Gateway Pundit was nice enough to type out a long quotation from Peter King’s harangue:
“So Rand Paul does not know what he’s talking about. And, Rand Paul is really spreading fear among the American people. And, he also today, I understand on the show, he was also was comparing General Clapper to Snowden. To me, he’s either totally uninformed or he’s part of that hate America crowd that I thought left us in the 1960s. In any event, he doesn’t deserve to be in the United States senate for spreading that type of misperception and absolute lies to be honest with you.“
I’m sorry but Peter King and the NSA is the real “hate America” crowd. And the “imprison America” crowd. They want Americans in boxes with spyholes.
Let’s pretend for the sake of argument that we don’t own our phone metadata (and insane evasion of the Fourth Amendment, but I’ll leave that alone by now). And let’s pretend that the FISA Court process fulfills the limitations of the Constitution (yes, I’m asking for some hard work in your imagination). Does this get the NSA off the hook?
Mike Masnick recently addressed the NSA’s abuses at Techdirt in his post, “Stop Letting NSA Defender’s Lie; There Have Been Many Serious Abuses.” One of his many points:
Part of the issue, of course, is that the NSA’s defenders, including the President, seem to be trying to redefine the word “abuse” just as they’ve tried to redefine lots of other common English words concerning their surveillance efforts.
One reason might be that, like many other words, the NSA has a different definition of “abuse” than most people. After LOVEINT was brought up to Director of National Intelligence general counsel Robert Litt on a conference call with reporters, he replied:
I’m using abuse in a slightly more limited term. I’m not talking about the LOVEINT kind of thing, but people using surveillance for political purposes or to spy on Americans more generally or anything like that, as opposed to individual people screwing up.
Apparently to qualify as “abuse”, the surveillance has to be on a massive scale, willful, in bad faith, hidden from the FISA court, and it has to about political views. Spying on loved ones or unauthorized spying on criminal behavior does not count.
Even worse, as Timm points out (and as we’ve discussed in the past), the LOVEINT disclosures revealed that many of those very willful abuses were only “discovered” years later when they were self-reported, meaning that there’s a very good chance that there are many more abuses that were never discovered or reported.
In other words, as far as we know, agents in the NSA get away with anything they want. No one knows what they’re doing. No one has a way to find out. This gives the NSA ruling class unlimited plausible deniability.
Remember, if we were really in the danger from terrorism that the NSA’s bulldog wants us to believe, then the NSA would never have had time to do business espionage or start a cold war with the rest of the “free world.” The NSA is simply not devoted to anti-terrorism and it therefore cannot be justified by the alleged threat of terrorism. King keeps thinking he can make us more afraid of terrorist across the ocean rather than the unaccountable, concentration of power growing in our own country. He pretends that NSA snooping could have prevented 9-11.
And if there is a terrorist attack on our own shores, no one will ever suggest punishing anyone in charge for misfeasance. No the only solution will to be to give more power and money to the same people who failed.
The day Peter King loses his Congressional seat, I’m going to throw a party.