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Roger L. Simon

What Snowden Knew

June 24th, 2013 - 12:00 am

I’m still a bit confused about the brouhaha surrounding Edward Snowden. I’m not sure what he has said that is really new. I mean, what did we think was going on in all those mammoth NSA installations? What were they doing with all those satellites revolving around our heads, collecting jelly beans?

I assumed they were gathering everyone’s emails, texts, phone calls, and just about any other form of information, digital or otherwise, known to man or woman. And, though I don’t think I’m particularly brilliant for doing so, I’ve been assuming that for some time. 1984 began for me in 1987 at the latest. (In case you didn’t realize it, the NSA has been around since 1951! Its origins under other names are yet earlier.)

I’m even unimpressed with the revelation that our tech giants — Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. — have been involved. Why wouldn’t they want to cooperate with government as they expand their server farms across miles of our country? It makes perfect business sense.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a brief for Snowden. He seems to be a new form of narcissistic international creep, similar to Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame. I hope he gets dysentery in Ecuador or wherever he winds up.

But he may have done us a favor, putting an exclamation point on the activities of the NSA so there are no doubts. He also has made obvious the utter contempt with which Russia and China treat the Obama administration. (Evidently this was surprising to Dianne Feinstein on Face the Nation Sunday. Go figure.)

Also interesting is that the heightened concern for our civil liberties under government digital surveillance crosses political and party lines. Given the plethora of scandals confronting the administration, this presents an opportunity for dialogue we haven’t had for many years. Who knows if it will happen?

But if it does, I hope it will be intelligent and substantive. These are not easy questions. Good reasons exist for government surveillance.

Most obvious of them is the threat and reality of Islamic terrorism, which, despite the death of bin Laden, does not seem to be going away. Quite the contrary. It appears to be growing rapidly and dangerously.

Currently, an entire tier of the Middle East — across Syria and Lebanon and, tangentially but significantly, Iraq — seems to be engaged in the umpteenth refighting of the Battle of Karbala, the brutal 680CE encounter which initiated the never-ending violence between Sunnis and Shiites that has lasted a mind-boggling thirteen plus centuries.

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Top Rated Comments   
The need for domestic surveillance is to a great degree just another example of the government having to solve a problem it created in the first place. If we had paid attention to the people who we allowed to enter and/or immigrate into this country most of the potential for domestic terrorism wouldn't exist. After 911, where a majority of the perpetrators were here on expired visas, this should have been a clue. But considerations of Political Correctness won out when it was balanced against national security, and now the American citizen is expected to cough up a chunk of their liberty for that choice.

And now I understand we're going to allow mass immigration of Syrian refugees so that politicians and the Professionally Compassionate can demonstrate their moral superiority. Screw that. If the price of their compassionate PC behavior is any part of my liberty or security that price is simply too high to pay.

Our leaders are supposed to be public servants. Instead they seem to think they are high class pimps and the unwashed American masses who would never be invited to their cocktail parties are just their whores.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Unfortunately, our president doesn’t seem to see this as pressing."

The only thing pressing for Obama is a tyrannical monopoly of power. The left has been relatively unopposed in its onslaught against the constitution; veering closer and closer to one party power and absolute control.

Curtailing the NSA is a MUST ... it MUST NOT be allowed to operate outside the law!!!
The NSA is being used as a massive political hammer capable of pummeling citizens into submission to an anti-freedom agenda. This is an horrendous overreach of government and it MUST be stopped dead in its tracks. Islam is easy to stop - the entire system is based upon deception; and a simple acknowledgement of Islam as a death cult and a sociopolitical tyrannical system disguised as a religion will be all that is needed to begin dealing with the monster.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment

The elephant in the room is Presidents, Senators, Congressman, Federal Judges, heads of Corporations, joint chiefs of staff, ambassadors, are being spied upon, their conversations and communications organized and stored. The NSA gathers intelligence but un elected and unaccountable individuals review and decide what to do with that information.
The wholesale gathering across the board creates a database that can be tapped years later to generate favorable judicial decisions, legislation, voting, supreme court decisions, leak damaging info to sway elections, or sold to the highest bidder.
If we believe the scope of these intelligence programs then blueprints, patents, war strategies, research programs, all types of classified information could have been gathered, organized and sold in the last decade to foreign companies and governments by the same people managing these intelligence databases.
Its not only damage to individual Liberty and Freedom, it is democracy itself that has been jeopardized by revelations of a vast intelligence program operating outside of the law and outside control of Elected Officials.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (119)
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all Well and Good, Roger. I would note though, that based on our History Lessons we are reasonably sure the gov't is not looking for external threats alone but rather is also looking for opposition to government policy.

