14:57 AM PDT

    •  hadn't seen that. thanks for it. n/t (4+ / 0-)

      “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

      by pfiore8 on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:16:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  your link to "NSA Exec: We’re In a Police State" (5+ / 0-)

      had not seen that article before on the interview of Thomas Drake

      it is a lot stronger than the NPR story

      I never imagined in ’75 that in a short 26 years later that I would become confronted by the stark reality that my own government would jettison the Constitution.
      we have had a coup d'etat when this is happening. I added the bold.
      In many respects, the most virulent form [of tyranny] is when it’s least obvious.

      There’s already a digital fence all around us. Extraordinary reach by the government, often in direct partnership with certain corporations, usually very large corporations.

      It’s actually replacing the body politic with an alien substance. And it’s certainly not the form of government – or substance of government – that I took an oath to support and defend four times.

      and the interview goes on to more topics

      in other words, having Snowden's documents opens up the space for past and future whistle blowers, and members of congress, to give more evidence

      here is the article with the title

      Senior NSA Executive: We’re In a Police State

      •  far beyond any stated purpose of common defense (5+ / 0-)

        I don't recall how I came to that link, most probably from Joe's Evening Blues diary (where the real news is ), Don.

        Do you think we already have tyranny in the U.S.? Or how close do you think we are?
        THOMAS DRAKE: We’re not an actual fascist surveillance state in the traditionally defined sense of the word.

        Even the Stasi – who were the dreaded secret police in East Germany, a country upon which I became an expert during my RC-135 crypto-linguist and electronic warfare days, during the latter days of the cold war, even going into the ’70s, when they would use rather harsh techniques on their own population, or dissidents, or those who were considered enemies of the state – they actually went to psychological techniques.

        The term they used was “zersetzlich” – the German translation is “to decompose”, really to fragment you, to isolate you. That’s psychological … and that has far greater greater impact.
        So what you would do is selectively go after certain people to send the message. So you don’t have to be taking people off the street each and every day. Because that’s an obvious thing, and you’re going to resist it.
        Remember, this is ultimately about social control. This is about social tracking. [He's right.] It goes far beyond any stated purpose of providing for common defense ….

        This upends it, because now you’re using the very instruments of power to track and control your own population. And it’s better [from the perspective of those in power] to do it behind the scenes and without the population knowing fully how you’re doing it, as opposed to being on the street with tanks on the corners.

        _______________The DOD/ War Department, which consumes 22% of the national budget, is the world's largest employer with 3.2 million employees.

        by allenjo on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:39:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  John Napier Tye (4+ / 0-)
      When I started at the State Department, I took an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States.

      I don’t believe that there is any valid interpretation of the Fourth Amendment that could permit the government to collect and store a large portion of U.S. citizens’ online communications, without any court or congressional oversight, and without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

      Such a legal regime risks abuse in the long run, regardless of whether one trusts the individuals in office at a particular moment.

      I am coming forward because I think Americans deserve an honest answer to the simple question:

      What kind of data is the NSA collecting on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?

      _______________The DOD/ War Department, which consumes 22% of the national budget, is the world's largest employer with 3.2 million employees.

      by allenjo on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:49:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Breaking: Secret Govnt Rules to label terrorist (3+ / 0-)

    Have not heard from Jeremy Scahill for a while. He is working at The Intercept with Glenn Greenwald

    Blacklisted: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

    By Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux 23 Jul 2014, 2:45 PM EDT 1

    The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.
    The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place “entire categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.” It also allows for dead people to be watch listed.
    •   “state secrets” and executive privilege (4+ / 0-)
      THOMAS DRAKE: Yes. Remember, this is behind the scenes. Secret evidence collected for national intelligence purposes gets “repurposed”. The cover of collecting for intelligence purposes gives me wide purview, because I also have enabling act legislation that’s allowed me to do that – and then some – plus the secret interpretations. [See this for an explanation of the "secret interpretations".] And I can take that evidence – which completely flips our system of justice – and then I can use it for other purposes. In this case, they can use it to go after people with evidence that was actually gained by other means and then use that as the hidden cover … and then assert a standard judicial mechanisms when you go after somebody as if it was traditional law enforcement.
      When in fact, you are actually corrupting the justice system, you’ve actually flipped the whole notion of innocent until proven guilty and the whole notion of – and this is crucial – under fifth and sixth amendment, never mind the fourth (as to how it was acquired) you have the right to face your accusers … you have a right to face witnesses.
      How do you face your accusers when – and I saw this, unfortunately – in my own criminal case – that whole process is completely subverted?  


      That raises the ugly specter of a police state mentality. We’re just going to go after anybody and how convenient is it to have mass surveillance data and “evidence”. If we already have it, then it’s not probable cause … but we’re going to assert it, because we have it. And it’s secret evidence. It’s literally secret evidence gained by other means. And then you hide behind “state secrets” and executive privilege.

      _______________The DOD/ War Department, which consumes 22% of the national budget, is the world's largest employer with 3.2 million employees.

      by allenjo on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 12:20:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well just wait until those lists are used to (0+ / 0-)

      implement something like the Sibyl System where if your criminal/terrorist score is too high then they send someone out to either lock you up indefinitely without trial or simply summarily execute you.  

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 02:10:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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