Right Before Snowden Leaks, President Obama Fired Nearly All Members On Key Intelligence Advisory Board

from the this-is-where-we-were-headed-all-along? dept

Remember last week's press conference, where President Obama insisted that he had already kicked off the process of a major review of the way we do intelligence and surveillance in this country -- and about how he was going to set up an "outside" review group to look all this over? The same review group that will be set up by and report to James Clapper (but, the White House assures us, not run by him)?

Right, so a few people pointed out that President Obama already has an independent group that's supposed to do that thing: called the President's Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB). There's just one tiny, tiny problem in all of this. It now appears that, back in May, just before all the Snowden stuff started coming out, it appears that the administration basically kicked nearly everyone off of the PIAB board. It went from 14 members down to just four. And those members were basically asked to leave:
“They kicked me off,” said former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.). “I was on it a long time under Bush and under Obama. They wanted to make some changes.”

“I don’t know anything about whether they’ve brought in new members. They thanked me and that’s about all I know,” added Hamilton, widely known for his service as vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission.

[....] Philip Zelikow, who served as executive director of the 9/11 Commission and later as a top aide to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, was also asked recently to step off the PIAB.

“I’ve resigned from the Board, one of ten of the fourteen earlier members who have done so,” Zelikow said via email. “Four of the earlier members have remained, pending a reconstitution of the Board at some point for the balance of the President’s second term. The White House website displays the current situation, pending that.”
Hamilton's ouster is particularly interesting, given that just a month ago, he wrote an oped piece about how the NSA's surveillance efforts have gone too far. Seems like he'd be handy to have on this committee reviewing the NSA surveillance, no? So, forgive us for, once again, finding it difficult (or laughable) to believe President Obama's claims that he had a serious revamp of the NSA's surveillance activity in his priorities before the Snowden leaks happened. It seems clear that things were going in the other direction: ramping up the spying, while cutting back on the oversight and review.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Coogan (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 11:03am

    The more I read these stories, the more I want to start a Kickstart campaign to buy thousands of 10 ft x 8 ft pieces of plywood, cut them all into the shape of a middle finger, and start propping them up at various locations around Washington DC. Cuz frak you, DC. Frak you hard, just like you've been frakking us for decades.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    CanadianObserver, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 11:06am

    Impeachment

    Sounds like its time to start the impeachment process...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    SolkeshNaranek (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 11:11am

    oversight? Pfft...

    "We don't need no stinking oversight"



    /s

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    JWW (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 11:19am

    Lost

    Lost in this issue of NSA surveillance, is the fact that before the story broke President Obama gave a speech at Ohio State admonishing his political opponents and citizens at large for their lack of trust that the government is doing what's best for us.

    IMHO, he really really really wants us to believe that the government is good. Its just to bad he has to hide all these not so nice things about it from us.

    But we should trust it anyway, right? right?

     

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  5.  
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    Julian Davis (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 11:20am

    Which just makes it more obvious that Obama was lying when he said he was already planning on launching a transparency campaign even before Snowden's revelations. He wanted this stuff to be buried even deeper. Without Snowden they would have moved to quietly make it even harder for even members of the government to have any oversight.

    This administration, which campaigned on transparency, is the most opaque we've had in a long time. They hate whistle blowers and anyone who goes against their surveillance state.

    Even if it's true that this is the cost of being safer, I don't WANT to pay that cost. I'd rather take the risk of being unsafe and have my privacy. The tiny threat of terrorism isn't worth the potential abuse these programs constitute. They're already being abused by other government agencies like the IRS and DEA.

    I'm not afraid of terrorists, stop using that as an excuse to make me "safer" by making me less free.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 11:26am

    Consistent with "leaks" being limited hangout psyop.

    Knowing what was coming, convenient time to get rid of even pretense at oversight.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    LivingInNavarre (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 11:42am

    Re:

    Are you kidding!? Just ask for a government grant for creating liberal art displays.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 11:53am

    You're missing the bigger picture

    The policy of logging is the NSA's policy, not law, not judicial this or that, an NSA policy.
    It's General Alexander who ultimately decides what activity is logged.... and what activity is not logged.

    So you're looking at the reports into the logs and missing the simple fact, that the most heinous violations won't be in that log file. They won't even have been logged at all.

    You sack 90% of your sysadmins not to protect the Snowden dataset, you sack them to stop them spying on non-logged queries from senior NSA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Lost

    If a politician makes a statement, or writing an amendment, the best way to determine what he is really saying is add the word not somewhere in the sentence.

    Like "Not the Affordable Care Act" etc ...

    in cases like "We are not spying on the American public" just remove the "not"

    It is as simple as that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    RD, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Consistent with "leaks" being limited hangout psyop.

