Intelligence Community Says President Obama's Non-Plan To 'End' Metadata Collection Is 'Impossible'

from the shockingly-unshocking dept

What do you get when the President of the United States, rather than take a stand and act as a leader, decides to try to "balance" everything by pretending to promise to end the Section 215 bulk metadata collection, while promising to "retain its capabilities"? And then, after announcing that non-plan, tossing it over to the Attorney General and Congress to sort out the details? Yeah, you get a whole lot of nothing. And, folks in the intelligence community are basically saying that nothing's going to change because what he's suggesting isn't really possible.
“The idea that this complicated problem will be solved in the next two months is very unlikely, if not impossible,” said one official with knowledge of the discussions. “It is not at all inconceivable that the bulk collection program will stay the same, with the records held by the government until 2015,” when the law that authorizes the bulk collection is set to expire.
And, of course, many assume this was the plan all along. Say that they're ending the program while promising to keep the capabilities, then punt the issue to others to work out, and you pretty much guarantee the status quo for quite some time. Perhaps permanently. This wasn't leadership, this was passing the buck. And that's why most of the intelligence community seems perfectly happy with the result.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 3:45am

    As long as the Americans don't start voicing the oposition and acting they have no reason to change anything. And I suspect a huge chunk of the Americans either are (still) ignorant or share the opinion that it's either necessary (because terrorism) or they have nothing to hide. So yeah, thought times for those who can grasp what's at stake now.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 3:56am

    This wasn't leadership, this was passing the buck.

    And how is this uniquely different than the last couple of generations of "leaders"?

     

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  3.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 4:02am

    This is how the government functions.
    There is a problem with something - Public Outcry - Something happens - Public assumes it is all better and moves on.

    We seem to lack the required attention span to make sure they actually solve the problems beyond a speech or badly written law.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    beech, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 4:08am

    Response to: That Anonymous Coward on Jan 27th, 2014 @ 4:02am

    Well, in our defense, Justin Bieber is out there doing stuff and we don't want to miss out.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 4:09am

    Re:

    I like how he didn't make a claim that it was, but you act like he did.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 4:16am

    Re:

    Democracy requires it's citizens to be well informed, intelligent (ha!) and attentive of the problems at hand.

    When people can't be bothered to part from their favorite soap opera and reality show for some real news, then you get a system like this.

    I don't think it's incidental tho..

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 4:18am

    Re: Re:

    Perhaps you have an idea then on how to get in a class of leaders that doesn't pass the buck? Because it sure seems like that is all one gets out of the leadership class.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 4:23am

    Re: Re:

    attentive of the problems at hand.

    First would be the problems as hand would have to be simple enough to figure out a solution for.

    Next it would require citizens to have standing and a willingness to engage in a legal fight to attempt to correct the problem.

    Few problems are simple and even fewer have the willingness to fight.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Kill them all and make sure that everyone is actually educated instead of indoctrinated. Then, when people can make a genuinely informed choice, allow them to choose.

    But int he meantime, put up or shut up.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 4:47am

    Re: Re:

    There is also the problem that politics is dominated by people most citizens do not want to associate with. This puts many citizens off of getting involved in politics, either by becoming involved with political parties, or standing for office.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 5:11am

    "It is not at all inconceivable that the bulk collection program will stay the same, with the records held by the government until 2015,” when the law that authorizes the bulk collection is set to expire."

    Set to be "extended"

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 5:15am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't think we're talking about the same thing.

    First would be the problems as hand would have to be simple enough to figure out a solution for.
    You imply that there are actual problems that a politician can solve, but a group of experts (real experts with working knowledge) couldn't. You must be kidding, right?

    We live in a society for a reason. No one is capable of solving every problem, but together..

    Next it would require citizens to have standing and a willingness to engage in a legal fight to attempt to correct the problem.
    I'm talking about a real democracy, not some legal fight. In a real democracy, every citizen have a standing because they're citizens.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 5:16am

    Re:

    Nail, meet hammer

     

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

  14.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 5:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think that's the crux of the problem with the current system: people despise their "leaders".

    A democracy don't really need leaders in the traditional sense. (that's why it is much less susceptible to bribery and corruption, and more to demagogy)
    It needs a forum where people decide what to do, and an executive branch that executes exactly what is decided, exactly as decided by the people.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 5:59am

    it shows what is of paramount importance to the President, and that sure as hell isn't respecting citizens privacy! when your leader shows such disrespect to those he is supposedly leading, he is being no leader at all!

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 6:15am

    Re:

    breaking news = always exciting!
    continuing scandal = very valuable for gathering viewers, but unless it brings many and important new developments it will tire people of news about the issue.
    political reaction = after the initial political actions it is usually pretty much settled, for now. No need to talk about it, since something has been slammed together to make some reports to support decision making (in several ways...).
    reports come out = not very exciting. The continuing scandal will often have been over for some time and people are becoming increasingly bored of the issue.
    actual legislative action = who the *beep* cares anymore. Now you are just covering the issue to drive people away...

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    FM Hilton, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 6:49am

    The question at hand

    You mean, there was a problem to be solved here?

    Something wrong with the way the government works?

    Hey, don't threaten the status quo, will ya?

    We work here for a living, and we know what we're doing!

    "We're the government and we're here to help/protect/spy on you."

    Now go away and let us do our jobs in peace and quiet, you peasants! No more of this nonsense!

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 6:56am

    “The idea that this complicated problem will be solved in the next two months is very unlikely, if not impossible,”


    It's doable, but the end result isn't what they want. Instead they'll keep the programs intact . Scraping them Is the only fix.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 7:27am

    Obama promised in 2008 to not only end [Bush era] domestic spying, but to prosecute US companies who engaged in it.

    We all saw how that promise turned out.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 7:31am

    "isnt possible"
    Im sure young kimmi of north korea could stop any program in his government.
    It isnt that hard to fire everyone involved and drag them to court.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 7:40am

    Re:

    No one wants to be the next JFK

     

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

  22.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, this. When people start talking about elected officials as "leaders," I have to start suppressing my gag reflex. Elected officials -- including the President and Congress -- aren't supposed to be "leaders". They're supposed to be employees.

     

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

  23.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:06am

    Re:

    I agree with them, actually. I don't think it's solvable given the parameters that are expected to be met: retain its capabilities.

    The issue, of course, is that it's "capabilities" are the problem that needs to be solved. They need to be eliminated. That's not going to be part of the solution by definition.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re:

    The reason why on sites like these where we talk about these issues everyone seems to be more or less in agreement is because the fools are too lazy to write out informed opinions.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It needs a forum where people decide what to do, and an executive branch that executes exactly what is decided, exactly as decided by the people."

    The problem is: how do you determine what "the people" want? Is it a simple majority kind of thing, where anything less than 50% support for a yes/no proposition is considered not to be the will of the people? Do minorities get any say in the matter, and, if so, who is to meet their demands when the rest of "the people" will not support them? Does the executive branch ever get to act against a small majority in favor of a large minority? Against a large majority for a small minority?

    It makes no sense to speak of "the will of the people" when there's no such thing as "the people". That's why democracy from the top down -- whether in the form of "leaders" or in the form of "executives" -- will never quite work.

     

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

  26.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This is true. It's why direct democracy is a terrible, terrible idea -- it is pretty much instant tyranny. This is what the founders referred to as the "tyranny of the majority".

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 9:24am

    There you have it America! Our government is perfectly fine with twisting interpretations of laws, until they become unconstitutional. Then leaving those laws in place, even after the majority of the public finds out about the secret unconstitutional laws.

    We are now a nation of "unconstitutional laws, and men".

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Zonker, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 12:54pm

    ...when the law that authorizes the bulk collection is set to expire.
    Except that the law quite specifically does NOT authorize this sort of bulk collection in the first place, as made clear by Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) and even Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the guy who authored the the so-called "Patriot Act" law himself.

     

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


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