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  (Source: CNN)
Sen. Paul says Gen. Clapper lied to Congress, the nation under oath; Rep. King says it was an innocent mistake

Under the (literally) crumbling dome of the Congress Building in Washington, D.C., the question/revelation of spying on Americans by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is producing deep, and some would say revealing division within both ruling parties.
 
I. A Civil War in Both Parties
 
We've already highlighted how a pair of Democratic proposals are dueling in the Senate -- one of which seeks to institutionalize the nation taxing the law-abiding masses so that it may spy on them, the other which looks to put an end to this mass-spying.
 
The debate over these proposals, the legal fate of leaker Edward Snowden, and the legal fate of the NSA officials -- who some say illegally overstepped their authorities -- is proving an equally divisive issue among the Democratic National Party (DNP).

Feinstein
A party divided: by unlikely allies like Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Leahy (left) is fighting to push a bill that does the opposite of Sen. Feinstein's (right) bill. [Image Source: AP]

And it is equally divisive among the Republican National Party (RNP).  Many powerful Republicans -- such as the Speaker of the House, Rep. John Andrew Boehner (R-Ohio, 8th District) and Rep. Peter Thomas King (R-N.Y., 2nd District) -- claim that taxing and spying, along with appropriate "adjustments" to weaken the Constitution's fourth and sixth amendments, is the only route to the "safer" America they envision.  To these elected officials, leaker Edward Snowden is a "traitor", "defector", and the face of "treason". 
 
They embrace President Barack Obama's (D) expansion of the spying on Americans, saying it is both prudent and legal, under a new era in U.S. law.

We The People
There's warring feelings on the relevance of the Constiution in the digital age within both parties.
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

On the other side of the fence are Republicans like Rep. Justin A. Amash (R-Mich., 3rd District) and Senator Rand Paul (R-Kent.).  They say that the NSA's leadership has behaved criminally and should be held accountable.  They argue that while Mr. Snowden violated the law, he is increasing appearing like a national hero who only violated the law in order to protect the Constitution -- a distinction that may make him eligible for whistleblower protections.
 
They're contemplating amnesty or a pardon for him, in light of the activity he blew the whistle on.  They point to the fact that despite the tremendous cost of harvesting everyone's data/metadata, testimony by top intelligence officials indicates that the information has rarely, if ever been used to successfully stop a terrorist plot.
 
And it is on that topic that one of the biggest civil wars of strong rhetoric within the Republican Party is being waged upon.
 
II. Sen. Paul vs. Rep. King
 
The issue revolves around sworn testimony that retired Gen. James Clapper, now the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), gave under oath to Congress.  Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in a March 2013 National Security hearing asked the DNI, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"
 
Director Clapper responds, "No sir."
 
He later seemed to backtrack slightly, saying, "Not wittingly."

James Clapper
Director Clapper, seen here with President Obama, admit to misstatements under oath, but calls them "mistakes", not lies.  [Image Source: AP]

With the revelation from Edward Snowden that the intelligence agencies, led by the NSA, were deliberately and purposefully harvesting the data of millions of Americans a day, critics say that Gen. Clapper lied under oath, even with his final disclaimer.
 
In a discussion with CNN's "Situation Room" this Wednesday Sen. Paul blasted Gen. Clapper's complicit role in the spying scandal, remarking:
 
I do think what your government is doing is unconstitutional, and I really think that in order to restore confidence in our intelligence community, I think James Clapper should resign.
 
I find that really, that Clapper lying to Congress is probably more injurious to our intelligent capabilities than anything Snowden did because Clapper has damaged the credibility of the entire intelligence apparatus, and I'm not sure what to believe anymore when it comes to Congress.


Gen. Clapper has already apologized to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), which Sen. Wyden -- as well as Sen. Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein (D-Calif.) (sponsor of the aforementioned pro-spying Democratic bill) -- sits on.  In a letter in June, following the early leaks, he wrote:

I have thought long and hard to re-create what went through my mind at the time," he said, adding that "my response was clearly erroneous - for which I apologize.

I can now openly correct it because the existence of the metadata collection program has been declassified.

Senator Paul adds, "I don't think [the NSA] should be spying on Americans, I think they should be spying on terrorists."

He says that Mr. Snowden may have obeyed a "higher law" in his leaks.  He said Gen. Clapper's violations of the law were more damaging than Mr. Snowden's violations.

Sen. Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kent.) called Gen. Clapper's actions criminal. [Image Source: The NYT]

Some like Sen. Paul -- an expected 2016 Republican Presidential nominee -- say that Gen. Clapper should resign or be charged. Others like Rep. King call him a hero.
 
