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Bipartisan Group Of Senators Wants Answers On NSA Surveillance

Memo Pad Politics

Bipartisan Group Of Senators Wants Answers On NSA Surveillance


Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is leading a group of 26 senators — 22 Democrats, three Republicans and one Independent — in demanding answers from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The senators sent a letter to Clapper Friday that includes a series of questions about the scope and focus of the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of data authorized by the PATRIOT Act.

Some — including Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)  and foreign policy expert Fred Kaplan — have argued that Clapper misled Congress when Wyden asked in March if the NSA was collecting data on millions of Americans.

Clapper replied, “No, sir . . . not wittingly.”

Senator Wyden has only said that Clapper didn’t give a “straight answer.”

In the wake of revelations of massive data collection leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the senator is obviously interested in giving the director another opportunity to answer in a forthright manner.

“We are concerned that by depending on secret interpretations of the PATRIOT Act that differed from an intuitive reading of the statute, this program essentially relied for years on a secret body of law,” the senators wrote, noting that the law passed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and reauthorized in 2011 includes a business-records authority “very broad in its scope.”

They note that the Supreme Court decision the government is relying on to authorize massive data collection — Smith v. Maryland — was “based on the technology of the rotary-dial era and did not address the type of ongoing, broad surveillance of phone records the government is now conducting.”

They suggest that by tracking location data government is “turning Americans’ cellphones into tracking devices.”

By providing seven specific questions, they said they hoped to clear up misleading statements by Clapper in the past and allow their constituents to evaluate the decisions the government is making:

1) How long has the NSA used PATRIOT Act authorities to engage in bulk collection of Americans’ records? Was this collection underway when the law was reauthorized in 2006?
2) Has the NSA used USA PATRIOT Act authorities to conduct bulk collection of any other types of records pertaining to Americans, beyond phone records?
3) Has the NSA collected or made any plans to collect Americans’ cell-site location data in bulk?
4) Have there been any violations of the court orders permitting this bulk collection, or of the rules governing access to these records? If so, please describe these violations.
5) Please identify any specific examples of instances in which intelligence gained by reviewing phone records obtained through Section 215 bulk collection proved useful in thwarting a particular terrorist plot.
6) Please provide specific examples of instances in which useful intelligence was gained by reviewing phone records that could not have been obtained without the bulk collection authority, if such examples exist.
7) Please describe the employment status of all persons with conceivable access to this data, including IT professionals, and detail whether they are federal employees, civilian or military, or contractors.

The senators who signed the letter are: Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Udall (D-CO), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tom Udall (D-NM), Brian Schatz (D-HI),  Jon Tester (D-MT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mark Begich (D-AK), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Al Franken (D-MN), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Max Baucus (D-MT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Mike Lee (R-UT).

Photo: Center for Strategic & International Studies via Flickr.com


  1. highpckts June 28, 2013

    They have been doing this since forever! Now that Obamas’ President, it’s disgraceful? I love all this false indignation!!

    1. pzuppo June 28, 2013

      Why would you even limit your tiny little thought processes to transitioning this national dilemma into a partisan divide? I’m a liberal and Democrat; however, in your little mind you assume I’m alright with Obama participating in this travesty which is the destruction of our democracy. Perhaps its time for you to stop with the divide and work with everyone to force the executive branch and the NSA to reveal what they have and are actually doing. Did you not read the article? There is a bipartisan list of lawmakers who signed the letter.

      1. highpckts June 28, 2013

        Have you read ANY of the news! They don’t know the contents of your sooooo important calls and e-mails. It’s not just Obama that has been participating in this!! Get your mind right! This has been an on going process! Ever since 9/11 the government has instilled the fear of God and Muslims into our head so now we see boogie men around every corner! Thsi isn’t a national delimma, it’s a world wide delimma if that’s what you want to call it! I don’t care who is looking into this. I don’t care if they are green or yellow! If someone hadn’t “leaked” this so called info, you would be none the wiser!

      2. charleo1 June 28, 2013

        Okay, you’re a Liberal Democrat. Are you trained, or have any
        practical experience in counter terrorism? The best way to find
        a terrorist cell abroad? A terrorist cell here in the U.S.? Since
        every mission, whether it’s to bring down a plane, or strike a soft
        target, like an oil pipeline, all missions require clandestine funding.
        So, what do you think would be a great way to follow the money?
        That is, of course without all the,”travesties,” and destruction of
        our democracy. No ideas? So then, let’s all work together to force
        the executive branch, and NSA, to explain what they have done,
        and how they did it. And, any new innovations in intelligence
        gathering they are actually using now! Sure! And, just in case the terrorists are just as interested as we all are. We could stream it
        live, via satellite, all across the Mid East, and around the world.

        1. Reverb June 28, 2013

          I will never accept or participate in your culture of fear.
          It’s an evil sickness. A mental virus designed to cripple rational thought.

          1. charleo1 June 28, 2013

            How about the real world? You’re going to participate there,
            i assume? Good. Now aren’t you glad you live in such a
            Country, where you may do as you choose? Free from fear.
            it does serve to make us better citizens when we realize that
            the majority of the 7 billion other people we share planet with,
            live with fear everyday of their lives. Fear of hunger. fear for their children becoming sick. With no medical help. Fear of
            their tyrannous government. I guess it really comes down to
            knowing more, by being around longer. Makes one appreciate
            things more. We start to realize our comparatively wonderful
            lives we lead here in this Country, comes with a price tag.
            It seems to me your problem is, you haven’t discovered
            that yet.

          2. Extended_Metaphors June 29, 2013

            Unfortunately, it seems that the price tag you are referring to got placed on the wrong item by mistake, sir. The item in question, which you have labeled as “Comparatively Wonderful Life” should actually have received the price tag of “Taxes,” “Voting Responsibility,” or similar. The price tag in question, “Creepy Surveillance, 1984 edition,” should in fact have been assigned to the products Hair Restoration Kit and Brooklyn Bridge. If you have reason to believe otherwise, please return with the product in question and evidence said product deserves said price tag and another employee will be happy to address your complaint.

            Have a pleasant day!

          3. charleo1 June 29, 2013

            My point Sir. Is it is insulting to those who have paid the price
            for the freedoms we enjoy. To accuse without any proof
            whatsoever, that your government is plotting aganist you.
            It is a tribute to the security, and the wonderful lives we lead,
            compared to most people around the world. That there are
            those, that actually believe the taxes they pay, purchases the
            freedoms they have. It is ignorance, Sir, I’m calling into question. And the smugness of a spoiled rotten citizen, who
            has been given all the truly valuable things in life. But continues
            to grouse.

          4. Richard Raznikov June 29, 2013

            Those who ‘have paid the price’? What nonsense. For the past fifty years, the U.S. has been engaged in wars not to protect us or free anyone but to secure resources for the corporations which own the nation. People are justifiably angry at being spied on because, first, it has NOTHING to do with any ‘terrorist’ threat –– that’s just a ruse to scare people into giving up their freedom, a freedom which is secured not by soldiers but by the Constitution. Second, the NSA Prism program is illegal and that’s unarguable; its illegality is what’s kept these few Senators like Feinstein docile. They know it’s illegal but they let it continue anyhow. Third, the comment earlier by someone who claims that Prism doesn’t actually snag your e-mails is wrong; it in fact grabs every e-mail, every web search, and every phone call made in America for at least the last nine years under this name and its antecedents. Fourth, if the army (which is NSA’s boss, not the civil authority) has complete information on everyone it enables the greatest blackmail racket in history and makes what J. Edgar Hoover did look insignificant. It means that our political system has been opened to massive blackmail. If we let this happen, if we let this continue, it will mean the effective end of democracy in America. That’s a fact. Is that what you want?

        2. tripodding June 28, 2013

          And you do? Is it to collect everything and hope for the best? Why don’t you drop a bomb of knowledge on us? The US seemed to be doing pretty awesome in regards to terrorist attacks before the Patriot Act, and Prism. Well, when they decided to read, and follow through on the intelligence reports. And the issue isn’t just the spying. It’s the lying to congress, and therefore, the American people. It’s about American’s remaining secure in their “persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” It’s about the lack of over site in programs that need a tremendous amount of oversite.

          1. charleo1 June 28, 2013

            And I do, what? Know about counter terrorism? No, don’t
            know a thing. That’s why I’m not on here blabbering about
            what I think they are doing. Or giving my advise as to what
            they ought to be doing. Like you say, America seemed to be
            doing a pretty awesome job, in regards to terrorists attacks
            before the Patriot Act. True, if you don’t count that huge
            sucker punch, we never saw coming, on 9/11/01. Right?
            Look, I’m going to guess you’re a younger person. Older
            one’s like me, don’t use the word awesome, all that much.
            And, I know you know how you feel. But, that’s a far cry
            from knowing what you’re talking about. As far as the State
            rummaging around in your papers, house, or person. If
            they decide they want to do that, believe me, one way or
            another, they know how to get it done. And that’s been the
            case, a long long time before the Patriot Act.

          2. tripodding June 28, 2013

            I’m one of those older people that uses awesome, because it’s awesome!

            The intelligence report comment was about the 9/11. We did see it coming. We saw it coming from miles, and miles away. Reports were ignored that ultimately led to such actions being planned, and executed right under the noses of those that were supposed to keep such things from happening.

            You’re right, they will figure out a way to get into my house. But before now, they needed to get a warrant signed by a judge that wasn’t in a secret court. They needed to have a reason. Some charges, and what they were looking for. The Patriot Act is so vague, that the Government can pretty much do anything in the name of “National Security,” and that’s pretty damn scary.

