President Obama Locking In Cosmetic NSA 'Reforms' Before Key Privacy Board Can Even Weigh In

from the that-doesn't-seem-right dept

While so much attention has been paid to the special White House task force that was set up to look at the NSA situation, and the fact that President Obama is planning to announce his almost entirely cosmetic "reforms" for the NSA tomorrow, it seems that almost everyone has forgotten that there is an official Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) that is planning to give its own recommendations concerning the NSA's programs... only, it's after the President will have already announced his plans. Admittedly, it must be easy to forget about or ignore the PCLOB. As we discussed a year and a half ago, the federal government (under both Presidents Bush and Obama) left it entirely unstaffed for nearly five years. However, it does now exist and has also been investigating the NSA's programs and their impact on privacy and civil liberties.

Earlier this month, the PCLOB announced that it will be releasing its findings... in late January or after February. In other words, the recommendations will be after the President has already announced his plans. It does sound like the PCLOB report will be fairly thorough -- there will be one focused on Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act (the bulk metadata collection), a report on how FISC works, and a final report on Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. Basically, three separate looks at the most controversial aspects of the NSA's activities. And all of them coming after the President has already made up his mind.

Of course, while it might seem odd that the President would announce his plans just a few days before the government's official organization in charge of privacy and civil liberties announces its findings... it's not that odd if the whole point is to basically cut off any serious consideration of whatever they actually end up recommending. And, of course, you don't even have to be overly cynical to assume that's exactly what's happening.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 16th, 2014 @ 8:27am

    And, of course, you don't even have to be overly cynical to assume that's exactly what's happening.

    Actually you just have to be educate on the issues. Marginally. To assume that it's exactly what's happening.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Internet Zen Master (profile), Jan 16th, 2014 @ 9:14am

    So is there anyway people can, I dunno, call him on his bullshit and pressure him to continue reforming the NSA even after he locks in the window-dressing reforms he plans on doing right now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 9:33am

    What a crook.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Question, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 9:39am

    Since when does the mere fact that the POTUS announces something establish the final say in any given matter?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 9:40am

    Your master is here!

    Quit your complaining!

    And Deal!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 9:41am

    Re:

    Since Congress will not do anything about it.

    There is barely a peep from them on reigning in an out of control Executive Branch.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 9:46am

    "It must be easy to forget about or ignore the PCLOB.' -- Unless you're a weenie.

    "(under both Presidents Bush and Obama) left it entirely unstaffed for nearly five years." -- But to Mike it's headlined "Key Privacy Board"! How EXACTLY do you imagine to be "unstaffed" and irrelevant, yet KEY, MIke? Inquiring minds want to know, 'cause to me that looks as though you flatly and stupidly contradict yourself, even stating this doesn't matter, the decision is already made!

    THIS is a typical Techdirt "reverse hot dog": pusillanimous ambivalence perhaps contradicting itself, wrapped in a weenie.

    Masnicking: daily spurts of short and trivial traffic-generating items.

    05:45:08[g-026-8]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 9:54am

    so this tells us exactly what about Obama and those pulling his strings??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 9:59am

    The NSA has hallmarked itself with lying and deceitful nature. At this point, I expect to learn sometime in the future that they have blackmailed or strong armed a lot of politicians, judges, and authorities right on down to the local police forces when needed, with the information they have collected.

    Obama has done a 100% turn around from senator to president... Why? He's not the only one. Then there are the die hards that would protect come hell or high water, such as those on the Intelligence Committee that apparently don't care if they are lied to. Why do they not care when that is their job?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 10:06am

    Assumptions of ignorance?

    Doesn't this assume that the WH & Prez were not briefed of the findings weeks ago.. Reports sometimes actually do go in front of other eyes before being released. Obviously we don't know, but it is very possible his staff read the report and advised.

    Now to turn that around of course it is still too early because he should be acting on the downstream feedback of that report as well

    ..So it is knee jerk either way, just saying it may not be a blind bat as it is portrayed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 10:53am

    And as TechDirt noted earlier this week, even if many of these problems could be addressed, the FISC courts don't care to implement them as it would 'overload them' even with staffing help and drastically reduce their ability to rubber stamp...err approve stuff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    icon
    krolork (profile), Jan 16th, 2014 @ 10:54am

    We need a revolution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re:

    Sounds like a replaceable congress... or perhaps they've learned to conspire against the presidency in secret as the president does unto them (and us).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 11:52am

    Re:

    "At this point, I expect to learn sometime in the future that they have blackmailed or strong armed a lot of politicians, judges, and authorities..."

    Look up the revelations of Russell Tice. He's already blown the proverbial whistle on this practice, and Wlliam Binney seems to agree with him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 3:07am

    Re: Re:

    That's because they're expecting to take it over in the next election. They need that structure to be in place, conveniently installed by "responsible" Democrats. Now imagine the fun a particularly rabid right-winger would have with mass surveillance and sweeping powers of arrest, secret laws, and secret courts. Replace "national security" with "for the children."

    Now pray it doesn't happen, 'cause when one bunch of jokers fails to make the grade, the people vote the others in as if they have no other candidates to choose from.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Clownius, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 4:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Are you suggesting the Republicans wont cry "national security" AS WELL AS "think of the children"?

    Because the votes on the patriot act show they are the biggest supporters of such things. They may cry foul about Obama's actions but they vote for them almost to the man. More Democrats vote against then republicans by a massive margin.

    Hell i wouldnt be surprised if the Republicans massively extend all of the current programs and add more programs.

    The problem is your government consists of two main parties. Right wing Authoritarian and Extreme right wing Authoritarian. You really really need a left wing libertarian option.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 4:16am

    Re:

    Ya say ya want a revolution, weeelll, ya knooow. We all wanna change the world.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This