Rep. King -- also an expected Republican Presidential challenger for 2016, commented -- said that Sen. Paul had "disgraced" his office by criticizing Gen. Clapper's inaccuracies and the NSA spying program.  Appearing on the same CNN program the next day, he commented:

For Senator Paul to compare that patriot, General Clapper, with someone like Snowden, who is a traitor, who has put American lives at risk - Senator Paul should be ashamed of himself,

It's an absolute disgrace. He disgraced his office and he owes General Clapper an apology immediately.


He says that he is "very opposed" to reform suggestions, claiming, "There is no NSA scandal."

Rep. Peter Kin
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) says that Sen. Paul is a "disgrace" to the party and that journalists should face charges just like Snowden.  He also says NSA reform is a bad idea. [Image Source: CNN]

He also characterized Sen. Paul as an extremist for opposing spying, stating, "[Sen. Paul is part of] the isolationist wing of the [Republican] party."
 
He views himself and Rep. Boehner as representative of the pro-spying "mainstream" Republican Party.
 
The New York Republican has also controversially suggested criminal charges should be filed against journalists involved with publishing to the public classified information on spying programs that target them -- programs that they are paying for.  Such charges appear explicitly prohibited under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees freedom of the press.  But as with the fourth and sixth amendments, the Congressman's opinion is that the Constitution needs to be eroded somewhat to protect Americans.
 
Specifically, he suggested that journalists who provide such information to the public might be eligible for treason and espionage charges, under the  -- the same act Mr. Snowden is being charged with.
 
III. Gen. Alexander Also Appeared to Lie to Congress
 
Departing NSA Director, General Keith Alexander might also be facing potential calls for charges from Sen. Paul, had he not agreed to retire, a move his critics are calling a resignation.
 
In a recent Senate hearing he retracted testimony to Congress he made under oath, commenting that the monitoring efforts had stopped 54 assassination attempts or terrorist plots, saying that he believed they "possibly" stopped two.  But he was unable to produce any evidence -- on the record -- that these plots would not have been discovered and stopped without spying on Americans.

Gen. Alexander
NSA chief, Gen. Keith Alexander agreed to step down, some say to avoid charges.
[Image Source: Fox News]

Again, there's a vast difference in opinion between Sen. Paul and Rep. King.  To Sen. Paul, these kinds of words are the true treason and they should be held accountable.  To Rep. King, while regular Americans are often sent to prison for lying under oath, intelligence officials should be shielded from such charges as they may make "mistakes".
 
On thing is for certain.  The NSA has been spying on Americans.  And according to internal audits agents broke the law up to 3,000 times a year, accessing these records (which they're supposed to delete).  So far there have been no charges against the NSA employees and their supervisors who by their own accounts, break the law (on an agency scale) nearly a dozen times on any given week.

The NSA
The NSA by its own accounting breaks the law about a dozen times a week. [Image Source: NYPost]

While the agency claims these violations were minor -- mostly due to "typographical" whoopsies and such, it's reason to take such claims with a bit of skepticism, given how many times the NSA and DNI have change their story -- changes that some call innocent, and others call criminal.

Sources: Rep. Peter King on CNN/YouTube, Sen. Rand Paul on CNN/YouTube, CNN



Comments     Threshold


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Scare Journalism
By coburn_c on 12/20/2013 12:00:13 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Rep. King -- also an expected Republican Presidential challenger for 2016


Terrifying.




RE: Scare Journalism
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/20/2013 12:05:03 PM , Rating: 5
Yup...

And just to clarify to the rest of the readers, it's not a rumor -- Rep. King himself is the source.

He is running for the Presidency in 2016.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/08/11/republi...

Rep. King:
quote:
This is not a game I’m playing, I’m serious. I’m serious about looking at it, and we’ll see where it goes from there. I have no intention of being there just for the sake of being there. So if I think there’s any real chance and support, then we’ll move forward.
Frightening indeed, although analyst believe he's actually trailing Sen. Paul and Gov. Christie in party voter opinion -- despite what he thinks people think.


RE: Scare Journalism
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/20/2013 12:06:24 PM , Rating: 2
*derp, considering a run for 2016, I should say...

Almost no one is "officially" running yet, among the big names, they're all "seeing where it goes".

But at this point, that's basically saying he will likely run for all intents and purposes, unless the RNP tells him not to.


