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Surveillance, National Security And The Constitution

Surveillance, the Constitution and national security. What are we now willing to live with?

This image made available by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows an undated image of Edward Snowden, 29. Snowden worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency and is the source of The Guardian's disclosures about the U.S. government's secret surveillance programs, as the British newspaper reported Sunday, June 9, 2013. (AP Photo/The Guardian, Ewen MacAskill)

This image made available by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows an undated image of Edward Snowden, 29. Snowden worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency and is the source of The Guardian’s disclosures about the U.S. government’s secret surveillance programs, as the British newspaper reported Sunday, June 9, 2013. (Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian/AP)

Edward Snowden — the man who leaked word of massive U.S. government surveillance programs is holed up in Hong Kong Monday. And holed up with him — Glenn Greenwald, the blogger/journalist who took the leak, broke the story.

Glenn Greenwald is with us from Hong Kong this hour. At the heart of the firestorm swirling right now around the leak and the news — that the National Security Agency has gone much further than we knew in sweeping up data from around the planet. Raising core questions around surveillance, security, civil liberties, the Constitution.

This hour On Point: Glenn Greenwald, national security and the surveillance state.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Glenn Greenwald, lawyer, journalist, blogger and author. He reported on NSA surveillance of phone records and Internet activity for The Guardian. (Watch his interview with Edward Snowden.) He’s on the board of directors of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, along with Daniel Ellsberg, John Perry Barlow and John Cusack. (@ggreenwald)

Steven Bucci, director of foreign policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, and an expert on cyber security there. Formerly deputy director of the IBM Institute for Advanced Security. He was deputy assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense under Donald Rumsfeld, and held several positions at the Pentagon during the Bush years. (@sbucci)

The Fourth Amendment

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Show Highlights

Greenwald on metadata and what could be known about you:

It’s hard to imagine how you could have more extremist surveillance than a program that targets every single American, regardless of wrongdoing.  And that program in particular that we reported on isn’t one where the government goes in and listens to phone conversations. It’s one where the gov’t collects the metadata — so-called metadata — about with whom you communicate and how long.  And there are telecommunications and surveillance experts who have said — both in the New York Times and The New Yorker this week — that metadata is even more invasive than being able to listen to your calls. It enables people to know who your network is of friends and associates, with whom they are then communicating, where you are when you speak, it can let people know are you gay or straight, do you have an alcohol problem, where is it that you go, how long do you stay there, with whom do you communicate and for how long.  So the fact that the government is massively collecting indiscriminately this huge database of our communication behavior is something that  President Obama now can say seems modest, but back in 2006, when the Bush administration got caught doing it, both he and Joe Biden were indignant that collecting this kind of indiscriminate data about innocent Americans was far, far over the line. I think they were right then, and I think that’s still the case.

Greenwald on terrorists, secrecy and accountability:

I defy anybody to look at any of the stories that we published over the last week and explain how national security could possibly be harmed.  The terrorists — the so-called terrorists — have known forever that the U.S. government wants to read their emails and listen in on their telephone conversations. The terrorists didn’t need us and our articles for them to know that. Any terrorist that doesn’t know the U.S. government is trying to surveil their communications is a terrorist can’t even write his own name out, let alone detonate a bomb effectively inside the United States. What has been damaged is not national security.  What has been damaged by these revelations is the reputations and credibility of the people in power who are building this massive spying apparatus completely in the dark and with no accountability.  And that, I think, is so crucial to understand — what these top secret designations are designed to do is not keep information from the terrorists or from our adversaries, it’s to keep information from the American people about what their own government is doing to them.

Bucci on intelligence clearance:

If someone doesn’t have the clearance, then no, they don’t get the information. But that’s why all of the intelligence committee members have those clearances. Those staffs have those clearances and can get it. Now, the problem is you have is like Mr. Snowden who had a clearance, like Bradley Manning who had a clearance. So they had access to this stuff, and then they decide to violate that trust and the oaths that they’ve taken. Regardless of their motivation — to be honest with you, they’ve broken federal law. So it’s not somebody potentially arresting them is not retribution; it’s called enforcing the law.

Greenwald on the U.S. government’s abuse of power:

The American government — I know it’s shocking, but even Americans in power what they do when they have surveillance power that is not sufficiently checked, they abuse it systematically. That’s what happened not in East Germany or other bad, distant countries, but right here in the United States of America because human beings are human beings, and that is human nature. Our entire country is based on a mistrust of political power that is exercised without the necessary checks on making sure that power is not abused. Secrecy is anti-thesis of constraint and check and limitation. Secrecy is what breeds abuse of power by the very nature of what it means to be human.

Bucci on actual abuse vs. the possibility of abuse:

I spent 28 years in the army. I had the power because I had a weapon in my hand, and I could have gone out and killed anybody I wanted to in the same way Mr. Snowden said I could have surevilled anyone I wanted to. Does that mean you shouldn’t give weapons to the military? You shouldn’t give weapons to law enforcement? Because there’s a possibility that an individual could take it upon themselves to abuse that power? Or even a couple of individuals could get together and abuse that power? I think you have to, at some point, have some faith in those multiple layers of oversight. I tend to have that faith. Until there’s evidence of a specific, unlawful abuse, at which time you take action against the people involved. In this case, when you have all three parts of the government in this, that’s about as good as you can get in the oversight realm. And since we all agree there is an honest to God threat out there from terrorism, you can’t just sit back and say, well, because it might be abused at some point, then we’re not going to use that ability.

Greenwald on constitutionality and the courts:

The ACLU and other organizations have been trying for years now to go to court and to obtain an adjudication as to whether the spying system is in fact constitutional. And every time they’ve gone to court, the government has not gone into court and defended the constitutionality of what they’re doing. Instead the government goes into court and they raise all sorts of reasons why the court shouldn’t even decide that question — because it’s too secret, because nobody can say for sure that they’re actually being eavesdropped on and therefore nobody has standing to sue and obtain an adjudication.  And as a result, the question of constitutionality, which all sorts of law professors and scholars and surveillance experts have raised serious doubts about, has never even been heard in a court because the government doesn’t let it.

Greenwald on the lack of a debate about surveillance:

Everybody loves to say, “We should have a healthy debate about this.” President Obama said, “I welcome the debate.” The problem, though, is that there hasn’t ever been a debate about these programs. And because it’s all shrouded in top secrecy and the government constantly either threatens to prosecute or actually prosecutes anyone who talks about it, there never can be a debate. So what we have is this completely hypocritical contradiction, which is everybody goes around saying, “Of course we should have a debate about our surveillance policies. We shouldn’t just let the government do it and have us not know about it and not be able to debate it.” And yet, at the same time, when somebody comes forward — like Mr. Snowden — and courageously does the only thing there is to do to make us know about it, to let us debate it, they start calling for their heads. “He’s a traitor. Put him in prison.” So it is impossible to have a debate about any of these issues, precisely because they’re being conducted completely in the dark.

Bucci’s evaluation of Obama’s handling of the situation:

I do sleep well at night because I think our government has made an effort. And, believe me, I’m not big fan of the Obama administration, as you might guess, being here at Heritage. And I think there has been other egregious violations. But in the case of this particular set of programs, they have bent over backwards to try and provide that oversight, to not take it to extremes, but to balance our security and our privacy.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Guardian: NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden [VIDEO]

The Guardian: Boundless Informant: The NSA’s Secret Tool To Track Global Surveillance Data – “The National Security Agency has developed a powerful tool for recording and analysing where its intelligence comes from, raising questions about its repeated assurances to Congress that it cannot keep track of all the surveillance it performs on American communications. The Guardian has acquired top-secret documents about the NSA datamining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks.”

USA Today: Parts Of NSA’s PRISM Program Declassified – “The National Security Agency’s classified PRISM program is an internal government computer system used to manage foreign intelligence collected from Internet and other electronic service providers, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a statement Saturday. The disclosure Saturday marks the most extensive explanation the government has offered of what the program is, how it works and what it is authorized to collect.”

Associated Press: NSA: The Finder And Keeper Of Countless U.S. Secrets – “An email, a telephone call or even the murmur of a conversation captured by the vibration of a window — they’re all part of the data that can be swept up by the sophisticated machinery of the National Security Agency. Its job is to use the world’s most cutting edge supercomputers and arguably the largest database storage sites to crunch and sift through immense amounts of data. The information analyzed might be stolen from a foreign official’s laptop by a CIA officer overseas, intercepted by a Navy spy plane flying off the Chinese coast, or, as Americans found out this past week, gathered from U.S. phone records.”

 

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  • Robert Berube

    This further proves that Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin. Tea Party has lost its credibility, and Democrats are too busy waving pom-poms for Obama. This is the end of identity politics.

    • 1Brett1

      “This further proves that Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin.”

      Democrats and Republicans being two sides of the same coin didn’t really need further proof. 

      “Tea Party has lost its credibility…” 

      It lost that almost as soon as  it started. The Tea Party chose to align itself with Republicans; the Tea Party chose to take big money from certain parties so that the “movement” could acquire a powerful voice fast to influence the next election…naiveté at its finest.

      “Democrats are too busy waving pom-poms for Obama.” 

      …Hardly as simplistic as all that, but do commit the very same offense you condemn.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      i am sure it will persist

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Now THIS is a real spy story !

    I had just stepped out of the water and was taking off my wet suit, when my cell began to ring. It was that pesky producer’s secretary calling again, asking me if I had read the new spy script yet and wondering if I was ready to come in for a reading. As she went on with her sales pitch I yanked hard on my lapels and tux trying to remove what few creases that had formed. “Miss, Miss“, I interjected, “ you’ll will have to set up an appointment with my secretary, Miss Money Penny, I am somewhat preoccupied at this time, but thank you for calling”.

    I hustled quietly to the embankment, climbing, I caught a glimpse of my mission, a palace-like retreat. I could hear music as I advanced on the grounds. I remember hoping that security was remiss in their duties and that I would be able to access my target without effort. The balcony stairs, though laden with couples, laughing and talking, were effortless to penetrate. I had caught a break, the two guards were indeed “preoccupied”. The party was in full force and the band was quite good. “Delightful“, I mused to myself, “ work and pleasure”. No sooner had I thought those words, did I gaze upon a most enchanting creature. She was a ringer for Alessadro Ambrosio. “Senhora, pode me ajudar” ? My Brazilian Portuguese was weak, I feared I would be marked early .

    “ There is no need for pretense, James“ , she said, “I have been waiting for you.” “Muito Obrigado”, I started to say but puzzled that she knew my name I replied, “ You have me at a disadvantage.” Instead of answering me, she began to fondle my jacket.

    Within seconds, command released the information I needed. “James, we believe that she is an operative for the Brazilian Petroleum Consortium , she has access to those that have the information that we want .”, replied the operator to my inner ear. I couldn’t help but marvel at “Q” . A jacket that could read fingerprints in real time ! “You are a marvel “Q” “ , I thought to myself. Instantaneously, I reviewed my briefing. The Brazilian Petroleum Consortium had uncovered something extraordinary, while prospecting for oil in the deeps of the Amazon jungles, but what was it, I wondered.

    As the both of us began to smile, the orchestra began playing, “Love is in control “, as I remember. Soon after we began our dance, the operator broke in again, “James“, he said, “ A young man will be bringing you a nootropic, shaken not stirred, of course. Drink it ! He‘s a covert colonist. The information you will be retrieving must be memorized. You will have less that three hours to read and memorize three hundred pages of copy, most of which are quite intricate equations ! “Chin up, ole boy, we have faith in you, “ he snickered.

     

    It wasn’t long before she took my hand and led me to the staircase, slowly, my Brazilian angel guided me, stair by stair. The mission would wait, for now. As every good Englishman knows, every Englishman must do his duty.

     

    Notes:

    “Senhora, pode me ajudar” — Miss can you help me ?

    “Muito Obrigado” — Thank you very much.

    Alessadro Ambrosio

    http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0PDoKuOdm5QmBwAnzeLuLkF?p=Alessadro+Ambrosio&ei=utf-8&fr=sfp-img&fr2=&y=Search

     
    Nootropic
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nootropic

    If you doubt the possibility of chemicals effecting intelligence, consider the drug Dihexa, which is being studied to treat Alzheimer’s patients.
    Dihexa has been found to be seven orders of magnitude more powerful than BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor ). In other words, it would take 10 million times as much BDNF to get as much new synapse formation as Dihexa.

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-10/wsu-pad101012.php

     
    Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger), sung by :Donna Summershttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5CwtwT01PQ&feature=related

     

     

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Children singing:
    a, b, c, d, e, f, g

    Teacher:
    No, no children, we don’t use that version anymore, remember ? We are using the other version. Now everybody. Ready ? Go ?

    Children singing
    a, c, t, g, a, c, t, this is how we know the enemy .

    Teacher:
    That’s enough for today, Now hurry along to Spy Shop.
    Mr. Clapper will be showing you how to tap into bedroom computers today. You’ll need this skill to find meaningful work. Don’t forget to read the next chapter on how to spot those that are genetically unfit !

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Today’s to do list:

    1. Contact President Putin to see if our current NSA spy center infringes on any old KGB spy patents.

    2, Contact Communist China to see if President Obama or any members of Congress helped to pass military secrets, via clandestine methods, as our current spy apparatus was not able to turn up any phone numbers that led to the culprits that used the phone lines to hack into defense contractors and the Pentagon.

    3. Contact all known drug lords and know criminals that are still at large to reassure them that the NSA is not interested in them, just everyday Americans.

    4. Contact the NSA and see if they know how to send live and intercepted videos of Pussy Riot and all of those Russian topless protesters directly to my PC, as Microsoft has not provided the type of wallpaper that is of my liking. If the NSA is not up to snuff on this one ask the Pavarotti to upload the latest on Jennifer Aniston to the NSA, for redistribution. After all, it’s my tax dollars at work.

    5. Contact local private investigators and lawyers to check on The Freedom of Information guidelines for using information acquired on Americans via NSA phone and conversation logs, that may be used as evidence in divorce cases.

    6. Contact lobbyists to encourage them to push for privatization of the NSA program. Tell them to bamboozle Americans again by “showing them all the dollars that could be saved” , of course I will remind them how easy it will be to acquire any and all information on American companies, as this will make a very lucrative currency for internationalist seeking to overthrow America.

    7. Contact the US Treasury. Suggest a change in the look of the Dollar. Replace the “Divide Providence, eye above the pyramid”, with the Bluffdale Utah spy center. It should be easy to get Utah’s two Republican Senators to go along. Lindsey Graham is a shoe-in also. Donald Trump might make a fuss though. He was hoping for a picture of Kenya. Oh well, if he complains too much I’ll just tell him, “Your Fired”.

    8. Be sure to send the President and the members of Congress some fire hydrants, they have to go !

     

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    I just had to post this twice. Sorry guys. It’s just Tooo… good !

    The wired home, the wired office, wired gadgets, wired medical equipment, the cloud; prediction : soon your proctologist will be able to photograph a rectal exam, send it via the cloud directly to the mirrors in the bathrooms of the Congress and the White House.
    Here’s looking at you, kid !
    … and will have fun, fun, fun, fun, fun ‘til daddy takes the “T-Bird” away.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    I think I can explain all of those unauthorized upgrades that Yahoo and Google have made to my computer. I’m thinking it was to better serve the US “hack the average American” team at the NSA and to fill Y & G data bases.
    Boy, I can’t wait for the next haptic enhanced PC to hit the market, I’m sure it will have a fingerprint and DNA scanner built into the touch-pad and mouse. Of course your cell phone will probably have a voice recognition kit to go along with all of those other free apps. I know what your asking, “ yea, but what about men’s underwear? Not to worry, I hear they are working on a brief that will measure size and test for “real time “erection pressure. This will help all of those dating services find you the perfect match. It will also better serve those psychologist that will be dealing with “penis envy syndrome“, that is now covered under Obamacare.
    Girls, now they haven’t forgot about you. I have also heard that they have developed an echo-depth recognition device for those panties of yours. Oh, and forget the Wonder Bra, “see through G-glasses” are on the way ! How will we keep the eyes of those adolescent boys on the chalk board? Even more importantly, how will I ever get anything done around the house, as I will never be home !

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Hey Tom,

    If you get a chance today have your listeners contact the Guardian and tell them to kick up jam and ‘start a howling’ to Werewolves of London !

    http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AkOsFo6hwd3ejbD_RRbXteqbvZx4?p=warren+zevon%2C+were&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-900

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      I guess I’m just an “excitable boy” at heart !

  • Coastghost

    If the NSA’s capabilities are so far reaching, how did Edward Snowden’s activities escape NSA attention until after the fact? If US intelligence agencies have global reach, why is Edward Snowden still in Hong Kong, or has he been accompanied back to the US in the past twelve hours? Or would Mr Greenwald & Co. have us believe a drone is being readied with Mr Snowden’s name on it? (I’ve already begun thinking that if Mr S is as enamored of Iceland as he claims, the island of Surtsey might suit him just fine, although his previous annual salary of $200,000 might be of little use to him and his girlfriend there.) (And if Mr Snowden’s conscience has been decontaminated to his own liking, why is it most unlikely that he’ll be working for either the NSA or the CIA, or Booz Allen Hamilton, ever again?) –True to form, Mr S has already mouthed the defense spouted by John le Carre’s traitorous Bill Haydon (in the BBC production): “Because it was NECESSARY, that’s why! SOMEONE had to!”

  • Coastghost

    And in terms of both shows airing today: Medgar Evers exhibited courage of conviction that Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and Edward Snowden–and the bulk of American journalists–have not even dreamt of: actual courage entails somatic risk that our “cyber-heroes” appear unwilling to assume.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      thats funny i was feeling like it is just a matter of time before snowden has an “accident”

      • 1Brett1

        Well, I guess one has to get up pretty early in the morning to slip one past you, huh?

    • 1Brett1

      I liked this comment enough to read it twice…it is a straight forward, profound observation of the difference between genuine heroism and what I consider amounts to grandstanding.  Assange, Manning, and Snowden will pay some sort of  ultimate price, I suppose,  and will be hailed as heros by some, but will their actions make them true martyrs or celebrity martyrs? What did they uncover that wasn’t already known? What changes will their sacrifices yield? 

      I can’t really speak to the sincerity of their intentions, only to the conditions under which their actions took place and to the information revealed from their actions. Each man had an opportunity to really show courage and make his stunts more legitimately sustaining. It was as if each man was on to something; but, instead of carefully handling their findings, they stood on a mountain top and yelled indiscriminately while attempting to stand in the spotlight. Would a true hero wrestle a sword away from an opponent only to intentionally stab himself for a little glory? Or, do these three men possess an inordinate amount of naiveté  

      Maybe the press itself is partly to blame. A good story doesn’t need a whistle blower’s efforts; it will come to light through good journalism, which is something that rarely if ever exists anymore. 

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    From:Leaky Wiki:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MI6

    “MI-6″ and “MI6″ redirect here. For other uses, see MI-6 (disambiguation). Not to be confused with “MI5″.

    “Her Majesty’s Secret Service” redirects here. For other uses, see On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (disambiguation

    Jolly good show Tom,

    I have decided to renew my offer I made on your
    “ The Transformation Of The CIA “ show of April 14, 2013.

    http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/04/14/the-transformation-of-the-cia

    I will donate a Hundred Dollars to NPR if any of you can break my very breakable code. If you must, send it to the Guardian, I’m sure they can get it done.

    If you can decrypt the following message within 48 hours of this On Point Broadcast, I will donate $ 100.00 to NPR.

    Crib: James Bond
    ——————————————-

    ’051c651D3422162a631e671i711:241)072a631J401a631’052Q471s810h701>28221623171V521’052[571)072?2920142t821&042-112s810u831H38221623171{891)072e671#012I392X5413171^6017211e671z881<2622162(062z881{891s810$022O452J401)072z881,102l741}91192322162)072A3117211j721|901;252F3623171*082|901581,102I3922162w851C3317211I391&042S4911152|901y8717211j721|901;252J401X541v841-112j721B321S491x861%032/1327211j721|901;252F3623171x861x861d661418182222822162|901*0827211c651}911I392A312t821#012|901$0214181@3014181U511’052(062Z561N441S491$022%032*082&042Z5614181:242<262#012~921(062W531+092?292<262$022C3317211J401|901;252J401)072v841'052[5714181E3529232w8515191{891h701y8717212:242A3115191f681k731)072S491.122)0721152&042k731$022I392J401t821*082|901s810z881K4129232"0025191)0725814181F3622162%032(062&042[5714181M4325192%0325191.122^601}911D34282223171,102"002[5710142Z561?292x8615191e671W531'052E3529232x861'052(062$0214181%032?2923171581)072Z561B321
    ———————
    Second Hint:

    It is a conversation between James Bond and someone else.
    ——————
    I fear I may have said too much.

     
     

    • madnomad554

       That’s right, easy or not, go ahead and break this code and the lucky winner will have all 17 intelligence gathering agencies crawling up their a double s!!

  • SteveTheTeacher

    Thank you, Glen Greenwald.  Thank you for all you have done, and continue to do, to help make this a more just world. 

    State surveillance is well on its way to achieving the goal of providing the government with a permanent record of all of our interactions. 

    Since government officials from President Obama to the leadership of Congress and Senate continue to back these surveillance programs, it seems that there is a renewed urgency for an “American Spring.”

    Given President Obama’s reprehensible record of dealing with whistle blowers and dissent, I expect repression.  I am reassured by the understanding that the “thought police” can put us in jail, but they can’t jail our thoughts.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      they are working on it. havent you noticed all the newspeak?

  • alsordi

    The Mossad is privy to all this collected data, as Israeli companies such as Narus and Verint, among many others are contracted to implement these systems. This isnt just about national defense. The implications involve insider trading, free enterprise, patents, in addition to having a foreign nation having access to lets say, all those sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

  • Shag_Wevera

    I take some comfort in the fact that I am very poor, and quite boring.  There isn’t anything about my life terribly worth knowing.

    While I’m sure this subject will serve as a nitro booster for the anti-gummint types, I’m more concerned about this information ever being available to unanswerable private entities.

    I mostly feel helpless regarding my privacy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      dont worry about anti government think pro-liberty

      • 1Brett1

        “Pro-liberty!” Now there’s a bumper sticker to get behind! …You’ve either missed Shag’s point entirely or simply seized it opportunistically to express some simplistic sentiment reduced to its lowest common denominator. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          its as if someone asked you

          • 1Brett1

            Futo Buddy: “Liberty for me; no liberty for people I don’t like.”

