Just Close Your Eyes, Cover Your Ears, and Chant “Russian Spy”

In addition to what Anne Laurie posted earlier today, I thought this quote from the Post story on the report of the independent review board examining NSA surveillance is worth highlighting:

“We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the telephone records program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. “Moreover, we are aware of no instance in which the program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack.”

Also, for those of you who were quoting that Wilentz piece in the New Republic in the last open thread, I thought you might be interested in Henry Farrell’s takedown, which is pretty complete. Here’s a taste:

Long time readers of Sean Wilentz will remember him for greatest hits like his notorious piece on the “cutthroat, fraudulent politics that lie at the foundation of Obama’s supposedly uplifting campaign,” involving “the most outrageous deployment of racial politics since the Willie Horton ad campaign in 1988 and the most insidious since Ronald Reagan kicked off his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, praising states’ rights,” or his claim that not only was Obama’s “most obvious change to liberal politics” the color of his skin, but Obama was the second coming of Jimmy Carter and a starry-eyed Russia-hugger to boot. So it’s very, very weird to see Wilentz criticizing Edward Snowden on the grounds that his “disgruntlement with Obama … was fueled by a deep disdain for progressive politics” – given his own track record on Obama’s brand of progressivism, why on earth would he believe this to be a problem?

But then the whole article – an attempted hack job on Snowden, Greenwald, Assange and the liberals who like them – is weird like that. In one sense, I can understand why the New Republic went for it – it’s perhaps the purest exercise in even~the~liberal~New Republic~ism that the magazine has published since its change in ownership. Yet it’s also so obviously intellectually shoddy and incoherently argued that you’d have thought that any half-way competent editor would have decided that no amount of contrarianism was worth the damage to the magazine’s brand.

Unlike Wilentz’ hack job, Farrell’s piece is worth reading in full.

123 replies
  1. 1
    different-church-lady says:

    It’s not my eyes my hands were occupied with — they were busy pinching my nose to deal with the overpowering stench of bullshit coming off that Wilentz article.

  2. 2
    srv says:

    Yeah, the smear machine is winning over the crowd that will lap up and regurgitate anything Wilentz says except of course when he’s using his deep insight into Obummer.

    I’m sure Ars comments are as deep an insight into someone as BJ is.

  3. 3
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Is that the same Sean Wilentz who wrote a biography of Andrew Jackson?

  4. 4
    Napoleon says:

    Sean Wilentz is a piece of crap. Never waste you time with him or some of the other clowns that are allegedly Democratic friendly like William Galston.

  5. 5
    Napoleon says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    He is a historian and I know he has some books on that period of US history out.

  6. 6
    Mnemosyne says:

    I have no idea who Sean Wilentz is and have no interest in his article, but I managed to figure out that Snowden is an asshole anyway. Go figure.

  7. 7
    Cacti says:

    Big surprise, Mistermix hisses at Wilentz for criticizing his boyfriend.

  8. 8
    Jim Foolish Literalist says:

    @Gin & Tonic: If he’s the guy I’m thinking of he’s a PUMA who used his Ivy League academic credentials to dress up a lot of embarrassing screeching in ’08

  9. 9
    Chyron HR says:

    Thanks for reminding us once again that it’s “not about Snowden”. Now please enjoy his (slightly belated) MLK Day address to the nation.

  10. 10
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Jim Foolish Literalist: I honestly don’t know anything about his writing WRT current events, but his work on the first half of the 19th century seems to me (as an amateur) extremely well-researched and well-written. If that’s the same guy, which is what I guess I’m trying to figure out.

  11. 11
    Napoleon says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    If that’s the same guy, which is what I guess I’m trying to figure out.

    He absolutely is the same guy.

  12. 12
    Cacti says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Thanks for reminding us once again that it’s “not about Snowden”. Now please enjoy his (slightly belated) MLK Day address to the nation.

    My favorite was his “Alternative Christmas broadcast”. And people say he has a messianic complex. Pfff.

  13. 13
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, my assumption has been that Snowden was a Chinese spy, not Russian, FWIW. He ended up in Russia because the US has far more economic ties to China that we can pull so China got cold feet on letting him stay, and Putin was happy to embarrass the US.

