Ah, Congress. It appears that it's moving fast in response to the revelations, leaked by NSA contractor Ed Snowden, that the NSA is scooping up a ridiculous amount of digital data about all of us. But that atypically fast response is not about stopping the NSA from this overaggressive collection of data. No, it's to try to ban contractors from having access to highly classified material
. This is straight out of Senator Dianne Feinstein's playbook
: focus on demonizing the action of whistleblowing, rather than what was revealed by the whistleblower. And, of course, as always, that's a really stupid move. It may generate some headlines, but it does nothing to deal with the underlying problem of abuse of the law (which has been done with full knowledge of Feinstein) or the fact that plenty of people have access to this information. Locking out contractors won't stop the next insider from leaking information -- and it will actually likely inhibit the NSA from using the best technical talent out there in building and maintaining its computer systems. Either way, it's a weak attempt at treating the symptom, rather than the actual problem.