New Orleans There may be one or two skeptics left and folks who delight in endless bar arguments, but it is nigh impossible at this point not to acknowledge what has become painfully obvious: Edward Snowden’s leaks of confidential National Security Agency (NSA) information was a national service. You may not like his tactics, but the results of the job done are outstanding.
The final straw for me has to be the release of the NSA’s four-year strategy plan, which is an exercise in unparalleled hubris and a case study of an outfit out of control. Get this, they wanted yet more power, even though it is now well established that they enjoyed and abused almost unimaginable power to collect information and spy on Americans, world leaders, and everyone else out there. They even want Congress to make changes in the law to allow them more power, which has to be the height of absurdity, when virtually everyone agrees that Congress desperately needs to rein in the NSA and force some transparency and accountability over these cowboys. What planet are they living on? What country are they working for?
Any argument that they are in-check based on supervision by the secret federal intelligence court is laughable at this point. The nature of the government requests is secret as are the court’s opinions, and of course, there is no opponent in court, just the government talking to another branch of the government with no intermediary, but the results speak for themselves. The government has gone to the court with 1856 requests and 1855 have been approved. They have gotten turned down once out of almost 2000 requests. Give me a break. Judges turn back more pleadings on spelling errors than that in normal courts! Rubber stamps fail more often than that. Furthermore since the court is under attack, they have declassified some decisions which have made it even more obvious how thin the grounds were on which many of these orders were standing. And, they want more power.
Props to the ACLU for bringing the NSA into court as soon as Snowden’s leaks began dribbling out, and here’s hoping that real lawyers and real judges finally give us some justice and, perhaps more importantly, some protection from the NSA. Edward Snowden may be stuck in Russia, but here’s one guy saying thanks for doing the time, buddy, because we couldn’t have found out about this mess without you, since Congress was both duped and part of the cover-up.