Thomas Drake and Rob Kall
(image by Rob Kall) DMCA
R.K.: Let's move on to another comment by Obama. He said given any power of the state, it is not enough for leaders to say trust us we won't abuse the data we collect. For history has too many examples of when that trust has been breached. Our country was built on the premise that our liberty cannot depends on the good intentions of those in power. It depends on the law to constrain those in power. Do you think that there is -
T.D.: That is the moral rectitude speaking as a "former constitutional lecturer". He obviously knows better but obviously as President he has a different interpretation of that, that what falls underneath his responsibilities is all legal. I think he gave a tell on John Stewart the Daily Show some months ago when he spoke about one of his remaining responsibilities in his tenure as president, now in his second administration, is he needs to ensure a legal framework is in place for those who succeed him.
The last time I checked, the only legal framework that he is bound to uphold is the constitution. There is no other legal framework. So any attempt to reinterpret that means that, it means that he is turning his own oath on its head. This is, what's the word, sophistry! This is part of what I call, it's not just we have got mass bulk collection, this is called mass manipulation of thought processes. He is manipulating the mechanisms by which we even have our form of governance in terms of a foundation.
R.K.: So to go on, a little more quotes from him: I have approved a new Presidential Directive for our Signals Intelligence activities both at home and abroad. This guidance will strengthen executive branch oversight of our intelligence activities. It will ensure that we take into account our security requirements but also our alliances, our trade and investment relationships, including the concerns of American companies and our commitment to privacy and basic liberties. I am guessing there is a lot in there between the lines.
T.D.: There is a huge amount in there between the lines. They need more control. They need more internal checks. I guess they need to swap out a couple of foxes in the hen house. They're all words, even if I wasn't being cynical here, the devil is in the details. He is not the one to worry about the implementation. And yet he presides over a kill list so it's not like he is Ronald Reagan here and somehow thrown a task and he doesn't know what's going on underneath him. Those words are very powerful words.
But then, what about the TPP? I mean where is the reference to that? The TPP is an extraordinary, this is something more people need to read about in terms of that partnership on international and meeting in deep secrecy. Thanks to wiki-leaks, we're actually finding out how far the international political married to the corporate international corporations went in gaining even further control.
So the fact remains, NSA is involved in widespread domestic and international espionage and that's one of the other huge violations here. They keep saying they're not but every time they're not then you find out that they are and I just use reverse psychology. When they say they're not, they are. It's a pretty simple, for me it's a pretty simple way to look at this. They have to deny anything that would actually be in violation. That's just like what I was confronted with after 9/11.
Within just the first few weeks of 9/11 I was eye witness to NSA and obviously under the authority of the White House, unchaining itself from the Constitution, just abandoning the standing legal regime called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that existed for the previous twenty three years. Now you tell me. I mean, I confronted him directly on that. I said what are you doing. He said you don't understand. We live in extraordinary conditions so extraordinary means apply.
So it was the end justifies the means argument and I pressed him harder. If the law as it is currently written, FISA had been modified five times since '70, doesn't work, then you go to congress to modify it and they said if we do that they'll say no and I knew in that moment that they didn't even want to raise the possibility of essentially wanting to ask congress to reinterpret FISA in a way that would give them the equivalent of a bulk warrant, a general warrant. And that's precisely what they engaged in. But I knew that twelve plus years ago. I mean, you tell me.
That's why I find it laughable when they say NSA has never abused its powers-
R.K.: I have got to throw in one piece that you mentioned. Corporate espionage. Obama specifically mentioned our trade and investment relationships including the concerns of American companies. Are they giving information to the companies that they're working with? Are they letting the companies they are contracting with, have access for business reasons?
T.D.: Yes, yes. I mean let's get real about the human condition. If I have direct access to information about a competitor on the international scene, I already have a secret agreement or partnership with a US based corporation, I mean the temptations are enormous that you're going to re-purpose that intelligence, re-purpose it for other use. I mean it ultimately comes down to use. It's one thing to collect it but what are you using it for?
R.K.: Okay. Now we only have certain amount of time left so I want to really home in on a couple of things we talked about the other night. One is Benghazi. You talked about how the real reason for Benghazi happening and the government allowing people to die has not been discussed. Could you talk about that?
T.D.: Well it was well known that that was a planned attack. I mean I was in the military, I am very familiar with force employment. That's the first thing, okay? It wasn't a reaction to a video, that's the last thing it was. But the deeper secret is the CIA historically has always used overseas embassies and consulates in various diplomatic facilities as cover.
Now that's understood but here and this is partly what I think they're desperate to protect, never mind the people that ended up being murdered in that, in the Benghazi scandal, it's the fact that they were running, this is the Iran-Contra equivalent. Because of the vast amount of weapons that were being released and they were just floating around, hey what the heck, on the side let's do a little gun running and send stuff into Syria.
R.K.: So let me get this straight. What you're saying is Benghazi, pardon me?