Dick Cheney Lies: Claims Not A Single Case Of NSA Abusing Its Authority

from the that's,-um,-not-true dept

At the bottom of a Mother Jones article covering a “behind-closed-doors talk” by former Vice President Dick Cheney — in which he talked up (to applause) the idea of bombing Iran and whined that President Obama was too weak in the Middle East — the authors mention that actually much of his speech was devoted to defending the NSA. Apparently, he did this by flat out lying.

There is the belief, he said, “that we have created in the National Security Agency this monster bureaucracy that’s reading everybody’s mail, listening to everybody’s phone calls, infringing upon our civil liberties and civil rights. Hogwash.” He claimed that there has not been a single case of NSA abusing its authority.

Well, except an internal NSA audit that was reported on months ago actually found that the NSA abused its authority thousands of times per year. And, really, a big part of the complaints aren’t necessarily that the NSA abused its authority, but that even if they didn’t “abuse their authority” that the ability to collect all this information was legal in the first place. Meanwhile, we also know that there are also a bunch of cases where the NSA has admitted analysts willfully abused their powers. And, while the NSA claims that it’s caught all of those involved, a large percentage of them involved “self-reporting,” which suggests many cases of abuse slipped under the radar. And, of course, there were many other known abuses as well, including many years in which the NSA flat-out ignored the FISA court’s rules on handling metadata, allowing it to be shared widely, despite rules and promises not to do so.

This also ignores the fact that both a federal judge and the federal government’s privacy and civil liberties oversight board (PCLOB) found the program unconstitutional and illegal. Yes, others have found that the program is legitimate, but to ignore the still open-ended question as to the legitimacy of the program to argue that there’s been “no abuse” of authority is ridiculous. Hell, even the famed rubber stamping FISA court came close to shutting down the program and elsewhere discussed how the so-called privacy protections within the program was “so frequently and systematically violated” as to mean that they have “never functioned effectively.”

I don’t know about how Dick Cheney defines “abuse their authority,” but it seems like there’s fairly strong evidence of pretty widespread abuse — much of it taking place while Cheney was in power. Of course, since his definition of “abuse” seems to be “doing something that Dick Cheney personally doesn’t like,” then, I guess he’d be correct. But, given the rather clear — and flat-out admitted — cases of abuse, combined with significant claims that the entire program is abusive — it would appear that Cheney is simply lying.

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Comments on “Dick Cheney Lies: Claims Not A Single Case Of NSA Abusing Its Authority”

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Anonymously Anonymous Scaredy Cat says:

The Law Is Relative

The law, like beauty, is in eye of the beholder. When laws make no sense to someone, they are typically ignored, undermined, and socially non-binding. I’m not agreeing with the former VP but from his point of view, it’s perfectly legal when the utmost responsibility is not to an individual or “people” as a whole long term; it’s in the here and now because the threats (in his mind) are real and in keeping with the Federal Government’s mission – something they were allowed to do by law.

I disagree with the assertion that their mandate or the “laws” they’ve been granted are constitutional but that’s my perspective.

I find this argument similar to one that is shared here on intellectual property. Many have argued that the law is not relevant compared to modern technology, business models, etc. and some who hold that believe willingly “break the law” or abuse it in some cases to further their goals – which they believe are just in some way.

The shades of grey are darker for some; less so for others no matter how wrong the other “side” feels they are.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Whether or not Cheney was lying, this is another example of Mother Jones violating the privacy of an individual…

I’m not sure this was a really privacy violation myself. Although the speech wasn’t open to the press or the general public, it was still statements he himself made in a public speech.

…and then writing a story about what he supposedly said.

At this point there is nothing “supposed” about it since there is an actual audio copy of the speech.

Anonymous Coward says:

Defense Fund?

I would not personally attack Cheney or his like, but I would be very much interested in donating to the defense fund of anyone who would.

We cant all be the front line fighters, but we can make sure they have all the backup $$ they need for their attorneys.

I will celebrate the day he has his final heart attack.

aaron says:

easy rebuttal

The same folks who say the NSA hasn’t abused any powers are those who are saying Snowden abused his power. It’s a self-defeating argument. It is intellectually consistent to say Snowden is a whistleblower and the NSA is abusive, but it’s conmplete nonsense to say the NSA always operates ethically, but a NSA contractor is a traitor.

Anonymous Coward says:

Lets see, it was April Fools yesterday. This is the guy who figured terrorists were going to stop his pacemaker and had a resignation letter all ready… just in case. This is the same guy who shots a lawyer and then strangely and mysteriously, the lawyer apologizes for getting shot? What is wrong with this picture I haven’t a clue.

Imagine, Dick Cheney could lie? Oh, the horror of imagining such an event. /s

Robert says:

The lie is really rather sneaky. The NSA did not abuse their authority those that gave them the Authority abuse the constitution, abused the the law.
“BUT”, and there is a big ole “BUTT” there, to obey an illegal order is a crime, the NSA were illegally given the authority to commit crimes, however as ignorance of the law is no excuse and is was a crime to obey those orders, then the NSA by law as individuals committed crimes and each and every one of those individuals who committed crimes against the constitution and, obeyed illegal orders, they should be individually investigated and prosecuted from the top down, starting with Uncle Tom Obama the choom gang coward.

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