General Keith Alexander Is An Opportunistic Coward

from the shielded-in-shame dept

In all that we've written about General Keith Alexander, former chief guy at the NSA who has overseen the most egregious overreach in domestic spying American history, we've learned a great deal about him. For instance, we know logic eludes him, after he insisted that we need more spying because current spying is encouraging terrorism. We also know he doesn't give a damn about the whole freedom of the press thing, what with his support for press gag orders. And we know he's a man of limited imagination, having told Congress he just can't think of any other way to keep you and I safe without the NSA's massive surveillance programs.

You know what else Keith Alexander is? A coward. I say that absolutely knowing that I'll probably get killed in the comments for suggesting a man who signed up to serve the public, serve in the military, and serve in intelligence is a coward. Well to hell with anyone who suggests you can't call a man who serves a coward. Where were all of you when Edward Snowden was getting lambasted in the exact same way? Still, accusing a man like Alexander of cowardice requires an explanation. Get yourself started by watching this clip of his appearance on CNN.

"It's going to get more dangerous. I would rather be sitting here in the hot seat defending what we're doing than sitting here in the hot seat after a terrorist attack and you asking me 'how did we fail the country?' It's a bad place out there. They're trying to kill us. These are some of the tools. If you take away some of the tools, it is my assessment after forty years in the business, and today is my fortieth anniversary in joining the army, it is my assessment that it is going to get tougher. And these leaks have hurt us. They will get tougher."
Okay, let's get the obvious out of the way. All this harm that has supposedly been done by Snowden's leaks turns out to be smoke and mirrors, as far as what the government is willing to prove is concerned. Now that that's out of the way, perhaps unlike some of my colleagues here, I too believe there is a very real danger from international terrorism. That said, a blanket statement about how bad things are and how "they" are trying to kill us is about as useful as a rectum on a houseplant. Nobody is arguing that there isn't at least some degree of danger, the argument is over how far we're willing to let our government go to protect the liberty at which they're chipping away, nevermind the way we comport ourselves as a member of the international community.

But it's the first part of that statement that really pisses me off and it's that same part that reveals the cowardice inside Alexander. This constant hint-dropping of how much more difficult it is to prevent the next domestic terrorist attack now that the public is aware of the massive surveillance program is a pretty clear attempt at innoculation of responsibility. It's as if these spy chiefs looked at the damning of public officials that occurred after 9/11 (far too little of it, in my opinion) and decided to shield themselves from possible future criticism by proactively blaming Snowden's leaks for forthcoming attacks. Read another way, his hot seat comment reads to say: if sometime in the future, thousands of Americans end up dead in an attack, don't come blame us, you took our tools away from us.

For me, it's hard to imagine a more cowardly statement. Is Alexander so afraid to face potential failure that he would scapegoat someone who, at the very least, thought he was doing his patriotic duty? Would he have the intelligence community sidestep their responsibility simply because the public now recognizes the NSA's overreach? Would he cast off his duty simply because sunlight has finally marked his underground lair?

That kind of chess-piece positioning isn't the act of a patriot. It isn't the act of a hero. It's the act of a coward, which is exactly what General Keith Alexander is, and I'm happy to treat him like one. After all, the brave thing to do is to understand that freedom comes with danger and to bear that danger gratefully and willingly.


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    Sneeje (profile), Jun 6th, 2014 @ 10:28am

    Cowardice can be described as taking the easy road

    "It is a poor tinker that blames his tools."

    I think it is completely reasonable to define cowardice in this way. Fighting terrorists and catching criminals is undeniably HARD.

    So are many things: being a doctor, maintaining healthy marriages, parenting kids, teaching, yada, yada, yada. These are all hard because they contain some core values, principles, ethics, etc. that are believed to be fundamentally important to our society.

    "Do No Harm" is not a platitude and neither is "Defend the Constitution." It isn't "Defend the Constitution except when it gets challenging to do so."

    So in my opinion, in all of these efforts choose the easy thing over the RIGHT thing, it is an act of cowardice because it is almost certainly a rationalization to justify a personal lack of fortitude to fight for the social ideal.

     

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      silverscarcat (profile), Jun 6th, 2014 @ 11:23am

      Re: Cowardice can be described as taking the easy road

      "It is a poor tinker that blames his tools."

      Well, if they're broken or not suited for the task at hand... I mean, I'm not using a screwdriver to hammer nails, though I could...