  14. 14
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Napoleon: Thanks.

  15. 15
    Linnaeus says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Is that the same Sean Wilentz who wrote a biography of Andrew Jackson?

    It is. He is a very good historian of the early national period of US history.

  16. 16
    Cervantes says:

    Long time readers of Sean Wilentz will remember him for […]

    I prefer to remember him for his work (academic and otherwise) prior to the ’08 campaign. In 2006 he wrote a piece in Rolling Stone calling George Bush “The Worst President in History.”

    On the other hand, what he did in ’08 is also unforgettable.

    Yes, he is a good friend of the Clintons.

  17. 17
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    If you love Snowden so much, mistermix, why doncha marry him?

  18. 18
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Incidentally, and in partial response to DougJ’s question from yesterday about what’s happening in Ukraine, here is a video for those of you with strong stomachs of an anti-government protester in Kiev being stripped naked and beaten by the riot police, in the street, in temperatures in the teens (F), while other police film the event with their cell phones. NSFW, needless to say. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86o4pIZ72mk&feature=youtu.be

    Need one wonder why the government is widely viewed as illegitimate?

  19. 19
    DiTurno says:

    @Cacti:

    No, Mistermix points out that Wilentz’s piece is complete and utter BS. Nice ad hominem, though.

  20. 20
    Poopyman says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: I’m not sure that mistermix has the requisite pole dancing skills.

  21. 21
    Chyron HR says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    But what happened to their cellular telephony metadata?

  22. 22
    Cacti says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    If you love Snowden so much, mistermix, why doncha marry him?

    Because it’s a jailable offense in Russia.

  23. 23
    Betty Cracker says:

    If it’s true that the expensive, intrusive telephone records program has produced zero results, isn’t that reason enough to pull the plug? Seems like that would be the sort of fact that could be verified and acted upon.

  24. 24
    C.V. Danes says:

    If the purpose of the NSA and related intelligence agencies is to protect America from hostile attack by foreign enemies, then their actions indeed seem extreme.

    If the purpose of the NSA and related intelligence agencies, on the other hand, is to protect a vast shadow bureaucracy of unelected technocrats that has little care or concern for democracy, the rule of law, and basic civil rights, then of course they are going to want to hoover up all the information possible on as many people as possible, because everyone has the potential to be an enemy of the (bureaucratic) state.

    What they are protecting, and what the American people want protected, are not necessarily the same, or even aligned.

  25. 25
    Poopyman says:

    @Betty Cracker: Seems like we’re still flying by Cheney’s One Percent Doctrine.

    As undead as he is.

  26. 26
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Betty Cracker: As I said in the earlier thread: an expensive program that is both ineffective and Constitutionally questionable? What’s not to like.

    Also too, I really couldn’t give a shit about Snowden .

  27. 27
    Ben Franklin says:

    I’m going for a perfect OT day.

    What about the Wimmens?

  28. 28
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    And yet you couldn’t even bring yourself to dig up an appropriate link. Worried about cooties?

  29. 29
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Also too, I really couldn’t give a shit about Snowden .

    LAWYER !!!!

  30. 30
    Belafon says:

    And I will continue to say it because Snowden left the country and gave documents to two countries that are not exactly friendly to us where he could have gone to an American publication.

  31. 31
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    If it’s true that the expensive, intrusive telephone records program has produced zero results, isn’t that reason enough to pull the plug? Seems like that would be the sort of fact that could be verified and acted upon.

    I guess that would depend on your perspective (see my comment #24 above).

  32. 32
  33. 33
    raven says:

    You think this is dirty politics? Check this out:

    Kinky Friedman’s Campaign Tried to Get a Primary Opponent to Leave the Race by Offering to Introduce Him to Willie Nelson

    As far as political scandals go, there’s a lot to enjoy about this one. First, it’s fascinating to see that there actually is such a thing as a potential political scandal involving Kinky Friedman, whose persona is built largely on not giving a shit about that sort of thing.

  34. 34
    KG says:

    @Poopyman: a 1% chance of a turrist attack? or more money being funneled to the 1% through grift and/or government contracts (but I repeat myself)?

