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Thirteen Things the Government is Trying to Keep Secret from You

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opednews.com Headlined to H2 8/24/13

Representative  Alan Grayson was threatened with sanctions for passing around copies of the Snowden information on the House floor, the same information published by The Guardian and many other newspapers around the world. 

Thirteen.  The Senate oversight committee refused to allow a dissenting Senator to publicly discuss his objections to surveillance

When Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) tried to amend the surveillance laws to require court orders before the government could gather communications of American citizens and to disclose how many Americans have had their communications gathered, he lost in a secret 2012 hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  He was then also prohibited from publicly registering or explaining his opposition for weeks.  

These attempts to keep massive surveillance secrets from the public are aggravated by the constant efforts to minimize the secrets and maximize untruths.

Most notably, despite all this documented surveillance, on August 6, 2013, the President said on the Jay Leno show "We don't have a domestic spying program."   This is, to say it most politely, not accurate.  Some commentators think the government is perversely tying itself in knots and twisting the real meaning of words with flimsy legal arguments and irrational word games.   Others say the President is engaged in "Orwellian newspeak."  Finally, more than a few say the President was not telling the truth.  

Others who are defending the surveillance may not actually know what is going on but think they do because the government, like the President, is telling them there is nothing to worry about. For example, Senator Diane Feinstein, Chair of Senate Intelligence Committee, the congressional oversight committee which is to protect people from unlawful spying, and another chief defender of surveillance, publicly responded to Edward Snowden's claims to have the ability to wiretap anyone if he had their personal email by saying, "I am not a high-tech techie, but I have been told that is not possible."   How that squares with revelations about the Xkeyscore program is not known.  She also stated her committee's position about protecting the privacy of people against government surveillance, "We're always open to change, but that does not mean there will be any."  

Conclusion 

Thomas Paine said eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. 

President Obama just promised the nation that he would set up an independent group of outside experts to "step back and review our capabilities -- particularly our surveillance technologies."

Days later Obama appointed the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the same person who has admitted he did not tell Congress the truth about the program, to establish a review group to assess whether surveillance is being done in a manner that maintains the public trust.   After an uproar about the fox guarding the henhouse, the White House reversed itself and said Clapper will not choose the members of the group after all. 

Who these members will be has not been made public as of the time this is written.  Another secret?  Stay vigilant!

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http://www.loyno.edu/~quigley/

Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer and professor of law at Loyola University New Orleans.

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