NSA Defenders Claim 'All 3 Branches' Of Gov't Have Approved Its Programs -- But All 3 Are Now Demanding Reforms

from the times-change dept

Ever since the Snowden documents started revealing the massive overreach by the NSA, defenders of the agency and the programs have stuck by their mantra that the program is "legal" and that it was "approved by all three branches of the government." That line has been repeated over and over again. Of course, as we noted back in August, it quickly became apparent that the three parts charged with oversight were all being misled by the NSA. However, at this point, the claim that the programs have been approved by all three branches is demonstrably false.

In fact, as The Wire points out, you can now say that all three branches of the government are actually demanding NSA reforms, thanks to Judge Leon's decision on Monday. On the executive branch side, we have the the intelligence task force, which while recommending mostly cosmetic changes are clearly demanding reforms. And, over in Congress, there's the USA Freedom Act, which isn't perfect but certainly would roll back many of the worst overreaches.

Of course, you can expect that defenders of the NSA programs will continue to ignore all this and insist, yet again, that the programs have been approved by all three branches of government, but at that point, hopefully people will remind them that, even if that was true (and it was already misleading), all three branches of government appear to have changed their minds about it.


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    Geno0wl (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 12:08pm

    Maybe they are openly demanding reform

    If by "we want reform" they actually mean "we want all the bad press to stop". Then I will agree with that.
    Actions speak louder than words, and I have seen no real attempt by anybody to actually DO SOMETHING about the CIA/NSA/FBI's spying escapades.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 12:16pm

    The only solution here is encryption, epic butt tons of encryption on everything everywhere in every application. No other solution will be effective.

     

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    Frankz (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 12:29pm

    Of course

    Of course all 3 branches approved of it....in secret, when they thought the public wouldn't find out about it.
    But now that the public knows and is yelling for reform and lots of the elected officials fear for their jobs and want to get re-elected, they will publicly claim that they want reforms. But it will be the same as all the rest of their security theater: make it all look good (as in theater), but don't actually do or accomplish anything real.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 12:33pm

    Now that I believe, all three branches looked the other way and let it happen and now they all will try to save their asses by throwing someone under the bus.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 12:39pm

    Approved by 3 branches when you are directly involved with and are to the benefit of the executive, which then gets to cherry pick the single court that only hears your side in secret for the judicial then have a handful of those on the intelligence committees in the legislative that are in the pockets of your biggest contractors to be your cheerleaders and run interference for you with the rest of Congress. That's some definition of approval you have there.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    It's PR, Mike. Sheer baloney. No one will even be "thrown under the bus".

    Sheesh. You people actually think that trillions were spent over decades building the military-surveillance state only for it to fall apart when the public finds out? Sheesh. Wish I had even one percent of your optimism; must be nice to have rather than forced to endure not only NSA but optimists. -- I'm still going with the whole Snowden "leak" being a psyop precisely to inform the public, the better to control.

    What is this? A political blog? Where's the tech?

    08:42:22[j-765-4]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 12:47pm

    all 3 branches didn't give a fuck previously! now all this 'spying' has come to light and the fact that it is being used for just about any purpose there is except preventing terrorism, all 3 branches want to try to exonerate themselves! all 3 branches need to be told 'it's too late for this now! you are the ones that screwed up even more than the NSA because you gave them the go ahead!!'

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 12:59pm

    Slavery was legal too...

    And all 3 branches of government supported it.

     

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      art guerrilla (profile), Dec 19th, 2013 @ 5:55am

      Re: Slavery was legal too...

      thank you...

      what galls me is, it took ONE OUTLIER judge to actually do his job and defend the constitution which the kongresskritters, admin, spooks themselves, etc HAVE NOT DONE TO DATE...

      *NOW* it is 'suspect' ? ? ? where was your fucking brain (not to mention 'oath' to uphold/defend the constitution) this whole time, feinstein, king, etc ? ? ?

      no, the problem is that NO ONE stood against this EXCEPT for the few like snowden, manning, kiriakou, browning, hammond, etc, who are being persecuted for doing their patriotic duty which the kongresskritters and emperor failed to do...
      repeatedly...
      over decades...

      fuck'em...

       

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    kP (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 1:20pm

    Inch vs Mile

    Let's put this in terms any parent can understand:

    I give my child time to play video games for an hour or 2 after homework is completed, but instead, he skips the homework and play games until 1am.

    Why then, when the parent seeks to clarify and place boundaries, does the child act as if the house is falling down around them?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 1:34pm

    There are three branches of government ? prove it

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 3:10pm

    Or...

    that the programs have been approved by all three branches of government, but at that point, hopefully people will remind them that, even if that was true (and it was already misleading), all three branches of government appear to have changed their minds about it.
    To be slightly fair to the NSA (and at this point I see no reason for it, but hey-ho), it's not totally impossible that all 3 branches of government did approve these programs and the mind-change represents rats leaving the sinking ship.
    Are the bits of the US government that would approve this stuff that much less corrupt and over-reaching than the NSA?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 6:31pm

    I agree that technology and encryption are the most effective and likely answer for private electronic communication. Unfortunately, the NSA also knows this to be true, which is why hardware manufacturers are required, by law (CALEA), to design government backdoors into the silicon, firmware, and drivers of any telecommunication device.

    It doesn't matter how cryptographically secure the encryption ciphers are, if the underlying hardware and software the encryption process is happening on top of is compromised.

    Which is why the Chinese and the American governments, are refusing to let each other sell their backdoored hardware devices in each others domestic markets.

     

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    Tom Stone, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 7:10pm

    3 branches of government

    I'm waiting for the Vice Presidential branch to weigh in.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 12:50am

    I wish they would act a little bit faster.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2013 @ 1:36am

    ditto

     

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