Keith Alexander Supports Law To Gag Press So He Can Get His Preferred Online Surveillance Bill Passed

from the but-of-course dept

Oh, Keith Alexander, how we're going to miss your insane claims once you retire in a few weeks -- though, I'm sure that as you drift off into "retirement" only to be hired by some government contractor or lobbying organization at an insultingly high salary, that like your buddy Michael Hayden, you'll still be good for regular bullshit quotes to news organization. Still, while on the job, Alexander seems to want to go out with a bang, talking about how the UK was correct to detain Glenn Greenwald's partner David Miranda under an anti-terrorism law even though no one thinks he's a terrorist. However, even more troubling, is that Alexander, who has argued that the US government needs to figure out a way to silence reporters reporting on leaked documents, claims that there's an effort underway to create "media leaks legislation."
The general, who is due to retire in the next several weeks, said that the furore over Snowden’s surveillance revelations – which he referred to only as “media leaks” – was complicating his ability to get congressional support for a bill that would permit the NSA and the military Cyber Command he also helms to secretly communicate with private entities like banks about online data intrusions and attacks.

“We’ve got to handle media leaks first,” Alexander said.

“I think we are going to make headway over the next few weeks on media leaks. I am an optimist. I think if we make the right steps on the media leaks legislation, then cyber legislation will be a lot easier,” Alexander said.
In case you haven't been paying attention, Alexander has been pushing for years for laws like CISPA, which would give the NSA much greater control over "cybersecurity" -- and specifically knock down barriers towards getting companies to share information with the NSA. Alexander and CISPA supporters have been spinning this entirely about "protecting" companies from online attackers, leaving out how it's really about giving the NSA more backdoors into private companies' networks.

But think about what Alexander is saying above. He's flat out admitting -- as many have noted -- that his pet cybersecurity bills are dead right now because of all of the Snowden leaks, showing just how abusive the NSA has been. And his answer to that is not to fix the NSA, but to pass bills to stifle the free press from reporting on NSA efforts, which he then thinks will allow the government to pass legislation like CISPA.

As the report in the Guardian notes, no one seems to have any idea what this "media leaks legislation" is going to entail, as nothing has yet been proposed, and there haven't even been any real rumors of anything until now. However, with James Clapper recently referring to reporters as accomplices, and Rep. Mike Rogers making the out-of-left-field argument that reporters who are covering Snowden are thieves who traffic in stolen government property, you can connect a few dots and guess at what's coming down the pike.

Alexander's own comments seem to similarly suggest that reporters "have no standing" to report on these issues, because they're not insiders, using the Miranda detention as a launching pad:
“Recently, what came out with the justices in the United Kingdom … they looked at what happened on Miranda and other things, and they said it’s interesting: journalists have no standing when it comes to national security issues. They don’t know how to weigh the fact of what they’re giving out and saying, is it in the nation’s interest to divulge this,”
Still, a bill to stifle investigative reporting is going to face stiff opposition, and even bringing up such a concept suggests that Alexander still has no clue what current public perception is like concerning the NSA's surveillance activities. Just the fact that he's suggesting a bill to silence a free press, and he specifically admits he wants to do so in order to get his troubling surveillance bill approved, shows the depths of Alexander's thinking on these issues. A free press? Not important. More power for the NSA to spy on everyone? That's the priority.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 5:22am

    P.R.I.S.O.N.

    This man belongs in a prison cell. For this rest of his natural life.

    Say it with me folks. PRISON.

    That's where Alexander belongs. Him, along with Clapper, Feinstein, Rogers, King and anyone else who things the constitution is less than toilet paper.

    I am absolutely sick and tired of this man's lies along with all of this cronies.

    Enough is enough.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 5:53am

    Well, maybe he's saying that we don't want the NSA to be talking with banks about security if the NSA has leaks, because it could result in the leaking of banking information?

