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Offline Scheavo

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NSA reform proposals
« on: December 18, 2013, 10:46:08 PM »
https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-nsa-report-20131219,0,3496201.story?page=1

Quote
A presidential task force has urged President Obama to impose significant curbs on National Security Agency operations, including an end to bulk collection of domestic telephone records, reform of a secret surveillance court and limits to spying on close foreign allies.

The independent five-member panel said its 46 recommendations were designed to add transparency and accountability at the NSA, which has vastly expanded its ability to secretly intercept Internet traffic and other communications since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Task force member Michael Morell, who retired in March as acting head of the CIA, said the recommendations would not diminish America's ability to collect the intelligence needed to safeguard national security against terrorists and other threats.

"We're not in any way recommending the disarming of the intelligence community," he said at a news briefing Wednesday. "We believe there needs to be some more oversight."

Another member, Richard Clarke, a counter-terrorism advisor to President George W. Bush, said the NSA had overreached because it could.

"What we're saying is, just because we can doesn't mean we should," Clarke said.

....

A lot of them seem like straight forward, logical solutions to me. I also imagine there's a lot more that could and should be done - but it's always nice to get a breath of fresh air from within the government.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 08:55:20 AM by Scheavo »

Offline El Barto

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2013, 08:12:44 AM »
I haven't had an opportunity to read up on their specific recommendations yet, but I'm highly skeptical nevertheless. I've seen nothing from this administration that suggests that it won't fall back on SOP. When the government seeks to pass laws to reform things that piss people off, the outcome is usually some seemingly nice and effective gestures to appease the people along with the quiet codification of the most troubling parts. That's why I was so troubled when Feinstein suddenly started calling for reforms. I have no doubt that what they call reform and increased accountability/transparency will also legitimize even more spying and secrecy. 
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2013, 08:55:02 AM »
And I get that. That was basically my assessment on a few of their reform calls - such as simply switching who keeps hold of some of the data. Yet, I still can't help but think something is better than nothing. Adding dissenting opinions to the FISA court is about as obvious as water being wet.

And woops, I just noticed I linked to page 2.

Offline El Barto

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2013, 09:05:04 AM »
And I get that. That was basically my assessment on a few of their reform calls - such as simply switching who keeps hold of some of the data. Yet, I still can't help but think something is better than nothing. Adding dissenting opinions to the FISA court is about as obvious as water being wet.

And woops, I just noticed I linked to page 2.
Unfortunately, I often find that something tends to be worse than nothing. I guess we'll see, but I just have little faith that the government will do anything to lift the boot.
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Offline Nick

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2013, 11:16:29 AM »
I haven't had an opportunity to read up on their specific recommendations yet, but I'm highly skeptical nevertheless. I've seen nothing from this administration that suggests that it won't fall back on SOP. When the government seeks to pass laws to reform things that piss people off, the outcome is usually some seemingly nice and effective gestures to appease the people along with the quiet codification of the most troubling parts. That's why I was so troubled when Feinstein suddenly started calling for reforms. I have no doubt that what they call reform and increased accountability/transparency will also legitimize even more spying and secrecy. 

Bingo. Let's take 90% of the resources from the NSA and put them towards infrastructure and actual improvements to the country. I'm not going to say that something along the lines of the NSA isn't somewhat important in today's world, but not to the scope that it has shown to be.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2013, 11:39:05 AM »
Let's take 90% of the resources from the NSA and put them towards infrastructure and actual improvements to the country.
Who are you and what have you done to Nick, the Raving and Drooling Libertarian?
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Offline Nick

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2013, 12:12:50 PM »
Let's take 90% of the resources from the NSA and put them towards infrastructure and actual improvements to the country.
Who are you and what have you done to Nick, the Raving and Drooling Libertarian?

