Sunday, June 23, 2013

Yes, We Have No Surveillance State (Shh, Pass It On...)

Today various news stories combine to show the sorry state of our federal government, proving the useful rule that you don't have to be paranoid to believe that people are out to get you. Because, it truth, they are, especially if you're in government.

Story one, from McClatchy via Digby at Hullabaloo:
Even before a former U.S. intelligence contractor exposed the secret collection of Americans’ phone records, the Obama administration was pressing a government-wide crackdown on security threats that requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions.

President Barack Obama’s unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, is sweeping in its reach. It has received scant public attention even though it extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture departments. It emphasizes leaks of classified material, but catchall definitions of “insider threat” give agencies latitude to pursue and penalize a range of other conduct.
 Great. We're turning our entire government workforce into snitches. That's going to be real fun. We could all go to the bar after work and vote on who to rat out next. Wait, no we couldn't. That might be considered sedition, and we'd all be required to turn each other and ourselves in. Good grief.

Story two, from the Washington Post:
The National Security Agency’s recently revealed surveillance programs undermine the purpose of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was established to prevent this kind of overreach. They violate the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure. And they underscore the dangers of growing executive power.
This is from Laura K. Donohue, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and director of Georgetown’s Center on National Security and the Law. Looks like she got it right, though I'd hate to find out what Antonin Scalia might think.

And finally, story three, in video form:

And this tidbit at the end of the interview:

Some country we've got here.

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