    I'm just throwing that out there, I don't really believe that's the case.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 5:59am

    Agreed. Put this fking bastards in prison. He's a TRAITOR to his country and the country's Constitution and values. This guy is not an American, he's an anti-American, because everything he stands for seems to be anti-American.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 6:01am

    I wonder what foreign nation or Anti American religious group is paying Keith Alexander, He seems to think our nations Constitution is below him.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 6:05am

    so, as long as the security forces can get into (and change, i bet) the personal and private accounts of people in such places as banks and hospitals, he thinks it's ok and fuck everyone else? i sincerely hope that there is a big push away from it. it seems strange to me that just a couple of days ago there was a similar push to do the same thing in the UK with medical records. that has been stopped. the stupid part of that is that the Tory party was totally against anything like this when they were in opposition. now they are in control, they think it's alright to do that self same thing! fucking politicians! what a bunch of absolute lying, piss taking, self serving ass holes they are!

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 6:20am

    So we, must sacrifice our freedoms to defend them.

    Also, online security and bank transactions should not really be a national security mandate. They may try to spin it that way by claiming terrorists may hack banks and steal credit cards to fund their operations but lets be realistic. Claims that this is a real threat to national security is almost as ridiculous as claims by mainstream media outlets that Russia is terrified at the idea that the U.S. may try to build a nuclear defense shield. Online fraud is the job of regular law enforcement.

    “We’ve got to handle media leaks first,” Alexander said.

    Leaks are more truthful and informative than official statements and he is admitting that if the public knows the truth they will oppose his position even more.

    ""They don’t know how to weigh the fact of what they’re giving out and saying, is it in the nation’s interest to divulge this,”"

    The government should represent the will of the people and the public has a say in the risks they are willing to take in terms of what information we may receive. I, as a member of the public, am willing to risk whatever risks more transparency brings because to sacrifice transparency would be to give up an important democratic principle that national security is supposed to defend.

     

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  7.  
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    Lurker Keith, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 6:50am

    This thing called the US Constitution...

    I remember the Bill of Rights specifically sets up a Free Press. Wouldn't any Law passed be automatically Unconstitutional, especially w/ precedents like Watergate?
    Amendment I to the Constitution of the United States of America:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances
    Sounds to me he wants to abridge freedom of the press to me.

     

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  8.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 6:54am

    Re:

    Why do you think it has to be a foreign nation or religious group? It seems more likely that it's simply the intelligence community gone out of control, just as they have done several times before. This is a standard pattern.

     

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  9.  
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    Graham (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 7:07am

    Re the UK.

    I can understand why he brought up the UK. After all, we in the UK don't have any of those pesky free speech laws that are so inconvenient for civil servants of all stripes.

     

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  10.  
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    Lurker Keith, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 7:21am

    Reason for Freedom of Press

    Just remembered, wasn't the whole reason the Founders set up Freedom of the Press to keep the Government in check? That means these leaks are part of the Press' Constitutional duties.

    At least this part of the system appears to be functioning properly...

    I got it! Alexander & Clapper want to completely break Democracy! That makes them the real Terrorists!

     

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  11.  
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    the truth, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 7:30am

    you do have rights in the uk!

    Be sovereign to yourself and no one else! Simples! The only laws that apply are the laws of the land. Legistration is a con because government have not been able make 'laws' since they declared bankruptcy in the 1920's! Legistration is a contract between the accused and acusser and if you give your name, you agree to it!

    Ever wondered why police ask questions in the way they do and in the order that they do?

    Wake up people, friends, family is what matters, these sociopathic assholes are not needed no more with the rise of the bitcoin protocol/etherium protocol.

    Get with it or get left behind with these oligarchs! Sick mother f........

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re:

    I consider the intelligence community a sudo religious group. That is supposed to be protecting the citizens of this country, not the powers that be.

     

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  13.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 8:08am

    If this appeared on The Onion:
    "Keith Alexander wants draconian law passed to ensure passage of more draconian laws"

     

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  14.  
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    Pragmatic, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 8:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Pseudo." /End spelling Nazi

    The powers that be have a religion called "the free market" which cannot be questioned or properly evaluated because the act of contradicting them is considered an insult.