            Oh, and I almost forgot: “platitudes for everybody!”

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            sure make up fake quotes why not?

          • 1Brett1

            It was more a “re-imagining” of the Futo Buddy character…When does the comic book of the character’s various escapades come out?

      • Shag_Wevera

        There is always that balance between liberty and security, and how each individual wants that ratio to look.  Personally, I think liberty is relative and perhaps a touch over-rated.

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
          Because I was not a Socialist.
          Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
          Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.
          Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me

          • Shag_Wevera

            I’ve never heard that one before.

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            for more on the proper balance between liberty and security consult ben frankiln

          • 1Brett1

            Naw, I’m pretty sure that if “they” came for you, no one would see a problem with not “speaking out.”

          • donniethebrasco

             Get those anti-Obama capitalists!  Arrest freedom-lovers!

          • 1Brett1

            What sort of wine pairing do you recommend with YOUR partisan platitudes?

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            clearly you miss the point

          • 1Brett1

            naw, pretty sure you missed the point.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I
        said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll
        be there.”

        • 1Brett1

          I–and I think I can safely say I speak for us all–can feel the love, peace and understanding in your vibe, man. Far out!

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            yeah mother theresa was a crazy hippy

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Watch out.  They’ll come for you after they are done with the others.

  • Potter

    What we are willing to live with is your question BUT, have we been asked? As people are beginning to ask Obama after he said the discussion is good, why so much secrecy, why are we being asked to just trust and why are those who are informing us ( leakers) being punished as though we are almost a police state already? This is un-American is it not? We the people need to be able to assemble without fear that some leader we happened to elect that may turn tyrannical does not have to tools to start going after every critic as a threat.

    And have we been told what all this collection and surveillance has prevented? Have we been told in fact what any of our actions since 9/11 have prevented or CAUSED?

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      almost?
      i would imagine it has and will prevent dissent

  • 1Brett1

  • LinRP

    All one has to do is read the 4th amendment, and it’s pretty damn clear that this is a damn assault on our liberty. In brief…

    The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. 

    We are also supposed to be innocent until proven guilty in this country. Where’s the warrant to wiretap any of us? It should be that specific, IMO.

    But the horse has left the barn and it is a Brave New World no turning back from.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Since they keep the list secret, no one can successfully proove their rights have been violated.  Clever trick.

  • noseblob

    Interesting to ponder what might have happened had this info been revealed nine or ten months ago. Then the question “what are we willing to live with?” may have been more substantially answered. I suspect the Green Party would have picked up a few more votes.

    • donniethebrasco

       The Green Party with a million more votes – Still losers.

      • Shag_Wevera

        Gotta start somewhere.  Voting for the same rubes over and over has gotten us where we are.

        • donniethebrasco

           If the green party policies were instituted, 50 million people would die from starvation or other problems caused by $15 gasoline.

          • noseblob

            No Way. Really? 50 million and $15. Oh, wait, I get it… that’s  justification for an answer to “what are we willing to live with?”  Well, those numbers would surely hold up in a study because they wouldn’t be applied with abandon to such a vital consideration.
            BTW: The catalyst is the suggestion, not the party.

          • Shag_Wevera

            I don’t know, and I suspect you don’t either.

  • Steve_in_Vermont

    Imagine if it was proven that 9/11 could have been prevented by
    such surveillance programs as we have today. People in charge of these programs
    are always aware they are going to be criticized no matter what they do. So would
    you rather implement the program and be criticized for this, or not implement the
    program and be criticized for failing to prevent an attack?

    • donniethebrasco

      The Tsarnaev brothers posted to pro-Jihadist web sites.  They called Chechen rebel leaders.  The older one killed 3 men in Watertown.

      James Rosen called the State Department and ordered a pizza.

       

    • 1Brett1

      Or, after an attack we could just arbitrarily invade some uninvolved country and stay there fighting for over a decade…I suppose neocons would prefer that.

      While I have some ambivalence about these surveillance programs, I think it is naive and ignorant to think a) these set some kind of precedent for invasion of privacy b) these are the same as warrantless wiretaps (they are not).

      • Ray in VT

        Say it with me Brett:  Bush never lied (regarding the lead up to the Iraq war).

        • HonestDebate1

          I’ll say it but you already know that.

          • Ray in VT

            I know that you will say it, although I also know that to say so would be to accept the lies of the former administration.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

    • Saul B

      Installing a CCTV in every home might also prevent some attacks.

      So what’s your point?

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        they are way ahead of you. if you have a web cam on your laptop or a “smart phone” there already is a CCTV wherever you go

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      i think it has been proven that 9/11 could have been prevented using the methods and rules we had at the time. there is a great 60 minutes interview of the FBI agent who tried his darndest to stop it. no one would listen to him. then there is the whole “bin laden determined to attack using airliners” thing. not to mention we had metal detectors at the airports. so i will criticize them for sucking at stopping attacks they knew about and stealing our liberty

  • donniethebrasco

    It is obvious that the tea party groups deserved to be spied on.  When people give money to groups that support evil they should be kept an eye on.

    Also, the groups who got money for laws to stop gay marriage should be exposed so that we can yell in front of their houses and try to end their businesses or careers.

  • donniethebrasco

    I know exactly what the NSA is doing and who it is doing it to.

    Wait, just a sec, I have to answer my doorbell……..

    • Shag_Wevera

      Jehovah’s witness…

  • William

    We have sufficient high tech intelligence gathering methods but we always lack HUMINT (spies on the ground). This is just another example of NSA “hiding behind their desks” rather than getting their hands dirty with HUMINT side of intelligence collection. 

    • 1Brett1

      I think that is an excellent point, William.

    • John_in_Amherst

       how much “humint” would be required? 

      • William

         Americans really shun HUMINT and love technology which failed with the 9-11 attacks. Part of the problem is HUMINT requires us to work with shady people, criminals at times, and that is illegal. I remember when I was in the service we always got thousands of intelligence messages of which very little if any where of any value to us. The various intelligence agencies love the process but actually provide very little actionable information.

        • John_in_Amherst

          What failed with 9-11 was the human evaluation of the available technical information by senior Bush II administrators, despite warnings from people like Richard Clark.  I’m not sure if Humint would have held sway either in the march to war Bush and his neo-con cadre had planned essentially from day 1.
          Americans love spies, at least as fictional characters.  What they shy from are cases like the FBI in bed with Whitey Bulger, where HUMINT is indistinguishable from aiding and abetting criminals. 
          All we seem to hear about are the F-Up’s, and that because they are no longer secret.

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          as long as they are spending a lot of our money then they are happpy

  • HonestDebate1
  • 1Brett1

    Just maybe it would be something actually worthwhile for Congress to have hearings about: whether these types of surveillance programs actually yield the kinds of results that make such intrusions into privacy a necessary price to pay. While the records kept are just where a phone call came from and where it was received, as well as its length of time (and only after some red flag is waved can NSA delve further into content, for which they would need a warrant), it is still an intrusion into privacy. 

    • hennorama

      1Brett1 – please.

      Congress seems to have little interest in discussing questions and issues that have actual merit and import, especially questions and issues that have no clear answer.  They much prefer to hold “hearings” that amount to grandstanding, and to waste the people’s time and money, solely in an effort to get soundbites for their next reelection campaign.

  • HonestDebate1

    I am glad the headline mentions The Constitution. More and more I believe too many citizens are offended greatly by the notion our government does not grant us our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe too many citizens are happy to be placated through government instead of being passionate about freedom and the excellence it foments.

    State Senator Obama expressed his disdain for the Constiitution’s charter of negative liberties. He said it:

    “Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.”

    That is a recipe for tyranny cloaked in compassion. It is the antithesis of our founding. This is Obama’s mindset. He is fundamentally transforming America. 

    It is the eternal struggle between these two principles — right and wrong — throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, “You toil and work and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.” No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.

     Abe Lincoln, September 18, 1858).

    “Common right of humanity”, well said.

    • 1Brett1

      Blah, blah, blah…you’re still trying to dig yourself out of your unsupported comment the other day that our founders used “unalienable” instead of “inalienable” because of a distinction about “rights granted by a creator,” as if the words have two different meanings. Of course later you said you didn’t say that and they mean the same thing, but that our founders chose one over the other for a reason you say you understand, that “unalienable” has a more focused meaning. 

      As convoluted as that and all of your various justifications for letting your Tea Party flag fly is, you also presume to know what others think/believe who see things differently than you. It all is really just another variation on the “there are real Americans, and there are those who are un-American” theme.

      At the time of the Declaration of Independence, slaves did not have the “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Was our “creator” on vacation? Did our “creator” simply forsake slaves and defer granting them such rights until a later date?

      • HonestDebate1

        …you’re still trying to dig yourself out of your unsupported comment the other day that our founders used “unalienable” instead of “inalienable” because of a distinction about “rights granted by a creator,” as if the words have two different meanings.

        You keep saying that.
        If anyone cares (they don’t) the remarks are there for anyone to read. Ditto your non-sequitur, point-missing replies. How many times will you keep saying I said something I didn’t? How many times must I repeat what I actually said with crystal clear clarity? No more, I’m done.

        You cannot distinguish squat. You imply one isn’t born with rights from our creator if they are oppressed by man. You imply our creator secures our rights and our government bestows them. It’s truly bizarre. You’ll even (and you’re not alone) quote two comments from me incredulous at the contradiction that doesn’t exist. Look, you are not capable grasping this issue, quit trying.

        Now go ahead and have the last word then begone.

        • jefe68

          Now go ahead and have the last word then begone.

          Classic. From the man that is does not like vitriol a huge truck load of it. You should change the moniker to inane hypocrite1.

          By the way you should heed your own advice, stop telling people what they think.

          • HonestDebate1

            I love vitriol, I point it out whenever I see it. It outs the nasty. I prefer honest debate, to stalking mindlessness. I spent more time on this than Brett deserved yet still he stalks and interjects the same nonsense.

          • 1Brett1

            I see, so my comments are “stalking and interjecting nonsense” and “mindless vitriol” but yours are “honest debate”? 

            No, this is just like that time when I used a piano player analogy and you’ve held a grudge forever after…and it is also little more than your not being able to back up your initial, weak comment with anything credible. You look bad and are going to hold a grudge because I shone a spotlight on your looking bad, so you get all pissy because, well, you are vindictive and small-minded.  

          • hennorama

            Gregg Smith – what a self-righteous load of cavalry crapola.

            You wrote “I spent more time on this than Brett deserved …” as if you get to determine which comments and posters are worthy and deserving.

            This is the same sort of self-righteous nonsense you spewed all weekend.

            You deemed those who don’t see things your way as “not worth engaging, and then used the example of Fox’s Cavuto yelling to cut off the mic of someone who disagreed with him as your imagined ideal way of dealing with others. 

            More dishonest pontification, as is your wont.

          • jefe68

            Oy vey.

        • hennorama

          Word.

    • jefe68

      Every time you use the word tyranny, a fav right wing meme these days, I can’t help but use the word hyperbolic. 

      • HonestDebate1

        There are a lot of people using the word on both sides of the aisle these days. Even Peirs Morgan said it. And our forefathers not only said it, they warned us about it. Obama said to dismiss those warnings. Believe who you want.

        I interpret “the common right of humanity” to be unalienated rights endowed by our creator.

        • 1Brett1

          How would that be different than if you had used the word “inalienable” regarding rights endowed by our creator? How can a a “creator” of human beings create an “unalienable” right for men to own property, particularly when woman, slaves, children, and blacks in general could not own property? ‘splain that Lucy? 

          • HonestDebate1

            I edited it. My point remains unchanged.

          • 1Brett1

            What was your point? Your points get so convoluted in all of your “honest” MasterdeBating.

        • 1Brett1

          “inalienated”?!?!?! 

          So, would the “creator” be only responsible for creation, or for also micromanaging day-to-day operations? 

          • HonestDebate1

            We are endowed by our creator with the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

        • jefe68

          Our creator? And when this mystical being created the known universe, was it hundreds of billions of years, or six thousand? Was it in seven days as it was described in Genesis or some other magical number? 

          I guess the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Huns, Incas and Aztecs, to name few did not get the memo about inalienable rights that the creator so endowed us all with. 

          • HonestDebate1

            Whichever you prefer, at any time or no time from anyplace or no place believing in anything or nothing, it makes no difference. You are born with the common right of humanity; that being life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness according to our founding. No one got the memo until our founders wrote it down. But make no mistake, the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Huns, Incas and Aztecs, to name few certainly knew.

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            things are working out great for all them

  • northeaster17

    So many scandals, so little time. I’ve become comfortably numb as I pull down the shades and close the drapes. The theatrics have lost their effect. This is how they win. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      i think they win because there is so much nonsense its hard to sort it all out so it all gets lumped together too often. we all suspected the NSA was up to no good but this guy has actually come forward to confirm it. thats a big deal but it will probably get forgotten in a few news cycles

  • wauch

    This man is a hero. The idea that the Obama administraiton would take on James Comey, adopt the same Orwellian tactics, or in any way resemble the Bush administration with respect to defense/national security is a complete betrayal of what he said he was about. The Democrats and Dianne Feinstein saying they would be okay with a review of FISA and the NSA tactics is so condescending given that it demands a review and the notion that she is somehow going to decide along with her buddy Senator Chambliss smells, looks, sounds, and must be the manifestation of a new post-9/11 military state where the slightest questioning, protesting, or effort to bring Judge Brandeis’ sunlight to this stuff is labeled a “threat” or some type of “terrorist” plot. NO NO NO we are outraged and the libertarians better join this fight because this is Big Government personified. 

    • brettearle

      Look, it’s major overreach for sure.

      And it is something that I fundamentally disagree with–though I support the President.

      But whether we like it or not–because of Political Fanaticism joining forces with Technology–the world is a much more dangerous place than it was since Hiroshima or since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

      That is something we can’t avoid recognizing.

      When we sacrifice Security for Freedom, you have to understand that we might put ourselves at greater risk.

      • wauch

         As Ben Franklin said “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
        You sound like the very sycophant Democrats I am referring to. Stop supporting the Dems when they are nothing more than #BushLight when it comes to this issue.

        • brettearle

          My point had nothing to do with my political support.

          It has to do with the issue.

          You chose to make it political.

          I was merely being transparent.

          You missed the important part.

          It’s not terribly surprising that you did so.

          • wauch

             No worries you know what the point is here. You wanna obfuscate and say this isn’t political go ahead. It is political, it is social, it is economic and it is about the idea that when Bush does this Tea Party folks defend him but attack Obama and vice versa for folks like you and those at MSNBC.

          • brettearle

            You STILL don’t get it.

            I SAID it was overreach and that it was something that I fundamentally disagree with.

            The beauty of wisdom, perspicacity, temperance, tolerance, and ideological sensitivity is to combine conviction with objectivity.

            You clearly are not one of those individuals who is capable of that sort of sophistication.

          • wauch

             Get back to work and please leave me alone. You mentioned that you are appalled at this stuff but that you are a supporter of the president. you made it political I didn’t. Not a concern your thoughts about me but rather whether you see that this is flat out wrong no matter the party. I have a commitment to the rights of privacy and objectively i see it being eroded by both parties in the name of self-preservation.

          • brettearle

            Sorry, my friend. 

            ANYONE who reads the thread can see that your first comment was an attempt to pierce my TRANSPARENCY–because….I….
            indicated….up..front….that I OPPOSED…. Obama’s…. policy

            And the fact that you want to be left alone means that the kitchen is too HOT for you.

            Simply because I support the President doesn’t mean that I do not see erosion on both sides.

            I do.

            You can’t handle shades of grey.

            You can’t handle nuances.

            You can disagree with a statesman and still support him.

            Ultimately, it’s the lesser of two evils.

            Rand Paul has as much chance of being President as Godzilla does of being our country’s Mascot. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        you got that one at the end backwards

    • alsordi

      Its easy to imagine Dianne Feinstein in a custom fitting black uniform.  SHe’s a Straussian elitist at heart. Even the army is wearing more black uniforms these days.
      The USA is looking more like fascism every day.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        the department of homeland security better not hear you talking like that. wait too late its already being stored in utah for future use

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      the libertarians have been fighting this the whole time its time other americans started giving a darn about their rights before its too late

  • arydberg

    All of this,    Computer records,    Emails retained,   freedoms lost because of the patriot act. our lack of privacy etc  is directly  traceable back to the attacks of 9/11.   Not the attacks themselves but the ignorance of the people and the media who accepted the government’s version of what happened and do not even question the mystery of building seven.    Indeed most people do not even know that a third 50 story building collapsed at 5 PM of 9/11,   or that no other building like it has ever collapsed.   Or that demolition experts claim the collapse resembles  a controlled demolition.   Or that it’s collapse was announced by the news network before it happened.  
          
    These are the events that empowered the leaders  of our so called democracy to heap insult upon insult and to take away all the rights of the people.             

    • brettearle

      —–Press Release June 10, 2013——-

      Item:

      `The syndrome of “Shadow Government Tyranny”–whereby Al Qaeda has ancestral roots to the Illuminati and that every thing is driven by a climactic bond between Fundamentalist Christianity and Osama Bin Laden’s Extended Family is simply not backed up by the subversive entries that have been uncovered in the investment portfolios of Verizon, Sprint, Google, et al:

      To wit:

      Indeed the Principals include a limited-partner agreement between General David Patreus and Paul Wolfowitz.

      Go tell your bosom buddy, Alex Jones, to bury his head in the Arabian desert and repeat the following, until he gets it right:

      How did my Paranoia, wind up under your sand?” ‘

                          ——30——–

    • JobExperience

      The power to orchestrate a false-flagged attack is dwarfed by the ability to intimidate the populace from asking questions. Snowden cries that the Boogerman is real but we are foolish to fear something we should trample. Let’s roll!

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        people did not even make a decent stink when the federal agents started molesting women and children at the airport. they were all like baaa baa baaaaaa

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      i dont even think you need to believe 911 was an inside job to look at the pre 911 bush admin memos wishing for such an attack as an excuse to invade iraq and curtial civil liberties to be upset that that is exactly what they did

  • stephenreal

    Edward Snowden did his duty. Protecting the US Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      now there is a guy who should be considered for a nobel peace prize

  • Al_Kidder

    My voice recognition software took a fair bit of formal training before it got reasonably good at taking dictation and I don’t have a particularly thick accent. So how does the computer go when it trawls through millions of ‘phone calls trying to identify key words and phrases in multiple languages and accents?
    Similarly, you get lots of kids varying spelling of swear words to get past the rudeness filter using social media? How quickly does the computer learn when a word is being substituted for one on the alert list?
    I’ll bet that a lot of needles get missed in that haystack of data

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      you dont think their software is a little bit better than yours? we paid enough for it i am sure. i am sure it generates all sorts of false positives so we pay ever more people to sort them out

      • Al_Kidder

        No, I don’t think it is.  It might have more processors devoted to the task, but using similar algorithms. Even with a better program, the law of diminishing returns applies, so 5 times the effort results in only a few % improvement in performance. It can result in a large increase in price, however, to get the newest and best.
        VR Software has to be trained by “hearing” specific sounds made by the user. It doesn’t do all that well changing from one dictator to another without recalibration. And that is for similar voices

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          it might have more processors?
          i think its fair to say that price is not a factor and no expense in spared when they are spending secret tax dollars
          i have not used any dictation software for about 15 years so i dont know how good its gotten.
          the automated operators you speak to are getting better all the time. they seem to have displaced indians more or less.
          with the sort of storage they have it would be nothing for them to have everones voice calibrated on file( it could be a part of the file they have on everyone) or put 10,000x more processor power to the task. 

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    At what price liberty?

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      any

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    I thought this was all revealed not too many years after 911 when we learned about the massive installation of NSA monitoring equipment throughout our telecommunications infrastructure?

    In my paranoia did I just assume that this is what they were doing with it? ;^)

    • hennorama

      MMTCW – it was obvious to me as well.  This is merely a slap in the face wakeup call to the unobservant.

      I have no illusions as to “privacy” with the sole exception of what stays inside my skull.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        you know they are working on that

        • hennorama

          Futo Buddy – TY for your response.

          One presumes you’re referring to functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PEWT) and their implications. You can read an interesting article about “mind reading” here:

          http://www.salon.com/2012/12/15/mind_reading_is_possible/

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            those are fine and i am sure they are working to find ways to employ those technologies to surveil us but i was more referring to how they can use their metadata to profile your psychology. do you know there are something like 170 odd profiles that companies like walmart and many others have already segragated us into for marketing? my wife and i will get the same credit card offers but we are in different profiles. one will get one color paper and one font and printed postage. the other will get different font color and a stamp. how do they know i like a stamp? they already know us better than we may know ourselves. oboma used the same type of approach to identify and market to voters in the last election.  when its used to delight me with clever marketing its one scary thing when the govt and politicians are using it to control my country or my privacy its another

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      its kinda like how everyone knew bin laden was in pakistan

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    I find it amazing that we leave sensitive NSA work to contractors. I guess I shouldn’t be, all big companies outsource so they don’t have to carry the employee cost.

    Still – Cyber security???? Where NO ONE can see what you are doing? Where it is EASY to ship the data to someone else?

    • d clark

      He has the SAME clearance and approval as a government drone.

      • BHA_in_Vermont

         Right. And why do we give that to a contractor? Obviously anyone employed by the government could decide they know better than everyone else and make the same move. I just have this (potentially naive) concept that a contractor has a much lower allegiance to the company his/her employer assigned them to work for.

  • donniethebrasco

    This is great radio.

  • john smith

    This is the same Glenn Greenwald who “believed then that the president was entitled to have his national
    security judgement deferred to”, which of course included the passage of
    The Patriot Act on October 26, 2001. That President and Vice President could always be trusted and deferred to.

  • idler

    hmmn … so the government can know where calls to anyone originate ?

    If so, why can’t the DoNotCall law be enforced – surely it’d be a cinch to find, e.g.: Rachel from credit card services or the three ring hang up robots …

  • Coastghost

    Sorry, Glenn: I have not voted for your journalistic vigilantism, nor would I.

    Everyone in the Federal govt.–incl. now Democratic Senators and a Democratic President, all duly elected–is wrong and evil, and only YOU are truthtelling and a guarantor of liberty and freedom? Sounds extremely disingenuous and self-serving.

