Actually, this explanation makes a fair bit of sense to me. At least from the perspective of the PD. First, it gives them a reason to set a financial bar to access that could weed out a fair number of requests. That's got to be appealing to them in this situation.
Second, if someone doesn't like what they find in the information they're given and thinks that they've either held something back or manufactured what they did give them, it lets them cover their asses. They can have someone from the firm stand up in front of a judge, if it gets that far, and say "no, this really is everything that fit their request, and here's why".
Hey... something just occurred to me. Even if the 4th Amendment didn't apply to the military and intelligence agencies, shouldn't Posse Comitatus apply since the NSA is part of the Department of Defense?
It is. And, under their criteria, it was justified. Being named "Man of the Year" isn't an endorsement, or an accolade. It's Time's way of pointing out the person they think "for better or for worse, ...has done the most to influence the events of the year." In 1938, that was absolutely Adolf Hitler.
Maybe they think they're in a Tom Clancy novel. They could be talking about establishing it in the literary sense. At some point down the road, Jim Clapper's going to walk into the Oval Office and say to the President "there's this independent group of outside experts reviewing our surveillance efforts" so that the reader will know they exist.
I suspect she sees no problem with denying people their rights because they don't qualify as "real journalists" in her mind because they don't meet her definition of "real citizens" either. In Senator Feinstein's world, "real citizens" don't question authority.
The problem is that the secrecy budget will go the way of the fiscal budget. Rather than staying within the number of classifications allotted them, they will leave themselves a method by which they can go overbudget "for emergencies". It will likely involve approval from a higher authority, but that approval process will quickly devolve into being the rubber stamp they use to sign their blank cheques.
Meanwhile, a solution that was supposed to be major surgery becomes nothing more than a band aid they can point to and say "look! We did something! We solved the problem!"
There's an old story floating around about Richard Feynman, one he recounted in "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman". Apparently, one of his interests was safecracking, and he used to amuse himself by getting into secure document safes and locked filing cabinets.
One time, when he was at Oak Ridge National Labs, he demonstrated his little trick to this one Colonel for whom he'd written a report. He then proceeded to explain how he did it: the locks they were using for their safes and filing cabinets had a flaw that drastically reduced the number of possible combinations. Also, as long as the safe was left open, he realized he could easily figure out the last two numbers, making cracking the combination child's play. Then, while the Colonel was sitting there, stunned, he suggested that everyone at Oak Ridge start working with their safes closed to limit their vulnerability.
The next time he had to stop by the lab, he found everyone telling him to stay the hell away from their workspace when he walked by. It turns out that, rather than implementing his suggestion, the Colonel had sent around a note to everyone in the office: "During his last visit, was Mr. Feynman at any time in your ofﬁce, near your ofﬁce, or walking through your ofﬁce?"
Anyone who said yes was told to change his combination, which was a pain in the ass to accomplish. Since nobody wanted to have to do that, and to memorize another combination again, they told him to stay away. Meanwhile, they all cheerfully kept working with their safes wide open. That's what the Colonel took away from his warning. The security hole wasn't the threat; Feynman was.
That's how a lot of security professionals react, whether computer or physical. If the Emperor's naked, they don't take it as a favour if you point it out to them. They take it as a personal attack. The security hole isn't a threat; you are. To their pride, to their reputation, to their job.
It's an old, old reaction. It's easier and safer to go after the guy pointing out the flaw than to admit they overlooked something and try to figure out how to fix it.
Even if studies showed that violent people partook of violent media, there would still be the question of whether or not the media was a causative factor. In other words, would that mean that violent media made people violent, or would it mean that those people liked it because they were already violent to begin with?
Well, then I'm screwed. Forget first person shooters, I've engaged in nuclear warfare in the Civilization games. For that matter, my usual method for conquering planets in Spore is to destroy their environment until they can't support life, then terraform them back to my liking.
Forget Hitler, I think I'm moving into Xenu territory here.
He sure would. 18 USC 2385 - Advocating Overthrow of Government. It was passed as part of the Alien Registration Act of 1940, and carries a penalty of a fine and / or up to 20 years in prison.
It's part of a regrettable episode in history where, fearing the end of the American way of life, certain laws were passed. As a result of these ill-conceived laws, the American way of life was injured and remained so until the people and their representatives came to their senses.