Laura Poitras sues the US Government to find out why she was repeatedly detained in airports

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Good. The most transparent administration in history should settle quickly, and hand over her requests.


We are confident that the court will not condone the government’s attempt to hide its misconduct under a veil of ‘national security.’”

I wish I felt so confident! If information is free, there is no need to request it. Demand it, because it is yours as much as it is anyone elses.


In theory, theory and practice are the same. But in practice…


Practice makes perfect. As they say, spit in one hand, and wish in the other.

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I like the idea and I expect that in X years they will have an answer. But then what?
They say, “National Security” and everyone gets weak in the knees.

I’m a big fan of real journalists digging up stuff via FOIA but then there is this expectation that a somebody will do something and something will change.

I want this harassment case to lead to something.

I filed a FOIA request, it was denied. If got the info I wanted I was hoping to get some change and get the person who was obstructing the info forced out, but it’s too late. That person let the Government with a job in the industry she was supposed to be overseeing.

Dragging out FOIA requests allow that to happen.


Hassle a film maker over her work by putting her on a TSA list, sounds a lot like closing bridge lanes out of spite.


And, for gods’ rice wine, don’t do it in the wrong order!

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We are confident that the court will not condone the government’s attempt to hide its misconduct under a veil of ‘national security.’

That’s adorable!


I remember the bleak time just after 9/11 when it seemed like everyone was onboard the whole “national security trumps human rights and the constitution” party line. Fear drives people to dark places. Thank the FSM we are not currently afraid of imminent attack.


This doesn’t surprise me. But first, let’s get something out the way. I’m a regular, but because I don’t want these comments attached to an account or handle that I’m known by, I’ve created a new one (hence why this appears as my first post).

Some friends of mine (and an ex-SO) went on to get clearance and work for FBI, NSA, CIA, NASA doing various aspects of computer security. There’s a lot I don’t know, but at least one is a True Believer who attained that status by helping put away many horrible people, including one I’m assured was worse than Dahmer. I had the specific discussion on this sort of stuff with my SO on whether such measures were breaking more good eggs than bad, and the answer was without a doubt, “Fewer”. I’m not so sure, but it’s a hard point to make when you can’t discuss the facts openly.

I’m fairly convinced that the administration could make a good case for such strict measures, but A. it would expose abuse in the system, particularly when it comes to the likes of PRISM (which for specific reasons terrifies me) and B. ??? terrify the population? Or something?

(In terms of, “Do I believe them?” They all went to a grad school that was name-dropped by the show “Silicon Valley” in terms of network security; I own several of their teacher’s books. In varying regards, I was interviewed as a reference for two of their employments in NSA and a Pentagon contractor. So yes.)

Personally, I view this young woman’s story as abuse of the system. But, I don’t know. It’s quite plausible she just talked to the wrong person, and is forever flagged. (Should she be? That’s the point of contention I’m talking about with the ex-SO) The real story here is transparency, and not the treatment in context.


This pretty much sums up why “representative democracy” is fundamentally incompatible with “state secrets”.

The PR line is that these measures are undertaken to protect the country - meaning individual citizens. Which is a rich irony when their well-being appears to be of little concern domestically. Protecting the security of the country in these contexts really means “secret national interests”, which tends to be a form of using the machinery of the state in the benefit of business interests.

Some people are simply not interested in being “protected” by spooks, and would really rather take their own chances.

If she is really seen as a threat to US interests, this poses interesting questions as to what US interests are perceived by them to be. Is getting the POV of people in lands we occupy dangerous? Dangerous to whom, and how? Is it simply spite because she is affiliated with “the wrong people”? It’s easy to inspire grave cynicism when the supposedly great intelligence hub of the world feels threatened by real journalism. It seems to me that they desire to control the flow of information, and punish those who route around them.


This is at the heart of the matter. Some random group of people in the government could think all those things and more - unless we are able to publicly review these decisions, we can never really feel safe about it.

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So, am I right in summarising your argument with the following points:

  • You have inside knowledge of the system from trustworthy people who believe it does more good than harm, and this is a useful insight that readers should consider.
  • You are prepared to accept that this “young woman” (she’s nearly 50) is suffering abuse of the system.
  • You find this acceptable as long as the headcount of bad guys exceeds the headcount of good guys… what, harassed by the system? Caught and tried? What is the metric you are comparing here?

I call BS. What is being argued by EFF here is that a documentary film maker whose work is critical of US government policy is possibly being targeted and harassed for that criticism, and her lawful requests to see the evidence justifying that harassment are being thwarted either deliberately or through incompetence.

I completely fail to see how your argument addresses that systemic harassment and abuse. Its just a very vague assertion that you know some guys who reckon they are catching bad guys, so on balance the occasional use of the vast power of the state for the purpose of intimidating dissenters is OK.

Like, fuck that.


Concentrating on a few bad people put away using illegal methods and evidence only distracts from the few, or many GOOD people put away, and far more who were removed or hindered from being a part of the already mostly broken democratic process. It is a similar problem where I have to assume a state department contractor was auto-trigger astroturfing the Snowden BB posts to interfere with public opinion at taxpayer expense, interference with the democratic process and tampering with the free press.


The thing is, they could easily be the most transparent administration in history, we just don’t know how opaque all the rest were. What’s changed is that now we’re very much more aware of what is being hidden from us.


If the difference between theory and practice is bigger in practice than in theory, that theoretically means that your theory about the difference between theory and practice is wrong in practice.

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When she digs down deep enough, she’ll eventually get an explanation that says, “Because we’re childish, vindictive fucks.” At which point probably the only thing to be achieved will be that she’ll finally get off whatever list she’s on.


I was detained - only once though - on a false tip from the Fbi. I requested my file. They denied having any such file. I don’t know what all of us can do about it.


She fled to Berlin to avoid surveillance and harassment. Let that sink in. Fleeing the Land of the free to be able to work as a journalist.