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View Diary: NSA bugged UN headquarters, European Union, and UN nuclear watchdog organization (267 comments)

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  •  How much do you want to know? (1+ / 0-)
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    Tony Situ

    There is a limit to what can and should be made public. If something is made public then it loses it's capability and is useless.

    Consider a simple capability of our services to view into the movements of a country as it tries to secretly build it's nuclear capability. If those methods were publicly known then that country could circumvent them and avoid detection. Secrecy protects our ability to collect intelligence on matters of importance. This is why many things are secret. So that they are able to continue to be of use.

    We are not a pure democracy where everyone gets to say yes or no on every program or action that takes place. We elect people to make those decisions. And they hire people to fill those agencies that follow the policies put forth to fulfill those missions. And so on down the line. The main thing we can do is stand up laws to protect ourselves so that things don't cross certain lines. For example, we need a Privacy Act passed that pulls back against the NSA data gathering that was put in place. We can't know everything that is done in our name, but we can set broad lines that are not to be crossed.. EVER!

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 08:42:00 PM PDT

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    •  I suspect your first example is problematic (1+ / 0-)
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      Most folks are aware that the primary mode for such detection is satellite photography. Of course this is augmented by the traditional methods of spycraft but in terms of observing movements, construction, etc. they've been largely superseded by technology. There's very little that can be done to stymie such means.

      I recognize your other points but frankly, I'm skeptical of the ability of any government to keep their security and intelligence services under control. The history of the FBI under the regime of J. Edgar Hoover provides us with a cautionary example. More, in my lifetime the US government has repeatedly used it's covert intelligence capacity to engage in actions that I consider criminal, so I can't be sanguine about our ability to rein them in.

      Of course, that is an argument for redoubled effort, not capitulation.


      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:15:21 AM PDT

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      •  More oversight and regulation is what is needed. (2+ / 0-)
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        WB Reeves, Tony Situ

        Actually spy satellites are only one small part of the picture. Human Intel (ie. gathering intelligence via person to person) is always the most important part. These methods and opportunities change constantly as we find new sources to exploit and old ones are discovered or dry up. Technology is good, but it's also the easiest to spoof or evade. Once you know it's there then people change their routines.

        Keeping anyone under control is a problem in all organizations. How do we know the Corporate CEOs, Wall Street bankers, Hedge Fund managers, Congressional Representatives and other high level powerbrokers in and out of the government aren't corrupt or breaking the laws for their own agendas? This is a constant battle for us all. We can only keep regulating, doing oversight and setting new laws and boundaries in policy to prevent these elements from getting out of control. It's a necessary and secret job the NSA does and we can't just shut it down because we fear something might happen. We can just keep the pressure on them and put Congress to work in making laws to prevent these problems as well as doing their oversight that has been lacking.

        "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

        by Wynter on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:38:06 AM PDT

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