Matt Carberry (kingpin248) wrote,
Matt Carberry

Snowden/NSA surveillance roundup

Glenn Greenwald's revelations in The Guardian -- about the FISA court's blanket order to turn over phone metadata to the NSA, about the cooperation between the NSA and tech companies through PRISM, and the revelation of Edward Snowden as the source -- have shocked the nation and the world and energized a long-needed debate about the scope of the security state. I take the tack that Snowden acts are patriotic, especially given how he'd be demonized and now hunted. When I watched Snowden's interview with Greenwald, I was impressed by his explanations of his motives. I was also surprised that he cracked wise about the CIA possibly paying off Hong Kong's Triads to disappear him.

Snowden isn't the only one giving us moments of comedy over this. The "Bipartisan Hysteria Tour" kicked off with Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss playing the Senate press briefing room. That was followed up by the President saying that he welcomes the debate on surveillance, as he simultaneously argues that the disclosure that is a condition predicate to having two sides to that debate is a grave threat to national security. A brief mention also to Peter King -- not the football analyst, but the Congressman from the district next to where I grew up -- for his comments that Greenwald should be prosecuted alongside Snowden. Reason's Mike Riggs points out the delicious hypocrisy: "Reminder: Peter King, Who Wants to Arrest Glenn Greenwald, Is an Actual Supporter of Terrorism."

They say that life imitates art, and the combined entity of Newsweek and The Daily Beast provides a couple of examples. "Is Privacy Dead?" was the title of a Newsweek cover story -- from July 1970. And as the Beast reminds us, the world of constant surveillance was foretold when Google was in its infancy and before the existence of social media and iPhones. Enemy of the State was released fifteen years ago.

The cake goes to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Cato's Julian Sanchez: "Apparently, [Clapper] decided that because he didn't like the question, that he was entitled not to decline to answer, but to lie to Congress, and to the American people watching that hearing..." Jim Harper said the same thing, and also reminds us that the Verizon order is nothing less than a general warrant, which were supposed to be consigned to the dustbin of history by the Fourth Amendment. Clapper pulled some Clinton-style trickery of language, arguing that the NSA doesn't "collect" data by obtaining it from those who hold it, because collection doesn't occur until it's converted to human-readable form and analyzed. In a just and sane world, Clapper's head would be the the first to roll. In the world we actually live in, he's covered in the same Teflon that John Gotti was once upon a time.

Two last things. One, Greenwald recommended a Kirsten Powers column about the smear campaign against Snowden by the professional political class, and I do as well. Finally, whenever a person or story captures the national consciousness, Reason will bring in Remy to to a parody video. This time, it's the hilarious "Tap It: The NSA Slow Jam."


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