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Right to Privacy vs. National Security

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Luke_Wilbur    5

Ron Paul and James Woolsey have healthy debate on Piers Morgan.

http://youtu.be/B999I4Hl15E

A person who I consider to be insightful on this topic mentioned that he is seeing backlash, against Govt. Contractors, who work in TS Cleared positions. He mentioned how "Jim Woolsey, former director of the CIA, is on the Board of Directors for Booz Allen. Bechtel, The Rand Corporation, etc.......have been front groups for CIA-led operations and DISA Ops, for decades."

Defense Contractors relationship with the government is no different than the Banks relationship with the treasury. Or even K Streets relationship with Congress. People put in their time with Uncle Sam, learn how the system works, make connections, and then become valuable agents in Private Industry. In theory, this symbiotic relationship works for both sides. The problem is when the balance tips on one side or the other. Right now money is drying up on defense. It will be interesting to see whether some of these Contractors switch flags. China was not able to steal our National secrets alone. Most intel groups are black ops on creating their own hardware. The Chinese had help. What is more scary is that we are not doing anything about it. Just a slap on the wrist.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights.html

 

 

The Constitution is not affected by a popularity contest. The only way to remove our Right to Privacy is to write up a new Constitution. The law of the land comes from the 2nd Constitutional Convention. If you do not like the law petition for a 3rd Constitution Convention.

 

James 2

2:12 Speak and act as those who will be judged by a law that gives freedom.

 

2:13 For judgment is merciless for the one who has shown no mercy. But mercy triumphs over judgment.

 

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Guest LAQ   
Guest LAQ
Privacy, Civil Rights, Civil Liberties
Policy Templates for Justice
Information Systems
February 2008
Quite simply, privacy may be one of the most important issues affecting the use of technology in the twenty-first century. Responsively, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), is pursuing the best resources and recommendations from the field to further efficient, comprehensive, and appropriate sharing of information. These goals will be achieved by ensuring privacy and security protections are in place throughout the information exchange process, safeguarding the safety, health, and personal data of our nation’s residents in the face of ever-advancing technologies.
A primary approach that BJA uses to explore key information sharing issues such as privacy and civil liberties (and arrives at associated recommendations) is through efforts of DOJ’s Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global) Advisory Committee (GAC or “Committee”). The GAC is a volunteer
group of high-level justice executives and practitioners representing over 30 key agencies across the justice and public safety landscape (and, by extension, 1.2 million justice practitioners). This group serves as the Federal Advisory Committee to the highest-ranking law enforcement official in the land, the U.S. Attorney General, on standards-based justice-related information sharing.
The atrocities of September 11, 2001, brought into focus the need to greatly improve our methods of gathering and sharing information on terrorists, criminal activities, and the individuals and organizations likely involved. It also highlighted the need to do so in an efficient manner, one that did not waste time and resources gathering irrelevant information, duplicating information already collected, or gathering information about people unlikely to be involved in illegal activities. Improving these capabilities would also enhance public confidence in the ability of the justice and public safety systems to protect people, property and, ultimately, our way of life. There are a number of aspects to improving our capacity to prevent harm, including taking advantage of new technology, making better use of existing technologies and systems, linking information systems, and improving our justice system policies and business practices.
One element of a more robust information gathering and sharing system is an up-to-date and comprehensive policy protecting individuals’ privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties. Improved public safety does not have to come at the expense of these rights. Rather, public safety is further enhanced when individuals are sufficiently comfortable with the integrity of justice information system operations and therefore are willing to cooperate with and support them. Precisely drawn privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protection policies thus contribute to a number of goals. First, such policies are legally required by the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions and other laws adopt ed over time that regulate life in our society and the operation of our public agencies. Second, a strong privacy policy is good public policy, because it is responsive to widely held public expectations about the collection and use of information about individuals and the fair and open operation of a democratic government. Third, it is the right thing to do.

 

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Guest RT   
Guest RT

 

Edward Snowden has now been charged espionage. Hong Kong is likely to extradite him to the United States.

 

Listen to Russ Tice claim that the intelligence community had ordered surveillance dragnet on a wide range of groups and individuals, including high-ranking military officials, lawmakers and diplomats. Tice drops the bomb that NSA was even eavesdropping on Senator Barack Obama in 2004.

 

bfp_podcast_version.gif

 

http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/wp-content/uploads/BF.0112h.Tice.highlight.mp3

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Guest Fed Up   
Guest Fed Up

 

Secret surveillance laws and courts violate the United State Constitution and risk turning our America to a Fascist State.

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Luke_Wilbur    5

Did Intelligence Director James Clapper Lie to Congress?

 

http://youtu.be/4v7YtTnon90

 

China is savoring this scandal and calling the United States hypocrites.