Looking at that topic I notice that "Affordable Care" -- was passed "so we could find out what's in it". Now I've seen 1 article suggesting Immigration Reform may be on the same track. I do want to see more on this though so as I don't "go off half cocked" on this.

But if Congress is passing bills without reading them I think we need to find out why that would be going on -- if in fact it is. The question obviously is: Who's really calling the shots here?

If journalists get censored/intimidated this is not good. I don't have to say this: we all know: suppression of the free press is the essential signature of the tyrant.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Tyrant, sure, but what do you do when the so-called free press censors itself to promote one side or the other, as the Democrat media has been doing for decades now.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Two more things...

1. We don't know if spying on all of us makes us safer. The Fort Hood guy was blatantly dangerous and it did nothing to stop those murders. Consider the unseen as well as the seen. Wouldn't traditional methods of investigation have stopped him and the boston guys? What's wrong with getting a warrant?

2. Thomas Drake designed one of these programs and it was supposed to have limits and oversight to avoid abuse. It can be done, but only if people are held accountable to following the laws. Since nobody in higher levels of govt are, then oversight ceases to work. We do not have to trade privacy and freedom for security, at least not to this degree. When they tell you this is necessary, they may be ...gasp.... lying!
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not sure about the Boston bombers, beyond the apparent "handsoff to Islam" policy that emanates from this administration. Nidal Hassan, however, was one of Obama's transition analysts/planners; his promotion and assignment as the psychiatrist in charge of psychological "preparation" of troops deploying to the Middle East, where they were subsequently made to question their mission was, I believe, a deliberate and treasonable action by Barack Obama to undermine the war and to render aid and comfort to the enemy. I wonder how many of our service men and women were killed or maimed as a result of the orders issued to disregard the reports of Hassan's activities and associates, to say nothing of the people who were reprimanded for bringing it to the attention of their superiors.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here's the thing Roger: You talk about Islamofascism increasing exponentially as the reason for the gargantuan spying on US citizens. And the spying has increased exponentially under a PRESIDENT WHO MAKES LOVE TO ISLAM every chance he gets. And he and George Bush both have kept the borders open and unsecured during the entire time since 9/11. We lost thousands of lives "protecting Americans" which was a TOTAL LIE since the dawn of history has shown that every nation state under attack has first sealed its borders. Here's what is really going on: Islam is being used to transform this nation into a crypto Marxist/Fascist terror state. And I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the Checka Agent in the WH used the information gathered by the NSA courtesy of his techie friends at Google and elsewhere to build the super DEMOCRAT data base used to eek out a victory in 2012. And the taxpayer funded it all. So you may have no problem with all this spying because of the threat from Islam, but it doesn't wash. If that is the real reason, then why it is our ASTERISK President has made the Muslim Brotherhood basically an NGO extension of the Federal Government?
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let us please not do what was done by the far-left, that is the Church Commission, in the 70's, and that is to go so far that we cannot defend ourselves. That is what got us 9/11.

But what exactly is the problem with PRISM, a program for spying on foreigners? Non-citizens don't get to be free of surveilence.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is spearate from the emails.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
This thread is almost a rerun of "Is Snowden a Traitor?" which many of us responded to.

In the old 'Clinton Era,' agencies' abilities to share info were sharply curtailed to keep data from being shared a la the infamous J. Gorelick memo. (sp)
President Clinton did not want, it has been speculated, to find himself in the crosshairs of confirmatory readings of malfeasance by differing agencies.

Cut to the 'Bush Era.' 8 months in... 9/11. Then questions were asked as to why info which might have saved 3000 lives was not shared among agencies.
Enter The Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security.

