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NSA Disclosures

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Judge Vinson’s order requiring Verizon to turn over electronic metadata (not unlike the old law enforcement technique of recording mail covers, which required a warrant) was leaked and ignited a firestorm. A few observations:

1. No one trusts the American mainstream media anymore. When the Washington Post was offered the leak, they went to the Government to ask if it was OK to publish the information. I cannot imagine Ben Bradlee doing the same. Bradley Manning only turned to Wikileaks after the New York Times couldn’t be bothered. It took a British newspaper to publish this crucial news.

2. Where is the Church Commission when we need it?

3. James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, lied before Congress. But I’m not holding my breath for a perjury indictment. He also claimed that releasing the Vinson order, classified until 2038, would irreparably damage national security. He then declassified other documents relating to the program. If there was so much damage, why the declassification? The answer is simple: there wasn’t any damage in the first place. He then declared that, despite the PRISM program, the U.S. did not collect evidence on “millions of Americans.” The next day the Guardian published information about yet another NSA program that did just that, called Boundless Informant. Oops.

4. The predictable attacks against the source, Edward Snowden, are a pathetic attempt to divert attention from this massive spying effort. The U.S. mistreatment of Bradley Manning (as determined by the United Nations and the courts) will hamper any extradition effort.

5. I know a certain person who for a while worked on Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program. Has he been contacted by any of our friends in the intelligence community? Of course not. Maybe they’re too buy listening to phone sex calls: http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=5987804.

6. It is interesting hearing the pundits claim they know what China will or will not do. They are clueless. China has already reaped rich rewards because of the disclosure: the U.S. effort to get them to stop their cyberwarfare efforts are dead in the water.

7. Google, Yahoo, Apple and anyone else who runs a cloud service in the U.S. will lose foreign business. All of it. There will be a race to locate new companies in Europe to service these customers.

8. In the Noriega and one other CIPA case, I refused to accept a security clearance. Not doing so would give me much more latitude in defending my clients. All the other lawyers in the cases rushed to accept the government’s offer of clearances and so were hampered in their defense.

9. The Government insists that the court-order justifying the PRISM program must be kept secret. This is noxious.

Written by mokane

June 11, 2013 at 11:40 am

Posted in Blogroll

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