            You’re right that not everything needs to be, nor ever should be revealed to the public, but PRISM seems to be rather significant over reach.

            You pretty much went into detail what I was saying in your response to RobertCHastings about abuses under Hoover’s FBI, etc.

          3. charleo1 June 28, 2013

            Awesome is a fine word. Look In a nutshell, my point is,
            people are speculating all over the place about these programs.
            And, not understanding them. So Snowden becomes a hero,
            and the Feds, our guys, must be plotting something aganist us. That is so f*ucked up! Really? Do terrorists need to hit us again, before some of these idiots figure out who the bad guys are? This isn’t our Grandpappy’s war. But it’s war, nonetheless. I’ve read comments, where people thought their Govn’t was destroying democracy! How? By collecting information the phone providers use to figure out your bill? And then, use that to bring down the Country? By what means? They don’t know. But are just real damn sure they are up to something! And they want it stopped. And the weasel that may have guaranteed the success of the next attack by handing murderers that one bit of information they need.
            One silly woman compared Snowden to George Washington!
            What people need to understand about these radicalized
            Islamist. Is they get up everyday, eat a little breakfast. Then, get back to the one thing that consumes their every waking hour. Killing infidels. And killing as many of us as they can.

          4. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            People are correct to speculate about what is being done with their private information, and why. Because you have lived your entire life comparatively free from real government oppression and persecution is no excuse for ignorance regarding what it took to make that happen.

            The TSA could collect naked body scans of everybody and use the very same justifications as those being used by defenders of unlimited NSA snooping into the telephonic records of American citizens. Do you think this is fine too? Should somebody’s wife or daughter have to just accept a violation of their privacy because a) others have seen their naked body before, so why shouldn’t government employees, or b) there is some national security justification, however tenuous?

            You go right ahead and offer your private information to the government if you wish. You can also post your SSN and bank account numbers here for everyone’s enjoyment — nobody will object to this. But when you try to volunteer MY personal information over my objections without both a solid justification and legal safeguards, I can promise you a fight.

            Many people object to unwarranted invasion of their privacy, and that’s a perfectly legitimate concern. Nor does the objection need to be accompanied by some proof of evil intent or damages — how many people have the right to object about the TSA, for example, retaining pictures of their naked bodies without any restriction even if doing so doesn’t really involve evil intent or potential for real damages?

            Finally, government agencies are made up of people, and if one thing has proven true throughout recorded history: People will eventually do whatever they believe they can get away with. THAT’S why you won’t post your SSN or bank account number here — and that’s why people are correct to be concerned over their privacy rights.

          5. charleo1 June 29, 2013

            First, you’re not a nut case, for being concerned, livid, what-
            ever you’re feeling. And you’re free of course, to speculate.
            But, after you do all the speculating, what have you got? A
            lot of speculation. Over the past few months, I’ve learned there are thousands of people in this Country that have the mistaken notion, it is possible to have peace of mind, without putting one ounce of trust, or faith in their Government. Well, they cannot. So into this void, this dearth of facts, as to the nature of what their government is doing, and why it is doing it, They speculate. They speculate their phone records are private. When they are not. And, they speculate the government is listening to every conversation. It is not. Or may do so, without a warrant. They may not. Probable cause, and their 4th Amendment Rights, they speculate, are being infringed, is not the case, and provably so. As to being inconvenienced at airports, no one wants to stand in line, take off their shoes, be x-rayed. But many times in life, we sacrifice, we make a trade offs. Giving up part of what we would prefer, to obtain most of what we want.
            Unfortunately, the terrorists have moved on from weapons
            that can be detected by yesterday’s technology. So, a decision must be made. Do we stick with the old, because
            the new would be embarrassing? Does that sound responsible to you? You, and your family, and hundreds of
            others are 35,000 feet up, and there was more that could
            have been done to address the possibility of a plastic gun,
            (fires real bullets,) or plastic explosives. But, we decided it
            would be too embarrassing for our customers. And, we’re
            probably not going to have a terrorist on board anyway.
            And those images are erased immediately after screening.
            And, there is, by design no method of saving, or transferring
            images to another source. You thought they could. Now, see
            how having the right information is important? Of course,
            one always has the Right to object. And could always use another mode of transportation. But, the reality of the issue
            of privacy, in a time of elevated terrorism, is that it’s going to
            be less private. The government is not going to stop trying
            to discover the terrorists, before they can strike. And, at the
            end of the day, people will trade a part of their privacy to
            fly on planes, go to public gatherings, and sports events.
            And they are going to need to trust their government more.
            Or, live their lives in a constant state of anger, and speculation.

          6. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            Yes, people do speculate about a lot of things. I speculate about what will happen if I post my SSN and bank account numbers in a public forum — and that speculation leads me to the conclusion that doing so is not a good idea. The government speculates about what terrorists might be doing, and when their speculations are correct they successfully foil evil plans. There is nothing wrong with speculation, in fact, that’s the very mechanism used on Wall St to earn money for many people.

            But you forgot something: Speculation plus history plus common sense equals prudence. Why do you think that the 4th Amendment exists in the first place? There is no shortage of examples throughout history of what happens when governments do not respect the rights of their citizens. Nor is government oppression the only danger: Individual people come up with their own ideas apart from official government policy, and abuse also happens that way. Is this news to you?

            When you argue that we need not worry about the TSA saving naked images and/or posting them online you are implicitly recognizing that there are things about privacy that rise above or rival the importance of security — things that involve basic human rights.The idea behind the 4th Amendment is that people should not have to prove they are innocent of anything in order to respect their right to privacy — it’s exactly the other way around — the government needs to show cause to suspect them BEFORE invading their privacy. This is a very basic and very important idea codified in our Bill of Rights.

            There is nothing new about terrorism. It’s been practiced throughout human history. I personally don’t see that 4,000 deaths fighting in Iraq are any better than 3,000 deaths in an attack on the World Trade Center. But that’s just me, I guess. I suppose you feel that the 4,000+ Americans who died in Iraq and the many thousands of Iraqi civilians dead were ‘good deaths’ or ‘righteous deaths’. I do not. It’s an age-old lesson that some people never seem to learn: People just simply don’t like being killed and their response will be to try to kill you right back. We armed and trained Osama Bin Laden, so that makes us culpable in the destruction he later caused.

            There isn’t a terrorist hiding behind every tree, and for every tree that MIGHT have a terrorist hiding behind it a) we often helped put them there by NOT paying attention to what our secret government agencies are doing in our name, and b) we do not need to change our ideals to deal with them. If we change our basic values, then that means the terrorists have won.

            You show me that we need to invade American privacy in order to protect ourselves. You prove that the government or any one of it’s employees and contractors don’t and won’t (ever) misuse private information. You said this was ‘provable’ — so prove it. I know better.

          7. charleo1 June 29, 2013

            I’ll tell you what will happen if you post your SS number, and
            bank account on a public forum. You’re going to get ripped off. But, the government has them, has had them, since you started Working after school for extra money. Your doctor, and insurance co. have enough information to wreck your life, if it gets in the wrong hands. I’m talking about the paranoia being exhibited over phone numbers. I’m talking about people who have, because of the proliferate government bashing that goes on, day in, and day out. For
            completely different reasons not related to terrorism at all. Until they are calling a hacker, a hero, because he just informed the terrorist how to better plan, and fund an attack without getting discovered. The phone company has had all the information being processed thru the NSA. Are you calling Pakistan, or is Pakistan calling you? It might be something they would take a closer look at. And, I don’t believe you did, but some were suggesting that this program that has been around for more than a decade, means the government is gathering information to send us all to a gulag I guess. Really my only point is, let’s not get all confused about who the bad guys are here. And I’m at a loss as to what these people
            think is going to happen to them, because the government
            has their cell number. What are they going to sell it to
            tele-marketers? Soldiers invading a Country and being killed
            is different than killing civilians as they go about their business. I’ll tell you something else I know. The minute we
            suffer another major terrorists attack. And we will, sooner
            or later. All this talk about the government, possibly violating the Constitution, all goes away. So, let’s just not play with
            ourselves, and pretend we’re going to be just as concerned
            about the 4th Amendment.

          8. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            Doctors, banks, and insurance companies face legal repercussions and the loss of their business if they violate their customers’ privacy. That’s the very point, and yet it still sometimes happens that even information thus protected is abused.

            Your argument about calling Pakistan is irrelevant. If this was what the government was asking for I wouldn’t be nearly as concerned. What they are actually demanding is metadata on ALL calls — not just to foreign numbers. What you seem to advocate is unlimited powers to snoop into private data without any evidence that the snooping is justified or will even be effective for the intended purpose.

            Barging into a person’s home and conducting a search is prohibited under the 4th Amendment. Do you also disagree with this? Why or why not?

            I never called anyone a hero, and that’s just a diversion from the issue. There are ‘bad guys’ right here in the US as well as abroad, and I personally don’t see a big distinction between the two. I don’t much care whether the person who empties my bank account because they got a hold of my personal information is in Nigeria or New Jersey.

            Finally, men and women who were killed in Iraq are every bit as dead as those killed on 9/11, and you seem to have forgotten the Iraqi civilians just ‘going about their business’. The attacks sponsored by Osama Bin Laden may have never even happened if we didn’t allow our intelligence agencies to do some of the things that they’ve been doing in the first place. Claims of ‘paranoia’ are better directed at the fear-mongers who hype up the stories about terrorism when in reality the chances of the average citizen being a victim of terrorism is about the same as the odds of being struck by a bolt of lightening.

