NY Times Gets It Right: Officials Calling For More Surveillance Are Proven Liars; Don't Listen To Them
from the don't-do-it dept
Even though the NY Times helped kick off the stupidity by publishing a nearly fact-free article (since deleted, and then replaced with an entirely different article) claiming that the Paris attackers used encryption to communicate, it appears the editorial board of the NY Times gets things exactly right with the editorial they pushed out last night: Mass Surveillance Isn’t the Answer to Fighting Terrorism. Not only does it point out why expanding mass surveillance won’t help much, it also points out that the people calling for it, like CIA director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, are not exactly trustworthy — in fact, they’re known liars:
It is hard to believe anything Mr. Brennan says. Last year, he bluntly denied that the C.I.A. had illegally hacked into the computers of Senate staff members conducting an investigation into the agency?s detention and torture programs when, in fact, it did. In 2011, when he was President Obama?s top counterterrorism adviser, he claimed that American drone strikes had not killed any civilians, despite clear evidence that they had. And his boss, James Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, has admitted lying to the Senate on the N.S.A.?s bulk collection of data. Even putting this lack of credibility aside, it?s not clear what extra powers Mr. Brennan is seeking.
This is refreshing to see, because the mainstream press has been ridiculously reticent to call these guys out for the fact that they lied. Of course, President Obama should be faulted too. In allowing both men to keep their jobs after they were caught lying, both publicly and to Congress, he set the tone that says “it’s okay for you to perjure yourself before Congress and to lie to the American public about how we’re violating their rights.” And so, it continues.
Still, the NY Times, rightly also calls bullshit on the hand-wringing among the intelligence community with its claims about how their hands are tied if they can’t get more surveillance powers:
Listening to Mr. Brennan and other officials, like James Comey, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, one might believe that the government has been rendered helpless to defend Americans against the threat of future terror attacks….
In truth, intelligence authorities are still able to do most of what they did before ? only now with a little more oversight by the courts and the public. There is no dispute that they and law enforcement agencies should have the necessary powers to detect and stop attacks before they happen. But that does not mean unquestioning acceptance of ineffective and very likely unconstitutional tactics that reduce civil liberties without making the public safer.
Now if only the views of the editorial board actually filtered down to the paper’s reporters, who seem amazingly willing to simply act as stenographers for these officials as they lie to the public and push their agenda.