RE: Scare Journalism
By michael67 on 12/20/2013 12:58:31 PM , Rating: 5
I believe that if you take a oath to secrecy you have to honor it, but the more i read about this, the more i think that your founding fathers would consider Edward Snowden a real patriot, as most people in government apparently see the Constitution, and the law as noting more then cheap toilet paper to wipe there asses with off.

I get real scared of what the US is doing, and what is going to do in 10 or 20 years from now.

I all ready head not much trust in the US government, and i am sad to say, almost every time something else get published, it confirms my mistrust of the CIA and NSA.

How stupid ware are all those supposedly smart people that lead those two agency's, that all there shortsighted actions sins the 50s, would not blow up in there faces.

I would advise everyone to read Tim Weiner's "Legacy of Ashes, The History of the CIA", but a specially those people that work in one of the intelligence fields, and consider it a must read for anyone having a top intelligence officials/oversight function.

People that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
People that don't learn correctly from history are just doomed.


RE: Scare Journalism
By lagomorpha on 12/20/2013 1:28:08 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
I believe that if you take a oath to secrecy you have to honor it,


I'm going to stop you right there. I'd say any oath you take is balanced against your duty to humanity to prevent gross human rights violations.

When you put duty to your government before other duties it leads to very bad things. I'd list historical prescidents but they are fairly numerous and well known.


RE: Scare Journalism
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/20/2013 2:10:44 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
I'm going to stop you right there. I'd say any oath you take is balanced against your duty to humanity to prevent gross human rights violations.

When you put duty to your government before other duties it leads to very bad things. I'd list historical prescidents but they are fairly numerous and well known.
Precisely.

I mean we did, after all, execute even some relatively mid-level Gestapo (and justifiably, so I may add). The policy we and our allies have adopted is just because your government says it is right doesn't mean you should do it. When you government's law says its wrong, and you feel the law is protecting human rights and the government tells you "do it illegally anyways", then you're even more culpable.

Except now we seem to be exempting ourselves from our own logic we've exercised on others in the past.

Not to say the NSA are like the WWII Germany, but their current operating premise (spying on the public to ferret out "traitors") looks rather fascist. (And I use fascist in a broad sense to describe programs in a host of historic empires, e.g. Stalinist Russia, etc.).

Sometimes you have to peacefully protest unjust orders and laws, even if civil disobedience is a crime.

Snowden broke one law by disobeying his order, but he may yet have stopped countless of violations of the law that greatly overshadow the crime he committed by blowing the whistle.


RE: Scare Journalism
By michael67 on 12/20/2013 2:33:54 PM , Rating: 2
You should not quote pick, leave that to the creationism fans.

Because if you read the rest of the sentence and the post, you would see that i think that Snowden did the right thing, and that he is more honorable and righteous then the people that are denying that the NSA did anything wrong


RE: Scare Journalism
By MrBlastman on 12/20/2013 2:34:29 PM , Rating: 2
That's what a true patriot is. One who respects not their Government in power, but the spirit and essence behind why a Nation was founded. In our case, that spirit is the Constitution--so a true Patriot would be someone who upholds the principles of it above and beyond anything the President or our Congress believe or want to make us believe in.

These clowns we have in our Government right now, walking around in their black and blue suits with fancy gold trimmed ornate flag lapels pinned to their chests--these fools aren't Patriots; these cronies are instead our truest enemies! They are destroyers of Republics, rats in our walls, cockroaches under our furniture. They eat off our food, live off our homes, thrive off our lives as they sap us of our will.

Snowden is a hero and the essence of what a real Patriot is. At least someone is still left in our country that believes in what it is all about.


RE: Scare Journalism
By JediJeb on 12/20/2013 4:08:29 PM , Rating: 2
I agree completely. A patriot is one who defends the values upon which our Nation was built.

quote:
But as with the fourth and sixth amendments, the Congressman's opinion is that the Constitution needs to be eroded somewhat to protect Americans.

Specifically, he suggested that journalists who provide such information to the public might be eligible for treason and espionage charges, under the -- the same act Mr. Snowden is being charged with.


These are the ideals of a traitor not a patriot. This is taking a page from Orwell's book "Animal Farm". Where those in power change the laws to benefit themselves while nobody is looking, or justify the changes saying they are good for the people just to get the changes made. Those people also demonize anyone who would dare to ask questions about what the Constitution actually says or try to stand up for the Constitution as it is written.


