Words of Advice:

"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China. It's going to be just fine." -- Donald Trump, 1/22/2020

“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama."
-- Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, 2/25/20

"I don't take responsibility for anything." --Donald Trump, 3/13/20

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Shorter Obama on NSA: "OK, Dammit, We'll Fix It."

President Obama, who has been defending the NSA's bulk collection of everything has signaled that he's backing off.
President Barack Obama has conceded that mass collection of private data by the US government may be unnecessary and said there were different ways of “skinning the cat”, which could allow intelligence agencies to keep the country safe without compromising privacy.

In an apparent endorsement of a recommendation by a review panel to shift responsibility for the bulk collection of telephone records away from the National Security Agency and on to the phone companies, the president said change was necessary to restore public confidence.

“In light of the disclosures, it is clear that whatever benefits the configuration of this particular programme may have, may be outweighed by the concerns that people have on its potential abuse,” Obama told an end-of-year White House press conference. “If it that’s the case, there may be a better way of skinning the cat.”
"May be outweighed"? Kind of being light on the touch, there.

Don't start cheering, yet. We have to be vigilant, for DiFi and her pro-NSA buddies in the House and Senate can be counted on doing everything possible behind the scenes to guy any legislation aimed at reining in America's spooks. Surveillance is cheap. The NSA could probably record all of our calls for about nine pennies a person per year. Which, given their annual budget of $11 billion (possibly much more), is chump change.

Make no mistake about it, legislation is what is needed. Not executive orders that can be nullified at the stroke of a pen. And then we need real oversight of the spies, not just the one-sided FISA Court. Because the NSA has a long record of doing whatever the fuck it wants to, regardless of what the laws or the rules or a court may say.

Another thing that is necessary is to cut the NSA's budget with a meat axe. One of the problems seems to be that they have the money to do almost anything that comes into their minds. Maybe if they had to do a serious cost-benefit analysis every time one of their Stasi-inspired clowns comes up with a bright idea, they might think twice about doing shit. For now, it seems that the question of "should we do this" is one that never gets asked at Ft. Meade. Taking away a lot of their funding might force them to ask that question from time to time.

Here is another question that the NSA, CIA, DoD and everyone else should start asking themselves: "How will this program look when we read about it in the papers?" Hundreds of thousands of people work for those agencies in intelligence jobs. It's a far stretch to assume that Edward Snowden was the only one with a set of functioning morals who has ever worked there.

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