Spooks throw Obama under the bus: He knew about Merkel spying since 2010


Like everything officially coming out of the Puzzle Palace these days, I think it’s worth examining the story for what’s been left out by the spooks. Obama (not to mention Congress, not to mention Bush) undoubtably bears some of the responsibility for this metastasizing spookshow, but the spooks themselves are the ones who are manipulating the politicians by their control of the information they give out. If all you’re shown is the true positives and true negatives, and you’re lied to about the false positives and negatives, then of course you’re going to keep writing blank checks for the tiger-repelling rocks.


An anonymous “US intelligence source”…

on a train?


It is worth remembering that governments generally don’t care that you know they know what you know, as long as they KNOW you know they know what you know. Y’know?


How long until Participant releases the English language remake of “The Lives of Others”?


Part of what makes Manning’s and Snowden’s revelations so damning is that there are actual names and faces behind them. Does anyone really think that it’s coincidental that this is coming so soon after the GOP was humiliated with the budget showdown?


So the spooks are free to snitch and expose secrets, huh? We’ll see if they get persecuted Snowden style… I’ll bet not. #doublestandard


At this point I don’t trust a thing any one of them says. This could easily be a ploy by the spooks to ensure they get a pliant Repub president in a couple of years. Or it’s just butt covering. Or it is rats leaving a sinking ship.

I have zero doubt Obama knew what was happening and bears responsibility. That’s his job - to bear responsibility. But if they start throwing him under the bus - as they probably should - then he should consider throwing a few of them under the bus as well. Or possibly even the whole program and/or agency.

Obama apparently reads BoingBoing, so here goes. Barack - you look like shit on this file. You have disappointed almost everyone who believed your hope and change schtick. We all feel like you have completely bamboozled us, and are now taking the whole world down a nasty rabbit hole. Just because you believe yourself to be a ‘good guy’ who wouldn’t abuse these powers you are taking, the next president might not be so noble. Or the one after that. And you are cheerfully empowering that president to ruthlessly suppress whatever he or she chooses.

You have one way to salvage your presidency. Completely renounce and abandon all this insanity. Shutter the programs. Maybe, and only maybe, the risk of bad people doing something bad will increase slightly. But probably not - spend all that money on actual intelligence efforts focused on them and you will likely prevent almost everything. Meanwhile, you avoid being one of the last freely elected presidents before the collapse of democracy. Not such a bad legacy - actually preserving your constitution and the liberties of world citizens. Or be the hapless chump who sold them out - it’s up to you.


Well, as I said months ago: That’d finally be one remake where moving the story to the US wouldn’t feel strained.

(With the possible exeception of Godzilla and Jungle 2 Jungle.)

I don’t see how that is throwing him under the bus, if it is true. Isn’t he, supposedly, driving the bus? I say he should kick the NSA the hell off the bus, but that won’t happen.

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If this was a news story about some other country, intelligence pushing a story to make the president personally look like a badly lying ass would be reported as a sign of a crumbling regime.


Obama apparently reads BoingBoing

I think he only reads the posts about ukuleles and bananas.


The unnamed source chose a rather … ah … interesting “newspaper” to leak to. Wikipedia quote below:

"Bild has been described as “notorious for its mix of gossip, inflammatory language, and sensationalism” and as having a huge influence on German politicians.[2] Its nearest English-language stylistic and journalistic equivalent is often considered to be the British national newspaper The Sun, the second highest selling European tabloid newspaper, with which it shares a degree of rivalry.[3][4][5]

According to Der Spiegel, Bild is a newspaper that flies just under the nonsense threshold of American and British tabloids. For the German desperate, it is a daily dose of high-resolution soft porn.[6]

According to The Guardian, for 28 years (1984 to 2012) Bild had topless girls featuring on its first page; the paper published more than 5,000 topless pictures.[7]"

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If, and only if, you are dumb enough to believe that spooks aren’t just like the dishonest careerist hacks you have to deal with every day, only creepier and more paranoic. If you’ve made it to nontrivial national office without developing a certain amount of facility in skeptical evaluation, you might be too dumb for your job.

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Speaking of spooks and politicians being thrown under busses, Merkel is sort of a delicious world-leader-targeted-by-NSA-choice, given how she’s generally been Washington’s reliable hatchetwoman in German politics. Her “I’m shocked and appalled that active collaboration with America’s crimes and misadventures didn’t make me one of their real special friends!” display is kind of a beautiful thing.(Both because she’s been perfectly happy to let the US do dubious things, so long as they weren’t to her, so turnaround is delicious poetic justice, and because the not-wildly-novel-but-some-review-never-hurts lesson that ‘it’s hard to cooperate with the crimes of the Americans so enthusiastically that you won’t be a victim of them when it suits us’ should make our tendency to do seriously dodgy stuff harder to indulge in the future)…


It is a shit newspaper, but unfortunately it is exactly the right choice if you want to get your message to the watercoolers of Germany. The paper is also big enough that you can take for granted that a story like that will get secondary coverage in the more serious outlets. If you want to convince Josef Sechserpack that Obama is a hypocritical liar, then that’s how you do it.

The pres will be pliant regardless of which wing of the money party gets elected.


Obama wasn’t “thrown under the bus”. He bares the entirety of the responsibility. He could have put his foot down and ended this madness years ago. He didn’t. He increased it and accelerated it. The fact that one of the triggermen is fingering their boss as the one who told them to do it is fine.

Hopefully, future presidents will realize that there is a new paradigm in the world. Information is leaky. It is too damned easy to leak, and once the information is out, you stand no chance of getting it back. This means that you probably shouldn’t be doing shit that you don’t want the world to find out about.

There is a difference between doing something in secret because you don’t want other to defend against, and doing something in secret because it will be embarrassing if people find out about it and hurt relations. Planning to go shoot Osama Bin Laden in the head is an example of the former. No one the president gives a shit about would be upset to learn that they were planning to do it, but they kept it secret because it wouldn’t work if everyone found out. Once the need for secrecy was over, they opened up and told everyone what happened. This sort of action is fine. Spying on German politicians on the other hand is an example of the former. You NEVER want that to get out because it is going to piss off allies. Don’t do that shit. It is going to leak. If you wouldn’t want it leaked after the fact, don’t fucking do it.

While 'murica deserves its fair share of the blame, Europe is not blameless. Europe could put an end to this by simply hardening the Internet. Europe doesn’t do this because they like to merrily spy on their own citizens and fuck with the internet, and any sort of hardening of the internet would necessarily damage their ability to do this. Europe probably has as much of a dog in the fight as America citizen do, but it would take Europeans rising up against their own surveillance states.


Anonymous unsourced facts? The best sort of facts, of course.

And, Of course, bullies never provoke, prevaricate, or lie when cornered.

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There is no way to throw a spook under the bus. Publicly.