Aug
30
2013

This is not a good reputation for Jeff Bezos to have. #nsa #snowden

If Jeff Bezos treats Amazon’s customers’ secrets the way that the Washington Post treats the government’s, well.  That should be a factor in determining whether to buy data storage from the man.

The $52.6 billion “black budget” for fiscal 2013, obtained by The Washington Post from former ­intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, maps a bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny. Although the government has annually released its overall level of intelligence spending since 2007, it has not divulged how it uses the money or how it performs against the goals set by the president and Congress.

As the DNI noted, there’s a reason for that: “Our budgets are classified as they could provide insight for foreign intelligence services to discern our top national priorities, capabilities and sources and methods that allow us to obtain information to counter threats.”

I’m not going to belabor this further: suffice it to say that nobody asked my permission before they started leaking classified information in order to do harm to the United States of America, and I am disgusted that the Washington Post has apparently decided to join in on that project.

Moe Lane

 

10 Comments

  • Robert Mitchell Jr. says:

    Huh? Wasn’t that why Nixon started “the Plumbers”?

  • acat says:

    Two words that ought to strike fear – and maybe some wisdom – into the NSA chiefs … “Church Committee”.
    .
    While I agree, Moe, that there are things that ought not be shared, there have also plenty of avenues and opportunities since 9/11 for the NSA et al to share what they *could*.
    .
    Instead, they’ve decided to re-invent Echelon.
    .
    Mew

    • Luke says:

      You’re implying Echelon went away. I don’t recall that it ever did. The NSA stonewalled, information stopped coming to light, and it just stopped being reported on.

    • Luke says:

      Oh, and I’m fully supportive of another “Church Committee”. This %^&* needs to be reined in. Again.

  • johnv2 says:

    I have little if any confidence in Congressional oversight of our intelligence agencies, and I know very few who do. I absolutely have no confidence in the Administration to color within the lines of the Constitution. The FISA Court seems to be working like busy little beavers to undermine reasonable interpretations of the Constitution and to establish dangerous legal precedents–all in secret, with no public scrutiny.

    If no branch of the Federal government is going to rein in the spooks, then we need a Snowden to start that conversation. I do not believe the Constitution is a suicide pact, but I’d like to have someone explain in very plain language why the world is so dangerous that our intelligence community must work with little oversight and accountability.

    • acat says:

      I am willing to accept that there are reasons for secrecy, but there is no excuse for the lack of oversight, regardless of what government branch you mean. (FISA is under the Supremes, agencies are under the POTUS, but Congress can and should use the power of the purse to look inside…)
      .
      I would argue that, instead of “too big to fail”, D.C. has become “too big to avoid failure”.
      .
      Mew

      • johnv2 says:

        The FISA Court is inferior to the Supremes, but someone has to 1) know about and 2) have standing to get bad rulings before the Supremes. In the meantime, the FISA Court goes on its merry way, interpreting law and setting precedence without any public review.

        “In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say.

        “The rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny, according to current and former officials familiar with the court’s classified decisions.”

        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/us/in-secret-court-vastly-broadens-powers-of-nsa.html

        • acat says:

          Been following at least one case over at http:/www.scotusblog.com that has a Snowden-leaked doc as evidence to prove standing.
          .
          The FISA judges are appointed by the chief supreme, by the way, so it will be interesting to see what happens…
          .
          Mew

  • johnv2 says:

    One possible solution is to separate collection of data from interpretation of data, and put a Court in the middle. The NSA would collect, but not analyze, the data. The CIA would perform the analysis, and would require a Court ruling to obtain data involving US citizens. The key here is not to hide the Court under a cloak of secrecy, but have rulings be public (with details redacted as necessary to maintain operational secrecy). This way the Supremes and Congress will be hard(er) to bypass, we shouldn’t have as much LOVEINT, and the intelligence community will still have (legal) access to the data necessary to protect our nation.

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