China and Russia both gave NSA-whistleblower Edward Snowden safe passage on his way to asylum in Ecuador. This, despite direct American pleas to stop him and turn him over. Russia and China, usually on the receiving end of America’s criticisms for their violations of human rights, can now accuse the U.S. of violating the civil rights of its own citizens by eavesdropping on them. There is also the resentment internationally that foreigners were particularly targeted. At any rate, this whole fiasco of Snowden’s escape amounts to a major diplomatic show of disrespect for the Obama administration. [Read more…]
James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, had been asked in a Congressional committee if the U.S. government was collecting data on millions of Americans. He said, no. But now with news about PRISM and other data mining programs, he is being accused of perjury. But what I want to draw attention to is his defense and a great phrase he has entered into the English lexicon:
“I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no.”
Most of the discussion on this blog about the government’s program to monitor phone calls and the internet has been against it. But some pundits, politicians, and security experts are defending the surveillance.
After the jump, I have excerpts from two journalists who defend the programs. The conservative Charles Lane argues that, despite Rand Paul’s plans to file a lawsuit against the surveillance programs, they are, in fact, constitutional and legal. The liberal Richard Cohen argues that the surveillance isn’t all that bad. Safeguards are built in, and, besides, we have already given up our privacy every time we log onto Google and other online sites.
Do these arguments change your mind? If not, how would you answer them?
Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former CIA employee who has been working with an intelligence contractor, revealed himself to be the source of reports about the government’s mass monitoring of telephones and the internet. After the jump, read about the cloak-and-dagger details from the perspective of the reporter to whom he leaked the classified information.
Do you consider him to be a traitor for giving aid and comfort to the enemy by disrupting a major anti-terrorism program? Or do you consider him to be a patriot for exposing major threats to constitutional principles and American liberties? [Read more…]
The federal government has been monitoring the phone calls of some 10 million Verizon subscribers (nearly 10% of them), thanks to a secret court order that initiated what is being called the largest and most open-ended surveillance effort ever and a grave assault on civil liberties. [Read more…]