NY Times Gets It Right: Officials Calling For More Surveillance Are Proven Liars; Don't Listen To Them

from the don't-do-it dept

Even though the NY Times helped kick off the stupidity by publishing a nearly fact-free article (since deleted, and then replaced with an entirely different article) claiming that the Paris attackers used encryption to communicate, it appears the editorial board of the NY Times gets things exactly right with the editorial they pushed out last night: Mass Surveillance Isn't the Answer to Fighting Terrorism. Not only does it point out why expanding mass surveillance won't help much, it also points out that the people calling for it, like CIA director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, are not exactly trustworthy -- in fact, they're known liars:
It is hard to believe anything Mr. Brennan says. Last year, he bluntly denied that the C.I.A. had illegally hacked into the computers of Senate staff members conducting an investigation into the agency’s detention and torture programs when, in fact, it did. In 2011, when he was President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, he claimed that American drone strikes had not killed any civilians, despite clear evidence that they had. And his boss, James Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, has admitted lying to the Senate on the N.S.A.’s bulk collection of data. Even putting this lack of credibility aside, it’s not clear what extra powers Mr. Brennan is seeking.
This is refreshing to see, because the mainstream press has been ridiculously reticent to call these guys out for the fact that they lied. Of course, President Obama should be faulted too. In allowing both men to keep their jobs after they were caught lying, both publicly and to Congress, he set the tone that says "it's okay for you to perjure yourself before Congress and to lie to the American public about how we're violating their rights." And so, it continues.

Still, the NY Times, rightly also calls bullshit on the hand-wringing among the intelligence community with its claims about how their hands are tied if they can't get more surveillance powers:
Listening to Mr. Brennan and other officials, like James Comey, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, one might believe that the government has been rendered helpless to defend Americans against the threat of future terror attacks....

In truth, intelligence authorities are still able to do most of what they did before — only now with a little more oversight by the courts and the public. There is no dispute that they and law enforcement agencies should have the necessary powers to detect and stop attacks before they happen. But that does not mean unquestioning acceptance of ineffective and very likely unconstitutional tactics that reduce civil liberties without making the public safer.
Now if only the views of the editorial board actually filtered down to the paper's reporters, who seem amazingly willing to simply act as stenographers for these officials as they lie to the public and push their agenda.

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  • icon
    sorrykb (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 10:56am

    It really was a remarkable editorial -- They even got it right when talking about encryption back doors.

    And it is refreshing to see the NY Times actually calling out lying without resorting to euphemisms such as "misleading" or "unclear".

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 11:09am

    Are you registered with the government as a lobbyist for the tech industry?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 11:10am

    is this controlled oposition or treason?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 11:12am

    The old NYTimes that went all the way to the Supreme Court over the pentagon papers is still long dead.

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

  • icon
    Ben S (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 11:32am

    To be fair, breaking encryption hurts them directly. It is to their benefit to protect encryption. I fully expect they'll be communicating things they want to be kept secret using encryption.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 11:42am

      Re:

      But THEIR stuff won't have "Government Certified" backdoors. Ours, on the other hand, will be readable by any villain with a pocket calculator.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 12:07pm

    This is likely just a move by NYT to try to avoid losing the readers they pissed off with the propaganda that they left up just long enough to do what they government wanted it to.

    By this point, millions of idiots have stopped paying attention already... and they know those idiots will never see this.

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

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 18 Nov 2015 @ 12:16pm

    Of course, President Obama should be faulted too. In allowing both men to keep their jobs after they were caught lying, both publicly and to Congress, he set the tone that says "it's okay for you to perjure yourself before Congress and to lie to the American public about how we're violating their rights."

    Why would Obama punish others for doing the same things that he does himself?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 1:50pm

      Re:

      Why would Obama punish others for doing the same things that he does himself?

      He would probably even reward them if he could get away with it.

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

    • identicon
      David, 19 Nov 2015 @ 12:39am

      Re:

      Isn't that the whole idea behind "counterterrorism"?

      At any rate, since when was hypocrisy unavailable to U.S. presidents?

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

  • identicon
    FM Hilton, 18 Nov 2015 @ 3:23pm

    So, they've changed their minds?

    Sure, today they're against surveillance. Yesterday they weren't.

    They try to have it both ways. They've gone on record before saying that we're helpless without it, and helpless with it.

    Which is it, today? Oh, that Snowden guy? 'He's a terrorist too..'

    Doesn't make them right all the time. Just some of it. Today is one exception. Tomorrow they'll have a different opinion.

    Doesn't mean they mean it, either.

    Because they were one of the loudest proponents for the Iraq war-which is why we're now here. If we hadn't gone and done stupid things like invade the wrong fucking country after 9/11, this possibly would not have happened.

    But those are facts that we won't talk about now.

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

  • identicon
    Ryunosuke, 18 Nov 2015 @ 3:28pm

    wait, what?

    you mean spies are not habitual liars and always tell the truth... ALL THE TIME?

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

  • icon
    Eldakka (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 7:15pm

    Minority Report reality

    There is no dispute that they and law enforcement agencies should have the necessary powers to detect and stop attacks before they happen.
    Wow, and here I thought it was Law enforcements job to enforce the law. Arresting people for actually breaking the law. Dissuading people from breaking the law by being a visible, and practical deterrence to breaking the law by arresting people when they do break the law. Seems these people think it is law enforcements job to arrest people for thinking about breaking the law. Thought-crime police a reality.

    I would suggest it's the military's job to stop these types of attacks before they occur. It is not the military's job to enforce the law, it's their job to 'defend/protect the country'.

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

    • identicon
      studmuffins, 19 Nov 2015 @ 8:00am

      Re: Minority Report reality

      Don't be absurd. This isn't Minority Report where people are arrested before they even think of the crime. There are laws against conspiracy, legitimizing the prevention of a crime before it's committed. There's a middle ground between foreseeing the future and reacting after the fact.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 12:50pm

        Re: Re: Minority Report reality

        "Don't be absurd. This isn't Minority Report where people are arrested before they even think of the crime. There are laws against conspiracy, legitimizing the prevention of a crime."

        My crystal ball says you're thinking about raping babies, studmuffins. The question now is how do we stop you?

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 6:56am

        Re: Re: Minority Report reality

        Laws against conspiracy are not legitimizing arresting people for crimes they haven't yet committed. The conspiracy itself is illegal, even if that act being planned is never attempted, so a law has in fact been broken.

        A very, very problematic law for certain, but still.

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:12am

      Re: Minority Report reality

      Wow, and here I thought it was Law enforcements job to enforce the law.

      Much of this is coming from NSA and CIA, whose job is most definitely not law enforcement.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2015 @ 11:19am

        Re: Re: Minority Report reality

        Much of this is coming from NSA and CIA, whose job is most definitely not law enforcement.

        Didn't used to be anyway. But law enforcement is so much fun that they just can't help themselves.

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

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 21 Nov 2015 @ 2:01pm

          Re: Re: Re: Minority Report reality


          Didn't used to be anyway. But law enforcement is so much fun that they just can't help themselves.


          I'm not sure what you're getting at. CIA and NSA are arresting people and investigating crimes?

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


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