If You Aren’t Doing Anything Wrong…

Unless of course you are a Muslim-American:

The National Security Agency and FBI have covertly monitored the emails of prominent Muslim-Americans—including a political candidate and several civil rights activists, academics, and lawyers—under secretive procedures intended to target terrorists and foreign spies.

According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the list of Americans monitored by their own government includes:

• Faisal Gill, a longtime Republican Party operative and one-time candidate for public office who held a top-secret security clearance and served in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush;

• Asim Ghafoor, a prominent attorney who has represented clients in terrorism-related cases;

• Hooshang Amirahmadi, an Iranian-American professor of international relations at Rutgers University;

• Agha Saeed, a former political science professor at California State University who champions Muslim civil liberties and Palestinian rights;

• Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the country.

***

The five Americans whose email accounts were monitored by the NSA and FBI have all led highly public, outwardly exemplary lives. All five vehemently deny any involvement in terrorism or espionage, and none advocates violent jihad or is known to have been implicated in any crime, despite years of intense scrutiny by the government and the press. Some have even climbed the ranks of the U.S. national security and foreign policy establishments.

“I just don’t know why,” says Gill, whose AOL and Yahoo! email accounts were monitored while he was a Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates. “I’ve done everything in my life to be patriotic. I served in the Navy, served in the government, was active in my community—I’ve done everything that a good citizen, in my opinion, should do.”

You can start the usual excuses for this now, although y’all might have to come up with something better than “dudebro” or the usual “this is only something white libertarians care about” horseshit that some of you trot out regularly.

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243 replies
  1. 1
    Davebo says:

    A link to the story would be useful.

  2. 2
    raven says:

    @Davebo: Um, the blue text in the first sentence.

  3. 3
    Hope08 says:

    If you’re tired of being called out for white libertarian male dudebroness, then stop acting every bit like the stereotype. After a weekend where cops were killing kids in Detroit, you choose to focus on THIS?

    Sorry, but some of us don’t have the privilege to live in a Brazilian mansion while trying to de-legitimize the first black president. If you don’t think this would be much worse under a President Maro Rubio, then you’re a fool, and shame on you for trying to help elect him in 2016 with this Greenwaldian nonstory.

  4. 4
    elftx says:

    Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain have been doing an AMA on Reddit if anyone is interested

  5. 5
    Davebo says:

    Wasn’t there on my first load I swear.

  6. 6
    Glocksman says:

    Perhaps I’m old fashioned and believe in that outdated ‘unreasonable search’ bit in the 4th amendment, but I don’t believe that an Arabic or Persian last name qualifies as proof to enable a search.

    Sure, if there were any preexisting evidence of supporting terrorism, the Government has the ability to present it to a judge and get a warrant.

    Absent that, this is total BS.

  7. 7
    Rob in CT says:

    @Hope08:

    Is this a parody attempt? Because I can’t tell.

    Is there a lefty version of Poe’s Law?

  8. 8
    Chyron HR says:

    The spreadsheet shows 7,485 email addresses listed as monitored between 2002 and 2008.

    If someone pointed out that this was prior to the tyrannical reign of Obamus Maximus, would Greenwald come up with something better than “You’re homophobic!” or the usual “mindlessly worshiping Dear Leader” horseshit that he trots out regularly?

  9. 9
    raven says:

    There were already people lined up to jump off the Golden Gate. These two posts ought to push em over!

  10. 10

    @Hope08: You are an absolute moron. Obviously I am not pro shooting kids, and in an 8500 word piece that I linked, the word Obama is used ONCE, in this sentence:

    “A former Justice Department official involved in FISA policy in the Obama Administration says the process contains too many internal checks and balances to serve as a rubber stamp on surveillance of Americans. ”

    That is it. You can not possibly be this stupid.

  11. 11
    Someguy says:

    * They could have been terrorists. All of them moose limbs.

    * Greenwald wrote it. Ergo it’s wrong.

    * We can’t erode these surveillance programs. They are going to be needed to stop the Teahadists.

    * Bush did it. It’s not Obama’s fault. If some things are ongoing… well, Obama probably didn’t know about them.

    * Whatever. Want a delicious piece of pie?

  12. 12
    pamelabrown53 says:

    Hey Dudebro aka, our blog dominatrix, Is there a reason you can’t stretch a little and provide us with a link?.

  13. 13
    japa21 says:

    So this is a story about something that happened under Bush when we already knew his adminsitration was doing a lot of this stuff. No indication that there is anything like it going on now. Yes, way down in the article, GG mentions when it occurs, you know, long affter most people have stopped reading, as is his usual MO.

    This story is totally irrelevant to today.

  14. 14
    Ramalama says:

    @elftx: It’s a pretty good read. And a smart move to get people to read the tomb quickly so people can ask them questions.

  15. 15
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @raven: Thanks raven for the info. Too often I see our blog dominatrix just trolling us and playing hide the salami.

  16. 16
    Cacti says:

    @Someguy:

    Bush did it. It’s not Obama’s fault

    I know you’re trying to be hipster funny about the above, but the named persons were monitored between 2002 and 2008.

    Damned pesky dates.

  17. 17
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    “I’ve done everything in my life to be patriotic. I served in the Navy, served in the government, was active in my community—I’ve done everything that a good citizen, in my opinion, should do.”

    If you’re a Muslim you’re not a citizen. That’s what the teabaggers tell me, anyway. Case closed.

  18. 18
    Cacti says:

    It really is shameful that the POTUS Cole and Greenwald used to support was using the NSA for untoward purposes from 2002 to 2008.

  19. 19
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @John (MCCARTHY) Cole:

    …the word Obama is used ONCE…

    Right.

    What it doesn’t say is that it seems that these men weren’t spied upon by the NSA under the Obama administration. And let’s look at the headline:

    Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On

    That’s not ‘Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Were Spying On Between 2002 and 2008’. Nope. Greenwald’s headline implies an ongoing action. Typical Greenwaldian obfuscation. Why highlight for clarity when clarity is at odds with the politics of the author? Thus always the propagandist…

  20. 20
    Comrade Dread says:

    Congress and W. wanted the NSA and CIA to protect us all and most of us acquiesced.

    Congress either hasn’t done a particularly good job at policing the intel community or continues to support its methods and the FISA court is a dubious watchdog at best.

    Spying on someone’s communications without a warrant isn’t good. That said, I’m not sure that collecting metadata should be considered spying if it was collected incidentally and not used.

    That said again, Congress should do a damn better job providing oversight and folks should pressure their congressmen to do so. I do not expect this to happen.

    And once again, I will say that feeling this way does not absolve Edward Snowden of his actions especially with regards to travelling with classified documents to foreign places. Nor does it mean that all of Greenwald’s hyperbolic articles, blog posts, and inferences he draws about the intel folks are gospel truth and should be read as such.

    So how’s about we just focus on getting Congress to provide some more oversight and pass some limits on what the intel folks can do taking into account our right to privacy vs. the need to provide security and construct a more reliable enforcement apparatus and oversight court than we have now?

    Everyone okay with that?

  21. 21
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Someguy: Pecan…or maybe peach pie works for me.

    At any rate, your comment just adds heat, not light. After 9/11, our fear made us stupid. How can we move on to a rational conversation re: solutions, despite John Cole reducing this to ?

  22. 22
    Quicksand says:

    Look forward, not back! Let bygones be bygones! Water under the bridge! Everybody knows this was going on! If you’re surprised by this then you’re the idiot! Elections have consequences!

    I swear, sometimes I just dont

  23. 23
    dslak says:

    It’s obvious the NSA stopped collecting data on people just for being Muslim after 2008, and will never do so again under any other president. So can we now talk about something other than white people problems?

  24. 24
    Roger Moore says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    That’s not ‘Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Were Spying On Between 2002 and 2008′.

    Actually, it ought to be “Meet the Muslim-American Leaders whose email the FBI was reading, probably with a warrant, between 2002 and 2008”. The FBI was listed as the agency doing the actual monitoring for all the men in this case, and given that this was from the “FISA recap”, there’s good reason to think this was done with approval from the FISA court.

    That’s not to say it was all fine and dandy. The article does point out that some of the FBI agents who claim to have been involved clearly hated Muslims with an irrational passion, and the monitoring of a lawyer defending terrorism suspects stinks to high heaven. But are issues with the FISA process rather than a general sign that the government is spying on people illegally. IOW, the problem isn’t that the government was doing something illegal but that it was doing something that should have been illegal.

  25. 25
    kindness says:

    We haven’t had a decent Sully rant in a while. I will start.

    Remember when the Hobby Lobby case was announced a week ago? Sully in his own (twisted version of moral) inimicable way supported the courts in siding with Hobby Lobby. Said it wasn’t right to make good God fearing folk pay for something they had paid for forever till a black Kenyan ran the joint. None the less, pissed me off enough to e-mail him. I told him if he thought this case was going to close at contraception and that it wasn’t going to slide down the slippery slope of religious objections to all things Sully reveres like gays being able to marry he was nuts. Well, he sent me back a very nice e-mail explaining how this was a narrow ruling and it couldn’t possibly affect anything but this case. Well, come Thursday I turned out to be pretty prophetic (if only I was that good on Lotto) and today Sully is out saying nothing bad is going to happen, we crazy libs are hyperventilating (re the Kansas God-botherers).

    I swear to the FSM, you try to help some people and they turn around, spit on you and call you stupid. When they are (within 2 days) shown the error of their judgement they then go on about how correct they are. Go figure.

    Sometimes Karma is a bitch. Just wish I understood the mechanisms better.

  26. 26
    Cacti says:

    The most informative passage of the story is found in the 8th paragraph:

    Given that the government’s justifications for subjecting Gill and the other U.S. citizens to surveillance remain classified, it is impossible to know why their emails were monitored, or the extent of the surveillance. It is also unclear under what legal authority it was conducted, whether the men were formally targeted under FISA warrants, and what, if anything, authorities found that permitted them to continue spying on the men for prolonged periods of time.

    If you can’t provide answers or context to any of the above, what exactly are you objecting to?

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:

    @japa21:

    So this is a story about something that happened under Bush when we already knew his adminsitration was doing a lot of this stuff. No indication that there is anything like it going on now.

    A mere tiny detail — if it happened under Bush, it must still be happening under Obama, because they’re exactly the same!
    /firebagger

    According to the NSA spreadsheet, Gill’s surveillance was terminated in February 2008.