    Most of the surveillance efforts are directed at us not because the terrorists are coming to get us but because of the revolving door and the number of representatives who rely on campaign donations from the military-surveillance-security-industrial complex.

    They're not even all that interested in small fry like us, they just want to create the appearance of Doing Something About Terrorism. It's nothing personal, they just want to make money, and because the 1% are paying less tax these days, they're taking it out of our hides and if anyone complains, they must be a liberal socialist/terrorist.

    The fact is, this is a bipartisan effort so there's no point in blaming it on either of the two main parties. They are equally to blame.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 8:29am

    To paraphrase a pointed saying from another place:

    It's a strange patriot who would trash the Constitution in the name of the nation built upon that Constitution.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 8:50am

    The trouble is that any law to silence reporting would not have affected the Guardian, because the Guardian is a BRITISH newsper, and is therefore only subject to BRITISH laws. American laws DO NOT APPLY to a BRITISH newspaper. So such laws would not have silenced journalists for newspapers working outside the United States.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:01am

    The state of things now with the NSA and other intelligence entities comes from slippery slopes.

    You have a point that laws affecting foreign sources should not affect domestic ones, but should we trust entities this grasping and this secretive to be satisfied with the laws given?

    I think they've lost the benefits of doubt.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:07am

    journalists have no standing when it comes to national security issues
    Is the thing that said that even human? It sounds more like something a Lovecraftian horror would utter in between burbling and gibbering.
    Someone should check this Alexander guy for tentacles.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:11am

    Kill the free press and eliminate one of the most important checks and balances against government abuse? Everyone who suggests and pushes for such a thing, is a domestic enemy of the American people. That's my view, and it will never change.

     

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  20.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    Indeed. I find that statement utterly and completely baffling. "Standing" refers to court cases and who is qualified to do things like sue.

    Since when do journalists (or anybody) require "standing" to report on things? Saying they do is an obvious, overt and almost wholesale rejection of the First Amendment.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:08am

    Gen Alexander has had control to lead and point the direction of the NSA for 9 years. He's had 4 years of being head of the US CyberCommand. It is at his direction that the NSA has taken the path it is on. It's his direct responsibility.

    Michael Hayden had issues with Gen. Alexander becoming head of the NSA because he tends to do things first without concern for legalities and later hunts for the validation he could do so. That sure sounds a lot like what we are seeing to day with the actions of the NSA.

    His second in command, James Clapper is no bargain to succeed him. I am absolutely amazed beyond words that to date congress has not hauled him up on carpet for lying under oath to the Congressional Intelligence Commission. That sounds more of intimidation, cover up, and corruption, than any other speculation I could make. To those hunting a reason it is the first obvious conclusion to make.

    Journalists have been failing to actually do their jobs. Were they doing them, investigative articles would long ago have pointed to how badly the citizen protections are being abused. They are nearly too late to now raise up a defense in the news to the public to save their own hides.

    It just goes downhill from there.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:10am

    Re:

    ...and you have laid your finger on why Greenwald no longer works for the Guardian.

     

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  23.  
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    FarSide (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think 'sudo' is appropriate here.

    Root access to everything, handing out privilege as they see fit.

     

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  24.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:43am

    Re:

    If this appeared on The Onion:
    "Keith Alexander wants draconian law passed to ensure passage of more draconian laws"


    Then people would still believe it, Onion or not, just because anyone who's been paying attention knows there is no 'too low' for that scumbag, just 'how much can I get away with trashing the rights of the people in my quest for power?'

     

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  25.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:45am

    Re: This thing called the US Constitution...

    'Abridge' hell, him and his buddies want to destroy it, and replace the Rights for the freedom of speech and the press with the Privilege of 'freedom' of speech and the press, able to dictate what the press can and cannot print 'in the name of national security'.

