Friday, December 28, 2012

Go Beavers!

Damn proud of my Oregon Senators.
Wyden argued in an impassioned floor speech that intelligence officials have failed to provide estimates on how often Americans' email or phone communications have been swept up during foreign surveillance carried out under the law. He offered an amendment that would require intelligence agencies to report that information.

"I think, when you talk about oversight, and you can't even get a rough estimate of how many law-abiding Americans had their communications swept up by this law ... the idea of robust oversight, really ought to be called toothless oversight if you don't have that kind of information," Wyden said.

In addition to Wyden, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has offered an amendment that would require the government to declassify the FISA Court's opinions on surveillance requests. The amendment is aimed at shedding more light on how the court interprets the surveillance law since the court's opinions are currently classified.
It would seem ridiculously obvious to anything with a functioning hindbrain that without actually knowing how many of these FISA orders have swept up Joe telling Molly about his Egyptian vacation we have no idea whether these FISA orders actually are sweeping innocent people's conversations into the spy vs. spy games we're playing.

That fact that the Senate GOP would reflexively oppose the revelation of any such knowledge says pretty much all you need to know about the fucking Senate GOP.

That, and, for the record, I'd like to make it clear that I consider Feinstein (D-CA) the most worthless oxygen-thieving skinbag currently caucusing with the Congressional Dems. Sheesh.

Update 12/30: As expected, the Senate voted to reauthorize all this snooping and pooping. Also, disgustingly, it voted to remain consciously ignorant of what the hell all these snoops and spies are doing:
"In the Senate, they actually voted not to know what the law does by rejecting an amendent that would have made the government state how many Americans have been spied on without a warrant."
And so it goes; in pursuit of fantastical enemies we imbue with powers beyond reason we empower our own government with powers beyond our own understanding.

We are fools, and of we are despoiled by our own fooling it will be our just reward. Thanks to my Oregon senators for trying, at least, to prevent my countrymen from hitting ourselves on the head with a hammer just because it feels so good when we stop.



Ael said...

The way the technology works makes it so much easier to vacuum up everything than to distinguish between foreign and domestic traffic. Therefore, they sweep up *everything* and ignore legal obstacles.

Oversight is so last century, anyway.

FDChief said...

And as someone who has some passing familiarity with military intelligence-gathering that notion makes me both irritated and amused. The single biggest problem with signint is the noise-to-signal ratio. Probably 95% of what you seine up will be useless crap; it's the sorting through that crap that makes signint so difficult, along with the fact that the remaining 5% will be useless unless it's fitted together correctly, so once you've filtered out the useless bullshit you STILL have to put the pieces together to make sense of the rest.

So the OTHER problem with this secret-secrecy is that it is incredibly useful for obscuring the amount of waste, fraud, and abuse that is occurring. One of my favorite "War on Terror" stories is that Khalid Sheik Muhammad had the CIA/FBI/NYPD chasing fucking geese around Central Park because at some point between waterboardings he told them that his AQ operatives were stuffing Semtex up their asses (the geese, not the people).

Seriously. Can you imagine?

I have no hope that with hairbags like Feinstein and the Senate R's in place that these oversight provisions will pass. But good on my Senators for at least forcing the idiots to own up to their idiocy.