Well..of course it's illegal. It's...Unconstitutional. Naturally.
But the system is entrenched and powerful: 'Do you want to kill jobs?! What about Our Safety!??!'
I say: Yes, Absolutely: pay those smart people to do something more useful than underwear-drawer peeking...and Complete Safety is a pipe dream...I for one would rather be unseen and 'free' as opposed to being monitored and 'safe'.
Impeach the asshole FISA judges for rubber-stamping this illegality; tell Feinstein to fuck off back to California; introduce legislation to reduce the size and budget of the NSA.
I'll never quite understand the peculiar alchemy by which something becomes sufficiently respectable that it morphs from 'illegal' as in 'a whole bunch of people should go to jail' to 'without legal foundation' as in 'perhaps we should timidly consider reforming it sometime maybe?'...
Easy alchemy: One part influence, one part cronyism, two parts money. Presto, you have your poison, or gold, depending on where you stand.
White House response: Yeah...no.
Hasn't even the FISA Court complained about the NSA's actions, with the whole "NSA lying to the face of Judge's charged with overseeing them, and then ignoring everything the Courts say has to be done"? I was under the impression they have failed to gain any leverage on getting anyone to implement even THEIR most basic recommendations, which is essentially "implement some requirement that the NSA actually has to operate in accordance with what we say".
Is someone going to be charged under the Espionage Act for leaking this report?
I think you missed at least one part fear and another part cowardice.
There is no real political incentive to scale this back. If you are the Congresscritter who leads the charge to scale these programs back and an attack happens, you have just lost re-election. If you do nothing and something happens, at least you cannot be blamed.
True. That's the full recipe.
The cynic in me thinks that the NSA has gathered interesting info on politicians and have been using that dirt to blackmail them.
And now, from five minutes into the future, we bring you this extended debate about NSA surveillance.
"A study has shown that your program is illegal and needs to be shut down."
"Terrorism. Terrorism. TERRORISM!"
"Uh, OK. Carry on then."
I'd be astonished the data hasn't been used for multiple cases of blackmail, both for personal gain and to protect the NSA from meaningful oversight.
I imagine that the blackmail involving congresscritters is usually handled very subtly and politely, rather than by blatant threats.
Indeed. J Edgar Hoover set decades of precedent.
Have you seen some of these Congresscritters? Subtle ain't how they operate. Besides, I'd hazard that more than a few of 'em are too dense and/or narcissistic to grasp that there could be fallout from any "dirt" the NSA may have on them.
Oh yes, the ghost in the NSA machine is J. Edgar...
edit: I see @jackbird beat me to the Hoover reference
I'll explain it for you without words: $
Are the employees of the NSA like the FBI where we are not allowed to know who they are? If so, is that because someone would take a dump on their doorsteps on a daily basis?
The longer transcript of that give and take might've been:
Lackey: Mr. President, there's a report out from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board..."
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