Well, kudos to all those who showed up in D.C. to protest the NSA indiscriminate mass spying and telling these spooks to get a life and "stop watching us". The program at the reflecting pool included ex-politicians, whistleblowers, professional activists, poets and a punk band, YACHT, who performed their song Party at the NSA.
There were also security heavyweights, such as Thomas Drake, the former NSA official who blew the whistle on government surveillance and waste following 9/11 and was charged under the Espionage Act, was on hand, talking to reporters about, among other things, recent revelations that the US government had tapped the phone of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and other world leaders.
"For what? Why would you violate her rights? Because, what, she might know something about terrorism?" he said. "What is that all about? They're an ally! They're partnered with us. I mean there are threats to the international order and stability. Why would you breach the trust of the chancellor of Germany?"
Meanwhile, Melissa Harris Perry tried to spin it on her Sunday morning MSNBC show that Edward Snowden "wasn't telling the truth" and there was no evidence of any such spying on Merkel. But she's absolutely wrong. On this morning's CBS Early Show, security specialist John Miller noted that an NSA person briefed him that Obama was never informed on Merkel intercepts dating all the way back to 2010 (in the 'President's Daily Briefs'), nor did NSA honcho Keith Alexander notify him.
If this is so, then it shows Obama was in the same predicament as JFK in confronting the national security state. In the latter case. FOIA -released documents disclose JFK complaining about "receiving inadequate information concerning developments in a number of countries." Gen. James H. Doolittle, a Kennedy ally on learning the CIA's withholding intelligence, remarked "the covert operations tail is wagging the intelligence dog". Other examples include: the fired deputy CIA Director, Gen. Charles Cabell delaying distribution of the Inspector General's report on the Bay of Pigs invasion (which blamed the CIA) to Kennedy's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and the failure of US AID (a CIA extension outfit) to inform Kennedy of withdrawing aid to S. Vietnam - thereby setting the stage for the CIA-sponsored coup and assassination of the Diems in early November, 1963.
Back to the NSA protest:
When Drake addressed the crowd, he said any domestic surveillance legislation that might result from the Snowden leaks "must include whistleblower protection", because "without adequate protections, [government employees] are more likely to turn a blind eye" to abuses of power. He warned against the "acid turned up by the potent brew of secrecy and surveillance".
But the big star of the day, despite his physical absence, was Edward Snowden and as shown in the accompanying graphic, "Thank you, Edward Snowden" was the most popular banner among the crowd. Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department ethics advisor, now a director with the Government Accountability Project, read a statement from Snowden to the crowd:
"This isn't about red or blue party lines, and it definitely isn't about terrorism. It's about being able to live in a free and open society."
He also noted that:
"elections are coming up, and we are watching you".
Members of Congress and government officials, he said, were supposed to be "public servants, not private investigators".
Or, I might add, our masters! With upcoming elections, the serious anti-mass spying citizen needs to make a statement and toss all the bums out who have been pro-NSA, and anti-Snowden, irrespective of political party. That includes Dianne Feinstein, and Charles Schumer.
Thomas Drake's arguing for protection of whistleblowers goes without saying, given how our government and the Obama administration has done such an about face on whistleblowing, and transparency. We are now, I guess, supposed to just shrug and accept they can know everything about us, but we are not to know one damned thing about their doings - including 50 years ago with the JFK assassination files. Especially those connected with the operator and underling of David Atlee Phillips: George Joannides.
It's highly ironic that by its support of these intense and indiscriminate NSA vacuum data tactics and hyper-security measures, the Obama administration is actually assisting in its own entrapment by the national security state. The fact Obama didn't know about the Merkel intercepts is bad enough, but it makes one wonder how much else the NSA isn't telling him. The lesson of the Kennedy era is that a more open government shines a light on those that seek to undermine true domestic security- the "enemies within" if you will. JFK aimed for that with his open challenges to the CIA, but as one CIA spook put it: "Kennedy was the last president to really think he was the leader of the country". But then it was Richard Bissel who later admitted "the CIA is a secret state of its own".
Both Bissel and the CIA nabob were undoubtedly aware that Kennedy formed the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board as a special organ to "bring the CIA under the control of the President". In other words, JFK wanted to make sure the spooks knew who was in charge. Alas, the spooks fought back - unwilling to have anyone like a President ordering them around.
Back to the NSA Protests -
As for Melissa Harris Perry (on the issue of the NSA protests), she interjected many more smoke screens and nonsense in her Sunday morning show to attempt to make the protestors appear as over reacting to the spooks. One of these was: How could a government that can't even set up a health care website be able to mount such a massive security spy operation? Of course, she's a moron and as one of her guests pointed out to the dope: "Please don't confuse the NSA with a private Canadian software contractor". DUH!
Harris Perry also wanted to make hay out of the "irony" of people demanding the gov't stop watching them but on the other hand, putting up so much personal information on Facebook, or going to porn sites, or posting blogs. But, of course, this isn't the same as a powerful government secret agency deliberately collecting metadata with no exercise of will by the citizen!
As guest Barton Gellman of the Century Foundation pointed out, in regard to the modern day metadata collection:
"What's different now is you don't have the potential of obscurity you used to have - you have automated systems that collect everything: who you talk to, exactly when, where you travel, where you bank, what you buy and machines can correlate all of it.. You have no control over it. In ordinary life you can choose to control your words or choose to be quiet if you know someone is listening to you. You can't do anything to control the metadata and how they collect and correlate it automatically to assess threats."
And bear in mind, you may be one correlation away from being deemed a "terrorist", or criminal or "enemy of the state", say if you accidentally get a call from one guy who happens to support terror organizations via a charity. You may also be one correlation away if somehow the spooks determine you are into "domestic terrorism" - say by openly opposing a fracking well.
Sadly, fake Libos like Melissa Harris Perry will never get it, or why at times it is strategically useful for citizens to band together across party lines to fight an even bigger monster : the over reach of the national security state. Thus, her also being "perplexed" at why liberals might band with libertarians like Justin Amash, i.e. to fight for changes to the NSA - Patriot Act oversight laws, and making Fisa courts accountable.
Those like Melissa are their own worst enemies. Sadly they aren't perspicacious enough to even know it.