Wall Street Journal Calls Snowden A Sociopath; Argues For Even Less NSA Oversight
from the the-nsa-journal dept
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.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.
This roving ACLU corps would second-guess the agency and presumably urge the judges to reject or limit NSA requests.