By Joshua Foust

The Scandal Is Congress, Not the NSA

June 6, 2013 2:41 pm Category: Memo Pad, Politics 112 Comments A+ / A-
The Scandal Is Congress, Not the NSA

A highly classified court order, leaked to the British paper The Guardian and published on Wednesday, details a practice civil libertarians have long feared: indiscriminate surveillance of U.S. citizens. While on its surface, this order — which authorized the secretive National Security Agency to collect data on phone calls placed by Verizon customers for a period of three months — seems blatantly illegal, the reality is that Congress has been enabling and legalizing such surveillance for years.

The NSA was collecting so-called metadata:  information about call duration, location, and numbers, but not the identities of the callers or the content of their conversations. It was not wiretapping or eavesdropping as they’re traditionally known. This type of data is most useful for pattern analysis, which might be clarified to focus on an individual or a group of individuals, but to collect the content of their conversations the NSA would need another warrant.

The last time the NSA came under fire for its surveillance of Americans was in 2005, when the New York Times broke the story that the NSA had been collecting data on American citizens without a court order. Though Bush administration officials insist the collection was instrumental in breaking up terrorist plots, it also marked a new expansion of NSA authority – directly listening to American citizens.

Many viewed the NSA eavesdropping, enabled without much protest by US telecom companies, to be patently illegal. In order to protect telecoms from legal reprisals by angry customers, Congress passed, in 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a retroactive legal immunity protecting them from lawsuit.

Those changes to FISA had a rippling effect on the government’s ability to collect information on citizens. The NSA spied on Americans without even seeking a warrant, but instead of punishing them or the companies who assisted them, Congress instead gave them the go-ahead. In other words, they set a new norm that made it okay for an intelligence agency to seek data about Americans.

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The Scandal Is Congress, Not the NSA Reviewed by on . A highly classified court order, leaked to the British paper The Guardian and published on Wednesday, details a practice civil libertarians have long feared: in A highly classified court order, leaked to the British paper The Guardian and published on Wednesday, details a practice civil libertarians have long feared: in Rating:

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  • docb

    Yes, that is true…But Baggers are Baggers!

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com

    and the ease:

    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/

  • Sand_Cat

    I suspect the NSA doesn’t “need” any warrant when it isn’t convenient.

    Didn’t there used to be a law forbidding operation of the NSA and CIA within the United States? I know they probably broke it regularly, but has it now been repealed?

    • Jim Myers

      The CIA may still be unable to operate within the United States. I simply do not know.

      As for the NSA, they have always been worldwide players, and likely will remain so.

      • Mark Forsyth

        If you investigate the history of the intelligence community,starting soon after the Lincoln assassination and coming forward to present times,you;ll find that the secret service right up the line to the CIA have from the beginning operated within the States as well as other countries. There are intell agencies,albeit small and unknown,at work in the country that will likely continue until deemed ineffective.
        Information on stateside CIA ops can be found by searching The Politics of LSD and The MK Ultra project which reveals the killing by the CIA of one of its own agents and made to look like a suicide.The island where the members of Skull and Bones are said to have started up the CIA is located in the Thousand Islands/St.Lawrence River.

    • CPAinNewYork

      If there ever was such a law, it didn’t mean anything.

    • jmprint

      I can sleep much better knowing the government is keeping an eye, and ear on terrorist activities whether home ground or not.

  • Sand_Cat

    All those documents authorizing all those flagrantly illegal, unethical, and plain dishonest activities are in all probability still locked up in the White House in effect, because our president – who voted for the FISA betrayal and almost lost my vote for it in 2008 – has continued to defend or at least not repudiate almost all of these activities, which did cost him my vote in 2012. I’m sure he’s suitably chastened, but it doesn’t seem to have made much difference.

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      Please remember, there is a lot that is done by our more clandestine branches of intelligence services that the President is not on the “need-to-know” list about what is being done or the results unless what they need doing requires direct Presidential approval.

    • S.J. Jolly

      For all the right-wing claims that BH Obama is an extreme leftist, he certainly has walked in the national security footprints of his right-wing predecessor.

      • Independent1

        That’s because, as president, his primary objective is to PROTECT AMERICANS; and the NSA program that has so many up in arms seems to have done that (protected the country) with what appears to be minimal over reach into people’s privacy (there’s no listening into anyone’s conversation – basically only the monitoring of call patterns, locations and durations). For those so adamantly opposed to continuation of the program, I wonder if you’ve asked yourself, what good is being so concerned about my privacy, if I just happened to end up dead, because I was a victim of a terrorist attack that wasn’t stopped because the NSA program had been shut down.

        • S.J. Jolly

          Since the program is heavily classified, how do you know what use is being made of the information collected? “Trust us, we’re the government” is good enough for you?

          • Independent1

            You sound like one of the paranoids that were fearing during the time that Madison was writing the 2nd Amendment that the federal government was certainly going to make a push to control the states and that’s why they needed to keep their weapons (Thomas Jefferson was one of those paranoids). In the Federalist Papers, Madison made fun of him and others at the convention of being just that – paranoids.

            Here’s the last two paragraphs of Madison’s Federalist #46:

            The argument under the present head may be put into a very
            concise form, which appears altogether conclusive. Either the mode in which the federal government is to be constructed will render it sufficiently dependent on the people, or it will not. On the first supposition, it will be restrained by that dependence from forming schemes obnoxious to their constituents. On the
            other supposition, it will not possess the confidence of the people, and its schemes of usurpation will be easily defeated by the State governments, who will be supported by the people.

            On summing up the considerations stated in this and the last
            paper, they seem to amount to the most convincing evidence, that the powers proposed to be lodged in the federal government are as little formidable to those reserved to the individual States, as they are indispensably necessary to
            accomplish the purposes of the Union; and that all those alarms which have been sounded, of a meditated and consequential annihilation of the State governments,
            must, on the most favorable interpretation, be ascribed to the chimerical fears of the authors of them.

            In case you’re not aware of what chimerical fears are – their fantastic imaginations, fanciful fears; exactly what you and many others posting here are demonstrating. Creating in your own minds conspiracy theories that are nothing but that – fanciful theories in your own imagination. Verizon has stated that the government has been give only “call records”, they have not been allowed to listen in on conversations without obtaining a warrant. Therefore, if all you’ve been doing is calling Aunt Polly several times a week or month or whatever, exactly what is the government going to learn about you?? That you like to call Aunt Polly – what’s the big deal???? Come on, grow up and realize that if you hope to remain safe from the next possible terrorist attack, you absolutely have to cut the government some slack in doing everything it can to protect you, me and everyone else!!!!

            And in case you didn’t catch from the last 2 paragraphs of Federalist 46 that Madison DID NOT write the 2nd amendment because he was concerned that the federal government would usurp the powers of the states – HE KNEW BETTER THAN THAT – HE WAS NOT A PARANOID!!!!

          • S.J. Jolly

            You consider me paranoid?? I know of more than one website where I would be considered stick-in-the-mud rational.

            I would describe myself as having “operational paranoia.” Meaning, I look twice before changing lanes on the highway.

            It’s my considered opinion, based on considerable reading of history, that when a tool is left lying around unguarded, people find new uses for it, some malicious. All the more so if the tool is cloaked in secrecy.
            Maybe there is no listening to people’s conversations by the NSA today, yes. But, how about next year or the year after, when the next dire emergency comes up, or someone with great influence in government wants information that only the NSA can supply?
            Might it not be a good idea to require that a judge sign off on such electronic monitoring?

          • Independent1

            And if you look hard enough the sky may fall too! Folks like Thomas Jefferson and others were fretting that the federal government would become so powerful that it would usurp the power of the states – and so they absolutely had to have guns to protect themselves from the FEDS. But that was almost 250 years ago!!! AND IT HASN’T HAPPENED!!! So keep on worrying about the government overstepping it’s authority and start wire tapping you – and maybe 250 years from now when it hasn’t happened, someonly like you will be still fretting about the same thing – just like there are still gun lovers who fret about the same thing Thomas Jefferson did, the Feds usurping the poweers of the states, which hasn’t happened in almost 250 years!!!!

          • S.J. Jolly

            Did you bother to actually read my post before you replied? HINT: Not one word in my post about fearing the federal government will usurp the powers of the states.

          • Independent1

            I was using the fact that people like Thomas Jefferson and others who FRETTED NEEDLESSLY almost 250 years ago that the federal government would try to usurp the states powers (WHICH NEVER HAPPENED), as a way to make you see that YOU (and millions of others) ARE ALSO FRETTING NEEDLESSLY, about NSA listening to YOUR (their) CALLS. I can guarantee that NSA DOES NOT have the staffing to be listening to YOUR CALLS, or the calls of 99.999999% of Americans, UNLESS they are involved in suspicous CALL BEHAVIOR. Like making international calls to areas in the world that NSA knows there are terrorists operations, or your making domestic calls to phone numbers that the CIA or FBI consider suspect because of intelligence they’ve gathered, or your call patters are such that it makes them suspect in some other way.

            And if your and other Americans’ paranoia results in preventing NSA from continuing to monitor the call patterns of Americans which then results in our intelligence community missing warnings that another attack like 9/11 is about to happen, AND IT DOES, you and all of these other Americans are going to RUE THE DAY that YOU allowed that to happen – when thousands more Americans get killed BECAUSE OF YOUR NEEDLESS PARANOIA!!!!!

          • S.J. Jolly

            Look up how J. Edgar Hoover managed to make himself a Washington D.C., power, and stay in office for decades, by having his FBI agents spy on the powerful, and stashed away the secrets for use in blackmail. Is it rally paranoia to think someone could use the NSA in the same way?

  • stcroixcarp

    In the hysteria after 911, the Bush administration insisted that the Patriot Act was necessary, and anyone who spoke about the danger of abuse was scorned as a terrorist sympathizer. Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin was the one sane voice in the senate who warned us and voted no. He was targeted and replaced by Ron Johnson whose ideas of constitution are limited to a warped view of the Second Amendment. We got what we asked for.

    • Fern Woodfork

      National Memo Nailed It Again!! This No Good Ass Congress We Got Is The Scandal!! They Got The Dumb People Out Here Looking For The Boogie Men , When The Smart People That See What Going On And Are Wide Awake Knows That The GOP/Tea Party Are The Boogie Men!!!

      • demhack

        Nailed it??? Its a cop out protecting the messiah. Another example of what happens when some one with o experience, ability or talent is elected

        • DurdyDawg

          And what was your wannabe messiah’s experience? How to make more wars? How to scam all the people all the time? How to destroy the elderly and poor in one big swoop? Bottom line.. Your an idiot.

          • lana ward

            What’s up with all the scandals here. There has never been so many at once has there

          • Independent1

            The problem is Lana that there’s really nothing up – only in the demented minds of Republicans – people like you!! There was nothing wrong with what the IRS was doing – the Tea Party has created such a hate for it that it deserved to be scrutinized every bit as much as the IRS was doing – and probably even more. The organizations the IRS was checking for tax exemptions are nothing more than faux political organizations whose applications SHOULD ALL HAVE BEEN DENIED!!!!

          • lana ward

            You’re a communist if you think the IRS did nothing wrong. The DOJ and the EPA, FBI are all targeting conservatives too. Heil OHitler!!!!

          • RobertCHastings

            None of those departments are targeting the GOP, per se. They are targeting groups that are doing things illegal, and that just HAPPENS to include conservatives who are polluting our environment, who are attempting to violate the civil rights of millions of Americans by denying them the right to vote, and who think they deserve tax-exempt status because they are conservatives.

          • lana ward

            500 and some conservative groups against OHitlers agenda were targeted. If you think nothing is wrong with that, there’s something wrong with you!!!

          • RobertCHastings

            I neither said nor implied nothing was wrong with ‘that”. However, “that” is a totally inaccurate assessment of the reality of what happened. In the first place, find what Rep. Issa asked of the IRS. In the second place, perhaps you just might find, if you take the trouble to look, that the IRS is legally bound to investigate ALL organizations applying for tax-exempt status that have ANY words in their title that indicates a political agenda – words such as “progressive”, “liberal”, “conservative”, etc., which is exactly what the IRS did. Issa’s request was for any investigations that were directed toward “conservative” organizations, NOT for investigations directed toward political organizations. His request purposely omitted the question was the IRS investigating and progressive or leftist organizations. His intent was to obtain a response from the IRS that they were investigating conservative organizations to the exclusion of progressive organizations. As we have subsequently learned, the IRS investigates ALL organizations that may have political agendas that apply for tax-exempt status. The IRS did, indeed, investigate conservative organizations; however, they also investigated progressive organizations. Your premise is wrong and your conclusion is wrong.

          • lana ward

            The IRS investigated 6 progressive organizations, then gave them tax exempt status. It’s been 3 and more years for conservative groups and they are still waiting!!– and the IRS is STILL targeting them

          • RobertCHastings

            Yeah, sure, Lana. And your source is who? Critical thinking is NOT one of your strong points, is it? The IRS is doing precisely what it is mandated to do, by laws passed in Democratic AND Republican Congresses. They are required, BY LAW, to determine the propriety of tax-exempt status for organizations with ANY political buzzwords in their title, in fact, ALL applicants for tax-exempt status. Only those organizations that can demonstrate they have no political backing or motivation or agenda are approved. And you failed to mention that at least two of the progressive organizations they investigated were DENIED tax-exempt status while, as yet, NONE with conservative leanings have been denied. The IRS will continue to investigate ALL groups who apply for tax-exempt status, because that is what the American people want them to do, and what they are bound by law to do.

          • lana ward

            You really are an OHitler fool. Conservative groups have been waiting over 3 years and still haven’t gotten their status. You need to pay attention to what is really going on before you post your disinformation. OHitler and his IRS stole the election

          • RobertCHastings

            Now let me see if I got this right. Gore, who actually WON the popular vote was never put in the White House, but Bush was because he had more conservatives on the SCOTUS. Obama beat Romney by 3.5 million votes, and HE stole the election? And you’re calling ME a fool?

          • lana ward

            Gore came up with every little trick to steal the election–he failed!! OHitler, The IRS, DHS, NSA, DOJ and other commies stole this last election by targeting conservatives. The Tea Party blew the dems away in 2010 so OHitler had them stopped this time !!

          • Mark Forsyth

            Any group applying for tax exemption should be subject to scrutiny.That some group that is unAmerican,subversive,fascist, and degenerate ie: T-party,should not exempt them from scrutiny when they are seeking special tax status. After all,they were not denied!

        • RobertCHastings

          Are you complaining about McCain’s not being elected or Romney? McCain has had no command experience and no executive experience -he was a PILOT, not a general. And Romney really shot himself in the foot when he chose Ryan as a running mate, a Republican whose own party (and church) would not support his budget plan. Wow, you folks really can pick ‘em.

      • lana ward

        One scandal after another. What’s going on. Your leader has lost his lying touch : )

        • Fern Woodfork

          Go Clean Your Nasty House BITCH!!!!

          • RobertCHastings

            Give her hell, Fern.

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      I am still trying to figure out how a piece of legislation as detailed and complicated as the USA PATRIOT Act could have been drafted within 30 days of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Given the complexities of it, Alberto Gonzalez must have been working on it since the day that Dubya was announced as winner of the 2000 election.

