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Since June, the main stream media has been reporting National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations exposing NSA's vast, ineffective, and unconstitutional spying. In the words of former Vice President Al Gore:

[Snowden] has revealed evidence of what appears to be crimes against the Constitution of the United States.
But, the main stream media also takes too many opportunities to cast aside the undeniable public benefit to Snowden's revelations and the far more newsworthy fact that the NSA is violating the privacy rights of hundreds of millions of innocent people, to focus instead on the messenger. As we saw with other NSA whistleblowers, like my client Thomas Drake, there's a regular drumbeat of personal smears and unsubstantiated attacks aimed at discrediting Snowden. Reuters published an anonymously-sourced "exclusive:"
. . .Snowden used log-in credentials and passwords provided unwittingly by colleagues at a base in Hawaii to access some of the classified material he leaked to the media, sources said.
Aside from the "anonymous government officials," who have a clear motivation to trash the whistleblower who exposed NSA's illegal behavior, there is absolutely no evidence that Snowden tricked anyone into giving him information. The government tried out the same false accusation on Thomas Drake - that Drake collecting NSA information from colleagues under false pretenses. The allegation, like 99.9% of what the government said about Drake, turned out to be completely false.

Regardless of whether this latest unverified accusation about Snowden is true - the main stream media's obsession with how Snowden obtained evidence of NSA illegalities diverts attention from where it belongs: on NSA.

The significant story is not how NSA did such a bad job keeping its lawbreaking a secret, but how NSA has been violating statutory law and the Constitution and lying about it to Congress, the American public, and the world.

Since the Snowden revelations, NSA has - like any guilty party - clambered into duck and cover mode, scrambling to rationalize its ineffective and legally-questionable "whole haystack" mass surveillance, while diverting any negative attention onto critics and the whistleblower. As an absolutely critical player in holding NSA accountable, especially considering that NSA has misled the courts and many members of the congressional intelligence committees are offering complicity rather than oversight, the Fourth Estate should not play into NSA's anonymously-sourced diversions.  

Security hawk and former Congressional intelligence commitee member Jane Harman (pause to ask: where was she when NSA started spying on hundreds of millions of innocent Americans?) has some advice for NSA in today's Washington Post. She does not advise first that NSA stop breaking the law, choosing to prioritize how NSA can best manage its public image, and doesn't hesitate to repeat the now completely debunked government meme that Snowden gave information to foreign governments.  

It is no surprise that despite the fact that NSA's mission is to protect national security, since June, the agency has been more concerned with how it can protect itself from whistleblowers willing to tell the public the truth. The main stream media should not provide a platform for NSA to deflect attention away from its lawbreaking.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Al Gore :) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glitterscale, Joieau

        Trans-Pacifc Partnership as the nsafisascotusgate keeps getting pushed back, way back, how far back, (that sound you hear a hummin, shreddin, cajolin') as the world, let alone the USA, isn't buying it? Whose Internet Giants & World's busine$$ ? TPPerhaps deflated!
        We, the world, want some ?'s answered. They're just Watergating a new Church investigation, committee. Must be torture.

    March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

    by 3rock on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 06:58:52 AM PST

  •  where was Jane Harman?... (13+ / 0-)
    "Security hawk and former Congressional intelligence commitee member Jane Harman (pause to ask: where was she when NSA started spying on hundreds of millions of innocent Americans"?

    Be careful what you ask for; you just might find out that she sponsored the 2007 Thought Crime bill that came ever so dangerously close to being the law of the land:

    Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) recently sponsored H.R. 1955, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, which reads in part:

    “(1) Examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States, including United States connections to non-United States persons and networks, violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in prison, individual or `lone wolf’ violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence, and other faces of the phenomena of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence that the Commission considers important.”
    Snips from the article:
    "State control of the internet and restricting the First Amendment are favorite pastimes of radical, pro-Iraq war lawmakers like Rep. Jane Harman. However,if Harman were truly concerned with protecting America, first she would’ve done research into the subject of homegrown terrorism and the government’s response to it. If she had, Harman would’ve discovered the U.S. already has extensive laws on the books that address criminal conspiracy and since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Justice Department has been applying broadly (many civil liberty advocates say far too broadly), in President Bush’s so-called war on terror".

    "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 07:08:49 AM PST

  •  It's not going to end (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4kedtongue, quill, Joieau, CroneWit, JVolvo

    Particularly now that the intel community is now in full attack mode fighting a rearguard action to avoid any meaningful reform.

    The only way is keep the information coming to the public.

    BTW, you may be interested in this series in today's Guardian on the public hearings:

    NSA leaks: UK's enemies are 'rubbing their hands with glee', says MI6 chief

    Key questions the chief spooks were asked, and those they did not hear

    NSA files – reaction to spy chiefs' grilling – live

  •  anonymously-sourced hmmm (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobdevo, quill, Joieau, CroneWit, JVolvo

    Hayden doing his Bob Newhart routine again......

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 07:44:28 AM PST

  •  leave it to the american corporate press... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quill, CroneWit, 4kedtongue, gerrilea, JVolvo

    to utterly miss the point...

    The significant story is not how NSA did such a bad job keeping its lawbreaking a secret, but how NSA has been violating statutory law and the Constitution and lying about it to Congress, the American public, and the world.
    i suspect that they wouldn't report anything that annoyed the people who grant them "access" were it not for the worry that they'd be considered totally irrelevant by anyone searching for something other than propaganda.

    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

    by joe shikspack on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 09:23:58 AM PST

  •  Thanks for reporting latest NSA lies, Jesselyn (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, NonnyO, gerrilea

    as delivered by the MSM.

    I hope that dKos will keep  its Front Page NSA reporting in the capable hands of Joan McCarter and Laurence Lewis, and keep it out of the hands of its less-capable second-string players, so it can avoid embarrassing inaccuracies like those that appeared in last Saturday's Mid-Day Open Thread.

    Thanks, Jesselyn, for keeping the truth about NSA front-and center here, and for all the work you do.

  •  Thanks once again, Jesselyn-- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the work you do is magnificent and you are a true Patriot of heroic proportions! It's too bad, even frustrating, that this present obama administration is too full of hubris and blind justice to realize that they could be utilizing you and many others in this country to regain the strength, integrity, and honor that has been missing for the last five or more decades.

    When lobbyists, bankers, and corrupt officials dictate the agenda it can only result in disaster and failure as history proves.  It is people like you who honestly try and constructively call out that which is wrong and misleading in not only this country, but also the world. For that i, as well as many, many others truly respect you, and greatly admire your tireless vigilance and conviction.  History will always be on your side because the world so needs brave and remarkable heroes like you.

    Keep up the good work, and thanks for all that you do.  Peace, Love, and Respect to you, always.  

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