Now we have bad guys operating under a protected status, They Are The Government. The irony here is that our foe is operating under protected status as well, The Religion of Peace. But one group is not protected at all.
Hmmmm...Reminds me of the 'Vietnam Era' quote, "We had to destroy the village to save it."
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
You mean the fake VietNam era quote? The quote they could never found the author of? It is the anti-VietNam people who gave us the wall between the FBI (dmeostic) and the CIA (foreign). Let us not go too far.

I have no reason to believe that the NSA has been politiciized. Secercy can also protect the agency from politics.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is no less a quote than any other. It probably is the mouthing of an anti-war reporter. Don't get hung up on the source if it obscures the meaning, which is this; this government's claim to protect our freedom by any means will result in precisely the opposite effect, because your freedom is the last thing this administration is concerned about protecting.

If you can produce tyranny in the minds of people, a la Roger Simon's,"I live in fear..." it's game over.

Don't deliberately misread me, it isn't worth the effort.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here's the problem. 1. the amount of information being gathered was not in the forefront of the conscience of the public. They now know. In a free society, the citizens get to choose how much the government intrudes vs the risk of that freedom- it is NOT the other way around. sorry Roger.

2. If the NSA and the FBI and the ATF and the DHS weren't so political and more effective, their intrusions may be forgiven, but the sad fact is the NSA collects everybodys information BUT can't find the Boston bomber or Hasan because of political correctness.

That makes the whole effort worthless.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
So the question once again
What Do You Want To Do?
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
How do you know that?
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the information thatis gathered, and, more to the point, the methods the NSA uses to make sure it is not spying on Americans becomes public, then the enemy just avoids those things. In the real world, it can't be public.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whatever Snowden did does not excuse what the govt. and NSA is doing. Most people believe that it is reasonable for our govt to spy on foreigners in the name of national security, i.e., to protect us from our enemies. I'm not suggesting that everything our govt does has to be public. But it should be lawful. This, however, is not. Why would the govt want to spy on me - a law-abiding, peaceful nobody citizen?

If spying on all citizens without a warrant is okay, people should have amended the Constitution first, and then passed a Constitutionally-valid law giving the NSA permission to do what it is doing. As it stands, the NSA has ignored the Constitution and acted lawlessly, as several ex-employees have stated, and with the support and blessing of the other branches of govt.

Mr. Simon, if you believe that acting outside both the Constitution and laws is okay as long as somebody says it is for 'national security,' then you support a police state. Anything can be done under the umbrella of 'national security,' just like legislating the size of sodas and taking fat kids away from their parents can be done under the umbrella of 'national health.' Maybe Bill Whittle can explain why the Constitution and govt that is subject to the same laws as its citizens are important.

I'm sorry to say this, but your article reads like that of a scared journalist, parsing words and paying lip service to the govt to avoid being on the latest enemies list. I don't blame you for being scared, but don't be dishonest with yourself. A heavily-armed all-seeing govt. that is not held accountable to any laws is dangerous. I dread seeing the outcome of what is happening now.

Do you actually believe that honest public discussions are possible when the highest levels of this administration and heads of the regulatory agencies lie with practically every statement they make? Do you believe what the public wants matters to them?
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lawlessness, is this administration's forte.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Could you explain to me how PRISM (not the Verizon stuff, that is another program) spied on American citizens?
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Snowden gets dysentery, he'll have no brains at all.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
"an opportunity for dialogue", hell. The time has past for dialogue! It is time for the truckers to return to Washington this time joined by electricians and plumbers. The truckers need to block the roads again and this time the electricians can cut off all power and the plumbers, God bless them, can turn off the water. I would like to see how not being able to take a dump, without hardship, will affect Washington's decisions. It is summer now and it's really hot out there.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why do I get the giggles every time I hear that the US is warning Russia, demanding that China, admonishing Ecuador, etc. in response to Snowden's escape plans? What are we going to do, block them from viewing Beyonce's next undulating stripdance at the SuperBowl or perhaps even worse, refuse to share the details of Kim Kardashian's miracle baby delivery?
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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