I offered this first as a comment to a Spiegel Online article. Here it is with slight modifications to support its stand-alone status here.
Edward Snowden, of Verizon metadata and PRISM outing fame, thinks of himself as a whistleblower, and so do many who agree with him that the US’ PRISM program and its program for collecting metadata from cellphone providers are terribly wrong programs.
This is just starting to come out, even though it occurred in early April. The Examiner is reporting that Tom Francois got a visit from President Barack Obama’s Secret Service. Francois had been a cabinet maker of some duration and skill until the Panic of 2008 did his business in. Since, he’s been an active critic of the Obama administration via various social media.
From his critiques, the Secret Service paid him a visit, followed by a visit to his daughter and to his ex-wife. They also demanded to see his weapons and threatened to confiscate them if he “stepped over the line.”
In no particular order, we’ve had in just the last few months the following:
1. The State Department leaving Benghazi consulate personnel to die, with too little security and no effort to help real-time; a President who absented himself from the situation in favor of a political campaign; and subsequent lies and cover-ups by both about events surrounding that.
2. The Department of Justice targeting our free press and individual members of it in order to suppress reporting of the secret doings of our government.
DNI James Clapper, over the weekend, declassified and released a Fact Sheet on the just revealed PRISM project. PRISM is represented as an internal government IT program whose purpose is to gather
foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act….
All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. In short, Section 702 facilitates the targeted acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning foreign targets located outside the United States under court oversight.
In a Friday op-ed, the editors of the WSJ had this to say, among other things, about the government’s invasion of American privacy in the name of “security.”
The effectiveness of data-mining is proportional to the size of the sample, so the NSA must sweep broadly to learn what is normal and refine the deviations. A nongovernment analogue might be the credit card flags that freeze payment when, say, a New Yorker goes on a shopping spree in Phoenix.
This is a preview of
The Wall Street Journal’s Embarrassing…Naiveté
. Read the full post (448 words, estimated 1:48 mins reading time)
…when I wish The New York Times could still be taken seriously. Their editorial in this morning’s edition is one of those times.
Read it in full. It still beats the drums for some of NYT‘s hobby horses (not to mix metaphors, or anything), but those are asides; the central point is plain. It may be that the NYT finally is waking up to reality.
Permanent link to this post
(67 words, estimated 16 secs reading time)
On 15 May, Attorney General Eric Holder testified under oath before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that
With regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I have ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be a wise policy.
Yet he had already been consulted concerning, and subsequently approved, a search warrant application to search the personal emails of an individual reporter (James Rosen of Fox News), a warrant that said in part
Because of the Reporter’s [Rosen's] own potential criminal liability in this matter….
Peggy Noonan wants an investigation into the IRS and its behavior over the last few years. She has ample justification for one:
We do not know who ordered the targeting of conservative groups and individuals, or why, or exactly when it began. We don’t know who executed the orders or directives. We do not know the full scope or extent of the scandal. We don’t know, for instance, how many applicants for tax-exempt status were abused.
President Barack Obama had this to say, also, in that…speech:
We unequivocally banned torture, affirmed our commitment to civilian courts, worked to align our policies with the rule of law, and expanded our consultations with Congress.
Let’s see how he did that:
He banned interrogation techniques that produced results, after torture had already been banned for years.
He’s been pushing for five years to try terrorists and other illegal combatants as common criminals and to try Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp in New York courts or to release them outright.
This is a preview of
Some Later Thoughts on Obama’s Counterterrorism Speech
. Read the full post (331 words, estimated 1:19 mins reading time)
David Axelrod, long-time trusted advisor to President Barack Obama, told MSNBC in a mid-May interview,
Part of being president is there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast[.]
He said this in defending Obama’s claimed ignorance of the doings of the IRS, DoJ’s attacks on the press, and so on.
There’s no greater proof than this of the desperate need to shrink the Federal government, reduce its scope of activity, slash its budget, generally rein it in, and to restore it to the control of the American citizenry.