September 6, 2014

The VoyeurThanks to Eddie Snowden, we’re watching them watch us.
The real bad shit — they don’t give a rat’s ass.

In this case, the “them” being our own government.
Memos from George Jr.’s smoke-screen attempt to wiretap the world after 9/11 were released late yesterday, but this is the real-key point on the whole matter, from the Washington Post:

“Unfortunately, the sweeping surveillance they sought to justify is not a thing of the past,” Toomey (Patrick Toomey, staff attorney for the ACLU) said. “The government’s legal rationales have shifted over time, but some of today’s surveillance programs are even broader and more intrusive than those put in place more than a decade ago by President Bush.”

(Illustration: ‘The Voyeur,’ by Michael Sienerth, found here).

A juxtaposition of the new boss same as the old boss’ routine, but the whole ugly bullshit cooked up during the august days of George Jr.’s destruction of modern life — an essential right of the office of the US president under the US Constitution is to do what he pleases.
From the Post and a 2006 memo from Jack Goldsmith, head of George Jr.’s Office of Legal Counsel:

We conclude only that when the nation has been thrust into an armed conflict by a foreign attack on the United States and the president determines in his role as commander in chief .?.?. that it is essential for defense against a further foreign attack to use the [wiretapping] capabilities of the [National Security Agency] within the United States, he has inherent constitutional authority” to order warrantless wiretapping — “an authority that Congress cannot curtail,” Goldsmith wrote in a redacted 108-page memo dated May 6, 2004.
The program, code-named Stellar Wind, enabled the NSA to collect communications on U.S. soil when at least one party was believed to be a member of al-Qaeda or an al-Qaeda affiliate, and at least one end of the communication was overseas.

Two years earlier, Goldsmith popped out another memo, this time “interception of enemy communications for intelligence purposes” during war was all really required to legalize this Stellar Wind, although the OLC itself thought the e-mail side of the operation was illegal — lead to the infamous March 2004 dramatically-ugly, hospital sick-bed, fiasco/showdown between John Ashcroft, and a couple of George Jr’s nit-twitted turds, Alberto R. Gonzales, and Andy Card.
And the e-mail portion? From the Post: In July 2004, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorized the program under a theory that bulk e-mail collection could be relevant to a terrorism investigation. That program was shut down in 2011.
And the rest:

The warrantless program was placed under statute in 2007 and 2008 by Congress.
The current program, known as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, gives the government authority to collect communications on U.S. soil when the target is believed to be a foreigner overseas — not just for purposes of countering terrorism, but also for broader foreign intelligence purposes.

And up to date — now in an era of the NSA’s Orwellian madness, arrogance still carries the day, the release of those memos is in reality a middle-fingered gesture. From Marcy Wheeler, who knows this shit and nails it:

Understand what this amounts to: The Executive just waved its dick around in advance of Congressional action that may or may not reauthorize this program. It said, to Congress and to us, that it will continue operating its phone dragnet with or without Congressional authorization.

The horror-extent of George Jr.’s contributions to the ills of this world might have no limits.

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