      • Mark Forsyth

        Something definitely stinks about it.

      • S.J. Jolly

        The GW Bush administration took office with a bunch of national security legislation they wanted to enact, but they couldn’t sell it to Congress. 9-11-01 gave them a “Christmas tree” to hang it on.

        • Mark Forsyth

          Agreed,but that was one HELL of a tree.

      • plc97477

        Maybe they started working on it as soon as baby bush entered the race, just in case.

        • Independent1

          You’re so right. Bush and Cheney’s run for office was all based on them pushing to attack Iraq – so planning of it took place long before the election. They ordered General Frank to start planning an Iraq attack within one or two weeks of moving into the Whitehouse. Their efforts to go after the perpetrator of 9/11 was half hearted (they gave up the hunt for bin Laden so quickly), and was probably only done (the war in Afghanistan) in order to keep up the pretext of tieing the 9/11 attack to Saddam. So as someone pointed out, they probably had someone working on the USA Patriat Act legislation long before the election too. That’s why it was so crucial for them to steal the election by winning Florida. If they lost Florida, all that planning and work would have been for naught.

          • RobertCHastings

            Cheney and Wolfowitz, who were prominent neocons as far back as the Reagan administration, hatched the scheme for invading Iraq back in the 1980′s. Wolfowitz wrote an article in either “Salon” or “Foreign Affairs” detailing his plans.

          • Independent1

            Thanks for the update! I had surmised from the fact that Bush and Cheney were hellbent on attacking Iraq from virtually the moment they took office that plans to do so had been concocted much earlier; but I wasn’t aware it went back that far. For Bush and Cheney to have followed through on plans that they had to know would cost the lives of at least hundreds of Americans (not to mention the Iraqis) given even the most rosy of estimates, is to me the height of depravity. How anyone can have even one ounce of respect for either of these lowlifes (as there are apparently people who do) is beyond me.

          • Dominick Vila

            I suspect the Patriot Act, like the ousting of Saddam Hussein from power to enable the largest redistribution of wealth from the public to the private sector, were conceived by the neocons long before W decided to run for office, and long before he was selected President. Bush was the instrument the neocons used, under Cheney’s tutelage, to pursue and achieve their goals.

          • Independent1

            Thanks for confirming what I had surmised from Bush and Cheney being so hellbent on starting a war with Iraq from almost the first day they took office. I can only hope that in time, history will label these two men as the true lowlifes that they are – for following through on plans that they had to know would cost the lives of at least hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans – not to mention the lost lives of countless Iraqis.

      • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.murphy.167189 Daniel Murphy

        Stop racking your brain – it was written long before the shrub came along.

        • RobertCHastings

          No! FISA was written and enacted long before Shrub came along. However, W and his cronies DID manage to enact The Patriot Act AFTER Clinton had proposed something very similar to it but had it shot down by the Republican majorities in Congress.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

      The cynicism being used by the GOP and its militant branch, the ETA party, to project an illusion of unprecedented chaos when, in reality, everything they have claimed since President Obama has existed for decades and, in this case, was legalized and authorized by the Patriots Act, knows no boundaries.
      Where were these idiots when the Patriots Act was passed? Oops, I forgot, they wrote the legislation authorizing surveillance on U.S. soil and sent it to a Republican President for signature! Are they suffering from amnesia? Are they stupid? Or do they think we are?

      • demhack

        The GOP didn’t write the Patriot act that allows for the indefinite detention of americans with no charges. That was a law that our constitutional expert dreamed

        • Mark Forsyth

          That is patently false!

          • charleo1

            I agree, Mark. He’s making it up.

        • RobertCHastings

          Which Constitutional expert are you talking about? Alberto Gonzalez or John Ashcroft? The US has had bases around the world since before the end of WWII, some of which are not on the books and are perfect places to hide undesirables to obtain the unobtainable from them. Gitmo has been around for a long time, also, and has served much the purpose it is serving today for at least two generations.

        • Dominick Vila

          Where were you when terrorist suspects were being detained, tortured, and when the practice of renditions was taking place? Your comment is beyond bizarre. Hopefully you are being sarcastic or a teenager getting started in politics, because no adult, except perhaps for those afflicted by Alzheimer’s, would made such a naïve and inaccurate claim.

      • lana ward

        OHitler has abused his powers and you know it. Since he has done all of this snooping, why hasn’t he been able to stop these attacks?? He’s not snooping on terrorists, he’s snooping on his enemies, the Republicans

        • Mark Forsyth

          He should take a look at dumb fucks like you.Take your sorry ass off the page.

          • lana ward

            Get used to OHitlers scandals, there’s more to come LOL. You can only get away with lying for so long

          • Mark Forsyth

            If that is true then why aren’t you gone.Nobody here falls for your crap,nobody agrees with you.You get no traction here.But yet you remain doing the same thing over and over, getting the same result.And we all know what that means.