  35. 35
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    IIRC, even with the new reforms there’s no reason the FBI or another agency couldn’t get a wiretapping warrant on a suspect so, no, the wholesale collection doesn’t seem to be doing much other than keeping Seagate in business selling giant hard drives to the feds.

  36. 36
    Belafon says:

    @C.V. Danes: Please tell me how they’ve used that vast amount of data to actually support the shadow bureaucracy you are talking about. They can’t even shut GG up or keep him out of the country even though he’s assured us that they US government is after him.

  37. 37
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    IIRC, even with the new reforms there’s no reason the FBI or another agency couldn’t get a wiretapping warrant on a suspect so…

    Even with the new reforms, there’s no reason to believe that the FBI or another agency will even acknowledge them, since they’ve shown precious little desire to do so in the past.

  38. 38
    different-church-lady says:

    @Betty Cracker: Have you ever witnessed a corporate budget struggle first hand? Ain’t pretty…

  39. 39
    Mnemosyne says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    The FBI has to get convictions. You can’t go to court with illegally obtained evidence, even national security court.

  40. 40
    different-church-lady says:

    @Belafon: Just when all the NSA threads had been refreshingly Double-G free…

  41. 41
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Belafon:

    They can’t even shut GG up or keep him out of the country even though he’s assured us that they US government is after him.

    I was merely discussing their possible motivations for wanting access to the information. The fact that “they can’t even shut GG up or keep him out of the country” makes the case for denying both their logic, and need, no matter their motivations.

  42. 42

    The only thing I printed from the Wilentz article were his comments about Social Security. Ya’ll down with getting rid of Social Security so that grandma will stop being a layabout and go out and get a job? I’ll say it again. The guy is a reactionary, he’s of the Ron Paul “you-should-be-free-to-starve-under-the-bridge” school of sociology. He shows nothing in his history of being a civil libertarian or of giving a damn about anyone. The original definition of fascism was a system of government ruled jointly by business and the extreme right. I’m guessing he has no problem with private companies mining you.

    As I’ve said before, I suspect that he’s an agent of the right wing (via intelligence circles) who was recruited to do just what he’s doing. I wouldn’t want him as drum major at the front of my parade.

    But if you do, report back and let us know how the night rally went. Put it on Facebook or send me a gmail, or just post it here.

  43. 43
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The FBI has to get convictions. You can’t go to court with illegally obtained evidence, even national security court.

    Ever heard of the process of going back and making everything look legal?

  44. 44

    I’d like to see the x-rays of his legs.

  45. 45
    Belafon says:

    @C.V. Danes: Not really. They are two different things. There’s preventing attacks, and suppressing dissent. Your middle paragraph was about the second.

  46. 46
    dollared says:

    @Mnemosyne: Nope. The FBI has dropped criminal investigations from their mission. They saw the NSA budget and said “mee tooo!”

    https://www.msnbc.com/the-last-word/fbis-main-mission-now-not-law-enforcement

  47. 47
    RandomMonster says:

    If the NSA’s intrusion into every American’s privacy is so deep and widespread, why can’t they effectively screen even the people who have access to their data?

  48. 48
    Amir Khalid says:

    @raven:
    Isn’t Kinky Friedman the Screaming Lord Sutch of Texas politics?

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Well, then, let’s just shut down the entire government and live in tiny communes. After all, the court system is completely corrupt along with every other branch, so there’s no point in even trying.

    You’re gonna miss the internet, though, as you’re scratching out a living from your subsistence farm. But at least then you’ll be free from government intrusion!

  50. 50

    @Bob In Portland: “His comments” being Snowden’s comments.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dollared:

    The FBI still presents cases to the US attorney. I know people desperately want to believe that “national security” is a free pass to use illegally obtained evidence in court, but it ain’t. Even the FISA court will shut you down if you can’t show that you obtained your evidence legally.

  52. 52

    0.1 tB and counting.

  53. 53
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Belafon:

    They are two different things. There’s preventing attacks, and suppressing dissent. Your middle paragraph was about the second.

    I’m not sure that the NSA and the rest of the intelligence community can conceptualize the difference in their current state. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be spending all that time infiltrating the various peaceful assemblies of dirty hippies.

