Feinstein (Again) Says Metadata Program 'Is Not Surveillance'

from the you're-only-embarrassing-yourself,-Dianne dept

Senator Dianne Feinstein's war of words in defense of the NSA's programs continues, despite both the political tide and public favor shifting in the other direction. According to Feinstein, everyone is still suffering from some sort of mass delusion when it comes to the Section 215 program.

“It’s not a surveillance program, it’s a data-collection program,” she said while appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
Oh, but it's actually both. According to supporters of the NSA, metadata is just a bunch of anonymous numbers harvested in hopes of discovering needles. To those actually paying attention, metadata is a very efficient way to collect very personal information about someone. Just because it looks like data doesn't mean it's not surveillance. Let's not forget that metadata provides enough information to justify extrajudicial killings.

It's still surveillance. It just bears no resemblance to what spying used to mean. What the NSA has done is turn "surveillance" into something abstract, but equally invasive. It has eliminated the targeted nature of its classic definition and replaced it with servers full of data, all of it theoretically linked to another abstraction: "terrorism."

The headline says Feinstein "blasts" critics, but this sort of clueless pedantry doesn't actually "blast" anyone. Months after the defenders' assertions have been repeatedly dismantled (including two similar assertions by the senator), Feinstein's willingness to cling to a nostalgic view of surveillance could almost be termed "delightfully old school" -- if only she still didn't have at least one hand on the controls as the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

She also said she wasn't aware of another revelation released in conjunction with Glenn Greenwald's book on Snowden and the NSA.
In “No Place to Hide,” released last week, Greenwald said the U.S. government places surveillance tools in technology equipment to be sold abroad, an accusation the U.S. government often lobs at the Chinese government.

That program “does not sound familiar,” Feinstein said Sunday.
Well, I'm sure the NSA keeps secrets from even you, Dianne. And I'm sure the NSA is at least as surprised as you are that the information is now public. No one seems to be aware of some of the stuff that has been leaked, elements of which have escaped even the attention of those on the committees that have performed actual oversight, rather than just stood cheering on the sidelines.

Ultimately, whether it doesn't fit into Feinstein's dewy-eyed surveillance ideal or if it has escaped (read: been withheld from) her attention, she's behind it. Because without all of this, we're doomed.
“I know they will come after us if they can, I see the intelligence,” she said.

“Terror is not down in the world, it is up.”
If that's so, remind us again why all the surveillance and expansion of government powers is necessary. Because it doesn't seem to have improved anything.

Filed Under: dianne feinstein, metadata, nsa, section 215, surveillance


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  1. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 21 May 2014 @ 8:29pm

    Dear DiFi,
    Here is what people around you are not telling you.
    You are a sanctimonious bitch.

    You got so VERY angry when you discovered they were spying on you and hacking things you cared about, but blithely ignore it being done to citizens, allies, and the rest of the entire planet.

    Terrorism is up, because you authorize the citizens of the US to be terrorized daily. TSA, "Constitutional Free Zones" well inside our borders, wholesale collection of data (it is spying, it is illegal), and supporting actions globally that seriously piss people off. You are making more terrorists with every single utterance out of your mouth.

    Stop pretending you can say something that will gloss over how much of the Constitution, that you swore an oath to uphold, you have allowed to be shredded.

    Intelligence gathering operations in the US no longer answer to anyone. They lie to your face, they deny you access, how the hell can you claim to know anything when they can pick and chose what you are allowed to know. How can you make any informed decisions when they hide the damn facts. You seem unable or unwilling to actually do anything other that offer mewling lip service about some horror that will befall us if we demand the law be followed, you and the rest of Congress sit in your hands and play games for soundbites. How about you actually put the people first for once in your career.

    I'd hope for you to be thrown out of office but anyone who wants a job in Congress is pretty much just as corrupt or will be soon enough when faced with what politics has become in this country.

    You are a disgrace to your office and to the country.

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