Obama Administration: New State Secrets Rules = Really, You Can Trust Us

from the uh... dept

So, we keep seeing more of what the promised “transparency” of the Obama administration means in real terms. Despite campaigning against warrantless wiretapping, the administration has come out with new rules for how it will use the “state secrets” privilege that amount to “no, really, we’ll only use it when we need to… just trust us” and continued to insist that evidence over warrantless wiretapping should be tossed out for state secrets reasons. And it’s left up to a former comedian, now politician to remind the Justice Department of the Fourth Amendment? The “just trust us, we won’t abuse the system” justification isn’t particularly comforting, especially when that clause is being used to cover up what is almost certainly illegal activity by the federal government.

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Comments on “Obama Administration: New State Secrets Rules = Really, You Can Trust Us”

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iNtrigued (profile) says:

Uh Oh!

Looks like things are getting very hairy the more technology and society advances. On one hand, you want the gov’t to be able to track down criminals/terrorists/etc. as quickly as possible through the tangled web that is technology. On the other, you don’t want to start conceding your rights to the gov’t, because once they get a taste they’ll be back for more(“Moose & a Cookie”/”Slippery Slope”?)

Alan Gerow (profile) says:

Re: Uh Oh!

“you want the gov’t to be able to track down criminals/terrorists/etc. as quickly as possible through the tangled web that is technology”

I don’t. I want a government that isn’t meddling in the affairs of others creating animosity where a vocal minority wants to attack us.

And as for criminals, considering a majority of criminals are victims of the governments “wars” on various vice crimes, I don’t want to see the government needing to use technology to track ANYONE down. You can’t murder someone or steal a car through a computer (at least not currently), so they should get on the street and do actual police work. And the government shouldn’t be meddling with vice crimes either, as what two consenting adults do with their property and themselves as long as they aren’t hindering other people’s rights shouldn’t be of any interest to the government to begin with.

So, in fact, I DON’T want the gov’t to be able to track down ANYONE.

Alan Gerow (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Uh Oh!

So, for the .001% of crimes that are actual good examples of computer uses … I’m for that. But, I’m against the 99.999% of the other cases you’re ignoring that are bad examples.

I’d rather the police do real detective work for that hit & run you’re so concerned about, than have them running amok creating ever more restrictive police states.

If police didn’t favor enforcing vice crimes because of revenue (Police Auction This Weekend! Everything Must Go!) over solving actual crimes with victims, then your arguments wouldn’t feel so hollow.

iNtrigued (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Uh Oh!

I was only talking about cyber crimes and crimes that are directly connected with technology. Hence when I said, “track down criminals/terrorists/etc. as quickly as possible through the tangled web that is technology.” I suppose one could take that to mean by using technology, but it was meant to mean crimes committed through technology.

I am in no way saying the gov’t should use technology to spy on us or anyone for that matter. Everyone should be in agreement with that, which is why I somewhat foolishly assumed everyone would understand my point. It would be crazy (or possibly kinky) to want anyone, especially the gov’t, spying on you.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Ah, The Who...

“Meet the new boss…same as the old boss.”

Isn’t it amazing? This is what kills me about the two party system we have. Most of us are all so busy staunchly defending whichever of the two idiotic sides that we’ve backed that there’s no longer any responsibility on the part of the politicians. Somehow they have masterfully alligned us in a nearly 50/50 proportion so that no matter what one of them does half will be for, and half will be against.

This jackass is just the latest in a series to say one thing and do another, and what’s CRAZY is that people will DEFEND him! The same way people defended Bush!

Barack Obama: From CNET – “when asked whether he supports shielding telecommunications and Internet companies from lawsuits accusing them of illegal spying, Obama gave us a one-word response: ‘NO.'”

