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View Diary: Out of Control NSA Spied on U.N., E.U. (214 comments)

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  •  There are 3 options to choose from here (30+ / 0-)

    1.  The president (who recently went on TV to assure us all was well) doesn't know what's going on in a critical sector of the executive branch;
    2.  The president does know, but he's powerless to do much about it; or
    3.  The president knows, and he approves of this message.

    My guess is that it's probably option 2 or 3, although I suspect we'll never really know.  Either option, however, is a scary one for the future of our republic.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:33:19 AM PDT

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    •  Black budget spending choices are (43+ / 0-)

      authorized by the president.

      Congress votes for the funds and the uses of the funds are decided by the Executive Branch to meet our "security" needs.

      For example, Congress never voted for the famous "Skunk Works" to develop the U-2 or SR-71.  They voted to fund the black budgets of the CIA and the Defense Department.  The CIA, as directed by the president, contracted with Lockheed to develop the U-2.

      So, what I am saying is this:  The president knows full well what is going on. Anyone who thinks the president has no power over federal agencies... well, maybe has never worked for a federal agency.  It's #3. He knows. He's responsible. He approves.

      His commission to review NSA spying is not charged with protecting the Constitutional Rights of Americans.

      It is charged with securing "public trust" in an NSA-spying government. That's literally the charge. Here is the key paragraph, along with a link to Whitehouse.gov for the entire memo:

      The Review Group will assess whether, in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States employs its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while appropriately accounting for other policy considerations, such as the risk of unauthorized disclosure and our need to maintain the public trust. Within 60 days of its establishment, the Review Group will brief their interim findings to me through the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the Review Group will provide a final report and recommendations to me through the DNI no later than December 15, 2013.
      He knows. He approves. He's not interested in over-reach but rather in getting us to "trust" this type of spying.

      He IS interested in leaks and stopping leakers. He's prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other president - I believe it may be all other presidents combined at this point.

      He also lied to the American people when he promised to push back Bush-era surveillance on Americans in his campaign speeches.

      He also lied about supporting whistleblowers in his campaign speeches. That may be part of the reason there are so many -- did they have an expectation formed by relying upon President Obama's false assurances?

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 08:21:06 AM PDT

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      •  Ooops! Link didn't make it. (25+ / 0-)

        Here it is.

        August 12, 2013

        Presidential Memorandum -- Reviewing Our Global Signals Intelligence Collection and Communications Technologies

        SUBJECT: Reviewing Our Global Signals Intelligence Collection and Communications Technologies

        The United States, like all nations, gathers intelligence in order to protect its national interests and to defend itself, its citizens, and its partners and allies from threats to our security. The United States cooperates closely with many countries on intelligence matters and these intelligence relationships have helped to ensure our common security.

        Recent years have brought unprecedented and rapid advancements in communications technologies, particularly with respect to global telecommunications. These technological advances have brought with them both great opportunities and significant risks for our Intelligence Community: opportunity in the form of enhanced technical capabilities that can more precisely and readily identify threats to our security, and risks in the form of insider and cyber threats.

        I believe it is important to take stock of how these technological advances alter the environment in which we conduct our intelligence mission. To this end, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I am directing you to establish a Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies (Review Group).

        The Review Group will assess whether, in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States employs its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while appropriately accounting for other policy considerations, such as the risk of unauthorized disclosure and our need to maintain the public trust. Within 60 days of its establishment, the Review Group will brief their interim findings to me through the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the Review Group will provide a final report and recommendations to me through the DNI no later than December 15, 2013.

        You are hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

        BARACK OBAMA

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 08:22:35 AM PDT

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      •  Well, of course you know there's other (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OldDragon, YucatanMan, greengemini

        forms of power than the legal ones.

        There are plenty of ways for a powerful director of national intelligence to influence a politician.

        But that is speculation, and not really that important to the real discussion.

        Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 10:10:38 AM PDT

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    •  I'm guessing 2, but am not sure. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RFK Lives, Lujane

      Just because of the massive upgrade in power given to the DNI by George W. Bush et al which went into effect on June 30, 2008.

      Although that might have just been insurance, in case O. was ever not fully on board.

      Anyway, the President's conscience is between him and God; we'll never know and it's not the most serious question we're facing.

      Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 10:09:34 AM PDT

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    •  I suspect it's a combination of all three. (7+ / 0-)

      The President would not have had the training Snowden was exposed to. He would get an Executive Summary that might be much like what he said publicly.

      It's important to maintain a degree of plausible deniability.

      Plausible deniability is a term coined by the CIA during the Kennedy administration to describe the withholding of information from senior officials in order to protect them from repercussions in the event that illegal or unpopular activities by the CIA became public knowledge.
      With the recent revelations, I think Obama's perspective is shifting. He still has a ways to go. Now he thinks the activities of the Intelligence Community is "scaring" people.

      http://www.theguardian.com/...

      Barack Obama's new privacy watchdog has delivered its first bark, with a letter to intelligence chiefs urging them draft stronger rules on domestic surveillance, something it revealed had not been updated for 30 years.

      The intervention of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, its first since the appointment of new staff by the White House earlier this year, came as Obama acknowledged that technology was outpacing the checks put in place to protect privacy and said the National Security Agency was "scary to people".

      "I think there are legitimate concerns that people have that technology is moving so quick that, you know, at some point, does the technology outpace the laws that are in place and the protections that are in place?," said the president in a CNN interview that aired on Friday. "Do some of these systems end up being like a loaded gun out there that somebody at some future point could abuse?"

      I don't think Obama has quite reached the point where he's ready to admit that "loaded gun" is being abused now.

      Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

      by Just Bob on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 11:40:51 AM PDT

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      •  It oughta scare HIM (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Just Bob
        With the recent revelations, I think Obama's perspective is shifting. He still has a ways to go. Now he thinks the activities of the Intelligence Community is "scaring" people.

        We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

        by david78209 on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:36:31 PM PDT

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