Dianne Feinstein: Super Genius

The FBI and the NYPD arrested two women in New York City for allegedly plotting a terrorist attack on the United States, prompting Sen. Dianne Feinstein to release a statement that shows she has no fucking clue how the internet works.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the arrests of two women accused of plotting to conduct a terrorist attack in New York City:

“The arrests of two women in New York accused of plotting to carry out bombings remind us that the threat of terrorism inside the United States endures. We must remain vigilant against these types of attacks and place a high priority on tracking and interdicting such plots.

“I am particularly struck that the alleged bombers made use of online bombmaking guides like the Anarchist Cookbook and Inspire Magazine. These documents are not, in my view, protected by the First Amendment and should be removed from the Internet.

Removed from the internet. Please do let us all know when you’ve invented the magic wand that makes things magically disappear from the internet. We won’t be holding our breath, though. And she does realize that the internet doesn’t just exist in America, right? And that the First Amendment only applies in America? Does she not have one person on her staff under the age of 40 to tell her that if she says this out loud in public, she’ll look like an out-of-touch ignoramus?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • eric

    While you focus on the practical impossibility, I think we should also point out the ludicrousness of criminalizing content like the Anarchist’s Cookbook. Its basically a stripped-down chemistry textbook. Is chemistry illegal to talk about now?

    Though I do recall there was a similar (and similarly ludicrous) outcry in the 90s when Shulgin published PiHKAL. What, you’re telling people how to synthesize drugs? Make it illegal! The irony of course being that the AC has been in circulation a lot longer than PiHKAL.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Recall that Feinstein receives top-level briefings from the alphabet soup of the US “intelligence community”, including NSA.

    I doubt that she has much grasp of the technical side of the Internet, or that her briefers do much to help her with that. I don’t doubt that said briefers do persuade her that NSA can do damn near anything they like online.

    Quite possibly our digital spooks could locate just about every copy of a given document online, and with a bit of effort could erase or mangle most of those copies and otherwise disable the servers hosting the rest. Of course, the targeted copies could fairly easily be replaced by offline backups, but temporarily the cybercops might indeed be able to do what they may have led Feinstein to think they can do.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    I gave up on Feinstein after she supported one of the flag burning amendments. I wrote to her pointing out how that was counter to the principles of the First Amendment and she wrote back a dismissive, jingoistic response. If we can have RINOs, then we can have DINOs. This just shows that she’s stupid as well as opposed to the Constitution.

  • Chiroptera

    I’m sure that there are people in the US security apparatus who would like to have all US internet go through a centralized, easily monitored, easily managed PatriotNet.

    ‘Course, committed terrorists would find a way out of this, but none of this is really about terrorism; it’s all about keeping the unwashed masses under control.

  • John Pieret

    No, no … she’s heard from reliable sources that the internet is a bunch of tubes where all that … er … stuff goes through, so all we have to do is make sure that the tubes all go through a place where the government can … er … filter out the bad stuff before it gets to the good people of America who could be tempted to build bombs and the like!

  • eric

    @4:

    ‘Course, committed terrorists would find a way out of this

    It already exists. Public key encryption is available and if everybody or even a significant fraction of people used it, not even the NSA’s resources could decode all messages in near real time. The issue is not whether technology can provide us with electronic message privacy, the issue is that we are, as a society, too lazy to use it.

  • Scientismist

    ArtK @3:

    ..she wrote back a dismissive, jingoistic response.

    At least it sounds like she (or her staff) understood your criticism enough to dismiss it. When I wrote to her to explain how her support for a Christian cross in a public park was unconstitutional, she wrote back thanking me for agreeing with her. She didn’t even have staff that read her mail closely enough to toss it in the right bin for a boilerplate response.

    That was many years ago, when I used to write real paper letters to senators and congress-critters. Some wrote back with responses that actually made me believe that my views were at least being transmitted faithfully to the politician in question; but not Feinstein. I think it has been three senatorial cycles now that I have voted against her in the primary, and just left my ballot blank in that contest in the general election. It does absolutely no good to try to write to her. She is ignorant and un-educable.

  • dave

    These two women didnt get the Anarchists Cookbook from teh Intartubez. They were given it by the FBI.

    If we take all the bad material off teh webz, how will the FBI radicalized their suspects?

