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FBI insist they scrutinised Tamerlan Tsarnaev as intelligence veterans say increased surveillance would erode civil liberties

US intelligence veterans are warning that mounting criticism of the FBI for not preventing the Boston bombing risks encouraging infringements of civil liberties, such as routine surveillance of mosques and blanket use of security cameras.
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Comment Preferences

  •  In case you haven't noticed, we're already (6+ / 0-)

    living in a surveillance state. Or maybe you don't have traffic cameras in your state?

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 04:14:59 AM PDT

    •  Surveillance is grossly over-rated. (6+ / 0-)

      "They also serve who only stand and wait," but spectators are mostly useless.

      In a pedestrian society, people sit on their porches and watch the world go by. In the electronic age, cameras take pictures, which hardly anyone looks at.
      Some people are convinced that people behave themselves as society expects, if they know someone's watching. This belief serves to excuse the watching, but there's no evidence to support it. Bad actors want to be noticed. Tamerlan caught the eye of the fellow at whose feet he dropped the bomb. People who "run red lights" write letters to the newspaper to announce they resent being sent tickets in the mail. The cameras are so impersonal and they yearn for the real live cop with whom they can interact. Dzhorkhar is singing for the FBI.
      Crooks suffer from an attention deficit. Unfortunately, the perception of a deficit can also harden into a habit that can't be satisfied.
      To what extent was the Tsarnaev brothers' involvement in athletics an exercise in attention getting?

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 04:40:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For All Our Fears About Privacy (5+ / 0-)

        We crave surveillance. Right now, the American public is shouting to the government, "Please -- spy on us! Watch us! Record us!"

        The government will oblige, but I think that several factors will limit its ability to sate the demands of the people to be observed.

        One is that you do actually need several watchers for each person being observed. As a matter of numbers, it doesn't make sense. The government will be required to radically innovate to provide some sort of universal panopticon that gives people the impression of constant surveillance but actually doesn't require so much human labor for observation.

        The second is that observation is itself an activity that must be observed in a surveillance society. As government becomes more and more intensely preoccupied with spying on its own agents, it will become less effective in exerting the kind of control over society that the population is at this point so desperately craving.

        "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

        by bink on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 04:51:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Or Cookies nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, MKSinSA

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 05:55:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, that particular horse has long left the barn (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PeterHug, mookins

      World’s Top Surveillance Societies

      Privacy International, a UK privacy group, and the U.S.-based Electronic Privacy Information Center have put together a world map of surveillance societies, rating various nations for their civil liberties records.

      Both the U.S. and the UK are colored black for “endemic surveillance,” as are Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Russia, China and Malaysia.

      IOW, we are already recognized to be at the top.  But in a way, it's nice to be #1 for something other than garbage exports . . ..
  •  Following the Russian info that Tsaranov was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a radical islamist and then his posting pro-jihad material on his Russian facebook page, the gov't should have issued deportation order.  There apparently was ample info that he was pro-jihad, even if he hadn't committed any specific act.  In the future I hope known radical islamists are deported.

    •  If he were deported, he'd go back to (6+ / 0-)

      Russia. I don't think they are providing us such intel so that we send the jihadists back to them. If we had done so, they might have stopped giving us information like this. And for every thousand people who post on dangerous websites, one may actually commit a crime. We can't read minds or tell what someone is going to do years into the future.

    •  Not Sure (8+ / 0-)

      There is nothing illegal about being a radical Islamist. Should Fundamentalist Christians also be deported? To where?

      This statement seems predicated on several things that I suspect are not true:

      That being a radical Muslim is illegal
      That radical Muslims are all citizens of another country

      These brothers were U.S. citizens. There is no place to deport them to. The U.S. was their country. You can't "send them home." This was their home.

      "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

      by bink on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 04:53:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The older brother who returned to Russia (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exlrrp, Be Skeptical

        and had the pro-jihad material on his facebook was not yet a citizen. He could have been deported.  I don't think that known radical islamists--which is what older Tsaranov was--should be allowed freedom of movement in USA. We are not obligated to take into our country individuals who hate us and our way of life.

      •  Well, people who aren't citizens... (0+ / 0-)

        ...are here by the grace of the government and I think the government should have the right to deport them for things that are not illegal.

        You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

        by Rich in PA on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 08:10:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  First Amendment (0+ / 0-)

          "Congress shall make no law respecting..."

          Does not specify citizens vs non.

          I don't think the gov't can deport someone merely for disagreeing with its opinion on some subject or other.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 08:17:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  If saying stupid, anti-American things were (6+ / 0-)

      an actual crime large numbers of right wingers would be in jail. Are secession and treason more or less anti-American than pro-jihad rants? Or how about Ted Nugent threating to put his guns in the President's mouth and pulling the trigger? But saying stupid shit isn't a crime -- doing stupid shit is. And that "send them back to where they came from" line smacks of racism or nativism and if it weren't 5:00AM PDT I'd have dropped a donut on it.

      Sorry conservatives, but Occam's Razor isn't a beard trimmer for jihadists. What it means is I don't have to accept your crazy-assed theories as an alternative to reality.

      by ontheleftcoast on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 05:06:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You can't make thoughts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      illegal. No matter how horrible they are.

    •  Do you even read what you type? (0+ / 0-)
      There apparently was ample info that he was pro-jihad, even if he hadn't committed any specific act.
      So, are we deporting for an opinion?
  •  Have you ever done a real diary? (0+ / 0-)

    I think the answer is no.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 04:48:13 AM PDT

  •  We need a process (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sandbox, MKSinSA

    It's not collecting more information that we need.  Rachael Maddow had very good points on that issue.  

    How about, instead, responding to tips that authorities actually receive?

    Russia already warned them about Tamerlan.   I would think that if a country issues a warning on someone, it's worth an investigation.

    The psychiatrist tipped off campus police about James Holmes.

    And, the police went to Jared Loughner's home and asked his family to hide the guns.

    We don't need a massive pile of more information.  

    We need a process for responding to reported threats.

    •  Exactly. we are more concerned about the (0+ / 0-)

      rights of potentially dangerous mentally deranged persons and known radical islamists than about our own security.  

      •  You know that "we" includes both persons (0+ / 0-)

        w/ mental illnesses ( who, statistically, are less dangerous than "normals"), and "radical islamists"?

        Big country.

        •  However... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Be Skeptical

          Sandbox specifically mentioned "dangerous" mentally deranged persons.   Which narrows down the broad category of person with mental illness.

          And, when you combine it with my original comment that started this thread, it would be "dangerous" mentally deranged persons, who have been reported to authorities as being potentially dangerous.  

          Statistically, I doubt that category would be "less dangerous than "normals".

          Besides, the category of mental illness is so broad now, that I'm not sure there's much of a category of "normals" left.  

  •  there's no argument for it. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    these particular terrorists were caught on already existing PRIVATE surveillance cameras.

    "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster." - Nietzsche

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 05:17:11 AM PDT

    •  And our Elections and Public Square are Run by (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      elite PRIVATE forces.

      Corporations and the state are the same thing.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 05:58:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We already are although we can shoot each other (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In the street.

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