And then you’re just going to go ahead and do it anyway? HONESTLY? So you, like that fucktard that came before you that in 2006 said that it didn’t matter whether we find WMDs in Iraq or not (YES IT DOES YOU FUCKING JACKASS, IT’S WHY YOU TOLD US WE WERE GOING THERE! ARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH), you completely go against your promises and do what you accused THAT guy of doing.

Making you, Barack Obama, the Lily Allen of government.

Congrats, there, you tool….

zither (profile) says:

Re: Ah, The Who...

when will we realize that the world and life is far more complex than our simple minds can fathom. We treat our leaders as if their choices were a simple A versus B, when any choice they make creates ripple effects they cannot really anticipate.

If we care about the security of the nation, something must give- or rather, we must give something. This country is too fond of having its cake and eating it too.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ah, The Who...

when will we realize that the world and life is far more complex than our simple minds can fathom.

Perhaps it’s more complex than your simple mind! (oooh, burn! But seriously…)

All things are simple, when taken in small enough pieces.

Also, ever consider that the President is likely ill-informed and being manipulated like a puppet–regardless of how good his(/her?) intentions?

Alan Gerow (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ah, The Who...

No, I want my cake, the government keeps taking it. So I get no cake, and I’m hungry.

I don’t want government leaders making choices for me. How about he leaves A versus B alone, and let me decide for myself which one is more relevant to me in my own life, so long as it doesn’t interfere with my neighbor choosing the same for him/herself.

John Doe says:

Re: Re: Ah, The Who...

Say what? BO was the one who said he didn’t want it and would be transparent and then has been anything but. Maybe politicians should realize the world is complex? Maybe more than that, they should obey the Constitution?

As another example, his administration has agreed to release the records of visitors to the White House, but it will be an edited list to protect state secrets. An edited list is as good as no list because there is no way to know what and why it was edited.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ah, The Who...

“Who you vote for is irrelevant–it is all about the illusion of choice.”

Careful what you say. If you present a fact-based point of view indicating that there are machinations at work behind the political races to get only candidates from what is essentially a small club of people…you’re a conspiracy theorist nutbar! Oh noes!

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Ah, The Who...

Not to worry! I have no facts. ;P

Just saying–the illusion of choice thing is easy enough to set up; and those who don’t recognize the illusion while it’s in motion are generally satisfied with their “choice.”

Here’s a fun one you can do at home:

Let’s say you and a friend decide to hang out and watch ONE movie–and everybody brought their two favorite DVDs.

So, take control. Decide on DVD 1 (or A, whatever).

Set all 4 DVDs together, and say “Pick 2”
If the 2 picked include DVD A, remove the other two. If not, remove the two picked.

Then say “Pick 1” — and end up watching DVD 1.

…You get the idea. And this is just one SIMPLE example; with a little more smoke & mirrors & game theory the expandability of this concept is exponential.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Ah, The Who...

No, it’s better than that.

Decide you want to watch an action flick, and then tell your girlfriend that you’re going to let HER pick the movie. She can choose from the following:

1. Die Hard
2. Die Hard 2
3. Die Hard w/a Vengence
4. Live Free of Die Hard

Either way, you get an (awesome) action flick even though you let HER choose.

This is the way that American politics works.

DJ (profile) says:

sad to be a conservative..

“Republicans emphasizing the need to have all possible tools for law enforcement available because another major terrorist attack could occur at any time.”

Statements like that make me sad, not that I am a conservative, but that THEY claim to be. On the surface, this statement makes sense: I do think that law enforcement agences SHOULD have all possible tools available to them. However (emphatic pause), wiretaps which violate the Constitution are not among those tools.

Flip side of that coin is that the US Constitution DOES NOT APPLY TO NON-US CITIZENS!!! It doesn’t apply. End of story. If the government wants to do a wire-tap on a citizen of another country, it’s perfectly legal according to the Constitution. You can argue till you’re blue in the face about it, but in the end, your only accomplishment will be cyanosis.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: sad to be a conservative..