  • Scientismist

    Chiroptera @4:

    it’s all about keeping the unwashed masses under control.

    It’s not even that. It is meant to make the unwashed masses believe that their government is Doing Something to keep us all safe and secure. Maybe they are doing something about that, secretly, at some level; but this nonsense is just part of the security theater, designed to convince us of how diligent they are, and how we need to let them continue to sandpaper the rough spots in the Constitution until it becomes totally irrelevant.

    So yes, you’re right.

  • dingojack

    Dianne Feinstein was clearly briefed on the Internet by Jen Barber herself…

    Dingo

  • zenlike

    These documents are not, in my view, protected by the First Amendment and should be removed from the Internet.

    So much stupid in one sentence:

    1. it clearly is protected by the first amendment,

    2. removing it from the internet is technically nigh impossible,

    3. the internet is not the property of the US of A, there are sites which are outside of the USA and luckely outside of the grasp of idiots like Dianne.

  • laurentweppe

    Removed from the internet. Please do let us all know when you’ve invented the magic wand that makes things magically disappear from the internet

    Oh, I’m sure there’s an algorithm for that, kept somewhere as a deterrent in a Google-owned bunker.

  • abb3w

    Maybe I’m kidding myself, I think I see what might be the exact points where stupid seeps in.

    @-1, Diane Feynstein

    These documents are not, in my view, protected by the First Amendment and should be removed from the Internet.

    First, as a question of what the law is, her opinion both personally and as a member of the legislative branch is abjectly worthless. The opinion which determines such controversies of law is (per Article III) that of the judicial branch, who have peripherally noted the legality of the dead-tree version of the material (EG: US v Holt in 1999), suggested that the Internet is at least as protected as printed material (Reno v ACLU in 1997), and given guidelines for the outermost limits of the protection (Chaplinsky v NH) — and the Anarchist’s Cookbook seems well inside those.

    Contrariwise, since she is a member of the Senate, her opinion of what the law should be protecting (or not) has some relevance, in that changing what the law was to what the law will be (and hopefully, should be) is the job of the legislature. Plus, being in the Senate, she can influence during advice-and-consent which judges get appointed to the federal courts or not.

    Nohow, she appears to be mistaking the world as she thinks it should be for the world as it already is.

    Additionally, thinking that it’s possible to “remove from the Internet” pretty much anything seems a bit more ordinary sort of willful ignorance. On the other hand, that may be a similar is/ought confusion — in that while it might be within a government’s purview to determine that something might be a “good” thing, such determination does not always imply that the government has the power to shape the world into complete accord with it.

  • brianl

    “[P}rompting Sen. Dianne Feinstein to release a statement that shows she has no fucking clue”

    A period at that point would have been perfectly acceptable and correct in virtually all circumstances.

  • doublereed

    There have been legitimate attempts to harass and arrest people who try to distribute materials like how to outmaneuver a lie detector test.

    I think the more disturbing thing is her complete lack of understanding of free speech. Yes, that is absolutely protected under the first amendment, you moron.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @OP

    What about the cenroship proposal of Sen. Dianne Feinstein? What about the censorship!?

    @ArtK

    I gave up on Feinstein after she supported one of the flag burning amendments.

    Fuck. The more I learn about, the more ashamed I am to have live in Cali. With her position on warrantless surveilance – complete asshat.

    @eric

    Public key encryption is available and if everybody or even a significant fraction of people used it, not even the NSA’s resources could decode all messages in near real time.

    Forget real time. It’s more like “could not decode this message in the age of the universe unless they get lucky”. (Barring advances in quantum computing.)

    Of course, that assumes that the rest of your security setup is secure, and often that is the weak link. Making a secure system is doable by experts and pedants, but how many people are going to go through the effort of installing Open BSD, and only install equivalently secure and vetted programs? Even then, while the chance of bugs sneaking through is very small, it is real and non-zero. Also, say hello to your near zero functionality.

  • DaveL

    This is hardly surprising, as I struggle to think of a single enumerated right in the Constitution that Dianne Feinstein actually thinks has any sort of real and binding effect on the federal government.

  • http://www.decrepitoldfool.com georgewiman

    Maybe she should call Amazon and tell them to stop selling the print version, or the Kindle version. That conversation should keep her out of the pool halls for a while.