from the do-these-guys-listen-to-themselves? dept
But the really incredible part was that confessed liar to Congress, Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, tried to defend all this, arguing that figuring out whether or not these surveillance programs were actually necessary or useful in stopping terrorist plots was the wrong metric. Instead, he made up his own metric. The "peace of mind" metric:
There's another metric I would use; let's call it the "peace of mind metric". In the case of the Boston Marathon bomber, we were able to use these tools to determine whether there was, or was not, a subsequent plot in NYC.Of course, we've already discussed how utterly ridiculous this argument is when President Obama himself used the "post-Boston" lack of other plots as support for NSA surveillance. It's quite incredible when you argue that the absence of additional attacks that never existed in the first place is somehow a "victory" for surveillance efforts.
But, really, this "peace of mind" metric is worth exploring, because it's basically the same thing as "the dictator's creed." Clapper's argument is that he can ignore the Constitution, because it might make you feel safer. As Julian Sanchez argued when Clapper made this statement, under the "peace of mind metric" because of the lack of additional threats, it automatically means that every innocent person's records are "relevant," since they help prove the lack of an additional threat. Just think for a second how insane that is. Sanchez takes the analogy further:
Let's try it for warrants: There's always probable cause to believe a search will produce evidence of guilt OR reassure us of innocence.The more you think about the insidious nature of such a metric, the worse and worse you realize it is. If the government considers evidence of innocence to be relevant and necessary for "peace of mind" then there is no 4th Amendment any more and there is no privacy. At all. The government, using this made up metric, can argue that any search is warranted because it's "just making sure you're not a threat."
That's not the standard. That's not the metric. It's completely unconstitutional.
So, again, we have to ask: how the hell is James Clapper still employed as the Director of National Intelligence?