“The commander in chief of any military is ultimately responsible for decisions made under their leadership,” said the State Department’s deputy spokeswoman, Marie Harf — even if, she added, “He’s not the one who pushes the button or says ‘go’ on this.”
Glad to finally know that George W. Bush was responsible for Abu Ghraib.
Surveillance advocate named to "independent" surveillance review panel
So it looks like the White House’s “independent” panel will include Richard Clarke, of whom I’ve been very critical for his cybersecurity alarmism. Well, here is Clarke from his 2010 book, Cyber War, advocating for NSA deep-packet inspection of all Internet traffic:
The idea of putting deep-packet inspection systems on the backbone does not create the risk of government spying on us. That risk already exists. As we saw with the illegal wiretapping in the Bush Administration, if the checks and balances in the system fail, the government can already improperly monitor citizens. That is a major concern and needs to be prevented by real oversight mechanisms and tough punishment for those who break the law. Our nation’s strong belief in privacy rights and civil liberties is not incompatible with what we need to do to defend our cyberspace. Giving guns to police does raise the possibility that some policemen may get involved in unjust shootings on rare occasions, but we recognize that we need armed police to defend us and we work hard at making sure that unjust shootings are prevented. So, too, we can deploy deep-packet inspection systems on Internet backbone ISPs, recognizing that we need them there to protect us, and we have to make sure that they do not get misused.
So, this is someone who does not object to mass surveillance on principle. In fact, he advocates it. As long as there are “real oversight mechanisms,” then according to Clarke it’s A-OK for the government to suck up and analyze all Internet traffic. I have a hard time believing he will find that “real oversight mechanisms” are not in place, whatever those may be. And I also find it hard to believe that this “independent” investigation, if it finds any abuses, will result in “tough punishment for those who break the law.” If this administration were serious about punishing lawbreakers, they would have started with James Clapper.
“If you look at the breaches of civil liberties in past wars, like the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, as horrible and egregious as it was, at the end of the war, we could say we had wronged and never to do it again and try and get back to normal life. It was because that war had an end. The way this war has unfolded since 9/11, it never seems to end or has an end. And each step of undermining civil liberties becomes the baseline, the new normal. The question is how far we are going to go, if there is no end to this war.”—PGP inventor Phil Zimmermann.
“Whistle-blowing is the moral response to immoral activity by those in power. … If you see something, say something. There are many people in the U.S. that will appreciate and admire you.”—Bruce Schneier
Brendan Sasso reporting for The Hill yesterday at 2:30 p.m., before the Guardian’s NSA revelation:
The Federal Communications Commission will vote later this month on whether to require cellular carriers to better protect their customers’ privacy, The Hill has learned.
The regulations would require carriers to take “reasonable precautions” to protect personal information, such as the numbers customers dial, the length of calls and their location. The carriers would be barred, with certain exceptions, from sharing the information with third parties without the customers’ permission.
"Millions of wireless consumers must have confidence that personal information about calls will remain secure even if that information is stored on a mobile device," Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said in a statement. "This ruling makes clear that wireless carriers who direct or cause information to be stored in this way have a responsibility to provide safeguards, and I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this effort.”