RE: Scare Journalism
By mmatis on 12/22/2013 8:43:11 AM , Rating: 1
And let me stop BOTH of you right there. While Snowden did indeed take an oath to "secrecy", he also swore an oath to defend the Constitution. And THAT portion of his oath - which is also the oath of the REST of those employed by the NSA - OVERRIDES the secrecy portion when maintaining secrecy would cause damage to the Constitution. Because the Constitution is the SOLE source of authority for the US government. I will enjoy watching Peter King, Jake Clapper, General Alexander, and the REST of this country's traitors to their very oaths of office swing by their necks, doing the Mussolini dance. And since it is clear that this country's "Law Enforcement" and its "Legal" system have no intention of honoring THEIR oaths either, then I will be glad to assist in bringing justice.


RE: Scare Journalism
By Fritzr on 12/25/2013 3:59:52 PM , Rating: 2
The legal system has already enshrined lying, falsifying evidence, witness tampering and other normally illegal activities by the prosecution in criminal trials--as long as it is done solely in support of the Prosecutor's job duties (Off with his head!! God can sort them out later. Next vict...er. case!). These are actual protections in State and Federal law.

The original intent was to prevent frivolous lawsuits. The result is government employees framing innocent victims (with near total immunity) to provide better stats for the next performance review.

The right to a Fair Trial has been destroyed by written law. No reason lawmakers should believe the other Constitutional Rights are any more important.

General Clapper is a hero ... He stopped 50+ ... sorry at least 2 ... at least we think we stopped someone, somewhere ... No way we should pay attention to a minor indiscretion such as covering up criminal activities spanning decades by merely lying to Congress while under oath.

Why he might have disclosed classified information such as the existence of the programs discussed in international newspapers and by former employees of the NSA's corporate partners-in court...OMG!

In his defense though, he did have the option of saying the existence or non-existence of programs of that type is classified and he cannot discuss such things in an open hearing, but that might be telling the truth to Congress...can't have that, especially since the media would have taken that statement and blared: "Gen. Clapper says NSA spies on Americans!!!", even if all he meant was "I can't discuss classified operations in an open hearing". That would have been especially bad, since the headline would be correct even if the reasoning was wrong.


RE: Scare Journalism
By deltaend on 12/23/2013 1:49:11 AM , Rating: 2
Chaotic or Neutral good ftw. Lawful good is for the non-thinkers.


RE: Scare Journalism
By ClownPuncher on 12/20/2013 12:27:17 PM , Rating: 5
King is a useless sack and a crony. Paul is at least honest and stands for something.


RE: Scare Journalism
By Reclaimer77 on 12/20/2013 1:50:56 PM , Rating: 2
He got elected as a Republican in New York. That's pretty much all we need to know.


RE: Scare Journalism
By ClownPuncher on 12/20/2013 2:14:10 PM , Rating: 3
It does say a lot. I'm not sure why you're being hit with the downvotes. NY politicians are absurd.


RE: Scare Journalism
By marvdmartian on 12/23/2013 8:55:34 AM , Rating: 2
Which is pretty funny, as he's one of their WORST politicians.

On the flip side, the late Senator Daniel Patrick "Pat" Moynihan, who got elected as a Democrat, was more independent, and even right-leaning, than Peter King.

If Congressman King wants to see someone to be ashamed of, he only has to look in the mirror. Probably wouldn't hurt if he had most of the rest of the House of Representatives lined up behind him, most especially Charlie Rangel of (you guessed it) New York.


RE: Scare Journalism
By Rage187 on 12/20/2013 4:36:31 PM , Rating: 2
No fucKING way is that guy getting elected. amiright?


RE: Scare Journalism
By integr8d on 12/20/2013 9:53:01 PM , Rating: 2
Worth noting that Clapper had all questions, in writing, two days before the hearing.


RE: Scare Journalism
By TSS on 12/22/2013 5:20:19 AM , Rating: 2
Well last time the republican party went through just about everybody before they settled on Mitt Romney who damn near took it too. So don't count popularity as an indicator.

The guy would be perfect. And by that i mean perfect in an facist state kind of manner. As well as perfect considering the direction US politics have been heading into since atleast 2003. Tell me the NDAA's new powers and this King guy aren't a match made in heaven (besides, President King, irony much?).

I've been reading about what happened in germany during hitler's rise to power and it's shocking how well it fits with the US today. People hear hitler and think "world war 2" but seems to forget he got into power in early 1933, after 2 years of turmoil. A full 5 years before the annexation of austria, 6-7 years before the actual start of world war 2.

