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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/27/13

Sen. Ron Wyden: NSA "repeatedly deceived the American people"

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Source: The Guardian

About the Snowden disclosures, the Oregon Democrat told the NSA chief: "the truth always manages to come out"


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James Clapper decried the release of the information and said media reports about it have been inaccurate Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

(Updated below)

The Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday held a hearing, ostensibly to investigate various issues raised about the NSA's activities. What the hearing primarily achieved instead was to underscore what a farce the notion of Congressional oversight over the NSA is.

In particular, the current chair of the Senate Committee created in the mid-1970s to oversee the intelligence community just so happens to be one of the nation's most steadfast and blind loyalists of and apologists for the National Security State: Dianne Feinstein. For years she has abused her position to shield and defend the NSA and related agencies rather than provide any meaningful oversight over it, which is a primary reason why it has grown into such an out-of-control and totally unaccountable behemoth.

Underscoring the purpose of yesterday's hearing (and the purpose of Feinstein's Committee more broadly): the witnesses the Committee first heard from were all Obama officials -- Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander, Deputy Attorney James Cole -- who vehemently defended every aspect of the NSA. At the conclusion of their testimony, Feinstein announced that it was very, very important to hear from the two non-governmental witnesses the Committee had invited: virulent NSA defender Ben Wittes of the Brooking Institution and virulent NSA defender Timothy Edgar, a former Obama national security official. Hearing only from dedicated NSA apologists as witnesses: that's "oversight" for Dianne Feinstein and her oversight Committee.

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner stated the obvious to Gen. Alexander: "a lot of Americans have lost trust in what you're doing." But of course they all spent the entire afternoon blaming Snowden and "the media" for this development rather than taking any responsibility themselves. The very idea that meaningful reform of the NSA will come out of this annexed, captured, corrupted Committee is ludicrous on its face.

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Related issues

This is an insightful, and quite hilarious, Op-ed in the New York Times this morning by the Brazilian journalist Vanessa Barbara about how Brazilians are using humor to mock and subvert the NSA's surveillance schemes.

Finally, in case there are any people left who thought that exploiting Terrorism and fear-mongering over it for power was a unique by-product of the Bush era (and really: could there really be any people left who believe that at this point?), Gen. Alexander this week "warned that if Congress hampers the NSA's ability to gather information, it could allow for terrorist attacks in the United States similar to last week's massacre in a mall in Nairobi, Kenya," while Feinstein's deputy Chair, GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss (who revealingly sounds like every Democratic NSA defender I ever hear) said that the recent NSA disclosures "caused huge damage to the US" and "would ultimately claim lives."

UPDATE

Anyone who has any interest in understanding how the US media works: please read this article about what Seymour Hersh said in a speech yesterday regarding government-subservient, "chicken sh*t" US journalists. editors and media outlets. It is hard to put into words just how comprehensively accurate his remarks are.

 

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[Subscribe to Glenn Greenwald] Glenn Greenwald is a journalist,former constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times bestselling books on politics and law. His most recent book, "No Place to Hide," is about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. His forthcoming book, to be published in April, 2021, is about Brazilian history and current politics, with a focus on his experience in reporting a series of expose's in 2019 and 2020 which exposed high-level corruption by powerful officials in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, which subsequently attempted to prosecute him for that reporting.

Foreign Policy magazine named Greenwald one of the top 100 Global Thinkers for 2013. He was the debut winner, along with "Democracy Now's" Amy Goodman, of the Park Center I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism in 2008, and also received the 2010 Online Journalism Award for his investigative work breaking the story of the abusive (more...)
 

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