Former Bush Press Secretary Says The Answer To Mass Shootings Is… More Domestic Surveillance

from the because-of-course dept

The tragic shootings in San Bernadino earlier this week have created a political field day for the usual idiotic partisan arguments — which tend to have little to nothing to do with whatever actually happened. You have people on one side using it to call for gun control and folks on the other side using it to spark fears of “domestic terrorism.” And, of course, it didn’t take long for someone to pop up with using it as an excuse to call for greater surveillance. That was the argument that former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer took on MSNBC yesterday when asked what should be done in response. MSNBC Kate Snow asked if this could lead to bipartisan support for gun control (ha ha!) and Fleischer turned it around to say the answer is more surveillance.

Well, I hope there will be bipartisan support to really increase our surveillance. If you want to fight terrorism — what happened in Paris and what apparently now happened in California — the answer is not gun control or pipe bomb control (they also had 12 pipe bombs). The answer is more surveillance, tougher surveillance at home, so we can detect these attacks before they go off and protect people. We’ve done it many times in the past. We have the techniques. We need to make sure we’re using those techniques.

Almost all of that is complete bullshit of course — not that Snow calls him on it, because that’s not what cable news hosts do. Fleischer repeats the same line a few more times after this, saying over and over again “surveillance stops terrorism.” Except, there’s been little proof of that. Over and over again, it’s been shown that the domestic surveillance programs have failed to stop a single domestic terrorist act.

I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until someone tries to connect the fact that the NSA’s bulk collection of domestic phone records “ended” (and the quotes are there on purpose) this past weekend with the shooting this week. But, of course, that leaves out that the system was in place leading up to this and no one apparently knew a damn thing.

Once again, it’s fairly astounding how these surveillance state cheerleaders will use any situation — even their own failures — to argue it means we just need greater surveillance.

But, really, for all of Fleischer’s bullshit talk about how this is a moment for America to “come together,” doesn’t that include respecting things like the 4th Amendment?

Filed Under: , , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Former Bush Press Secretary Says The Answer To Mass Shootings Is… More Domestic Surveillance”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
57 Comments
ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Incomplete surveillance

Will the surveillance include knowing who buys guns ?

They bought them legally in California. The California Department of Justice already knew who bought the guns, when they bought them, how much they paid for them, and who they bought them from, and that they complied with the mandatory 10-day waiting period before picking them up. They also know that the purchaser had completed and passed the mandatory gun safety test required to purchase a gun in California.

Knowing who buys guns didn’t really help much in this case.

Anonymous Coward says:

These attacks are incredibly hard to prevent. I don’t know any top down approach that would be effective, other than an indefinite police state like France is turning into. Even then who knows how effective they will be.

I could see the benefit of a bottom up approach, not by being suspicious of your neighbors, but whenever possible reaching out to those who are isolated. But then again, from what we know this young family had few signs of radicalization, only pledging allegiance to ISIS mere hours before the attack.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I could see the benefit of a bottom up approach, not by being suspicious of your neighbors, but whenever possible reaching out to those who are isolated. But then again, from what we know this young family had few signs of radicalization, only pledging allegiance to ISIS mere hours before the attack.

Gun control would probably help a bit – by making it harder to obtain weaponry – although the best argument for it is to reduce accidental shootings especialy involving children.

Most first world countries have stricter gun control than the US and have consequently fewer gun deaths – only the wilfully blind fail to see this.

However these people will use bombs if guns are unavailable.

In spite of what you say about the family in this case it is generally true that most perpetrators are already on the security services radar so a bigger haystack is the last thing we need.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

by making it harder to obtain weaponry
Harder how? This guy seemed squeaky clean and had no previous police encounters. Any restrictions would have to apply to the rest of legal gun owners.

>is to reduce accidental shootings especialy involving children.
That would work. We could also but mandatory breathalyzers in cars to cut drunk driving deaths.

You could also make it harder to make pipe bombs by making it illegal to buy those components without ID and logging all transactions.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

by making it harder to obtain weaponry
Harder how?

In the UK (for example) these guns are not legally obtainable at all.

Any restrictions would have to apply to the rest of legal gun owners.

Yup but that is the price you pay.

That would work. We could also but mandatory breathalyzers in cars to cut drunk driving deaths.

Well the UK has the one – but not the other – you don’t have to do both.

Like I said people in the US seem to be wilfully blind on this issue. To much of the rest of the world your arguments just look stupid.

HegemonicDistortion says:

Re: Re: Re:3 California's legislative fail.

I think that’s what Fleischer’s statement may have really* been about: deflecting against the calls for better (i.e. any) gun control.

*Though of course one can never overestimate government eagerness for surveillance and to undermine Americans’ constitutional liberties.

ffemt8978 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 California's legislative fail.