  54. 54
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    As I’ve said before, I suspect that he’s an agent of the right wing

    I assume you’re talking about the Paulies because the right wing has not embraced the anti-security meme and small gubmint theology other than that of the IRS ‘scandals’.

  55. 55
    Cassidy says:

    Oh god! What is that? Ewwww…..mistermix is violating a chicken again.

  56. 56
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    After all, the court system is completely corrupt along with every other branch, so there’s no point in even trying.

    The point is not about trying. The point is that information is power, and absolute access to information is absolute power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    We’ve been down this road with the intelligence community many times in the past, and it has never ended well.

  57. 57
    raven says:

    @Amir Khalid: I love him. Dude is big in animal rescue and doesn’t give a flat fuck what anyone thinks! “I want the last check I write to bounce”!

    But yea, I guess the comparison holds.

  58. 58

    This guy Farrell, who mistermix is relying on. Doesn’t he write for FOREIGN POLICY?

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    The point is not about trying. The point is that information is power, and absolute access to information is absolute power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    What do you consider “absolute access,” though? Is the government allowed to get search warrants, or is that too absolute? You seem to be under the impression that law enforcement uses illegally obtained evidence to get search warrants or wiretap warrants, so doesn’t that make the entire warrant process corrupt?

  60. 60
    srv says:

    Benghazi, Glennazi, pfft, just goes to show both sides have their nutter conspiracy theories.

  61. 61
    kc says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    But, Snowden fled to Russia. RUSSIA!

  62. 62

    @Ben Franklin: I wouldn’t make an absolute demarcation. Corporatists want the government out of their business unless the government can help. And I said he was probably (maybe undoubtedly) recruited by intelligence circles. His modified limited hangout here is to release pretty much what was is already known so that he gets some street cred with the left.

    Remember, the purpose of the CIA (nee OSS) was always to protect corporate investments. That’s why certain factories in Germany never got bombed in WWII.

  63. 63
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You seem to be under the impression that law enforcement uses illegally obtained evidence to get search warrants or wiretap warrants, so doesn’t that make the entire warrant process corrupt?

    I believe that there are several documented cases where the FBI, for example, used illegally obtained information to then go about obtaining a “legal” search warrant so that they could then “legally” obtain the information. I believe the NY Times did a story on this not that long ago.

  64. 64
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    What do you consider “absolute access,” though?

    Also, hacking into and invalidating the security of 50,000 network systems or so worldwide probably meets the intent of “absolute access.”

  65. 65
  66. 66
    dollared says:

    @Mnemosyne: Good point.

  67. 67
    Mnemosyne says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Links, please. Otherwise, I call bullshit.

    You may be vaguely remembering a story where there were accusations that the DEA was conspiring with local law enforcement to let the local guys know where a suspect was going to be so the local LE could “just happen” to stop the guy for a broken taillight.

    And, third, you seem to have never heard of the fruit of the poisonous tree. If the FBI used illegal evidence to get a warrant, the entire conviction is vacated, even if the other evidence is legally obtained.

  68. 68
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    And they spy! Don’t forget that THE NSA SPIES!

  69. 69
    jayackroyd says:

    I’m talking to Marcy Wheeler and Allan Friedman about this tonight. Friedman co-authored the new book Cybersecurity and Cyberwar

  70. 70
    Suffern ACE says:

    So if its ineffective, why am I supposed to be worried about it? Aren’t I supposed to be more worried about effective programs and concerned about ineffective ones as waste’s of taxpayer money?

  71. 71
    J says:

    The way I see it, the NSA’s telephone records program has made a difference in nearly one case! (inspired by Terry Jones in the camel-spotting skit).

  72. 72
    Anton Sirius says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    The point is that information is power, and absolute access to information is absolute power.

    O rly?

    What if I had absolute access to all the information related to the Facts of Life (the TV show)? Would that give me absolute power?

    Perhaps if you didn’t make such ludicrous generalized statements you might have a bit more credibility. Perhaps.

  73. 73
    Cassidy says:

    If only our gov’t had offered you people free shipping, then you’d have jumped at the opportunity to give them your private information.