       

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        Sneeje (profile), Jun 6th, 2014 @ 11:27am

        Re: Re: Cowardice can be described as taking the easy road

        Of course, but the basis of that particular saying is that the tools are available and appropriate.

         

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        David, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:35pm

        Re: Re: Cowardice can be described as taking the easy road

        We are not talking about using a screwdriver to hammer nails here.

        What the NSA is doing is the equivalent of fishing with dynamite. "Liberty" for us today, none left tomorrow for anybody.

        Not as much cowardice as laziness combined with total recklessness and immorality.

         

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          Sneeje (profile), Jun 6th, 2014 @ 1:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: Cowardice can be described as taking the easy road

          That's an important point. I was just reducing the argument to the basic elements: "If I don't succeed, its because I didn't have the right tools."

          It is a shallow rationalization and shows a commitment to ass-protecting rather than a commitment to the ideals in the oaths he has given.

           

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            Autonomous Cow Herd, Jun 7th, 2014 @ 7:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Cowardice can be described as taking the easy road

            Well said, Sneeje.

            I'm also amazed by the apparent lack of insight displayed by the so called "intelligence" community. Has it never occurred to Keith Alexander and those like him that he/they may very well be causing far more harm than good by doing exactly what the terrorists want them to do? When you're excuse is often, "Because terrorists!", you'd think one would at least be able to reason out why said terrorists do what they do.

            It's not just because they want to kill us, which would be pointless alone as an act. It's because they want the common man to rise up and overthrow their government. These so called terrorists are clearly smarter than folks like Keith, someone whom has clearly done far more to help terrorists goals than anyone else possibly could. By making law makers, law enforcers, and leaders scared, they in turn pass laws that curtail and otherwise trample on everything we cherish as a society, all of which is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States and similar documents in other "free" countries. The terrorists want our leaders to expose the hypocrisy of "free" and everything this entails, which our leaders have been more than happy to oblige.

            If you truly don't want the terrorists to win, then stop playing right into their hands! Instead of trampling on our freedom and rights, work to strengthen and protect them, fully understanding that you can't circumvent them whenever you want just to do so. Otherwise they are nothing but a meaningless lie and you hand the terrorists yet another victory. As an old saying goes, and I'm paraphrasing here, you don't cure the patient by killing him.

            The only reason I can see for not wanting to do the right thing, the honorable thing, is because you hope to use the fear of a bogeyman to gain more wealth and power for yourself. Again the terrorists win because they know it's only a matter of time until those in the 1%, the ones most responsible and hated for the damage being done to foreign countries (and likely profiting from it), will slip up exactly as they've now done (and continually repeating to do), learning nothing from the Snowden leaks and everything that followed.

            Ultimately I think the terrorists are putting too much faith in fat, overweight, lazy, apathetic Joe public, to be honest. Just how bad do things have to get before we rise up off our asses and take back the power our governments insists on continually abusing?

            "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it." - H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American editor, essayist, and philologist.

            "The world is dangerous not because of those that do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything." - Albert Einstein

            "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." - John Basil Barnhill (not Thomas Jefferson, as often mis-quoted by some)

             

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        vancedecker (profile), Jun 7th, 2014 @ 2:46am

        Re: Re: Cowardice can be described as taking the easy road

        seriously, what planet are you from? the military does not employ the best and brightest.

        the idea is to get the easiest most automated tools in their hands so that most of the work is done for them.

        think mcdonalds but for espionage and surveillance.

         

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    Machin Shin (profile), Jun 6th, 2014 @ 11:32am

    General Alexander loves dragging out the arguments that show the main problem we have right now.

    The "evidence" of these programs "effectiveness" is the lack of an attack (never mind that we might not have been attacked anyways. It is impossible to really prove you stopped something that may or may not happen)

    Then on the flip side though, if someone does manage to attack the US these people will run out and say "See!! We told you we needed these things! Even with all this power we couldn't stop that, so that means we need MORE power!!"


    The end result of these two arguments is that nothing ever gets rolled back. It is a steady march in the direction of a total loss of freedom. All so we can "feel safe". Trouble is, I have no fear whatsoever of any terrorists. What I do fear greatly though is the loss of my freedoms at the hands of my own government.

     

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      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:15pm

      Re:

      "Even with all this power we couldn't stop that, so that means we need MORE power!!"