    • Give_Me_Liberty_92

      I don’t know about “wrong and evil”, that goes to intent, but even looking at the mere facts the story is worrisome and scary, because the “check and balances” are weak, inexistent and bordering to farcical.

      democracy is dead when we have a public kept in complete darkness, with an ill-informed legislature that votes on things it does not know or understand, working by select committees who cannot have full access to primary information, including the rationale on how the law is applied by a secret federal judge operating via secret court rulings away from any additional judicial review (or any debate) who is supposed to “oversight”  a surveillance infrastructure apparatus where government employees can have  access to your whole life at any time from a remote location. 

      they are just telling you “trust us, it’s for your own good”. 

      sorry, not enough. that’s what all tyrants will tell you: I wonder how willing would have been the founding fathers of opening their list of friends, locations and time of interactions to the goons of King George…

    • 1Brett1

      Greenwald seemed little more than a rank amateur blogger. 

      He said that Snowden’s whistle-blowing was necessary to get these stories out…That statement says more about Greenwald’s impotence and incompetence as an investigative journalist than any kind of heroism on Snowden’s part. 

  • d clark

    At 15 past the hour, Greenwald’s phone connection was disrupted. I don’t think it is “technical difficulties”. I think it will happen again.

  • MrNutso

    The government has been spying on Americans since the dawn of telecommunications.  The FBI and CIA have been wiretapping,  planting bugs, listing to radio and other communications, opening mail and breaking and entering, since their founding.  What’s changed in the last decade or so is that these activities are seeing the light of day.  It’s up to Congress to exercise oversight of these agencies and programs.  Unfortunately as we have seen in since 9/11, no member of Congress wants to appear to be soft on terrorism so they are okay with whats going on.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      before it was just j edgar hoover doing all those things illegally. all of those things can be done legally with a warrent. now all those things have become worse and much more systemic.

  • stephenreal

    although fleeing to Hong Kong is a wee bit irrational and paranoid in my opinion. I think that’s why he’s scared.
    Should he be extradited? 
    yes.
    Are there ways out?
    Not really.Although he could delay the action by hooking up with the local Hong Kong publishers, politicos, socialites and a damn good Hong Kong lawyer immediately and become a “cause celeb”
    if done right 
    do the Hong Kong talk show circuit thing
    but he’s too paranoid. I think he’s ill.”No one loves the messenger who brings bad news”
    The law is flawed and too expansive.whistleblower.

    • donniethebrasco

       Fleeing to Hong Kong is great.  It is like when the owner of the South Shore Liquor mart fled town when Whitey Bulger offered to buy it.

      The liquor store owner was presumed dead.  Whitey didn’t kill him, but everyone thought that he had.

      Then Whitey gave him a free pass.

      The government now cannot imprison the leaker without looking like a bully.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        are you talking about our government?

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      he can go to a non extridition country. he will be fine there untill they kill him

  • donniethebrasco

    The other thing is that we do all this surveillance and people who are investigated and post to Jihadist web sites aren’t stopped.

    I don’t believe that there are many in these programs that have evil intent.  However, I believe these surveillance programs exist to justify buying technology and employing government workers.

    But, the innocent Weimar Republic bred Hitler.  These programs create an insidious infrastructure.

  • davide58

    Two questions, no judgement but they are important:
    1.How do we know Snowden didn’t sell his secrets, he is an admitted conman since he broke the oath he signed not to reveal information?
    2. Why should we trust the media who screams transperancy an then operates under a shroud of secrey?

    • http://hammernews.com/ hammermann

       lookup the definition of “conman”. It’s someone who cheats somebody by misrepresentation, like the NSA has cheated us all of any remaining tendrils of privacy. You shouldn’t trust the media- you should only trust the gov that loves and protects you.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    If Snowden had the ability to tap into any call he liked, and did so without a court order, he should be in jail for that reason alone.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Your full name, Social Security Number, Date Of Birth, criminal and financial history are bought and sold on a daily basis by Data Brokers that are neither regulated or monitored. Erroneous information is attached that falsifies our financial profiles and potentially makes criminals out of those who have never been arrested for, or convicted of any crime. But we’re mad we’re being spied on.

    Also, I still can’t can’t past my initial reaction to this:
    Where was the outrage when The Patriot Act I & II and The Military Commissions Act of 2006 came down the pipe?
    Yes it’s wrong, we made sure it would be.

  • Davesix6

    President Obama called this very type of surveillance “illegal” in 2007 and vowed he would end it.
    Now that we know he did not, how can he be trusted when he says no one is listening to our telephone calls? 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Real investigations are needed, and let the chips fall where they may. I’m looking for a Republican pol who isn’t hypocritical about this, and finding very little.

      There are significant differences between then and now, which have gone down the media’s memory hole

      Every member of Congress had been briefed on the phone monitoring program and that the relevant Intelligence committees were aware of PRISM — the system by which the NSA accessed internet traffic. He also noted that federal judges had to sign off on data gathering requests.

      http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/10/09/spying.on.americans/index.html

      Do you remember National Security Agency linguists  eavesdropping on Americans abroad under Bush II?

      Because I do:

      Adrienne Kinne, a former U.S. Army Reserves Arab linguist, told ABC News the NSA was listening to the phone calls of U.S. military officers,journalists and aid workers overseas who were talking about personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism.”

      David Murfee Faulk, a former U.S. Navy Arab linguist, said in the news report that he and his colleagues were listening to the conversations of military officers in Iraq who were talking with their spouses or girlfriends in the United States. According to Faulk, they would often share the contents of some of the more salacious calls stored on their computers, listening to what he called “phone sex” and “pillow talk.”

      The screaming from the right and their handmaiden press may well get in the way of a real investigation. Especially if Darrell Issa is anywhere near it.

  • ianway

    The timing of this, displacing coverage of the Obama / Jinping meeting and the critical issue of Chinese cyber-espionage,in combination with the whole Hong Kong connection, is very suspicious, for anyone who has read a John Le Carre novel.

  • berger79

    I do not have a problem with our government’s actions.  You’d hear such outcry if there was no surveillance and there was an attack. If you are not doing anything wrong what difference does it make?  Our credit card companies have more information than our government and no one complains.  I kind of resent the whistle blower for thinking they are the arbiters for righteousness.

    • d clark

      I hope you become the SLAVE you deserve to be!!!

    • Saul B

      Over the past 20 years, not even 4,000 Americans have been killed by these scary terrorists.

      In the same time over half a million Americans have been shot to death, and another half a million or so have been killed in or by cars.

      Thank goodness we have a government keeping us free from the misdeeds of others.

  • Davesix6

    On your second question, we can not trust the US Press at all, they are not keeping an eye on government, they are activists for this government!

  • donniethebrasco

    The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

  • donniethebrasco

    The enemies list is being created from the people who call this show and support it.

    Welcome to the new America.  Looks a lot like Barack’s new Chinese buddies home country.

    Stop before you get arrested.

    • Ray in VT

      It’s also being made from people who post here.  Quick!  Smash your computer so the gub’ment won’t know who you are!

      • 1Brett1

        Maybe he could change his profile name and run around town stealing wifi so his exact home location can not be detected?

        • Ray in VT

          I have decided to send in my comments via smoke signal starting tomorrow.

          • hennorama

            Let’s all try telepathy.

            I’ll start:
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            What do you think?  Can you hear me now?

          • Ray in VT

            It was a bit garbled.  Try moving to the left a little, and stand on one foot.

          • hennorama

            …. .- …. .- …. .- …. .-
            .. … / – …. .- – / -… . – - . .-. ..–..

          • Ray in VT

            My Morse is rusty, but I’m fluent in Pig Latin.

          • hennorama
          • 1Brett1

            Just do it from a remote location so “they” can’t locate your home!

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t think that that will work, for, as Garfield said on Halloween relating to the pirate ghosts, “they know awhere we are!”

          • jefe68

            I’m going to use pigions.

  • donniethebrasco

    Obama wants to send you to Gitmo.

  • d clark

    Greenwald’s phone connection is being JAMMED!!!!

  • donniethebrasco

    NSA is doing a good job jamming Glenn’s phone.

    • Coastghost

      OR: Glenn is giving us dramatic effect by not using a landline. (If the NSA were jamming, they did a damned poor job over the past twenty minutes.)

    • http://hammernews.com/ hammermann

       No, probably it’s just Skype and one or both participants are using too much resources, or Skype has 25 million current users instead of 15 million. Even your system isn’t taxed, THEIR system can be- using video vastly increases likelihood. Or any other IM voice client.

      Have a feeling interfering in conversations is a different dept, and much much rarer.

  • jerwest

    I must preface by saying I am not a Republican.
     
    But Barack Obama is spying on his own citizens, as well as citizens from allied countries, stealing journalists’ sources identities, and running a secret court (FISA) and prison system.
     
    Shouldn’t that be grounds to have the Nobel Peace Prize rescinded?  These actions are contrary to the ideals of the Nobel.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kyle.rose Kyle Rose

      Is that really the most important thing to discuss at the moment? We all know he did nothing to receive it in the first place, which by itself is a great argument for the Nobel prize’s irrelevance, never mind this situation or Obama’s drone war against unarmed children in Pakistan and Yemen.

      At this point: who cares? It’s a meaningless award based on no objective criteria that appears to have no actual connection to anything remotely related to peace.

      • jerwest

        The Nobel is outside the purview of the US Government, and hence we might have some control over. 

        However, NSA policy is far outside of what we as citizens can control, short a revolution.  We already gave the government license to do this sort of thing.  Do you know how hard it would be to take that back?  

    • hennorama

      jerwest – welcome back to the forum.

      That said, your comment is a strange one.

      You wrote “Barack Obama is spying on his own citizens …” as if the President is personally “spying”.  This is nonsense.

      You then connect your above suppositions with the completely unrelated Nobel Peace Prize, compounding the nonsense.

      Odd.

      • jerwest

        Of course Obama is not personally performing the surveillance.  However, leaders are regularly held accountable for the work done with their authorization.

        Peace Prize is completely related to the actions and ambitions he’s undertaken while in office. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=84000469 Rob Senn

    I still haven’t decided how I feel about all this, but… All I know is I feel a deep, deep embarrassment at my naivety for thinking Obama intended to end Bush-era programs that he called illegal in his first presidential campaign, not simply make the programs legal.

    - Rob
      Charleston, SC

  • J__o__h__n

    Assuming this site is monitored, I would like to salute President Obama for keeping us safe by all means constitutional and otherwise.  Only terrorists need privacy!  If you question the government, you must hate freedom!

    • 1Brett1

      But isn’t freedom just another word for “nothing left to lose”? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/anita.paul.5680 Anita Paul

    Really a guy who worked for Donald Rumsfield. Donald Rumsfield is a war criminal.  Torture anyone.

    • J__o__h__n

      You go with the assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense you have, not the assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense you want.

    • Davesix6

      Anita, did you happen to notice Mr. Bucci is making the pro Obama argument in this case? 
      So do you believe Obama is a war criminal in light of the Drone attacks and this policy?

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      not to mention the hundreds of millions of americans who have been  and will be exposed to aspartame as a result of his misdeeds and corruption

  • brettearle

    Greenwald, it seems to me, is wrong about one part of his argument:

    If we WEREN’T tracking emails and cell phones, then sedition would be easier to plan and orchestrate.

    But there needs to be minimal suspicion, is the issue to me, rather than blanket coverage.  That is way over the top.

    Of course, Al Qaeda knows about the monitoring.

    But if the oversight isn’t there, then the Subversive Fanatics would get right back into it.

    Why is that difficult to understand?

  • http://www.facebook.com/kyle.rose Kyle Rose

    This is IMO a better litmus test for how people feel about limits to government power than the Manning case, because in this case the *only* effect of Snowden’s revelations is to embarrass the government and expose its abuse of power. No one can make the argument that this is going to put agents or troops in danger, or any other such nonsense: the only argument agents of the government can use against Snowden are those that say secrecy is an end in and of itself, rather than a means to protect the American people, dubious as that notion is in the first place.

  • donniethebrasco

    Constitution, Smonstitution.

    • MrNutso

      The grammar of making things go away.  Just add SM to the beginning of a word.

      • HonestDebate1

        I prefer “schm” but it’s still funny.

        • 1Brett1

          That was anti-Semitic! 

          (joke)

    • John_in_Amherst

       a tad early to be imbibing, is it not?

  • Davesix6

    It is this very type thing that we who believe big government is dangerous have been warning about.
    I have always thought the Patriot Act was dangerous!

  • John_in_Amherst

    Throughout much of this evolving story, there are references to the
    old communist block’s tactics and secret police.  It is notable that those
    trench coat spy days have largely been rendered obsolete thanks to the
    ease with which info can be transferred via the web.  As with so many
    aspects of “modern life” that have been irrevocably changed by the rise
    of the internet, so too our concepts of privacy, and “reasonable
    surveillance”.  Anyone acquainted with social media and the way it is used can plainly see that the concept of “privacy” is being redefined, and the willingness to have it whittled away would be astonishing to the “founding fathers”. 

    If society wants a information conduit like the internet, it must come to grips with all the implications of that.  I am as irked personally by Big Data being used to target ads and track my searches and purchases as I am by the notion that my patterns of communication are being tracked by the NSA to further national security.  The whole notion of the dissolution of “private life” is in interesting juxtaposition with our seemingly increasing intolerance of imperfection in politicians and even individuals.  Sexual preferences and peccadilloes, preference for intoxicants, recreational activities, and a host of other aspects of life that used to be considered private concerns are all now being used to disqualify people from political life and employment.  Small wonder some are now alarmed at the extinction of the “private life”.  What manner of Solomonic wisdom do we expect from our leaders as they weigh these issues?

  • Dab200

    Too much data is no good data. Tamerlan Tzarnaev was caling home every week and what? Nada, nothing, big zero as to averting danger and plots!

    • HonestDebate1

      Good point but they didn’t even have to data mine our emails to get Tsarnaev. All they had to do was check for documented recent radical Muslim behavior in the Boston area. I have no problem with software that can scan video and identify, with face recognition capabilities, known suspects. They had to have had his picture on file.  

      • brettearle

        Gregg–

        Had there been an algorithm that might have connected Tsarnaev’s political asylum with his return to Dagestan/Chechnya, Boston might have been averted.

        His name kicked out, when he left–but it was not connected to the Asylum issue.  It was related to the fact that he had been investigated but that the case was closed.

        He might have been under greater suspicion had he not been relegated to the vast pool of names that are listed in the T.I.D.E. database of hundreds of thousands of nominal suspects.

        • HonestDebate1

          Thanks Brettearle, I will. I don’t disagree with you and I really hesitate to criticize the authorities even though I am. I don’t do it lightly. IMHO they did not look using that criteria but I suspect they looked for Tea Partiers. I can’t prove it but I can’t dismiss it either now that we know how encompassing their capabilities are. I think Dab200 make a good point. I don’t know how they could have missed them if they looked.

      • 1Brett1

        While this might have been a good place to start, it is easy to say after the fact where data should have been collected or where activity should have specifically been monitored.

    • brettearle

      Counterintelligence CIA specialist Philip Mudd has said that the correct algorithms might have sounded greater alarms, for the Boston tragedy.

      It’s not too much data, it’s what KIND of data and HOW that data is LINKED up, that is the crux of the matter.

      • hennorama

        Algorithms and data storage capacity rule here.

  • Davesix6

    So Dems like Feinstein being against this when Bush was doing it was only politics? Of course the answer is yes!

    • Ray in VT

      Were they against this sort of thing, which has at least gone through the FISA courts, or Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, which circumvented all judicial or legislative oversight?

      • DrewInGeorgia

        Don’t confuse him Ray, you’re mucking up his schtick.

        • Ray in VT

          I think that we do need to have a debate about this issue, and I must say that I am not particularly comfortable with these programs, in part because of the secrecy, although I am more comfortable with some of these revelations as long as there is judicial oversight.  Now, is or has that judicial oversight little more than a rubber stamp?  I would hope not, and I guess that I do have enough faith in our judicial system to ensure that these actions are within the bounds of the law.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            I have zero faith in our judicial system, the reasons should be pretty obvious.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Judicial oversight is to one thing; but can we ignore the current makeup Supreme Court?

            Also, it’s funny how it took a Democrat getting into the White House to make this a critical mass problem for the press corps.

          • 1Brett1

            That is where my concern lies. How thorough is this oversight? is my question.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup.  Who watches the watchers?  That is an inherent problem in any system whereby one body or individual is set up to monitor or check another.

      • HonestDebate1

        I don’t think they were the same but I suppose (actually I’m sure) one could make the slippery slope argument. As I understand it (please correct me) the wire tap had to be international where one party had known documented terrorist ties. And it did ultimately need to be approved by a judge to hold up. It just allowed us to tap first and get approval later under specific criteria. It’s like asking for forgiveness instead of asking for permission. There was no permission to willy nilly spy on anyone but there was a chance of forgiveness if you could prove you acted within the constrains dictated.

        • Ray in VT

          I generally don’t like the slippery slope argument, as it sometimes leads to arguments like “Civil Unions will lead to people marrying their pets”, although I think that a case could reasonably be made to make a connection with expanded governmental security initiatives post 9/11, such as the PATRIOT Act, and this measure.

          I’m not sure if it was claimed that the warrantless wiretap program did need to go through FISA, and it was my understanding that then existing FISA proceedures allowed for warrants to be obtained after the fact under certain circumstances, so it was not the case that the government needed to go and get a warrant before conducting any action.

  • Coastghost

    Why is it any less bizarre that Glenn Greenwald thinks HE KNOWS so clearly, so plainly, so thoroughly what the NSA is up to? One man on the whole planet knows the truth, everyone else is either a liar or a stooge. How can Greenwald escape being construed as a case study in pathological narcissism?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=84000469 Rob Senn

      This is my biggest concern. I want to believe everyone in the leak is telling the truth, but something about this just doesn’t pass the smell test, and I’m concerned the only thing it will ultimately bring down is certain individuals’ credibility.

    • brettearle

      You can be pathologically narcissistic and still uncover Government overreach.

      • HonestDebate1

        I’m not sure Coastghost’s comment disputes that but it’s an excellent point.

    • Jonathan Livengood

      I think you’re misunderstanding Glenn’s arguments. The first argument actually depends on his (and our) not knowing what the NSA is up to. It goes like this:

      If we don’t have any idea what the NSA is up to, then we have no way of controlling for abuses of NSA power.
      We don’t have any idea what the NSA is up to.
      So, we don’t have any way of controlling for abuses of NSA power.

      Not having the ability to control for abuses of government power is undemocratic and dangerous, so we should be upset about the fact that we don’t have any idea what the NSA is up to.
      Glenn’s second argument goes like this:If the government has unchecked power, it will use that power inappropriately.The government has unchecked power.Therefore, the government will use that power inappropriately.In order to make the argument, he doesn’t need to know exactly what the government is doing now with its unchecked power. All he needs is evidence from history and psychology supporting the first premiss (which he has from the Church Committee Investigation) and evidence that the government has some unchecked power (which he also has now from Snowden).

      • Coastghost

        Prior to last week’s revelations, I assumed the NSA was doing SOMEthing along the lines of what’s been divulged in more technical terms and with more detail, so I don’t think I was unaware generally: but the “consciousness raising” offered by Snowden and Greenwald & Co. gives us NO tool for “controlling . . . abuses of NSA power”.
        (Journalistic vigilantism is not an abuse of government power, but it is arguably as undemocratic and dangerous: Snowden put consolation of his own conscience over his professional and legal obligations, demonstrating a contempt for democracy [id est: I've never charged Diane Feinstein with traitorous activity, but on the basis of the past week's reporting to date, I'd be willing to suspect Snowden of treasonable actions].)
        The appeal to psychology can suggest just as plainly that Snowden is intellectually and emotionally immature, naive in the extreme, and pathologically self-concerned. His revelations do not demonstrably and infallibly make us safe or well-informed and they may well yet expose us to dangers which Greenwald is sanguine enough to dismiss. 

        • Jonathan Livengood

          It is one thing to assume that government has some specific power or is abusing power in some specific way. Quite another to have actual evidence.

          I’m not sure what you count as a tool for controlling abuses of power. Obviously, the leak and the report are not a government-internal check on abuses of power. On the other hand, without leaks and reporting when there are secret abuses of power, it is at best unclear how those abuses get fixed. So, in a very general way, it seems to me that so-called “vigilante journalism” gives a quite powerful tool for controlling abuse of government. A *necessary* tool for controlling some kinds of abuse.

          As to treachery, you say that Snowden is a traitor, I say he is a patriot. If you ask me, the traitors are the ones who set up the system in clear breach of the Constitution that they swore an oath to protect. But in any event, your points about Snowden’s treacherous acts and the dangers of Greenwald’s “vigilante journalism” are at best tu quoque. You have given no reason, as far as I can see, for thinking that we *do* have a way of controlling the abuses of power identified by Snowden, Greenwald, et al. And you have given no reason for thinking that such abuses of power are not in fact bad things.

          • Coastghost

            “Abuses of power” is your continuous theme. My quotation of your use in my earlier post does not mean I agree that any alleged NSA abuse has in fact occurred: Snowden and Greenwald have not divulged Case History #1 of how the NSA has abused power, they have only suggested very broadly (and not entirely inaccurately) that the potential for abuse, even grave abuse, exists. Cf. the IRS harassment allegations, which were initiated by private citizens complaining of overweening government scrutiny. For all the “evidence” presented by Snowden and Greenwald, not one instance of any US citizen being specifically targeted by the NSA. No evidence that the FISA court, mysterious and secretive as it is, has colluded with the NSA to harass or persecute any US citizen. Instead, we have clear evidence and Snowden’s confession that he violated the terms of his security clearance: THAT is the only clear “abuse of power” I’ve seen in this story to date.

  • donniethebrasco

    I’m here from the government and I’m here to help.

    Uh Oh.

  • lexpublius

    Shame on “On Point” producers. When I tried to edit my original comment (elsewhere) your site blocked all of my comment and sent an onscreen message that you quote “strictly review” all edits. ISN’T THAT CENSORSHIP and doesn’t that make you a hypocrite? SHAME ON YOU “ON POINT.”

  • Gustavo

    The other scandal here is that our intelligence agencies basically have “Black Pool” funding from the government. Booz Allan is a supposedly “private” company who’s only clients are the intelligence agencies. The current boss at the NSA is the former head of Booz and the current boss at Booz is the former head of the NSA. Basically you have the government fundlng a “private” company that then funds our politicians through their lobbyists. 