          9. charleo1 June 29, 2013

            Well, it’s a pattern. And I gotta congratulate the liars, the
            traitors and the propagandists. They have managed to
            demonized the one institution still capable of stopping
            their march to Plutocracy. The government. Private cos.
            Well, that’s another thing. No problem there. They could
            be sued. My argument about Pakistan is not irrelevant.
            More like you don’t want to talk about it, because it might
            get in the way of your government bashing. You also can’t
            say how this program is violating your civil rights. Or,
            how the government would use your telephone number
            as a way to harm you in any way. Don’t know. Don’t care.
            It’s the government, so I’m aganist it. And I don’t have
            to defend the Iraq war, to make my point here. If we want
            better policies, elect better leaders. But there’s no fear
            mongering here. Terrorism is what it is. Those who make
            it their career to work in the defense of their Country,
            don’t care about your anti-government opinions. AT&T
            isn’t going to stop the next attack. If it’s stopped at all,
            the government is charged with protecting the people,
            from foreign, and domestic enemies. And they’re not
            going to come out after an attack, and say, due to the
            concern some of our citizens had, because they didn’t
            trust their government. We shut down all our covert
            operations. Plus, they assured us, getting killed by a
            terrorist was less likely than being struck with lightening.
            So we just sat back, and waited. Hoping if there were
            an attack being planed, citizens would call, and let us
            know. And, we didn’t get a single call. Like that’s going
            to happen.

          10. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            Your argument about Pakistan most certainly IS irrelevant. If it was only call data to and from foreign locations that were demanded, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Explain how your Pakistan argument pertains to a call from Cleveland to Oshkosh. Hint: It doesn’t.

            Yes, in fact I CAN say how this violates my civil rights. My private phone conversations, texts, email communications, and physical location is my business. Unless the government can show why my data should be collected and/or analyzed, it is a violation of my 4th Amendment rights. I’m more concerned about what individuals might do with such information, but the principle is the same.

            You latest argument about the ‘march to plutocracy’ is just another diversion. I oppose people like the Koch brothers, and tangle with would-be plutocrats every single day. This has nothing whatever to do with privacy issues and you know it.

            Don’t give me your bullshit about ‘those who make it their career to work in the defense of their country’ or ‘government bashing’. You don’t know who I am or what I do and/or have done in defense of this country, nor do you seem to much care about the many Americans who have given their lives defending our freedoms — including the Bill Of Rights. They didn’t die defending the federal government — they died defending Americans.

            There most certainly IS fear-mongering that goes on at both ends of this issue. Some idiots claim that Obama is plotting our destruction, and that the evil government is plotting to enslave us all. Others — like you — claim that the government is full of saints who flit about worrying every day about how they can make the citizens’ lives better, and that there are evil terrorists hiding behind every tree plotting our destruction. The reality is that it’s somewhere in the middle: There are good and bad people in the government, and this has always been true. Even terrorists generally have a reason to become extremists, and more often than not it involves secret CIA programs that inflict violence on people in distant lands. We get to decide what our government can and cannot do, because that’s what democracy is about. You seem to prefer a totalitarian state.

            So go ahead and send the NSA several pairs of your panties if you wish. You can even drive there every day and offer up you and your family members for cavity searches if that’s your thing. It’s when you try to offer up MY rights for your paranoid insecurities that you’re going to run into trouble. You’d better get used to it, because there are many people out here who are not drooling Tea Bigots yet still value the 4th Amendment.

          11. charleo1 June 29, 2013

            You are exactly correct. I don’t know you, But you don’t seem to be very logical. Because you think between the two of us, I’m the paranoid one, offering up your Rights? My panties? That was uncalled for. The reference to Plutocracy was not a diversion I’m sorry to say. There is this concerted effort to discredit the government. For reasons that have more to with playing the politics game, by the corporate faction. To enlist public support for less regulation, and a lower tax rate. But, I think there’s no doubt some of those carefully cultivated, misconceptions, are being transfered over to these security issues. I never implied the Feds were Saints. I said, there are good guys, and bad guys in this.
            And the U.S. Government is the good guy. I also said, the next major attack will one day happen. And it will put this rather academic, and superfluous discussion to rest. The public will demand satisfaction, and they will come down
            very hard on those charged with protecting American lives. And they will order the Government to do whatever it takes
            to make sure, it never happens again. You know I’m right.

          12. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            I don’t see how lower tax rates or loosening regulations translate into opposition to national security. In fact, many corporate concerns favor increased security and military expenditures. Certainly the large military contractors don’t favor lowering taxes if it impacts defense spending.

            This is the type of issue that creates a split on both side of the isle. There are good arguments pro and con, and it really boils down to more personal tastes on privacy than anything else.

            Don’t give me your US Government ‘good guy’ story — the US government isn’t a ‘guy’ — good or bad. The US government is a huge collection of interests that change every day, and many things that government agencies get involved in are decidedly NOT good. Torture is one example. Arming and training Osama Bin Laden is another. Infecting your own citizens with diseases and withholding treatment because you want to learn more about the disease’s progression is yet another. All of these things and much, much more were done by our government at one point or another.

            Panty jokes aside (you take yourself far too seriously, apparently), your naive faith in a vast collection of people who may or may not care about your best interests is more illogical than a suspicion directed at the government. You also appear to be borderline paranoid about terrorist attacks, yet woefully uninformed about what causes people to want to terrorize us in the first place. Both of these indicate that you have an unrealistic view of how people behave, along with a poor knowledge of history — both US history and world history.

            I suggest that you spend some time studying past abuses of governments around the world — including the US government. Educate yourself about reality — with the Internet at your fingertips you no longer have any excuse to remain so uninformed.

          13. charleo1 June 30, 2013

            Still not getting it I see. Well that’s alright. You want to
            make excuses for the terrorists? Sure. You go right ahead.
            You don’t necessarily need to understand. There are many
            that do. And there are those, like yourself. That to be on
            the side of their Country, just rubs them the wrong way.
            Terrorism? Don’t worry about it, he says. Just ask them
            what it is we’re doing that pisses them off. And when they
            say, because you’re a fucking infidel, apologize. That way, you’ll be sure to keep your 4th Amendment Rights.
            I suggest, since you’re such an expert about governments around the world. That you pick one. Then start running
            your mouth, and see what happens next. Take it personally?
            You bet. I’m fed up with know it all, smart asses, calling everybody who doesn’t share their screwed up opinions about what a crappy government we have, stupid, and uninformed, Like your constant bitching, and complaining makes you look smart? Like a real authority? Oh, my Rights are being so abused! Somebody save us from this horrible tyranny!

          14. WhutHeSaid June 30, 2013

            I see that you are now pouting because you couldn’t win the argument. There, there — why don’t you write a love letter to the TSA and/or NSA and send them another pair of your panties. You can even leave some lipstick on the envelope to show them your adoration. That will no doubt guarantee that they’ll protect you from all those evil terrorists hiding under your bed. Nighty-night — and don’t forget to check the closet!

          15. tripodding June 29, 2013

            The government has been circumventing the constitution by using secret courts, on top of normal, boring courts, that further strip the average American of their rights. But since some are secret orders, the average person doesn’t even know that their rights have now been restricted, or otherwise violated until they’re arrested and charged. We see the abuses everyday. Every time there is a protest, someone is being beaten, and pepper sprayed for no good god damn reason. Being arrested for writing anti-bank slogans on the sidewalk in chalk, what do you think this is? America? Not to mention the whole sidewalks are public spaces thing. Free-speech zones. Monsanto, and big bank protection. Almost anything pro-pharmecuetical company. All of these examples are slowly eroding the very freedoms this country was founded, and built on. Some of these steal freedom from the individual and hands it over to the corporation. But I mean, corporations are people, right?

            The TSA is notoriously bad at their job, and a prime example of spending waste in the name of national security. How many stories have we read about people getting through with loaded guns, and other weapons? And how many stories have we read about mothers being detained, and arrested for having breast milk? “This 6 oz container COULD contain an explosive, so I can’t let you take it on the plane. Since it may be an explosive, and pose a danger, I think I’ll dispose of it in the trash bin next to me.” They’re a joke, and pretty much immune from prosecution, which yet another way our freedoms are eroding.

            I read the diatribe of the whuthesaid.

            All these government agencies that are here to protect us, are in pissing contests with each other. Every time there is an attempt, successful or not, the reason the person got as far as they did was because the agencies weren’t communicating with each other. Every damn time. I imagine the conversation going something not unlike this: “Of course we knew he was on the no fly list. What do you think we are? Idiots? Why didn’t we share this info with other agencies? F-you, that’s why!”

          16. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            I read your ‘diatribe’ as well.

            Your observation that government agencies often do a poor job of using the information that they already have is yet another reason that expanding unwarranted snooping on Americans is a bad idea. It’s like a family member coming to me to ask for money when I know that they go to the casino every day — crying about poverty that you yourself cause and could easily correct isn’t likely to prompt me to throw my money down the drain.

          17. charleo1 June 29, 2013

            So we ought to just shut down the program? Because,
            well, the police were out of line. Or the TSA is not very
            good at their jobs, you think. Citizens are being targeted
            everyday by the FISA Court, and arrested. Really? Says
            who? And i tend to agree with you about liquids at the
            airport. But, you know what? Those people getting on that
            plane are not my responsibility. The TSA is charged with
            that. If they want to error on the side of abundant caution,
            I think we’re just going to have to live with the TSA, and
            all the seeming nonsense, that goes along with air travel.
            I don’t see as we have a choice right now. We must be
            right 100% of the time. The terrorist, only once.

