Clear and chilly this early Tuesday on California’s north coast — might be the same set-up as yesterday when fog rolled in just before dawn bringing some cold temperatures.
But as in the nature of things, sunshine arrived about mid-day and the afternoon was gorgeous.
President Obama seems to know the nature of the NSA freak show — pass the buck. The problem lies in the lies he must-likely told Angela Merkel last summer.
(Illustration found here).
Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel this morning pointed this out via the LA Times: Obama may not have been specifically briefed on NSA operations targeting a foreign leader’s cellphone or email communications, one of the officials said. “But certainly the National Security Council and senior people across the intelligence community knew exactly what was going on, and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.”
The NSA people are upset they’re being blamed for the whacked surveillance operations and this new insight gives credence to president’s counter-terrorism advisor, Lisa Monaco.
The implication, of course, is that the same person voicing this “because we need it and not just because we can” has been implicated by receiving intelligence with Merkel’s and other leaders names on it, and may be responsible for not alerting the President to it.
The accuracy of the claim, of course, depends on whether the White House really shut down the collection on Merkel earlier this summer or only in the last week or so; remember tasking priorities are reassessed biannually.
Moreover, it’s not like wiretaps on allied leaders would be the primary focus of someone whose job centers on counterterrorism.
The thing is, this attack can backfire, as having received this information puts Monaco in an appropriate position to know whether we were collecting it because we could, not because we need to.
Monaco has, in the past, been part of a team that deemed a program not valuable enough to sustain.
Which means she has a little experience for the pushback the IC may be throwing at her in coming days.
This is a greater fuck-up or what?
A plan without sense:
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) cited numerous unnamed sources who said the White House didn’t learn of the NSA spying until this past summer, when the operation against Merkel was shut down.
It quoted a senior NSA official as saying, “These decisions are made at NSA. The president doesn’t sign off on this stuff.”
But that could mean Obama was in the dark for years about NSA activities.
“Officials said the NSA has so many eavesdropping operations under way that it wouldn’t have been practical to brief him on all of them,” the WSJ’s Siobhan Gorman and Adam Entous reported.
If that’s the best spin the administration can put on the scandal, it still leaves Obama open to criticism that he’s allowed a multi-billion-dollar spy agency to run amok and pry into the communications of whomever it wishes.
Not the end of the story — Glenn Greenwald, who broke the NSA stories via Eddie Snowden, says its all bullshit and lies — money is the root:
Speaking to the CNN’s Christine Amanpour, Greenwald said, “This is clearly about political power and economic espionage, and the claim that this is all about terrorism is seen around the world as what it is, which is pure deceit.”
Trashing the US claims that NSA surveillance was aimed at checking terror, Greenwald asked, “Is Angela Merkel a terrorist?
Are sixty or seventy million Spanish or French citizens terrorists?
Are there terrorists at Petrobras?”
Are Americans terrorists? Yes, Verizon does cover more of the country, and the NSA covers more of Verizon — we are all pawns in the war on terror.