    Its too bad you will get reported on this one, as this is actually a pretty on-point comment. Alas, you have to be an asshat all the time though, so....

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 1:00pm

    how could they have carried on with, let alone increased the spying being done if there were people supposed to watch for it and then stop it? the choice was stop (or at least reduce) the spying and keep the oversight board or carry on (or increase) the spying and get rid of the oversight board. no contest was there?

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 1:09pm

    Since it was already minimized by the community I haven't bothered to read ootb's latest comment. Because it is already report voted enough, one has to assume it's the usual mantra. When it isn't it gets missed simply because of ootb's typical fare. He's got no one to blame but himself.
    ---------------

    This constant trickle of new data coming out every day now that it is public knowledge on all this spying has shown one thing. This administration is up to it's eyeballs in hiding what is really going on and with good reason.

    The prediction that Senator Wyden made in 2011 of “When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry.” has come home to roost in spades.

    The hope that all this would blow over isn't happening and more and more people across this nation are reading what is going on and seeing how it is dealt with. That drives home the realization that smoke, mirrors, and lies aren't going to cut it. This is what happens when a real scandal breaks.

    Such is what we have on our hands today. I am still looking to congress to do their figgin' jobs!

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    wolfy, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 1:11pm

    This could be fun!

    The No Child Not Left Behind Act.

    The Clear Skies, Not! Act.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 3:38pm

    Re:

    "Without Snowden they would have moved to quietly make it even harder for even members of the government to have any oversight."

    By extension they would've continued to obfuscate their actions from the public. Had it not been for Snowden, most anything said about government surveillance would've fallen in the realm of "crazy, tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theory" speculation.

    Truth is stranger than fiction ...and more dangerous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    another Canadian Observer, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 3:47pm

    Re: Impeachment

    I've been following this story for months and I totally agree that our US neighbours should start thinking about not only impeachment but also recalling about 50@ of all senators and congressmen. Also, get rid of Keith Alenxanderand the other general involved with the NSA, there appears to be no bigger liar than him, may be except Obama.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 4:19pm

    Geez, just give 'em a little power and look what happens...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    any moose cow word, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 6:11pm

    President Obama's claims that he had a serious revamp of the NSA's surveillance activity in his priorities before the Snowden leaks happened. It seems clear that things were going in the other direction: ramping up the spying, while cutting back on the oversight and review.

    No, that is exactly the sort of "revamp" Obama had in mind.

    If this mess drags out to the next presidential campaign, I predict a knee-jerk swing back to a republican insider--who will quietly run things basically as they are now--rather than someone who will actually change ANYTHING. People don't learn, party politics will keep herding this country towards yet another cliff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 7:50pm

    I wonder how much spying is being done on the Republican members of Congress ?

    Or how about the victims on the Obama "Enemies List" ?

    Regarding the IRS, I also remember Harry Reid saying he has information about Romney not paying taxes.

    The dots are beginning to connect …

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 8:06pm

    Response to: Coogan on Aug 16th, 2013 @ 11:03am

    Awesome! I will gladly donate money to this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Obama's Vietnam, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 8:07pm

    Historians have him pegged

    Obama's place in history is now firmly established...

    Hey, hey! Barack, I say!
    How many Americans did you SPY ON today?!?

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    any moose cow word, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 9:30pm

    Re:

    Even democrats were being targeted to, more or less, keep them in line.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    AmericanCitizen, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 5:35am

    Re: Impeachment

    Well Canadian Observer, the thing is impeachment is the process of charging and convicting the president with a crime resulting in the removal of the president from office. Congress puts the president on trial so to speak. Impeachment is not a democratic process of removing an unpopular politician, if that is what impeachment was it almost certainly would have happened to Bush. If there is evidence that the president committed a crime there would be a basis for impeachment. Unless info is revealed that would directly incriminate the president it seems that he has plausible deniability.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Никто, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 5:01pm

    Liberals:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    watcher, Aug 18th, 2013 @ 6:09am

    Strange shifts of players.........

    Everyone agrees that all the spying and surveillance is because of 911.... That agreement though has always had two poles of shunt, the one which contends that we must spy on all the Untermenschen so they never repeat 911. The other pole of that consensus, believes more or less that all the spying and surveillance is to protect the true provenance of
    the 911 putsch from us the victims.

    When the lead architects [Zelokow/Hamilton of the 911 commission cover-up/whitewash suddenly become personas non-gratus in the apparatus of information repression, it should gives us careful observers pause to reality check our assumptions...... and to speculate what NEW leaks and revelations our vast security state will; soon endure...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Warren, Aug 19th, 2013 @ 12:52am

    RON PAUL for president!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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