    During the time he was monitored, from March 2005 until at least March 2008—at which point the NSA spreadsheet indicates that his surveillance was “sustained” for an unspecified period—Ghafoor was personally suing the government over its prior, illegal surveillance of his own communications.

    According to the NSA spreadsheet, the agency’s surveillance of Saeed began in June 2007 and was still sustained as of May 2008.

    Interesting termination dates on all of those. Also fascinating that in 2012, Snowden couldn’t pull any documents showing this supposedly ongoing surveillance with dates later than 2008.

    I can’t imagine why anyone would think that Greenwald and Snowden are trying to stir up lefty distrust of Obama. That’s just crazy talk.

  28. 28
    FlipYrWhig says:

    “Monitored” is doing a lot of work here. (Then add “covertly” to get something even more sinister.) Is “monitored” the same as what most other stories on this stuff call “targeted”? I’m assuming not, or the story would say “targeted.” Are the people being “covertly monitored” covered by the same process the Gellman story called “inadvertent”?

    What (I think) we know about surveillance practices is that there is a list of “targets” that, in the course of their being surveilled (I hate that non-word, but, whatever), lead to “two hops” worth of information being gathered: so, the targets’ associates’ associates. This story suggests that decent Muslim American people have been caught in that dragnet. I imagine that a large number of decent non-Muslim American people have been caught in that dragnet as well. That’s why there were practices of “minimization” instituted, as in the Gellman story: names being masked from the archive.

    The choice of words — “monitoring” rather than “targeting” in particular, but other flourishes besides — has my hackles raised and my Spidey-sense tingling. I also don’t know if it reveals the government singling out Muslims, or whether it’s a story whose hook happens to be “Muslim Americans,” IOW, that it made a better story to highlight respectable Muslim Americans rather than any other kinds of people whose communications were collected.

  29. 29
    Roger Moore says:

    @kindness:

    if only I was that good on Lotto

    The hacks on the Supreme Court are a lot more predictable.

  30. 30
    Cacti says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Interesting termination dates on all of those. Also fascinating that in 2012, Snowden couldn’t pull any documents showing this supposedly ongoing surveillance with dates later than 2008.

    The dog ate them, along with his intra-agency whistleblowing communications.

  31. 31
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dslak:

    It’s obvious the NSA stopped collecting data on people just for being Muslim after 2008, and will never do so again under any other president.

    Great, so let’s have Congress change the law. It’s obvious now that under the current laws, the executive can collect as much or as little information as s/he wants because Congress has allowed it. There’s no point in having the executive branch change their policy because, like the global gag rule, it will just get changed back again.

    Congress need to do their fucking jobs and change the law. Do you agree?

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cacti:

    Like I just said at #31, what this drip-drip-drip is saying to me is that there’s no point in yelling at Obama and demanding that he change executive branch policies, because it won’t solve the problem. All it would do is leave the whole apparatus in place for a less-scrupulous president to exploit as s/he pleases.

    Congress has to fix this. There is no other option.

  33. 33
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @dslak: It actually doesn’t say they were being “monitored” “just for being Muslim.” It says that they were monitored (whatever that means–it’s not the usual terminology in these stories) and that they were Muslim. Given the finesse around “targeting” that Cacti flagged, I’m still dubious about whether what we’re being told we’re looking at is actually what we’re looking at.

  34. 34
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @dslak:

    It’s obvious the NSA stopped collecting data on people just for being Muslim after 2008, and will never do so again under any other president.

    You can use a hammer to build a house that keeps the residents warm and dry. If so inclined, you can also use a hammer to murder someone. Keep the hammers out of the hands of psychopaths and sociopaths- don’t vote ’em in as POTUS twice.

  35. 35
    Kropadope says:

    @Mnemosyne: Congress, what’s that? /LowInfoVoter

  36. 36
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Quicksand:

    I swear, sometimes I just dont read the article in question.

    FTFY.

    John if you think too few here take the NSA scandal seriously it’s because of stupid crap like this. Muslims were spied on! From 2002-2008! And than suddenly they weren’t for some reason! Jeez.

  37. 37
    dslak says:

    @Mnemosyne: I agree. I just think the “Well, it’s over now, so what’s the worry?” chorus is being a bit naive.

  38. 38
    Quicksand says:

    @A Humble Lurker:

    And than suddenly they weren’t for some reason!

    [citation needed]

  39. 39
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mnemosyne: Great, so let’s have Congress change the law

    No, no, let’s have no discussion of legislation or solutions. Let’s sanctimonious, self-aggrandizing posturing and a grand circular poo-fling! From the OP down to the 700th comment!

  40. 40
    Kropadope says:

    @Quicksand:

    [citation needed]

    How about the very article Cole used as a source for this post??? :::facepalm:::

  41. 41
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Quicksand:
    Thanks for proving me right. More so.

  42. 42
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Quicksand:

    The article indicates that the surveillance of all of the subjects discussed in the article ended in 2008. If you have contrary evidence, please present it. You’d think Snowden would have grabbed more current information if it was available, but maybe he just got busy, right?

  43. 43
    Rex Everything says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Snowden couldn’t pull any documents showing this supposedly ongoing surveillance with dates later than 2008.

    Do you think that maybe…just maybe…this shows he has some other goal than the delegitimization of the first black president?

  44. 44
    askew says:

    @Rex Everything:

    I think this just confirms that he is doing this to delegitimize the first black president. Otherwise, why are Snowden and Greenwald smearing Obama with acts committed under Bush?

  45. 45
    Quicksand says:

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. This really isn’t that tricky.

    It is not at all clear what happened after 2008.

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Do you think that maybe…just maybe…this shows he has some other goal than the delegitimization of the first black president?

    Actually, no, it would seem to me that it shows the opposite: he desperately wanted to show that Obama is just as bad as Bush, but the evidence wasn’t there, so he decided to raise a bunch of smoke instead. It’s worked with quite a few people on the left, too, because most people here seem to be absolutely convinced that Obama is doing the exact same things Bush was, so evidence from the Bush years is more than enough to show that Obama is spying on everyone, too.

    ETA: See the comment right above this one. The fact that the evidence trail stops in 2008 is just more proof that Obama is doing the same things Bush was.

  47. 47
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Rex Everything: Why would a writer choose to open a story by writing “have covertly monitored,” as though it were ongoing, when other references to the same events say “were monitored,” past tense, do you think?

  48. 48
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Quicksand: And I think this is fair: the docs end in 2008, so the story rightly should only go as far as its evidence allows. But why then “have monitored” at the beginning and not “monitored,” which also omits a needless word?

  49. 49
    Rex Everything says:

    @Mnemosyne: Seriously, you guys are totally paranoid. Do you interpret reports about the COINTEL program as slams against the Kennedy-Johnson admins?

  50. 50
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Chyron HR: Yeah, that was where people posting this lose credibility. I’m surprised Greenwald even printed that. Figured he’d make people go hunt for it.

  51. 51
    Quicksand says:

    Does “I have eaten peaches” imply that I am eating peaches right now?

  52. 52
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @askew: This time around I don’t see “smearing Obama” per se, but I do see a lack of clarity that creates a certain impression of ongoing-ness that exceeds the information shared. Given the pattern, that feels deliberate, not accidental.

  53. 53
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Quicksand:

    Does “I have eaten peaches” imply that your co-worker is eating peaches right now?

  54. 54
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Quicksand: No, but if your goal is to characterize something that took place and then stopped, why not say “I ate peaches”?

  55. 55
    burnspbesq says:

    As usual, Greenie is telling less than the full story. Ben Wittes notes, quite correctly, that we know nothing of what was in the filings submitted to the FISA court that authorized the surveillance. And without that information, there is no basis on which to judge whether the surveillance made sense.

    http://www.lawfareblog.com/201.....ds-latest/

  56. 56
    askew says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    @askew: This time around I don’t see “smearing Obama” per se, but I do see a lack of clarity that creates a certain impression of ongoing-ness that exceeds the information shared. Given the pattern, that feels deliberate, not accidental.

    Given the pattern is the key. If this was the first time that Snowden and Greenwald had played fast and loose with facts to try to smear Obama, I’d give them the benefit of the doubt. But, this happens with almost every revelation they’ve released.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rex Everything:

    I know, it’s so weird to think that someone who took classified information about US electronic surveillance to China and Russia might have a motive other than pure idealism. I guess we’re just too cynical.

  58. 58
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Quicksand: If I say, “for twenty years I have sailed the sea,” do I most likely mean that I used to sail the sea and then stopped, or that I continue to sail the sea?

  59. 59
    Rex Everything says:

    Yeah, clearly by raising the issue of malfeasance circa 2002-2008, Snowden just shows how extra anti-Obama he is. He’s kicking dust, and hoping people don’t notice that Obama wasn’t president during those years.

    BUT FORTUNATELY he can’t outsmart the nitwits who comment here!

  60. 60
    burnspbesq says:

    @Glocksman:

    Sure, if there were any preexisting evidence of supporting terrorism, the Government has the ability to present it to a judge and get a warrant.

    Which, by all accounts, is exactly what happened.

  61. 61
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @burnspbesq: And we don’t even know if it was the “targeted” kind of surveillance or the “inadvertent” kind. And that distinction was key to the Gellman article (which was also out over its skis a bit IMHO). It should be key here.

  62. 62
    Rex Everything says:

    @Mnemosyne: Whereas if McCain were president Snowden would definitely have just fled to Toronto or Cancun or somewhere like that.

  63. 63
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    So how’s about we just focus on getting Congress to provide some more oversight and pass some limits on what the intel folks can do taking into account our right to privacy vs. the need to provide security and construct a more reliable enforcement apparatus and oversight court than we have now?

    Everyone okay with that?

    @Comrade Dread: Absolutely not, because Congress benefits from how things are now. They will make it far worse the first instant they think they can. I don’t know how you fix this – I freely admit that – but politely asking the people that set this monstrosity up in the first place isn’t going to work.

  64. 64
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Rex Everything: Snowden didn’t write the story. Greenwald did. He’s clever with the wordcraft. I want to know he’s not playing games.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Yeah, clearly by raising the issue of malfeasance circa 2002-2008, Snowden just shows how extra anti-Obama he is. He’s kicking dust, and hoping people don’t notice that Obama wasn’t president during those years.