          18. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            Stop exaggerating the argument. NOBODY is right 100% of the time. We could end the TSA by simply banning all air travel today — do you advocate that? It’s all about balance — we need security, yes — but not to the extent that we give up all our rights unnecessarily. You understand the argument, so quit acting like you don’t.

          19. tripodding June 29, 2013

            No one said anything about shutting down the entire program… Well, I never said anything about shutting down the program. I’m an advocate of over site. Right now, the government has free range to use all the info they gather as they see fit.

            To answer your question, Yes, really. FISA court was used to circumvent several amendments to allow the NSA to indiscriminately collect data of hundreds of millions of Americans. There is really no argument.

            As for the TSA, erring on the side of caution is one thing. But they don’t. They err on the side of stupidity. Can you justify the TSA? I can’t. Can you name one incident the TSA has stopped? Can you name one terrorist the TSA has caught? Here are a few people the TSA has missed: Richard Reid (Shoe bomber), Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (Underwear Bomber), Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Boston Marathon Bomber). Yet, they’ll pat down a toddler, or check depends, or muffins. Yeah, they got the muffin in a jar lady. Good job, TSA. You really made the country safer with that bust.

          20. charleo1 June 29, 2013

            Well, I don’t know about argument. But, the FISA court has
            been around for some time now. Evidently there are those
            especially the Federal Judges who sit on it, find it’s legal.
            Those in Congress that serve on the oversight committee,
            Do not find it illegal. So, who else is left to make a case
            aganist it? As for the TSA, they are here to stay. In fact,
            a lot more people see them as making their trip safer.
            Than those that have a problem with them. As to the shoe
            bomber, that was before the TSA. I gotta say, nice job
            in spelling out the name of that underwear bomber! He
            did board the plane outside the U.S. And foreign airports
            from the part of the world he came from, are not the best.
            For one thing, many of them have no modern screening
            equipment. And the Boston Marathon Bombers, if I’m
            not mistaken, did not travel by plane. They lived there, in
            the Boston area, I believe. Again, is the TSA going over-
            board? Doing too little? I truly, have no idea. Like others,
            I hope they are more effective than they look.

          21. tripodding July 2, 2013

            There are lots of things that used to be legal. Like denying equal rights under the constitution to citizens. In fact, it still happens.

            I had to copy and paste the underwear bombers name. My brain almost exploded when I looked all those letters.

            The older brother was on terrorist watch lists. Aaaand they lost him after he flew back to Chechnya to further his radicalization. The younger brother had been a citizen for 6 months.

            I’d like to think that the TSA is doing a decent job, too. I also want to believe that our government wouldn’t abuse the powers afforded to it. But I don’t see that happening anytime in the future.

          22. charleo1 July 2, 2013

            I am going to revisit this entire issue. Because, I find many of
            the thoughtful, and intelligent people I usually agree with, and
            who usually agree with me, are on completely opposite sides.
            I don’t like to think of myself as a person that because of ego,
            just digs in, and retrenches. And rereading my posts from the
            other day, I could see, a lot of that going on in my rebuttals.
            Especially the fact that one, not always agreeing with their government, or criticizing their government, or being skeptical
            of what their government is telling them. Does not mean they,
            on the whole, do not support their government.

          23. WhutHeSaid July 2, 2013

            I applaud your honesty. I can be a pretty abrasive person when I post, and I always enjoyed a good insult — but I really do care about differing opinions as long as they’re honest.

            Like you I have also reviewed my position and researched a bit more on the information available. I understand the fear of terrorism, and I agree that it’s a real threat. The thing that really causes me to worry about government collection of private data is my own personal experience witnessing what some people do when they know it’s being kept secret. I’m far more worried about individual abuses than any coordinated actions by government agencies.

            On almost every other issue where I’ve read your posts I respected your view and enjoyed reading your posts. I apologize for getting a little carried away with the insults, but unfortunately that’s my style and not always deservedly so. I hope that you did appreciate some points in spite of the barbs.

          24. charleo1 July 3, 2013

            Well, I appreciate your generosity of spirit. It is the mark of
            a serious, and substantial person, in honest pursuit of the
            truth. I can think of no higher compliment. My goal is to not allow my ego to become more important than getting at the heart of the matter, teasing fact from fiction. Challenging an alternate view, to hopefully arrive at a more informed, and therefore more accurate position. That was my goal. However, after going back, and rereading my posts, and your rebuttals, and vice versa. I could see I had clearly fallen short of that. And was dismissing cogent, and important views, out of hand. The mark of an ideologue. Or, in my view, a person who has ceased to grow intellectually. And so eventually will not recognize the truth, if served up in a five star manner, on the proverbial silver platter. I do believe our views are not all that disparate. But, rather the lack of knowable facts, and
            available truths, about this particular subject, that caused
            much of problem. As more becomes clear, we may find
            there is absolute agreement between us.

          25. Jonathan Hickman June 28, 2013

            They saw the 9/11 attacks coming. There were reports about it that were ignored.
            “… The feds knew no later than June that an attack from bin Laden was coming … had identified several key co-conspirators, and had one in custody… David Schippers … disclosed that he had attempted to warn Attorney General John Ashcroft Ashcroft (born May 9 1942) is an American politician who was the 79th United States Attorney General. He served during the first term of President George W. Bush from 2001 until 2005. Ashcroft was previously the Governor of Missouri (1985 – 1993) and a U.S.
            ….. Click the link for about the coming attack.” – FreeLibrary.com

          26. ThomasBonsell June 28, 2013

            And how do you know they lied to Congress?

            Wyden asked Clapper if NSA was “collecting” information. “Collecting” means retaining information that is gathered, as in a collection. The law prohibits NSA from keeping information on Americans unless they are in contact with foreign entities that may be terrorist groups or hostile nations.

            When Clapper said NSA wasn’t “collecting” data he was correct. Unfortunately Wyden didn’t ask if NSA was “gathering” information. There is a reason words have specific meanings.

          27. Jonathan Hickman June 28, 2013

            You do realized that facility they have built is designed to store information for the long term, right? A lot of information. More than would be reasonable.

          28. ThomasBonsell June 29, 2013

            I realized an awful lot because I was in the loop, I know the score.

            Try this. The CIA recruits an al-Qaeda insider who says that with Osama bin Ladin’s death al-Qaeda found an unlimited supply of funding which it used to recruit thousands of new jihadists and suicide bombers who are training in Yemen for massive attacks on the US and Great Britain. That’s all he knows except detailed plans were sent to all al-Qaeda units last year during Ramadan.

            The President asks NSA to go into its backlog and try to find those messages but the NSA director replies “no can do, we don’t keep old material because Jonathan Hickman thinks keeping old unread, unheard communications isn’t reasonable.”

            This is why NSA only hires the most-intelligent and trust-worthy people it can find. Those who don’t think need not apply.

          29. WhutHeSaid June 30, 2013

            That hiring policy must be a more recent development, of course, given the obvious information at hand.

            Say, this could be great fun: Let’s let a former NSA employee explain to everyone just why it is that we should assume that NSA employees are perfectly trustworthy and carefully considerate of their privacy rights. Please — no sprouting of halos during the debate. It’s against the rules, you see.

          30. ThomasBonsell June 30, 2013

            Please get over yourself. You don’t seem to realize you give more personal information to the government on the Census form than NSA will ever learn about you by spying on you for your entire lifetime. The agency isn’t interested in you because you are not important enough.

          31. WhutHeSaid June 30, 2013

            Hee-hee — I can see that debating you would be more fun than a barrel of monkeys!

            I almost feel as though I’ve begun a battle of wits with an unarmed person. Let’s see…

            1. You want to convince people that the NSA is trustworthy and considerate of their rights, and in support of that you insult and belittle people for no reason other than they disagree with you. Way to show the ‘little people’ what awesome guys work for the NSA!

            2. You seek to convince people that NSA employees are competent and “those who don’t think need not apply”, yet you turn around and claim that the NSA is incapable of learning as much about individuals as the information given on US Census forms — even if they spy on you for your ‘entire lifetime’.

            3. You present yourself as some sort of expert because you once worked for the NSA, yet arrogantly sniff that others who have been inside the intelligence community must have been janitors or gate guards. You must have been a ‘super analyst’ — did they let you keep your cape?

            Please arm yourself next time (Perhaps you are pacing yourself. If so, I apologize). I *almost* feel guilty debating you.

          32. tripodding June 29, 2013

            You’re not serious, right? Collecting, and gathering are synonyms.

          33. ThomasBonsell June 29, 2013

            As a long-time editor I know how to use words and how to detect meaning. The two are related but they are not the same. The word “collection” should to give you a hint. What is the synonym for that?

          34. tripodding June 29, 2013

            Gathering. You should try learning to use a thesaurus


          35. ThomasBonsell June 29, 2013

            From The American College Dictionary:

            “collect” 1. to gather together, assemble; 2. to accumulate; make a collection of.

            I cou;d go higher, but you may not count that high. These definitions contain the element of retention. “Gather” does not

          36. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            Get over yourself. I guarantee you that the NSA does not consult a thesaurus when analyzing intelligence. For you to claim that there are intelligence analysts who mutter “Dang it — I could solve this case if only the memo said ‘collect’ instead of ‘gather’!” is just plain silly.

          37. ThomasBonsell June 29, 2013

            Okay. How is it you know what an NSA analysts does or thinks? Were you on the inside at any time since the agency as authorize in 1952 or when it was put together in 1957 at Fort Meade?

          38. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013


          39. ThomasBonsell June 30, 2013

            As what? Member of the custodial crew, Marine standing in the gatehouse looking at badges or cafeteria worker?