If this guy is a good, angry public speaker it'd line up perfectly. All we need now is 2 years of turmoil. Which shouldn't be too hard since most economists worth their salt are looking at a economic recession in 2014 at best, a crash at worst. The only thing lacking now is a US equivalent of the SA, though one could argue there's enough people zealous about both republican and democratic parties to fit that bill. With industrialists (read: financials/militairy industrial complex) backing the republicans the parrallels between the democrats/republicans and the communists/nazi's in 1932 are striking (especially if you consider the tea party).

I'm definitly not saying it has to be that way. There's still alot of variables that are quite different from germany in the 30's. I'm just saying it's quite omnious how many things aren't different from germany in the 30's.


RE: Scare Journalism
By jardows on 12/23/2013 10:02:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
the parrallels between the democrats/republicans and the communists/nazi's in 1932 are striking (especially if you consider the tea party).


What, exactly, do you mean by that? The "tea party" is people who want to get back to the constitution, limited government, and limited involvement in our lives. Have you actually gone to a tea party meeting, or do you know someone personally who is involved with the tea party? Or are you just going off the media hype surrounding this group?

Most mainstream media types would classify everyone here arguing against the spying program as "tea party types" so be careful about stereotyping a group of people you know nothing about, and may agree with more than you think.


RE: Scare Journalism
By FITCamaro on 12/23/2013 7:20:43 AM , Rating: 2
He doesn't stand a chance. I'm scared of a liberal like Christie getting the nomination though. Just like McCain, the media will love him until he wins the primary. Then he'll be a racist and everything else too.

Paul stands a good shot since he's popular among many libertarians, Republicans, and conservatives.


RE: Scare Journalism
By Flunk on 12/20/2013 12:07:37 PM , Rating: 2
He'll never win. Maybe that's the point. Why waste a candidate that could win?


RE: Scare Journalism
By gookpwr on 12/20/2013 1:44:51 PM , Rating: 2
So just to be clear.. The current Government contains people that believe it is OK to ignore our constitutional rights and freedoms that have not been willfully given up, as well as lie under oath before that same governing body. They also feel that the only punishment for such crimes is to resign from their current positions, not be fired and incarcerated themselves.
They also believe that the people trying to actually protect American freedoms and rights by letting the rest of us know that those people are doing so are not Patriots but traitors and want them put to death or incarcerated, and have had to flee their home in order to protect their life and that's ok??

We need another American revolution to begin, and it needs to happen soon! This is not the country our founding fathers wanted to create and that's proven in the fact that Benjamin Franklin himself said Benjamin Franklin — 'Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.'

Anyone that supports Peter King should be treated as he should be treated and promptly relieved from any type of leadership position of any sort tried for treason.


RE: Scare Journalism
By Solandri on 12/20/2013 4:22:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So just to be clear.. The current Government contains people that believe it is OK to ignore our constitutional rights and freedoms that have not been willfully given up, as well as lie under oath before that same governing body.

While I think this NSA spying program is unconstitutional and should be terminated immediately, this isn't as clear-cut as you're making it out to be.

The 4th Amendment prohibits search and seizure of your personal possessions without a warrant. The phone records in question are not considered your personal possessions. Court cases in the past have found that because they're already in the possession of a 3rd party outside of your control (the phone company), they are not your personal property. Thus the government can obtain them without a warrant.

I happen to think there's a fundamental right to privacy, and that correlating data from multiple sources could violate that right, even if obtaining data from those sources individually may not violate that right. For a physical analogy, it's ok to possess a pipe, it's ok to possess nails, and it's ok to possess fertlizer. It's not ok to combine those into a pipe bomb. Similarly, I think although possessing and obtaining the individual pieces of personal data may be ok and not a privacy violation, but combining them to generate a profile is a violation of privacy.

There's also an unresolved question of how data mining fits into all this. While a prohibition against another person rooting through your personal data makes sense, what if it's a computer sifting through that data? The computer flags only "suspicious" activity for further review by a human, and deletes the rest. Nobody's privacy has been violated except those whose activities are suspicious. I can see arguments for this either way, and it'll take a court case to settle it.


RE: Scare Journalism
By JediJeb on 12/20/2013 6:09:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The computer flags only "suspicious" activity for further review by a human, and deletes the rest.


Right there lies the problem, does it delete the non-suspicious records? If it does, then why does the NSA need to build a multibillion dollar data storage facility out in the middle of nowhere?


RE: Scare Journalism
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/21/2013 1:34:11 PM , Rating: 2
Sen. Wyden, "Does the NSA ever fail to delete the data it collects on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"

Next Obama-appointed Director: "No sir."

