Friday, June 7, 2013

Scandal: The Patriot Act Finally Bugs Everybody?

The weird thing about the recent spate of Washington "scandals," is that they all have an Achilles heel to the GOP, whilst also bugging Democrats to a minor or major degree, depending. There's just no clear path for the Republicans to really make hay on any of them (except with their lock-steppers). The IRS/Tea Party scandal exposed probable perjury by the very groups complaining about being investigated, and is seen by many to be a scandal for wholly different reasons. The Justice Department/AP scandal seems to have all been legal, whatever you think of the tactics. Benghazi has never been a real scandal at all, but a tragedy exploited for political reasons. And now we have Spygate.

This one may constitute an actual scandal, except that it spans over 6 years, and implicates both parties, rather thoroughly. Conservatives wishing to clobber President Barack Obama with it have to explain why they thought similar policies were okay under President George W. Bush. People like the guy who broke the scoop, Glenn Greenwald, have at least been consistent, complaining loudly since it all started. People like me--who used to complain about it--I guess kind of got tired. And it takes a story like this to remind us that it's a horrible policy, and that while we're not as unnerved with our party in charge, that our party won't always be in charge.

I suspect that with this policy--as with the recent discussion of drones, also begun under Bush--we'll hear from President Obama before long, urging Congress to reign in some of these of powers (while retaining them in some form, naturally). It is Congress, after all, who have the ability to end this. Will they do it? Will enough people, maybe this time on both sides, make enough noise to get changes made? For now, it sounds like the Obama Administration and Congress are for the intelligence gathering, to varying degrees. Might this be enough to get it to SCOTUS?


Documents: U.S. mining data from 9 leading Internet firms; companies deny knowledge

The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post. . .

Read more (with video) at: Washington Post

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