          • Independent1

            Mark, you nailed another trait of the GOP -NEVER LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES!!! Their motto is: “If something fails to work, just do it over and over again with the hopes that the failures will just disappear”. The GOP tried austerity (tax cuts/budget cuts) to fix a recession back in 1927/28, and then actually tried raising taxes with the budget cuts, all of which resulted in the 1929 stockmarket crash and eventually the 1930s Big Depression. Did the GOP learn that austerity doesn’t fix recessions?? NO!!! Even Eisenhower, arguably the GOP’s best president over the passed 100 plus years, was so tightfisted with money, that his policies resulted in creating 3 recessions during his 8 years in office – the most of any recent president. But what solution does the GOP offer today to fix virtually any ill of the economy – budget guts and tax cuts!!!! THE DUMB ONLY GET DUMBER!!!!

          • CrankyToo

            Great post, Indy1. But since you invited me to argue the point, I’m inclined to say that Theodore Roosevelt was the GOP’s best of the past 100+ years. In fact, from my perspective, he and Abe are the only two Republican presidents who can be counted among our best. Eisenhower, while a good man and a great leader, made for a pretty fair cold-war president, but apart from improving our highway system, did virtually nothing for us domestically. I’m just sayin’…

          • Independent1

            Cranky, I couldn’t agree with you more!! To be honest, I don’t think any GOP president since Teddy has been really worth anyone taking the trouble to vote for; and I sure goofed in saying over the past 100 plus years. I usually say, Ike was the best GOP president since Teddy (among a whole lackluster group of presidents), but this time I goofed.
            And you know what’s interesting, I’ve time and time again asked GOP lovers on this thread to state for me ONE THING, just one thing that the GOP has done for America since Teddy was in office aside from Ike pushing for the interstate highway system, and not one of the GOP loving posters has been able to come up with even one thing the GOP has done for America. Do you have any idea what keeps these people going that can’t even think of one thing their party has done for this country?? Because I can sure think of a lot of negative things the GOP has done – especially over the past 30 years since Reagan really started the party on the downslide.

          • CrankyToo

            I think you’re absolutely correct to say that Ike was the best the GOP has given us in the last 100+ years SINCE TEDDY. I would agree with that completely. But as you correctly pointed out in your aside, there was little competition in that regard because the others of his stripe were either out to lunch (Ford and Reagan) or complete fricking disasters (Nixon and the two Bushwhackers).

            But I was born in 1952 and I grew up thinking of Ike as a “do nothing” President because that’s how he was generaly regarded back in the day. In fact, in 1962, a panel of eminent historians ranked him 22nd among all American presidents at the time (out of 35 at that time in our history) – a fairly dubious honor. Ike’s only become more highly esteemed in the last 20 years or so.

            And insofar as contributions to the greater good are concerned, your assessment of the Greedy Old Pricks is spot on. Teddy gave every American part-ownership in some of the most incredibly beautiful places on the planet. And Ike gave us the means by which to get to them. The rest of them have given this country bupkis – nothing but headache and heartache.

            PS – See you at the polls next year when we kick the crap out of those rat bastards again.

          • Mark Forsyth

            The gop uses a page taken from the old Nazi propaganda playbook.That is- Tell the people a lie often enough and they will begin to believe it..Two problems here that effect them,first is the same dynamic that effects those who are addicted to hard drugs-they believe their own lies.The second should be obvious.This was tried before when the Nazi’s did it.The world has already had a taste of it and is less likely to fall for it again.Though the Greatest Generation dwindles daily,there are those who remember the history lesson and as it has been clearly illustrated on this page,a knowledge of history and learning from it is good protection.

          • RobertCHastings

            Issa and King can manufacture scandals til the pimples on their asses pop. The IRS “scandal” has already been disposed of as having been manufactured by a very narrow request by chairman Issa to have the IRS investigate their questioning of applications by conservative groups for tax-exempt status. His wording required that the IRS would come up with their results. However, as most intelligent people know, ALL groups that include political catch-words in their names receive equal scrutiny, and thus the IRS “scandal” has been proven to be anything but. Of course the GOP wants to manufacture a scandal about Benghazi to cover the fact, as Hilary so eloquently testified, the GOP is the reason there weren’t adequate funds in the State Department budget to provide security. Now, what other scandals are you so concerned about, aside from the Anthony Weiner one?

          • lana ward

            You need to follow real news. OHitlery is as big a communist as OHitler is!!

        • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.murphy.167189 Daniel Murphy

          The truth is l. w., I wish you were right. Obama should be investigating those corrupt scumbag pathogens we all know as the GOP. Your problem lana, is that you are another Republican Stockholm syndrome victim. You don’t belong here – because we use critical analysis of all available information to discern where the truth lies. With you it’s “ALL” lies – ALL the time. So, because you suffer from GOP induced Stockholm syndrome, Rush Limbaugh could slap you across the face while admitting the whole of conservative ideology is only a ruse (which is true) – and you’d smile and thank him for slapping you. Then request he tell you another lie you can defend. In other words lana: “you’re hopeless”. Now go plant yourself in front of your T.V. and turn on FOX, to get another dose of right-wing paranoia. I hear it’s better than a double espresso.

          • lana ward

            Rush is right!! Rush is always right and you can’t stand it!!!

        • RobertCHastings

          Finally the Democrats are paying them back for what Nixon did. Steve Martin made a movie entitled “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” in which EOC meant enemies of Carlotta, a barely concealed swipe at Nixon’s “enemies” list. You are absolutely right in your assertion about the Republicans being the president’s enemies, you just omit the fact that they are EVERYONE’s enemies.