I do think that law enforcement agences SHOULD have all possible tools available to them. However (emphatic pause), wiretaps which violate the Constitution are not among those tools.

Illegal wiretaps are most certainly possible, as has been repeatedly proven. What are you smoking anyway?

Flip side of that coin is that the US Constitution DOES NOT APPLY TO NON-US CITIZENS!!! It doesn’t apply. End of story.

That reminds me of the excuse the Japanese used to justify atrocities in WWII. In their view, it was OK as long as the victims weren’t Japanese citizens. War crime tribunals later disagreed with them on that.

Derek Reed says:

David Kris

This guy is the same guy that 3 years ago lambasted the NSA warrantless wiretapping very publicly (sending out a 23 page document to various media outlets, etc)

But now this is the person defending dismissing the lawsuits investigating those very crimes? This is the guy that Al Franken is reading the 4th amendment too?

“As a result, it will not impact the Obama Administration’s current assertion of the state secrets privilege to dismiss EFF’s lawsuits against those responsible for the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program”

Are we talking about different David Kris’s? What did I miss there?

Anonymous Coward says:

Rambling… It just occurred, more so than ever, to me that there is no way in all hell just one person can possibly process and comprehend the intricacy and details of just about *everything* that goes on in today’s modern world.

Presidents of yesteryear were capable of actually sticking to their core convictions (be it corrupt or not – at least it stayed the same), because there was less coming across their desk. The work load a modern president receives in one day of 2009 is probably equivalent to a weeks worth in the 70’s and a months worth in the 50’s. Just guessing, but you get my point…
In 2009 the US is the empire of the world, and as such we have our hand in many more complex situations than ever before.
My point being that when Obama (or even Bush) says something one week, he probably mostly believes it. Because he doesn’t know fully what he is talking about. I hate to say it, but in many ways its probably true. But if new data comes along to suggest a change of action or policy. Then the mind is easily changed.
Today with electronic recording and the internet. The people are able to easily compare and contrast what was said this week vs last week vs the future.
I think the world changed so fast that we easily fall in the trap of reflection on yesteryear when people (politicians, in this case) more often stood by their convictions. Of course there has always been corruption. but now its more so than ever….
Overall what do you expect from a puppet? I was hoping for a living thinking soul, or maybe a robot, but seems we got another puppet…. damn… slow eroding our rights.
When we lose a right, its nearly impossible to get it back.

TFP says:

It's called feature creep

Here in the UK, our newly instigated anti terrorist laws that were introduced only to catch terrorists, are now being used by the councils to find such terrorists as citizens who allow their dog to poop on the pavement, people who litter and ensure children live in the catchment area of the schools they try to get in.

As far as I know it hasn’t actually caught one terrorist yet, tho of course this is no surprise, as once arrested as a potential terrorist all rights to any sort of just and open trial goes out of the window.

If a judge starts demanding any proof of actual terrorist activities, the British government nervously quote the secrets act and release the suspect whilst maintaining they’re still under suspicion.

Anonymous Coward says:

The Constitution applies to all persons in the United States, not only citizens. Or, more specifically, it applies to the government. It doesn’t specify citizens, persons, animals, or anything- it merely speaks in absolutes. The Constitution says that the government can not do certain things, period. The target of the action is never specified, because the action is prohibited regardless of who they’re doing it to.

The Supreme Court has confirmed this on several occasions, notably Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886).

Anonymous Coward says:

Presidents don’t obey the constitution, look around you, the constitution talks about how the govt. can not favor one group over another, its support must go to everyone equally.

Our tax system obviously doesn’t do that. Our healthcare system (govt. paid) doesn’t do that. Our education system doesn’t do that.

You think Obama is running things? Really?

Lets see, the bailout, what did he say? He left it up to Congress (Pelosi) to do the details. Healthcare? He left it up to Congress (Pelosi) to do the details.

Obama is just a nice front man who gives a good speech taking orders from Nancy.

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