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1 EiMitch  Fri, Jun 28, 2013 10:25:14am

On one hand, massive amounts of communications go through a relative few “choke points.” Its impossible to distinguish “the bad guys” from everyone else in real time. So they have to record it all and sift through it after the fact. There’s no other way to do it.

On the other hand, the oversight process that supposedly prevents abuse is kept secret. I get that some information is sensitive and needs to be classified. I get that if “the bad guys” know how the system works, then they’ll easily figure out how to beat it. But when the oversight process is kept secret, then that completely defeats the purpose of having an oversight process.

On that principle alone, I can’t take the word of some senators or other government officials. Potential conflicts of interest also trouble me. And the sheer ignorance so many elected officials have demonstrated lately isn’t exactly putting me at ease.

2 Randall Gross  Fri, Jun 28, 2013 11:17:29am

Jennifer Grannick is highly respected and has some perfectly rational points in this article, you are kind of wrecking that with your ad hom addendum.

3 Charles Johnson  Fri, Jun 28, 2013 11:29:52am

re: #2 Randall Gross

Jennifer Grannick is highly respected and has some perfectly rational points in this article, you are kind of wrecking that with your ad hom addendum.


4 Heywood Jabloeme  Fri, Jun 28, 2013 1:11:03pm

Agreed, and not only that Congresspeoples and even the President have not been opened, up to if not crossing the line, in being dishonest about both about the programs as well as the oversight.

As far the “the bad guys” know(ing) how the systems works being to our disadvantage. Um, I am sure that they cak guess that and if they think that electronic communications will be intercepted and used against them and thus don’t communicate it would inhibit thier activities.

5 Michael McBacon  Fri, Jun 28, 2013 1:21:05pm

Reading the article, I feel like I visited

Leave aside the Patriot Act and FISA Amendments Act for a moment, and turn to the Constitution.

The Fourth Amendment obliges the government to demonstrate probable cause before conducting invasive surveillance. There is simply no precedent under the Constitution for the government’s seizing such vast amounts of revealing data on innocent Americans’ communications.

The government has made a mockery of that protection by relying on select Supreme Court cases, decided before the era of the public Internet and cellphones, to argue that citizens have no expectation of privacy in either phone metadata or in e-mails or other private electronic messages that it stores with third parties.

6 Heywood Jabloeme  Fri, Jun 28, 2013 1:25:52pm

Randell Gross - so this piece is credible yet it is nothing new hear only restating what has been reported by the Guardian yet when they report something and it is posted here there are many comments that they aren’t? Wasn’t it Frank Rich, ironically of the NYT, that asked if David Gregory was a journalist because of the fact that he never makes news?

The reporting of this by the Guardian may have been imprecise enough as to allow thier critics to parse thier words in a way that made it seem to claim facts that weren’t true but another argument can be made that they were completely true. And, in any case, they made news, the NYT is simply repeating it and attaching it to facts regarding previously know incidents and getting cudos.

And the fact that many, if not most of the critiques of this are obviously coming from those who wish to keep Obama from any blame is readily apparent. Sure, wingnuts will try and make sensational stories about how “Obama” is spying on US citizens and the FACT is that they are only partly correct. Bush did it first and so if you poo poo the story by only pointing out the wingnut point regarding Obama and fail to follow thru then the “ad hom addendum” wasn’t “ad hom” it was direct at you. And, for whomever that “wrecks” it for, I am truely not sorry.

7 Charles Johnson  Fri, Jun 28, 2013 1:28:04pm

It doesn’t help that they say “part of a secret program called Prism.” There is NO program called “Prism.” It’s the name of the government computer system that collects data under section 702 of FISA. It’s not the name of the data collection program. If they’re going to make a case against NSA programs, they should at least do their homework enough to use the right terminology.

I agree with some of the points in this op-ed, but some of it is way over the top.

8 Heywood Jabloeme  Fri, Jun 28, 2013 1:37:28pm

Charles - So, I agree that when the ACLU takes this to court they shoud be more precise as from what I read I am not sure that I would have known the difference between the program and the computer system(s) used to execute the programs but the facts are still undisputed - the govt uses legal authority using the 14th amendment to collect phone metadata in way that has no precedent, has never been tested in court and many feel that, without a legal opinion from a court that allows that interpretation, is illegal. And, using only the absurd “51%” rule as a filter, captures and archives the content of phone calls and emails for later use.

The problem was that. before these leaks, no one was seriously discussing this.

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