Wall Street Journal Calls Snowden A Sociopath; Argues For Even Less NSA Oversight

from the the-nsa-journal dept

It’s no surprise that the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal would be apologists for the surveillance state, but even they have reached new depths in discussing the recommendations to President Obama from his NSA review panel/task force. As we had already pointed out, the actual recommended changes appear to be entirely cosmetic, and yet the WSJ seems to think that the NSA should have free rein to spy on anyone and everything. It’s as if the WSJ editorial board has never heard of the 4th Amendment, and has simply no clue how much damage the NSA has done to the US economy. You would think, given the WSJ’s reputation as being pro-big business, that it would concern them that businesses appear to be losing a ton of money overseas as people don’t want to do business with American companies any more over the NSA revelations.

But, no, the editorial is so full of ignorance and wrongness that it almost feels like a parody. It refers to Ed Snowden as a “sociopath with stolen documents” for example:

The report lands at a bad political moment, with tea party Republicans and anti-antiterror Democrats smelling opportunity and sociopaths with stolen documents campaigning to harm U.S. national security.

I’m curious how they judge him to be a sociopath. Considering the ruling yesterday by Judge Leon, which the WSJ acknowledges in the very next sentence, it certainly looks like Snowden revealed to the public an unconstitutional effort by the US government to violate our privacy.

The editorial goes on to insist that any rollback of the bulk metadata program would have horrendous consequences… based on nothing. The editorial claims that a moderate change to the bulk metadata collection (requiring telcos to hold onto the data, rather than letting the NSA get it up front) would “effectively cripple” the NSA’s ability to analyze these records.

The problem is that metadata is only useful if it is pooled, formatted and organized so it can be searched quickly and accurately. Intelligence is not an on-demand technology but an ongoing, painstaking process in preparation for questions that no one can know until U.S. spooks need immediate answers.

But that’s both wrong and bullshit at the same time. First, that paragraph could be used to argue against any limit on surveillance. It goes completely against the very concept of the 4th Amendment. Hell, attaching recording devices and cameras to every single human being, and piping that info directly into the NSA (and no, we’re not quite at that stage yet) would also help the NSA search for info quickly — but it’s also insane. Why would the WSJ support an insane concept?

More importantly, despite having many opportunities to do so, the NSA has yet to show any evidence that the bulk metadata collection was necessary to stop any terror attacks. Multiple Senators have already said that there is no such evidence, and in Judge Leon’s ruling he explicitly notes that, despite the opportunity to do so, the US government did not present a single shred of evidence that this program has been necessary. Furthermore, the claims that it’s necessary to have the data in hand (as opposed to held by the telcos, as this proposal would allow) is again not supported by the actual evidence. Judge Leon clearly pointed out that in the examples given of where the metadata was used, there was no necessary “urgency” that would have prevented reviewing that information were it held elsewhere.

The editorial board also apparently has a serious problem with the idea that there should be an adversarial process within the FISA court. In fact, it goes even further in arguing that the FISA court itself is a problem, and that the NSA shouldn’t even be accountable to the judicial branch, but to the executive branch alone. And then it mocks the idea of an adversarial process by calling it a “roving ACLU corps”, because protecting civil liberties is apparently not a good thing according to the WSJ.

The FISC judges are not now operating as a judiciary but instead fill a quasi-legal management role over NSA. This dilutes accountability for the political branches, but the Obama panel wants to go further and appoint a public advocate whose job is to argue against the NSA as in a public lawsuit.

This roving ACLU corps would second-guess the agency and presumably urge the judges to reject or limit NSA requests.

Even by the ridiculously low standards of the WSJ, this editorial is simply ludicrous. It bows down before the surveillance state, wishing for even fewer protections for our civil liberties, and pretends that if only the government could spy on us even more, the world would be a much better place. And it throws in that gratuitous attack on Snowden’s mental faculties just as a bonus. Because, when defending the surveillance state, apparently if you can’t argue with logic, ad hominems are the way to go.

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Comments on “Wall Street Journal Calls Snowden A Sociopath; Argues For Even Less NSA Oversight”

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art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Ohhhhhh

i’ll only say this:
you mention about various schemes being obviously ‘insane’, etc…
…except, there’s ALREADY BEEN so MUCH insanity, i don’t wonder that the most paranoid delusions might come to pass…
barcoded citizens ?
i don’t rule it out…
a chip implanted in our brains ?
i won’t bet against it…
orwellian surveillance ?
oops, too late…

shit, i’m not too far from joining my brothers and sisters who insist The They(tm) are shape-shifting reptilian overlords…
THAT would almost make a certain amount of sense…