      Which brings up the question, what MORE power? They already collect so much they cannot identify which haystack to look in, let alone fine a specific needle in one. They already treat the press and citizens with such contempt that a defacto semi police state already exists. When called out on these abuses, they destroy evidence and/or tell everybody that they have no standing to complain.

      The only thing I see left is absolute Marshal Law. Is there any other power left?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 11:45am

    You should find another word. "Coward" makes you look silly:

    Keith Alexander's medals and ribbons

    Defense Distinguished Service Medal
    Army Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
    Defense Superior Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
    Legion of Merit with five Oak Leaf Clusters
    Bronze Star
    Meritorious Service Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters Air Medal
    Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
    Army Achievement Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
    National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star
    Southwest Asia Service Medal with 2 bronze service stars
    Humanitarian Service Medal
    Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
    Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
    Royal Norwegian Order of Merit (Commander with Cross
    Senior Parachutist Badge
    Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
    Army Staff Identification Badge
    Parachutist Badge (Germany) in bronze

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 11:48am

      Re:

      Would "highly decorated coward" be more to your liking? I'd wager he got most of those medals and ribbons by sitting behind a desk.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 11:56am

        Re: Re:

        You can put a lot of make up on a pig too but it's still a walking slab of bacon.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 1:44pm

        Re: Re:

        I doubt that's the case for the Bronze Star and two parachutist badges.

         

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        haiku, Jun 7th, 2014 @ 4:49am

        Re: Re:

        Quite right: most of the medals listed are indicators of either qualification (e.g. Parachutist) or service in a sector (e.g. Kuwait / Joint Chiefs of Staff)

        I might be wrong, but none seem to indicate "valour under fire"

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 11:54am

      Re:

      So what? Medals and ribbons are themselves are meaningless. What matters is what was done that makes a person worthy of them. That's like a person bragging that they graduated with a 4.0 GPA which is absolutely meaningless. What's really important is what knowledge the person has gained and is able to effectively use. You have presented nothing.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 11:54am

      Re:

      A medal or two has value. This many shows they were bought some other way. He is a failure as all people are who have to constantly be told how wonderful they are.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:01pm

      Re:

      There isn't a single medal on that list that cannot be received in an office or training environment. The closest any of those medals get to being combat related are the medals that are blanket awarded to every individual that deploys to a combat zone, even when they are not involved in combat.

       

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      Michael, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:03pm

      Re:

      Humanitarian Service Medal
      We should take that one away

      Royal Norwegian Order of Merit
      I'm pretty sure the cruise lines gives these to kids

      Senior Parachutist Badge
      Successfully fell out of an airplane a bunch of times?

      Bronze Star
      This one is pretty impressive, actually

      Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
      Good thing we know what he looks like

      Army Staff Identification Badge
      ditto

      Parachutist Badge (Germany) in bronze
      Is this third place at falling out of a German airplane? If so, what did first and second do better?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:46pm

        Re: Re:

        "Bronze Star
        This one is pretty impressive, actually"

        During my three combat tours, every enlisted soldier E-6 and above and every single officer received a Bronze Star just for deploying. Every training rotation to JRTC and NTC, all enlisted soldiers E-7 and above and all officers 0-3 and above also received Bronze Stars.

        The Bronze Star (unless it comes with a V device) is nowhere near as prestigious as it once was.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 1:11pm

        Re: Re:

        I guess all of those "Service" medals were for "servicing" the defense industry all these years, huh?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 1:17pm

        Re: Re:

        "Parachutist Badge (Germany) in bronze
        Is this third place at falling out of a German airplane? If so, what did first and second do better?"

        I received mine at a Toys for Tots drive when I was stationed at Ft. Bragg. I showed up at a hanger with some toys to donate, got a couple hours of training and pre-jump with a German jumpmaster, loaded onto a plane, and jumped using German commands. I was pinned in a ceremony before loading up on a bus and heading back to the barracks. The entire process took less than six hours.

         

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          Michael, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 1:26pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Does it seem strange to anyone else that the US military is training it's soldiers to listen to someone telling them to jump out of an airplane in German?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 2:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The international jumps really weren't much training. They were just something fun to do for a few hours at the ends of more intensive joint training sessions where units learned to work alongside international allies. The foreign jumps I did were always optional, took place on a Saturday using an Air National Guard flight out of Polk AFB, and always used our own equipment. Even if those foreign jumpmasters hadn't been around, we still would have had to fill those planes with paratroopers so the pilots and flight crews could get their training.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 2:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I probably also should have mentioned that the steps were nearly identical. The only change that I can recall was having two of my usual steps compressed into one step. Essentially, nothing changed other than the language.