  74. 74
    geg6 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yeah, me too. But his fan boys have been fapping around here all day, so might as well throw them some red meat, I guess.

  75. 75
    different-church-lady says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    The point is not about trying. The point is that information is power, and absolute access to information is absolute power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Ah: so the point is about platitudes.

  76. 76
    different-church-lady says:

    @Bob In Portland: No, no, no, Oswald fled to a movie theater. John Wilkes Booth was the one who fled to Russia.

  77. 77
    different-church-lady says:

    @Cassidy: I JUST DON’T WANT THE GOVERNMENT KNOWING I ORDERED GREENWALD’S LATEST BOOK ON AMAZON! IS THAT SO WRONG?!?

  78. 78
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    And I said he was probably (maybe undoubtedly) recruited by intelligence circles

    Finally! Definitive proof!

  79. 79
    NCSteve says:

    Wilenz and Greenwald were meant for each other, actually.

  80. 80
    NCSteve says:

    Wilenz and Greenwald were meant for each other, actually.

  81. 81
    Corner Stone says:

    @Va Highlander: Not much left to these threads anymore. The BJ Sophisticates keep taking punches to the gut in report after report. After a while they all start to sound like Bob Cesca, with nothing but incoherent personal invective.

  82. 82
    kc says:

    @Cassidy:

    Speak for yourself.

  83. 83
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: Your quarterback sucks. My quarterback rocks.

  84. 84
    MomSense says:

    I still say that it is possible to want additional oversight and privacy AND think that Snowden, Greenwald and Assange are shady as fuck!

    I am not convinced that Snowden meets the criteria to have whistleblower status. I am suspicious of his intentions given one of the first things we learned via the WaPo was that he wanted them to publish online the power point presentation and a cryptographic key so that he could prove to a foreign embassy that he was the source of the leaks. The WaPo declined to do so and Snowden at that point told them they would not be exclusive (even though he was already working with Greenwald and therefore not exclusive). Then there was der Spiegel’s decision not to publish some information because it would have compromised people (operatives? assets?).

    I would also like to say that it is important to assess the credibility of your intelligence source which means you look into associations, past behavior, etc. Snowden’s past behavior/statements and associations do not align with his currently stated motives. Just as I have a healthy skepticism about the vast security apparatus, I also have a healthy skepticism about someone who steals sensitive information (some gained from conning co-workers into giving him their passwords) and brings it to Russia. Call me an authoritarian all you like–but that is some shady activity. I don’t think that any of Snowden’s defenders can guarantee that the only information he stole was related to privacy. No one here can guarantee the content of the information that has been shared with Russia and/or China.

    So, I will continue to be in favor of increased oversight and privacy protection but I do not trust Snowden, Greenwald, Assange, or Putin as far as I can throw a piano. I have a hunch that the people who are hitching privacy/intelligence reform to the Snowden wagon are making a big mistake. I personally do not want the cause of increased privacy to be tainted should it turn out that he is not just a whistleblower.

  85. 85
    Corner Stone says:

    @MomSense:

    but I do not trust Snowden, Greenwald, Assange, or Putin as far as I can throw a piano

    Wow. That was nicely done.

  86. 86
    Ben Franklin says:

    @MomSense:

    are shady as fuck!

    THIS. is. so. expressive. I can picture exactly what you mean.

  87. 87
    burnspbesq says:

    No sale. Farrell has no idea what he’s talking about.

    Neither do you, dpm.

  88. 88
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MomSense:

    Then there was der Spiegel’s decision not to publish some information because it would have compromised people (operatives? assets?).

    Yeah, that’s why his supporters who claim he didn’t give any information to China or Russia that wasn’t also given to GG are disingenuous as hell. If the newspapers he gave the information to refused to publish some of it because it compromised security, then why is it A-OK for Russia and China to have that same information?

  89. 89
    Samuel Knight says:

    You have to be somewhat nuts to choose to throw away any chance at a normal life by choosing to expose some of the most incredibly powerful in the world. Normal people just don’t do that. So the whole pretense of him boldly searching to prove something that anyone who thought about it for a minute already knew. These guys aren’t normal.