          • lana ward

            Watergate is nothing compared to all the shit OHiter is involved in.

          • RobertCHastings

            Once again you make the mistake of assuming an investigation implies culpability. Investigations by Rep. Issa imply his political agenda, only.

        • BillP

          Oh no the loony bin hastened its doors and look who stepped out. Lana Ward the high priestess of hate and misinformation. Lana are you off your mess again?

      • RobertCHastings

        They are pulling the same trick with the drone controversy, which was begun before Obama was even elected to the Senate.

  • Mark Forsyth

    In the past hour I have watched John Lepuc be interviewed on the CBS morning news program.He spoke about this issue and how the collection of info is stored and used when anomolies occur.He further pointed out how instrumental this program has been in stifling certain terrorist activities that had they not been detected,the results likely would have been devastating.Given Lepucs former position as an official in the Intelligence Community,I would not expect him to be overly critical of its programs.
    Lepuc went on to say how problematic it is for an Intelligence Agency to work effectively,when they are called on to divulge their info gathering techniques.Thereby making it easier for nefarious entities and their activities to be detected.Sounds logical to me.Without directly saying so,Lepuc alluded to the gop/t bag histrionics about this issue as being little more than a tempest in a teapot.Given gop congressional participation in the legal implementation of these intell gathering programs,it would seem that the current gop complaint is rather disingenuous. Should we now assume that this blow-up is further evidence of the lengths the gop/t bags will go to in order to discredit the current administration? I surmise that it is at least a posibility.

    • CPAinNewYork

      All things and acts are connected in this world. When our foreign policy shifted to an unqualified support of Israel and its ethnic cleansing of Arabs, we incurred the hatred of the Muslims worldwide. The more redical and dedicated Muslims srarted to retaliate by suicide bombings. Our response has been to invade Muslim strongholds like Iraq and Afghanistan, where we’re bogged down in a war we cannot win and which will never end until we pull out.

      The lesson here is one that we should have learned years ago, especially after the Vietnam debacle: stay out of other people’s civil wars. In this case, our mistake was abandoning our policy of “honest broker” between the Jews and Muslims for unqualified support of Israel. That was a big mistake for which we’re going to continue to pay a heavy price in lives, money and our lost personal freedoms until we throw in the towel.

      • jnap

        Oh Bullshit. Did you forget the billions we have been giving to Egypt?

        have you forgotten billion given to the Palestinians for humanitarian aid?

        • CPAinNewYork

          What difference does it make how much we gave to the Palestinians for “humanitarian aid” when we support Israel’s ethnic cleansing programs to rob them of their homes?

          We started getting into trouble the moment our government “leaders” succumbed to the American Jewish community’s bribes. Now, because of the cupidity of our government leaders, we are in a virtual war with the entire Muslim world community, all on Israel’s behalf.

      • S.J. Jolly

        Only two real routes to ending the Israel – Palestine conflict: (1) Let them fight it out, until one side manages to annihilate the other, then send aid to the survivors on the winning side (there probably will be few). (2) Get together with the backers of the Palestinians and force both sides to adopt policies the other side can live with.

      • Mark Forsyth

        You offer some observations that I would not go out of my way to dispute.However,jnap’s mention of U.S. aid to Egypt and Palestine is quite valid.For many years there has been an Israeli faction that is as guilty of terrorism and keeping the shit stirred up in the mid-East,as any other group.That,by itself undermines the argument that Israel is a stabilizing force in that part of the world.They are no more willing to curtail their offensive activities than any of those that they complain about.That is why I do not give carte blanche approval to the unceasing support of Israel.They long have demanded that their right to a homeland be acknowledged but snub the right of Palestinians to the same thing and engage in oppressive measures to prevent it. I think that I might like to see the second proposal offered by S.J.Jolly enacted.

    • demhack

      Did he offer up a SPECIFIC example of a terrorist attack that was prevented or we just suppose to believe the messiah

      • Mark Forsyth

        The incident that was described was outlined as to how an email was delivered to a long unused address known to belong to an al-quaida operative.The investigation revealed a young man of mid-eastern origin who had sent the email and was living here in the U.S..The al-quaida operative was actually a binLaden officer who was intent on planting a bomb on a flight destined for the U.S.[ I disremember the country where the flight was to have originated]. A photo of the guy who sent the email was shown,he looked like a foreign college student.Another photo was shown of the operative who was to have planted the bomb,wearing traditional clothing and in custody.I had actually seen that story some time ago with the same pictures but had forgot about it until this mornings program.No Messiahs involved!

    • Mark Forsyth

      I must offer a correction to my comment from this morning.The man on CBS NEWS to whom I was referring is not John Lepuc but rather John Miller,former Senior Investigator for National Security,now a CBS correspondent.The al-quaida operative mentioned by Miller,whose plans to bomb both trains and planes were thwarted by intell gathering was Nadji Bullah,spelling? My apologies.

  • ram1020

    What a horrible article! If we are content with blaming one “brand” or the “other”, we will never solve any problems. The question now is to determine what level of surveillance is appropriate. We all seem to agree that it has gone too far, and that no surveillance would be foolish.
    It doesn’t matter whose fault it is, let’s discuss how to fix it.