    • alsordi

      This secret collaboration between govt and a private companies is fascism, pure and simple.

      • John_in_Amherst

         And what is the term for companies that have gone global and essentially escape most kinds of scrutiny, regulation or taxation?

    • John_in_Amherst

       It IS truly scandalous how much of the federal budget for intelligence is out of sight.  The MIC (military industrial complex, now expanded into intelligence gathering) has been perverting the political process in this country for centuries, and it has been gaining power at an alarming rate since Ike’s warning in his retirement address.  (Check the history of DuPont.) 

  • lexpublius

     This is not nearly as bad as the transfer of ALL of our personal private MEDICAL RECORDS to the I.R.S., a process which began in 2011 under an Order from the Sec. of Health and Human Services, Sebelius. THEY WILL KNOW EVERY DISEASE YOU HAVE, YOUR DIET, YOUR sex practices (if any), your family history, etc. Why no discussion about the invasion of privacy of health records, transfer of medical records online to the beast? This is the beast (USA) that cannot protect military secrets and civil spying secrets, how will they protect online medical records?

    Am I the only listener who heard the deliberate scrambling of Glenn Greenwald’s cell phone call from overseas? That’s not what a cell phone sounds like when it “drops out.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=84000469 Rob Senn

    Comparing giving guns to law enforcement and the military to giving uncontrolled digital surveillance authority to the NSA/government contractors has got to be one of the most egregious cases of apples v. oranges I’ve ever heard on this show. Come on, Tom, you usually call people out for this!

    • Gustavo

      he rarely calls out the flacks from heritage though.

  • Potter

    the difference between giving a soldier a gun and trusting and giving a person all this data and trusting is this: the soldier who goes wild makes a lot of noise and there are wounded and dead.

    • Give_Me_Liberty_92

      no, you are wrong. the difference is only in the scope and time scale. When government goes wild with your data it’s called a tyranny: it takes always some time to go into effect and the casualties are usually in the millions, just read history.

      • Potter

        The difference is secrecy and address. In the first instance with the soldier the misplaced trust is immediately evident once he goes wild shooting. Once the data is used and misused by the government ( an agent or someone a degree of separation away) we may never know. In both cases time may be the same. And who lives or dies  in either case is too far away from the point.

        The man from the Heritage Foundation, was making an analogy that we should not buy in other words.

        • Give_Me_Liberty_92

          agree

  • Yar

    Talk about how data collected by East Germany was used after the fall of the Berlin wall.  That should put it into perspective.  How will this be used after the revolution?

  • Davesix6

    I hope perhaps this is at least one issue that the majority of us, liberal, conservative, libertarian, etc. can agree on.

    When polled, the majority of US citizens say they believe our government is too big and intruding far too much into our lives.

    • John_in_Amherst

       I would add that Big Corporations are too big and intruding too much into our private lives.  Big Data lives both inside and outside government

    • HonestDebate1

      I would hope so too but I have to be careful not to assume the majority opinion can be found here where many actually want more government. IMO, handing our health care to the IRS is something that should not happen.

      • Ray in VT

        We’re handing our health care to the IRS?  Who knew?  Will I have to go to the local IRS field office in order to get an annual physical?

        • HonestDebate1

          I think you know what I mean. Snark aside, does this cascade of revelations give you any pause about 16,000 extra IRS agents enforcing Obamacare? Or just the massive government expansion resulting from Obamacare itself at this time?

          I think it’s reasonable to be concerned.

          • Ray in VT

            Then perhaps you should say what you mean more clearly.  I was merely taking what you said at face value.  I would say that no, revelations regarding NSA surveillance does not particularly concern me as it relates to implementation of the ACA.

          • HonestDebate1

            Okay, I’ll take the blame for being unclear or more accurately assuming you knew what I meant. But…

            Face value would not narrowly interpret “cascade of revelations” to exclude the IRS scandals. Face value would not ignore the second questions either. Face value would acknowledge the NSA surveillance is government overreach. 

            Whatever, I tried. I think it’s relevant if the debate is to be honest, you don’t have to agree or engage. 
            The debate will go on and these questions will be asked.

          • Ray in VT

            IRS scandals?  Has there been more than one?  I think that the one recent one of which I am aware is concerning.  I am always in favor of oversight and as much sunshine as is possible, taking certain security considerations into account.  Is the NSA program overreach?  That’s a good question, and the nature of security programs make them hard, at times, for the public to accurately gauge.  Is it legal?  Well, it looks like it is.  It’s at least getting the go ahead from the FISA court.  I think that there are plenty of legitimate questions to ask without getting into tin foil hat territory.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, there are two. They had hearings recently on the second and I thought Trey Gowdy put the proper perspective on it. I hope you will watch the following, I found it on NPR.

            http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/06/06/189268466/watch-rep-trey-gowdy-gets-emotional-during-irs-hearing

          • Ray in VT

            Oh yeah, I forgot about that one.  I was trying to think of something that rose to the level of the tax exempt issue.

          • Ray in VT

            Also, I found Gowdy’s quoted comments to be the sort of emotionally based sentiment that I thought that you generally dislike.  I can see the use and value of training, but, of course, costs should be controlled.  I hear the heat from the videos, and I haven’t watched them, but oftentimes such meetings can be so dull that efforts are made to lighten and liven things up.  If only there had been such outrage from some quarters regarding the vast amounts of money that was wasted over a period of years in Iraq.  The IRS money is a drop in the bucket in comparison.

          • HonestDebate1

            It is true Gowdy got emotional or pretended to.I suppose he could  have been faking. Even if so, hewasnot using it to passlegislationorpromote anagendawhichis when my hackles get raised. I just thought it was exactly the right perspective.

          • 1Brett1

            You should only take HD1′s comments at face value and not read into them when he tells you to, otherwise you should put their general meaning and gist in the most positive light possible through finding some meaning not necessarily expressed …well, as long is that light is approved by HD1.

          • Ray in VT

            It’s all so tough.  I could consult the dictionary, but what if the definition of the words fail to shed light on what the words mean.  It’s just so perplexing.

          • 1Brett1

            Rule of thumb: when in doubt? Or, when the dictionary seems unclear, just trust HD1. It is probably wise not to try characterizing how you perceive his comment, just simply say something like, “well said, ” or, “here, here,” maybe, “you have raised a brilliant point,” something along those lines.

          • Ray in VT

            I have always favored huzzahs.

        • 1Brett1

          No, Ray, you go to H&R Block to get both tax prep. assistance and an annual physical! You just have to verify it with the IRS. Want to know what to do about that Planter’s wart? Ask an IRS agent!

          • Ray in VT

            Thanks for clearing that up, Brett, but does the ACA specify that it has to be H&R?  So many questions.  I’m just hoping that I get assigned some cute, young agent, and not someone on the edge of retirement.

          • 1Brett1

            Honestly, I don’t know but imagine any certified tax preparer would do…but, as the neocons say, “we’ll just have to wait and see the law enacted to see what’s in it!

          • Ray in VT

            I just wanted to make sure that I had the liberty to choose who would tell me to turn my head and cough.  I’d prefer a redhead.

          • 1Brett1

            Which is why you should be encouraging young women in your community to become tax preparers!

          • Ray in VT

            Done and done.

          • HonestDebate1

            16,000 new IRS agent with teeth, they gotta do something.

          • 1Brett1

            Can you prove they ALL have ALL of their teeth? Maybe some just have gums? Maybe very loose dentures? Maybe only some of their teeth, and maybe the ones they do have are weak?

            You expect me to believe that you believe ALL bureaucrats have to have something to do?

    • Annie Tye

       Nope.  Totally disagree.  Democrat from Iowa, and I love our government.  I appreciate my garbage men, mail man, road workers.  They are working for ME and YOU so we have services that are taken for granted every day.  Thanks to our government for catching the Boston bombers in a day.  You’d be crying about being abandoned by the government if they disappeared. 

  • d clark

    42 minute past the hour, Greenwald’s phone line JAMMED again!!

    • MrNutso

      There’s obviously a lag between the time he start’s speaking and when someone can push the jam button.

    • lexpublius

      IT WAS A CHINESE deliberate scramble of his call.

      That noise was not a cell phone dropping out.

      And he expects THEM to protect him??? Definitely not the brightest light bulb in the CIA. The cozy relationship between China and the USA was thoroughly exposed by the autors of the book, “A Still Small Voice,” in 2007.

  • MrNutso

    But how do we know who is committing a crime if we don’t spy on everyone?  Something doesn’t make sense?

    • lexpublius

      Ever heard of Orwell’s book, “1984″?

      I am watching for my delivery of my web cam kit from Uncle Sam along with an Executive Order threatening me with prison if I fail to install it in my bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen, patio, car, garage, garden, office, etc., and to notify them if there are any other areas they should be monitoring even if not on the list. 

  • MrNutso

    Good luck Rand.

    • Ray in VT

      My thought was why go to the Supreme Court?  Didn’t Paul say that just because the Supreme Court says that something is constitutional doesn’t make it constitutional? 

  • Yar

    If an IRS employee looks at your Tax return without authorization they will lose their job.  What are the safeguards to prevent misuse of the data?  Knowing who Warren Buffet talks to could swing the stock market.  Data is power!

    • lexpublius

       W-R-O-N-G. PBS documentaries already proved that those who control the Federal Reserve have special rule making privileges and have created rules that allow insider trading for Congress members and the elite billionaire club members; the stock market is a scam calculated to make the little guys like you and other taxpayers take all the risk. What do you think the $Trillion Bush Wall Street bailout was all about anyway?

      It is well known that the stock market IS A RIGGED SYSTEM.

      Protecting the losses of the billionaires, not you. Who Warren Buffet talks to is practically everyone who can get his ear. He even talked to the Governor of Kentucky about state investments. At the same time Buffet called for higher federal taxes on the rich, his train company was receiving millions in federal welfare for corporations. Buffet is another scam put up to brain wash you. THE WHOLE SYSTEM IS CORRUPT.

  • MacMillin

    The Heritage would not be having a debate in the open if the information was not leaked. Isn’t that the point? 

  • lexpublius

    We who are not brain-washed by the elite news machine (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, NY-Times, Time Mag., Newsweek, etc.,) already knew the Government has this data.

    Art Bell discussed this very topic and proved before 1998 that the USA wiretaps all phone calls (pre 9-11-2001). This was done by having the Canadian CIA collect the data that was forbidden for the USA CIA to collect; and, the USA CIA collected data on Canadian citizens for the Canadian CIA, see? 

    That makes Edward Snowden a glory seeker – who would risk going to prison for a lifetime to expose something we already knew???

    • brettearle

      First of all, Art Bell does not enjoy wide-spread credibility–even though his information, at times, might have veracity.

      Secondly, the critical mass, of Public Opinion, has been reached NOW–because the Obama Administration has ratcheted up Oversight/Monitoring, after inheriting the security mantel from Bush II.

  • Bigtruck

    It’s up to the young people to shape their world because these old guys have screwed it up. Collecting Americas data… Now they want to debate after being embarrassed. 

  • Davesix6

    You’ve gotta love Rand Paul! 
    And I for one am questioning my support of the Heritage Foundation both philosophical and financial.

  • donniethebrasco

    There is no probable cause for the information they are gathering.

    • John_in_Amherst

       No probable cause?  For most of us, that is perfectly true.  For a small minority of us, there is more than ample cause.  The problem is who is who, and how to determine the difference. 
      Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Paypal, every charge card company, our insurance providers, etc. gather information on all of us 24/7/365,  and with far more immediate and direct consequences than the NSA.  (Ever try to straighten out a botched credit rating?  Been denied medical coverage for info you thought was confidential?, etc. etc.)  We grant the “right” to do this often without even entering into commercial contracts with these companies.  Yet we squirm at the NSA doing this for national security.

  • JobExperience

    Obama swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
    I don’t know why he swallowed the fly.
    He swallowed the bat to catch that spidem.
    It wiggled and jiiggled and tickled inside ‘im.
    He swallowed the rattler to catch the bat.
    Then with forked tongue he spoke and shat.
    I don’t know why he swallowed the fly.
    Don’t need no visit from the FBI.

  • Annie Tye

    It’s amusing to me that people actually believe they are interesting enough to warrant the government listening in on their conversations, especially given that people will answer their phones anywhere from the movie theater to the classroom and shout their conversations for the world to hear.  No one wants to hear your lame conversations out loud or via wiretaps.

    • David Wang

      It’s more amusing to me how ignorant and credulous people can be. As Thomas Jefferson said: “The Price of Liberty is eternal vigilance”. 

      A healthy skepticism is just that: healthy. Did the German populace democratically elect the Nazi party for their vile intentions to eliminate the Jews? No, the Nazi’s were elected because they promised a better future for the battered German economy. 

      When the Nazi’s said they must infringe upon the privacy of the populace to root out those dangerous communists in Germany, the German populace shrugged and believed something along the lines of why would they want to investigate me? After all, I’ve got nothing to hide… and those communists are pretty dangerous…

      The populace reasoned along the lines of, well giving them all this power to infringe upon our privacy is fine. After all I trust them to never abuse this power. 

      When the Nazi’s started using that all encompassing power to find and escort the Jews to concentration camps to slaughter, the German populace could do little but comply. 

      • Annie Tye

        Nice try.  Hitler’s march to the Anschluss and the subsequent slaughter of millions isn’t exactly comparable.  Hitler wanted to expand his empire and eliminate swaths of people.  Our government wants to prevent planes from crashing into our buildings. 

        Ignorant and credulous I am not; I’m in a molecular neuroscience Ph.D. program and have been a card carrying Libertarian (although I’m solidly Dem now).  Do I believe the government is out to get me?  No.  Obama’s constant labeling as “the entitlement” or “the welfare” president suggests to me that he’s actually out to help people. 

        Absurd paranoia and equating USA to Nazi Germany is certainly as harmful as credulity.  It’s ok David Wang, no one is trying to take your guns.

        • David Wang

          Your historical ignorance is profound and is indicative of a major problem we have in society.

          The moral of the story is that when you concentrate power into the hands of a few, it’s only a matter of when –not if– someone abuses it. History has demonstrated this over and over. Obama may not abuse this power but another Bush-like president will.

          As someone who voted for Obama, hell I even attended a couple of his campaign rallies, I gave him the benefit of the doubt over the continuation of Bush-era surveillance policies. I figured the republicans were setting up roadblocks to change so it was incredibly disheartening to see Obama defend these policies.

          I tried to be understanding about gitmo and the drone program, but this is too much. I truly regret voting for him and I suggest you re-consider the long term implications of his policies as well.  

          • Annie Tye

             My profound historical ignorance is hardly the problem.  Nor is Obama.  The Bush-era congress green lighted this program.  Republican Lindsey Graham says, “I don’t mind Verizon turning over records to the government if the
            government is going to make sure that they try to match up a known
            terrorist phone with somebody in the United States.”  If you are mad that Obama hasn’t stood his ground in the face of an absurdly childish Republican-led house, I’m with you.  But given the sheer volume of information generated by Verizon (let alone other phone/internet providers), I’m not too worried about an algorithm picking me out and wrongfully affixing a yellow star to my blouse. 

            Gitmo and the drone program are not only very different concerns than the one at issue here, but they are very different from each other.  I think I will pass on your suggestion.  But thanks for the concern.

          • David Wang

            The historical ignorance is a huge problem because those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Gitmo, drones and NSA surveillance are related because they represent the huge expansion (concentration) of unchecked executive power. Concentration of power is scary because it will be abused. 

            J Edgar Hoover abused the power of the FBI to persecute Martin Luther King and his other perceived political enemies, trying to tie them to communism. He would have loved using NSA surveillance info.

            McCarthy persecuted many of his political enemies during the Red Scare by mucking up supposed ties to communism, he also would have loved using NSA surveillance info.

            Have you seen the Guantanamo detainee Moamedou Ould Slahi’s memoirs? The people that persecuted him would have loved if he were under the radar of NSA surveillance as they have for years tried to pin crimes on him. Same goes for many other Gitmo detainees that have been deemed innocent and cleared for release.   

            The abuse of such power has been demonstrated in recent history. If you don’t see the potential dangers, you’re intentionally being obtuse. 

          • Annie Tye

             Truthfully, I don’t think opinion on this issue is very different from yours.  I agree that absolute power has the capacity to corrupt absolutely.  However, I pick my battles, and I’ll damned sure fight to the death for them.  This is not one I’m willing to fight.  

            Also, I suspect that I’m much more well-versed in history than you’ve given me credit for.  This issue is NOT comparable to Hitler’s power grab.  Just the fact that we are talking about it is evidence for my point.

  • stephenreal

    I own all property rights to my personal information.
    If they want it? pay for it.

  • JobExperience

    We always agree on the big problems, but not on the solutions.* intended as reply to Davesix6

  • MrNutso

    Good luck with that Amber.

    • Give_Me_Liberty_92

      sadly, she is the very kind of people Ben Flanking was speaking of here….”They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

      • jefe68

        Ben Flanking? It was Franklin.

        • Give_Me_Liberty_92

          simple typo, a written phonemic paraphasia. you got the meaning, though, that’s the point of communication, but I stand corrected.

  • Davesix6

    To the caller Amber, everything the Nazis did was according to laws passed in Germany and upheld by German courts.

    No government is immune to corruption of power, not even ours.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Our legal names, DOBs, SSNs, and criminal and financial histories are bought and sold on a daily basis by unmonitored and unregulated Data Brokers. Guess who sells them the criminal backgrounds? Don’t think it’s a Constitutional Issue? Let’s see…False arrest and imprisonment, wrongful denial of employment, credit, access to education, housing, and healthcare. But you’re mad you gave permission to be spied on?

    Wake Up.

  • donniethebrasco

    We don’t need another Martin Luther King.  He would a lot of trouble today.

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      So would Jefferson.

  • Futureboy68

    Get over yourselves! My guess is that your phone conversations aren’t as titillating or interesting as you might think they are. By the way, having that government job may be even more tedious than working for the IRS and trying to guess which groups deserve to get out of paying taxes.

  • Jayne

    Thank God for Mr Snowden!!  And all the other whistle blowers, I don’t trust our government as far as I could throw it!

  • Davesix6

    The Founders who wrote our Constitution had no clue of the technology we have today, but they were experts on human nature and the abuse of political power.

    • jefe68

      They had no clue about the telegraph or telephones.
      I wonder if people are aware that when telephones were served by small regional switching stations and local operators, it was very common for people and the operator to hear private conversations. They were not called party lines for nothing.

    • John_in_Amherst

       And what did they think of retailers, credit card companies and search engines compiling data on us so they could cash in?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Would people be happier if all these gazillion data-mining results were not secret?  I think we have to wait for somebody’s secret to be spilled by somebody with security clearance to be not only indiscreet but unlawful and waste their time on something like how much you spend gambling online.  I can imagine the civil liberties lawyers going after things pronto.

    • HonestDebate1

      Good question. I think I would be more comfortable if the practice was not a secret even if the results were. 

      There is also the issue of storing it. Mr. Snowden pointed out if you ever come under suspicion, rightly or wrongly, they can go back and hold everything you ever said or did against you. So even if they are not listening in they have records forever.

      As I write this, the 5th amendment pops into my head. I wonder how it applies.

      • 1Brett1

        Well, that is actually an interesting angle about the 5th Amendment…I would imagine that if something someone said in a phone call were the only thing upon which a case against them hinged, then the case would not be strong enough to even bring charges let alone a conviction. If there were other pieces of evidence linking them to a crime, then the incriminating phone call would not be needed. A good lawyer could easily get a phone conversation in and of itself thrown out.

        But, you do raise a good point conceptually about privacy and the right not to knowingly incriminate oneself. 

        • HonestDebate1

          And that would be an example of an alienable right bestowed to you from government. They exist too.

          • 1Brett1

            …I don’t know, I mean small children keep quiet about any culpability they might have in some mild infraction all the time even without any understanding or referenced knowledge to the government…What about someone who is aphasic? The government didn’t make them that way (well, necessarily; who knows what sorts of things happened when Bill and Hilary were in office; amiright?) 

  • durandtodd

    Is Glenn’s call being scrambled?

    • Coastghost

      Maybe that was the sound of his brain . . .

  • http://hammernews.com/ hammermann

    The leaker, a 27 yo
    high-school dropout contractor making $200K who threw his life away over
    principle, Edward Snowden (good name for a spy) turns out to be extremely smart. thoughtful, deep guy.. and I
    really wonder if the Gov will destroy him. As I argued about Poland’s rebellion
    against SU in 1980-81, they have to crush it or it will spawn much more
    rebellion, but the brutality of their overreaction and obscenity of the
    Orwellian state we’ve created should finally cause a significant
    backlash. This is where the anti-gov nuttiness of the TP/Repubs is
    actually appropriate, though of course, most of them support any and
    every repressive policy. In this video interview,
    the kicker is at 7:45 – he could look at ANYONE’S communication, inc the
    Prez and (see caps below).
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance

    They’ve

    been doing this stuff for ages- 30 years at least- everyone knew that
    the NSA promises to not tap domestic communication was BS. That’s why
    that top NS official (Binney?) resigned. Although the amount of material
    is expanding exponentially (think 2-3 years of current traffic= all
    traffic before to beginning of time); they are saving everything, and
    can go back and scrutinize every bit of communication on any individual.
    There is NO WAY THIS ISN’T being used for blackmail, intimidation,
    persecution, selective prosecution. The case of Petraeus proved that-if
    HE wasn’t safe from snooping and exposure, what chance do simple
    civilians (or press, or politicians) have? What the hell was the FBI
    doing prying into the personal life of the CIA director anyway? The
    nitwits in Congress are finally going to figure out that they are ALL in
    the crosshairs and maybe shut much of this down.

    Or America has
    become everything it always railed against East Germany, SU, N Korea
    for- an ultimate Big Brother state where nothing is private, nothing
    secret, and no one safe from official enemies. It is so sad.

    I wrote about it back in the “Total Information” Bush program days. http://hammernews.com/unpatrioticspying.htm

    UNPATRIOTIC SPYING – OpedNews,
     Scoop, Online Journal  The FBI
    is doing full spectrum warrantless monitoring of 30,000
    people a year, but are there even 3000 legitimate
    terrorism suspects a year?  Now the Pentagon, CIA,
    NSA have also been spying on
    Americans- all illegally or
    illegitimately. No judge, no magistrate, no control, no
    limits;  Records are open to state, local, and
    corporate “authorities” and are never

    destroyed. Thousands can rip through anyone’s
    life, and could this vindictive administration avoid
    persecuting critics? Billions of
    domestic calls indexed,

    analyzed; With stunning revelation from Joe
    Wilson. Jan 5, 06

  • Yar

    Why does my kindle touch have a microphone, but no headphone jack or speakers?  How does the mic help me as a user of the device?

