Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Remind me to add "Fuck the NSA" to my e-mail signature line

Now that Obama's stood up to Pakistan, any chance he might stand up to the National Security Agency?

Jane Mayer fills us in on the bizarre prosecution of Thomas Drake. (H/t Ugh.) Too depressing to excerpt, but if you're interested in (1) the U.S.'s keeping copies of EVERY E-MAIL sent within the United States, or (2) the abuse of the Espionage Act to threaten a whistleblower with 35 years in jail, then you will not want to miss this one.


  1. It's not just the NSA.

    If the writer on Stewart last night is to be believed (and there are reasons to doubt some of the stuff she said), during the Clinton administration, when Clinton sought information about some activity or other in the Nevada Test Range (called Area 52 by the conspiratorial), the White House was told that this was need to know information, and the president did not need to know. It seems the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has their own secrecy rules and thought they could exclude the president.

    If there is a hint of truth to that notion-- that there is a part of the bureaucracy that takes the view it is not answerable to the elected president-- things are too far gone. The author implied (didn't say out right) the white house won that particular battle...

  2. I've always wondered about that -- does the president get to see the secret JFK files, etc?

    Regardless of the official answer to that question, I'm sure some agencies hide material that no president will be allowed to see.

  3. I'm sure some agencies hide material that no president will be allowed to see.

    Have you read Legacy of Ashes?

    It reports that the CIA had in the past lied to the President, and (IIRC) implied that it no longer does so.

  4. I did read it, tho I didn't retain much in the way of detail. I'm sure the CIA's position has always been that, while it lied in the past, it is now 100% truthful to the sitting president.

    The way for about a decade, Rolling Stone said that although the *last* Prince album had been disappointing, *this* one was really good.

  5. A fair point. Just got the impression that, given the balance of the book, there must have been a lot of evidence that the CIA had not been lying to POTUS lately for the author to write what he did (tho I admit I'm at a loss for what kind of evidence of "not lying" would be convincing).