I think you're confusing me with ProgSnob. :p

I believe in a lot of libertarian principles, but some are good in practice and some are not. And if you're going to spend money, one of the most lacking areas in this country, and one most deserving of the dollars are infrastructure upgrades and maintenance. Much needed, good (honest) jobs, will help us now, and each little bit now will greatly help us in the future.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2013, 05:29:02 PM »
And I get that. That was basically my assessment on a few of their reform calls - such as simply switching who keeps hold of some of the data. Yet, I still can't help but think something is better than nothing. Adding dissenting opinions to the FISA court is about as obvious as water being wet.

And woops, I just noticed I linked to page 2.
Unfortunately, I often find that something tends to be worse than nothing. I guess we'll see, but I just have little faith that the government will do anything to lift the boot.

In what way? The only way I can imagine doing something is worse than nothing, is if something better is done later on, which makes it a contradiction. I can understand saying that instituting weak reforms now prevents real reform in the future - but how is reform now, even if weak, worse than no reform at all?

And I'm not holding my breath that actual reform will take place - though I think it's got a fairly good chance, because of whom gave the report.

Offline antigoon

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2013, 05:45:13 PM »
I'm hoping the USA FREEDOM Act or whatever it's called gains traction. The problem with these reforms is that they kinda rubber stamp most of the bad stuff that's been going on.

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2013, 11:22:20 AM »
And I get that. That was basically my assessment on a few of their reform calls - such as simply switching who keeps hold of some of the data. Yet, I still can't help but think something is better than nothing. Adding dissenting opinions to the FISA court is about as obvious as water being wet.

And woops, I just noticed I linked to page 2.
Unfortunately, I often find that something tends to be worse than nothing. I guess we'll see, but I just have little faith that the government will do anything to lift the boot.

In what way? The only way I can imagine doing something is worse than nothing, is if something better is done later on, which makes it a contradiction. I can understand saying that instituting weak reforms now prevents real reform in the future - but how is reform now, even if weak, worse than no reform at all?

And I'm not holding my breath that actual reform will take place - though I think it's got a fairly good chance, because of whom gave the report.

Because a few token gestures now can kill the momentum and traction of those pushing for real and comprehensive reform. The government looks like it's responding, the story gets buried, and the status-quo pretty much continues unharmed.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2013, 11:36:00 AM »
Actually, my guess is that the status quo actually gets codified into law. It'll just be rephrased to sound less Orwellian.

There's also some speculation that the administration is jumping on this now to prevent (or more likely long delay) judicial review. There are several aspects of the surveillance program that are riding the fast train to the SCOTUS, and if the so-called reforms make those [ostensibly] pointless they won't be considered.
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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2013, 11:45:09 AM »
Either way, it's an effort to take away 5% so the remaining 95% can remain solid. And while that might sound better than nothing, it's not if it effectively negates our ability/efforts to rollback past 95%.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2013, 11:51:17 AM »
Quote from: Vladimir Putin
How do I feel about Obama after Snowden's revelations? I envy him because he can do this without incurring any consequences.
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Offline antigoon

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2013, 01:12:45 PM »
Obviously tongue-in-cheek but pretty funny nonetheless :lol

Offline El Barto

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2013, 01:17:54 PM »
I'm not so sure that was tongue in cheek at all. He made numerous statements defending what the NSA is doing. I guess without speaking rooskie and watching the entire press conference it'd be hard to say for sure, but in context it seems fairly sincere.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/12/19/putin-on-obama-i-envy-him-because-he-can-do-something-like-this-and-get-away-with-it/

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Offline antigoon

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2013, 01:24:15 PM »
I mean the part about envying Obama about being able to do it with no consequences. Is he not doing the same thing?

Offline El Barto

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2013, 01:35:48 PM »
I'm not sure what the political climate for that sort of thing is over there. It's possible that he catches more heat for it, and certainly possible that he doesn't have the protection of hidden law backing up his actions. For all intents and purposes, what Obama and the NSA are doing is perfectly legal according to their own interpretation of law and judicial decisions which we're of course not privy to. Putin might well have to be more covert and secretive about it as there's nothing legitimizing it in Russian law. Considering what they were moving away from when the Soviet Union gave up the ghost, it certainly seems reasonable that they crafted their laws specifically to protect the citizens from further KGB style tactics.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2013, 02:16:56 PM »
And I get that. That was basically my assessment on a few of their reform calls - such as simply switching who keeps hold of some of the data. Yet, I still can't help but think something is better than nothing. Adding dissenting opinions to the FISA court is about as obvious as water being wet.