"Not wittingly."

Two months later... next Director writes a letter:
"I have thought long and hard to re-create what went through my mind at the time. My response was clearly erroneous - for which I apologize.

I can now openly correct it because the existence of the metadata long term deep storage facility because it has been declassified."


RE: Scare Journalism
By FaaR on 12/22/2013 6:53:09 AM , Rating: 2
...And they store ONLY metadata at their monstrous metadata storage facility? Oh please, if you believe that there's some excellent beach property right next to that metadata storage facility I'd be willing to sell you for cheap! :)

Instead of lying, tell the truth in the form of a lie, IE, misdirection. Call it something believable but not necessarily fully descriptive.


RE: Scare Journalism
By KCjoker on 12/20/2013 6:54:27 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, but so was Bush and Obama so don't think it can't happen. Look how long idiots like him, Reid, Pelosi, etc...have been elected year after year. It's both sides that have way too many of these clowns.


RE: Scare Journalism
By tigz1218 on 12/22/2013 10:06:19 AM , Rating: 2
Imagine if Peter King and Diane Feinstein had children.

Actually, on second thought, for our safety we should probably not imagine this. The mere thought may cause our brains to explode in sheer terror.


RE: Scare Journalism
By phxfreddy on 12/22/2013 7:33:33 PM , Rating: 2
King would never even get close to winning.

......however Rand Paul will be the Republican VP candidate with Ted Cruz. And they will win.


Authority or the Constitution?
By Jim Vanus on 12/20/2013 12:11:41 PM , Rating: 5
Clapper thinks he can't tell the truth because he would be revealing classified information. He also took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

Clapper's fealty, like 99% of bureaucrats, is to authority & power rather than the Constitution. Unfortunately, this model of government (rather than the Constitutional one) has been repeated throughout history with disastrous results for "We the People".




RE: Authority or the Constitution?
By JediJeb on 12/20/2013 6:18:16 PM , Rating: 2
What always baffles me is how people in a country(including the US)can hold the government in some high esteem and put their blind faith in it. They think that if the government makes a decision it must be what is best for them.

What they don't seem to understand is that the government is not so mystical entity of good intentions. What is the government? Just people, plain and simple. People just like those people who believe the government will take care of them. People who are just as fallible as the masses and just as prone to mistakes also. People who would put their faith in other people to take care of their responsibilities are those who are afraid to take responsibility for themselves or simply too lazy to.


By superstition on 12/20/2013 6:39:22 PM , Rating: 3
The only part of the government that the public currently holds in high esteem is the military -- and with the lying that leaders have been doing (along with the sex scandals which are such an obsession for Americans) that will probably be mostly restricted to lower-level service members -- "the troops."

Congress in particular has an extremely low approval rating.


RE: Authority or the Constitution?
By Reclaimer77 on 12/22/2013 9:48:03 AM , Rating: 2
It's interesting how everyone is suddenly cloaking themselves in Constitutional rhetoric on this issue, but nowhere else.

Not that I mind it, of course I agree what the NSA is doing is Unconstitutional. It would just be nice to see this level of passion and reverence for the Constitution on more issues.


RE: Authority or the Constitution?
By Jim Vanus on 12/22/2013 1:37:52 PM , Rating: 2
Amen.


RE: Authority or the Constitution?
By Fritzr on 12/25/2013 4:08:42 PM , Rating: 2
The rhetoric tends to show up when serious challenges to the validity of the Constitution are involved.

When no direct threat to the Constitution is perceived, then you get a non-response to the perceived non-threat.


Solution
By Motoman on 12/20/2013 12:21:50 PM , Rating: 2
Since there's so much turmoil and angst over this issue, I volunteer to provide the solution, and forever bear the weight of the decision myself, thereby sparing the rest of our government and population from such burden.

Here's what we do: round up everyone who thinks what the NSA is/was doing, and we deport them to North Korea.

And by "deport" I mean we're gonna build the world's biggest trebuchet in Samoa someplace, and just fire them over there and see how close we get.




RE: Solution
By ipay on 12/20/2013 1:05:37 PM , Rating: 5
I think you're missing a couple of words there... (Is wrong/Is right)

If you're missing the former we'll send you. If you're missing the later, let's roll.


RE: Solution
By Motoman on 12/20/2013 1:47:29 PM , Rating: 2
LOL...correct you are. Apparently I didn't have enough coffee in me before typing that.

Should have read:

quote:
Here's what we do: round up everyone who thinks what the NSA is/was doing is right , and we deport them to North Korea.