    Some people right here in this thread seem to have not noticed that Obama was not in charge from 2002 to 2008, or have decided that it doesn’t matter because Obama=Bush so of course Obama must be doing the exact same things Bush was doing.

    And since Greenwald doesn’t get around to mentioning that this only applies to the years 2002 to 2008 until the 9th graf of the story, I suppose I can’t really blame people for getting all excited and not paying attention to niggling little details like that.

  66. 66
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Whereas if McCain were president Snowden would definitely have just fled to Toronto or Cancun or somewhere like that.

    Oh, sweetie. If McCain were president, Snowden wouldn’t have fled anywhere. He would still be happily working for CIA or Booz Allen today. Why would he feel the need to reveal anything if he knew the Right People were in charge?

  67. 67
    Kropadope says:

    @Quicksand: I love how this dude is simultaneously trying to argue that Greenwald wasn’t trying to lead people to believe this was an ongoing problem, then trying to argue that the facts in the article totally allow for this to be an ongoing problem.

  68. 68
    Rex Everything says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Greenwald did. He’s clever with the wordcraft.

    No he isn’t. Greenwald’s skill with the written word lies somewhere between J.K. Rowling’s and Stieg Larsson’s.

  69. 69
    Someguy says:

    @Cacti: Bush did it. It’s not Obama’s fault…
    I know you’re trying to be hipster funny about the above, but the named persons were monitored between 2002 and 2008. Damned pesky dates.

    Yeah, and we’ll pretend the fucking bulk metadata and prism monitoring of damn near everybody over the last 5 years just doesn’t exist.

    Damn pesky big picture.

  70. 70
    Rex Everything says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    If McCain were president, Snowden wouldn’t have fled anywhere. He would still be happily working for CIA or Booz Allen today. Why would he feel the need to reveal anything if he knew the Right People were in charge?

    You reasoning here constitutes the clearest example of the petitio principii fallacy I’ve seen in ages.

  71. 71
    Quicksand says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    If I say, “for twenty years I have sailed the sea,” do I most likely mean that I used to sail the sea and then stopped, or that I continue to sail the sea?

    I can’t tell! Sure, you could be speaking to your first mate at the helm.

    But if you’re telling me this in a bowling alley, then yeah, you probably stopped. “For twenty years I have sailed the sea, but now I am seeking investment in my sailorless boat venture.”

    But that’s exactly it — the present perfect suggests uncertainty in the timeframe, and not a single specific confined event.

  72. 72
    japa21 says:

    @Someguy: To the best of my knowledge the prism monitoring of damn near everybody over the last 5 years didn’t exist. At least there has been no evidence of it.

  73. 73
    Someguy says:

    @burnspbesq:
    Sure, if there were any preexisting evidence of supporting terrorism, the Government has the ability to present it to a judge and get a warrant. Which, by all accounts, is exactly what happened.

    Actually, no. If you read the article – I know it’s a lot to ask what with Greenwald having been excommunicated and all, to read his argument – it talks about how the judges are pretty much credulous and take everything that the FBI agents (or anybody else) says and often grant warrants on exceedingly flimsy grounds. FISA isn’t a 4th Amendment creature, it’s a statutory creature, and the allegation – anonymously sourced, not surprisingly – is that what is going into them isn’t anything we’d recognize as probable cause.

  74. 74
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Rex Everything: But he’s pretty good at creating an impression that goes beyond what he literally writes.

  75. 75
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rex Everything:

    I know you have a deep need to think that Edward Snowden is an innocent boy who accidentally discovered information and couldn’t figure out who to report it to, but it just doesn’t fit the known facts.

    It also cracks me up that people are deeply suspicious of the CIA unless we’re talking about former CIA employee Ed Snowden, who apparently is the one true and honest CIA employee out there.

  76. 76
    Rex Everything says:

    @Kropadope:

    I love how this dude is simultaneously trying to argue that Greenwald wasn’t trying to lead people to believe this was an ongoing problem, then trying to argue that the facts in the article totally allow for this to be an ongoing problem.

    Of course Greenwald thinks this is an ongoing problem. No one doubts that he thinks that. No one has denied it.

    You guys spend every thread saying Greenwald never points out abuses that happened under Bush. Then when he does, you simply shift gears & pretend he’s trying, somehow, to blame Obama for them.

    It’s farcical. It’s hilarious and appalling at the same time: you’ve created the Pink Flamingos of internet comment sections.

  77. 77
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Quicksand: This is getting into the weeds, but I think “For twenty years I have sailed the sea” suggests that you haven’t given up doing so. You could say “For twenty years I have sailed the sea, but now I’m thinking of giving it up.” But if you wanted to say that you had given it up, you should say “For twenty years I sailed the sea, but now I am hanging up my spyglass,” or something.

  78. 78
    Rex Everything says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I know you have a deep need to think that Edward Snowden is an innocent boy…

    I’m actually completely agnostic about Edward Snowden’s character. But I do recognize the mania for obsessing about it as what it is: servility to the power structure.

  79. 79
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Rex Everything: Greenwald’s skill with the written word lies somewhere between J.K. Rowling’s and Stieg Larsson’s.

    Okay, can we all agree that was funny?

  80. 80
    Kyle says:

    “I just don’t know why,” says Gill, whose AOL and Yahoo! email accounts were monitored while he was a Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates.

    Gee. maybe you should reconsider your enabling of rampant bigotry, parochialism and authoritarianism in being a Republican Party operative. I’m not going to say you deserve it, but you’re part of an organization that unapologetically cheerleads for racial discrimination and a Big Brother surveillance state, specifically against your ethnic group; you shouldn’t be so shocked when the bigotry they encourage gets turned on you despite how “special” and privileged you thought you were.

  81. 81
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Someguy: Didn’t you just concede that it’s happening with a warrant, just not the kind of warrant you like?

  82. 82
    Kropadope says:

    @Rex Everything: @Rex Everything:

    You guys spend every thread saying Greenwald never points out abuses that happened under Bush.

    No, just several years too late. Also, he is certainly trying to shift blame to Obama. He put the time frame deep in the article, used weasel-words to obscure the time frame further, and focused on a Republican-politician-as-victim. Quicksand, the actual target of my comment, is now in here saying the lack of evidence this continued after 2008 doesn’t mean it stopped (it doesn’t but it’s a pretty strong indication as Snowden acquired the data years later).

    Greenwald is a propagandist, nothing more. What’s worse, he’s derailing any actual debate on how to rein in the NSA.

  83. 83
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Rex Everything: You don’t find it at least slightly curious that he doesn’t mention the timeline near the beginning of the story? It’s not like that’s immaterial.

  84. 84
    Rex Everything says:

    @Kropadope:

    Greenwald is a propagandist, nothing more.

    Sure. But for what cause, in your opinion, does he propogandize?

  85. 85
    japa21 says:

    @Rex Everything: Not sure Greenwald thinks this is an ongoing problem. He may well be aware it isn’t. But he wants people to believe it is an ongoing problem. That is obvious from the way he presents the story.

    And it is totally insulting to state that questioning the character or motivation of either Snowden or Greenwald is “servility to the power structure.”

    Many have stated, while questioning much of what the two have put out there, that we do need to take a close look at what NSA and other agencies do, make sure safeguards are in place, limit what they can do, etc. It is just very hard to have a legitimate discussion of such things when whatever GG puts out there is met with hysterical acceptance.

  86. 86
    Kropadope says:

    @Rex Everything: Well, the only thing he’s succeeding at is delegitimizing NSA reformers. I suppose his propaganda’s goal is the perpetuation of the surveillance state.

  87. 87
    Cacti says:

    @japa21:

    To the best of my knowledge the prism monitoring of damn near everybody over the last 5 years didn’t exist. At least there has been no evidence of it.

    You’re totes harshing his ragegasm.

  88. 88
    Rex Everything says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    You don’t find it at least slightly curious that he doesn’t mention the timeline near the beginning of the story? It’s not like that’s immaterial.

    It’s not really central to the story, unless of course you’re obsessed with the possibility of a stain on your precious image of an Obama without spot or blemish.

    No one but you really gives such a shit who was president. Again, do you consider all discussion of COINTELPRO to be a slam on Camelot/the Great Society?

  89. 89
    Cacti says:

    @Kropadope:

    I suppose his propaganda’s goal is the perpetuation of the surveillance state.

    Nah, his propaganda’s goal is to put $$$ in the pocket of Glenn Greenwald.

  90. 90
    Rex Everything says:

    @japa21:

    And it is totally insulting to state that questioning the character or motivation of either Snowden or Greenwald is “servility to the power structure.”

    Oh, come on. When someone shines a light on hitherto opaque functions of power, the first thing the powerful try to do is to get everyone discussing the “motivations” of the guy shining that light. “What a strange person! Now why would he do that? Must be some kind of eccentric, or a yahoo with nefarious aims…” They always do it. And any fool can see why.

  91. 91
    Kropadope says:

    @Rex Everything:

    It’s not really central to the story, unless of course you’re obsessed with the possibility of a stain on your precious image of an Obama without spot or blemish.

    Obama’s certainly not perfect on this issue. He’s better than most, however, and Greenwald has a consistent pattern of fudging facts to try to prove otherwise.

    @Cacti: Lining his own pocket is surely a welcome added benefit.

  92. 92
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Rex Everything: I think his agenda is to expose the intrusiveness of the US government. I’ll give him credit for that. I think that he thinks that cause is so important that he’s willing to be, ah, let’s say “crafty” in its service. Because he thinks the more he can make people worry, the more he can throw sand in the gears of the system. But I don’t find him trustworthy, and this goes way back, and I was probably too credulous when he was doing the same stuff against the Bush Administration — although I think he’s raised it to a new level since Obama took over.

  93. 93
    Rex Everything says:

    @Kropadope: Oh, I see. So I can file this one with that link you guys cite as proof of Greenwald’s libertarianism—the one where he denies, in the plainest terms, that he’s a libertarian…

  94. 94
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Rex Everything: My personal alarm bells went off at “monitored,” because that’s already an unspoken change from other stories on surveillance, including the Barton Gellman one, but there’s no reason to say “have… monitored” instead of “monitored” unless you want to create an initial impression of ongoing activity. And it worked, on, among others, John Cole when he posted this.

  95. 95
    Rex Everything says:

    @FlipYrWhig: As I said before: Of course Greenwald thinks this is an ongoing problem. No one doubts that he thinks that. No one has denied it.

    “This is an ongoing problem” is a totally different statement than “Obama is to blame.”