And woops, I just noticed I linked to page 2.
Unfortunately, I often find that something tends to be worse than nothing. I guess we'll see, but I just have little faith that the government will do anything to lift the boot.

In what way? The only way I can imagine doing something is worse than nothing, is if something better is done later on, which makes it a contradiction. I can understand saying that instituting weak reforms now prevents real reform in the future - but how is reform now, even if weak, worse than no reform at all?

And I'm not holding my breath that actual reform will take place - though I think it's got a fairly good chance, because of whom gave the report.

Because a few token gestures now can kill the momentum and traction of those pushing for real and comprehensive reform. The government looks like it's responding, the story gets buried, and the status-quo pretty much continues unharmed.

Which is what I said. But real reforms would be something and not nothing, so saying something is worse than nothing is saying the status quo is better.

Offline Scheavo

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2013, 09:47:53 AM »
https://news.yahoo.com/govt-drops-objection-publishing-secret-opinion-001928269--politics.html

Quote
The Obama administration has dropped its objection to the publication of a secret court opinion on the law that authorizes the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records.
Related Stories

The Justice Department told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in a filing Friday that the department won't object if the court decides to publish nonclassified portions of its opinion that don't harm an ongoing law enforcement investigation.

...

In response, Saylor directed the government to provide a "detailed explanation" of that conclusion. The deadline for that government filing was Friday.

In its latest filing, the Justice Department explained the reason for its initial reluctance to have the opinion published: It relates to the subject of an FBI counterterrorism investigation. Some information in the opinion could tip off the subject or his associates, the Justice Department said.

"However, upon review and as a discretionary matter," the government said, it decided to drop its objection to the court publishing parts of the opinion, as long as they're not classified and don't jeopardize the investigation.

It sounded better than it actually ended up being, but I think it's fair to say a door is opening right now in American politics. Best to take advantage of this opportunity while we have it, and not take the negative, "it's a trap!" approach. That kind of attitude won't lead to anything and just assures we stay where we are at.

If instead if working against reform, now, both of you, and pepole like you, theoretically were for it, but with your attitudes and dispositions, the entire process would be better.

Offline El Barto

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2013, 11:25:54 AM »
If I or people like me (I assume I'm a part of both of you) had any influence whatsoever over the machinations of government then we wouldn't be in this situation to begin with. That said, I'll certainly hope for the best and be not at all surprised when the situation is made worse before being put to rest entirely.

And I still maintain that they're trying to keep all of this out of the public courts which they have less control over.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2013, 11:36:30 AM »
Well I'm assuming people like you would have some influence over the process, just not control. Not that I disagree with your assessment necessarily, but it's also irrelevant. People like you haven't had influence over the machinations, that's the problem, and the solution is to get people like you involved. But when your attitude is that it's all for show, it's not good, etc., it just harms the dialogue and absolutely prevents what needs to be done from getting done. Maybe more people like you working with the system wouldn't lead to anything, I'm not going to pretend as if it has to or that it necessarily will - all I'm saying is that not working with the system is sure as hell to not improve things.

Maybe it is all for show, but that also gives you some leverage. Press them on the issue, take what they're offering, and ask for more, add to their proposals. If they're being honest, it'll work. If they're be dishonest, they'll be caught in the lie, and that itself will be good.

Offline El Barto

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2013, 12:56:41 PM »
The problem is that what's all for show is actually the notion that we can influence the machine. In fact, the system as currently designed actually negates the role of electorate influence. Voting, the means by which the people exert influence, is irrelevant. At best we might be able to influence whether the lizard hates guns or gays, but he'll still be an establishment lizard. And for that matter, as we're seeing with Obama, there's not even any reason to assume that they'll even hate the same things once they get elected.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2013, 08:30:55 PM »
And if I was running the machine, I would love it, just absolutely LOVE it, if people thought they couldn't influence the machine.