  • Coastghost

    And what checks and balances exist for the practice of journalistic vigilantism? “I trust the Constitution” Greenwald avers, but any US court worth its salt will duly convict Edward Snowden of breach of trust, to say the least.

  • HonestDebate1

    I was struck by the integrity and eloquence from such a young man.

  • alsordi

    Rule of thumb.  If the top secret govt agencies are capable of doing it… they are already doing it. 

  • Dave Lister

    Sorry, but anyone who expects that all this information is not a being tracked by multiple entities is not paying attention. The new X-Box tracks eye movement to see if you’re watching commercials, and detect heartbeats in the room to determine how many people are watching the movie you’re streaming (and if you exceed the limit will stop playback until you pay extra)
    And Yar, your kindle knows not only what you read but how fast you read…
    You want privacy, you have to opt out of the modern world.

  • Buster1

    All Americans should get used to living like rats under a tub. Get ready for the big brother to run your life from the inside out.
    the NSA owns Disqus

  • TomK_in_Boston

    W’s negligence in spending the summer clearin’ brush in Crawford after being briefed “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in USA” has led to a a chain of disastrous events beyond the towers coming down and the invasion of iraq. Now, anything goes if it might catch a terrorist. Obama has continued the fear-based approach. Anyone still think he’s a “liberal”? 

    ps OT. Hey, let’s get behind those upstanding rebels in syria, send them weapons and all that:

    “An al-Qaeda-affiliated opposition group has allegedly executed a teenage boy in Syria in front of his family, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports. The boy was shot by the group for supposedly blaspheming.

    …. He was overheard saying: “Even if the Prophet Mohammad comes down (from heaven), I will not become a believer.”

    His words caught the attention of members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria who kidnapped Qatta. They then brought him back to the stall late on Sunday night with whiplash marks on his body.

    According to the report published by the SOHR, one of the members of the group addressed the crowd and said: “Generous citizens of Aleppo, disbelieving in God is polytheism and cursing the prophet is polytheism. Whoever curses even once will be punished like this.”

    “He then fired two bullets from an automatic rifle in view of the crowd and in front of the boy’s mother and father, and got into a car and left,” “

    • brettearle

      One could argue that something like 9/11 was inevitable.

    • HonestDebate1

      Clinton should have grounded all air traffic indefinitely when Bin Laden tried to blow up the WTC in 1993. That makes about as much sense.

      • brettearle

        Right, but in retrospect, there was woefully little done to recognize the significance of the first WTC
        assault, in 1993.

        I have always been surprised at the lack of heat that Congress and Clinton avoided, in this regard.

        I brought this up to George Packer, author of Assassin’s Gate.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          It took time for us to adjust from cold war focus to terrorism focus. 1993 was early in that transition. By the end of his term Clinton was getting it, then W threw it all away and put terrorism on the back burner,  with his obsession with missile defense and iraq (and clearin’ brush).

          • brettearle

            Tomk–

            As President, you CAN’T turn your head away from something that flagrant and blatant.

            You just can’t.

            Cold War, schmold war.

            As President, you ALWAYS have to RENEW your thinking and RENEW your thinking.

            What you say about Clinton is NO excuse.

            But I agree that Bush was worse, for a number of reasons….

            I am not a Rand Paul guy.

            I support Obama and I supported Clinton.

            Doesn’t mean I have to always agree with them.

             

          • HonestDebate1

            Yet 3 years later the Saudis offered to arrest and turn over Bin Laden and Clinton turned them down. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming Clinton for 9/11. I’m saying your implications are not honest much less logical.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        There ya go! Paying attention to “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in USA” = grounding all air traffic in 1993. Debate with the wingnuts doesn’t get any more “honest” than that.

        • HonestDebate1

          What would you have Clinton do? Was the bombing in 1993 a clear indication of Bin Laden’s determination to strike in the USA or not?

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Ideally he would have done sooner what he did later, ie, switch the focus. If WTC occurred in 1999 the reaction would have been quite different. Probably no 9/11 without the change in administrations.

      • hennorama

        Gregg Smith (aka HeBendsToTea) – one minor problem with your post – Osama Bin Laden did not “[try] to blow up the WTC in 1993.”

        He may have supplied some of the financing, but there has been no definitive direct link to Bin Laden shown. Lots of suspicions, but that’s it.

        Perhaps this is another one of those things that “you know in your heart” or that “you think you know” or that “we now know” or that “everybody knows”.

        Just for giggles, please prove that your claim is anything more than suspicion.

  • http://hammernews.com/ hammermann

    As an example, of what can and did happen, before the Iraq Invasion, the Bush admin. conducted a wide ranging program of bugging and online interference with anyone who criticized the incipient invasion. It was quite overt (no need in bugging), designed to intimidate and terrorize critics into silence.

    • brettearle

       Cite your sources, please.

      • http://hammernews.com/ hammermann

         Can’t find links now, but was 2005-2006 that this broke- the White House was bugging some 5500 people on their own, secretly, without the approval of rubber stamp FISA Court (1 of 3500 requests rejected). My source is personal experience in Jan 2003, confirmed by a Google VP in 2007 (they were trashing search rankings of critical articles/sites), she said, “All the computers in Mountain View went crazy in Jan 2003.” I had an article about it ready to go when someone was finally prosecuted… but barring that, it wouldn’t help me.

         Snowden is an American hero, but his life is over.

        • brettearle

          Yeah, since my request to you, I was reminded of it, indirectly, by Alter’s interview on his new book.

          But isn’t the crux of the issue that you can go to the FISA, court after the fact–if the warrantless wiretaps were under exigent circumstances.

          Is it not the sister corollary to DOJ’s demand to learn the source of the AP leak–because to divulge such information was a direct exigent threat to national security?   

    • http://hammernews.com/ hammermann

       They even admitted it in the 5500 people secretly bugged out of the White House, when they could have done it all legally in the FISA court. Everyone knows that was because the subjects were journo’s and Dems. I thought eventually Cheney and Co. would be brought to the dock on this, but I’ve given that up.

  • jerwest

    As far as the NSA is concerned, we can “debate” all we want.  If the government has no real oversight, (and is, in fact, in collusion) then ordinary citizens can forget having a real say in the matter, despite what their opinions are.  

    • brettearle

      That isn’t always true.

      Public clamor, if it’s loud enough and sustained enough, can change policy.

      Although that may not be true in this case.

  • HarryAnchorite

    A few points:
    Snowden’s defenders claim some special virtue for him because he made the information public rather than selling it to terrorists or foreign govts. Well, intentionally or not, he has provided this information to foreign govts. and all the bad actors there are in the world as effectively as if he were a spy in their pay. The bad actors will, of course, pay attention and take steps. Remember when a boneheaded congressman mentioned that we could eavesdrop on al-Qaida and Taliban cellphones; this source immediately dried up.
    Secondly, I find it highly amusing how quickly Liberal-Left-Progressive elements have rallied around conservative and originalist interpretations of the Constitution. Suddenly, there are no references to the Constitution being outdated, or to it being a living document subject to reinterpretation, etc. Curiously, the L-L-Ps found all these arguments singularly unpersuasive when applied to the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. Perhaps it is time to realize that a government that is willing to stomp on the Second Amendment may not be above kicking the First and Fourth around a bit also.  

    • alsordi

      Hey Harry,   “Foreign Governments” already had all this data before Snowden blew the whistle…. namely, Israel.
      Their companies are the big-brother contractors for the CIA, NSA.

      • HarryAnchorite

        Alsordi-
        Even if we should stipulate that you are correct (and I don’t), there is at least a chance that the Israelis had not communicated this info to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, al-Qaida, and all the other bomb-throwing radicals.  However, now that we have made this a topic of world-wide conversation, there is no chance that any of our adversaries don’t know about it.  Mr. Snowden, regardless of his (presumably good) intentions, has joined himself at the hip with our enemies.  Friends like him we don’t need.

        • alsordi

          How easily people overlook the fact that Israel is a large part of the reason why many of these people have become radicalized.   
          The US support for Israel’s aparteid policies has cost US citizens dearly  … life, limb, freedoms, taxes and much much more.  But this is never discussed in the MS media.

    • brettearle

      Strange bedfellows are not unprecedented.

      Look at Bush v Gore…..

    • John_in_Amherst

       As an LLP, I am willing to acknowledge the antiquated nature of the constitution as it relates to search and seizure and publication in the age of the internet.  Why do the CCT’s (cranky conservative troglodytes) have trouble recognizing the difference between “well trained militias” possessing flint-lock rifles and gang bangers and nut jobs possessing semi-auto assault rifles?
      If we are going to have strict constructionist Supreme Court justices, perhaps a massive rewrite of the constitution is the only solution…

      • HarryAnchorite

        Repairing the deficiencies in your understanding of the Second Amendment goes well beyond the scope of the present discussion.  However, you might try putting your toe in the water with Sanford Levinson’s “The Embarrassing Second Amendment,” and Kates and Kleck, “The Great American Gun Debate.”    

        As for rewriting the Constitution, our present political leaders cannot balance or pass a budget. Their rewriting the Constitution frightens me more than “Big Data” or any terrorist attack I can conceive of.

        • John_in_Amherst

           Actually, I’m sick and tired of smug gun nuts feeling a need to interpret a single sentence for me. 

          The second Amendment is pretty clear, Harry.
           
          “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free
          State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be
          infringed.” 

          The fact that right wingers can spin this into tomes is reflective of their (and your?) need to read more into it than was ever written or intended. 

          As background, to enhance your obvious deficient understanding of the history behind it, at the time it was written, rifled muskets like the Kentucky long rifle took a skilled gunsmith 6 months to produce, cost, in adjusted terms, approximately $30K, and took about 45 seconds per shot for an expert to reload and fire.  Other arms were cheaper, but still represented sizable expenses, were likewise slow to reload, and were not owned in dozens or scores by individuals, as guns are today.  The “free state” mentioned does not refer to a teabagger fantasy of a self-rule anarchy free of government intrusion, and in that sentence, gun ownership is predicated on the need to be able to call up a militia in days when America was a loose federation, and we lacked a bloated standing army, or indeed any effective means of patrolling the lawless frontier west of the Appalachians, or even the territories of states as they were settled at the time.  Federal arsenals like the one in Springfield, MA, down the road from where I live, were established as producers and repositories of arms for the nascent country, in the event of conflicts such as Shay’s rebellion, The whiskey rebellion, Indian incursions (which were waged to throw settlers out of tribal lands being confiscated or stolen), and the war of 1812.
          I am a gun owner, and am proud to have an antique rifle, passed down from my grandfather, lovingly disassembled, restored, refinished and reblued by me, and used to hunt since I was a kid.  The fact that there are so many rightwingers with so many guns is incentive to hang on to it.

          • HarryAnchorite

            Congratulations on your family heirloom; you should thank the NRA and the other gun nuts for their efforts to make sure you keep the right to own it.   Unfortunately, you probably reduced its authenticity and its value somewhat by rebluing it.

            I had not meant to open a general discussion of the Second Amendment but merely to point out how quickly liberals become constitutional strict constructionists when a civil right they prize is threatened, and how cavalier they are when someone else’s is under threat.  I cannot see the point of your aside on firearms technology, etc., unless you mean to argue that the Second Amendment is obsolete and so, by extension, would be the First, the Fourth, and all sorts of other constitutional guarantees.  This is a very dangerous position.  Yes, the Second Amendment is quite clear; we have to write tomes about it only because of the way some  lefties try so desperately to misread it. By the way, Sanford Levinson, Gary Kleck, and Don Kates whose works I suggested to you, are all liberal Democrats. You really should have a look at them.   I hope you were not one of those led astray by Michael Bellesiles’ “Arming of America.”  If so, you should know that despite initial rave reviews, his work has been discredited.  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/04/books/04bellisles.html

          • John_in_Amherst

             I was more interested in continuing to use the piece than enhancing its collectibility.  I have never needed more than a shot or two when hunting, and people who think they need a semi-auto and a banana clip full of rounds to hunt should not be hunting.  People who think they need a closet full of assault weapons for personal protection from the government really ought to think of emigrating. They are not patriotic, they are paranoid.
             
            I think it is more dangerous to ascribe some sort of sacred wisdom or infallibility to the framers of the Constitution.  These were smart guys doing their best with the facts at hand.  The facts have changed.  That is why they provided for the process of amending the document.  They realized they were not omniscient.  Some provisions of the document have been radically changed (e.g.: counting slaves as partial people, denying the vote to women) without all hell breaking loose.  The notion that other provisions should remain immutable in the face of technological changes unimaginable 200 years ago is illogical and just plain stupid.

          • HarryAnchorite

            I don’t suppose you can realize that some people simply like to shoot, and to blow away many rounds of ammunition in just a few seconds  - not my thing, but then I don’t understand golf, either.   You think they are paranoid; they think you are dangerously delusional with overtones of fascism.  Not much chance of a meeting of the minds here.

            Neither I nor anyone I know considers the Constitution perfect, but surely a couple of the Framers’ wisest provisions was to provide for amendment and widely distributed authority.  As a consequence, it is very difficult to do anything radical without a fairly broad and durable national consensus.  No simple or transient majority can ram something through.   This was the genius of James Madison and it has been the bane of progressives from Woodrow Wilson to Norman Orenstein and yourself.  As long as you insist that all who disagree with you are paranoid or plain stupid, I don’t think there is much chance of your gathering a very broad consensus.  Maybe you should review the career of Guy Tugwell.   Yes, I do think the Constitution is pretty good, and worthy of respect.  The French have gone through ca. 5 in a roughly equal period of time.

          • John_in_Amherst

            So for the “right” of some people to blow through boxes of ammo at a rapid pace, we open ourselves up to mayhem like Aurora & Newtown….  Nice trade off.  We might be better off to leave military grade weapons in the hands of the military.  How silly and fascistic.
             
            I respect the constitution, and think it is a work of genius.  I also know it is over 200 years old and was not drafted by gods who got it all right in perpetuity. 

            So it is just liberals who have amended the document?  Like you pointed out, it takes a majority.  Not that we have to worry about anyone on the right side of the political debate to budge an inch these days.

            I did not say that anyone who disagrees with me is stupid or paranoid.  Try reading.  (I have noticed it is a common tactic of conservatives to dismiss ideas they find disagreeable with such “lump-think” tactics).  I think people who fear the black helicopters are coming ARE paranoid.  And I did say it is stupid to assume that a 200+ year old document can apply to today with no revisions or modifications, which is actually what the framers had in mind when they wrote the thing and included the amendment process.

            BTW, The French have also gone through a couple revolutions, two world wars and occupations and the loss of their colonial empire.  That might have influenced their writing of constitutions at least as much as the GOP view that the French are just flakey woosies.

          • HarryAnchorite

            No meeting of minds here; over and out.

             

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    “What are we willing to live with”?

    So now the Constitution is optional?

    We are so ignorant today with regards to Rule of Law, vs. Discretionary Rule of Men, that we just think we could/should/would give our representatives and executive a free hand to benevolently dictate?

    • John_in_Amherst

       The constitution is not optional.  Nor is it up to date.

  • LavaLulu24

    Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald are patriots of the Paul Revere caliber.  We are a country built on the fragile and precious idea of freedom and liberty.  Without discourse and defense of our wonderful Constitution, the grand experiment of democracy will be lost.   We must protect the Constitution against all forces that would undermine it, even if those forces are our own government.
      I am a long-time supporter of National Public Radio, and I don’t understand why the Heritage Foundation gets so much air time, and why on a discussion about preservation of our civil liberties you did not have a representative from the ACLU.  I don’t want National Public Radio to turn into “National Propaganda Radio”.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Funny how Ron Paul and Gary Johnson had better ACLU scores than both Obama and the traditional GOP. We should have more of them on along with Greenwald et al. Then we could clean up our corrupt banking system and corrupt Security apparatus at the same time.

      But I doubt it, we’ll get over this latest affront to Liberty soon enough and move a bit closer to 1984, per usual.

      Liberty. Ha, that idea is so…… 1700′s!

  • 1Brett1

    I had only read certain pieces of Greenwald’s over the years, had never heard him speak…Maybe he’s a little bit stressed, but he was anything but impressive. He seemed more like some amateur blogger than a journalist. Aside from the punk tactic of reducing all viewpoints other than his to not only their most simplistic form and creating absolutes of any argument different than his so they sounded silly, he characterized all viewpoints other than his in the most derogatory terms. That was very unprofessional. He was not interested in any analysis of the issue of surveillance but was committed only to defending his and Snowden’s virtues, as if they should only be viewed as heroes, which was one dimensional, at best.

    Greenwald lost credibility in a number of moments. One, when he said that collecting records on locations of calls and on their length is more intrusive than listening to people’s phone calls and collecting their content. He went on to the weird characterization that whether or not a person is an alcoholic or is gay, or is or does something else, this will be revealed with these programs much more so than if the people’s calls were listened to. What? That was such nonsense. 

    He also tried to call these programs “eavesdropping” yet dismissed the warrantless wiretapping as being less intrusive. To me, eavesdropping means listening to the actual content of the calls and not how long they are or where they came from or went to. As problematic as covert surveillance has the potential to be, warrantless wiretapping is head and shoulders more intrusive than the metadata program; just because he says it is not, doesn’t mean he’s right. He also essentially denied there is the oversight that there is to the metadata program.

    Greenwald also lost credibility when he emphasized how none of the stuff leaked to him by Snowden would compromise national security, then later he said Snowden was some kind of hero because he chose to leak the information to Greenwald when he could have leaked it to the enemy  and compromised national security, which was a contradiction from his earlier statement.

    Greenwald also said of guest Steven Bucci that he could not know what goes on at the NSA (I believe he employed the aforementioned tactic by using the absolute word ALL, as in, Bucci could not know ALL that goes on at the NSA…), then later Greenwald claimed to know that the “goal of the NSA is to monitor and scrutinize all human communication.” That was such a punk-assed tactic.

    Greenwald seems to be a hack who paints with a broad brush for the purposes of (probably) defending his actions. By making Snowden a “hero,” he effectively is by extension claiming to be a hero himself.

    It’s a shame because people like Greenwald prevent a true examination of issues surrounding surveillance and how our rights get trampled on. People like Greenwald are interested in “debate,” much in the same vein as ‘HonestlyBaiting1.’  By its very nature the word “debate” indicates the person is taking one aspect of an issue, arguing the one narrow view, and reducing all other opposing views all for the sake of winning a debate for whatever reason. There can not be a true discussion of any issue of there is a reduction to a debate contest. Examination becomes nonexistent if analysis is shut down in favor of “debate” on issues as complex as this where there is not a clear-cut demarcation line.

     

    • allen 2saint

      Thank you. There is a whole lot of “rush to judgement” here and making “news” out of things we don’t know, rather than things we do know. Every “expert” in the country is rushing to microphones to be heard talking about this and we do not know a lot yet. That journalists are fueling this panic is appalling.

    • brettearle

      That’s an excellent analysis.

      But would you not agree that in finding the holes and glaring holes in Greenwald’s strategy, and in his understanding, that his published feature was, nevertheless, more of a service than a disservice?

      People are going to glean what they want to glean.

      While not everyone can maintain the critical standards that you employ, in reveiwing claims, there it is: meaning there are his words and his slant; do with it what you want; some of it, in proper context, has significant validity….

      I mean what about Imperial Hubris, written by Michael Scheurer?

      At the time, his work was disquieting–even though he had a notable slant that might have swerved objectivity.

      But we were better off with it, than without it, were we not?

      We usually can’t take responsibility for how people (the less objective types, the fanatics, etc.) will respond, No?

      • 1Brett1

        I get your point, and I haven’t yet read Greenwald’s piece, just listened to him on this show about the issue. We do need to know about some of this stuff that goes on as far as surveillance goes, sure…I am a process-oriented kind of person, though, otherwise we get caught in an endless array of “ends justify the means” mentalities.

        I don’t like it when people use the tactics he used on the show. It reduces examination to a lot of one dimensional characterization. I don’t even think this sort of thing serves the analysis of complex issues. 

        I can’t say what Greenwald’s journalistic methodology is, but it sure seems like he is journalistically lazy. I would have had more respect for him and he would have had more integrity if he had actually put in the leg work himself to get the story and kept his sources unrevealed; that’s what a real journalist does.

        • brettearle

           Fair enough.

          • 1Brett1

            The trouble sometimes with the way the news cycle works is that by the time we have enough information to really make an educated guess about what all of this means and can  truly analyze this in some sort of comprehensive way, it will have been spun and distorted so much for not only political purposes and for news sensation, but it will be killed off by the next “BIG STORY.” 

      • allen 2saint

        He cited the government’s “fear mongering” while doing exactly the same thing. I want to hear and see real investigative journalism here before we flip out. Snowden sounds mild mannered and kinda even believable, but Greenwald sounds exactly like the cliche, fast talking media coached PR manipulating attorney.

        • brettearle

          I see, in a fair way, where you are coming from.

          But we can see the wheat from the chaff, generally, can’t we?

          The `ole s_ _t detector should always be up and running, No?

    • Dave Lister

      This program is subject to FISA court warrants, if I’m not
      mistaken so it is not without oversight and in any case, I’m not sure that analysis of trends within an
      aggregated database actually raises 4th Amendment issues as Glenn makes it out to be. It is when
      individuals are targeted, and content examined without a warrant that
      issues arise.

      • Give_Me_Liberty_92

        it seems to me that one problem with the FISA court is that its decisions, rationale and summaries are all secret, even to members of congress who solicited them in more occasions. 

        what is the standard of review, for instance? probable cause? reasonable suspicion? simple rubber stamping without rationale? are 300 million americans all under reasonable suspicion all the time? is this the government argument? who reviews the FISA court decisions? I would like to know.

        so, lacking a substantial debate on how the law is applied, how can anyone form an opinion about the issue? if congress only knows a very small and limited portion of the story, how can there be effective checks and balances?

        should we just trust our privacy to them, hoping that their are doing everything right for “our own good”? is that it?plus, when the metadata contains location information, the issues moves away from smith v. maryland into the area of US v Jones, and there the courts seem to be more supportive of minimal government intrusion absent probable cause (see Sotomayor concurrent opinion on the GPS tracking case).aggregate data only seem to compound the problem, not eliminating it (it is not that violating the 4th amendment of 300 million americans concurrently one can then claim that no one 4th amendment right has been violated, that would seem a bizarre argument). one critical issue here is that once the data is gathered, stored, it is easily accessible by the government even lacking a warrant. that is what the guy in Hong Kong just said. how and who verifies that that does not happen routinely?

        can Obama, the same who did not know what the IRS was up to -and call me gullible,  I tend to believe that- really claim that he always knows what the NSA employees are up to?