  96. 96
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Rex Everything: Also, sometimes when a person is a self-serving dipshit, he says, “Hey, I’m just shining a light on hitherto opaque functions of power!” And that way he gets people to rush to defend him, for instance, by saying that calling out his self-serving dipshittery is “servility to the power structure.”

  97. 97
    Kropadope says:

    @Rex Everything: If you have a better theory as to why he’s trying to mislead people and targets the reformers more fiercely than the promoters, I’m all ears.

  98. 98
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Rex Everything: It doesn’t seem to help his cause that “this is an ongoing problem” when the specific problem he can document is confined to the past.

    ETA: I suppose it depends on what “this” is. Surveillance being conducted too widely? OK, that could be ongoing. Whatever was happening here, which is still unclear due to the writer’s not having uncovered whether it was sanctioned or, if so, by what authority, doesn’t establish that at all.

  99. 99
    Rex Everything says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Yeah. Right on. FIGHT the POWER, motor scooter. You won’t be taken in by these wacky screwballs and nutjobs, not with as realistic a sense of cui bono? as you obviously possess.

    I’m out for now. Thanks for the lulz, folks. Nobody can top you.

  100. 100
    Kropadope says:

    @Rex Everything:

    I’m out for now. Thanks for the lulz, folks. Nobody can top you.

    Translation, challenge not accepted.

  101. 101
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Rex Everything: Do you think it would be hunky-dory if Greenwald wrote a story that began “The National Security Agency and FBI have covertly monitored the communications of prominent anti-government activists—including senators, civil rights leaders, intellectuals, and celebrities—under secretive procedures,” and then, you know, a few paragraphs later, added in passing that he was referring to COINTELPRO in the ’60s? Have monitored, used to monitor, still monitoring, whatever, no big.

  102. 102
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Rex Everything: Right, it’s NEVER HAPPENED that someone who did something stupid and/or illegal, or his friends afterwards, decided to style him as the hero of a larger cause for having done it, so that to attack him was really to demean that important cause.

  103. 103
    Cervantes says:

    @Hope08: Just curious: (how) do you distinguish between criticizing a president and delegitimizing a president?

  104. 104
    adepsis says:

    @Quicksand: The title of the article uses present perfect progressive – “…have been spying…” which by definition conveys past and current action.

  105. 105
    Cervantes says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Right, it’s NEVER HAPPENED [*] that someone [the NSA?] who did something stupid and/or illegal, or his friends [its allies?] afterwards, decided to style him [it?] as the hero of a larger cause for having done it, so that to attack him [the NSA?] was really to demean that important cause.

    Have I interpreted your [*] sarcasm correctly?

  106. 106
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Again, do you consider all discussion of COINTELPRO to be a slam on Camelot/the Great Society?

    You have heard of J. Edgar Hoover, right? It would be pretty dishonest to claim that a program that spanned the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations was the sole responsibility of any one of those presidents.

  107. 107
    JGabriel says:

    In other NSA news today, NY Times reports:

    For Mr. Obama and Ms. Merkel, the N.S.A. disclosures poisoned what had been one of the president’s closest relationships with a foreign leader. At a Group of 8 meeting in Camp David in 2012, Mr. Obama invited Ms. Merkel to linger after the other leaders left. At a state dinner a year earlier, she was serenaded by James Taylor singing, “You’ve Got a Friend.”

    … who listens in on your phone conversations, but not in a creepy stalkerish way, just in a foreign-gov’t intelligence agency way.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rex Everything:

    But I do recognize the mania for obsessing about it as what it is: servility to the power structure.

    Yes, a (purportedly former) CIA agent could never be part of the power structure, and the power structure would never, ever use a CIA agent to distract you. Good thinking there.

  109. 109
    Kropadope says:

    @Cervantes:

    (how) do you distinguish between criticizing a president and delegitimizing a president?

    Well, one major distinction would be if you are attacking that president based on one of the central rationales for supporting him. Obama ran on reforming national security policy to make it less intrusive, more transparent, fairer, et c.

    Now, it would be one thing if he were trying to do it in an honest manner. However, Obama and some members of Congress have made honest efforts at reform. Some valuable, some didn’t go far enough, but they have been trying. However, they have been stymied by the Security-above-all-else caucus. Greenwald has trained his fire almost exclusively on Obama and is typically dishonest in the way he does it.

  110. 110
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Of course Greenwald thinks this is an ongoing problem. No one doubts that he thinks that. No one has denied it.

    And yet he has failed to provide evidence that this is an ongoing problem. That’s why he’s trying to pretend that surveillance that ended in 2008 is part of an ongoing problem — he doesn’t have any evidence to show otherwise.

    You guys spend every thread saying Greenwald never points out abuses that happened under Bush. Then when he does, you simply shift gears & pretend he’s trying, somehow, to blame Obama for them.

    Yes, I can’t imagine why someone would think that a story headlined “Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On” would refer to current, ongoing surveillance when the story says in the 9th paragraph that the headlined surveillance ended in 2008.

    Maybe it’s all a grammar problem, and Greenwald didn’t realize that he should have said “Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Were Spying On.”

  111. 111
    Mnemosyne says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Interestingly, someone pointed that out about the smallpox story from a few days ago — the opening paragraph was all about yet another breach in safety at the CDC, but the vials had probably been there for 40 or 50 years and were no more dangerous the day they were discovered than they had been in the previous decades they had been sitting there.

  112. 112
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cervantes: Both sides do it! I was thinking of Oliver North and Scooter Libby. It’s hardly unheard of for someone who did something illegal, or his or her associates, to say he did it to advance a laudable goal. I don’t think being a “whistleblower” inoculates you against all criticism because something something power structure.

  113. 113
    Corner Stone says:

    There is nothing better than this place when the smallest outside edge of Obama is anywhere near the horizon of a comment about executive overreach.

  114. 114
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: Linear time is a tool of the power structure, man.

  115. 115
    Betty Cracker says:

    Wouldn’t it be a crime to reveal names in ongoing surveillance cases or even inactive stuff that was recent enough to still be connected to live cases? I ask because GG was supposed to drop this “bombshell” awhile back but then put out a statement saying it was delayed because of last minute review requests, etc.

  116. 116
    Kropadope says:

    @Corner Stone: No, you misunderstand (shocker). It’s not that anyone is saying Obama is perfect. It is, as usual, that his critics are missing the mark.

  117. 117
    Cacti says:

    @JGabriel:

    So gathering intel on foreign governments isn’t a legitimate function of the NSA?

  118. 118
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: Meet the front pagers that have been posting on Balloon Juice: Freddie de Boer, E.D. Kain, and Bernard Finel.

  119. 119
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kropadope: Do you even read the stupid shit you post? Who claimed someone said Obama was perfect? Who criticized anyone for allegedly claiming Obama was perfect?

  120. 120
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Betty Cracker: That would be understandable. But there’s still a responsible way to write about the old story and perhaps about the meta aspects of a new story like that (if there is one), and playing around with tenses and fuzzing up the timelines ain’t it.

  121. 121
    Kropadope says:

    @Corner Stone: If you can’t derive the implications of what you posted, you’re every bit as stupid as I thought.

  122. 122
    AxelFoley says:

    You’re posting this Greenwald garbage about shit that happened under the Bush administration? Is there no depths you would go to stroke Greenwald’s dick, Cole?

  123. 123
    FlipYrWhig says:

    These auto-playing ads are KILLING ME

  124. 124
    Cervantes says:

    @FlipYrWhig: You’re making a serious point but it’s getting lost in my laughter upon seeing (1) the NSA and (2) North/Libby described as “both sides.”

  125. 125
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cervantes: Touche. But I thought all “both sides do it” lines were jokes now.

  126. 126
    Cacti says:

    @AxelFoley:

    You’re posting this Greenwald garbage about shit that happened under the Bush administration? Is there no depths you would go to stroke Greenwald’s dick, Cole?

    I’m still trying to figure out what Cole is kvetching about in his OP.

    The guy he voted for twice used the NSA to monitor 5 Americans of middle eastern ancestry for unspecified reasons.

    Okay, and?

    If the point is to convince that Dubya was a bad guy, most of us figured that out several years before our bloghost.

  127. 127
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cacti: The point is that Cole read the first line, got pissed at what he read, didn’t engage any critical filters, posted while saying preemptively that he wouldn’t listen to any discussion that followed, and… end scene. Scene 2: snarling. Scene 3: talking about brushing his frat boys or teaching his hyper dog to use cutlery or something.

  128. 128
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kropadope: If you can find any implication of an accusation of “perfect” in that completely circumscribed comment, you win the internets forever.

  129. 129
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Isn’t it just as likely that you tugged down the brim of your parsing hat and went to work trying to limit and/or mitigate?
    “Gotta go to work here, boys! There’s parsing to be done!”

    This is a straightforward story, not a treatise on linguistics or heuristics.

  130. 130
    Original Lee says:

    And somewhat off topic, but Corker has succeeded in making my blood boil in 10 seconds flat. During a committee hearing, he openly mocked Obama Administration officials over the Ukraine situation. Gee, dude, way to help Putin!

  131. 131
    Kropadope says:

    @Corner Stone: You reference some form of amusing reaction to be seen here anytime Obama is criticized. Stop being so obtuse/drunk/whatever.

  132. 132
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: The first thing I wanted to talk about was “monitoring.” But the decision to use wording that happens to suggest ongoing activity in both the title and the opening sentence, and to correct course afterwards, is hard to read as a style choice or a mistake.

  133. 133
    Corner Stone says:

    Sorry that 44 civil rights groups seem to have an issue with this information, and would like more details.
    “We call on your Administration to provide a full public accounting of these practices and to strengthen protections against the infringement of civil liberties and human rights.
    We also request a meeting with you,
    Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI director James Comey to discuss these matters.”
    But knowing the audience, I’m sure all of these groups somehow hate Obama and have no credibility.

  134. 134
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kropadope: Hey man, if you can’t read it’s not my problem.

  135. 135
    Kropadope says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    surveilled (I hate that non-word, but, whatever)

    Surveyed?