     

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  26.  
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    aarontyree, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:50am

    Alexander should be in prison. Which is a kinder fate than men like Thomas Jefferson or even Ben Franklin would have voted to give him.
    He, and men like him pose the greatest natural threat to the long term security of the democratic republic that we want to see endure. He is not a patriot. He is part of a mindset that will destroy democracy in this country if we let it. To me, he is the man who took the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about, and brought it into the digital age. I hope that every person from every political leaning, preference, sexual orientation, religious ethos, educational background, and economic status wakes up to this reality and fights for the security of this government of the people, by the people, for the people before it is replaced by the dictatorship government that men like Alexander fight for.

     

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  27.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:57am

    Re:

    His second in command, James Clapper is no bargain to succeed him.

    You have your facts mixed up. Alexander reports to Clapper, not the other way around. Alexander is head of NSA. Clapper is Director of National Intelligence, which coordinates between all the intelligence agencies, including the NSA. Also, Clapper is not succeeding Alexander. Instead, it's Admiral Mike Rogers from the Navy who will be succeeding Alexander (not to be confused with House Intelligence Committee boss Rep. Mike Rogers). Clapper is staying in his position.

     

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  28.  
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    David, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:31am

    Re: Reason for Freedom of Press

    Correction: they want to complete break the Republic. Any country that publishes a separate "popular vote" after elections is not even purporting to be a democracy.

     

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  29.  
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    David, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:37am

    Re:

    American laws DO NOT APPLY to a BRITISH newspaper.

    American drones would. When fighting terrorists like Miranda, a few casualties are to be expected. Fortunately, the Guardian's headquarter is likely to be populated mostly by journalists, so the collateral damage to innocent people would be minimal.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:57am

    Re:

    No, the reason we don't want the NSA talking with banks is that they have a proven track-record of working to undermine the security of encryption standards to give themselves access while knowing that doing so will make EVERYONE else in the economy that uses the same encryption massively less secure.

     

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  31.  
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    YOU KNOW, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 12:01pm

    so much treason going on

    Dear evil doer TRAITORS,

    You have grossly underestimated the repercussions for your actions. Most have not been exposed to your numerous crimes. It would take a lil video all of ten minutes long to do so. You talk and talk and TALK about your treasons.

    This I would like to actually thank you for.

    Your audacity is only surpassed by your vile insidious traitorous actions which you will f.n pay dearly for.
    That day shall come. Some of you may pass on before then but one day sooner then you'd ever care to imagine, YOU WILL BE TRIED FOR YOUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    Sincerely,
    Tens of Millions of Americans

     

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  32.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 12:51pm

    Laser like focus

    It says a lot about those kinds of people, where they flat out admit 'If people knew what we were doing they'd object and try and stop us', that rather than ask themselves if that means that maybe that's because they're not on the right side of the law and following the will of the people, they instead jump to 'so how can we keep people from finding out about what we're doing?'

     

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  33.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Reason for Freedom of Press

    Hell, look at all those people who pop up at every opportunity to spout the half-truth that "the US is a republic, not a democracy!" as if that were a something to crow about.

    Not only are they not trying to hide their hatred of the idea of self-governance, they are bragging about it.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 2:27pm

    "Beware of he who would deny you access to information for in his heart he dreams himself your master."

     

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  35.  
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    gezzerx, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 5:21pm

    NSA

    Time to fire all upper management of the NSA including Generals, who should be busted & dishonorably discharged, with no pension & then prosecuted ! We should all give him the one FINGER salute as he leaves & tell him to sit on it and rotate !


    Disclaimer: Be advised it is possible, that this communication is being monitored by the National Security Agency, GCHQ or other third party organizations. I neither condone nor support any such policy, by any Government authority or organization that does not comply, as stipulated by the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

     

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  36.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Mar 6th, 2014 @ 10:21am

    Keith Alexander

    As a veteran who had considerable dealings with "career" military, I understand.
    The military is a dictatorship (unless you believe that before going into battle the soldiers vote on that). Further, for career military, dictatorship works very well, and the very idea of democratic rule is abhorrent.
    Our problem is that we need CIVILIAN leaders of these agencies, it is ridiculous to expect career military to support democratic principles.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 8:17am

    I've heard that somewhere before.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 1:27pm

    A country without a free press is not a country at all.

     

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


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