Maybe it’s time we removed the law enforcement exemptions in gun control laws, and then add government employees to the list of people not allowed to posses any firearms.

Just think of how many people would be saved from being shot and killed if the police didn’t have firearms.

/sarcasm

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 California's legislative fail.

Lets see, they are military reservists, keeping their military weapons at home, and therefore weapons and ammunitions are stored separately under lock and key. Further weapons are not carried during everyday activities. Therefore weapons are not to hand when things start to go south.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 California's legislative fail.

Lets see, they are military reservists, keeping their military weapons at home, and therefore weapons and ammunitions are stored separately under lock and key.

Not just any old guns, but actual military weapons? The kind that are already mostly outlawed in the US? That must be why Switzerland has such a higher murder rate than the US. Oh, wait…

Wendy Cockcroft says:

Re: Re: Re:3 California's legislative fail.

That’s because the legislation is based on knee-jerk reactions instead of common sense. When you’re struggling to get the consent of the people because you’re dealing with two competing echo chambers instead of having a sensible conversation, bad law is the only possible result.

Zonker says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Any restrictions would have to apply to the rest of legal gun owners.

Yup but that is the price you pay.

Those of us in the US who still care about our rights and history live by the words of one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Should we give up our right to free speech and the press because someone may say or print something that offends me?

Should we be forced to quarter soldiers in our homes without our consent because our government declared war on some nation, drugs, or terror?

Should we allow our government unwarranted search and seizure from our persons, houses, papers, and effects without cause because someone in our neighborhood may have committed a crime?

Should we allow ourselves to answer for some capital crime without indictment again and again because some murderer could escape justice? Be compelled to incriminate ourselves? Be deprived of our life, liberty, or property without due process or compensation because it’s too hard to prove our guilt, because officers are afraid we might cause them injury, or simply because an officer believes we must have done something illegal?

Should we give up any of our remaining constitutional rights because it may allow some bad things to happen occasionally without repercussion?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The more tyrannical the state, and the greater the wealth disparity, the greater the risk of violence against society.

All other things being equal – maybe – but they aren’t in this case.

Firstly this is an international phenomenon.

Secondly this ideology is violent whether it is the tyrant or the insurgent and attacks even in societies like scandinavia which have the least wealth disparity in the world.

Ultimately the only solution is to defeat the ideology. After each attack a bunch of well known moderate muslims surface to say that this has “nothing to do with Islam”. However they never seem to give much justification for these statements – we are suppposed to take their word for it. We need to hear them quote clear chapter and verse to justify their position or maybe just maybe say – actually it seems that this religion really does have a violent core – so I am now going to leave it – and I invite all other moderates to do the same.

One of the real reasons why they will never do this is the root of the problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Fleischer is unclear on the concept

The point of terrorism is not to blow things up or to kill people. Those are merely means to an end.

The point of terrorism is to frighten people into taking (or not taking) action.

Thus it works best when it’s relayed around the world in seconds via real-time video, when it’s played live on every news channel, when it’s given nonstop attention, when it’s on every newspaper’s front page, when government officials play it up, when panic and fear are spread far and wide.

Terrorism needs an audience, and Fleischer proposes to give it (an even bigger) one.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Fleischer is unclear on the concept

The point of terrorism is to frighten people into taking (or not taking) action.

Really?

I thought the point of terrorism was to allow governments the freedom and public support to change laws in order to inhibit civil freedoms and increase taxation levels – generally the same purpose as prohibitions, wars and other state manufactured “fights” against “threats”.

Oh wait. by “taking action”, you actually mean the public “takes action” by demanding protection, from government, against the perceived threat, and the politicians “take action” by eliminating laws that protect civil rights and freedoms and increasing taxes to generate more funds for the “fight” against the threat.

Silly me.

Never mind. 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

self-serving "consultant"

Let’s not forget that Ari Fleischer is now a professional “consultant”, and as such, his advice tends to be self-serving. Other notable (& money sucking) consultants from that same failed era are Rudy Giuliani and Michael Chertoff, who (to no one’s surprise) also support the police state/surveillance state as the solution to every problem — a solution that they just happen to personally profit from.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

They’re not working directly together…

You ‘sound’ like you’re absolutely certain of that ‘fact’.

Could you explain why you believe this to be true?

To my logic, when two or more secretive enterprises discover that their separate activities are mutually beneficial, some sort of collusion naturally occurs between the parties, and eventually, a partnership – often discrete and at arm’s length – is achieved, simply to increase and maximize the beneficial aspects of their separate activities and decrease or eliminate the expenses and mistakes that arise through duplication and interference.

Anonymous Coward says:

Think deeply about this comment,

Two terrorists killed innocent co-workers, in a PRE-PLANNED attack at a Holiday party.

Wait maybe the terrorists didn’t see the “No guns” sign, and didn’t know it was against the law to kill people. Do you think a gun control law is going to make this go away?