          40. WhutHeSaid June 30, 2013

            You figure it out. For a former intelligence analyst, you certainly make a lot of assumptions. Perhaps writing books is a better idea anyway — for all concerned. Good luck with that.

          41. tripodding June 29, 2013

            to cause to come together in one place or group
            to get or collect gradually from various places, sources, etc.; amass; accumulate ⇒ to gatherinformation

          42. ThomasBonsell June 29, 2013

            “To collect gradually” means to retain. NSA doesn’t retain information that is sorted out by computer and discarded, such as totally domestic communication. It only keeps what has a foreign element. Way is that so hard for the mentally challenged to understand?

          43. tripodding June 29, 2013

            Mentally challenged? Great argument, bro. You really stuck it to me. The term collect is in the definition of gather. And the word gather is in the definition of collection, retard. Also, the NSA is “collecting” encrypted data, because they’re keeping it, until they can decrypt the message. Understand?

          44. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            Please tell us how you know this to be fact. I’m all ears.

          45. ThomasBonsell June 30, 2013

            Been there. Done that. And you?

            Should have watched the Jay Leno show Friday night when comedian and former NSA employee Wanda Sykes ripped you know-nothings a new one becuse of your ignorance and hysteria.

          46. WhutHeSaid June 30, 2013

            I assume that means you are a ‘know-something’. If so, you haven’t proven it. Respect for the 4th Amendment isn’t hysteria, and even those who work in intelligence services have their own personal opinions. Perhaps this is why you are a ‘former’ analyst, yes? Oh yes, please remember to ‘collect’ some facts while you are out ‘gathering’ knowledge. It just may help.

          47. Sand_Cat July 2, 2013

            Well, that’s an interesting career change: NSA to comedian. Are you serious?
            So an NSA person ripped someone a new one as a result of their ignorance and hysteria? And what evidence did this person present, and why should we believe anything from someone defending their previous employer?

          48. ThomasBonsell July 2, 2013


            If you would look up an notice you will find that most comedians are highly intelligent people because it takes intelligence to recognize the irony in all humor.

            It also takes intelligence to listen to what others say instead of proclaiming you own brilliance.

            It also takes high intelligence to work at a US intelligence agency; a hell of a lot lore intelligence than that being shown on these discussion boards.

          49. WhutHeSaid June 30, 2013

            I certainly hope that your analysis skills were better than your editorial skills. Then again, you are a ‘former’ analyst, yes?

            Your pompous and condescending disregard for the opinions of other Americans certainly illustrates why Americans should have blind faith in their government. Congratulations on clearing up that point.

            But that ‘gather’ versus ‘collect’ argument was special, and destined to be a classic for sure. Please use that in your next book, or at least let Wanda Sykes use it in one of her stand-up acts. Bravo.

      3. bikejedi June 28, 2013

        Wow I applaud my Liberal Neighbor . I too agree that we need to see where this goes and I actually applaud the Dems for leading on this . I think we deserve to also know the truth about the IRS scandal and Benghazi although that is probably for another thread . Thank you for having the clarity to not let highpckts turn this into a they hate Obama because he is black thing . He obviously didn’t read the article and didn’t se it was Dems leading on this .

        1. highpckts June 29, 2013

          You totally misunderstood what I said! It is not a “hate” thing!! It’s a thing that has gone on for a long tme now! I did not say anything about the President being black!

          1. bikejedi June 29, 2013

            Sorry if I misunderstood but it sure sounded like….. this has been going on forever but now that we have Obama everyone is upset about it …kind of sounds like everyone is just hating on Obama for this because he is black . My personal feeling is that the Govt has spied on American citizens ever since they have had the ability to do so . The difference this time is that it seems to have gone well beyond the bounds of what is reasonable and that it is being directed at Americans who just oppose Obama …People that are on the right , and it seems coordinated . I mean between Rosen the AP the IRS and the NSA the evidence says that instead of using this to help stop terror this President is using these agencies to curtail Americans who happen to disagree with his agenda ..

          2. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            Yes, government has spied on people forever — when they can get away with it. It has nothing to do with Obama. I support Obama on most everything yet still oppose government overreach and violations of the 4th Amendment. You need to distinguish between real concern and bigoted Obama-bashing.

          3. bikejedi June 29, 2013

            Pretty good points . I applaud the Dems for leading on this

          4. highpckts June 29, 2013

            The only thing it has to do with Obama is the fact that the GOP will make a big deal about anything that will totally discredit this President! All this was fine with them, ( and don’t tell me they didn’t know about it when Bush was in office) now all of a sudden there is this faux outrage which I see as so hypocritcal on both sides!

          5. bikejedi June 29, 2013

            I don’t think he needs any help discrediting himself ..that is if the media would do their jobs . I agree that some of the outrage is wrong but as I rightly pointed out …No other President has had this muck leeway nor the technology to do spying at the level Obama is . Nor has any President focused it just at people he disagrees with rather then to stop terror …Conservatives aren’t going around doing terrorist attacks those would be Muslim Terrorists and Obama exempted Mosques from being spied on . Seeing as they are the people doing the Terrorist attacks it would be logical that they be scrutinized . I understand you point about a lot of people on the right being overzealous in persecuting Obama over this however …and once again I applaud the Dems for leading on this .

          6. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            I you really care about the issue of government overreach into our lives, you would be wise to carefully focus your arguments on the policies and not the person. If you start bashing Obama with ridiculous accusations and generalizations you will not find much support for your arguments.

          7. bikejedi June 29, 2013

            Anyone with common sense would deduce that that person is responsible for the overreach . At least to some extent . Whether that was Govt agencies doing what they thought the admin wanted or if it came down from on high . If we get some people under oath and they don’t take the 5th maybe we can find out . I made no ridiculous accusation only reported what is going on and I’m not looking for support for my arguments just stating my views . I also commended the DEMs for taking the lead on this . L:et us hope they have the stones to investigate it to its fullest and not just do kabuki theater

          8. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            Anyone who believes that Obama is personally responsible for everything that happens in the vast federal government doesn’t have any common sense. The President is only responsible in the sense that he is in a position to do something about it. It’s not possible for one person to even KNOW what every part of the government is doing, much less actually DO something about it when faced with the kind of obstruction Obama faces from bitter bigots.

            I will agree with people who voice concern over government overreach, and even oppose Obama on these issues if it comes to that. But I generally agree with most of what Obama does or tries to do, and like most Americans I will give him extra slack to compensate for the ridiculous behavior of people like the vile and despicable Tea Bigots who are absolutely worthless.

          9. highpckts June 29, 2013

            F & F!!

          10. bikejedi June 29, 2013

            Let me address the first part of this before I tell you what I think about that second part . If you want to suppose that Obama didn’t know or direct ANY of these scandals from the IRS , to the DOJ , to ROSEN , to the AP …and that is one hell of a stretch if you know what they did to Blair Hull and Jack Ryan with Ill gotten information … Then you factor in the other scandals where he and Holder took Executive Privilege and other members of his admin invoked the 5th ….Having said all that lets start with the supposition that Obama didn’t know ( I cant help but chuckle because I know his Chicago days ) any of this stuff was going on …Ok we start there …Obama didn’t know these Govt agencies were doing any of that because no one man can know what is going on in a Govt this big all I can say is those Tea Party people you rail against in part two of you post tried to warn you about the evils of a too big govt out of control . If that is your defense then I say it is Obama’s fault for letting Govt get too big and out of control and he should resign because of that . You seem to want to make an excuse for him as if to say he shouldn’t be held responsible for the Givt he wanted and got . Why does he get to keep making excuses fir everything that goes on in his admin and why do his supporters keep making excuses for him ??? I mean if this were Bush you all would be screaming for his head and blaming him . Nothing like these scandals happened under Bush and you people were screaming for blood .The next thing …for ANY Executive …You are ultimately responsible for what happens …One or two scandals would be one thing but this keeps getting bigger and bigger ..the Buck ALWAYS stops at the top eventually but your attitude seems to be to want to excuse it for Obama and say he has no personal responsibility …Look these are his people if they are all incompetent and you want to believe Obama didn’t direct them fine , but the buck stops at his desk and HE IS RESPONSIBLE for those who work under him …hence he should resign . He has proven he is way overmatched in this position
            That was a pretty good post right up until you went full R with that Tea Bigots comment …yeah like flag waving Patriots who are law abiding Americans and want smaller Govt and lower taxes are the problem ..You are proposing that Obama use these Govt resources to ” compensate” for their ridiculous behavior ????? Sounds like they need to give you a job in the IRS and hopefully then a jail cell . Does the Constitution mean anything to you ??? I guess like most of this admin it doesn’t …I was having a good dialogue with several Libs on this site today until that comment …More intolerant hate for law abiding Americans from a lefty

          11. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            There are two parts to your latest argument — a logical one and an emotional one. I’ll address the logical one first:

            You make some points that are legitimate regarding Obama’s responsibilities. Yes, he is the President and it’s his job to be held accountable. I do not agree with everything he does, and I believe that all politicians are pretty slippery animals to begin with — it comes with the territory. I get a little uneasy about his penchant for ratcheting up drone strikes and defending intelligence programs that push the 4th Amendment too far. I also have a certain level of unease about his Wall Street connections.

            After saying the above, I must note that many of the things that Obama has done were overdue. He promised to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in a responsible way, and that’s exactly what he’s done. I understand why he needed to take the approach that he did. He immediately banned torture, which as far as I’m concerned was an imperative if we wanted America to be seen as a just and responsible country. He gave the order to take out Osama Bin Laden, which was risky to his Presidency but the correct thing to do.

