LIBERTY AND SECURITY IN A CHANGING WORLD 12 December 2013

That is the title of the report to the President which has just been presented, and which the White House has published on the White House web site.

Now right off the bat, let me point out the irony in the title, because most of the justification for actions taken to dismantle our civil liberties and totally disregard the strictures in the Constitution requiring quaint things like habeas corpus and warrants has been rooted in the loudly proclaimed suggestion that 9/11 changed everything. And apparently that means the Constitution and the Rule of Law simply do not apply anymore.

Also, it appears that the report confirms what those who have been paying attention and seeing through the lies and obfuscation by NSA officials to Congress have suspected all along. Namely, there is absolutely no evidence that a single act of terrorism was spotted or prevented by the bulk collection of metadata of all phone calls. From the report:

NSA believes that on at least a few occasions, information derived from the section 215 bulk telephony meta-data program has contributed to its efforts to prevent possible terrorist attacks, either in the United States or somewhere else in the world. More often, negative results from section 215 queries have helped to alleviate concern that particular terrorist suspects are in contact with co-conspirators in the United States. Our review suggests that the information contributed to terrorist investigations by the use of section 215 telephony meta-data was not essential to preventing attacks and could readily have been obtained in a timely manner using conventional section 215 orders. Moreover, there is reason for caution about the view that the program is efficacious in alleviating concern about possible terrorist connections, given the fact that the meta-data captured by the program covers only a portion of the records of only a few telephone service providers.

As far as I can tell, we have just one more instance of what is basically war profiteering by the major corporations of America. Just as literally billions and trillions of dollars were thrown down the rat hole of Iraq, many to private corporation contracts, so much of this security apparatus has been outsourced to private industry, who are soaking up the money that could be used to build roads, bridges, waterways, and high speed rail, and putting Americans to work in jobs, and restoring manufacturing in America.

Among the recommendations, that old idea about GET A *(&)(&*&& WARRANT first is in there.

My take? The White House is being all of “we are sooooo great for publishing this, people will feel all soothed and cozy”.

But NOTHING will be done. NOTHING.

The recommendations will be ignored. And the unconstitutional activities will continue. The rule of law is done with in this country. The courts have been ordered since Bush’s time in office to simply NOT EVEN CONSIDER challenges to these practices. The fact that one got through and a judge made a ruling a couple weeks ago declaring them unconstitutional should have happened nearly a decade ago!! But I have every confidence if and when the ruling is appealed to the Supreme Court, it will be accepted, and promptly slapped down. And just like corporations were ruled to be “people”, the current Supreme Court will, by a narrow majority of its right wing members, discover that the fourth amendment really does not mean we can’t be spied on as if we were citizens under the Stasi or KGB in the former German Democratic Republic or the Soviet Union.

I read yesterday Obama met with chiefs of most of the major tech industry. One guy who apparently donated a million bucks to Obama’s campaign told him to his face he should pardon Snowden.

I agree, frankly. However, Obama’s track record of waging war on and prosecuting whistle blowers is why people who blow whistles on law breaking in government now flee the nation to Russia, of all places.

I am sure there is some irony in there somewhere. I am just too worn down by watching this nation self-destruct to ferret it out.

Finally, as Digby puts it:

I’m sure you’ll all be shocked to learn that John Yoo believes the 4th Amendment clearly allows for warrantless spying on everyone. (But only if pain to the point of organ failure doesn’t elicit the information first.)

The NSA Report