    • option31

      I agree, this blame game is run by the media and pols to keep US fighting with each other instead of focusing on the real problem THEM! To blame the Republicans and not the Democrats is a side act. In 2008 when this safe passage for the telecoms was voted upon the Senate was 49-49 with 2 inds. I believe the rules are 60 votes? If so at least 10 Dems crossed US in the Senate and I have no idea how many crossed us in the House.

      It does not matter we were crossed and the Constitution was violated. They all need to be held accountable, beside just because the Congress passes some bill does NOT mean the President HAS TO USE IT.

    • plc97477

      We can begin by repealing the patriots act.

  • FT66

    Data surveillance is not outrageous at all. It is good for all people. These people who are doing it, should be praised a lot and NOT be discouraged. Imagine if there has been frequent attacks every now and then in the land! Everyone will think of employing the specialist screamer, who screamed: “WE ARE DYING HERE”! That was James Carville who did feel uncomfortable of the oil leaking, and he was not really dying.

  • Robert P. Robertson

    The American public, after 9-11, was for anything that could prevent terrorism on its shores and keep America safe. Many of us rationalized that if you were not a terrorist or criminal, what harm would it do? It was aimed at preventing what happened during 9-11, and the mood America was in allowed what is going on right now, particularly from the Boston Bombing incident. The harm is, such an act would open the door for unscrupulous individuals, not the NSA, to pry into people’s freedoms, people such as Republicunts/neo-Confederate Tea Bags and the contributors to their Super PACs to play havoc with anyone’s life who would speak out against them or oppose their insanity and treasonous actions. The harm is corporations, industries, and the number of insatiably greedy billionairtes who would love to return to the good ol’ days of slave labor, who would impose their brand of immorality and anti-Chriistianity upon everyone. That’s who George Orwell called Big Brother. The Koch Brothers are the perfect example of who Orwell was speaking of.

  • S.J. Jolly

    A national security state, aborning. Authorized by Congresspersons acting from fear, greed, and corruption. The fear of being called soft on terrorism if they note “NO”, the greed of some members having family members deep in the surveillance industry, and the corruption of a political system where legislators spend the majority of their time in office collecting money to run for re-election!

  • elw

    Do not expect ourlawmakers to do something as practical as questioning the actions of themselves. Instead they will use their own actions to punish the other side or take down their enemies. The whole thing will be turned into political theater, which will change nothing, but give those lazy people in congress another excuse for doing nothing. The scandal is not that they are collecting data; it is how long it has been going without open questioning on whether such data collection is still worth its infringement on our right to privacy? I would not be surprised if this becomes the next big scandal on Cable News that will be blamed on the President in spite of the fact that both sides have overwhelmingly voted for the bill many times.

    • demhack

      Sounds like Barak owes W a huge apology

      • plc97477

        Let’s wait until baby bush apologizes to the US for a lot of crap.

      • elw

        Your wrong, the last thing anyone owes W is an apology. W should be the one down on his knees begging for forgiveness for the all bad decisions he made and the unnecessary deaths caused in the the Iraq war and for the financial melt down. It was W who put the patriot act in place.

      • Independent1

        Apology for what?? For ignoring 7 warnings between 4/30/01 and 8/6/01 from the CIA that bin Laden was planning an imminent attack on the homeland, thereby DELIBERATELY LETTING 9/11 HAPPEN??? Deliberately letting the event happen that created the need for the Patriot Act in the first place??? All the CIA wanted was for Bush and Cheney to let them focus on trying to stop al Qaeda’s attack that they had intelligence on. But NO!! Bush and Cheney insisted that the CIA had to put all their people on the objective they given the agency – find us evidence that Iraq has WMDs. They insisted 7 times!!! 7 Times they ignored the warnings!!! Bush and Cheney should be in jail. The last thing they deserve is an apology for anything!!!!!!!

    • DurdyDawg

      Hell, it’s been going on since that cross dresser Hoover, they just don’t give a shit anymore whether you know it or not.. It’s just one more scheme to spread paranoia among the populace.. They tried it with public surveillance cameras and it worked like a charm after the dust settled and John Q allowed them to spread throughout the nation but that’s not enough, now their seeking private surveillance and when the dust settles and John relents and allows them to spread once again, it’ll be on to the next phase.. What could THAT be? (you don’t really wanna know do you?). The real problem with surveillance is (if you haven’t noticed) all the cameras are pointed AWAY from the g’ment.

      • elw

        I think the real problem is trying to find the truth. There are just too many elected officials and news organizations that cannot be counted on for their honesty, far too often what is called a scandal is nothing more than a get even attempt to bring the other side down with stilted information. I find it heartbreaking that the public’s ability to question and for surveillance of the Government has been hijacked by a bunch of unethical elected officials and questionable news organizations.

  • FT66

    No one is listening to your calls. Not interested at all. Just doing the monitoring. OK?

    • demhack

      Not only that the IRS and EPA aren’t interested

  • Lovefacts

    After 9-11, the American population seems to have forgotten what Benjamin Franklin wrote about our constitution/freedom–if they ever knew it: “If one sacrifices some freedom in the name of safety, they shall have neither freedom nor safety.” The Patriot Act is just one more step toward a strong-arm government.

