Dan passes along this article. FBI Director Robert Mueller says that leaks like those given by Edward Snowden harms our nation’s security by educating the terrorists.
“We tend to think that people know and understand the internet around the world,” he continued. “But you have persons who want to undertake terrorist attacks who don’t have a full understanding of the internet. And, to the extent that you expose programs like this, we are educating them. We’re educating them about how the internet works actually worldwide.”
“They will be educated and find other ways to communicate and we will not pick up the communication that we want,” Mueller warned. “I would not underestimate the price to be paid by substantial disclosures.”
UPDATE!: I found more on this story. USA Today is reporting this: In her deposition in a lawsuit Ms. Deen says, ”Things have changed since the ’60s in the South. And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior. As well as I do.”
I think this needs as much attention as possible just because we all need a chuckle these days.
This morning more than 30 trucks filled with 5-cent coins arrived at Apple’s headquarters in California. Initially, the security company that protects the facility said the trucks were in the wrong place, but minutes later, Tim Cook (Apple CEO) received a call from Samsung CEO explaining that they will pay $1 billion dollars for the fine recently ruled against the South Korean company in this way.
Since 1988 I’ve been putting stuff about myself online. That was when I discovered computer bulletin board systems (BBS) and their interconnecting networks and enjoyed topical conversations with people and sharing my opinion. Since 2002 I’ve been writing in the weblog and I’ve shared some very personal things about my life. So I’m really not all that concerned about the government being able to find out anything about me.
What does concern me is the how they go about gathering that information. Afterall, there are rules we all have to follow, including the government. The US government’s rules are written in the constitution. Some of those rules need a judge to decide is some action breaks those rules or not. That decision has to be done openly or it ought not be done at all.
So Dan has more succinctly stated my opposition to the phone and Internet surveillance the government is doing than I could state it.
If the National Security Letters and FISA court decisions weren’t shrouded in secrecy, if we didn’t have secret laws and secret legal decisions, I’d care a hell of a lot less about the surveillance. Hell, if I could get the same data about my cell phone calls that the NSA is getting, I’d be overjoyed.
With the disclosure of the snooping the NSA has been doing on US citizens comes a need for justifying such snooping by the politicians who are suppose to be representing the best interests of the citizens. So out strut Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Mike Rogers, chairpeople of their respective bodies oversight committee for intelligence activities to tell us this:
The 2009 arrests of Najibullah Zazi and David Headley, said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), wouldn’t have happened without such programs.
That doesn’t really appear to be the case. It appears that both cases were resolved using good old fashioned police work. Tips were received, warrants were signed and evidence was gathered. Yeah, email was involved but the email addresses came from tips and the examination of a computer confiscated from a known terrorist.
Actually, the Zazi case seems to be a vindication of what Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith calls “old-fashioned police work.” That is, the staking-out of specific individuals to whom officials had been directed by specific tips. British and American court documents, writes Smith, show that intelligence officers were monitoring a particular email address that had been linked to “an al Qaeda associate” by British and Pakistani agents.
That’s hardly a justification for the type of snooping that came to light last week.
And what about David Headly? He worked as an informant for the DEA during a time that he also attended several Pakistani terrorist training camps. He’s also a wife beater and a polygamist. After beating one of his wives she ratted him out to the Joint Terrorism Task Force with tapes and other corroborating evidence of her claims. That placed him under much closer scrutiny and surveillance. The NSA’s snooping was not needed for him either.
Both of these cases used to justify the NSA snooping were solved by much simpler means that go nowhere near trampling US citizens’ civil rights so why do we need these warrantless intrusions on the 4th amendment rights all US citizens cherish?
Free market capitalism receives a lot of grief from a lot of people who don’t seem to have a real clear understanding that capitalism comes in a number of flavors. Free market capitalism depends on there being no regulatory favoritism. In an ideal environment for the advancement of free market capitalism every business would play by the same rules and every business would pay the same taxes. Bidding procedures would be without bias and capital markets would offer the same rules for access to everyone.
Unfortunately our politicians see a need to play favoritism and instead of creating an environment for free market capitalism to flourish they tilt the playing field and alter the flavor of capitalism we live under from free market to crony capitalism. Hopefully some of the favoritism is about to be eliminated.
Reuters is reporting that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is on a letter writing campaign to rich New York donors to Democratic candidates requesting that they withhold donations to the re-election campaigns of Senators Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Looking at the four states these Democratic Senators are representing has me wondering how a Democrat is actually holding office in those states in the first place so I have to wonder if the mayor is actually passionate about gun control or passionate about keeping his name in the news. Surely he doesn’t believe that by getting these senators replaced with Republicans is going to further his cause any.
Yeah, tell me why, if all that information was so top secret, that Booz Allen Hamilton, a federal contractor with 12,000 employees, had access to it? How do you keep secrets with that many people privy to the information?
Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution of the United States defines treason thusly:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
Neither Bradley Manning nor Edward Snowdon levied war against the U.S. nor did they adhere to Enemies of the US, giving Aid and Comfort in what they did. I’m sure they broke the law in doing what they did but I think the U.S. is or will be stronger for their efforts. Are they heroes? I won’t use that strong of a word but they are definitely not traitors to their country.
So you say, “I have nothing to hide so why should I care if the government listens to my phone calls?” Maybe you have more to hide than you think. Harvey Silvergate, a noted civil liberties attorney, asserts that everyone commits three felonies a day and I tend to believe this is more fact than hype.
The volume of federal crimes in recent decades has increased well beyond the statute books and into the morass of the Code of Federal Regulations, handing federal prosecutors an additional trove of vague and exceedingly complex and technical prohibitions to stick on their hapless targets.
And you wonder why the U.S, has the highest incarceration rate in the world? Our government watches us like a hawk, recording information about every phone call we make and then hires over-zealous prosecutors who have a bloated penal code and tough, mandatory sentencing laws that punish with imprisonment the simplest and most non-violent of crimes to drive them into a feeding frenzy of putting our citizens in jail at a tremendous cost in ruined lives and taxpayer dollars.