Let's roll. XD


RE: Solution
By JediJeb on 12/20/2013 4:16:24 PM , Rating: 3
Or we can just assign them to be on the basketball team Rodman is taking over there soon. Then deny them return visas and see how the like living in the type of country they are trying to build.


Pentagon Papers
By Solandri on 12/20/2013 4:07:56 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
The New York Republican has also controversially suggested criminal charges should be filed against journalists involved with publishing to the public classified information on spying programs that target them -- programs that they are paying for. Such charges appear explicitly prohibited under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees freedom of the press.

They don't "appear" to be prohibited. They are prohibited. The SCotUS case over the Pentagon Papers in 1971 decided that freedom of the press overrules executive secrecy, not the other way around.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Times_Co._v....

If the government wants to keep something secret from the press, it has to keep it secret from the press. It cannot go around suing the press to stop it from publishing after the secret has been leaked.




RE: Pentagon Papers
By JediJeb on 12/20/2013 4:16:57 PM , Rating: 2
Good find there sir!


RE: Pentagon Papers
By superstition on 12/21/2013 4:13:35 PM , Rating: 2
Tell that to David Gregory and the other MSM stooges who talk about jailing Glenn Greenwald for publishing materials from Snowden.

Even worse is the UK where they abuse terrorism laws to sack people working for the Guardian and steal their stuff. They also go to media organizations like thugs and demand that they take sledgehammers to computers.


240 million terrorists.
By drycrust3 on 12/20/2013 4:01:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They say that the NSA's leadership has behaved criminally and should be held accountable.

This, for Americans, is the essence of your problem (I'm not American). Who is your NSA accountable to? Are they accountable to just themselves, to just to the President, or are they accountable to the elected representatives of the people?

When you have elected representatives who say "This is okay" they miss the point, which is they themselves said it wasn't okay for the NSA to spy on those that elected them (because otherwise they would have written the laws to give the NSA that mandate and not the one they now have). Such people will be perceived as weak by the heads of the NSA, so they can expect to not be consulted by the NSA when it takes its next step in gaining more power.
In contrast, those that don't like what the NSA are doing will be perceived as being strong, they will be respected by the NSA, so they can expect to get a request for more money from the NSA.
Notice something odd here? Those that think the NSA is their friend are those that won't be bothered with, but those that think the NSA is a servant or an enemy will be consulted. There is a lesson in this for those elected by the American people: who is in charge of America?
So, getting back to the important question: who is the NSA responsible to? The only answer that should satisfy the American people is "the elected representatives", and the only answer that the elected representatives should accept is "the laws we write".




RE: 240 million terrorists.
By Solandri on 12/20/2013 4:37:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This, for Americans, is the essence of your problem (I'm not American). Who is your NSA accountable to? Are they accountable to just themselves, to just to the President, or are they accountable to the elected representatives of the people?

The NSA is accountable to the President and the subset of Congressmen and Senators who are privy to classified information briefings. This wasn't some rogue NSA operation. It was done under the direction and supervision of the elected branches of government.

It's been operating in a grey area for a decade. It pushed the limits of the Constitution, but the elected officials backing the program simply claimed national security and prevented any challenges to it from reaching beyond a secret court. Those who challenged it in that court (mostly phone companies and major internet portals like Google and Yahoo) had a gag order placed on them by the court to prevent them from disclosing it to the public.

Snowden's leaks lifted the rock this was hiding under, and now that it's been exposed we should see either a full Constitutional reckoning by the SCotUS. Or the program will be killed off because those supporting it know it won't pass a Constitutional review.

What is amusing though are the foreigners trying to portray this as some sort of evidence that the U.S. is evil. They're either dismissive of the possibility of or ignorant that their government does the same thing. I can only think of a half dozen or so foreign governments who have constitutional protections prohibiting this sort of government monitoring. And it turns out one of them (the Netherlands) was doing it anyway.


RE: 240 million terrorists.
By Reclaimer77 on 12/21/2013 9:45:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The NSA is accountable to the President and the subset of Congressmen and Senators who are privy to classified information briefings. This wasn't some rogue NSA operation.


But..but...Obama said he didn't know what was happening!!! How could he say that if it wasn't true??

/s


King is indeed a "Peter"
By BobsYourUncle on 12/21/2013 9:25:57 AM , Rating: 2
I'm old enough to recall a time within our system of representative democracy when the likes of a "King, Peter" wouldn't dream of running for the presidency. In fact, the entire cast of Republican nominees from the last presidential election cycle were all abject clowns, save Jon Huntsman & he was one of the 1st candidates to withdraw due to lack of broad support.