I'm not sure how someone can look at American history and say that people can't influence the machine. Fuck - we can recreate the machine. No matter what you think. the rulers in this country rule by claiming popular sovereignty. They can't just throw that away and live politically. What do you propose would happen if everyone decided to show up for the primaries and caucuses this year? Cause I propose that if people decided to take control of the system, and just actually PARTICIPATE in the process, from beginning to end, then we'd have another revolution of 1800. If the powers that be actually decided to try and use force, or something equally crazy to maintain control, the only real difference I'd see happening is that those politicians and persons would wind up in prison instead of just out of office.

Offline Lucien

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2013, 09:10:08 PM »
And if I was running the machine, I would love it, just absolutely LOVE it, if people thought they couldn't influence the machine.

I'm not sure how someone can look at American history and say that people can't influence the machine. Fuck - we can recreate the machine. No matter what you think. the rulers in this country rule by claiming popular sovereignty. They can't just throw that away and live politically. What do you propose would happen if everyone decided to show up for the primaries and caucuses this year? Cause I propose that if people decided to take control of the system, and just actually PARTICIPATE in the process, from beginning to end, then we'd have another revolution of 1800. If the powers that be actually decided to try and use force, or something equally crazy to maintain control, the only real difference I'd see happening is that those politicians and persons would wind up in prison instead of just out of office.

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Offline El Barto

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2013, 11:30:10 PM »
I'm not sure how someone can look at American history and say that people can't influence the machine. Fuck - we can recreate the machine.
I think the machine has evolved. People have learned how to game it, and you've got decades of congressmen writing their own rules, courts enacting their own rules, and parties crafting even more rules, all designed to favor a political class.

Quote
What do you propose would happen if everyone decided to show up for the primaries and caucuses this year?
They'd nominate 1 of 6 or so carefully vetted Republicans and 1 of 6 or so carefully vetted Democrats.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2013, 09:04:49 AM »
I'm not sure how someone can look at American history and say that people can't influence the machine. Fuck - we can recreate the machine.
I think the machine has evolved. People have learned how to game it, and you've got decades of congressmen writing their own rules, courts enacting their own rules, and parties crafting even more rules, all designed to favor a political class.

Then we just need to learn how to take it back. Until you propose to me that you think a violent coup is actually possible in America, I'm gonna just continue to point out how it doesn't matter one bit what those people have done or try to do. They wouldn't be able to stop a genuine grassroots uprising of the American people, and it could all be done non-violently, because this country still believes in democracy - even if it doesn't always rule itself that way.


Quote
What do you propose would happen if everyone decided to show up for the primaries and caucuses this year?
They'd nominate 1 of 6 or so carefully vetted Republicans and 1 of 6 or so carefully vetted Democrats.
[/quote]

Okay, I guess I started the process too late in that quote, but all you have to do to become a candidate is sign a few pieces of paper and maybe getting some signatures. Depends on the state, the election, etc. Nothing impossible to overcome, and if people actually got fully involved, they'd be vetting and choosing those candidates. What happens now, if people are disengaged, for a variety of reasons, leaving the choosing and vetting to fewer and fewer people.


Offline Fiery Winds

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2013, 11:16:32 AM »
If I or people like me (I assume I'm a part of both of you) had any influence whatsoever over the machinations of government then we wouldn't be in this situation to begin with. That said, I'll certainly hope for the best and be not at all surprised when the situation is made worse before being put to rest entirely.

And I still maintain that they're trying to keep all of this out of the public courts which they have less control over.

And it begins.  Hopefully there will be meaningful discourse once the President returns from his vacation, but I'm not holding my breath that these reforms won't include more of the following.

https://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/12/spying-overhaul-privacy-risk/

Quote from:
But a WIRED examination of a key suggestion from the ďPresidentís Review Group on Intelligence and Communications TechnologiesĒ finds those revisions will do little to improve the protection of Americanís calling history. In fact, it may well make the data more vulnerable to government inspection by potentially mandating that Americansí phone call records be stored for longer periods of time than many telecoms currently archive them. And there likely would be few, if any, legal barriers to law enforcement officials, from the FBI to your local police department, to clear before obtaining that data.


