Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"The usefulness of the bulk collection program has been greatly exaggerated."

A group of Democratic Senators published this today in the New York Times:
The usefulness of the bulk collection program has been greatly exaggerated. We have yet to see any proof that it provides real, unique value in protecting national security. In spite of our repeated requests, the N.S.A. has not provided evidence of any instance when the agency used this program to review phone records that could not have been obtained using a regular court order or emergency authorization.
Despite this, the surveillance reform bill recently ratified by the Senate Intelligence Committee would explicitly permit the government to engage in dragnet collection as long as there were rules about when officials could look at these phone records. It would also give intelligence agencies wide latitude to conduct warrantless searches for Americans’ phone calls and emails.
This is not the true reform that poll after poll has shown the American people want. It is preserving business as usual.
Emphasis added.  When Senators of the President's own party use the NYT to tell the country how much they do not trust the administrators of the NSA, then the game is well and truly changed.  The Senators end on this note:
But this trust has been undermined by the N.S.A.’s domestic surveillance programs, as well as by senior officials’ misleading statements about surveillance. Only by ending the dragnet collection of ordinary Americans’ private information can this trust be rebuilt.
They're tired of the spin, by people who think they're dim bulbs.


Alan said...

I keep saying it: Bulk data collection is useless for finding individual terrorists. It's awesome for digging up dirt on political opponents. It also causes a massive chilling effect on free speech.

That's why police states always do it.

Goober said...

"They're tired of the spin, by people who think they're dim bulbs."

So are we all, in so many different ways. City folk looking down on rural folk. The government looking down on common people...

It's been happening a lot lately and I'm wondering where the lack of empathy is coming from - can none of us put ourselves in another's shoes anymore?

How has it come to the point that the President of the United States can't see why a reasonable person would disagree with him, and instead sees people that disagree with him as charicatures:

Dim bulbs too stupid to understand him;

bitter clingers too racist to listen;

It's just getting old. That I guess I'm glad that the senate is getting a bit of it's own fromt eh NSA - now we just need to figure out how to give the NSA some back.