  136. 136
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I would be hard pressed to agree with anyone that these programs aren’t continuing to this very day.
    Why would we give the benefit of the doubt that they were quit? Because?
    US citizens are quite clearly being “monitored” or “targeted”, for any number of reasons, or no reason whatsoever. Your recent parsing effort to justify “minimization”, when that wasn’t what happened no matter what you and taylormattd kept trying to assert, is of a piece with your parsing efforts here to focus on a verb instead of something 44 civil rights groups didn’t stoop to parse.
    They are all wrong? Mostly wrong? Somewhat wrong? Possibly somewhat wrong? What words shall we use?

  137. 137
    Roger Moore says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Greenwald’s skill with the written word lies somewhere between J.K. Rowling’s and Stieg Larsson’s.

    In terms of wordsmithing, perhaps. In terms of believability, I think I like Rowling’s and Larsson’s fiction a lot better than Greenwald’s.

  138. 138

    @FlipYrWhig: Actually, I read the entire thing, which is what pissed me off. There was no mention of Obama, no attack on Obama, just more evidence that the national security state, which was around before Obama was even in law school, is out of control. Hell, how did you all miss this:

    Indeed, the government’s ability to monitor such high-profile Muslim-Americans—with or without warrants—suggests that the most alarming and invasive aspects of the NSA’s surveillance occur not because the agency breaks the law, but because it is able to exploit the law’s permissive contours. “The scandal is what Congress has made legal,” says Jameel Jaffer, an ACLU deputy legal director. “The claim that the intelligence agencies are complying with the laws is just a distraction from more urgent questions relating to the breadth of the laws themselves.”

    Man, you can just feel the seething anti-Obama hatred in his writing.

    THIS IS NOT ABOUT OBAMA. STOP MAKING IT ABOUT OBAMA. JEEBUS.

  139. 139
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: He could even say it happened and that it shows the kinds of practices that, even if they no longer persist in their specific form, his other reporting indicates are ongoing… or until recently were ongoing… or something of that nature. I might still kvetch about what he went on to do with his evidence, but it would be less openly misleading. I think it’s worthwhile to be vigilant for his “tells,” the signs that he’s saying less than it’s easy to think he is. Because he’s skilled at getting smart people to take his bait.

  140. 140
    EthylEster says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) wrote:

    And let’s look at the headline….

    Because I can’t recall if you are a knee-jerk GG basher (and thus are beyond help), I suggest you visit TPM to see regular violations of this type. Maybe it’s just me but it seems like that guy (Marshall) does this kind of crap frequently. I can’t figure out if he wants to be a real journalism site or just make a bunch of money off his blog, thus click-bait headlines (and nothing burger articles).

  141. 141
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @John (MCCARTHY) Cole: It’s not “about Obama,” but why the hell is he using present tense? I know Greenwald loves words, but the effect here is to create a distinct impression of ongoing activity _right at the beginning of the piece_. Why do you think he did that?

  142. 142
    Kropadope says:

    @John (MCCARTHY) Cole: Then why the burying of the time frame, the fear-mongering, the treating something everyone knew or should have known as news?

  143. 143
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @John (MCCARTHY) Cole: Not to mention, “with or without warrants”? He just slides that by? If it’s with a warrant, that’s a totally different story than if it’s without. You’re a smart guy, John, and you’re alert to language. Watch for these moments when the narrative takes a turn and the way it fits together goes all cattywampus.

  144. 144
    Kropadope says:

    Greenwald <3 surveillance

  145. 145
    Corner Stone says:

    I Am A Muslim-American Leader, and the NSA Spied On Me
    White people problems!

  146. 146
    Roger Moore says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Wouldn’t it be a crime to reveal names in ongoing surveillance cases or even inactive stuff that was recent enough to still be connected to live cases?

    It’s illegal for somebody who has a security clearance to disclose information they were given under that clearance. It’s illegal to try to break in and steal classified information, either physically or electronically. And a journalist can be jailed for refusing to cooperate with a federal investigation about who leaked information to them. But it’s actually legal for a news outfit to publish classified information if it has been leaked to them; that was a major outcome of the Pentagon Papers case.

  147. 147
    Kropadope says:

    @Corner Stone: Who’s claiming this is a white person problem? I haven’t seen that, though I have seen several attempts to dismiss people questioning GG’s motives by claiming they’re dismissing this a white person problems.

    Congratulations Corner Stone, you and Cole are coming around to the Republican position on reverse racism.

  148. 148
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kropadope: You have absolutely no idea where you are, do you?

  149. 149
    Roger Moore says:

    @John (MCCARTHY) Cole:
    The problem is that that stuff is buried deep inside the article. The whole inverted pyramid system of writing is that you’re supposed to put the most important part of the article at the top where people will read it first and the less important supporting details further down where people can read it if they have the time and inclination.

    By burying what you consider the important point- that this surveillance may be legal but shouldn’t be- deep in the article in favor of ZOMG look what the government has been doing sensationalism, Greenwald is either committing journalistic malpractice by burying the lede, or he is disagreeing with you about the important point of the article. And by quoting the sensationalistic parts, not bothering to point out the stuff buried deeper in the article that you think is so important until well after 100 comments, and blaming us for not getting the point, you’re being a lousy blogger.

  150. 150
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @japa21: Exactly, we knew that a good deal of that shit was going on (and guessed the rest) because of court cases and attempted prosecutions of people who gave to a certain charity they decided was terror linked based on info they never shared with the rest of the class, it was an ugly, ugly time.

    Where was Greenwald in 2006? I don’t remember him reporting on the Muslims facing down an out of control DOJ then?

    There’s a reason nobody jumps on these griftwald stories any more, Cole, it’s because like padawan pimpboy and his Lord Breitbart after getting fooled about 3 or 4 times everyone’s caught onto their shtick.

  151. 151
    Kropadope says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m on planet Earth and that puts me far, FAR away from you.

  152. 152
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Eh, his Patriot Act book probably applies. I don’t think he wasn’t talking about this stuff as it unfolded. That’s not my gripe, personally.

  153. 153
    rikyrah says:

    Wasn’t this under Shrub?

    Greenwald is a grifter, Plain and simple.

    Follow him if you want. Right over that cliff.

  154. 154
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Rex Everything: How is it begging the question to make a stupid wild assed guess that Ed Snowden, International Man of Misery would have kept banging his hot girlfriend and making the big bucks like a boss with a Republican president? I mean, we only have his own thoughts on the subject of espionage when a Republican was president. That’s not proof but you can’t go back and unpeel that particular orange so all we have is speculation. But with a sample size of one, Eddie Snowden hates spies when a white R is prez, and believes information wants to be free when a Black D is prez. Hmmmm.

  155. 155
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Roger Moore: And it’s another case where it’s not that hard to fix the language so it doesn’t have any of these problems. To wit:

    Newly disclosed documents reveal that between 2002 and 2008 the National Security Agency and FBI have covertly monitored the emails of prominent Muslim-Americans—including a political candidate and several civil rights activists, academics, and lawyers—under secretive procedures intended to target terrorists and foreign spies.

    You can then muckrake through the whole rest of the article and have the people who like your work disseminate it far and wide. They can demand that Obama and Congress fix it. They can shake their fists and vent their lungs. Whatever they like. But the fact that it was that easy not to write the story this way, but he did anyway, raises a whole host of questions about why. Especially because it ain’t like he’s some naif.

  156. 156
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Roger Moore: Okay, but isn’t it possible that even Glenn Satan Greenwald von Obamahater wouldn’t want to fuck up active NSA investigations into individuals under surveillance for unknown reasons — or at least avoid the opprobrium that would accrue from doing so?

    It makes sense to me that you’d focus on closed cases where the individual was innocent (or at least never charged) and the case was tidily wrapped up. At the very least, you’d worry less about your victims blowing up in your face. I don’t know — just throwing it out there as a possibility since everyone is focusing on the timeline.

  157. 157
    Mnemosyne says:

    @John (MCCARTHY) Cole:

    There is a mention of Obama:

    A former Justice Department official involved in FISA policy in the Obama Administration says the process contains too many internal checks and balances to serve as a rubber stamp on surveillance of Americans. But the former official, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about FISA matters, acknowledges that there are significant problems with the process. Having no one present in court to contest the secret allegations can be an invitation to overreach. “There are serious weaknesses,” the former official says. “The lack of transparency and adversarial process—that’s a problem.”

    And you may want to check out the comments over there if you’re convinced there’s absolutely no way that anyone could think the story had anything to do with Obama, because Greenwald’s commenters sure as hell disagree with you.

  158. 158
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Betty Cracker: I agree that that’s a possibility. But, again, there are ways to hint at that possibility, while also hewing more closely to what the documents you’re discussing actually reveal.

  159. 159
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @FlipYrWhig: ROFL because this is always how it goes down.

  160. 160
    Kropadope says:

    @Betty Cracker: If this were the case, couldn’t he specifically say that the timeframe for this racial profiling was longer, but there are names he is holding onto for security reasons?

  161. 161
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: I don’t have a problem with that part, except for how confusingly written it is: the Obama guy is saying that FISA isn’t a rubber stamp because there are “internal checks and balances.” “Too many… to serve as a rubber stamp” is supposed to be encouraging. It kind of reminds me of a record review that was in my high school newspaper, whose headline was “Springsteen Fails to Disappoint.”

  162. 162
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @FlipYrWhig: His blog was actually okay in 2006 but I do remember those days and he certainly wasn’t sticking his neck out over that particular issue. I think some people in academia especially on the Northeast Corridor got involved but it was an ugly time.

  163. 163
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mnemosyne: Regardless of whether or not the inclusion of those grafs was intended to implicate Obama, the official quoted is 100% correct. IIRC, among the reforms PBO proposed was to increase transparency and establish adversarial processes.

  164. 164
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @FlipYrWhig: ding ding ding

    It’s the difference between advocating for effective change — and trying to poison the well to make reform impossible.

  165. 165
    Roger Moore says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Okay, but isn’t it possible that even Glenn Satan Greenwald von Obamahater wouldn’t want to fuck up active NSA investigations into individuals under surveillance for unknown reasons — or at least avoid the opprobrium that would accrue from doing so?

    If Greenwald had more recent information than this, he could at least mention it, or use it as ammunition to ask questions of his sources so they would admit that this kind of thing is ongoing. But I strongly suspect that the kind of thing that is so attention getting in this article- investigating prominent American Muslims because of their religion and politics rather than because of any serious suspicion that they were terrorists- was actually getting shut down late in the Bush Administration and was never resurrected under Obama.

  166. 166
    Cassidy says:

    Another day of Cole being Greenwald’s ball washer. Gargle more cat lady!