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 1:29pm

        Re: Re:

        Technically the bronze star is equivalent to the meritorious service medal, a service award often given to higher ranking officers after a strong tour as a commander. The difference is that the bronze star requires you to have been deployed to a combat zone but does not actually require any "combat actions." The impressive bronze star is the one one with a 'V' designation (valor award). Just because someone has a bronze star does *not* mean they actually did anything that couldn't be done behind a desk.

        That being said...the role of an officer is mainly to sit behind a desk. Just because someone isn't shooting people or out patroling does not mean they aren't doing their job, or aren't doing it well.

        I actually somewhat disagree with this article. It's not really Keith Alaxander's job to protect the rights of the American people. It's his job to find "the enemy", and he did everything he could to fulfill that mission. It's the civilian government's job to give him the rules that protect the American people and they failed to do so.

        People are very quick to call the NSA liars because they're sworn to secrecy but seem quick to trust the word of the politicians. While I wouldn't absolve the NSA of their actions I wouldn't assume congress and the president aren't to blame here, whether by malice or incompetance.

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Jun 6th, 2014 @ 1:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "It's not really Keith Alaxander's job to protect the rights of the American people."

          Last I checked, it was, first and foremost, his job to uphold and defend the Constitution. A big part of that is defending the rights of Americans.

          You're right, that politicians (and the judiciary) shoulder the majority of the blame -- but the NSA shoulders a lot of it as well. Not just because of their failure to uphold the Constitution, but also because they actively pressure politicians to legalize all of the nefarious things they want to do.

          "People are very quick to call the NSA liars because they're sworn to secrecy"

          That's not why I call them liars. I call them liars because of all the lies they've told.

          "but seem quick to trust the word of the politicians"

          Wow, you seem to live in a different nation than me. I haven't heard of many people who trust the word of politicians.

           

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          nasch (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 10:34am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Just because someone isn't shooting people or out patroling does not mean they aren't doing their job, or aren't doing it well.

          Tim didn't say he didn't do his job, he said he's a coward.

           

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      David, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:40pm

      Re:

      That's as nice a collection as a Communist commander will have adorning his chest.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 1:37pm

      Re:

      All I see is a lot of self congratulatory bureaucratic back patting.

      As the bureaucrat that has most successfully usurped the Constitution in the name of furthering the bureaucracy over the people, I am surprised he has not been given more ribbons.

      And by the way, including his employment identification badges in the list are not really a statement of valor.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 3:58pm

      Re:

      Keith Alexander
      - Lied to congress about the willful violation of millions of Americans 4th amendment rights

      - Enforced and encouraged a system where anyone with concerns about these violations would be removed from their positions and later discredited.

      - Outsourced domestic spying to foreign governments as a way to get around the US Constitution. A document he swore to defend.

      Hmm... So how about TRAITOR??? Sure he didn't try to sell West Point to a foreign nation, he only sold all of our constitutional rights. General Keith "Benedict Arnold" Alexander is still drawing a pension that is paid from the tax dollars of the very people who's rights he chose to violate.

       

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      JMT (profile), Jun 6th, 2014 @ 5:21pm

      Re:

      I'm sure you were trying to counter Tim's argument by making Alexander look very impressive, but you have failed quite badly on two fronts. First, you've completely missed the point about why his actions and statements show his cowardice, despite it being explained quite clearly. Second, as the comments above show, its pretty easy to get many of the medals and ribbons you're so easily impressed by. The only one looking silly here is you.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 11:47am

    Who cares...

    Really. I don't really care at all that he is a coward. Especially since he is no longer in the position. What I care about is, the fact that he is a criminal that willingly and knowingly committed crimes against the citizens of the country. He needs to be prosecuted.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 11:50am

    Surely if the folks they are trying to protect want to be protected then if given the opportunity they would help with these efforts just as many folks did willingly during the second world war.

    Maybe we don't want to be protected this way, maybe we are willing to take some risks for our freedom. Maybe we would prefer not to live in a totalitarian state for own good.

