Roundup of responses to the Snowden/NSA leaks

In the Guardian, an excellent roundup of the US and EU responses to the revelations from Edward Snowden's leaks about the extent of NSA dragnet spying on the Internet and phone networks:

The congressional fury came at the end of a day of fast-moving developments.

• In a lawsuit filed in New York, the American Civil Liberties Union accused the US government of a process that was "akin to snatching every American's address book".

• On Capitol Hill, a group of US senators introduced a bill aimed at forcing the US federal government to disclose the opinions of a secretive surveillance court that determines the scope of the eavesdropping on Americans' phone records and internet communications.

• A leading member of the Senate intelligence committee, Ron Wyden, came close to saying that James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, misled him on the scope of government surveillance during a March hearing. Clapper admitted earlier this week that he gave the "least untruthful" answer possible to a question by Wyden.

NSA surveillance: anger mounts in Congress at 'spying on Americans' [Dan Roberts, Spencer Ackerman and Alan Travis/The Guardian]


  1. “anger mounts in Congress at ‘spying on Americans'”

    What a bunch of hypocrites.  They passed the law that legalizes this.

    1. Some of them realizing ‘hey on the off chance we don’t get re-elected this law will apply to us.’

      Or possibly.

      ‘this is something we’re not exempt from. It’s Hoover all over again. KILL IT.’

      1. “We don’t read most of the bills. Do you really know what that would entail if we read every bill that we passed?”~sen john conyers jr. he goes on to answer that it would massively slow down the legislative process.

        that’s how this happens, the congressmen dont read the fucking bills they pass, it’s all “you scratch my back, i’ll scratch yours” it’s a big fucking game to them.

        1. Senate Republicans’ entire strategy is to massively slow down the legislative process. But Conyers is not one of them.

    2.  congress:”didn’t read lol”

      that’s how politics are done now, the politicians don’t read the fucking bills they pass, because they don’t care. it’s not about the bill just “you vote for my bill i’ll vote for your bill” and none of them fucking care whats IN the bill, and when this comes to bite them in the arse they cry crocodile tears.

  2. Actually wouldn’t ‘least untruethful’ answer be an honest answer rather than another lie?

    1. He admitted contempt of Congress.  Why won’t they pursue it?  Because it’s Simon Says.  It’s as arbitrary as the Inquisition or the leader of a kindergarten playground gang.

    2. Not quite – he confesses to lying, but it was just an iddy biddy widdle white lie.

      Clearly you were educated to believe a lie is a lie, is a lie.

      Answering with the truth would be different to answering with the minimal untruth possible.  It would be true.

      1. I find it shocking that he’s accused of “coming close to misleading Ron Wyden” when he is right there on youtube lying his ass off.

  3. “Least untruthful” — that’s a classic! This will enter American parlance. Should rank up there with, “I am not a crook.” 

    But least untruthful still means it’s a lie. 

    1.  “came close to saying”, “gave the ‘least untruthful’ answer”

      Here we have a couple of ass-ymptotes.

    2. The US government does not lie. It either tells the truth, the least untrue, or the truthiest statement than can be made.

  4. Oh, like they all didn’t know exactly what was going on? Bunch of chickenshits is what they are, now that they see how pissed off the nation is at them. 

    Lets see them grant amnesty to Mr. Snowden then.

    1. I disagree.  While I don’t support the NSA having copies of all my emails, Wyden is on the intelligence committee.  He knew this top secret program exists because the NSA told him about it.  He knew that Clapper was required to keep the top secret program secret.  He knew that Clapper would deny the existence of the top secret program in a public hearing.  To reveal it would be to break the law.  He put Clapper in an impossible position where Clapper was required to break the law no matter how he answered. Taking the fifth isn’t possible because it draws more attention to the issue.  The standard response to questions about covert programs is to deny they exist.  Wyden knew all of this.  Asking that question was a political stunt designed to get points with the public.  Don’t fall for it.

      1. So you’d prefer political leaders who are unlike Wyden and instead more like…?  remember the curse of american politics (and perhaps global politics) is that we have a very limited set to choose from.

      2. You do realize that the questions had been submitted to Clapper in advance of the hearing?  He had plenty of time to withdraw his testimony, or to have the NSA lawyers come up with a more elegantly deceptive answer. 

        Without whistleblowers like Snowden, and without Congressional figures like Wyden, the public has to rely on the “trust us” answers which reveal nothing about the nuts and bolts of the security state we live under. The programs can’t be identified because the government can always invoke “state secrets” when questioned.

        You may accept that state of affairs, but some of us do not.

        1. Did Wyden add to the total information out there about all this, or did he just make some self serving political hay?

          Snowden is the only one who gave us information.  Wyden is a political animal playing the game.

          1. Then he’s been “playing the game” for a long time, because he’s been a vocal voice against Obama’s security overreaches for a long time.

            If D.C. was full of pols like Wyden this would be a very different, and better country.

        2. The Fifth Amendment is irrelevant, because Clapper was not testifying in a criminal proceeding. But he also wasn’t in an impossible position – he could easily have insisted on a closed-door hearing. The committee members have clearance, by definition.

      3. Sounds like a great tactic to me, the way you describe it.  Maybe he did it to increase awareness of this issue instead of to”get points with the public.”  Or both.  I’m incredibly happy to have Wyden representing me in congress.

  5. How could this be? President Transparency himself, along with Senator Fienstein, the wicked witch of the west, assured me that everything being done was, like, totally cleared with congress and 100% cool. I simply can’t imagine why anybody would be surprised, given that they were already informed…

  6. The best ones are the NSA apologists… Most seem to be the ones who voted against things like background checks on gun buyers on the grounds that they were an invasive abrogation of constitutional rights.  The cognitive dissonance is strong in these ones.

    1. I was just thinking that this morning re: my disappointing Senator Burr.  He’s pretty ardently pro-gun.  As in no national database of gun owners, no gun registration, etc.  But he sure does want Snowden to be caught, given a fair trial, and hanged.

      I guess as long as the government spies on every damn person, and not just gun owners, then it’s okay by Burr.

      1. Is Senator Burr just a blind nationalist, or does he think that vendors in the gun supply chain are somehow immune to ‘business information’ requests in a way that telcos aren’t?

        Sure, you’d need to send jackbooted thugs house-to-house to hunt down every last Granpop’s huntin’ rifle gathering dust in somebody’s attic; but anybody who stocks up on ammo online or at the local big box with their credit card? Peanuts…

  7. It’s funny how a common “enemy” can bring people together because right now I want Fox News to keep this fire going Benghazi-style against a President I like and who I voted for twice in hopes that we might actually see some real change happen in this country.

    Someone told me last night they prefer security to privacy but I pointed out they have neither since we have PRISM and yet the Boston Marathon was still bombed.

  8. Call me when something actually changes.  This is all theatre and will be forgotten as fast as possible.

    I personally hope Snowden has a long-term plan to keep this in front of us long enough to make a difference. 

    Because right now Congress and the NSA are praying for a large natural disaster or an horrific school shooting to make us all forget this ever happened – and we certainly cannot count on the media to revive it once they get over their corpse slavering frenzy.,

  9. “How did some low-level disenchanted punk get access to such sensitive information in the first place?” — L.A. Observed

    1. Well, um, definitely not in a way that would even slightly suggest that the data we have on you might not be in safe hands. No sir. And don’t even think about interrupting some idiot droning about the NSA safeguards to ask them whether the byzantine morass of beltway contractors even pretend to be held to the same standards. That’d be uppity.

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