Friday, June 7, 2013

NSA Over Reach (Around) --Don't Blame Obama...Blame The Idiots That Passed The Patriot Act

People are shocked! Shocked I tell you!
(Regarding the NSA spying on US citizens within US borders.) Agreed it is out of line if you have regard for civil liberties. No Argument from me there.  The National Security Agency's expansive reach should be criticized and scrutinized.
However let's be clear. It's nothing new at all. The tech has the collection improved. The "patriot act" did away with any remaining privacy rights one may have envisioned. Spying on US citizens while in the U.S.borders without a waiver from the AG was deemed unconstitutional  by the Supreme Court..(Yes, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that intelligence agencies cannot conduct surveillance against American citizens. There are a few extreme circumstances where collecting on a U.S. entity is allowed without a USSID 18 waiver, such as with civilian distress signals, or sudden emergencies such as the September 11, 2001 attacks) however the USA PATRIOT Act has significantly changed privacy legality. Citizens simply  no longer have these privacy rights.

The anger at Obama is a bit curious really...after all , the outrage at him is for not stopping it, for allowing it to an ideal world, yes ..I sort of understand. One can say it's a matter of conscience...however  I've seen little or no evidence of conscience or idealism in positions of power in my lifetime (hinting at it gets one assassinated actually). Hence the need for rule of law, and those laws have to be written well with clear honest intent...not driven by outlandishly amplified fears.

Every president since Truman had equal opportunities to nip this sort of thing in the bud, but did not...they just seem to add to it. Think back, Remember the domestic wiretapping under Richard Nixon?
In the years after President Richard Nixon resigned, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and NSA facilities. Senator Frank Church headed a Senate investigating committee which uncovered previously unknown activity, such as a CIA plot (ordered by President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro. The investigation also uncovered that the NSA had wiretaps targeted American citizens for Nixon's political purposes. After the Church Committee hearings, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 became law, limiting circumstances under which domestic surveillance was permitted. Then of course there was the warrantless wiretaps under George W. Bush. In May 2006, Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee, alleged that his company had cooperated with NSA in installing  hardware to replace the FBI Carnivore program, to monitor network communications including traffic between American citizens. So this scandal goes back at least to that date. It's not current news really.

 I was very vocal in criticism to the patriot act at the time it was passed. It's terrible legislation that only passed because of the paranoia created by the 9/11 attacks. It needs should at least have had a sunset clause.

Once you give an agency a power they don't give it back. Which means we have to be very careful about letting such things start at all. 
I liken it to the corporate personhood issue, very very unlikely to change once that threshold is crossed. 

Yes we are screwed, because we did not heed Ben Franklin's words...' Those who would trade freedoms for security will have neither.'

The National Security Agency's predecessor was the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA), created on May 20, 1949. This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It's original purpose was to direct the communications and electronic intelligence activities of the U.S. military intelligence units: the Army Security Agency, the Naval Security Group, and the Air Force Security Service. In 1951  the "Brownell Committee Report," after committee chairman Herbert Brownell, surveyed the history of U.S. communications intelligence activities and suggested the need for a much greater degree of coordination and direction at the national level.  The role of newly named 'NSA' was extended beyond the armed forces.
The creation of NSA was authorized in a letter written by President Harry S. Truman in June 1952.
It's purpose had been re-defined as "for the performance of highly specialized technical functions in support of the intelligence activities of the United States."
Vague huh?

How many clandestine espionage groups are authorized in the U.S.??
 The CIA....
The NSA....
Central Security Service (CSS)...
the DHS...Department of Home Security
National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)....
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (AFISRA)
Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM)
Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA)
Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)
Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (OICI)
Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A)
Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Office of National Security Intelligence (ONSI)
Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)
Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI)

That's a lot of prying eyes...a lot of potential loose cannons.
There's probably plenty of "black budget" stuff as well....that we can't know about or they'd have to ....
I don't know, are we crazy?  England for instance has MI5 and for domestic issues and one for foreign issues.   Seems a lot more efficient. 
One Nation,
Under Surveilence...
Well, you're never alone with a tap on your phone....♫ are you lonesome tonight?

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