From Pew Research, the idea that huge levels of government power are okay, as long as “my guy” is in charge:
It’s not all swords and plowshares. It’s the industrial-intelligence complex.
The Bush NSA’s special collections program grew in early 2002 after the CIA started capturing top Qaeda operatives overseas, including Abu Zubaydah. The CIA seized the terrorists’ computers, cellphones and personal phone directories. NSA surveillance was intended to exploit those numbers and addresses as quickly as possible. As a result of Bush NSA work,the terrorist plot involving convicted al Qaeda operative Iyman Faris was uncovered — possibly saving untold lives, not to mention New York bridges and possibly Washington, D.C. trains.
The Bush administration argued then that the NSA program that helped uncover the Faris plot was necessary because officials needed to act quickly on large caches of information, such as the data found after the Zubaydah capture in March 2002. Normally, the government obtains court orders to monitor such information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. But the window of opportunity to exploit the names, numbers, and addresses of those associated with the top terrorist leaders was obviously small.
The differences between then and now are glaring.
The new Obama order covers not only phone calls overseas with the specific goal of counterterrorism surveillance, but all domestic calls by Verizon customers over at least a three-month period.
Trevor Timm, a digital rights analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, called the order “shockingly broad.”
“Not only are they intercepting call data into and out of the country, but they are intercepting all call data in the United States, which goes far beyond what the FISA Amendments Act allows,” Timm said.
“This is an abuse of the Patriot Act on a massive scale,” said Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “Since the law requires that the telephone records sought be relevant to an investigation, it appears that the FBI and the NSA may have launched the broadest investigation in history because everyone’s telephone calls seem to be relevant to it.”
A choice quote from California Democrat Congresswoman Maxine Waters:
Well, you know, I don’t know, and I think some people are missing something here. The president has put in place an organization that contains the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life. That’s going to be very, very powerful. That database will have information about everything, on every individual, in ways that it’s never been done before.
She’s talking about Organizing for America… but isn’t that peculiar? Depending how tight your tin foil hat is, this is very odd.
And what may prove to be very interesting – the CIA deputy director is leaving:
CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell is stepping down from his post and will be replaced by White House lawyer Avril Haines, the agency announced Wednesday.
CIA Director John Brennan said in a statement that Morell, a 33-year agency veteran, had decided to “retire to spend more time with his family and to pursue other professional opportunities.”
Note again that he’s being replaced by a lawyer, with no skills other than being a lawyer.
“Retire to spend more time with family” is the kind of thing you expect to hear when someone resigns as they know something bad is on the horizon.
I seem to remember hearing stories about General Ham and Admiral Gaouette saying they were retiring to spend time with family, too.