    Surely this democratic principal we are trying to protect and project is about giving us at least enough information to choose.

    Happy D-Day

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:58pm

      Re:

      "Maybe we don't want to be protected this way"

      I certainly don't. Particularly because I see what the NSA is doing as less "protecting" me and more "attacking" me. Best case, we're just trading the threat of one set of terrorists for the threat of a different set.

       

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    Michael, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 11:57am

    I would rather be sitting here in the hot seat defending what we're doing than sitting here in the hot seat after a terrorist attack and you asking me 'how did we fail the country?'

    You have failed this country. We don't need to suffer a terrorist attack anymore.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 11:58am

    Will wear a blindfold eventually

    People like him and all of his buddies will be brought to justice at some point.

    Whether by paper, gun, noose or needle he and those like him who threw away others rights will pay for what they have done to us and our country.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:06pm

    You don't understand the motive behind the spying

    It isn't about keeping 'Merica safe from terrorists. It is about keeping Washington DC safe. If the terrorists had just knocked down some buildings, oh well. But they came after the politicians. They hit DC with one plane and was trying it again with another. So the gloves are off, liberty is out the window along with the Constitution and they will lie, cheat, steal, spy and do whatever they have to do to keep themselves safe.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:14pm

      Re: You don't understand the motive behind the spying

      I understand the point. They are spying on their perceived enemies. They consider us a threat. There is probably very good reason for their assessment. Corrupt officials and agencies rarely become corrupt all of the sudden. Often the origination is decades old and is using blackmail to force the "Leadership" to do insane things. All of this qualifies. There is usually a carrot and a stick. Be nice and spout our words and policies and enjoy a retirement fit for a king. Try and stop us, and you and everything you know is put into the torture systems that officially don't exist.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:16pm

        Re: Re: You don't understand the motive behind the spying

        And they keep getting more corrupt because people keep saying... come and get me when they are loading people onto the train for the gas chambers, until then, stop comparing them to Hitler.

        So... once it gets that far, what are you going to do... by the time they get to loading people on the train... you will be the one they are loading... good luck standing up for yourself by then!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 7:44pm

          Re: Re: Re: You don't understand the motive behind the spying

          First they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

          Then they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Communist.

          Then they came for the homosexuals, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a homosexual.

          Then they came for me, and nobody was left to speak out for me.

           

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      GEMont, Jun 7th, 2014 @ 8:48am

      Re: You don't understand the motive behind the spying

      Nah. All that was done by corporate minions in cahoots with your own criminal politicians like Cheney and Bush.

      And all that was done so that the NSA could get these operations underway.

      These operations are not about preventing terrorist attacks - stop bombing third world countries into the stone age and terrorist attacks will fade into memory.

      These operations are for money and control and power, nothing more.

      In fact, given how often Alexander refers to "the NEXT terrorist attack", I assume that there is another 9/11 type false flag terrorist operation in the works as we speak, that is designed specifically to "prove" Alexander's point.

      Perhaps a small nuke in a place nobody important lives...

       

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    Applesauce, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:08pm

    Not a hero

    Maybe in the past he did some brave things, but that would have been his job.

    Also, deliberately sabotaging the cyber infrastructure of the nation by inserting backdoors in critical software and hardware components comes very close to the constitutional definition of treason.

    A U.S. general as a traitor? It wouldn't be the first time: Benedict Arnold of course, but don't forget James Wilkinson, Commanding General of the US Army and also a paid agent of the Spanish Crown. By the way, who was Keith talking to at the recent Bilderberg conference he just attended. Did he disclose any classified info?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:14pm

    Heard it all before!

    "It's going to get more dangerous. I would rather be sitting here in the hot seat defending what we're doing than sitting here in the hot seat after a terrorist attack and you asking me 'how did we fail the country?' It's a bad place out there. They're trying to kill us.

    These are the lines uttered by EVERY dictatorship ever when justifying why you should have no rights. Why soldiers should be moved right there into your home. Why YOU as a damn citizen CANNOT be trusted! Why YOU are GUILTY before you are EVEN ACCUSED!!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:14pm

    "How did we fail the country?"

    By waving a white flag, better known as the Patriot Act.

    If you believe the only alternative of being wiped out by terrorists is having a bunch of creepy old men watching everyone 24/7, you're doing it wrong.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:23pm

      Re:

      WRONG!