    • elaichi

      In response to your points:
      Collecting and, most importantly, storing the telephone metadata of ALL Americans is nothing but highly intrusive. Metadata reveals who you speak with, how long you speak with them, and your physical location (…and can potentially facilitate far broader surveillance). Furthermore, this private information is permanently stored in a vast database which we didn’t previously have proof existed and about which we currently know nothing (i.e. who controls access, what rules regulate use, etc.). The dangers of such an infrastructure are apparent.

      In re: warrantless wiretapping vs. wholesale metadata collection. Warrantless wiretapping is obviously a profound abuse of our civil liberties. However, the point here is about the terrifying scope of metadata collection. To repeat, the metadata of all Americans is being scooped up, saved, and analyzed via a program w/ zero public oversight.

      In response to Glenn’s alleged contradictions re: national security, Glenn’s point was that Snowden had access to all sorts of intelligence which he could have sold to foreign governments or entities. Instead, Snowden made the decision to only disclose information of public interest (see initial Guardian interview/video). As in, he didn’t approach Russia and offer the names of all CIA agents active in the country in exchange for lucrative payment (…which he could have done) but selectively revealed documents detailing our government’s systemic abuse of power.

      • 1Brett1

        I didn’t at all say the metadata program wasn’t anything to be concerned about. The focus of my comment was about Greenwald’s dismissiveness of warrantless wiretapping and how that was designed to bolster his “outrage” over the metadata program, and my comment was about Greenwald’s general unprofessional demeanor. He seems a shoddy, lazy journalist.

        In fairness to both Greenwald and Snowden, I haven’t seen what was leaked…however, my comment was about how unimpressive Greenwald was on this show, which makes analytical examination of the issues more difficult.

        While I feel that all of this data mining is not as crucial to keeping us safe as authorities would have us believe, and that our privacy is being unnecessarily invaded, I also see profiling only those who either could become criminals, or who have already been criminals in the past, to be a much more troubling concept. That is the alternative we face if we don’t analyze all phone activity (that or having no surveillance at all). I think it is also good that these issues are being discussed; I just wish (and hope) they can be discussed among certain congressional members who sit on some of these committees.

        I also see the daily data mining by corporations for the purposes of monitoring our consumption trends to be much more troubling and invasive. 

        • Brick Thompson

          Brett, to address several of your points.  

          I am someone who has seen Greenwald speak in person; he’s usually quite articulate and focused.  He has been short over the last week, probably having something to do with the extreme situation he found himself in.  I work nights and occasionally 24 hour shifts, and the first thing to go is your patience.  This is worse is I am shifting time-zones.  He should get some rest and take fewer of these types of shows, you’re right.

          Having said that, I nor anyone else who is listening to the content probably cares much about the professionalism.  Do yourself a favor and actually read his wikipedia or check out his columns on the guardian webpage or salon.  He has been writing about warrant-less wiretapping, drones, corporate malfeasance, etc for years.  You’re right that he’s not like most journalists; he’s much more thorough.  His writing style, where he cites the assertions he makes more than half the pubmed journal articles I read is actually very refreshing; most journalists leave exactly 0 citations in anything they write.  This is what you’d expect from someone who has more than just journalism training, which is to say not much training at all.  He was a civil rights attorney before he was a blogger before he was a journalist.  And his viewpoints are extreme only outside an objective view of history and human nature.  In my opinion, instead of easing over the most serious issues of our time by speaking in comfortable, calm, euphemistic language, he says things as they are with the kind of words that reflect the seriousness of the topic.  There are other a few people who say the same things, but with more seasoning.  Seek them out, but the lesson can usually be learned twice as fast and five times as well in one of his columns compared to the similar mainstream column. 

    • Nick Babcock

       Some of your points may be valid but as for your assertion that Greenwald “prevents a true examination of issues surrounding surveillance and how rights get trampled on” is laughable in the extreme. Check out his columns for the past several years and you will see that the opposite is true, mistakes in this program notwithstanding.

      • 1Brett1

        Well, he was very unprofessional on the show, and that was my point. It was his approach on the show that is all too often the way issues get examined these days. They are just armchair debates performed by amateurs posing as experts or journalists. 

        Not sure what you mean by “laughable in the extreme”? That phrase could mean many different things. 

        Do you think Greenwald is some kind of crusader and felt I was not bowing to his bravery or something?

        • Nick Babcock

           Just that the statement I quoted could not be more wrong. As I said, the opposite is true. Just look at the history of his work as a journalist. Even the fact that this program is having this conversation is proof positive that that view is wrong. It was Greenwald who worked the source to get the leak.

          • 1Brett1

            Okay…maybe you think a columnist and blogger is the same thing as a journalist, or maybe you think a person’s work history should be the only judge of his talent. I can’t speak to that.

          • Nick Babcock

             You sound ridiculous, man. You obviously have no familiarity with Mr. Greenwald.

          • 1Brett1

            You’re a fan, I get it. I’ve read a couple of his pieces which weren’t too bad, a couple I didn’t like…I wouldn’t consider him a crack investigative journalist, more of a columnist. I haven’t read any of his books…His political editorials are on the level of…what’s the word: awful?

          • Nick Babcock

             You’re a tool, I get it. I’ll be dealing with your nonsense blustering in the above post in a while.

          • 1Brett1

            Your second sentence didn’t even make sense.

          • Nick Babcock

             Nevermind. Just listened to the whole program and re-read your post and realized that you must be one-hell-of-an idiot to have come away thinking what you have. And you said so little of substance that there is no point.

            But I will say one thing about your allegation of self-contradiction. On the point of Greenwald allegedly contradicting himself
            about the leaks impact on national security, I think you need to listen to it
            again. He was saying that Snowden had access to and could have acquired much
            information that could have had harmed US national security if he had sold it
            to a foreign government or just uploaded it indiscriminately to the internet.
            He did the opposite. He was selective and judicious and what he did turn over
            to the Guardian he trusted them to professionally assess what would be
            appropriate to publish and what wouldn’t. You have been so defied to explain
            how what has been leaked thus far could harm US national security.

          • 1Brett1

            Nope, he was non-specific in the one commentabout Snowden’s choice vs. what Snowdencould have done with the info. He may have added to that later, but he was making mostly generalizations. Besides, I was making an opinion comment; you seem to want to argue how your opinion has more value than mine. You have also called me an idiot, a tool, I am ridiculous, and a couple other rude potshots, all for having an opinion that is different than yours and is critical of Greenwald. I have not done that toward you, but be a jerk. Do you know HonestDebate1; you guys have a lot in common.

            You also have not provided any substance other than some vague generalization of my not being familiar with Greenwald’s work, another potshot. I guess you argue your  position by being a jerk?

          • 1Brett1

            ” It was Greenwald who worked the source to get the leak.”

            Nope, sorry, Nick, Snowden sought out Greenwald; it was Snowden who went to Greenwald…there wasn’t any “working” of any “source”  “to get the leak,” it pretty much was thrown in his lap. 

          • 1Brett1

            “…prevents a true examination of issues surrounding surveillance and how rights get trampled on.” 

            That is my opinion of how people like Greenwald do not examine issues but argue one side of them. I have never heard of “laughable in the extreme,” but thanks for using some non-sequitur to criticize my opinion. 

            His approach isn’t investigative journalism but editorializing. Can you cite a history of his tackling the issue of surveillance in an in-depth, investigative way? Can you provide links to his investigative, journalistic, analytical articles on surveillance to support your claim that my opinion is wrong because I am supposedly not familiar with his other work on investigative pieces about surveillance? Seems like that would support you opinion better than calling me names and not providing any substantiation of your criticisms.

          • Nick Babcock

            You can choose to inform yourself by checking out what he has been writing for the past several years or you can choose to remain ignorant and hold ludicrous views about him. I’m not responsible for remedying your ignorance. Just letting you know that you are and that it makes you look like a fool. I’ve wasted enough time on you.

          • 1Brett1

            I see, so, no, you can’t provide anything to substantiate your claim…Sir, it is you who look foolish by not backing up what you say and resorting to name-calling in your every reply. 

  • Dave Lister

    Tom, consider having scientist/science fiction writer David Brin, author of The Transparent Society  on the show.
    His book foresaw all of this over a decade ago and he has some non intuitive ideas about what we should do to live in this kind of society.
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Transparent-Society-Technology-Between/dp/0738201448

  • 1Brett1

    Greenwald’s constant phone signal problems was sort of funny; it made him sound like the stupid adults on the Charlie Brown TV cartoons. After a while, it was apparent that the technical problems didn’t matter, he was just “wah-wah-wah-wah-wah-wah [ing]” anyway. 

    • hennorama

      It’s ironically “suspicious” that Mr. Greenwald is having telephony issues.

      • brettearle

        I thought so, too.

        What’s more the garbled quality made him sound like a Bizarro-version of Hal 2000.

      • mschwa1967

        ya, funny, that…

  • Barry_Lloyd

    The NSA’s immense Utah Data Center currently under construction near Bluffdale, Utah needs fodder. Lots of it. Programs such as this are the source.

  • mschwa1967

    Ironic how Glenn Greenwald’s telephone connection kept going flaky just as he started to dish on overreach by specific congresspeople!

  • TyroneJ

    The 911 attacks killed a little less than 3,000 people, the
    equivalent of a little less than 5 weeks of traffic fatalities in the US. Each of those deaths, both 911 and traffic fatality, are devastating to the families of the deceased.

    Property damage from 911 was $10 billion to $13 billion, the
    equivalent, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), of about 17 weeks of weather related property damage ($39B/year). All of this damage both from 911 or weather is devastating when it’s your property.

    But as one can see, the data simply does not support any claims that terrorism is an overwhelming threat to the US.

    Patrick Henry (known terrorist as far as the British were
    concerned) said it best to the House of Burgesses on March 23, 1775, when he said, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, Give me Liberty, or give me Death!”

    • Saul B

      Bravo.

      Lost in this entire discussion is the financial cost of all this surveillance, and a discussion of the numerous other ways the countless billions of dollars could have been spent.

      Of course all death and destruction is tragic. But how are these terrorists a threat to our nation’s very being, yet every year countless thousands of Americans are killed prematurely by bullets and cars and preventable diseases and somehow the country goes on.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      During the Cold War we lived with the threat of global thermonuclear holocaust and we’re constantly told that the world is now much more dangerous because of “the terrorists” with their pressure cookers and AK47s. Unbelievable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=768983400 Megan Dixon

    I would be curious to see what the people of the United States would choose if asked whether or not they would like to be under surveillance. I say put it to a public polling vote!

    • Steve__T

       NO

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      How about a public Constitution burning? The statists and technocrats, and the masses of completely ignorant with regards to rule of law, the Constitution and the nature of our self government, would, I fear, possibly vote and win in a majority today, to dump the Constitution and trust a “Good” leader like Obama or the next political savior to do the right thing. History sadly repeats.

      Unaccountable discretionary management worked so well for our economy (Paulson, Bernanke, Summers, Geithner etc), seems to be working at the NSA, why not just formalize it and get it over with?

  • 1Brett1

    Greenwald kept talking about how he had no problem with an after the fact evidence gathering of criminal activity with regard to surveillance, which sounded silly. The very nature of surveillance is before the act of a crime. Also, how can that sort of evidence be gathered so that an affidavit can be filed if it is not gathered before hand? 

    He also condemned the idea that authorities can go back and retrieve evidence before someone is suspected/charged. This also did not make sense; it’s just evidence gathering. If a person hadn’t raised suspicion to the point of a warrant being filed, no retroactive action would be taken. If someone commits murder and authorities go back and gather evidence linking the accused to events leading up to the murder, is that unconstitutional?

    • TyroneJ

      Well, the 4th Amendment says:

      “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

      If one uses the modern interpretation of “persons, houses, papers, and effects” to include not just written letters, but other forms of non-face-to-face communication, then a warrant of limited scope is required under our Constitution.

      • 1Brett1

        I hear ya, and it would be interesting to have an actual unbiased constitutional lawyer weigh in…To make an analogy (and I am not defending the metadata program just trying to look at different angles), if a cop sits with a radar pointed at all cars passing through a checkpoint, then only goes after the one that actually exceeds the speed limit, did those other drivers have their constitutional rights violated because they were initially monitored to determine if they were speeding?

      • jefe68

        Which is why what the NSA and any other law enforcement agency that is gathering intelligence without a warrant is falling foul of the 4th Amendment. 

      • hennorama

        TyroneJ – when discussing the collection of telephony metadata only, there is a distinction that is important.

        As one understands the program, and according to the leaked Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s Secondary Order, “Telephony metadata does not include the substantive content of any communication, as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 2510(8), or the name, address, or financial information of a subscriber or customer.”

        In other words, the telecom company’s business records were being collected, and notably NOT any identifying information about the subscriber or customer, nor any of the private information that belongs to the subscriber or customer. No “substantive content”, and no “name, address, or financial information”.

        It has long been held by various U.S. Supreme Court decisions that an individual has no “reasonable expectation of privacy” as to the telephone numbers that they dial. The same has been held as to certain business records held by third parties, such as bank records.

        The theory being that one must knowingly expose the number being dialed to a third party (the telecom co. in this case), in order that the call be completed, and that business records are not the private “papers” of the individual, but instead are the property of the business.

        Therefore, no individual rights have been violated.

        See:
        (Smith v. Maryland)
        http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/442/735/case.html

        (United States v. Miller)
        http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/425/435/case.html

        The leaked court order can be viewed here:
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2013/jun/06/verizon-telephone-data-court-order

        18 U.S.C. § 2510 can be viewed here:
        http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2510

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          While we can of course understand the phone company “needs” to know the numbers we dial, and keeps them for a time for billing etc, there is no reason we shouldn’t expect them to keep it private, and to expect the Government to provide just warrants under the 4th amendment should they want the info.

          If the contracts we make by doing business with phone or internet companies are between us and the business, there is no need to assume the the Government has every right to look at our transactions. 

          If that is where legal precedent has wandered over the decades, then perhaps it is wrong, and its time to wander away.

          For us all to just accept a police surveillance state and just trust our good leaders from here on out instead of pushing back and defending our society seems crazy.

          If terrorists really hate our society for our liberties, well, we’ll have to struggle with that. While some may, I think that’s a pretty bogus argument, and that they hate other things, justified or not.

          The eventual consequences of turning ourselves into a surveillance state with our governments and corporations, may turn out to be worse than what terrorists who hate Constitutional Law taking pot shots at us.
           

          • hennorama

            Government_Banking_Serf – Thank you for your response. I respect your views and appreciate your thoughtful reply.

            I’m not unsympathetic to your argument, but the Supreme Court disagrees, as did Judge Roger Vinson when he signed the FISC’s Secondary Order that is at issue regarding telephony metadata.

            Again, note that the data collected “…does not include the substantive content of any communication, as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 2510(8), or the name, address, or financial information of a subscriber or customer.”

            Also note that this is retrospective data collection. This allows for a backward look only, which is of clear value in any sort of law enforcement investigation.

            Note too that while this sort of data can be very useful in tracking suspects and their communications with others, an actual warrant is required to listen in to ongoing phone calls by investigators, and only after a showing of probable cause.

            That is completely different from merely collecting and storing data for later use.

            Again, I’m not unsympathetic to your argument. My point was to illuminate some of the finer points that seem to have been lost in the arguably hyperbolic coverage and discussion of this topic.

            TY again for your thoughtful response..

        • Give_Me_Liberty_92

          two comments:
          1. don’t you think that perhaps, when they decided Smith v. Maryland in 1979 the metadata under question were of a different nature (in Smith it was the simple phone number called; now, location and time data allows tracking of movement as well, providing a more invasive picture of the targets-all of us at the same time!)? Isn’t the indiscriminate scope of the data gathering by the government a substantial difference from Smith -on a vast greater scale now, one specifically targeted person then? the current case law may be moving away from smith when it comes to location sensitive data and the forth amendment (especially see concurrent opinion by Sotomayor in US v. Jones on GPS tracking http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/10-1259):

          “Disclosed in [GPS] data . . . will be trips the indisputably private nature of which takes little imagination to conjure: trips to the psychiatrist, the plastic surgeon, the abortion clinic, the AIDS treatment center, the strip club, the criminal defense attorney, the by-the-hour motel, the union meeting, the mosque, synagogue or church, the gay bar and on and on”). The Government can store such records and efficiently mine them for information years into the future. Pineda-Moreno, 617 F. 3d, at 1124 (opinion of Kozinski, C. J.). And because GPS monitoring is cheap in comparison to conventional surveillance techniques and, by design, proceeds surreptitiously, it evades the ordinary checks that constrain abusive law enforcement practices: “limited police resources and community hostility.” Illinois v. Lidster, 540 U. S. 419, 426 (2004) .Awareness that the Government may be watching chills associational and expressive freedoms. And the Government’s unrestrained power to assemble data that reveal private aspects of identity is susceptible to abuse. The net result is that GPS monitoring—by making available at a relatively low cost such a substantial quantum of intimate information about any person whom the Government, in its unfettered discretion, chooses to track—may “alter the relationship between citizen and government in a way that is inimical to democratic society.” 

          2. even assuming -without conceding it-this practice was constitutional, not everything constitutional makes for good policy. at the very least, such vast database opens the door to blackmail of government officials and politicians, or anyone else perceived as an enemy. The power of the IT analysts sitting in from of those computers is immense and impossible to control -thousands of analysts with top secret clearance, many degree removed from the judicial and legislative rubber stamp control…- The mere existence of such database is a risk for democracy, no matter how pure is the current intent. It’s just too much power for any government to handle.

          • hennorama

            Give_Me_Liberty_92 – Thank you for your thoughtful response. I respect your views and am not unsympathetic to your arguments.

            By way of reply to your point 1. – there is an enormous difference between the retrospective collecting of telephony metadata, which “…does not include the substantive content of any communication, as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 2510(8), or the name, address, or financial information of a subscriber or customer” and an individualized attachment of a GPS tracking device to a vehicle, and the active and ongoing use of that device to monitor an individual vehicle’s movements (as in UNITED STATES v. JONES).

            The former is passive and indiscriminate, whereas the latter is active and individualized. The former involves business records from a third party, whereas the latter involves an individual “search” as the Supreme Court held.

            I am not an attorney, but the concept that one willingly gives up their “reasonable expectation of privacy” as to who one is calling by disclosing it to a third party through the act of dialing the number seems quite simple and clear. The second simple concept that the business records of a telecom company do not belong to the customer or subscriber also seems quite simple and clear.

            In this way, there is no violation of any individual rights per the parameters of this program (at least those parameters that have become publicly known).

            Obviously, this sort of data can be very useful to law enforcement in retrospectively tracking suspects and their communications with others. However, an actual warrant is required before investigators can listen in to ongoing phone calls, and only after a showing of probable cause.

            As to your point 2. – this is a reasonable position, and I share your concerns. However, the same argument could be made about credit card records, as a great deal of information can be gleaned from them as well. The same is true of virtually any large database containing personal and consumer information.

            Thank you again for your thoughtful response.

  • allen 2saint

    Tom, as much as I respect you, I think you might want to try out for a softball team after this piece. 

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Edward Snowden: saving us from the United Stasi of America. Daniel Ellsberg

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/10/edward-snowden-united-stasi-america

    And Snowden apparently a Ron Paul supporter (looks like that, like anything Ron Paul in media, being used as a smear).

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/06/10/edward-snowden-apparently-a-ron-paul-supporter/

    Once again, a potential Progressive/Libertarian alliance coming down on the right side of big issues. But the resident Repulicrat statists around here won’t want to hear it.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      I’m all for it. Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul, LOL.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Lets start with Nader/Paul who have been seen together at speeches and on news interviews many times since the Iraq lead up, and through the Banking Scandal.

        You like to laugh at it, but the points of common ground, which are against the status quo DNC or GOP lines, are a vast improvement toward reform for the big issues.

        The main problem is people who conflate disagreeing with Ron Paul’s personal opinions/values, with disagreeing with a more Libertarian, Rule of Law, Constitutional, Sound Money world view.

        And sadly, its often progressives (i’ve been there) who are the most intolerant of other people’s personal views and choices, wanting to impose their values on all, which is antithetical to true diversity, tolerance, and freedom.

        To not back Paul on banking and monetary reform or civil liberties from spying to marijuana, because he is personally pro-life, or any other specific issue we all have the right and opportunity to vote on, is silly. 

        I’ll take the challenge of the Sanders/Paul dissonance any day over the elite status quo government/finance/war complex we have today.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          That was a sympathetic laugh. Don’t be humor-impaired.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            sorry Tom, appreciate the sincerity.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            No prob, Serf. This is bad bad bad and I’m appreciating anyone who stands up to it.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Its my inner Greenwald frothing…

  • pm05

    Poor Glenn! He has gone off the deep end! And, please explain why Snowden ran off to Hong Kong if he is such a hero? Why was he hired by the security firm — how did this firm let this happen? There is too much to question yet, and Greenwald seems a bit obsessed?

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      What is the appropriate emotional/psychological response to confronting the security arm of the most powerful government in the world? To trying to get the story out before it is squashed or morphed or smeared?

      You think tackling these issues vs. power is a walk in the park?

    • donniethebrasco

       pm05 – we will be stopping by your house tonight around 2AM.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-MC/69207889 Matt MC

    Can we have a show about how brazen the government is for scrambling Greenwald’s calls on the air? 

  • HonestDebate1

    Just use a current dictionary and consider the context of the time and you’ll be gold. Dictionaries are awesome… or google it.

    Edit: That was to Ray below, I must have hit the button wrong. Sorry.

    • 1Brett1

      “Google is not knowledge” -HonestlyBaiting1″

    • Ray in VT

      That is what I tend to do, which is why I am so puzzled by the supposed difference between inalienable and unalienable.  Historical sources do not suggest a difference.