    But the truly bizarre logic then is that we should focus on how these people are strange – rather than looking at all at the information about what extremely powerful institutions are doing.

    And yup, Churchill already answered the Russia question in WW II.

  90. 90
    Rex Everything says:

    Mistermix, why are you and Henry Farrell such libertarian Rand Paul fanboys?

  91. 91
    sharl says:

    This thread needs some send-us-out music.

    From the dying – or perhaps merely momentarily DORMANT!!?! – days of the Cold War, here’s John Cale and the other members of Made for TV, with So Afraid of the Russians (5:07).

    ETA: Slight fix to song title.

  92. 92
    Rex Everything says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    If it’s true that the expensive, intrusive telephone records program has produced zero results, isn’t that reason enough to pull the plug?

    Why are you such a libertarian dudebro?

  93. 93
    Cervantes says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    If it’s true that the expensive, intrusive telephone records program has produced zero results, isn’t that reason enough to pull the plug?

    You would think so. Let’s see what emerges.

    Meanwhile here are some immediate responses to the panel’s report (not effective, illegal, perhaps unconstitutional):

    White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration sees the program as “lawful,” but that President Barack Obama has already outlined reforms.

    Civil liberties groups, meanwhile, hailed the report. Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union welcomed the report, saying the panel correctly concluded that the NSA’s call-records dragnet “is illegal and ineffective and presents a serious threat to civil liberties.”

    The report “invalidates the government’s argument that the program is lawful,” said Nuala O’Connor, president of the digital rights activist Center for Democracy and Technology.

    Zeke Johnson of Amnesty International USA said the report “should be the final nail in the coffin for the bulk collection of US telephony metadata under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Congress should move to end the program.”

  94. 94
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cervantes: Your summary fails to include the conclusive report of BJ commenters:
    Snowden is a poopyhead and GG is an asshole poopyhead. And we trust them just as much as Putin!

  95. 95
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Links, please. Otherwise, I call bullshit.

    Now that’s funny!

  96. 96
    Rex Everything says:

    @Corner Stone: You can’t really blame them, seeing as how Snowden & Greenwald have spent the past 6 months making this all about themselves…

  97. 97
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cervantes: What’s even better is that she is disparaging the actual problem with that vaguely recalled story:

    You may be vaguely remembering a story where there were accusations that the DEA was conspiring with local law enforcement to let the local guys know where a suspect was going to be so the local LE could “just happen” to stop the guy for a broken taillight.

    No, I’m afraid that isn’t it.
    U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans
    “The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.”
    AND
    “The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security.

    But, I’m sure that’s not a problem of any sort.

  98. 98
    Cervantes says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Your summary fails to include the conclusive report of BJ commenters.

    Mea maxima culpa.

    I’d say “Shoot me,” but on the other hand, I’d rather shoot myself than attempt a summary of the stuff you’re referring to.

  99. 99
    Corner Stone says:

    @Rex Everything:

    seeing as how Snowden & Greenwald have spent the past 6 months making this all about themselves…

    They’re still fucking breathing, aren’t they? The narcissistic asshole poopyheads!
    At this point it’s akin to Larry Flynt, for whatever reasons he may or may not have had, being a leader in pushing for the 1st Amendment.
    Am I supposed to embrace Larry Flynt? Defend him/his actions?
    Or can I agree that his fight in this regard was valuable?

    The fucking morons here who insist that report after report after report are not just simply reporting on this issue. But we have to discount those objective reports because some people don’t like someone’s personality.
    It seems that right wing nutjobs are not the only ones it is impossible to shame.

  100. 100
    Rex Everything says:

    It seems that right wing nutjobs are not the only ones it is impossible to shame.

    Very true. If I’m not mistaken, however, our nutjobs’ numbers seem to be dwindling.