      By waving these flags, we have failed this country!

      I cannot be bothered to serve on Jury Duty and nullify stupid laws when my fellow citizens are accused.
      I will vote only my party, and as long as we keep those other bastards out of office I am okay with the bullshit mine pulls.
      I am to busy taking care of the family and working my job to protest capital hill!
      Or how about... O.J. Simpson was guilty, without really having the facts.
      Or how about... Travon Martin was innocent without really having the facts.

      As Americans we trust our media to blindly whip us into unholy frenzies and we just let our prejudices get us every time. White, Brown, Black, Red, Yellow, or Rainbow... we are all so damn bigoted and biased there is not a clean soul among us!

      That is the problem with this country, people are NOT Focusing on Liberty before everything else!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 1:34pm

      Re:

      No, the US Úlite failed by giving in to fear, and sacrificing liberty.

       

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    Rich Kulawiec, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:26pm

    He's failed to keep his oath

    Keith Alexander, like every other soldier, isn't obligated to defend the United States. Nor his post, nor any position, nor his commanding officer, nor his fellow soldiers, nor the citizens of the United States, nor the President, nor Illinois, nor Los Angeles.

    He is obligated to defend something far more valuable than any of those and than all of those combined.

    "I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Uniformed_Services_Oath_of_Office emphasis mine)

     

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      GEMont, Jun 7th, 2014 @ 8:53am

      Re: He's failed to keep his oath

      Loophole

      "... So help me God"

      If he's a typical soldier, his god is Odin, if he has any "god" at all.

      If not, then the oath is not binding.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2014 @ 8:35am

        Re: Re: He's failed to keep his oath

        I've read stuff from an actual ex-USSR nuclear units of the army that said that oath didn't make sense, because of that exact part, but I forgot the reasons why, but he had a website a long time ago on web 1.0, he left in 2003 when ex-USSR citizens were allowed to leave any former SSR (kinda a bullshit rule).

         

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        John Fenderson (profile), Jun 8th, 2014 @ 6:10pm

        Re: Re: He's failed to keep his oath

        Given that it's entirely permissible to leave out the "So help me god" part and the oath is just as binding, I think that's not quite true. "So help me god" is traditional window-dressing, not a key part of the oath.

         

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          GEMont, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 8:38pm

          Re: Re: Re: He's failed to keep his oath

          Agreed - it does not in and of itself constitute a loophole...

          ...unless of course, you're actively seeking a loophole.

          Then the inclusion of "So help me God" becomes a 6 lane highway with green lights in both directions.

          I would expect such a confirmed and unrepentant liar as Alexander, to always seek whatever means are available to fulfill his "duty", and "get the job done".

           

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      nasch (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 1:15pm

      Re: He's failed to keep his oath

      Keith Alexander, like every other soldier, isn't obligated to defend the United States. Nor his post, nor any position, nor his commanding officer, nor his fellow soldiers, nor the citizens of the United States, nor the President, nor Illinois, nor Los Angeles.

      "I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

      Soldiers have more duties than just defending the Constitution.

       

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    rapnel, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:31pm

    Wait...

    Wasn't there someone that said something about going to battle something or other ...

    Right. This was it.

    "You Go To War With The Army You Have - not The Army You Might Want Or Wish To Have At A Later Time"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:38pm

    fallacy

    I say that absolutely knowing that I'll probably get killed in the comments for suggesting a man who signed up to serve the public, serve in the military, and serve in intelligence is a coward.

    thats actually a fallacy on their part. medals commendations and service do not tell everything about a man. i have seen plenty of people in uniform military police etc in my line of work that do things many would consider to be bad. i do not think any of that should shield those people.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 6th, 2014 @ 1:01pm

    In all fairness

    The general is simply reflecting the character of the nation as it exists right now. We are, as a nation, cowards. This was demonstrated without question by our response to 9/11, both domestically and internationally.

     

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      GEMont, Jun 7th, 2014 @ 9:00am

      Re: In all fairness

      Actually there was a lot of protest against the actions immediately taken by the Fed without any consent from the public at large, but such protest was first proclaimed unpatriotic and then made illegal.

      Your federal government had already decided exactly what it was going to do about the 9/11 attack, long before they actually initiated the false flag operation.

      There was nothing the public could have done to stop the Fed.

      There is still nothing the public can do to stop the Fed.