  167. 167
    glasnost says:

    Jesus Christ, I don’t understand how this comment section is so freaking inane. The scope of NSA violations of civil liberties and unlawful surveillance of your communications is such a massive story that we’ve been getting weekly revelations for years at a time since Snowden. This is, more or less, one snowball in hell.

    Are we going to develop an elaborate mythology about Marcy Wheeler as well, or the EFF?

    Your observed priorities here seem to indicate that you think what really matters about the tools to politically ruin anyone the Cruz administration wants ruined in 2020 is whether Glenn Greenwald is honest.

    We learned *just last fucking week* that the NSA’s ‘overseas email’ database is 90% American citizens – is Bruce Schenier an anti-obama sabotage plot?

    https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2014/07/nsa_employee_fl.html

    To me, this particular story has very little to do with Obama – I have no evidence for or against whether it continued past 2008 – it’s just another reminder of how bad things got – and they’re still that bad, whether this particular disgrace is still happening or not! Absolutely *nothing* has been fixed legally. And if nobody even gives a damn on left comment sites, I guess it won’t take anything less than mass political incarceration.

    Of course, the NSA is already sharing this stuff with the FBI, so just give it time.

  168. 168
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    There is a mention of Obama:

    Yes, there is a non-criticizing and therefore irrelevant mention of Obama.

    Greenwald’s commenters sure as hell disagree with you.

    Even if true, so what? You don’t expect me to take your views as representative of Cole’s, so I’m sure you don’t expect me to take Greenwald’s commenters’ views as representative of his, either.

  169. 169
    Roger Moore says:

    @Kropadope:

    If this were the case, couldn’t he specifically say that the timeframe for this racial profiling was longer, but there are names he is holding onto for security reasons?

    He can’t do that. The strength of the reporting here is based around his ability to point to actual names and records so it’s absolutely clear that the surveillance is the result of profiling rather than legitimate security concerns. If he has names of people he knows are being spied on now (or at least were being spied on at the time Snowden was getting his material), he has to put up or shut up. If they’re really innocent, upstanding people who are being profiled, there should be no problem with revealing their names. To conceal their names to protect the ongoing surveillance is an admission that the surveillance is legitimate.

  170. 170
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Roger Moore: This story implies but actually doesn’t indicate that they were investigated because of their religion and politics. Putting this story together with the Gellman one from the other day leads me to suspect that these people were tagged as the _associates_ of people who were officially “targeted” by NSA, or those associates’ associates. They have a lot of overseas contacts because their work has to do with international issues, so, as that whole six degrees of separation thing proves, it’s pretty likely for a person who knows a person you know to turn out to be naughty or suspicious.

    There’s still a whole story to tell about how the NSA scrutinizes the social networks that radiate out from their surveillance targets, to the point where the dragnet is going to pull in upstanding citizens like these. And I think that’s a legitimate problem. But that’s not the story Greenwald told. He told a story about an intrusive, abusive, arbitrary surveillance state run amok and blacklisting its own citizenry, because that’s the story he sees everywhere.

  171. 171
    Cervantes says:

    @glasnost:

    is Bruce Schenier an anti-obama sabotage plot?

    He has been dismissed here as, inter alia, a “paranoid” blogger — so there’s that.

  172. 172
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    You don’t expect me to take your views as representative of Cole’s, so I’m sure you don’t expect me to take Greenwald’s commenters’ views as representative of his, either.

    Actually, I’m not taking his commenters’ views as representative of Greenwald’s views. I’m pointing out that it’s not just paranoid Obots who think this story is criticizing Obama — people commenting on the story at Greenwald’s place think it is, too (though they approve of the criticism).

    I know Greenwald and his supporters like to disingenuously claim that he never really comes right out and says that this stuff is still happening, but the implication is strong enough that multiple people are taking the same implication. So does that mean that Greenwald is a really crappy writer who keeps accidentally misleading people without meaning to, or is he doing it on purpose? Inquiring minds want to know.

  173. 173
    Mnemosyne says:

    @glasnost:

    The scope of NSA violations of civil liberties and unlawful surveillance of your communications is such a massive story that we’ve been getting weekly revelations for years at a time since Snowden.

    Snowden fled Hawaii for Hong Kong in May of 2013. I suppose that 1 year and 2 months technically counts as “years” since it’s slightly more than a single year, but “years at a time”? Really?

  174. 174
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @glasnost:

    We learned *just last fucking week* that the NSA’s ‘overseas email’ database is 90% American citizens

    No, we didn’t learn that. The Gellman story has a bunch of problems too. Mostly we learned that the NSA hoovers up a ton of crap, then takes the names of Americans out of it, and, if that sample was representative, this anonymizing process worked for 65,000 instances, but failed in 900 more. IOW, the protections afforded to “U.S. Persons” achieved a 98.6% accuracy rate. Dystopiasayswhat?

    ETA: I agree that if they’re generating this little useful information, they should scale back. But the thing you’re complaining about is the part of the process that keeps it anonymous. If the database were 99% Americans, that would be _better_, because it would mean more stuff was being masked, anonymized, excluded and discarded.

  175. 175
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Actually, I’m not taking his commenters’ views as representative of Greenwald’s views. I’m pointing out that it’s not just paranoid Obots who think this story is criticizing Obama — people commenting on the story at Greenwald’s place think it is, too (though they approve of the criticism).

    Then it’s even less relevant. Who cares (or even reads) what Greenwald’s commenters have to say? Are they known to be wiser than your average bear?

  176. 176
    Corner Stone says:

    @Roger Moore:

    If Greenwald had more recent information than this, he could at least mention it, or use it as ammunition to ask questions of his sources so they would admit that this kind of thing is ongoing.

    Or, he could possibly be writing another story about this.
    All the people here that consistently, continually dismiss any and every thing from Snowald all act like THIS is the end. THIS is the ABSOLUTE last thing that will be coming out.
    And then when the next thing comes out they are desperate to parse how it doesn’t really line up with those other things.
    “It’s just a flesh wound!”

  177. 177
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The Gellman story has a bunch of problems too.

    God dammit! Gellman is gay and lives in Brazil now, too!?

  178. 178
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne: It could be that “for years at a time” was meant to be read as “covering years at a time.”

  179. 179
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    Who cares (or even reads) what Greenwald’s commenters have to say?

    Here, I’ll explain it to you more slowly:

    Obots (including myself) complained that this story could be read as criticizing the Obama administration’s current surveillance policy.

    Cole (and others) poo-pooed that concern and claimed that no one could read the story as a criticism of Obama.

    I pointed that there are commenters on Greenwald’s own site who read the story as a criticism of Obama.

    So, obviously, there is some validity to the concern that the story will be read as a criticism of Obama’s current surveillance policies. Trying to wiggle away by claiming that the commenters there somehow don’t count so therefore no one really sees the story as criticizing Obama is weaselly, and you know it.

  180. 180
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: This is ridiculous. They have everything that has ever been sent by some number of people. And they are keeping it forever.
    No one knows how much. Or why. Or for how long.
    The attempt to make “minimization” the story is just fucking disgusting.

  181. 181
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: Worse than that. I hear he might be from Argentina.

  182. 182
    Kropadope says:

    @Corner Stone: Who said this is the last? GG is a liar from beginning to end (whenever that may come).

  183. 183
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne: You’re going to “explain” something slowly?
    Jesus Fucking Christ.

  184. 184
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Then I hate him that much more.
    ***SOBS***
    Neddy…Lil Neddy Nederlander!
    Arrrrggghhh!!

  185. 185
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kropadope: Shut up. You are an idiot.

  186. 186
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: They shouldn’t collect it in the first place, definitely not without a warrant, and ideally a warrant that was subject to an adversarial process, IMHO. If they do collect it they should destroy it sooner than they do. If they are intent on collecting and saving it, then they should at the very least be taking the names out of it, in accordance with the law. Which is what they do. So it seems kind of foolish to get hung up on the one thing they’re doing reasonably well, keeping American names out of their files, rather than the things they’re doing ineffectively, like heaping up piles of useless information on associates’ associates that they then have to do all this with.

  187. 187
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Here, I’ll explain it to you more slowly:

    Still irrelevant.

    Obots (including myself) complained that this story could be read as criticizing the Obama administration’s current surveillance policy.

    I’m sure you did.

    Cole (and others) poo-pooed that concern and claimed that no one could read the story as a criticism of Obama.

    If anyone made that claim, it was a singularly stupid thing to do. There are always people who can look at X and assert that it is Not-X. It’s never a wise move to bet against their existence.

    I pointed that there are commenters on Greenwald’s own site who read the story as a criticism of Obama.

    I could not care less how they read it.

    So, obviously, there is some validity to the concern that the story will be read as a criticism of Obama’s current surveillance policies. Trying to wiggle away by claiming that the commenters there somehow don’t count so therefore no one really sees the story as criticizing Obama is weaselly, and you know it.

    Nonsense.

  188. 188
    Cervantes says:

    @Corner Stone: Consider some of the alternatives and be thankful.

  189. 189
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    So it seems kind of foolish to get hung up on the one thing they’re doing reasonably well, keeping American names out of their files

    What? Mr. Awad might disagree.

  190. 190
    Kropadope says:

    @Corner Stone: I keep forgetting that I don’t want to talk to you.

  191. 191
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: I had a Venezuelan friend (staunchly anti-Chavez, alas) who said that the consensus view throughout South America was that the most arrogant, obnoxious country on their continent was Argentina. “They think they’re European,” he said.

  192. 192
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: I was talking about the Gellman story, because that’s the one glasnost was bringing up when you chimed in. That story had a timeframe closer to now than this one.

  193. 193
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kropadope: What you keep forgetting is that you are incapable of making a coherent argument.
    I would say I’m sorry to keep pointing this out to you, but, unfortunately, you keep attempting to make arguments. And you keep failing.

  194. 194
    Kropadope says:

    @Corner Stone: At least I’m trying. You’re like an incoherent perpetual insult machine.

  195. 195
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    I could not care less how they read it.

    So, just to be clear, in an argument about how someone read a story, you are saying you don’t care how they read it?

    Oooookay.

  196. 196
    Cervantes says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Thinking they’re European is one thing; but in parts of western Argentina and southern Chile, the Nazi quotient is still surprisingly, disturbingly high.

