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.