Re: NSA

1

I thought we had a government to read things for me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 7:59 AM
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2

I let 60 Minutes tell me what to think about complicated stuff like the NSA.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 8:02 AM
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3
Why won't the President rein in the intelligence community?

Because he's addicted to waking up in the morning?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 8:17 AM
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4

If it makes you feel any better, I Instapapered it to read this evening.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 8:17 AM
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5

Why does DiFi suck so badly?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 8:21 AM
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Because he's addicted to waking up in the morning?

But the long habit of living indisposeth us for dying; When Avarice makes us the sport of death; When even David grew politickly cruell; and Solomon could hardly be said to be the wisest of men.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 8:33 AM
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5: Yeah, the part about her invoking "the lessons of 9/11" was particularly galling.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 8:36 AM
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8

And DiFi grewth freakin terribler


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 8:36 AM
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re: 3

Yeah, I presume 'being the President: Day 1' involves someone from the NSA coming in and showing you your file.

'Pages 1 through 8 show all the things that would destroy your career; pages 9 through 12 your marriage. Pages 14 - 17 are the movements of your children, and pages 18 and 19 are the details of the deniable CIA black ops guys who'd make use of the information on pages 14-17 if you step out of line. Have a nice day, sir.'


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 8:39 AM
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10

I read the whole thing, but started skimming when it got into Wyden's high school days. Too long, nothing new, personality piece, he said she said, beltway style.

Seymour Hersh "Obama Lied About Syrian Sarin Attack"

this is pushed by center-left sites, the commie sites are pro the secular rebel faction

and

Inside the Saudi 9/11 Coverup

possibly driven by some complicated neo-con agenda, the rightie sites are pushing the second one...hell...well driven by some pushback at S.A.

Weird shit. Israel was consulted about Iran deal, a deal which can't have made SA happy.

PS:The reason we don't have boots in Syria?

Two missiles were fired, probably to test Syrian air-defense, Soviet ships radar-locked on the fuckers, and the firers (not positive if US or Israel) aborted them into the ocean. All in seconds.

Then face-saving was found for Obama.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 8:41 AM
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11

Soviet, hell, s/b Russian


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 8:46 AM
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12

I want someone to start referring to "The lessons of 0. 81" (with a bar over the 81, span style=overline doesn't work on this blog.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 8:46 AM
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I'd stick with "Soviet." It works better with the breathless, Tom Clancy stuff about missiles.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 8:46 AM
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14

I presume 'being the President: Day 1' involves someone from the NSA coming in and showing you your file.

I think this on about half the days, with the other half wondering if I'm a whackjob conspiracy theorist. I think the charitable hypothesis is that any Americans who die in an attack when you're president are your personal (and political) responsibility, so it would take a very strong person to keep looking at the big picture. Bush and Obama are not that person.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 9:00 AM
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The other point to make is that it's much more likely that anyone who might rein in the NSA will have damaging leaks made against him well before he gets within sniffing distance of the presidency.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 9:01 AM
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16

I link to this book every time. I should probably read a second book at some point.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 9:03 AM
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17

Nah. The man with two books never knows what time it is.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 9:05 AM
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So there's a bill which Wyden has drafted all or part of which doesn't have widespread support in the senate, and a competing shitty bill from Feinstein. Something to write or call about.

I never have a good feeling how much of that to do-- does anyone know whether legislators' staff keeps track of incoming communication? Or is it more effective to just send money to the ACLU, how to evaluate outcome.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 9:05 AM
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Americans who die in an attack when you're president are your personal (and political) responsibility

Came here to say this. Obama is terrified of another attack, knowing that any restraints he places on intelligence collection will be blamed for 'allowing' it to happen. It's exactly the same thing as blaming every medical or insurance change on Obamacare, relevant or not. There need be no real connection between the restraints placed on the NSA and the hypothetical future attack, Obama will be blamed anyway.

My hope is that he places some constraints on the NSA and CIA in the last months of his administration, when the potential exposure to an attack is less, and the damage is more or less irrelevant even if an attack occurs. And a pony, please.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 9:08 AM
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20

Agree with 15, definitely. This already happened once inside the US, with JE Hoover.

