This Should Be Interesting…

Glenn Greenwald is close to releasing more Snowden documents.  The next group will reveal “what kinds of citizens are being targeted by the NSA.”

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Snowden Seeking Plea

Washington super-lawyer Plato Cacheris is representing Edward Snowden in talks with the Justice Department, seeking a plea deal that would let Snowden come home.  If anyone can get Snowden a decent deal, it’s Plato.

Releasing Terrorists While Spying on Us

Okay, so the Prez says it’s perfectly fine to release these five top Taliban terrorists.  But at the same time, the Prez says we’re in so much danger from the terrorists that he has to gather everybody’s phone calls and emails.

So all of us average, loyal Americans who are being watched constantly are a threat, but the real bad guys aren’t?

This inexcusable, incoherent policy gives us the worst of both worlds — putting our lives more at risk while taking away our rights.

How can anyone justify both the Taliban deal and the NSA surveillance?

 

After Snowden, We Get Snow Job

The House passed the USA FREEDOM Act today, which is supposed to fix the PATRIOT Act and rein in the NSA, but falls far short of what we need to get our rights back.  The vote was 303-121, with 179 Republicans and 124 Democrats in favor.  The bill now goes to the Senate, but I doubt it will get fixed enough to keep this from being a huge wasted opportunity to restore our privacy.

Here’s James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), the chief sponsor of the bill:  “Let me be clear:  I wish this bill did more.  To my colleagues who lament the changes, I agree with you.  The privacy groups who are upset about lost provisions, I share your disappointment.”

Here’s Zoe Logren (D-California), who supported the bill that came out of the Judiciary Committee, but voted against the final bill:  “This is not the bill that was voted out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously.  Regrettably, we have learned that if we leave any ambiguity in the law [on bulk data collection], the intelligence agency will run a truck through that ambiguity.”

Companies like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, and Facebook had supported the original bill, but did not support the final version, believing that it contains a loophole for government surveillance of our Internet data.

The bill also dropped the provision creating an independent public advocate at the FISA court.  It removed provisions about public reports from the government about its targeting activity and FISA court requests.

The bill requires phone companies to keep records for 18 months, with the NSA having to get a court order to access those records.

 

Quote of the Day

“Certainly, many of the Snowden-fueled disclosures following the original NSA revelation have been gratuitous and harmful; those, and his sheltering in Russia rather than arguing his case in a U.S. court, raise doubts about his motives. But the original NSA leaks were justified because U.S. intelligence officials had misled the public and members of Congress about the program. There’s no value of ‘oversight’ if the overseers are being fed lies.”

Dana Milbank, WaPo