  101. 101
    Dave says:

    @Corner Stone: This I agree completely with. Security guys, at any level, always think they are the thin line between chaos and evil etc etc. Probably the large majority would never conceptulize themselves as tools of plutocracy or any such;of course they may in practice be but probably would never admit that to themselves. And they are vulnerable to extreme confirmation bias and it sucks at recruiting, retaining, and respecting operatives that don’t think in this narrow tracks. The world view should have a seat at the table but shouldn’t drive it. That said Snowden, Greenwald et al are shady as all get out. I don’t trust their motives and I think it’s foolish to combine reigning in the security apparatus and them in any way beyond the absolute minimal necessary. It would be the same as hitching say income inequality to John Edwards probably worse given where Snowden may end up. While personal shadiness doesn’t mean the issues aren’t legitimate in practical terms it leaves an issue DOA. And from a practical political point any significant public role backs need to include congress and both parties. I’m not willing to endure another twenty or thirty years of conservative dominance because of a demagogued incident for for an issue that isn’t as important to me as say climate change or income inequality, racism et al. That’s my ranking of importance

  102. 102
    Dave says:

    @Corner Stone: This I agree completely with. Security guys, at any level, always think they are the thin line between chaos and evil etc etc. Probably the large majority would never conceptulize themselves as tools of plutocracy or any such;of course they may in practice be but probably would never admit that to themselves. And they are vulnerable to extreme confirmation bias and it sucks at recruiting, retaining, and respecting operatives that don’t think in this narrow tracks. The world view should have a seat at the table but shouldn’t drive it. That said Snowden, Greenwald et al are shady as all get out. I don’t trust their motives and I think it’s foolish to combine reigning in the security apparatus and them in any way beyond the absolute minimal necessary. It would be the same as hitching say income inequality to John Edwards probably worse given where Snowden may end up. While personal shadiness doesn’t mean the issues aren’t legitimate in practical terms it leaves an issue DOA. And from a practical political point any significant public role backs need to include congress and both parties. I’m not willing to endure another twenty or thirty years of conservative dominance because of a demagogued incident for for an issue that isn’t as important to me as say climate change or income inequality, racism et al. That’s my ranking of importance

  103. 103
    Corner Stone says:

    @Dave: This is a prime example of the kind of nonsense I was disparaging. Thanks.

  104. 104
    MDC says:

    @burnspbesq:

    No sale. Farrell has no idea what he’s talking about.

    Neither do you, dpm.

    Wow, what a great point-by-point refutation of Farrell’s detailed argument. I’m convinced.

  105. 105
    Corner Stone says:

    At this point, should I give more weight to what President Obama says, his hand picked committee review says, the objective PCLOB’s report, what ACLU has alleged the whole time, or some dude says?

  106. 106
    Corner Stone says:

    @MDC: That was actually one of bursnpbesq’s more devastating critiques. I can’t believe you would dare to refute it.

  107. 107
    Socoolsofresh says:

    Had to come back to see what these hardline partisans felt about this report. Nope, still won’t admit that they were totally wrong. Still on this ‘I’m gonna blame all of this on two guys being scumbags” craziness, Love how Mnemosyne still has insane conspiracy theories about those two dudes, and still uses her commonly used tactic of asking any critic a question of what they think some obscure word means and then descending down the rat hole of obscure minutiae to distract from the real issue.

    You guys in 10 years are going to look like the Pro-Apartheid dead enders of the 80’s, on the wrong side of history. Just cause you wanted so hard to let the government have the ability to spy on you for, what exactly?

    Because you don’t want the person you donated time and money to, the president, or his party, for them to look bad. For if they look bad, this means the nation will turn into a hell of red state crazy conservatism. And you are convinced this is the only way these things play out, Okay there..

  108. 108
    Jim Foolish Literalist says:

    @Socoolsofresh: Yup. Apartheid was just like the collection of meta-data about cell phone calls.

  109. 109
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jim Foolish Literalist: Thank you for perfectly illustrating the comment.

  110. 110
    Corner Stone says:

    The entire basis of the BJ Sophisticates is that at heart, they believe “I trust our guy.”
    And so when report after report after report comes out, they can’t stand to just stay in the narrow lane of what the reports say. They absolutely have to pretzel into how much of an asshole GG is and how shady as fuck Putin…oh, sorry…Snowden is.

  111. 111
    Jim Foolish Literalist says:

    @Corner Stone: what, that the poster is a fucking moron? That point didn’t need to be made. I was just laughing at an idiot who so nicely demonstrates the Cluelessness of the White Suburban Dude-Bro*

    I actually think the whole system needs to be revised, I think that’s Congress’s job, but I can’t quite work myself into a state of righteous hysteria over these revelations. The report shows that the program is not productive, it doesn’t show any evidence that the program has been abused.