      • HonestDebate1

        The 1856 edition of Bouvier’s Law Dictionary defines them. William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England from 1765 defines unalienable. Are those not historical sources? They are both referenced here but I’ve posted it, as well as others that referenced the same things, before:
        http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/inalienable

        I don’t see what the big deal is, maybe it just rolled better off the tongue, maybe they didn’t fret over every word and just jotted down a few random thoughts. It doesn’t matter so I’ll throw you a bone and give credit to Brett for the enlightenment. In the context of the DOI, very specifically the question of where our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness comes from, the words are completely interchangeable. There is no difference at all until you consider the possibility of those rights being legislated away after governments evolve and the dictionaries have all changed long after you’re gone.

        • Ray in VT

          Bouvier’s Law Dictionary defines them in 1856, although it does not really distinguish them as being distinct or different.  Care to point out where in Commentaries on the Laws of England Blackstone defines the term or how it differs from inalienable?  Wiktionary?  Puh-lease.  I’m using the OED, which is the premier source for word histories in English.  Let’s take a look at Wiktionary’s sources for the “debate”.  They cite Alfred Adask as a source for a difference and a debate.  Try reading his entry in Who’s Nobody.  He’s some crank with a website and maybe a radio show who’s just giving his opinion.  Maybe we can let everyone be an authority now just as long as they have an opinion.

          “There is no difference at all until you consider the possibility of those rights being legislated away after governments evolve and the dictionaries have all changed long after you’re gone.”

          I would counter that there is no difference at all.  One is not instilled with greater value than the other, no matter what Alfred Adask says.

          I don’t need a bone thrown to me, and I’m sure that Brett doesn’t either, seeing as how we are right.  Feel free to go ahead and try to change the subject, though.  So now they didn’t fret and agonize over every word?

      • 1Brett1

        “First they came for the dictionaries…”

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Wow, the caller commenting on “the government is there to help us and make our lives better” and “mistrusting the government is crazy!” is very disturbing and an open invitation to tyranny.

    People really do not remember or have never understood what tyranny is/was, and how history has shown this has occurred time after time, and how strict Constitutional Self Governance was a great gift to humanity by our founders who thought these issues over quite well.

    People need to read The Road to Serfdom, let alone the Constitution and world History again.

    • americanvirtues

      I think that caller was staged!

  • Charles Stott

    Not so upset that we collect the data as I am over the complete lack of control over who has access to it (IRS as a case in point)

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      How can you have one without the other? That is the age-old dilemma of power and human nature. That is precisely why we have a Constitution. 

      This is madness.

      The collection, government or corporate, should have been being challenged all along, but of course the corrupt Repub and Dems who bend over backward to do Crony Capitalistic favors to any industry from War to Internet as long as some of the profit is kicked back to the campaign coffers, are not going to do that.

      We love to talk of the beauty of compromise, bipartisanship etc. Usually its a trojan horse for more Crony Capitalistic crap, whether Financial Bubble or Internet privacy etc, that comes back to bite us.

      There is no need to be politically correct and “compromise” on the Constitution.

      Compromise with your friends, family and neighbors. Not with colluding government and corporate elitists.

      • Charles Stott

        I guess that’s my point…if we can’t control how those looking at the data use it there can be no need for collecting it.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          I agree.

  • donniethebrasco

    This show is supporting NPRs support of the right wing conspiracy.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Total surveillance used to be the work of God.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    If this business of collecting all this info about all of us, is not a breach of the General Warrant concept of the 4th amendment, what is?

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    “Now, the problem is you have is like Mr. Snowden who had a clearance, like Bradley Manning who had a clearance. ”
    kinda like when the problem at abu ghareb was the fact they had digital cameras

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Anyone believe there is a firewall between the “metadata” and the actual content?

    • brettearle

      Are you saying that the Government can do anything it wants, that the Government makes it up as it goes along, and that the Government’s actions could never be challenged in Court, because the Court is the Government?

      I don’t think it totally works that way.

    • hennorama

      TomK_in_Boston – given that the metadata is shared and collected retrospectively, yes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    i am sure everyone who posts on this is going to be on a list. this must be how people felt during the red scare

    • brettearle

      They ain’t entirely comparable.

      With the Red Scare, there were targeted suspicions.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        this is worse

        • brettearle

          Yes and No.

          Yes, it covers everyone in a blanketed way.

          But, No, there are no targeted identity, slippery slopes, that you can point to.

          But I do agree that the temptation is there.  Big Time.

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            i thought these programs are targeted in theory at what bush called terra. temptation and oppurtunity there is your slippery slope

  • RRDip

    I was very disappointed with the show today–although I rarely am.  I am a cybersecurity and a defense/intelligence expert; I am nevertheless wary of various intelligence projects and their “oversight.”  However, Mr. Ashcroft basically just let Glenn Greenwald rant, and lecture people who called in.  The 4th Amendment is properly interpreted as placing limits on what the government can do in prosecuting people, not in what information it can gather for any purpose.  This distinction was nowhere clear in your story.  The IRS and the Census bureau and–I would argue–the NSA are much less restricted if they never use the information in prosecutions.  I see the main problem (also not examined) as one in which huge numbers of people have access to highly classified information outside of their need-to-know.  Should we really allow a 29-year old with no high school or college degree (or Bradley Manning) decide what is in the national interest to disclose?  If there are misdeeds it lies in overclassification of information and the uncompartmentalized access to classified information of those without a “need to know.”  These are failings of the intelligence and military leadership, not of Manning and Snowden.

    • brettearle

      If you say that, “the 4th Amendment is properly interpreted as placing limits on what the government can do in prosecuting people, not in what information it can gather for any purpose”, then why is the term “probable cause” included in the Amendment?

      • John Cedar

        You are liable to get a poison tip umbrella SQL injection if you keep asking those type questions.

        • brettearle

           You mean he’ll Ricin to the occasion?

    • John Berlakovich

      Completely wrong. The 4th amendment protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. There is no language there, or in any legal interpretation of the amendment that I am aware of, that restricts that search and seizure protection to prosecution. If you actually are a security expert, your interpretation of the Constitution is infantile.

      • brettearle

        See my earlier comment below.

        Methinks he’s baiting us.

  • Caleb50

    That caller named Amber made my skin crawl. I can’t believe that she, or anybody else, actually believes that we should just trust the US government and that transparency isn’t needed. She stated that it was ridiculous to think that the US government would ever use surveillance to harm a US citizen. Her line of thinking is profoundly naive, historically ignorant, and dangerous. I almost yanked my Bose radio from the wall and threw it out the window. 

  • burroak

    Question for Mr. Greenwald: if terrorist threats against the United States are daily, weekly, monthly, etc. how would he confront these, if, in a 21st century where technology is paramount, and terrorists communicate everyday via this medium; what would his methods be to track, discover, analyze, and capture these infinite digital footprints?
    Is it not one of our governments primary responsibilities: to keep our country and its citizens safe? And, how many terrorist threats have been thwarted because of NSA efforts.
    It is a testament to this great nation, that even something as secretive as the NSA, is subject to public debate.

    • brettearle

      I made the point earlier that without email monitoring and cell phone surveillance, Al Qaeda and its minions would be on it, again and again and again.

      This was in response to Greenwald’s contention that the Enemy clearly knows that these outlets are being monitored and therefore wouldn’t make attempts at such communication.  Seems to me that is a glaringly specious and circular argument.

      However, I do not like the idea of such widespread surveillance.  I come down on the side of the NYT editorial on this one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1446750145 John Duffy

    Love the show, but please tell host Tom Ashbrook there is a BIG difference between a blogger and a journalist. Just because an obvious ideologue types for the Guardian does not make him a journalist. Throughout the program Greenwald makes sweeping judgments and verdicts about the motives of his subject and indeed the entire nature of the security of the United States. A real journalist does not do this, which makes me think he is doing little more than using his subject to further his libertarian theology and his own career. Shameful. Let the professionals handle this…

    • brettearle

      I think it’s a mixture of conviction and information.

      I can’t disagree with your assessment.  Others agree with you–whom I respect, here.  [I don't know your work, yet.]

      But, maybe you don’t respect Slate:

      Nevertheless, the Executive Editor of Slate was quoted in the NYT as giving Greenwald carte blanche opportunity for placement in that online Journal

  • Gordon Green

    Not only has the national security state run amok, it has delivered its capacities directly into the hands of private industry, in the form of consultants like Snowden.  How can any business that depends on the privacy of its communications, for intellectual property reasons for example, afford to do business in a country where that privacy is not guaranteed with full confidence?  What if Snowden did not happen to be a patriotic whistelblower but instead was more craven and sold his access to the highest bidder?  To the Chinese government?   We don’t need to do this.  Terrorism is an excuse.  

  • HonestDebate1

    Here’s President Obama debating Senator Obama on surveillance. 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BmdovYztH8&feature=player_embedded

    • pete18

      You can pretty much run those Obama vs Obama debates
      on almost every issue he critiqued Bush on. How anyone can still take him seriously about anything, or defend any part of his presidency (with the caveat of killing Bin Laden) as being successful is one of the world’s greatest mysteries.

      • Annie Tye

         You could do the exact same thing to any politician, and probably any person.  Bush catered to his audience with the best of ‘em.

        • HonestDebate1

          I don’t think so. Many politicians are consistent in their beliefs and rhetoric almost to a fault. It happens across the political spectrum from Carol Moseley-Braun to Jesse Helms. 

        • pete18

            Although all politicians have their contradictions and flip flops, that
          doesn’t mean that you can’t make distinctions between them. Saying they
          all do it when your guy does it is a cop out, because it means your not
          willing to hold anyone responsible.

  • HonestDebate1

    This is a complicated issue there are definitely two valid sides to the argument. Government needs to keep some secrets and it’s a dangerous world but we can’t stomp on the Constitution to do it. I get all that. The problem as I see it is we can’t trust a government we know has lied to us. That’s the difference, at this point, it makes.

    • 1Brett1

      Well, it is an interesting question, about whether or not this represents a “stomping” of the Constitution. I’m not sure that gathering phone records (particularly with respect to only the place of the call and the length of the call) amounts to either a constitutional violation in terms of an illegal search and seizure or in terms of a violation of privacy. I’d like it to mean that, but I would need to hear from a non-partisan constitutional lawyer, preferably more than two, actually. If this is unconstitutional, then pretty much any data collection and mining is illegal/unconstitutional, it seems to me. 

      How outraged were you at the “stomping” of the Constitution regarding the Patriot Act? I hope your answer is “a lot.” 

      • brettearle

        What about the rationalized argument that we are in a protracted asymmetric war, where radical cells could be anywhere, at anytime–and therefore in the exigency of this protracted decade(s) of peril, we are in a constant state of emergency.

        Lincoln suspended habeas corpus.

        Then there was the expansion of the Patriot Act, where warrantless wiretaps could be reported to the FISA court afterwards, if it were an emergency.

        Why can’t the Government flippantly say that we are in protracted state of emergency?

        • 1Brett1

          I’m guessing the government can do anything and say anything to justify anything, it seems, unfortunately. That is the legitimate fear of so many. 

          Currently, it looks as though no one has abused his power to compromise someone’s privacy/ruin someone’s life. However, there is such potential for some future unstable person (some future Snowden, some future overreaching administration, some use of this information compiled with this type of surveillance) to use something to cause real harm to either an individual, a group of individuals or to national security on a larger level. 

          (As an aside, I find it interesting that the neocons are always criticizing Obama for being soft on terrorism, that we are always in such imminent danger, that this Administration is lax in their approach to security, both nationally and internationally; yet, they are so quick point to this metadata program as proof of a pattern of restricting our rights. I also don’t remember any such outrage from neocons during the Bush years for things like the Patriot act.) 

          I, as you can tell, am ambivalent. I resent my privacy invasions everyday, from both corporate America and the government. I question all of this–what appears– excessive surveillance and infringement of our freedoms in exchange for some false sense of a temporary reduction in danger, in some false sense of security. Yet, we indeed live in a dangerous world where terrorists, as well as garden variety lunatics, seem perched to do harm to average citizens while we go about our daily lives (to name just one problem that may arise from an act of terror).

          • brettearle

            Great comments, again.

            The above sentence is not meant as an Ego massage.

            Your views, with regard to this matter, almost typify my own.

            I, too, am ambivalent.

            But I have to ultimately come down on the relationship between the 4th Amendment and a Security Emergency.

            If there is an Emergency, then it has to be official and it has to be declared.

            Even if it is a protracted one.

            The one point, where I do not totally agree–and this is because I may have tuned in to the information sources improperly–but I do not hear the opposing din, from the GOP, that you apparently do.

            Indeed, BOTH SIDES of Congress have been on board with this–before the issue spille dout.

          • 1Brett1

            The criticism does seem to be coming fairly equally from both sides, and there are certainly conservatives in congress who don’t have a problem with the metadata program. The “Obama’s fault” meme does seem to be at a minimum (although, I’ve heard it); I have conservatives on this forum have all seemed to condemn it, however. Maybe I’ve missed someone? I’ve heard some ambivalence, but it was more dismissive of the need, to set up a larger point of being unconstitutional (so as to make it seem the person sees both sides). 

            I do hear the “it’s unconstitutional” drumbeat a bit by conservatives. While I’d like to think it IS unconstitutional, I’m not sure it is. 1) Private corporations collect more private activity on us all than these programs do. 2) Law enforcement does this sort of thing all the time, in a way; one example would be road blocks/checks. They stop ALL cars (irrespective of any probable cause); they often ask drivers a series of personal questions, e.g., “where are you going?” Now, you CAN say, “none of your business!” but that would just get you even closer scrutiny, and you would probably be charged with something, at least with not cooperating. I think your point about having a more clearly defined emergency protocol for when it would be necessary to use such a system is a great one. I feel the metadata program has a lot of oversight, but who oversees the oversee’ers? (As clunky as the last phrase is!)

          • brettearle

            I can go on endlessly about these matters–both in theoretical debate and actual personal experience.

            Too bad we can’t do this over a beer.

            You’d be (somewhat) startled at my experience.

            I may need to save all of what I could say for other venues–because I’m not sure you’re going to read this (too much time may have elapsed).

            The issue, for me, is the invasion of privacy, in the search for criminal activity vs private corporation monitoring.  Business monitoring is not usually going to threaten your freedom.

            The police violate privacy, often–partially because they’re poorly trained; partially, because they can and don’t care.

            But I truly wonder whether the Government can get away with this, as a routine matter.

            If it’s an exigency, you can monitor with suspicion, without a warrant, and then go to the FISA court, if you have to.

            [You, of course, know this.]

            But this stuff, we’re learning about, changes everything, in my view….not in terms of my own ambivalence, really.

            But rather in terms of the libertine and gratuitous opportunity that the Government is taking advantage of.

            It FEELS otherworldly.

            The ACLU is going to Court about this.

            My guess is if the challenge gets to SCOTUS–which it likely won’t–the ACLU’s attempt will be struck down.

            I don’t get it.

            How?

            On what grounds?

            Because they could?

            [Like Clinton?]

          • 1Brett1

            It’ll be interesting to see how court challenges play out, especially–as you say–if challenges rise to the US Supreme Court level…

    • brettearle

      Gregg, if you and I were truly privy to all the prevarications that our Government officials have likely committed over the years (both lies of commission and omission), and then if we were to subsequently `out’ all of them, we would see a line to Confession, queuing up at Dupont circle and continuing on, all the way to Alexandria.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sam.fuchs.7 Sam Fuchs

    Have we seen any evidence other than talk from Snowden that all these companies are actually under surveillance? Most are saying they are not involved.

  • andic_epipedon

    I’m waiting for the Frontline investigation of this to make any judgments.  It is incumbent upon everyone to educate themselves on why a well paid professional would leave money behind and risk his life to tell us something.  I don’t think anyone can dismiss it out of hand.  This is not a partisan issue.  Although, this show and the Dianne Rheme show did not do a good job of reporting, I encourage everyone to watch the 12 minute interview posted on this website.

    Here is my assessment so far:
    My assumptions:
    1.  Power corrupts
    2.  Secrecy breeds trouble
    What I know:
    1.  I am a former Federal Employee and the government has become really spooky to me since 9/11.  The people at the top are really freaked out and are breeding a generation of people that don’t ask any questions and work in secrecy.
    2.  Frontline has reported there are all kinds of computer data storage centers popping up around the country that can house more data than any government could ever need to run its business.
    3.  There is controversy between the telecommunications companies and a leaked document about what kind of information the government is collecting on Americans.
    4.  Private Manning leaked a ton of documents and it is unclear to me what value those documents have and whether or not any of them are valuable to me.
    5.  Senator Feinstein was brought up in this discussion as a liberal who thinks what the government is doing is okay.  I would point out that Feinstein voted to go to war in Iraq when it was wrong and silently watched as Harvey Milk was brutally shutdown and murdered.  She is a powerful moderate Senator who is not always on the right side of history.
    5.   As a former Fed, I speak government talk and in my opinion Snowden is an intelligent, cerebral kind of guy who is honestly concerned about what he saw while working for the government.

    Please take what he has to say seriously and make your own decision.  

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      Of course there is more and it’s not just here in the US, is it? Paranoia is a virus.

      Stop children, what’s that sound.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjSpO2B6G4s

       
      Some things never change !

      • andic_epipedon

        I haven’t heard that song in years.  Well said.

  • loyal_on_point_follower

    As a loyal On Point listener, I must say I’m disappointed with the show today. Tom, as one of your callers said, Greenwald seemed to be foaming at the mouth. But what was most bothersome was that for any point that went against his argument, he could only offer condescension and insult. It’s 2013. To pretend that the framers wouldn’t have wanted a surveillance state is anachronistic at best. What should worry people is that a private contractor with apparently just a GED? has this level of clearance. 

    As for the NSA gathering the data, I’d rather have my metadata be collected and be safe than not. For all of Greenwald’s rant, based seemingly on the “evidence” he gathered from his source, he could not provide an alternative. 

    And now, sadly, the story will become about Greenwald the “hero” journalist helping to promote the cause of “whistle blower.”

    • andic_epipedon

      What’s wrong with GED people?  I know some brilliant folks in the IT world that only have a high school degree or GED.  I’m not a loyal listener and don’t really consider this show to be at the top of the list of shows to listen to.  This episode seems a little worse than most.  My takeaway is that Greenwald is a crusader who may or may not be on the right.  It was an unfortunate waste of my time.  If you read some of the other posts most of them agreed that this one wasn’t very good.

      • loyal_on_point_follower

        Nothing at all against GED folks. I would just expect the qualifications to be higher for people who have to manage what seems to be apparently the highest–bar none–level of classified information. There is IT, and then there’s this type of IT, like eavesdropping on the president, which this guy says he could have done if he wanted. Call it an issue with the way defense has been contracted out to the private sector, call it poor job training by the company that employed this guy. In any case, you say it well–Greenwald is a crusader who will surely cash in on this.

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      America is composed of many types of people. Part of the problem with our society today is that the little guy has no meaningful access to power. This “leaker”, was not part of the normal machinery, was he? He was not as coercible as others.
      As for an alternative; let’s assume that the people of the United States are willing to accept this type of program. Then why not allow someone or group from the press to “police” this complex and system ? Do you think that someone entrusted with National Security is going to tip off a terrorist ? There are even more ways to create, “ Checks and Balances”, use your imagination and quit giving away my country !

    • SteveTheTeacher

      As a “Loyal On Point Listener” your comments help expose the myth that the mainstream media has a liberal bias.  On the contrary, the US mainstream media has a very strong bias to the status quo.  Air time is rarely given to those with progressive perspectives such as Glen Greenwald, Noam Chomsky, Amy Goodman,  Arundhati Roy, Jeremy Schahill, or Slavoj Žižek. 

      Some of us are old enough to have had family or friends who were targeted for repression under the US government’s COINTELPRO program. 

      Do you remember when FBI agents assasinated Fred Hampton as he slept in his bed? 

      Do you remember when the FBI assassinated Carlos Soto Arrivi and Arnaldo Dario Rosado? 

      How about when the more recent assassination of Filiberto Ojeda Rios?

      Where were you when those of us who supported, or were involved with, the Occupy Movement were targeted by the FBI? 

      One of the dangers with the government having all records of all of our phone, internet, activities, the people with who we communicate, and the times and locations of all our communications is the reality that this information will be used against us when any government functionary feels that our actions or expressions of political viewpoints merit targeting.

      • answerfrog

        Those aren’t progressives, they are extremists. Greenwald supported Ron Paul. Chomsky supported the Khmer Rouge, and Zizek while pretty entertaining describes himself as a Stalinist. (really!)

        • SteveTheTeacher

          It is unfortunate that some, like Answerfrog, are so easily distracted by misinformation used to discredit those who advocate for social justice, that they cannot process the main point of a discussion.

          Answerfrog losses the focus on the historical record of abuse by the FBI, particularly to people of color and progressives. 

          Answerfrog does not process the danger posed, at present, by the government’s collection and permanent storage of vast amounts of data on each citizen.

          For the record, since I am not a data minder in the government I can only relate what has been presented publicly. 
          Glen Greenwald made it clear that he did not endorse Ron Paul, rather he sought to awaken those in the Democratic party to the inhumane and undemocratic positions of President Obama. Contrary to popular disinformation, Chomsky has been highly critical of the brutality of the Khmer Rouge and Zizek has also spoken out against the horrors of Stalin.

  • Tyranipocrit

    there is only one reason to do this–control and manipulate American citizens.  The 1% are very afraid of revolution.  Terrorism has nothing to do with it–accept that they expect people to start rising up against them. 

    His phone is getting wanky because the NSA is disrupting it.

  • Tyranipocrit

    it doesnt matter what the  american people think–th e NSA and the corporate-aristocracy will continue to herd and manipulate you–even kill you.

  • Tyranipocrit

    the caller –Amber–says this not east germany that the gov is not monitoring us–well, guees what honey–that’s exactly why we are having this conversation–because we are being monitored and manipulated–controlled–it is exactly east germany–only worse. 