Offline Tanatra

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2014, 09:30:42 AM »
I'm not sure how someone can look at American history and say that people can't influence the machine. Fuck - we can recreate the machine. No matter what you think. the rulers in this country rule by claiming popular sovereignty. They can't just throw that away and live politically. What do you propose would happen if everyone decided to show up for the primaries and caucuses this year? Cause I propose that if people decided to take control of the system, and just actually PARTICIPATE in the process, from beginning to end, then we'd have another revolution of 1800. If the powers that be actually decided to try and use force, or something equally crazy to maintain control, the only real difference I'd see happening is that those politicians and persons would wind up in prison instead of just out of office.

I think the machine has evolved. People have learned how to game it, and you've got decades of congressmen writing their own rules, courts enacting their own rules, and parties crafting even more rules, all designed to favor a political class.

I think there are two reasons why voters are becoming increasingly shut out of the machine: Overlong campaigns, and gerrymandering.

Election campaigns run well over a year now, which is just ridiculous. It takes a lot of money to sustain a campaign that long, money that special interests are all too willing to contribute, so limiting campaigns to maybe three months or so prior to an election wouldn't be a half-bad way to reduce the influence of lobbyists, in my mind.

Also (and perhaps more important) gerrymandering is the reason why a Congress with a 10% approval rating has a 90% chance of getting re-elected. I don't know who is responsible for drawing up voter districts (is it at the state, or federal level?) But districts should be drawn exclusively along county lines, with additional laws put in place to prevent county lines from being re-drawn in response.

Those are my ideas. A bit off topic, but take them or leave them. As the situation currently stands, reforming the NSA depends on the moral fiber of our elected officials, which doesn't paint a rosy picture.

And it begins.  Hopefully there will be meaningful discourse once the President returns from his vacation, but I'm not holding my breath that these reforms won't include more of the following.

https://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/12/spying-overhaul-privacy-risk/

Quote from:
Under the presidential panelís recommendation, the telcos or an unnamed third party would store the metadata instead of the government having direct access to it. The proposal allows the government to continue querying the data,

. . . . .

According to the congressional inquiry led by Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts), eight carriers reported receiving more than 1 million requests for personal mobile phone data by law enforcement in 2013, and they and racked up millions of dollars in processing fees along the way. Not all of those requests were for phone metadata, however. There were requests for cell-site location data, web browsing habits, text message content, and voicemail, among other things. The telecoms did not break down the number of requests they received for each category.

These proposed reforms are clearly just kickbacks to phone companies, who will profit off taxpayer money if passed.

Offline El Barto

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Re: NSA reform proposals
« Reply #28 on: January 06, 2014, 10:42:12 PM »
Another victory for the most transparent administration in history:

Court Decision Exempts Secret Memo From FOIA

The gist of this is that internal deliberations between the administration and the Office of Legal Counsel are not subject to FOIA requests. This wouldn't be troubling accept that those deliberations have become the basis for how the law is executed in this country (or elsewhere). The most famous example is the so-called torture memos, where the OLC interpreted US law and the Geneva Convention to conclude that waterboarding suspected terrorists would be perfectly legal. They can then go on and waterboard people while maintaining that it's perfectly legal (according to their lawyers) as long as nobody ever manages to get it to a real court.

The memo in this case concerns data collection and how the FBI justifies obtaining information from the TelCos. With the various catch-22s in place to insure that nobody ever has standing to sue over such a thing, exposing the practice from their own memos was one of the last remaining back doors.

I honestly wouldn't have such a huge problem with this if it weren't for so many other things that keep the laws secret in America. This is a minor example, but the number of methods with which we might actually shed some light on the laws that we're subject to are fewer and this is yet another block to ever knowing.
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