      You cannot fix something till you admit its broke.

       

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        nasch (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 1:17pm

        Re: Re: In all fairness

        Actually there was a lot of protest against the actions immediately taken by the Fed without any consent from the public at large, but such protest was first proclaimed unpatriotic and then made illegal.

        1. "The Fed" means the Federal Reserve, not the federal government. 2. When was protest outlawed?

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 1:02pm

    Generals are useful attack dogs when fighting wars.

    They're trained to fight enemies and if not aimed at one will start to go looking for a fight wherever they can find one.

    At all other times than during actual wars they must be kept on their leash and frequently reminded who is boss by walking two steps behind their leader and never allowed to get in front or to run their mouths off.

    So we have here either a failure of leadership or a system working as designed.

     

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    Jeff, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 1:56pm

    Motives do not justify actions

    This is a common fallacy today. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Destroying constitutional liberties in the name of protecting citizens is a bad trade. I would prefer to die in a terrorist attack than to live the rest of my life under constant surveillance. Who knows, maybe I am in the minority.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 6th, 2014 @ 2:01pm

      Re: Motives do not justify actions

      "maybe I am in the minority"

      Maybe, but I'm right there with you. But I don't think we are, really. I think the nation is split roughly 50-50 on this point.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 2:09pm

    Most civilization is based on cowardice. It's so easy to civilize by teaching cowardice. You water down the standards which would lead to bravery. You restrain the will. You regulate the appetites. You fence in the horizons. You make a law for every movement. You deny the existence of chaos. You teach even the children to breathe slowly. You tame.

    FRANK HERBERT, God Emperor of Dune

    Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, governments tend more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class--whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy.

    FRANK HERBERT, Children of Dune

    Membership in a conspiracy, as in an army, frees people from the sense of personal responsibility.

    FRANK HERBERT, God Emperor of Dune

     

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    Roy (profile), Jun 6th, 2014 @ 2:39pm

    let's make a deal

    You would like to be safe, and I would really like to keep you safe, so let's make a deal - you give me something and I'll give you something.

    What I offer to you is safety and security for life - never shall you be injured in a car accident, or robbed, or fall and bruise your knees; you'll never suffer from a sunburn, or break a bone, or need stitches; you will never know harm again - I will even extend this umbrella of protection to your children. THIS is a good deal.

    In exchange, all you have to do is allow me to read every email you send or receive, every text message, every chat; I'll listen to every phone call, monitor every person you meet with, listen to every conversation you have; I'll inspect the groceries that you buy, the toys, the cars, the furniture; I'll monitor the books you have, the magazines, the newspapers you read, the TV you watch, the movies; I'll observe and record everything you read, write, see and talk about - inside the home or outside. Everywhere you go, everything you do; I will be watching - for the rest of your life.

    Since you aren't doing anything, aren't reading anything, aren't watching anything, and aren't talking about anything I may find threatening, you have no reason to hide anything. You don't even need to do anything; it'll be like I'm not even there. Don't worry about the fact that I can't deliver on my promises, we all know it's impossible, but you'll FEEL so much safer. It's a good bargain - you should take it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 5:59pm

    Precisely what law has Mr. Alexander allegedly violated?

     

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      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 7:15pm

      Re:

      To begin with, failing to uphold his oath to protect and defend the constitution. Some call this treason, but there is probably a better charge, this has been discussed.

      Secondly, he has lied to Congress. He has lied to the rest of us as well, but there is no legal recourse for that. For the lie to Congress, Congress will have to get off their collective asses to do anything.

      Thirdly, illegal searches. The Constitution requires a warrant, and he ain't got one, let alone 350,000,000 of them. He is basing the collection on secret interpretations of secret rules, not laws, rules. According to the Government, you have to be able to prove you were spied upon to have standing to sue, in effect, 'we didn't break the law if you don't know about it'.

      I am sure there are more.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 9:20pm

        Re: Re:

        Assuming your statements of illegal conduct are true, it would be helpful to have citations to final judicial decisions so holding. I am not aware of any such decisions, but then again I do not pore over the advance sheets of all our federal courts. I am aware of one, non-final district court opinion that sought to distinguish the case before the court from the holding by the Supreme Court in Smith v. Maryland, but to my knowledge no other court has signed on to its rationale (yes, the case above mentioned it approvingly, but did not apply it as Smith v. Maryland was deemed controlling precedent).