            As for the ‘scandals’ you reference, there are some real concerns there, however, most of them do not involve decisions that Obama himself made. They are also overblown by his enemies, and the ‘investigations’ by Darrel Issa are nothing less than a partisan witch hunt. Issa is the wrong person to even participate in any investigation with his own questionable ethics, and nothing that he produces will ever be seen as anything other than partisan muck-raking. The only significant ‘scandal’ in my opinion is the IRS issue, and Obama quickly (and correctly) took steps to address that. I DO NOT believe that he was aware of the practice, and I am totally convinced that it wasn’t done at his direction.

            Fast and Furious was a practice that was in place long before Obama was elected, and the whole case has been overblown. There is no proof whatever that Agent Terry was killed as a result of anything to do with ‘gun-walking’. That Obama’s enemies use Terry’s death to attempt to incite emotions over a non-existent connection to ‘gun-walking’ just shows that they have no real case.

            Now for the emotional part:

            Don’t try to tell me that people in the Tea Party are honest, law abiding citizens concerned with runaway government because I don’t buy it and neither does the rest of America. The very name ‘Tea Party’ is an outrageous lie, because these are people who formed a movement as a knee-jerk, bigoted reaction to the election of a black President. ‘Taxed Enough Already’ is pure bullshit, since the Tea Party was started at a time when taxes were the lowest in over 60 years. The vile and despicable racists, bigots and liars that infest the Tea Party bear no resemblance whatever to any of the patriots who helped form this country.

            Everybody with a pulse knows that the Tea Bigots only care about causing as much trouble as they can for Obama because he’s black. Nobody respects the Tea Bigots because of their despicable antics and outrageous whoppers. Everything they say is a lie, and their motivation is hate. They are the most despised political movement in recent history. There is NOTHING that they’ve done to benefit America or Americans — ever. Those who were elected to office quickly proved that they were worthless liars or worse. Their despicable behavior and absolute worthlessness are legendary. Even the Republicans can’t stand them anymore, and that’s saying something.

            I’ve known Tea Bigots all my life, although the lying name is a recent invention. These are the same vile and despicable people who spread hate for anyone who isn’t exactly like them, and try to cheat their way through life. These are the same kind of people who would cheat their own family and friends. If you call yourself Tea Party, then you are a bigot and a liar — it’s that simple. Nobody who wasn’t a bigot would ever be caught dead at a Tea Party rally unless they were mentally unstable. As if that isn’t bad enough, the Tea Party is chock-full of lunatics who should probably be institutionalized, and that appears to be perfectly fine with them as long as they also hate the black man in the White House.

            It’s very difficult when honest people find themselves agreeing with the vile and despicable Tea Bigots on anything, but sometimes it just happens that their concerns align with the CLAIMED concerns of the Tea Party. But it’s just an illusion — the bitter Tea Party bigots don’t really care about NSA snooping — they just use it to attack Obama because he’s black. All the lies in the world won’t convince anyone with an IQ above room temperature, so don’t waste your time trying to make people believe otherwise — it will never happen.

          12. bikejedi June 29, 2013

            Ok Fast and Furious has nothing in common with Operation Wide Receiver which was started under Bush and ended under Bush . That was well before Eric Holder started Fast and Furious . Operation Wide Reciever was a plan to track the and Identify the Drug cartels and the plan was then to help Mexico’s Govt arrest charge and incarcerate them . It was done with the full knowledge of the Mexican Govt and the guns all had trackers . Bush ended it when it became apparent that Mexico didn’t have the stones to follow through on the judicial end of it . From what most can see Fast and Furious was a plan by Eric Holder and Obama to walk guns into Mexico with no trackers just so they would end up here in crimes and murders in America as we all know Mexicans have easy access across the border . It was also done without the knowledge or cooperation of the Mexican Govt . If you didn’t alreay know this then you are very low information as even most liberals don’t try to play that weak shit ..It was the opinion of ATF agents who were ordered to stand down that they hoped to make the crimes caused by these guns the reason to take away 2nd amendment rights . It back fired and agent Terry was killed with a Fast and Furious gun . Ballistics proved that …where have you been ….As for the other scandals you have no problem with what happened in Benghazi ??…a 7 to 8 hour battle and Obama offering no assistance and absolutely no attempt at retribution to the terrorists who we have on film ?The ones who aren’t even in hiding and have granted interviews to members of American media . I know what you are going to say that more attacks happened under Bush but he isn’t the issue . When attacks happened under Bush there was massive retaliation …and no Lies cover ups and excuses .were made ..So what you seem to be saying is you are Ok with a President who made up a preposterous Lie/Excuse to cover up that he got caught with his pants down , offered no help to Americans under attack, and has not even tried to apprehend those involved in the attack ? Did you buy the You Tube Lie too ? …I mean were you ok that he was still using that 2 weeks after they knew it wasn’t a You Tube thing . Are you Ok with a President that even if you buy the preposterous story that he got the You Tube story from the CIA wouldn’t question how stupid it sounded ????
            Now for the second part
            Wow just wow ..after this I wont communicate with you …It seems all you want to do is play the intolerant race card against the Tea Party ..your assumptions are so far from the truth I have to ask if you are in therapy ? And by saying that I’m not trying to jerk your chain or just anger you . It seems you are the bigoted one , I know a lot of Tea Party people and NONE of them are just doing what they are doing out of hate for a Black President . Who gives you this type of misinformation …Quite frankly you sound as bigoted and ignorant as Fern with that whole line of BS ..so I guess I needn’t talk to you anymore ..You do realize that is about the lowest comparison there is right …Fern …I mean she is legendary even by other Liberals on this site who have emailed me their displeasure every time she posts …Wow I had no idea you held such hateful and ignorant opinions or I never would’ve even communicated with you . I would say have a nice weekend or life but with the hate you carry in your heart …I don’t think you have a happy life at all . By the way the Tea Party people I know don’t carry any hate in their hearts and are all very happy in spite of what is going on in this country …You have issues sir .Bye Bye

          13. WhutHeSaid June 30, 2013

            I knew it was only a matter of time until you could no longer restrain yourself from presenting outright lies and hysterical conspiracy theories.

            Agent Brain Terry was not killed during any operation involving gun-walking. It was a routine interdiction operation of reported ‘bandits’ preying on smugglers and illegal immigrants crossing the border. Ballistic tests did NOT prove what weapon fired the fatal round, and I’m sure that’s why your post (above) changes the subject mid-sentence.

            There’s nothing new about the ATF engaging in questionable operations and tactics. Operation Wide Receiver also used questionable ‘gun-walking’ tactics. Both operations were under control of the ATF’s Phoenix field division and the Arizona US Attorney. The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General found no evidence that Eric Holder was aware of the tactics, and it was Eric Holder himself who asked for the investigation into Operation Fast And Furious. There was really not much new about ATF gun-walking tactics when Obama began his Presidency. Obama had no reason to be directly involved in either operation as it was handled at the Arizona field level, and Presidents do not involve themselves in ATF field operations anyway. The fact that the Phoenix ATF violated normal policy regarding the interdiction of arms did not change between the Bush and Obama administrations. The only difference was that Agent Terry’s death called attention to the whole sorry ordeal. And, of course, the skin color of the President changed in 2009. That’s the real issue for Issa and the rest of the Obama-hating bigots.

            Your lies about Benghazi are even more ridiculous. You claim that Obama offered no assistance to agents under attack, but you failed to explain what assistance he was supposed to offer and just exactly what conceivable reason a sitting President could possibly have for withholding assistance if it was in their power to offer it. Do you realize how stupid you sound making such a hysterical and nonsensical claim? Attacks against intelligence operatives in foreign countries are not uncommon no matter what country is involved, and you yourself noted that there were many such attacks during the Bush administration as well. You also make the idiotic claim that there was no ‘retaliation’ and asserted that Bush at least retaliated, but you failed to cite details or state just what retaliation Obama was supposed to engage in and against whom — forgetting that Obama nailed Osama Bin Laden in retaliation for 9/11 but Bush declared that he ‘wasn’t worried’ about Bin Laden. You and the other bitter bigots were trying to use Benghazi against Obama even before anyone knew what had actually happened, and it’s clear that you are more worried about ‘getting the black man’ then you are about American deaths.

            Finally, your claims that you don’t know any Tea Bigots who are doing ‘what they are doing out of hate for a black President’ sounds just like the claims we hear from KKK members who say they don’t hate black people and some of their friends are black — utter bullshit. There is NOTHING that the Tea Party does of any consequence except for attack Obama — that’s the entire reason for their existence. Everyone knows it, and that’s why America despises the Tea Party.

            It’s fitting that you would pretend to be offended by my comments regarding the vile, despicable, and low-life Tea Bigots. That’s your way out of any debate that requires you to back up your hysterical claims with actual facts. You’ve done nothing other than regurgitate the standard Tea Bigot bullshit, and America doesn’t put any stock into what the Tea Party has to say. There’s a good reason why America despises the Tea Party, and your lying, hysterical accusations against Obama show us all the reason why.

            I have a very good and happy life — thank you very much — and I’m even happier when I hear the squeals of dismay from bitter Tea Bigots who fail despite all of their hysterical efforts to destroy the black man in the White House. The time for bitter and despicable bigots has passed. I’ll just sit here and enjoy the soothing sound of racists and bigots squealing in protest as they fade into history.

          14. Sand_Cat July 1, 2013

            I guess it all started with Obama, right?

            People like you make any discussion in which you participate a dirty thing.

          15. bikejedi July 1, 2013

            Can you read ?