  197. 197
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: This distinction doesn’t really seem to make a difference.
    I’m sorry I have failed to crucify Obama for this, and therefore set this incident in the here and now.
    I, personally, am 100% confident some awful aspect of this “monitoring” has continued.
    But, in any event, it’s not the most relevant part of this heavily parsed reportage. We keep doing this. When are we going to get the idea that whether it is anti-Vietnam war protestors, anti-Iraq war protestors, post-9/11 civil rights advocates, MLK or Mr. Awad, this can NOT be allowed to happen. It can’t be OK.
    When members of Congressional oversight go on record saying they had no idea some aspects were this bad, when FISC has an opinion that some aspects are most likely unconstitutional, when FISA warrants are allowed at a 99.999% acceptance rate. We’re going to parse verb tense?
    I mean, WTF.

  198. 198
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kropadope: You’re not trying. You’re just a blithering idiot.

  199. 199
    Betty Cracker says:

    NSA posts are a confirmation bias clinic, everywhere, every time, always and forever.

  200. 200
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So, just to be clear, in an argument about how someone read a story, you are saying you don’t care how they read it?

    To the extent that this is “an argument about how someone read a story,” I’m not interested.

    Cole said “THIS IS NOT ABOUT OBAMA. STOP MAKING IT ABOUT OBAMA.” You responded to him that it is about Obama and even Greenwald’s commenters say so. If I were Cole, and assuming you’re describing some of Greenwald’s commenters accurately, here’s what I’d tell them: “THIS IS NOT ABOUT OBAMA. STOP MAKING IT ABOUT OBAMA.”

    Following now?

    To be perfectly clear: I can read Greenwald’s story for myself and draw my own conclusions as to (1) what it says and (2) what needs to be done. You may be captivated by your — or anyone’s — interpretation of what Greenwald’s commenters are saying. I am not.

  201. 201
    Corner Stone says:

    @Betty Cracker: Nuh-uh!!

  202. 202
    Cervantes says:

    @Kropadope:

    @Cervantes: (how) do you distinguish between criticizing a president and delegitimizing a president?

    Well, one major distinction would be if you are attacking that president based on one of the central rationales for supporting him. Obama ran on reforming national security policy to make it less intrusive, more transparent, fairer, et c.

    Now, it would be one thing if [Greenwald?] were trying to do it in an honest manner. However, Obama and some members of Congress have made honest efforts at reform. Some valuable, some didn’t go far enough, but they have been trying. However, they have been stymied by the Security-above-all-else caucus. Greenwald has trained his fire almost exclusively on Obama and is typically dishonest in the way he does it.

    I know what you’re saying — until I get to that last line.

    “Trained his fire almost exclusively on Obama”? The article at hand does not criticize Obama at all. And are you saying Greenwald has not criticized the NSA itself, or members of Congress, or various media institutions?

    And “is typically dishonest”? How so?

    Also, “stymied”? You state this as fact, but is it a fact that the only thing standing in the way of change (or “reform”) is “the Security-above-all-else caucus”? Who are the members of this caucus (and has Greenwald written about them)?

    Elsewhere you said that Greenwald (?) “targets the reformers more fiercely than the promoters.” What did you mean?

    Thanks.

  203. 203
    Corner Stone says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    NSA posts are a confirmation bias clinic, everywhere, every time, always and forever.

    Betty, may I ask you, is this an even handed evaluation of how NSA posts are approached here? Or is there something else that may, or may not, be said about how NSA posts are interpreted?
    Because I posit that the information, and truth, remains the same.
    It’s like suggesting people who say glowing red hot cast iron pans hurt when you touch them have confirmation bias.
    Yes. Yes they do. People can parse what “glowing red hot” means. Are they glowing *now*? Were they glowing a minute ago?
    But the issue doesn’t change, no matter how much parsing is attempted.
    We’ve been doing this particular dance for at least a year now. The people who keep telling us “full access” really doesn’t mean full access are the same people telling us now that “monitoring” Muslim Americans really isn’t monitoring Muslim Americans.
    Every single step of this unfurling story has been met with cynicism and the BJ Classic Yawn. Known. Burger.
    We’re all naive if we didn’t think this was happening. Only the savvy kids got what was what.
    Etc, and etc. Like that’s supposed to make this acceptable?
    Come on. American citizens were targeted for surveillance because they were not seen as fully American citizens. That is what this is about. Parse all they want.

  204. 204
    Kerry Reid says:

    Start what excuses? I didn’t vote for Bush twice.

  205. 205
    RAM says:

    It doesn’t matter who the President is, the national security apparatus will do whatever it wants, and no one is able to control it.

  206. 206
    Ramalama says:

    @kindness: Oh my life was soo much better when I stopped reading Sully and now here you go…

  207. 207
    Cassidy says:

    Hey! Breaking news. Did you guys know that during the Cold War, the various intelligence agencies were doing covert stuff, some of it illegal?! Police state amirite!

  208. 208
    Kristin says:

    @Betty Cracker: it would help if Cole ever did any critical analysis of this stuff instead of implying — or outright saying — that anyone who doesn’t just swallow it whole is an idiot.

  209. 209
    someguy says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Didn’t you just concede that it’s happening with a warrant, just not the kind of warrant you like?

    Yeah, I guess you’re right. I have no grounds to criticize what NSA does. It’s our guy who runs them. No worries then. I’m sure everything is being done perfectly responsibly and I need to get with the team, fight for the big win, root for the home team. Because it’s our guy, and because our side can never lose (see, e.g. Republican Party, Circa 2005) we don’t have to worry about that dumb civil liberties shit.

    Honestly, the next Republican president we get is going to use these powers and go through you fuckers like shit through a goose. I guess you’re down with taking that chance, huh?

  210. 210
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Quicksand:

    Does “I have eaten peaches” imply that I am eating peaches right now?

    No. But if you rather stated, “I have been eating peaches,” you’re suggesting that it’s something that you just finished doing before making the statement.

  211. 211
    Kerry Reid says:

    @Kristin: But that would go against his hard-wiring as an authoritarian-loving dudebro (yeah, I said it!) who prefers dick-swinging tough talk to nuance and facts.

  212. 212
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: your final flourish about targeting and why is way, far beyond anything that the story actually says. The story expressly says that the writer doesn’t know why these names were on a list, whether there was a warrant or not, what the motive was or would be. None of those kinda key details for a story about law and justice are accounted for. And yet you put it together as you did. I’m not faulting you for that. That’s exactly what the story is built to do. Without saying any of those things. It says there were names in a file and some racists at the NSA and FBI, and invites you to associate the one with the other. And the fact that you did it, and all these other people are doing it, is a tribute to how well Greenwald does his shtick, which plays out at the micro level with innuendo and leading statements and leaps of logic that seem rational until you realize he left out the middle, and TOLD you he left out the middle. But it doesn’t really matter, see, because it makes so much sense, and the larger purpose is so important, and SOMETHING like that is DEFINITELY going on, don’t be naive, etc., etc. It’s his stock in trade. I don’t think it’s _all_ a scam, but I recommend checking your wallet before you leave the midway.

  213. 213
    ruemara says:

    Where’s your basis for anyone who disagrees with you regarding the value of Snowden thinking any of this is ok? Because I for damn sure don’t, but it’s nice that you think this is what we support.

  214. 214
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @someguy: in other words, you were in fact terribly wrong about how it wasn’t being done with a warrant, because it was being done with a warrant, but you can’t admit that, because those goalposts don’t move themselves. Other than that, Mr. Perry, how did you enjoy the debate?

  215. 215
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ruemara: I just want to know what “this” is. If “this” is racial profiling of Muslim activists to augment a database of terrorists, then, right, of course, that’s appalling. But the story doesn’t actually say that’s what happened. My guess is that these are “U.S. Persons” of the kind referenced in the Gellman story from a few days ago, whose communications have been swept up because they unknowingly have mutual acquaintances who have mutual acquaintances who are foreign targets for surveillance. And I think _that would still be something to expose_, because it shows how many people get caught in the dragnet, and how much work is being dedicated to subsequently undoing that kind of collection through minimization (removing names, etc.). But neither Gellman nor Greenwald seems to want to tell that story. Gellman’s was about how most of the excluded records that pertain to Americans are only masked with 98.6% accuracy, and Greenwald’s is about the government covertly harassing people it considers un-American. I don’t get what they’re trying to accomplish.

  216. 216
  217. 217
    LT says:

    @Roger Moore: “probably with a warrant”

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

  218. 218

    @Mnemosyne:

    I know Greenwald and his supporters like to disingenuously claim that he never really comes right out and says that this stuff is still happening, but the implication is strong enough that multiple people are taking the same implication.

    Jesus christ. What in the world gives you the impression that it stopped? Fer fuck’s sake.

    “HE ONLY HAS DATA FROM 2002-2008, BUT I FEEL IT IN MY HEART THE NSA STOPPED DOING THIS IN 20 JANUARY 2009. YOU HAVE NO PROOF OTHERWISE! HAHAHAHA GOTCHA! ZING! BET YOU FEEL STUPID NOW! SHUT UP BUSH VOTER! THIS IS ALL ABOUT DISGRACING OBAMA (YOU KNOW, THE OTHER GUY YOU VOTED FOR TWICE! DUDEBRO!”

    These are the fucking people taunting me for voting for Bush. Holy fuck.

    Seriously, smoke a fucking joint and relax, you look like a clown.

    I’m the moron? Sweet mother of FSM.

  219. 219
    Ramalama says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): That was apparently written in 2005 back when not a few Balloon Juicers were also pro-Bush.

    If everyone can suspend their Greenwald-derangement decoder ring signals for a minute, just think about the reporting.

    Per Digby:

    It’s already making journalists afraid to talk to sources and writers are thinking twice about expressing unpopular opinions. And many members of the public will weigh the potential cost of civic engagement to the need to protect their livelihoods and the well being of their families. If you know you may be being watched and your words are being stored, it is not at all irrational to “watch what you say” as another presidential Press Secretary so famously admonished the American people to do.

  220. 220
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @John (MCCARTHY) Cole: Nothing in the story says it continued, and nothing says it stopped. Assuming that it continued is no more or less a leap of faith than assuming that it stopped.

  221. 221
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Ramalama: Oh no, Digby is anxious about this! That almost never happens!

  222. 222
    Ramalama says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Make fun of Digby as you will…journalists are the ones who are also curbing their words so they don’t become targets. Doesn’t that concern you? As if corporate media isn’t shitty enough these days.