    • demhack

      and barak has his democratic congress pass the enhancement that allows him and Holder to detain any American indefinitely with out charges

      • midway5012

        FYI – from the article:

        So this latest outcry over expansive surveillance is really the
        culmination of over a decade of lawmaking. All three branches of
        government – the court order was approved by a FISA court – and both
        parties, in two administrations, have agreed consistently to enable and
        protect the practice.

  • demhack

    I was against wiretaps before I was for it Barrak Obama. Who was it that said if he became president that he would have his attorney general look at all the programs and laws that allowed W to “spy” on citizens and eliminate them.
    Is he now saying that W was right and that he was wrong?? What a con man

    • charleo1

      You’re too hung up on trying to think of the next slur you’re going to
      make about Obama, to contribute any useful opinion on the subject
      at hand. You don’t like Obama. We all get that by now. Move on.

      • Robert P. Robertson

        That’s why he calls himself a dumhack.

        • DurdyDawg

          Somebody needs to bitch slap that idiot back into reality.

          • Robert P. Robertson

            I second that emotion, Dawg!

          • Fern Woodfork

            Count Me In On That!! dumhack Is Just Another Lying TROLL!!

  • plc97477

    I hope no one is going to hold their breath til congress cleans up the mess. They have proven that they can not do much of anything.

  • howa4x

    . Of course Congress knows all this. They have intelligence sub committees that have highly classified briefings, and they probably get a monthly report. this is not news. Congress uses the scandals to deflect blame from themselves to the administration. Congress knew they under funded security at the embassies. It was no secret but now that act like what a surprise!! Same with the IRS scandal. They were honing in on Karl Rove and his dark money operation. so they blow it up using regular people as a shield. When the shoe was on the other foot the republicans yelled about acorn getting a tax exemption. The real issues aren’t discussed, like unemployment, or climate change. Why aren’t they talking about whether we need such a huge army with no real enemy. Or how are they going to fix the crumbling infrastructure. It’s all a game

  • charleo1

    The politicalization on both sides of the isle, surrounding the subject of terrorism.
    Has been as responsible as anything else, for first, the enactment, and then,
    the continuation of these high tech surveillance techniques. From Bush to Obama.
    For some of the same reasons as Bush, and for some different ones for Obama.
    For example, how many times, in the course of running for his reelection, did
    Bush remind Americans there had not been a single terrorist attack on the home-
    land, since 9/11? Dick Cheney went so far as to say, there hadn’t been an attack,
    while President Bush was in office! Assuming a Mulligan then, for 9/11, of course.
    So, even though we know there will never be a day, or a President, that can keep
    the Country 100% safe from an attack. That this business of securing the Country
    aganist a terrorist, is essentially a crap shoot. And yet, look at how the attack of
    the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, has been used as a political cudgel. As if, the
    President is expected to see every sparrow fall. Protect every hamlet. And, foil
    every plot. And, do it all, while surveilling only those that would do us harm.
    So, how exactly, do we suppose that would work? I’m no expert. I don’t know.
    But, let’s suppose the next President, campaigns on the promise, that no longer
    will the American public have to fear their own government is watching their
    every move. That as President, promises he will shut down the illegal, and unConstitutional practices, of the NSA. Or, law abiding citizens, be required to wait in long lines at the airport, to be patted down like some criminal. Then, when
    we suffer the next terrorist attack. And, it is when, not if. But, when we do, are
    we going to be sensible. Or, are we going to demand the President’s head, on
    a political platter?

    • plc97477

      Maybe they think Obama is a magical person, maybe a god.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.murphy.167189 Daniel Murphy

    Lets see now, the incoming commander in chief receives a strong warning from the outgoing president that bin Laden is a true risk and must be taken seriously. During the proceeding months, Bush receives four warnings of impending attack on U.S. soil – each one more dire than the previous. He did “n o t h i n g”. Based upon a couple hundred hours of research I’ve concluded that 9/11 was a false flag operation done for purposes of going to war in the middle east and for seizing the benefit of resulting hysteria, for passing the Patriot Act. We need to remember: Bush/Cheney stalled any inquest of 9/11 for fourteen months. If not for the unrelenting pressure from the families of victims, it probably never wouild have occured. We should all view that group’s remarkable effort as highly relevant and extremely significant, for they were able to force the Bush administration to act. While it’s absolutely true that the 9/11 Report is awash in omission and distortion – it is through this obvious cover up where we can glean unequivocal truth. Our president refused to testify unless Cheney was in the room with him. Of course Cheney hand picked the committee that would rubber stamp the predetermined outcome. They gave the “committee” a paltry $14 million dollar budget to uncover all the evidence for bringing the “truth to light”. In contrast Clinton’s wayward cigar behavior received around $67 million for use in accomplishing nothing.

    The point is: without 9/11 there would have been NO WAY, this bullshit law gets passed.

  • Allan Richardson

    Don’t call it “spying,” call it “universal data file insurance.” Don’t bother making your own email backups, just call the NSA and ask them for a restore disk if you need one. I’m sure they will be happy to mail you one for a small fee … and maybe that fee will make them self-funding!

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