1. Published on Jun 12, 2013

    Senator Merkley asks the NSA Chief what authorized investigation gave NSA the grounds for acquiring his cell phone data.

    This is really the legal heart of the issue.

    The Guardian: US senators bid to force government to reveal secret surveillance rulings

    The bill by Senator Jeff Merkley (Democrat, Oregon), which his office said it planned to introduce to the Senate on Tuesday, would force the government to disclose the opinions of a secretive surveillance court [FISA] that determines the scope of the eavesdropping on Americans’ phone records and internet communications.

    James Sensenbrenner (Republican, Wisconsin), the author of the 2001 Patriot Act, wrote for the Guardian that the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law justifying the surveillance has surpassed what the bill’s language authorises.

    [Ron] Wyden has long warned that the government possessed classified interpretations of surveillance laws that differ in material ways from the language of the law. His efforts at declassifying them, joined by Udall and Merkley over the past two years, have not succeeded.

    In February, the chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, Dianne Feinstein (Democrat-California), and four other senators, including Merkley, wrote to the Fisa court asking to “declassify opinions of this court that are assessed to contain a significant interpretation of the law”. They continued: “We believe that decisions of this court contain important rulings of the law that, if declassified, would inform public debate over Fisa [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] that are subject to sunset in 2015 and 2017.”

    The practical down side of this issue seems to be that the collective bodies of the Army, Intelligence and Investigative groups will do whatever they can to be allowed to run this machine, because it makes their jobs of catching the bad guys so much easier.

    If this amazing gift of technology can help prevent the deaths of the loved ones you’ve pledged to protect, how could you turn it down?

    10 months ago  /  0 notes

  2. More C-SPAN coverage: House, Senate Intel. Cmtes. Receive NSA Briefings: One, Two

    Includes some good rebuttals from pro NSA supporters.

    10 months ago  /  0 notes

  3. C-SPAN: US Senate Committee Appropriations - Cybersecurity Threats, Jun 12, 2013

    Very interesting to see the US Government and Army’s interaction in action on this new frontier.

    10 months ago  /  0 notes

  4. Wired.com: The NSA under General Keith Alexander

    An excellent article on the rapid development of the US’s “Cyberwarfare” army over the past 10 years.

    10 months ago  /  0 notes

  5. Pretty cool. I love the obligatory Tesla quote.

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  6. Sometimes I think maybe Hitchen’s debating background left him more concerned with rhetorical flair and writing good polemics than constructing an academically clear picture of a subject he is showcasing. But, his points are good and perhaps most importantly entertaining to listen to, thus maximising the impact of his educational outreach. I guess he is all right.

    10 months ago  /  0 notes

  7. ♥ ♥ ♥

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  8. The Guardian: Tulisa’s cocaine arrest: the greatest newspaper investigation ever

    We should all stand in awe of the groundbreaking investigative journalism and fearless police work dedicated to putting Tulisa Contostavlos back in her place

    10 months ago  /  0 notes

  9. From source:

    On Friday this blog questioned President Obama’s professed desire for a debate on balancing privacy and security, noting that the president has called for similar debates before, notably on the drone program, that he has otherwise done nothing to encourage. In any case actions speak louder than words, and the fact is, the surveillance happened and the debate hasn’t, and would not have but for the conscience of a whistleblower(s).

    Times columnist Gail Collins calls out the president this morning:

    “I welcome this debate,” Obama said Friday. “I think it’s healthy for our democracy.” Under further questioning, he said that he definitely didn’t welcome the leaks. Without which, of course, there would be no debate.

    Do you remember how enthusiastic people were about having a president who once taught constitutional law? I guess we’ve learned a lesson.

    10 months ago  /  0 notes

  10. Barack Obama on warrantless wiretaps. “The War We Need to Win” - August 1, 2007.

    A slightly younger Obama. Then it seems you were briefed on The Real World and accepted a reality of political compromises to achieve your goals. Or being a politics savvy Senator you would have known this already.

    10 months ago  /  0 notes