          16. bikejedi July 1, 2013

            By the way Cat I love that you are actually some of your left friends it actually shows that you have a little independent thought . And that is sincere

          17. highpckts June 29, 2013

            And how do you know WHO the spying was aimed at? I never heard one way or the other! See? You, again, want to make this President the bad guy! Bush had the same technology!!

          18. bikejedi June 29, 2013

            Ok that’s a good question.. Ill try to answer from my perspective .First if you want my honest opinion ..unlike the IRS and the DOJ I don’t really think the NSA ” solely ” targeted Conservative groups . I think they were looking at a lot of stuff ..but they didn’t look at mosques sooo….. So far no one knows for sure who it was aimed at but it would be a logical deduction to say it wasn’t being used to stop terror . Otherwise Mosques would not have been off limits . They would’ve been the 1st ones tapped . . Until someone gets sworn in and doesn’t take the 5th we may not find out . It seems that Obama and Holder would exercise Executive Privilege and others would take and use the only part of the Constitution they seem to like …the 5th amendment . Although I am not fond of Obama these are logical deductions . We might also want to look at someone’s track record of Lying and Dishonesty and factor that in . We could look at willful lying like You Tube Lie /Excuse for Benghazi for instance but then you will just say that I’m hating on Obama and some might just play the ever present race card . Look if you are still going to look at the You Tube Lie/Excuse and try to either defend it or say it that’s the way it happened well then no one is going to change your mind . He has a track record of lying and dishonesty to cover his own A$$ and to further his own fortunes . This isn’t me hating on Preezy …Those are facts unless you believe Benghazi happened because of a You Tube video . These are the reasons I would not be surprised if Conservative groups were targeted . I guess what I’m saying is that we cant trust Obama or anyone in his admin . I know someone is going to bring up Bush or something else and try to compare that to Obama but the point is this isn’t happening under Bush . It is happening under Obama and he or his admin should be made to explain to America what the hell is really going on . Then you have the whole debate of some spying being necessary for Security purposes and if we cant trust the Govt then we have some problems …this is where I as well as most of America is at . With all the scandals going on even the NYT says Obama has lost credibility . for me he lost that a long time before this but I live in Chicago and have seen his and Axelrods tactics up close …Look at what they did to Blair Hull for chrissakes or Jack Ryan …These guys are the masters of getting info and then dealing the hurt . I don’t trust them and more and more Americans don’t either ., Over 70 % of Americans want the IRS investigated …do you think that’s because they trust this admin ?

          19. charleo1 June 29, 2013

            And, you were being so intelligent. Then, you had to go and
            ruin it, with your outrageous accusations of Obama targeting
            political rivals with the NSA. Furthermore, I think a lot of
            people are mischaracterizing the program. These people
            are not operating outside the the normal oversight perimeters.
            Oh, wait! I thought you just wrote Obama exempted Mosques?
            Seriously? You aren’t one of those people than believe every
            one of those, did you know this about Obama? Pass it on!
            I’ll bet you any amount of money there are Muslims that are
            FBI. And, I’ll bet they are in those Mosques. And we know
            there are Muslims cooperating with law enforcement, and
            other governmental agencies. The underwear bomber was
            turned in by his Father. Who is Muslim. That information was
            passed on to our government by other Muslims working aganist
            terrorism, in their government, and sharing their information with us.

          20. bikejedi June 29, 2013

            Ok you made some good points that I can agree with . I too think we have Muslim FBI and have attempted to infiltrate them . However it appears the NSA was specifically told not to tap Mosques and that is just …well dumb . As I stated in another post I personally don’t think that the NSA ” solely” targeted Conservative groups ..( Unlike the IRS and the DOJ that did ) . I think they are way way going over what Bush did and are way way overreaching with their tapping . I think because of terrorism most Americans are willing to give up some privacy but how much is the question …and the one thing that’s certain that with all these other scandals going on where Conservatives were targeted I don’t think we can trust the current administration …I know whats next so please let me head you off …You will compare this to some other President …Well THIS isn’t happening under some other President …It is happening under Obama …All of it and it is the reason that most Americans and even the NYTimes says Obama has lost all credibility . This isn’t me hating on Preezy although I don’t like him …This is what is happening and what he has brought on himself .

          21. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            I agree that this has very little to do with Obama. Even so I still oppose government overreach. Issues like this will naturally be used by drooling bigots who hate anything Obama does, but that’s still no reason to ignore the dangers. Intelligent people can support Obama and still disagree with some things that are going on in the federal government.

    2. Reverb June 28, 2013

      The new outrage is a result of of young people getting their first dose of political awareness.
      It’s a rising tide.

    3. Sand_Cat July 1, 2013

      No, it’s always been disgraceful. But that makes it even more disgraceful when the man we elected to fix what’s wrong, to stop the criminal acts of the previous administration instead adopts them as his own.

  2. charleo1 June 28, 2013

    And, what do you bet these will be the same guys, in the wake of a horrific
    terrorist attack. Demanding to know who dropped the ball? Why we didn’t
    connect the dots? How this would have never happened if those responsible
    for the Nation’s security, had learned a thing from the 9/11 attacks! Most
    likely would be pointing out the terrorist cell of Islamic extremists that struck
    us before, had lived, received much of their funding, and coordinated the
    mission in Germany, before coming into the Country. Should we not have
    at least been watching for calls coming into, and going out to foreign,

    1. RobertCHastings June 28, 2013

      That has already happened. They have asked about who dropped the ball on the Boston Marathon bombing. Some of them probably are STILL asking who dropped the ball on 9/11. highpckts is correct in that this sort of information gathering has been going on for a long time. During the years Hoover was head of the FBI, secret dossiers were compiled on Americans and organizations for at least fifty years, largely without government oversight of any kind, and no one wanted to confront him because they afraid of what he might produce on THEM. These Congressmen need to be careful of what they wish for.

      1. tripodding June 28, 2013

        You’re giving great examples of people, and Administrations that used these powers to punish and abuse political dissidents, and undesirables.

        1. RobertCHastings June 28, 2013

          And that is not what this is all about? Every day I feel more and more like those folks with the Occupy Wall Street Movement are right on the money.

          1. Sand_Cat July 1, 2013

            They are, but NSA will work overtime to assure they never accomplish anything, and do it on their tax dollar and yours.

          2. RobertCHastings July 1, 2013

            They sure are spending a lot of taxpayer dollars painting Snowden as a traitor, along with Bradley Manning, and Julian Assange as a mole or something.

      2. charleo1 June 28, 2013

        Sure. The stories are legend about how J. Edgar, knew where
        the bodies were, and abuses did take place. But, it was a scary
        time. Remember the time Khruschev took off his shoe, and started
        banging it on the table in front of him? They figured it would be
        over in about 15 minutes. About the time it would take NORAD
        to pick up the Soviet ICBMs as they crossed the North Pole,
        over the curvature of the Earth. And headed for their preassigned
        targets, About the time it would take us to launch our own retaliatory
        attack. And that little song, “Duck, and cover.” Scared the hell
        out of me! So, I understand the need to stay vigilant. And, it’s
        a fact of life, governments, especially powerful ones, must keep
        secrets. More oversight? Sure. Whatever. But, to say as a previous
        poster did, that we need to force Obama, and the NSA to tell us
        everything. No we don’t.

        1. RobertCHastings June 28, 2013

          Charleo, once again you rise to the occasion. Right on, brother. What ALL the leakers have revealed is either stuff that was irrelevant anyway, or something that was already known by our adversaries, just like with the Pentagon Papers and Wikileaks.

          1. Sand_Cat July 1, 2013

            But doesn’t it disturb you at all that – even though you think our adversaries already knew, and that surely must mean the people classifying this stuff knew as well – they still tried to keep it from YOU? That the primary purpose of a lot of the secrecy is not to protect “national” security, but that of the political officeholders and their appointees from the public which must decide whether or not they should continue in office?
            How many criminal activities and trillions of dollars have gone down the rabbit hole because the information was “classified”? If the fact that they may use your most intimate secrets against you doesn’t bother you, doesn’t it at least stir some anger that they contemptuously dismiss you and all other ordinary citizens as being untrustworthy outsiders while doing essentially whatever they want and letting you foot the bill – both monetary and possibly consequential, i.e., retaliation by some of their victims in the form of “terrorism”?

          2. RobertCHastings July 1, 2013

            Well, if we’re going to come up with a wish list, I would like to know the truth about the Kennedy assassinations, what REALLY happened to Jimmy Hoffa, the truth about UFO’s,, and just a few other minor questions.

        2. highpckts June 29, 2013


    2. bikejedi June 28, 2013

      Good comment

    3. reanimate June 29, 2013

      The thing is, 9/11 could have easily been prevented simply by law enforcement doling its job.

      The NSA was already listening to calls between Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who masterminded the attacks from overseas, and Mohamed Atta, who was inside the U.S. planning the attacks, but they never notified any other agency.

      The U.S. was told repeatedly (by intelligence agencies from Germany, Israel, Russia, Egypt and even the Taliban itself) that Al Qaeda was planning an attack involving hijacked airplanes. Israel even passed a report to the CIA that contained the names of some of the hijackers.

      At least two of the hijackers were already on terrorist watch lists, but they were allowed to enter the country anyway. They took flying lessons and purchased airline tickets for 9/11 a month ahead of time – despite being on the terrorist list.

      And of course, Bush received a briefing entitled “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.” which said that terrorists were in the country preparing an attack on New York.

      And even after all those failures (and this is a condensed list), some basic airport security would have stopped the attacks from happening.

  3. RodgerMitchell June 28, 2013

    Major irony: U.S. Senators want to HEAR the truth — not tell the truth, just hear the truth.