Seriously ask yourself if you truly believe that a “NO GUNS LAW or a SIGN, is going to keep you or your children safe at school?

Now think about this, No guns in our schools, Not one person at the school your child attends has a gun. Except the two terrorists who are hell bent on killing every single child there. How many children or teachers do you think would die in the time it takes the police to arrive?

Now if every single teacher at that school was trained and allowed to carry/use a gun, and hell bent on protecting your child from the terrorists! Its called COMMON SENSE, you should get some..

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Now if every single teacher at that school was trained and allowed to carry/use a gun, and hell bent on protecting your child from the terrorists! Its called COMMON SENSE, you should get some..

Given last line, can’t tell if Poe or not, but assuming you’re genuine…

Speaking of common sense, guns can be tricky to get legally, I wonder how we could make it easier to allow would-be-shooters to acquire them? Oh, I know, let’s arm every teacher, so if someone wants a gun, they know exactly where they can get one. Either find out where the weapon is stored, and grab it there, or use knives and/or surprise to overpower the teacher and take it that way, and like that an unarmed person is now armed.

There’s also the fact that arming someone means absolutely squat for self-defense if they can’t pull the trigger, which thankfully few people can without extensive training. The assholes on the other hand don’t have that issue, they’ve got no problem pulling the trigger, so arming a teacher is just going to give them another source of weaponry.

(I wish I could take credit for the idea below, but it’s something I found elsewhere)

No, you want to defend against shooters in schools, and increase safety in another fashion at the same time? Install in every classroom a simple item:

A fire extinguisher.

Hose a shooter down with one of those, and between not being able to breathe, and their vision obscured, they’re not going to be able to aim at anything, and then you use the extinguisher to clock them over the head. ‘Friendly fire’ is possible but non-lethal, it’s drastically cheaper than buying guns and training every teacher in their use(not to mention much safer), and it serves a double purpose in case a fire breaks out.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Speaking of common sense, guns can be tricky to get legally…

Which is more of an impediment to law-abiding citizens than criminals. Kind of gives the advantage to the criminals, doesn’t it? Of course, if you make your money defending helpless citizens from criminals, then the more helpless you make them the better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Now if every single teacher at that school was trained and allowed to carry/use a gun,

Define trained, because serious training for a tactical situation requires several hours per day, and tens of rounds, in a simulation of the tactical environment. Pray and spray is not a good tactic when most of the people in view are those you are meant to be protecting.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Define trained, because serious training for a tactical situation requires several hours per day, and tens of rounds, in a simulation of the tactical environment. Pray and spray is not a good tactic when most of the people in view are those you are meant to be protecting.

So, you’re calling for disarming the police?

Anonymous Coward says:

Of course they do – because they have proven themselves SO CAPABLE with the current information. /s

Your phone calls, emails, financial records, social media ect.

I mean lets not look at the facts of the latest San Bernadino attack:

* Devoted themselves to ISIS on Facebook with non-private posts
* Communicated without encryption using their cellphones
* Used $30,000 for ammunition and bomb making materials
* Known to communicate with people on terrorist watch lists
* Traveled to Saudi Arabia and became ‘radicalized’

But you know, we really need MORE surveillance – because with the capabilities that they have they can’t already do their goddamn jobs…

Faither says:

Surveillance does stop terrorist attacks!

Don’t you know that bombs and bullets are shy and afraid to be seen on camera.

This at least seems to be the logical conclusion of this argument of those who want to install cameras and co everywhere.

Those people have monetary incentives most of the time, don’t they?
Maybe one should start mapping their associations.
They shouldn’t mind, after all they tell us all the time that only the shady people need privacy and have something to hide!

Anonymous Coward says:

Or maybe stop the criminals before they commit their mass killings instead of watching and letting them happen so you can pass the totalitarian laws you desire.

It is an open secret that always comes out that most of these nut jobs were under government surveillance that somehow deemed to let them continue what they were doing.

More surveillance won’t help if these people are already under surveillance and nothing is done to stop them.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re:

As a rule, I like to think the unthinkable at least once a day.

Today’s Think:

Perhaps the FBI isn’t just setting up wanna-be terrorist morons for photo-op sting operations.

Maybe they’re recruiting for the CIA and only bust the ones that prove to be too stupid to actually be sent up the ladder for further training in the use of real weapons and bombs by the CIA.

The FBI stings would then be just preliminary recruiting for the real job of CIA-bred home based attacks, like San Bernadino and Boston.

While the process used by the FBI for its phony sting ops is always disclosed shortly after the “bust”, as being 100% phony, the viable recruits would get a clean skin CIA make over of their history, current and past activities and communications and ideological statements, to insure that they are perceived as real Islamic terrorists once they’ve served their purpose.

Food for thought, perhaps.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...