It's an extremely sad day when the most qualified of candidates realizes he must exit the race because he simply is not stupid enough to be considered viable. Think about it for a bit.

We can all rest very uncomfortably in the assurance that "King, Peter" is indeed stupid enough to be considered as a viable candidate. Of course we'll have Palin clamoring in her quest for relevancy & attention by threatening to run again & if we're really lucky/unlucky Bachman will give it another go.




RE: King is indeed a "Peter"
By Jim Vanus on 12/22/2013 1:46:13 PM , Rating: 2
The two-party system works - to keep us at odds with each other while it establishes an all powerful state to serve an unelected oligarchy. The last two Presidents have greatly accelerated the process.


Lying under oath - only jail time is acceptable
By TheJian on 12/21/2013 8:39:00 PM , Rating: 2
I say that because I would go to jail. There would be no "mistakes" BS. They would say you lied, see you later.

King should be jailed as a traitor for not understanding it's illegal to lie to congress under oath PERIOD. YOU ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW. It also shouldn't be acceptable to say I can't remember. That is unacceptable for these people and should get JAIL time. We all know there is a very long paper trail (as everyone does CYA when they think they'll be left hanging) and if they can't remember things they know would land US in jail, they don't deserve the job. They DECIDE it isn't in their interest to remember and again LIE. If you LIE to the american people (mr president, you can keep your plan/doctor etc) and are later proven to have KNOWN you are lying, JAIL buddy. You got elected on basically 100% lies so far.

If I lie under oath I get one thing. JAIL. I get no mistake. Saying snowden is a traitor means you are OK with govt. lying and committing crimes against US, the very people they are supposed to be working for. YOU work for US. YOU go to jail for working against us. Why would anyone NOW, not trust the govt? Is it because snowden or because the govt BROKE the law? If the govt hadn't broken the law, would we be talking about Snowden? NOPE. All of these people (but snowden) need jail time. After any of this crap you should lose pensions, and never be able to work in govt, or as a head of a company ever again. I don't want you in ANY position of power from this point on anywhere. You are a LIAR and a CRIMINAL right? The punishment here seems to be promotion to another dept much like catholic's molesting kids just change country and get a new job at the Vatican etc. No jail time for these pedophiles.




By Jim Vanus on 12/22/2013 1:30:00 PM , Rating: 2
TheJian said,"If I lie under oath I get one thing. JAIL. I get no mistake."

Great post. You nailed it. +1000 Our Ruling Class is exempt from the rules.


Well I'm impressed
By ipay on 12/20/2013 11:47:49 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in a March 2013 National Security hearing asked the DNI, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"

Director Clapper responds, "No sir."

He later seemed to backtrack slightly, saying, "Not wittingly."
So... you can't tell if you're netting Americans, and you expect us believe you can find terrorist plots... when you can't ID citizens?




National Hero
By bitmover461 on 12/21/2013 9:16:54 AM , Rating: 2
Edward Snowden is a national hero and should have received full whistleblower protections when a federal judge ruled NSA activities unconstitutional.




What a bum
By conq on 12/26/2013 8:44:35 AM , Rating: 2
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is terribly misguided and out of touch with reality. Thankfully he only caters to a minority faction of people in the US.

Regardless, I really hope he loses his seat in the next election. He's the one that stains the Republican party.




By MichiganMaverick on 12/26/2013 1:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
I find it interesting that these high ranking officials are only asked to resign, after committing perjury.

Does anyone know where I can get a job where I can lie may @ss off and only face the potential threat of resigning?

As long as there are inequities in our legal system, and certain classes of people are procecuted while others are not, we will never be free, and the truth will never be known.




1 Samuel 8
By hiscross on 12/28/2013 7:49:19 PM , Rating: 2
My thoughts on the NSA...
By croc on 12/21/2013 5:25:42 AM , Rating: 1
To paraphrase someone that's dead, 'What's the NSA supposed to do? Then why the fuck doesn't it do it?"

The USA spends untold billions on a shadowy hole-in-the-water that is supposed to find and stop terrorists... And they can't even do that. Even when given a heads-up from abroad, they can't do that. They can pry into everyone's lives, it seems, EXCEPT those that they should be prying into. So, why the fuck do they keep getting money?

And the answer to that just scares the hell out of me.




work at home..
By MaryMOsteen on 12/23/13, Rating: 0
"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg














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