I find it really frustrating that this opinon is so far from the mainstream. This is a case where universal confidence in procedural liberalism and in a smoothly-functioning government is not helpful.

It's a great basic outlook, but not applicable everywhere, and definitely not here.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 9:11 AM
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does anyone know whether legislators' staff keeps track of incoming communication?

They definitely do, and if it's an election year they usually even respond to it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 9:13 AM
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Thesis: The price of liberty is eternal vigilance;
Antithesis: The NSA takes vigilance to unheard of extremes;
Synthesis: America is freer than ever before.

/ false syllogism


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 9:16 AM
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22 is a good start.

Now please compose a similarly-themed satire in the voice of Horace. It should have a meter suitable for Katy Perry.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 9:24 AM
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24

Diffugere nives is a pretty good description of Snowden.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 9:31 AM
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Obama is terrified of another attack, knowing that any restraints he places on intelligence collection will be blamed for 'allowing' it to happen.

But when was the last time that a serving president paid a political price for a massively damaging attack on the US that happened during his term in office?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 9:59 AM
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26

Did you see what they tried to do with Benghazi? Different party, different rules.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 10:01 AM
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23. Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume, labuntur iures...


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 10:06 AM
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"Did you see what they tried to do with Benghazi? Different party, different rules."

"Tried", though. He still won the election.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 10:22 AM
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I'm trying to think about any times I would want to game the system by sneaking one laywer around when another is in the hospital and all the various lies and shenanigans necessary to make this work, and I just can't see feeling right about it even if it meant getting the "right" result.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 10:25 AM
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The only election post-Benghazi was too close to the event to have expected anything but a rally effect for the president unless there was clear evidence he messed up. And the fury of Republicans about Benghazi seems to stem from the fact that Obama sent people to appear on TV news shows to minimize the importance event instead of just instead of going on TV and blaming himself while admitting he was born in Kenya.

Benghazi was their October surprise in September.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 10:29 AM
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My theory since May 2009 has been that the security establishment doesn't have to make any personal threats, because it's enough to say (a) we can completely shut down your ability to get anything done on any subject and (b) if there's an attack you'll be impeached. (As indeed Al Gore would surely have been if, after 9/11, it was revealed that he had ignored that PDB.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 10:52 AM
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The rules are different for Democrats than Republicans. Scared people become more conservative, so an attack helps even an incompetent right winger.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 11:01 AM
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does anyone know whether legislators' staff keeps track of incoming communication?

I'm confident that someone is keeping track.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 11:10 AM
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34

The politics of an attack would be toatally different if day 2 you had lots of leaks about how these rules and funding cuts were responsible.


Posted by: Asteele | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 12:56 PM
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35

Yeah, I've always wondered if the NSA threatens the president. It would make what I see as Obama's betrayal of his principles a lot easier to understand if it came down to constitutional principles vs. keeping Sasha and Malia safe. Although that world would be a scary one.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 1:29 PM
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25 is what I was going to say. I mean, I think the odds are way better than 50-50 that President Gore's admin disrupts* 9/11, given the explicit and clear things the Bushies did to reduce the odds of disruption IRL. IOW, Bush deserves a chunk of blame, yet the majority of Americans don't blame him at all (even though they blame him for many of his subsequent failures). So I'm less convinced that

Americans who die in an attack when you're president are your personal (and political) responsibility

Point about the partisan differences is of course well taken.

*anything between foiling it full stop to preventing any of the 3 planes from reaching their targets; obviously no one in gov't deserves credit for Flight 93


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-18-13 1:21 PM
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if day 2 you had lots of leaks

This is where Bush was saved - by the time the leaks and evidence came out, the narrative was written. IT's certainly conceivable that an NSA that considers Obama (or whoever) to be an enemy would be prepared to pour poison in the ears of lots of media types, and, as 60 Minutes has shown, there are plenty in the MSM who'd repeat it before the bodies were cold.

Of course the real calculation should be that 9/11-scale attacks simply won't happen again; it circles back around to spine: am I willing to risk a 0.0001% chance of another 9/11 and going down in infamy in order to protect the liberties of Americans?.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-18-13 1:24 PM
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Where "going down in infamy" means retiring to a comfortable ranch in Texas and taking up painting domestic animals.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-18-13 1:29 PM
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