  223. 223
    Rafer Janders says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Who cares if Digby is or isn’t anxious? It’s not about Digby, as she’s just teliing us what other people are saying:

    Or, if that seems like too much effort, we can just look to the survey of writers conducted by the PEN American Center, finding significant percentages of respondents self-censoring or altering their use of the Internet and social media in the wake of revelations about the scope of government surveillance. Or to the sworn declarations of 22 civil society groups in a lawsuit challenging bulk phone records collection, attesting to a conspicuous decline in telephonic contacts and members expressing increased anxiety about their association with controversial or unpopular organizations.

    There’s a bizarre kind of shoot the messenger mentality on this thread, a feeling that if you can somehow discredit the reporter as a person, then you don’t have to engage with the substance of what they’re reporting.

  224. 224
    Rafer Janders says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Assuming that it continued is no more or less a leap of faith than assuming that it stopped.

    Well, no, since these are, after all, secret spy organizations, and so most of what they do is secret. We have to assume because they hide evidence of their activities from us.

    Why should we assume they’ve stopped? Hard to say, as they have no real motivation for stopping, and we can’t trust their assurances they’ve stopped.

    Why should we assume they haven’t stopped? Because they have no reason not to. It gives them knowledge, and that knowledge becomes power, and spy organizations seek two things by their nature — knowledge and power. Spy organizations have done this kind of thing thousands of times over the past hundred years, and every time they’re caught out they say they stop, they’ll reform — and then they go right back to doing it again, if not sooner then later. You’d have to be a fairly credulous naif to assume it stopped.

  225. 225
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Corner Stone: Of course there are central facts about the NSA story that are disturbing and unchanged regardless of who reports them and what the level of surrounding dumbfuckery. Even noted white dudebro libertarian President Obama acknowledges that. I just find the way the usual suspects leap to the usual barricades comical.

    @Ramalama: As usual, GG’s screeds mimic the bible in that anyone can find something in them to support whatever assertion they want to make. GG wasn’t “pro-Bush,” at least not in that article. The point he was making, with his trademark ponderousness, is that countries needn’t consider global approval when deciding on a course of action. If you follow the links back to the original source, GG also says this in that same article:

    There are ample grounds to criticize, and even be horrified by, America’s actions under the Bush Administration. One can quite rationally argue that the U.S.’s systematic polices of torture, or its abducting and detaining people and holding them in secret prisons, or its decision to wage war based on claims concerning the Iraqi threat which were false and inaccurate, are destructive and indefensible. But this is the case not because these actions are unpopular in other countries, but because these actions are harmful to America, because they are contrary to America’s values, and because they undermine the liberties and securities of its citizens.

    Those are hardly the words of a Bushie circa 2005.

  226. 226
    Rafer Janders says:

    What is this “white dudebro” thing that people keep tossing about? Totally mystified as to how it applies here to a case of surveillance policy. Is it some kind of inside code that I’m not getting?

  227. 227
    Rafer Janders says:

    What is this “white dudebro” thing that people keep tossing about? Totally mystified as to how it applies here to a case of surveillance policy. Is it some kind of inside code that I’m not getting?

  228. 228
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Rafer Janders: It’s the ahistorical and idiotic assertion that surveillance issues are only of concern to white, male libertarians.

  229. 229
    Ramalama says:

    @Betty Cracker: You know what – I was too lazy to follow the link back because GG’s little crappy brown blog set my hair on fire in a good way. Finally someone was asking the questions that news reporters were not asking of the administration. At some point – and perhaps this was before he began the free blog – he remarked that he had faith in the abilities of Bush. As if it didn’t matter so much one way or the other. I don’t have a link to that just now.

    Also too ad infinitum I didn’t want to rehash GG from back then. When there’s so much material to engage in the present….

  230. 230
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    It’s the ahistorical and idiotic assertion that surveillance issues are only of concern to white, male libertarians.

    What? No, that can’t be right. That’s insane, and obviously wrong. What’s really meant by it?

  231. 231
    Cacti says:

    @John (MCCARTHY) Cole:

    HE ONLY HAS DATA FROM 2002-2008

    Uh-huh.

    And Snowden committed his theft in late 2012, and if GG had any evidence that it continued into the present administration, he’d be shouting it from the housetops, rather than burying the dates in the fourth paragraph.

    But maybe if you type some more caps, it will change all of the above, and validate your faith-based accusations that it continued afterwards.

  232. 232
    Kerry Reid says:

    @Cacti: Not to mention that most journalists usually go with timeliness as one of the key factors in news judgment — so things that are actually STILL happening are always going to be front-paged over what happened historically.

  233. 233
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Ramalama: @Betty Cracker:

    Not buying it. This is the same guy who showed up here a few weeks ago and tried to tell us that those who disagree with his approach hate Muslims. He’s a gaslighting sociopath.

  234. 234
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Not buying what? All I said is that if you go back through the linked articles, the original GG screed isn’t “pro-Bush” by any standard that takes into account the meaning of words. I’m not selling that; it’s a fact that can be independently verified.

    As for GG being a “gas-lighting sociopath,” I think that’s a bit harsh. He’s a polemicist, and he can be an arrogant dick (I was one of the people he shat on when he visited us last), but I think he’s sincere enough. I’ll readily admit that’s just an opinion, though; YMMV.

  235. 235
    Corner Stone says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    What? No, that can’t be right. That’s insane, and obviously wrong. What’s really meant by it?

    Nope. That’s what we’ve all been told here, repeatedly.
    Any, every and all persons who comment that they are not comfortable with the power of the state keeping tabs on citizens has been told, emphatically, that they are a white male glibertarian dudebro. Some use the descriptor of “suburban” in there somewhere as well.
    Somehow, white people either are targeted more for surveillance, care more about the govt knowing what pr0n they watch, or some other form of privilege that has been invoked repeatedly at the very liberal blog Balloon-Juice.
    Muslim Americans might potentially disagree, but the very 4th Amendment conscious BJ commentariot have spoken.
    DUDEBRO! White people problems, amirite?!

  236. 236
    Corner Stone says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I just find the way the usual suspects leap to the usual barricades comical.

    I also find this comical.
    Does this mean you’re in Group A, Group B, or El Tiburon Group?

  237. 237
    Corner Stone says:

    I love it. These docs are from 2008. So, reasonable assertions include a)the programs stopped in 2008, and b)if someone omitted names of people who would not consent to go on record and essentially allow the USG to taint their entire lives, then those people don’t exist because they were not harmed.

  238. 238
    Corner Stone says:

    Muslim Americans! Amirite, or what!?

  239. 239
    Ramalama says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): I don’t get a toaster oven for every Balloon Juicer who changes his/her mind and becomes, somehow, an avowed fan of Glenn Greenwald’s. So just give it a rest. You’ve made it clear what you think about him. But come the fuck on. Can’t you at least be a little po’d about the spying on Americans?

    And before anyone else chimes in that we can’t really wish for anything better than we got, of course I’m glad that Romney wasn’t elected over Obama.

    Reminds me of when I worked for Noam Chomsky and I had to deal with all the people freaking out whenever he made an argument and didn’t state the obvious, like ‘certainly I abhor genocide but this atrocity doesn’t fit the definition, bad as it is’.

    There are a lot of Balloon Juicers who sound a lot like the fucking nut job fan mail I used to plow though with Norman Q Chomsky.

    Pardon my French (toast).

  240. 240
    Corner Stone says:

    @Ramalama: Would you prefer President Romney?
    I mean, really. You’d actually prefer Romney. That’s just despicable.

  241. 241
    Corner Stone says:

    @Ramalama: Andy K is an authoritarian hump who has an unrelenting desire to make sure the power of the state endures.

  242. 242
    Corner Stone says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Of course there are central facts about the NSA story that are disturbing and unchanged regardless of who reports them and what the level of surrounding dumbfuckery.

    But it’s all about the special brand of dumbfuckery here. We’ve been treated to a year long retrenchment of The Great Parsing War ™ .
    Full access doesn’t really mean full access. That $20M number in that one slide on that one powerpoint was THE defining number of our times.
    Or any of the 50K words Martin so helpfully typed out here Martinsplaining to all of us how his agent friends at the alphabet agencies really dealt with all this.
    It just doesn’t stop. The rolling golf cart of excuses keeps doing its God damndest to yell really loudly how THIS instance can so easily be parsed away. Well, what about this next one?
    No! No, that one doesn’t say what any clear reading says it does! It says something else! The verbs! The verbs make it seem like maybe something else! Yeah! That’s the ticket!
    We’ve seen a slow motion clown car wreck here over the last year.
    It’s not confirmation bias for “both sides”.

  243. 243
    Kerry Reid says:

    @Betty Cracker: I tend to view it as the idiotic assertion that those who don’t view the vague “threats” about NSA surveillance (which Glennie’s latest “revelations” show are still grounded in the Dubya years – that is, when John Cole and Greenwald were cheerleading Bush’s war and Patriot Act) as being of tantamount importance to the body politic are “Obots” in thrall to “Dear Leader” (as Glenn-Speak would have it). Because we clearly don’t care about civil liberties in the RIGHT way and would make excuses for Obama raping a nun. (Yeah, Cole – you’re still a fucking asshole for defending that bullshit.)

    Instead of being, oh, I don’t know — people who have spent FUCKING DECADES in pursuit of civil liberties that affect a ton of people who Glenn Greenwald and John Cole would have pissed on and laughed at in their allegedly unreformed days. (“Illegals!”)

    Do I think non-dudebros care about surveillance? Sure. Have I seen much proof that dudebros care about reproductive rights, anti-death penalty activism, and voting rights? Nope. I’ve been doing this shit for nearly 30 years and they haven’t been “crashing the gates.” Despite John Cole’s tortured and self-pitying mewling about how he REALLY REALLY CARED about pro-choice and anti-death penalty activism when he was voting for and supporting candidates who did everything in their fucking power to make life miserable for women seeking reproductive health services (a “privacy” issue of somewhat greater import than “wow, do you think maybe somebody might keep this shit I type on the internet stored somewhere?”) and people on death row, I somehow keep hitting upon this weird thought: If you didn’t vote at all (Glenn — because, hey, everything was groovy for him!) or voted GOP (because “My tribe and my background MADE ME DO IT” — Cole), then maybe you really didn’t give a flying fuck about actual civil liberties in any meaningful way until you found a way to monetize the outrage.

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