    I actually don’t give a fuck about Glenn Greenwald, but he is a useful idiot for his opponents, because he is such a screechy, self-righteous asshole.

  112. 112
    Suffern ACE says:

    Has it at least led to a wrongful conviction? Surely it must have led to a wrongful conviction.

  113. 113
    muricafukyea says:

    lol…phone it in muckymux on the only stuff he doesn’t phone in which is his obsession with Snowden and NSA porn

    So funny considering he only posted 2 sentences when Obama make a big long speech with actual facts and stuff. Things muckymux is clearly not interested in. Only stuff posted on theguardian via reddit.

  114. 114
    different-church-lady says:

    @Jim Foolish Literalist: I believe the correct term here is “Hoekstroika”

  115. 115
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone:

    They’re still fucking breathing, aren’t they?

    For now, but just wait ’til Obama gets his hands on them!

  116. 116

    @Corner Stone: Well, we shall see. His resume reads like a CIA agent’s.

    So what has Snowden accomplished? He’s knocked down Obama’s popularity numbers. Has he revealed anything that wasn’t already on the record? Not much. Will his “act of courage” change anything? Not as long as the Republican Party exists (and I include Blue Dogs in that).

    As I said in another comment above, I’d like to see the x-rays of his legs. Notice how bad actors with intelligence connotations always seem to get early discharges? LH Oswald got out of the Marines on a bogus claim that his ill mother needed him, then immediately defected to the Soviet Union. Timmy McVeigh “washed out” of Special Forces and then became a right-wing bomber. Now we have a guy who “breaks his legs” in Special Forces and ends up actually working for the CIA. He spent his entire adult life working in intelligence-related jobs. The story of him not being thoroughly vetted begs the question, “Not thoroughly vetted for which job? All of them?”

  117. 117
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jim Foolish Literalist: No, jerk ass. You’re stupidly signaling in “apartheid” as if that was the actual argument being made.
    Listen. I get it. There are a bunch of fucking Capt Mnemos here, all determined to rabbit hole anyone who says any god damned thing they disagree with.
    But how’s about you not try that bullshit.
    Glad you’re not hysterical about anything. That’s a help.

  118. 118
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bob In Portland: I don’t know. Maybe probably he’s from Kolob? Or possibly definitely he had to be from Kolob?
    You’ve been on the Glenn Beckian edge of ridiculous irresponsible edge describing Snowden.
    Of course, we can’t “prove” he’s an agent from Kolob. But,…should we so easily dismiss it?

  119. 119
    Corner Stone says:

    @Suffern ACE: It will. Right after we jail some Banksters.

  120. 120
    mclaren says:

    Time for Martin to repeat his Big Lie that Ed Snowden is a “paid Chinese operative.”

    Tell your military-industrial handlers that they need to hand you bigger brown bags of cash, Martin. You just haven’t been incentivized enough to tell convincing lies.

  121. 121
    Jim Foolish Literalist says:

    @Corner Stone: I’d argue, but you’re so incoherent it’s like cloud punching.

  122. 122
    sneezy says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Also, my assumption has been that Snowden was a Chinese spy…

    If he were a Chinese spy, he would not have had his coming-out party in Hong Kong. When he appeared in Hong Kong, he was as much a surprise to the Chinese as to everyone else. They viewed him, above all else, as a very hot potato to get rid of as soon as possible.

  123. 123
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jim Foolish Literalist: I think you mean you would argue, but you have no argument. Here’s you:

    The report shows that the program is not productive, it doesn’t show any evidence that the program has been abused.

    I actually don’t give a fuck about Glenn Greenwald, but he is a useful idiot for his opponents, because he is such a screechy, self-righteous asshole.

    The report from the PCLOB determined this:
    Watchdog Report Says N.S.A. Program Is Illegal and Should End
    Now, we could watch you argue that illegal does not = abuse, which would be amusing by itself, but we’re too busy watching you screech about Greenwald instead.

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