April 5, 2017
Hackers Guarding the Hen House
We older folk tend to hold the United States government intelligence community in high esteem, and rightly so for the most part. But retired CIA Station Chief Scott Uehlinger says that this isn't your father's CIA. The folks in charge now don't have the same sense of unscrupulous objectivity that their forbears held so dear. Instead they are more idealistic and, his words not mine, "politically correct."
I am here to tell you, having served in the CIA and the Naval Reserve, that the Deep State does indeed exist. And it's not a bunch of centrally controlled drones in black robes meeting at midnight. The Deep State is made up of thousands of similarly credentialed, remarkably "un-diverse" civil servants and political appointees who saw themselves promoted rapidly during the eight years of the Obama administration. The appointees have left, but make no mistake - the progressive civil servants remain.
Let us hope that somehow, someway, our intel agencies can re-learn how to act professionally. One way would be to hold very public trials for everyone involved, top to bottom, followed by prison time for everyone found to be guilty. And I mean right up to the highest levels. If that doesn't happen then the disaster we're watching unfold day by day now will pale in comparison to the size and scope of future abuses of power.
January 23, 2014
Yet Another Keen Insight on the NSA
Edward Snowden is a uniter not a divider! Surely Sens. Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul are headed to a great Kumbaya moment where the left and the right will join forces to fight Big Brother.
Not. So. Fast. Jason Kuznicki @ libertarianism.org posts a public response to ex-libertarian Will Wilkinson. I think he makes an original and important point.
But I think that for many modern liberals the reality is much simpler. They like the surveillance state because modern liberalism sooner or later requires it.
Hat-tip: blog friend tgreer on Facebook. I replied that "A libertarian model survives quite well without surveillance. But if our calorie counts require scrutiny..."
January 22, 2014
jk delenda est?
I am forever "not libertarian enough" to please Facebook friends, Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons folk, and -- on occasion -- ThreeSourcers.
But I am starting to feel like an anarchist in the Snowden/NSA contretemps. The WSJ Ed Page, Larry Kudlow, the usual suspects have allowed their antipathy toward Edward Snowden to assert a reflexive defense of the NSA and domestic surveillance.
I am still content to answer "Snowden: Hero or Traitor?" with an assertive "whatever..." I'm all for pursuing foreign intelligence, even if it includes allies. (Gambling, at Rick's?)
But my Conservative buddies have accepted internal, domestic collection of metadata. "They're not listening to our calls." No, but I imagine an enemy of this administration (a large dataset) who made frequent calls to a cancer clinic, bordello, reported paramour, &c. Team that up with search requests and an aggressive prosecutor and it does not describe our expectations of privacy.
Randy Barnett, now in the WaPo-sponsored Volokh Conspiracy, presents a superb case against its legality, desirability and constitutionality -- likening it to gun registration.
The power to search all our communications -- or all our third-party records -- is a power too great to repose in the government's hands. Unlike private business like Verizon or Google, those in government have a strong incentive and desire to suppress dissent -- along with their political rivals -- and need only the means to do so. Unlike private companies, they have the power to incarcerate anyone on their enemies targeting list should their searches turn up anything incriminating. Yahoo and Sprint have neither the motive nor the means to restrict our liberties.
Paul Gigot talks about "the Rand Paul wing" of the GOP like one's crazy but likable ne'er do well uncle. I don't want to handicap or endanger, as Snowden likely did, those who protect us by collecting foreign intelligence. But I am not so sanguine about giving up domestic protections of privacy.