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Tom Tomorrow
© Tom Tomorrow

You know, I don’t blame Obama for all of this. After all, the Patriot Act was enacted before he was even elected, and anyone who voted against it was practically branded a traitor. We are paying dearly for our idiotic knee-jerk fear-ridden reaction to 9/11.

But Obama sure seems to be doing his best to get blamed for it. Appointing James Clapper to investigate this? Seriously? What’s next? Appointing Bill Clinton to investigate adulterous sex in the White House?

As usual, I take a moderate position in this. Yes of course we need an intelligence service in this country. And of course there will be secrets kept from the American people. But the pendulum seems to have swung way too far to the extreme of too many secrets and no accountability. We need to fix this now or risk doing more damage to our country than any outside terrorists could ever do.

UPDATE: Rachel Maddow makes my point better than I could. It is almost as if our government is going out of their way to prove that government spying is out of control.

UPDATE 2: Good editorial in The Guardian “As a Democrat, I am disgusted with President Obama“. I can’t say I’m this disgusted with Obama, but I can’t argue much with the reasons why.



  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    The most serious at issue are our 1st amendment rights and freedom of the press. With the news of David Miranda being detained, searched and questioned and Greenwalds comuter being destroyed not to mention the surveillance of AP and FOX reporters the free press isn’t looking so free any more. These are immediate issues that the President can, if he chooses, immediately influence and correct. He is the one ring after all.

    Without our freedom of the press and 1st amendment we are not America. As messy and ugly as it can get we must protect those freedoms at all costs. The guy in charge needs to take charge or step aside and let someone else take over if he can’t or won’t. It’s getting out of control.

    Thanks IK, I hope they don’t hack your site and crash the servers for calling them out.

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink
  2. ThatGuy wrote:

    Miranda was detained in the UK though. Whether or not the US requested it is one thing, but the UK doesn’t enjoy something as (supposedly) far ranging as the 1st amendment.

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink
  3. Hassan wrote:

    “Yes of course we need an intelligence service in this country. And of course there will be secrets kept from the American people”

    That is correct, but laws or their interpretation cannot and should not be kept secret. I think it is given that our government does and should spy on non-friendly nations, and I do not need to know what they have found out and how they are tackling it.

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink
  4. Michael wrote:

    Similar to That Guy’s point–unless you are referring to a separate incident–the Guardian laptops were destroyed by the U.K. government, not the U.S.

    “We are paying dearly for our idiotic knee-jerk fear-ridden reaction to 9/11.” “[L]aws or their interpretation cannot and should not be kept secret.” I couldn’t agree more with both of these statements.

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink
  5. TJ wrote:

    I’d say that I do not take it as a matter of fact that “of course there will be secrets kept from the American people”. That was a privilege that the government enjoyed courtesy of the American people. The government has abused its privilege and therefore it should be taken away. Given that we can’t trust them with secrets, why should they have secrets? How can we prevent the exact same things from happening again and again and again if there’s a wink and a nod and everyone looks the other way at “some” secrets?

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    Note the Rachel Maddow clip I added.

    I also want to add that I have run a number of companies, and I always tried to make them as open and transparent as possible. But there always have to be some secrets.

    The same thing for the government. There are some things that if made public could be very harmful to other people. For example, grand jury deliberations, or treaty negotiations.

    But I think it would be a good idea if all secrets were required to have an expiration date. Even if it was 50 (or more) years. That way at least we would have a good idea of what secrets were kept and why, so we could make a reasoned decision about whether that secret was a good idea, and whether we should allow the government to keep secrets like that.

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink
  7. PatriotSGT wrote:

    To the comments about the UK, I understand, but does anyone really think the UK decided on its own to detain Miranda, long enough to make copies of all the data on his electronic devices. Considering that Snowden is an American, living in asylum in Russia by way of Hong Kong who collected US gov’t data. The only link being it was reported by a UK newspaper. They had freedom of the press with that, but it’s the US calling in favors to put the pressure on this trio. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were US intelligence people involved, maybe even making copies of the data and watching or directing the interview. Come on, the Britt’s are not that naïve to know there would be a huge uproar over this. They’re taking a big poke in the eye for El Presidente and his machine.

    Rachel’s piece was interesting. In more recent times given thought to the what if of did the US gov’t conceive or seed with money those creators of social media to keep a thumb and catalogue of everything the people say and do. It is the perfect tool for analysts to find and identify targets and associates of criminal organizations. It’s a veritable gold mine of information ripe for the picking.

    We cannot operate under the assumption that everyone is a terrorist until proven otherwise as the basis for collecting data on USC’s, but the same rules should not be implied to foreign nationals. And I agree with IK that we should set time limits on “secrets” and do acknowledge there are secrets that should be kept for some length of time. The military’s battle strategies, techniques and preparations are an example and that would include intelligence gathered on foreign entities.

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 6:25 am | Permalink
  8. Thatguy wrote:

    Such rules for declassification exist. Look up Executive Order 13526. There are requirements that need to be met for materials being classified longer than 10 years (though I think the norm is 50).

    I’m sure the US will get a look at what Miranda was carrying, if anything, but the UK got has no love for Greenwald, who has dirt on their secret services as well. Indeed after Miranda was sized, Greenwald promised to publish more about their operations.

    It seems like a terrible idea for the UK to have stopped this guy if they didn’t actually think he was carrying something. Clearly Greenwald is not going to be intimidated and this only serves to push him to publish more. I really doubt the US was directly pulling the strings here, but I wouldn’t be surprised by consent from Washington.

    Also:very well said Hassan.

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink
  9. il-08 wrote:

    What good is freedom of the press when all we want to watch are stories about the Kardashians or the latest tragic story of the little boy with cancer (with he obligatory happy ending). Or “”news”” networks that promote a singular line of thought even when it well crosses over the line to just telling lies. There is almost no news any longer and the news that there is, is so hidden in the weeds it is almost impossible to find. Freedom of the press died a long time ago, when we decided as a people to replace information with something to masturbate to.

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    IL-8=There is news in print form.
    Your are talking about the pabulum fed the American 8th grade level public. I read AP news stories and updates at least twice a day. I find the people who watch TV news never hear any of those stories.

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink