We already wrote a bit about the absolutely ridiculous attempts to connect the Paris attacks of last week with Ed Snowden and encryption
. But, of course, the surveillance state sees successful terrorist attacks -- which often demonstrate their own failings
-- as a way to double down on getting more power. Take, for example, our old friend
and former NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker
As pointed out by Marcy Wheeler
, Baker used the Paris attacks to argue that it was evidence that the NSA should not shut down its Section 215 bulk collection of phone records
There are so many problems with this level of idiocy that it's difficult to know where to start, but let's go with the basics... (1) the NSA program is still on and still working for another few weeks before it shifts to a slightly modified version. (2) France has its own equivalent program
that is still in operation. In fact, France famously expanded its surveillance
laws late last year prior
to both the Charlie Hebdo and Paris attacks. (3) Outside of the US, the NSA relies on Executive Order 12333
, which allows the NSA to collect a hell of a lot more information
than the somewhat limited Section 215 program. (4) None of those programs appears to have discovered the Paris attacks (or, if they did, they clearly failed in stopping the attacks). (5) In other words, these programs did not work
and yet the knee-jerk surveillance state defenders are using them as proof that the programs work
What the actual fuck, Stewart?
Look, it's one thing to use horrible tragedies to promote your own political desires. It's another thing entirely to use the out and out failure
of these intelligence programs to argue that they're proof of why those programs work and/or should be expanded.