    1. bikejedi June 28, 2013

      Wow another good point .

    2. Isabel Herron July 1, 2013

      as Steve said I’m amazed that anyone can make $8341 in four weeks on the computer. did you look at this web page w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

  4. JD Mulvey June 28, 2013

    So why isn’t Rand Paul a signer of the letter?

  5. Reverb June 28, 2013

    The NSA database should be used to investigate (Wall Street) bankers, politicians and corporations. This is the only way the USA can restore it’s reputation.

    1. tripodding June 28, 2013

      That’s an even bigger overreach than PRISM being used to smoke out terrorists. Besides, there’s enough evidence to get a boring, normal, everyday warrant for those abusers of power and money.

      1. Reverb July 4, 2013

        The people who own the corporate and monetary systems are more harmful than physical terrorists. Millions of people impoverished or homeless or starving is their victim count.
        Millions of people get fucked over every single day, all so that a few elites can hoard all the fiat..

        1. tripodding July 8, 2013

          I don’t disagree, but their flagrant abuse of the system, and ignoring of laws means that PRISM isn’t needed to go after the banks/insurance/pharma/oil etc. companies. It’s all out in the open. In my opinion, campaign contributions = turning of head when laws are broken. This is the system we’ve inherited . If you would like it changed, run for office, and vote.

    2. RobertCHastings June 28, 2013

      On the money! Can you imagine how people would look at this country if our government actually became transparent?

  6. Dr_Zee June 28, 2013

    Hacking citizen’s email account is a domestic crime. Constantly hacking the citizens, organizations, universities, companies, and officials of other countries (including Russia, China, German, Japan, British, Iran….) equals declaring wars on them.

    NSA could bring the wars to USA! STOP them.

    1. RobertCHastings June 28, 2013

      So, what is your point? Monitoring other governments and international organizations has been going on since people learned how to make codes; in fact, that was one of the reasons codes were originally developed, to keep secrets – secret. “Bring the wars to USA”? Uh, too late, they are ALREADY here, or did you miss the Boston Marathon bombing or 9/11?

  7. AHHHHHHHH June 29, 2013

    “Some — including Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and foreign policy expert Fred Kaplan – have argued that Clapper misled Congress when Wyden asked in March if the NSA was collecting data on millions of Americans.”

    FOR FUCK’S SAKE! He lied to Wyden’s fucking face! Does even the press have to hop around like they are afraid of hurting Clapper’s feelings? CHILDREN receive harsher criticism. Clapper has a ton of responsibility and he should be humiliated for lying!

  8. DurdyDawg June 29, 2013

    I think what we’re afraid of is the past.. Look, we know that the NSA or what ever other fed body is snooping on us.. I don’t think we would be stupid enough to continue typing detrimental information we may had used in the past that could be used against us now unless we are back-forty dense or really don’t believe that we’re actually being monitored and here’s the blunt of why we think they are doing more with this snooping than what they are saying. They’re giving us the impression, or we’re assuming that these terrorists are butt stupid, that even though it’s been discovered that NSA is watching you and everybody else who brings up a red flag is subject to their scrutiny will just keep on communicating over these medias. I don’t see it that way, I see them realizing they could be heard and as such create other means of communication that the NSA isn’t watching and what might that be? Simple.. Those outlets that isn’t in vogue to them at this time just as when they were after marijuana smokers, they totally over looked crank which replaced pot on a much larger scale then as they changed gears and sought heavy penalties for crank, crack slipped through with little if no problem and took over from both.. As far as the terrorist is concerned, I recall a certain science fiction movie where humans kicked their enemies ass by not communicating over computers (that the aliens were monitoring) instead they used cb radios and the telegraph.. I’m not saying that these criminals will use these things but I know that they wouldn’t use Facebook (as had been used in the past) nor a common cell phone to relay their plans.. Snail mail and media such as that would be more apt (at least until everything cooled off). I say this to let you know that it’s possible that the NSA is in reality simply gathering information from average citizens to maybe be used against us sometime in the future… When things cool off! We just don’t know.. After all, how would they know in advance if another civil war was gaining ground without monitoring the people their subjugating? Being a bit ‘over board’ as it sounds, I do believe though that terrorists aren’t as stupid as the feds would have us believe.. like rats they would leave the ship at the first sign of discovery then reorganize possibly in plain view.. Just a thought.

    1. charleo1 June 29, 2013

      Well, you are correct. You don’t know. So, tell me, what information might
      the government be collecting to use aganist average Americans, in the future? And, more mysterious is, what would bring you to think of such
      a thing? Believe me, they would know if another Civil War was coming.
      These people taking to the streets, and waving signs, like keep your filthy government hands off my Medicare! And Obama is palling around with terrorists. And show us your college transcripts! These are not serious people. They don’t concern those charged with keeping the Country safe. What does concern me, is we have people that would rather make heros
      out of turncoats, like Edward snowden, than give their democratically elected, government the benefit of the doubt. Only those fortunate enough
      to have lived their entire lives, in security, with all their Civil Rights protected. Granted to them free, as a birthright. could be so jaded as to believe their government is subjugating, and oppressing, and plotting aganist them.
      That they believe it is even possible, that their fellow Americans, granted the same birthrights, would consider such things. Or, those who have defended this Country at their own peril, and was there, among the other men, they loved, and who loved them, and each would have exchanged their own lives, one for the other. Is now betraying those who could not return with them? No, it is not by people such as these, our freedoms are in jeopardy.
      If they are, it is by those who would take the part of any liar, or propagandist aganist their government, by default, that represents an even greater threat
      to democracy, than terrorism.

      1. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

        People who live their entire life under the protection of the Bill Of Rights and then use that privilege to deny the importance of the very mechanism that protects them from oppression are every bit as bad as those who fear that the government is ‘out to get them’.

        You like to make the point that people must be ungrateful toward the US government because they are suspicious of them, but your ungrateful view of the parts of the US government — specifically the Bill Of Rights — that have pampered YOU all your life is no better. In fact, people who have a healthy suspicion of government probably have a better grip on reality and history.

        I do not hate Obama because he’s black. I don’t demand to see his birth certificate. I don’t even oppose the ACA. I agree with most of what Obama does, and I oppose the ridiculous actions of the bitter Tea Bigots and their absolutely useless antics. Yet I STILL oppose government overreach, and I value the US Bill Of Rights. There is a reason why the Bill Of Rights was added to the US Constitution. Do you understand the reasons? Educate yourself.

        1. charleo1 June 29, 2013

          I appreciate the Bill of Rights. I haven’t read any
          animosity from you, toward Obama. And I am never
          one to criticize a fellow American’s efforts to hold
          government to account. Or, hold a healthy suspicion
          even. That’s all fine, and as it should be. But, I have
          yet to read a commenter complain about overreach
          that correctly described what the program does.
          Congressman Mike Rogers is a partisan and a half.
          Republican to the bone. Part of the oversight committee.
          If there were anything being condoned by the Obama
          folks, he thought was close to overreach, I have every
          confidence he would not be silent about it. And, maybe
          they’ll come back and provide more scrutiny. Or stop
          it altogether. But, we can’t sit here from our lowly perch,
          and accuse the government of violating our Constitutional
          Rights. My point is, in this there are good guys, and bad
          guys. And it distresses me, when people forget, we are
          the good guys here.

          1. WhutHeSaid June 29, 2013

            Your post makes it sound as if you take the worries people express about government overreach personally. I don’t oppose the government having tools to combat terrorism as long as we have the proper safeguards in place to prevent abuse. I don’t think that the government is out to get us or enslave the population as some of the unstable nut-bags posting out here try to claim.

            The main difference between your view and mine is that I believe in backing up trust with enforceable safeguards, and I prefer erring on the side of less government power over the rights of individuals. If somebody shows me a real justification for gathering my private information along with sufficient oversight in place to either prevent abuse or provide legal recourse should abuse happen then I will be willing to accept it even if I don’t like it. So far I am not convinced that demanding the telephony metadata of every American is justified or properly protected.

            The very fact that this was uncovered by a insider who is now running from criminal prosecution shows that the government didn’t want Americans to even know about it. I’m not suggesting that Snowden is a hero or a villain — that’s up to a jury to decide after a proper trial. But I am saying that unchecked power to invade the privacy of every American citizen is a serious issue that deserves serious discussion and careful consideration. It’s an important issue, and the concerns of those affected (in this case all Americans who use telephones, email, or text messaging) should not be dismissed out of hand.

      2. Sand_Cat July 1, 2013

        Try Welcome to the Machine. It might make you think differently, or it might not.

        1. charleo1 July 1, 2013

          I found a lot of very bright people, disagreed with me
          vehemently. on this. So, Welcome to the machine it is.

          1. Sand_Cat July 2, 2013

            It’s a book, if that wasn’t clear. Most people would likely dismiss it as paranoia, but it hits the nail on the head in my opinion. I guess that means I’m disagreeing with you, too.
            I guess I’m slow on the uptake, but what were you trying to say to me?

          2. charleo1 July 2, 2013

            Well, I found a lot of those people I usually see fairly eye to
            eye with. Did not agree with me at all, on the surveillance
            program, where they dump all the phone numbers in a collector, and run a program that looks for certain patterns
            that are created when terrorists communicate. I said, What’s
            the big deal? They said I was crazy. You said, Try Welcome
            to the machine. I said, sounds good to me. I’ll check it out.
            So, I was agreeing with you.

  9. 1standlastword July 1, 2013

    Evil always necessitates greater evil. The fate of humans is the end of evil. Carry on!


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