The Manning Verdict and the Rule of Law

I was a bit shocked at the relatively lenient sentence that the military court handed down to Bradley Manning. He got 35 years, but could be eligible for parole in as little as ten years with good behavior and credit for time served. The government was asking for 60 years, so Manning is probably a bit relieved by it. But the prosecution and the verdict raise very troubling issues, as Glenn Greenwald put it in a tweet: … [Read more...]

Obama’s Empty Surveillance Promises, Take 2

I wrote the other day that the promises that President Obama made last week about greater transparency were mostly hollow, especially the appointment of a commission to study the problem. Such commission are a political black hole. But it turns out that his "independent" commission won't be independent at all: … [Read more...]

The Bipartisan Consensus On Surveillance

Glenn Greenwald reports on the behind-the-scene battle over an amendment that would have confined NSA data mining only to those who are actually under investigation rather than allowing them to collect massive amounts of data on all of us in the name of stopping terrorism. That amendment failed in the House, but the vote was pretty close -- and the leadership of both parties united to make sure that no limits would be placed on the National Surveillance State. … [Read more...]

The Audacity of Obama

Before he took office, President Obama wrote a book called The Audacity of Hope. He might well have named it the audacity of Barack Obama. Take a look at this clip from All In with Chris Hayes about the search for Edward Snowden. Pay particular attention to what the president says around the 5:00 mark, that we are seeking the return of Snowden to face trial "to make sure that the rule of law is observed." … [Read more...]

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Director of National Intelligence

James Clapper is the Director of National Intelligence and he's been telling anyone who would listen that the NSA's data mining program is perfectly fine and not at all a threat to your privacy. And just to show you that he's an expert on threats, here's one of his greatest hits from October 2003: … [Read more...]

Dick Cheney: Wrong, But Consistent

President Obama, Sean Hannity and many others may be changing their position on the NSA's data mining programs out of political necessity or partisan convenience, but Dick Cheney is not. In an interview with Chris Wallace, he said he's just fine with what the NSA is doing: … [Read more...]

Another NSA Data Mining Hypocrite

Guess who said in 2006, “If I know every single phone call you made, I’m able to determine every single person you talked to. I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive." If you guessed Joe Biden, come on down. And he didn't stop there: … [Read more...]

Lessig: NSA Revelations Won’t Change Anything

I have a lot of respect for Larry Lessig of Harvard Law School and I agree with him completely when he tells Bill Moyers that Edward Snowden's fear that his leaks about the NSA's illegal data mining won't really change anything. He's right, they won't. … [Read more...]

Why Illegal Surveillance Matters

Chris Hayes has been doing an excellent job of examining the recent revelations about illegal government spying, including this segment explaining why history teaches that we should be very concerned about the abuses of government surveillance, especially when it's done without serious checks and balances. He makes many of the same points I've made about this. … [Read more...]

Obama vs Obama

Someone put together this video contrasting candidate Obama's hammering of the Bush administration for giving us the false choice of either fighting terrorism or upholding the Constitution with his defense of illegal surveillance on the grounds that we can't have 100% security and 100% privacy as well (as if either of those things could possibly exist or were relevant to the situation at all). … [Read more...]

Friedersdorf: Stop Using Terrorism to Diminish Freedom, Privacy

Conor Friedersdorf expresses my own thoughts on the question of our obsessive focus on terrorism far better than I could. He points out that in the real world Americans have very little to fear from terrorists and far more to fear from other things that we would never use to justify such a massive growth in government surveillance. … [Read more...]

Seriously, Geoffrey Stone?

Goeffrey Stone is a law professor and former dean at the University of Chicago Law School, a generally well-respected one. But his reaction to Edward Snowden's leaking of the details of the government's illegal spying is breathtakingly ridiculous. … [Read more...]


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