    You are the one foaming at the mouth–and completely ignorant, naive and ridiculous.  Everything you are raving about–that you deny–is exactly what is happening. You need to shift your anger–this is the point of the discussion honey.  You are sooo sooo naive and just silly.  just dumb really.  I suspect you are a shill.  You are a fool.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mediahoney Mike Ross

    On section 2 in the podcast Mr Greenwald takes the position that any terrorist with their salt already knows about these surveillance techniques therefore they take measures to avoid it. On this point I have to disagree. Here are a couple of analogies. In WW2 we broke the codes of the Japanese Navy and therefore we able to save lives, win key battles, and ultimately the war itself. The Japanese knew we were trying to break their codes yet they still transmitted and took the chance. Why? Because they had too. Even at the risk of their plans being discovered they still had to conduct the war. The same can be said for the terrorist, “yes” they know we are trying to catch them. However, they still have to conduct their operations. So, at some point they have to pop their heads up and risk exposing themselves that’s when we have to be ready. This is why we have to be vigilant and put our liberties at risk, because this theatre is truly global more so in some ways than WW2. Communications bouncing around back in the 1940′s with microbial in nature compared to the amount of communications that are flying through the air and lines now. We have to cast a bigger net. Here is another analogy he makes the point that they the terrorist all know we have these programs. Maybe most do? I think there is another way to view this. This is a big world and a lot, though not all, of the places where these terrorist are farmed and raised are in the backwoods of the world. Not all of them have access to wide ranging forms of communication. Therefore they have to use what they have on the ground at that time to fight their enemies. Even the mighty US military has to use what’s at hand when the bullets are flying. Sometimes even they the US military can’t call in whatever precise or best qualified assets they need to meet whatever threat they might be facing. So they use they have on hand, and so do the terrorist, especially when drones are flying overhead ready to strike. Constant pressure makes your adversary break radio silence. If we sit back too much, we give them to much room to breathe. If you ever hear the phone conversations of the terrorist in the Mumbai Attacks they have these kids who are completely clueless about the modern world running around murdering people for them. How do I know they are clueless? Listen to the tapes on the HBO documentary they are remarking about how the hotel rooms have these plush accommodations. “Like they had never seen a hotel with 2 sinks in it before”. Yes. I’m paraphrasing there, but listen to the tapes you will hear what I mean. Also, these Mumbai attacks were precisely planned. Yet, what did they do? They used cell phones to carry it out. They used what they had available. 
     One more quicky, in the US drug dealers know the cops bust them because they use their phones. However they still use them, because they have to conduct business and it requires remotely communicating with their suppliers and clients. So don’t be too quick to agree with Mr Greenwald on the point he makes in section 2 of the podcast.
    In closing I have deep concerns about these programs. Right now they have it aimed supposedly on the national threats. My fear just like most people is they will misuse it eventually. Thank you if you took the time to read this. 

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      Mr. Ross,
      You made some very good points. I can tell that you are well read and thoughtful. Please, don’t forget that the US knew the Japanese were planning to attack Pearl Harbor. Officials needed the population to “want the war“ , did they not ? Even Billy Mitchell predicted the attack, did he not ?
      I have posted and suspect that the Chinese are preparing for something similar, but that’s me. I certainly hope I am very wrong. On the issue of data spying.
      Freedom first, Checks and Balances second , spying last.

      Become the light of the world to those that live in darkness!

      • http://www.facebook.com/mediahoney Mike Ross

        Thanks for the response, I didn’t think anyone would read it all. I don’t know on the Chinese issue lets hope not. Yes, freedom first but you cant have freedom if you are not willing to fight for it. In asymmetrical warfare, like terrorism, spying so that you can predict where the attacks may come from, has to be a bigger part of the equation. Unlike the Japanese these guys operate in small units and only have to accomplish a reasonably small goal to make a big impact. Where as the Japanese were physically, with boots on the ground. trying to take over at least the entire Pacific Rim, this current enemy wants the death of the freedom through using the death by a thousand small cuts method which is much harder to detect. 
        I do agree there was population manipulation going on in WW2 and yes its going on now, and its sad that these guys have won battles on both sides. We lose our freedoms in order to fight them and we lose lives when we don’t or fail for whatever reason. This new reality stinks, and I think what Obama said the other day about striking the right balance maybe almost impossible to deliver on. One idea maybe to do it like the sequester, we give you X amount of time to get the threats beat back then we make automatic cuts to their abilities to use these surveillance methods. I know I would feel better knowing they have a time limit on using these big net methods. After that we hit the delete button on a bunch of it.

  • http://thewarmastersrevenge.blogspot.com GreatGunz

    Dammit, Tom. I want to hear what your guest has to say, and I can’t because someone, somewhere, is screwing the pooch on live radio. Don’t you guys set up a back up plan for this kind of thing? Get it together. 

  • http://thewarmastersrevenge.blogspot.com GreatGunz

    What a screw-up! Greenwald isn’t some food journalist, or jazz-singer, or some other non-entity with nothing interesting or worthwhile to say. This is something that matters. Technical malfunctions will happen. Plan ahead. Build redundancy into the system. There’s no reason for this! 

  • 1Brett1

    So, Snowden said he could have spied on Obama’s emails and phone calls if he’d wanted to…what if he’d been an overzealous neocon ideologue like, oh, I don’t know, say, HonestDebate1, who felt Obama was systematically destroying the country? 

    So anyone with a beef toward anything that happens in government becomes a security risk? Maybe at least one aspect of this story is how the clearance system is broken? 

    • jefe68

      We don’t know this to be true. However if he could that’s a bit scary. That a pleb was allowed so much security clearance.The corporation he worked for, Booz Allen Hamilton is one of the largest, if not largest contractor in this field. 
      I was listening to a NPR report on this company and it claimed that 70% or more of their workforce had high security clearance. 

      The possibility of what you are saying here is a possibility if they do in fact have this many employees with that much clearance. 

      • 1Brett1

        Yeah, jefe, it was hard to tell if he was just engaging in braggadocio or, actually, honestly divulging his capabilities at BA&H. If he was just being boastful, it might give some insight into his personality, that perhaps he did what he did because he did have some inflated sense of needing to be a “hero” of some kind. Many of these types of incidents seem to indicate that security clearance is lax in these type of organizations and people who have no business with sensitive information are granted access.

  • Regular_Listener

    Clearly this is a big problem, and I am concerned about it – but are there any real revelations in the Snowden story?  I remember hearing a few years back – it may have been on OP – about a book titled “Chatter” by Patrick R. Keefe.  In it he discusses the NSA’s electronic eavesdropping programs and says that the government is building huge data storage machines to record phone calls and internet activity.  (I hope I’m getting this right – I haven’t read the book.)  I have believed for a while that Uncle Sam is storing our data, but probably only accessing it if they have a reason to investigate somebody.  And what about our ISPs, and medical providers, and all the websites and marketing companies out there – aren’t they storing up all sorts of personal information too?

    I’m not saying I am comfortable with this – the potential for abuse is clearly there!  I am just saying that this may not be a new story.  What may be new here is that an insider is blowing the whistle and that Glenn Greenwald is involved. 

  • answerfrog

    Greenwald is an extremist engaging in paranoid fantasy who doesn’t recognize any of anti-terror measures. He came out and tried to justify the beheading in London by an islamic extremist, and he lamented the death of Al Awlaki who inspired the Boston Bombing. No wonder Greenwald doesn’t live in the US — he’s aiding the enemy every chance he gets. 

  • NeedleInAHaystack

    Just a suggestion… If you are worried about this surveillance then why not try to disrupt it? I would suggest anyone interested occasionally break their patterns. Search for some extremist videos on you tube. Put in an “Allah Akbar”, “Down with the State”, etc in a blog comment here and there. If they are looking for needles in the haystack then let’s give them some.

  • NeedleInAHaystack

    this comment makes no sense… you are just attacking the journalist for delivering the msg. 

  • Bibliodrone

    I think it’s interesting that most of the criticism of Glenn Greenwald’s appearance on the show is of the ad hominem variety. He’s “frothing at the mouth”, he’s “patronizing”, he speaks too articulately and therefore is untrustworthy.

    There’s much less substantive discussion of the factual content of the issues he raises. It’s always easier to attack the speaker when we don’t like what they’re saying, but can’t or won’t engage with what they’re actually saying.

    People like Greenwald, who aren’t afraid to challenge our status-quo pieties, correctly or not, often receive this kind of treatment. It’s usually a sign that the person being attacked is on to something, and it’s making others uncomfortable.

  • Emmanuel

    And despite these Orwellian measures, are we really “safer”?  Conservatives insist that the 2nd amendment be not abrogated; assault weapons ban?  Hellz no!  And yet, what hath this wrought?  For all the bluster about the need to “prevent” terrorist attacks, these agencies have certainly dropped the ball in preventing mass shootings like Aurora, Sandy Hook, or even low-level, confused terrorist acts like the Boston Marathon bombings…

    Where’s the accountability?!  It is well-known that the majority of so-called thwarted attacks were a result of a government agents’s own agitation.  The people targeted are usually mentally ill or marginalized.  Homeland Security is a charade, basically, and anyone who imagines that our government is susceptible to being overthrown by terrorism betrays a certain naive (and pathological!) understanding of the way society functions.

    Back to the issue at hand: one caller protested the disclosure saying that corporations already make use of metadata and that since no alarm was raised then, the issue as presented now is moot, uneven.  But that is hardly the case.  And moreover, it is a customer’s prerogative to use or not use this service, whereas the government’s flagrant violation of the 4th amendment should give people cause to sharpen their pitchforks.

    If the majority of Americans do not find it surprising that the government can surveil them without probable cause, if people are this hasty to dispose of their privacy for the illusion of safety, it is astonishing that more commonsensical violations of personal freedom are not instituted.  

    As a healthy and responsible taxpayer, I for one look forward to the day when the government can order fat people to disclose the content of their larders.  I freely admit to all my sexual dalliances and eagerly await for prudes and virgins to be marked as such for public notice.  
    If we’re to do away with privacy PLEASE! let us really rid ourselves of the stupid fetishes towards guns, personal choice, and  the taboos on sex.  Honestly.  Because otherwise, all this data merely enables amoral agents to blackmail people too stupid and careless to know otherwise.

  • ExcellentNews

    Good job, NSA! I’m sure you have the full record of every pizza ever ordered by an American citizen. Woe betide those who got garlic and feta. It is well known that lovers of middle-eastern food flavors are 5.83% more likely to be terrorist sympathizers.

    Since the collection of this data was funded by the people supposedly to protect the people, how about we DEMAND that the NSA actually lives up to this purpose. In particular we DEMAND that you disclose how:

    - Bankers connived to gut the American people through predatory lending and securities fraud.

    - Executives schemed to gut American industry, destroy organized labor, and raid pension funds.

    - Global oligarchs and foreign despots funneled funds into electoral campaigns, and used front organizations to pervert our political process.

    Those should be the real targets of the NSA. If we the people do not wake up, we will soon be living in a corporate-owned surveillance state, which will combine the methods of the former communist dictatorships with the latest Silicon Valley technology and the “transparency” of a Cayman Islands trust fund.

  • 1Brett1

    After hearing the interview with Snowden and reading about his abrupt departure from his home and girlfriend on May 20th (over three weeks prior to his story being made public), it seems Snowden is just a sensitive, naive young man who became unhinged and had some delusions about how he should proceed with work-related information he had. I hope Greenwald didn’t simply exploit him…He didn’t seem to know himself very well; he is a bit like a rookie cop who can’t deal with all of the crime and corruption happening around him all of the time everyday and freaks out. More facts need to come out about all of this to really understand what transpired and why. Simply going on Greenwald’s assertions or Snowden’s explanations doesn’t seem to present the whole picture.

  • Kenneth Rubenstein

    I’m much more concerned by everyday violations of the original intent of the 2nd amendment than I am of the 4th. There’s actual murder going on because the latter. I’m happy to wait for reports of actual abuses of the 4th before freaking out over potential ones.

  • Annie Tye

    So, now that you regret voting for Obama who are you planning on voting for? Ron Paul? (hahaha!!)

  • Susan_Nicholson

    Congratulations to Tom Ashbrook for keeping the spotlight on this outrageous situation. And a brilliant move to play the  tape of the intelligence official who blatantly gave false answers to every question put to him during congressional hearings on the scope of the surveillance programs.  So much for congressional oversight.  Too bad you couldn’t have pressed Stephen Bucci on this:  how can he possibly have confidence that  Congress will act to prevent abuses when Congress itself is being lied to about what is going on?

    Also, notice Mr. Bucci’s flawed analogy between abuse of surveillance powers and abuse of weapons (you wouldn’t take guns away from police officers, he says, just because there is a chance they could go out and commit abuses with the weapons).  The difference, of course, is that if a police officer abuses weapons someone gets shot, and the victim immediately knows it and the victim’s friends and family immediately know it, and can try to do something about it.  Abuse of surveillance power, on the other hand, takes place entirely in secret and it may be years, if ever, before the victims become aware that their privacy has been invaded.    

  • Coastghost

    Surely Booz Allen Hamilton does not have to settle with merely firing Snowden: surely the company has grounds for suing him in a civil action.

    • HonestDebate1

      I think Mr. Snowden suggested they could “pay off the try-hats”.

  • HonestDebate1

    I don’t think this guy is naive at all. It seems to me he understands exactly what he has done. The average 29 year old isn’t pulling down 200K/year with authority. He’s obviously intelligent. I haven’t decided if he was doing the right thing for the wrong reason or the wrong thing for the right reason. Or some other iteration. He seems a bit cunning and the way he did it is suspect. The China tie is troubling.

    Snowden may be a traitor or a hero, I don’t know yet. He certainly is in deep doo doo until it’s proven one way or the other.

    The government’s actions may be all legit but I don’t trust this administration. They took a provision of the Patriot act (Section 215) meant for collecting data for specific investigations and began collecting a massive data base  on citizens. Request for records under this provision have increased 1000% over four years. Once one puts that in perspective with the AP scandal, The IRS scandals, Fast and Furious, Sebilius shaking down donors, Benghazi lies and all the rest it makes it very hard to extend the benefit of doubt.

    • brettearle

      Gregg,

      I would argue that a fair chunk of your list, toward the bottom of your comment, is the result of your partisan prism.

      but my core question, to you, is this:

      Even though you, and I, have some qualms about such gross monitoring, please KEEP in mind, that we haven’t heard a peep out of the rank-and-file GOP or the Tea Party faction, for the most part–with any strong objections.

      Indeed, all we have heard is that Congress IS ON BOARD.

      With regard to this issue, there is a BIG DIFFERENCE between your cynical regard, for the Obama Administration, and the GOP’s overwhelming support for this program.  

      • HonestDebate1

        Who is Gregg?

        • brettearle

          OK,

          What is this,

          Spy vs Spy vs Spy vs Satire Spy vs Satire Spy?

          I’m way off base here?

          Simply because you don’t want to be outed?

          I thought you `conceded’ the point.

          Now you want to have some fun, by baiting me?

          That’s OK, I’m a big boy….I can handle it.

          On the other hand, maybe I HAVE misunderstood.

          [shouldn't have written that last sentence....now you'll jump all over it, exploit it, and use it for your own personal masquerade purposes]

          • HonestDebate1

            It takes a little while for changes to take hold. There are no real secrets to the regulars here, most of whom do not use their actual names. Nevertheless, I’d like to see the process begin to play itself out.

            There is one commenter who is belligerent about it hollering the name over and over with AKA’s and ridicule in every reply. I have begun flagging those comments but to no avail, not that I expected anything. Most (in fact all) of the rest understand and are decent about it. I just feel like you are letting it slip out of habit. So I have in my own way on behalf of Gregg reminded you. What is obvious may indeed be conceded but regarding this comment addressed to Gregg, any reply acknowledges what I want to put behind me. So I should not reply at ll but your comments are worth engaging. That’s all.

          • brettearle

            Got it.

            From now on, it’ll be Honest Debate or HD or HD1.

          • HonestDebate1

            Thanks.

  • HonestDebate1

    So exactly where is the line?

    http://news.yahoo.com/senator-says-program-goes-deeper-believed-202727175.html

    I am always amazed at the timelessness of our Constitution. It seems to me the fourth amendment is just as applicable today as it was when written.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    The brilliance is in the framing. The Constitution is a charter of “negative liberties” as Obama infamously complained. It doesn’t tell us what we can do, it tells government what it cannot do. I’m not convinced they can do this.

    But do we leave it to a 29 year old savior to decide? Only if he turns out tone right.

    • brettearle

      Question, to me, is:

      How far can the Patriot Act expand?

      Could it be challenged in SCOTUS?

      Can the US declare a protracted, asymmetric war with Radical Fundamentalist Islam and therefore justify its phone records/Internet sweep?

      I agree that, currently, as it stands, the US Government is violating the 4th Amendment.

      I believe that the ACLU is challenging the Federal Government, on this matter.  But I haven’t looked at the substance of their Brief.

      Indeed, the only way I can see this allowable, if there’s an officially declared, ongoing state of Emergency, that threatens our national security..

      What Edict was passed by Lincoln and the courts to suspend Habeas Corpus? 

      • HonestDebate1

        I think aspects of the Patriot Act have been challenged and Obama sided with Bush in arguing to the SCOTUS. 

        Thi NSA thing has made strange bedfellows, Glenn Beck and Van Jones agree. Diane Feinstein and John Boehner agree. 

        • brettearle

          Yeah, I know….

          Rove’s in bed with Michael Moore.

          [Although somehow, I can't picture that, literally....]

          • HonestDebate1

            Yikes!

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Iraq war, Banking Scandal, Snooping.

    Imagine we had had the cojones to trust our Constitution, the Rule of Law, and the People, and we had put Ron Paul in office a while back.

    To reject his governance principles, which have been on the right side of all these issues, because you disagree with his personal choices or values, is immature insanity.

    This idea that we should be looking for a candidate that shares all of our micro-values and opinions on this or that litmus test issue, as opposed to one that stands for bedrock principles, has really led us astray.

    One person, is not meant to govern and impose their personal vision, they are meant to protect and execute the Constitution and the Rule of Law so that WE THE PEOPLE can freely govern ourselves.  Whether we the people come down on this side or that side of a particular issue via our representatives and resulting legislation, will be the result of debate and voting and judicial checks and balances, and sometimes we won’t like it, or be in the majority.

    But to trade all this for benevolent dictatorship illusions or elite,  technocratic rule by the “right” people, is insanity.

  • John_in_Amherst

    hilarious take on this “flap”.  As Colbert points out, we already had a debate on this – in 2006 when it was first made public and we were too scared to say NO!

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Video; Ron Paul on Snowden, half joke about Drone strike fears. Crystal clear and rational on secrecy and government.

    http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/2472695918001/ron-paul-snowden-trying-to-tell-the-truth/?playlist_id=932683241001

  • Sy2502

    According to polls, when the spying was introduced under Republican administration in 2006, most Republicans favored it and most Democrats opposed it. Now that the administration is Democratic, most Republicans oppose it and most Democrats favor it. What does this say? That people don’t have core values and simply tow the party line. Which means they have delegated their brains to their political party and will let themselves be led by the nose in whichever direction their party decides to lead them. Am I the only one that finds it troubling?

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      It is extremely troubling ! “Short people” have more reason than these types !

  • rakunz

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.
     
    National character is shaped in the balance between safety and freedom.  The Government of the United States of America has determined on its own and in secret that safety is the more important.  The government does not possess the power of such profound consequence.  This decision must be left to the people as the government’s power is limited to their consent; that consent must be informed else there is no consent at all.  Secrecy is anathema to freedom.  Liberty can only prosper through open and honest debate.  A free people must choose for themselves.  
     
                Power, driven by fear, breeds tyranny.  This nation was conceived in defiance of the tyrant.  We are sons and daughters of pilgrims, rebels and pioneers, heirs to a way of life born of danger, stewards of a nation built by a people who valued their freedom as more precious than life itself.  Pilgrims, rebels and pioneers:  they risked everything to change the course of history and give birth to a way never seen before; a way that became the hope of mankind.  The responsibility for that way lies now in our hands and – our hearts. 
     
    Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary measures.  These actions, done in our name and for our safety must be immediately suspended until such time as the consent of the people has been clearly granted.  Therefore, after a period of debate and reflection, a special national referendum must be conducted to allow all Americans to decide which they value most:  their safety or their freedom.  Such an extraordinary action is necessary as the government has lost both its way and the trust and confidence of its citizens.  We the people must now decide for ourselves the course of our future and the values by which we shall live.

  • m turn

    As a peaceful protester who was heavily surveilled during the Bush administration while opposing the Iraq War, the real fear I have of things like this is that with a few policy changes (some of them, quiet changes) it’s not far for them to start sharing this type of information for all sorts of oppressive and scary things.

    I’m not “against” the NSA, or the FBI, or anyone other part of the government. But we have a long history of overreach in this country, and without proper public resistance and governmental oversight, things like this evolve – and at that point, we’re stuck with it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Terrorism_Task_Force

  • The_Truth_Seeker

    Snowden is F…in American HERO squared!!!  Out of 4.5 million people working in intelligence (and thousands of journalists out there), ONLY HE had the guts and moral fortitude to tell the American people (and Europeans) what the HELL their government was up to. One out of 4.5 million!!! Pretty scary indeed!!!

    It’s Cheney that should be tried as both a traitor (to the American people) and as a war criminal (for condoning torture and getting over 6000 Americans and 300,000 Iraqi’s killed – FOR NOTHING)!

  • The_Truth_Seeker

    Let’s have the NSA “find patterns” among gun owners and people buying explosives and pressure cookers – that might actually do some good at reducing the over 60,000 gun deaths each year in America! How many people died as a result of terrorism last year? Wasn’t something like 28??? If you have no right to data privacy, then you have no right to remain private about owning a gun (nothing in the Constitution about treating guns purchase history DIFFERENT from computer purchases, gas purchases, phone records, etc., etc. – nothing in there at all). Maybe they could have caught the Boston bombers if they had done that!

  • Pingback: In NSA Surveillance, Echoes Of World War I | Cognoscenti

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 29, 2014
The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP)

The “Do-Nothing” Congress just days before August recess. We’ll look at the causes and costs to the country of D.C. paralysis.

Jul 29, 2014
This April 28, 2010 file photo, shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. Colstrip figures to be a target in recently released draft rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that call for reducing Montana emissions 21 percent from recent levels by 2030. (AP)

A new sci-fi history looks back on climate change from the year 2393.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

 
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

American companies bailing out on America. They call it inversion. Is it desertion?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
This 15-Year-Old Caller Is Really Disappointed With Congress
Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014

In which a 15-year-old caller from Nashville expertly and elegantly analyzes our bickering, mostly ineffective 113th Congress.

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Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

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The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

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