        While persons obviously have strong views about what they believe the NSA should and should not do, disagreement with current NSA practices does not mean those practices are illegal and persons like Mr. Alexander are engaging in illegal activity.

         

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          Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2014 @ 7:44am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Try reading the constitution, specifically the 4th amendment. Read it in the plain language, as written, not the convoluted, twisted ways jurists who think they are smarter than everybody else reads it. This is the highest level of law in the US. No Executive Order can override the constitution (short of declaring Martial Law, and there are probably rules about how to do that), yet this is where the NSA gets its 'permission' to violate the constitution.

          What construction do you use that says it is OK to violate the constitution?

          Why do you think the Government is working so hard to keep those Executive Orders secret? Because they have good footing on solid ground? They are destroying evidence in a case right now that might actually get close to showing the light of day, so there will be NO court cases.

          We are in uncharted territory here, and you are looking for court citations?

          And, just to pour a little salt in the wound, all of their efforts to date have done little to nothing to protect us from our enemies while doing a whole lot to destroying our way of life.

          The only way they actually get away with this is because the other two branches have been co-opted, with a lot of speculation as to the actual method of co-option (blackmail, bribery, straight out graft, etc., yes there is a lot of speculation).

          Many folks think the government uses the constitution as toilet paper, rather than its intended purpose. While this might be true, it does not change the authority of that document.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2014 @ 8:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Sounds to me as if your beef is with the Supreme Court, with Mr. Alexander being merely a convenient punching bag because of his proximity to the matter.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2014 @ 9:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well, actually, my beef is with:

              1. The Executive Branch for creating this travesty by attempting to pervert the constitution, in the name of National Security, when they mean, give me moar power.

              2. Congress for their lack of will to call the Executive out for their attempts to pervert the constitution, as well as promulgating things like the Patriot Act, that support the idea that the constitution needs perversion.

              3. Many in the judiciary, including 9 black robed morons in a hurry, who make decisions like Citizens United, but not all jurists. Some have shown a bit of integrity.

              See the post below about Ben Franklin.

              And this is not personal, as they have not attacked me, yet...oh wait.

              Also, it will only get specific to the Supreme Court when the rest of the system actually lets a case get to them. Then, when they screw up that decision as well...

               

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2014 @ 7:55am

    Go Read Franklin

    The problem with people like Alexander is a decided lack of historical education and (un)common sense. He, and all of us, need to go back to school and study Ben Franklin. That man is revered for a lot of reasons, but mostly for his writings.

    "They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."---Franklin 1755

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin

    fascinating reading!
    .

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2014 @ 9:05am

    I've been saying this for years. The terror-hawks always call everyone else pussies but they are the real pussies. They're willing to sacrifice their freedom in an attempt to protect themselves from something less likely to kill them than being crushed by their own furniture.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2014 @ 9:43am

    Terrorists = Criminals--PERIOD

    There is no functional distinction between those branded "Terrorist" than those branded "Criminal". It's not even a matter of scale. Al Capone managed to kill more people than most "terrorists", yet he was a simple criminal. Terrorists are, in fact, nothing more than murderers and thieves, thus criminals. They should be treated as such and not as political animals, which they are NOT.
    .

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2014 @ 10:49am

      Re: Terrorists = Criminals--PERIOD

      The point of this diatribe (sorry for not putting it in the post), was that there's no real justification for ANY of Alexander's machinations, or for the organization itself. If it happens within the borders of the US, the fibbies should take care of it, and if outside, that's CIA territory. Neither the NSA or GCHQ has any real justification for existing.
      .

       

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      nasch (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 1:23pm

      Re: Terrorists = Criminals--PERIOD

      There is no functional distinction between those branded "Terrorist" than those branded "Criminal".

      terrorism:

      noun
      1.the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
      2.the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
      3.a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

      Crime:
      noun
      1.an action or an instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited.
      2.criminal activity and those engaged in it: to fight crime.
      3.the habitual or frequent commission of crimes: a life of crime.
      4.any offense, serious wrongdoing, or sin.
      5.a foolish, senseless, or shameful act: It's a crime to let that beautiful garden go to ruin.


      Clearly there is a difference (which is not to say there is no overlap).

       

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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 3:24pm

    Amen

    To that Tim. That is definitely calling the Lion a feline!

     

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