Anonymous Coward says:

it’s idiots like this that think everything is fine until it’s actually them under the spotlight, them being tracked, them having calls, messages, letters intercepted. i suppose they also think it’s ok when it’s a member of their family, do they? how about someone disclosing some info about them that they would rather not have their partner find out about. that would make them sit up and take a bit more notice, perhaps?

out_of_the_blue says:

No, Mike, given this, I'd think fascists for all-out surveillance state:

“You would think, given the WSJ’s reputation as being pro-big business,” — It’s only you corporatists SO deep into the myth that corporations are beneficial who constantly get confused by their actual positions. In fact, Germany or Italy in the 1930s are closer to “big business” positions today than your loony libertarian fantasy. The money now is in surveillance, not even in industry — that’s all been moved overseas to Asian slaves, especially Chinese. All that remains in the former US of A are shells that don’t pay taxes — all profits are kept offshore — and those amoral monsters are HAPPY with the NSA.

Just try to be objective, college boy, and FORGET what you were indoctrinated with in college that “big business” is good. You manifestly never studied actual history of the 1930s, or you couldn’t have that view.

The Rich are not ideologues: any “-ism” is fine by entrenched elites (especially American “conservatives” who favor fascism) so long as THEY are entitled to live off laborers in practical feudal-ism.


That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: No, Mike, given this, I'd think fascists for all-out surveillance state:

And since when is being a “collage boy” an insult for anybody other than a back woods ignorant hick?

You answered your own question there. Anyone who thinks being educated is something to be ashamed or, something you can use to insult someone with, is almost certain to have very little education themselves.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

When the Master speaks

Remember who owns the Wall Street Journal-Rupert Murdoch, whose newspaper empire was based on spying on others. Last time I heard, over in the UK, there’s a case against his top editors for doing a huge amount of spying on celebrities, and just ordinary people.

Using cell phones.

So I would not read anything beyond just plain insane into the Wall St. Journals’ madness-just a spokeperson for conservative corporations who make millions from spying on others through various means: credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards. You name it, no corporation in this country misses a clue when it comes to spying on their customers and each other.

Of course the WSJ is in favor of it! They’d like to make sure that their interests are served first. If the NSA is allowed to do it, so should they.

Because they don’t want to be next in line for a debate about spying, do they?

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well, apparently Pravda has become the ‘go-to’ trustable foreign news organ for neocons, so long as it is criticising Obama and his government. You know, the same neocons that scream that he is a ‘Nazi socialist communist atheist muslim’.

I’m surprised the sheer mass of cognitive dissonance in having rabid anti-commies using Pravda as ‘gospel truth’ hasn’t collapsed the US into a black hole.

Anonymous Coward says:

WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the guy who ordered his own newspapers and Sky News to spy on people, hack their voicemails, break into their houses to steal/copy documents etc…why would ANYONE be suprised he’s on the NSAs side for spying?

Hell I wouldn’t be too shocked if in the very near future it turns out News Corp was helping the NSA with its spying…

Pragmatic says:

Wait a cotton-pickin’ minute… I thought WSJ was owned by one Rupert Murdoch, who claims to be libertarian. If that is STILL true, can somebody please explain this?

tea party Republicans and anti-antiterror Democrats smelling opportunity and sociopaths with stolen documents campaigning to harm U.S. national security.

So why are they picking on the Republican group that put them front and center? Or… are Murdoch’s libertarian sentiments just a front for a corporate agenda? Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

And what’s an anti-antiterror Democrat? Apart from “an example of bad grammar” they’re accusing some (unnamed) Dems of being PRO terror but haven’t got the stones to say so outright. THEN they have the nerve to call Snowden a sociopath? At least Ed has the nerve to speak as he finds.

For the record, I tend to agree with Libertarians on surveillance and work with them to campaign against it. I just don’t like extremists, hypocrites, or liars. Of any stripe.

Clownius says:

Re: Re:

As an Aussie who knows all about Rupe i can say Libertarian doesnt come close. Hes a hardcore conservative Authoritarian whos the king of crony capitalism.

Rupe will change his opinion (and his medias reporting) at a whim and use it to play the power game. He makes and breaks governments. that means what rupe wants law wise rupe gets. if he doesnt he gets you voted out. Pure and simple.

The sheeple believe what the media tells them still.

Oh and if it looks like even he cant swing the election he comes out for the side thats sure to win and basically tells them they owe him.

On behalf of all thinking Australians i apologise for letting this sociopath on the world.

Chris Brand says:

Not quite there ?

“attaching recording devices and cameras to every single human being, and piping that info directly into the NSA (and no, we’re not quite at that stage yet)”
They’re called cellphones. I guess we’re “not quite there” in that they’re not “attached”, but we’re extremely close to there (at least for people who are 51% likely to not be US citizens).

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