Tuesday, June 18, 2013

'In light of NSA leaks, the government has compromised its moral capital...'

From Glenn Reynolds, at USA Today, "Government compromises our trust":
It looked bad last week, but it looks much, much worse now. The federal government has been spying and lying. The only comfort is that, apparently, it's been largely incompetent at both: Nobody believes the lies, and the spying wasn't even able to catch the Tsarnaev brothers.

Not long ago, the Director of National Intelligence assured us that the federal government does not "wittingly" spy on Americans. That has turned out to be a lie. As Fred Kaplan writes in Slate, "We as a nation are being asked to let the National Security Agency continue doing the intrusive things it's been doing on the premise that congressional oversight will rein in abuses. But it's hard to have meaningful oversight when an official in charge of the program lies so blatantly in one of the rare open hearings on the subject. " And the spying turns out to go even further than we thought we knew last week.

Over the weekend, the Associated Press reported that the spying goes well beyond the Prism program reported by whistleblower Edward Snowden. As AP notes, "while Prism has attracted the recent attention, the program actually is a relatively small part of a much more expansive and intrusive eavesdropping effort. . . . documents show it is one of the major sources for what ends up in the president's daily briefing." From the descriptions available, it appears that the NSA basically just copies everything going over the Internet, and can look at it either in real time or later.

Meanwhile, according to a report from CNET, the National Security Administration has admitted, despite earlier denials, that it's listening to American phone calls without warrants...
Continue reading (via Memeorandum).