Thursday, August 01, 2013

Pesky Little Gnats

(Editorial cartoon by Steve Sack, published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and featured 6/28/13 at the Denver Post.)

The Bradley Manning verdicts are in (it looks like he'll be spending most of the rest of his life in prison) and Edward Snowden remains in limbo at a Russian airport.  Both men were foolish enough to believe that the American people and the world needed to know about the massive spying program undertaken by the US government.  Now both men are suffering for their naivete.

Michael McGough has an op-ed up at the Los Angeles Times which acknowledges the contribution both young men have made.

They call it the “Snowden effect.” Whatever you think of fugitive former National Security Agency consultant Edward J. Snowden -- hero, traitor, something in between -- his revelations about electronic surveillance programs have inspired a debate about broad questions of policy that was impossible because of the secrecy that enshrouded the programs themselves and their legal rationale. And that debate in turn has prompted defenders of the program to acknowledge that it can be reformed. ...

The improvements Feinstein proposes fall short of abolishing the bulk collection of telephone metadata unrelated to a specific terrorism investigation. But would even these refinements be on the table if Snowden hadn’t released information about the metadata program? Would President Obama be inviting congressional critics of the program (along with supporters) to the White House? According to Politico, the president will host a powwow on the surveillance program Thursday.

And without Snowden’s revelations, which continued Wednesday with a report in the Guardian about a versatile search program called XKeyscore, would the Senate Judiciary Committee be discussing changes in the way the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court operates and in how its judges are selected? Would the administration have released key documents about the metadata program, as it did Wednesday?   [Emphasis added]

As McGough put it, "not bloody likely."

Unfortunately about all that will be done is a few cosmetic patches will be loosely stuck on the programs, nothing more.  The spying will continue.  There will be no pardons.

We can't expect anything more.  After all, the administration has bound all government employees to the same secrecy, asking them to spy on each other and to report anything "suspicious."

Transparency in government?

It is to die for.

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Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

This Administration is misusing the Espionage Act more than any other. And it was a terrible piece of legislation to begin with.

For shame, Obama.

12:53 PM  

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