The US Needs to Start Unraveling the Homeland Security Mess

A good place to start is repealing the disaster that is the Patriot Act.

However, a proposal before Congress right now would limit the scope of the NSA’s information gathering.

The amendment [pdf] basically defunds the NSA’s dragnet collection of every bit of metadata on all phone records as well as other bulk records that have not yet been revealed. The amendment still would allow the NSA to collect information under the original intent—and understanding—of the law, that is information actually related to actual investigations.

Of course NSA supporters are pushing back, including, unfortunately, the Obama administration.  Like too many people in positions of power, the administration and the President seem to in the grip of fear about terrorism and have convinced themselves that any means necessary to keep us “safe” (what that means) are acceptable.  They are mistaken.  Such an attitude only feeds a creeping tendency toward authoritarianism in our culture, one which seems to be growing stronger because too few people in elected office see it as a threat.  We see it in the militarization of police forces, in spying on Americans, in the absurd theatre that is the TSA striptease in airports.  It is fueled by fear and it fuels fear.  I believe it is dangerous.


  1. #1 by Richard Warnick on July 24, 2013 - 10:21 pm

    I doubt that President Obama is afraid of terrorists. More Americans die every year from lightning strikes or dog bites than from terrorism. He’s afraid of corporatists and right wingers.

  2. #2 by cav on July 24, 2013 - 11:38 pm

    @ggreenwald: Pretty amazing: the author of the Patriot Act, James Sensenbrenner, wants to de-fund the NSA’s bulk spying program

  3. #3 by cav on July 25, 2013 - 9:10 am

    Wasserman-Schultz, Pelosi (big Dems – ‘leaders’ in fact) – all voted with NSA and against the Constitution they swore to defend. Rights are quaint now.

  4. #4 by Larry Bergan on July 25, 2013 - 5:47 pm

    Someday the Patriot Act will be “just a goddamned piece of paper”, and The Constitution will be followed again.

    I can dream.

  5. #5 by cav on July 25, 2013 - 9:12 pm

    Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said Thursday that she has no choice but to withhold lawmakers’ paychecks, citing a precedent-setting court case that bars her from paying state employees without a budget appropriation or court order.

    Now, there’s a precedent I think should be applauded and expanded upon.

  6. #6 by cav on July 31, 2013 - 8:30 am

    Latest on NSA:

    A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its “widest-reaching” system for developing intelligence from the internet.

    The latest revelations will add to the intense public and congressional debate around the extent of NSA surveillance programs. They come as senior intelligence officials testify to the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, releasing classified documents in response to the Guardian’s earlier stories on bulk collection of phone records and Fisa surveillance court oversight.

  7. #7 by cav on July 31, 2013 - 8:31 am

    Good morning. Moderated comment involving – redacted linkage! Oops.

    just above. TIA

  8. #8 by cav on July 31, 2013 - 8:38 am

    Good morning

  9. #9 by cav on July 31, 2013 - 8:51 am

    Pie chart of Presidents proposed discretionary spending in 2014:

  10. #10 by Larry Bergan on July 31, 2013 - 5:18 pm

    My OneUtah notification of new comments by Email seems to have gone south lately.

    Lets see if this helps.

  11. #11 by cav on August 6, 2013 - 10:40 am

    It’s a pretty well accepted trope in this day of government and other party surveillance, that if you’ve personally been behaving yourself, there’s no reason to sweat. Well that overlooks this:

    How long, and in how many ways have these kinds of ‘glitches’ been painting otherwise good people as terrists / bad guys? While , outright liars /murders / thieves, get congressional medals.

  12. #12 by cav on August 6, 2013 - 12:54 pm

    12 years ago today, W got the PDB that said “Bin Laden determined to strike in US”

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: