Pathological: Surveillance State Defenders Use Their Own Failure In Paris To Justify Mass Surveillance

from the shut-up-jackasses dept

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.

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  1. icon
    HegemonicDistortion (profile), 16 Nov 2015 @ 1:59pm

    Taking their own failures out on civil liberties

    A key point about a couple of the suspects, from a NYT piece today:

    The alleged architect of the plot, Mr. Abaaoud, who traveled to Syria last year...

    Mr. Abaaoud was already a suspect, according to officials and local news reports, in a failed terrorist plot in Belgium in January and an attempt in August to gun down passengers on a high-speed train to Paris from Brussels.

    And another

    Mr. Amimour was known to the French authorities, having been charged in October 2012 with terrorist conspiracy, according to the authorities. He was placed under judicial supervision but violated the terms of that supervision in the fall of 2013, prompting the authorities to put out an international arrest warrant.

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