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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  Since these are my thoughts, and I do not quote or refer to the words of anyone else, I feel free to share them here.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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:44:07 AM PDT

  •  As a citizen, you are held accountable (9+ / 0-)
    With an administration which is demanding "accountability" for school teachers, why is there so little accountability in Intelligence and Military?
    Average citizens are held accountable in just about every facet of their lives, and the consequences are becoming more and more severe. Yet, there are powerful people in government, finance, the military, who are essentially immune from laws or even basic accountability. Under these conditions, it is impossible to trust the government to tell the truth regarding these programs, which we need to carry out our role as informed citizens in a democracy. There is no disincentive for officials to not lie or mislead people, or to abuse power. What kind of message are we being sent when James Clapper lies to congress, and not only is he not prosecuted (a la Clemens), he doesn't even lose his job?
  •  Good ones. (6+ / 0-)

    A few raw bullets:

    -  Succinctly - we own ourselves - IRL or digital.  

    Americans need to own our own demographic & biometric. Any private use should be restricted to the citizen's direct transaction only. Any public of the owned data use should be by a court order. No sharing should be allowed until an explicit opt in permission is granted. I don't care if IP traffic or even analog phone content is analyzed but to be connected to an individual (e.g., demographic or biometric data) requires a court or the citizen's permission.

    This is the most important issue IMO. This frames surveillance into a very different set of boundaries. Data retention and archival, even architected Big Data with limits, are not as much of a concern to me but access is.

    - FISC should be completely transparent to Congress, the Supreme Court and maybe a few exceptions limited to just the Intel Comm.

    - the separation of military and policing needs to be rigorous. The confusion of the boundaries between Homeland Security, military, and police needs to be fixed - in public, transparently, easily & universally understood, with oversight. On CSPAN!

  •  New NSA revelation: Purposeful snooping by NSA (11+ / 0-)

    analysts.  The Hill: NSA admits analysts purposefully violated citizens' privacy rights:


    National Security Agency officials deliberately overstepped their legal authority multiple times in the past decade, the agency acknowledged on Friday.

        The admission contradicts previous statements by lawmakers and the Obama administration that any privacy violations were unintentional.

        "Over the past decade, very rare instances of willful violations of NSA’s authorities have been found, but none under [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] or the Patriot Act," the agency said in a statement. "NSA takes very seriously allegations of misconduct, and cooperates fully with any investigations – responding as appropriate. NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities."

    Why am I not surprised that this comes out on a Friday afternoon in August?

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 12:38:38 PM PDT

  •  It is past time (6+ / 0-) revisit the national security architecture that was put into place in 1947-1953 and subsequent increases and ask some fundamental questions about what threatens the citizens of the US, what constitutes national interests, and what the most reasonable responses the public should tolerate in democracy are.

    Secrecy is corrosive of democracy.  The Constitution these days has got huge holes in its Bill of Rights protections through the accretion of bad laws and bad precedents.  It time to get rid of all the accretions, figure out how to fill the holes, and restore the luster of those guarantees of human rights that drew so many people here.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 02:01:45 PM PDT

  •  going back to the Tenth Century might be good (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DFWmom, davidincleveland
    That does not put me in the category of Henry Stimson who as Secretary of War in the early part of the 10th Century shut down our early efforts at signals intelligence by saying that gentlemen do not read one another's mail.  

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 02:53:49 PM PDT

  •  EPIC FAIL: #1: There are NO "private" lists.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    haven't you been paying attention? :)  J/K

    Nice discussion, we will need a lot more of this going into the future, thanks Ken.

  •  Systematic Failures (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, davidincleveland

    In my own training, in IT work, we learned that systems which rely on a single point of failure, are not secure systems.   The system which allows one Edward Snowden to become a massive threat to our nation, is not the fault of Snowden.  It is the fault of the system that left the door unlocked for a Snowden to walk through.

    It's like a bank relying on a single person to have the codes to the safe, the front door, the security system, and everything else.    A good system will SEPARATE those functions, exactly so that no single person can walk in the front door, open the safe, and walk back out, without getting caught.   If it takes one person to open the door, one person to open the vault, and one person to disable the alarm, then the contents of the vault is more secure.

    Beyond the question of whether we have a right to gather and retain what we have in our information vault, another question is how the government safeguards what is in our vault.

    Edward Snowden committed the equivalent of walking off with undetermined quantities of the Gold in Fort Knox.   Perhaps, if Fort Knox is not secure, we should not be storing our gold there.

    The government knows that this is their failure.  But, like a good magician, if they keep waving Snowden or Manning like the handkerchief is waved by the left hand as the right hand sneaks in the pocket, our government hopes that we will never notice that they left the vault door open and invited the thieves in.

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