 

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/hkedition/2013-06/22/content_16645800.htm

 

Firstly, Snowden's disclosures to the Guardian, the Washington Post, and later the South China Morning Post, shed a rare light on the dark corner of the US government's powerful and seemingly boundless data-gathering and storage programs peeping at millions of people, which is seemingly at odds with civil liberty and human rights; despite Obama defending the legality of the National Security Agency (NSA), as well as their importance "in detecting and disrupting terror plots, not just here in the United States but overseas as well"; despite Snowden being labeled a "traitor", by former vice-president Dick Cheney, who would potentially face charges ranging from theft of government property to espionage. All this doesn't change the undeniable fact that ordinary citizens' phones are routinely tapped, and their e-mails censored. The US government's misdeeds demonstrate the widening gulf between its democratic ideals and a stern reality, a blurry line between safeguarding civil liberty and a vague definition of national security.

 

At the center of the storm is PRISM, the surveillance program, which reportedly has the capacity to mine the telecommunication records of not only US citizens, but non-Americans alike. So, fair enough, it is not just US citizens who deserve to know more about the truth. President Obama owns the whole world a full explanation over Uncle Sam's peeping habit.

 

In fact, Snowden's actions have already engendered sympathy at home. Some activists in the US - far right or left, have launched online fund-raising events on Facebook for him. Snowden also has local fans here in Hong Kong; politicians and lawmakers across the political spectrum have shown rare united support for the whistleblower.

 

Second, the US has long accused China of monitoring its computer networks for sensitive intelligence programs and hacking to harvest high-tech info and commercial data on a broad scale, so that Chinese companies can gain a competitive edge.

 

Frankly, for ages, the world has known an open secret that, the US has long been the biggest i-spy; its capability and the sophistication of cyberhacking is well above others around the globe, yet it is ok for most of us. What puzzles us is the US government's hypocrisy in its unrelentingly attack on the Chinese side for so-called State-sponsored cybersnooping, while quietly conducting a large-scale spying campaign itself. Isn't it a typical case of the old Chinese saying: "the villain bringing a suit against his victims"? The answer is obviously yes.

 

Instead of reflecting on its wrongdoing, the US side fascinatingly hinted that Snowden is a mole spying for China. Such accusation is sheer nonsense not worth refuting. Even Snowden calls it a "predictable smear", "intended to distract from the issue of the US government's misconduct". He mockingly wrote in a live Q&A web chat with the Guardian newspaper, that if he was a Chinese spy, "I would be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now".

 

Finally, Snowden's case also serves as delightful fodder for Western media who usually lavish accusatory remarks on China's method of handling dissidents, but can now turn the tables by referring to Snowden, Manning and other whistleblowers as "American dissidents". If the US is unable to handle a growing number of Snowden-like dissidents, and get its house in order, these sagas wouldn't help promote the US's self-assured cause of universal values.

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Luke_Wilbur    5

Wikileaks organization is now helping Edward Snowden. He has left Hong Kong on an Aeroflot flight to Moscow.

 

WikiLeaks Statement On Edward Snowdens Exit From Hong Kong

Sunday June 23, 13:00 BST

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Mr Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who exposed evidence of a global surveillance regime conducted by US and UK intelligence agencies, has left Hong Kong legally. He is bound for a democratic nation via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.

 

Mr Snowden requested that WikiLeaks use its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety. Once Mr Snowden arrives at his final destination his request will be formally processed.

 

Former Spanish Judge Mr Baltasar Garzon, legal director of Wikileaks and lawyer for Julian Assange has made the following statement:

 

"The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr Snowdens rights and protecting him as a person. What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange - for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest - is an assault against the people".

 

http://wikileaks.org/WikiLeaks-Statement-On-Edward.html

 

LONDON. June 23 (Interfax) - Former CIA employee Edward Snowden will fly via Moscow and Havana to Venezuela, a source close to Snowden has told Interfax.

"He chose such a complex route in the hope that he will not be detained and he will be able to reach his ultimate destination - Venezuela - unhindered. Thus he is to make a total of three flights: Hong Kong - Moscow, Moscow - Havana, Havana - Caracas," the source said.

 

According to a source at Aeroflot airlines which is carrying Snowden to Moscow from Hong Kong, he will fly to Caracas from Havana on the V-04101 flight.

 

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?id=425420

Click to see the complaint filed against Edward Snowden at the United States District Court.

 

edward-snowden-complaint.pdf

 

Edward Snowden is now doing excessive damage to our country. He needs to turn himself in.

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Guest Countercurrents   
Guest Countercurrents

Even before a former U.S. intelligence contractor exposed the secret collection of Americans phone records, the Obama administration was pressing a government-wide crackdown on security threats that requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions. President Barack Obamas unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, is sweeping in its reach...

 

http://www.countercurrents.org/digby230613.htm

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Luke_Wilbur    5

I respect that former POTUS George W. Bush admitted that he setup PRISM. I also respect his candid opinion of what POTUS Barack Obama is going through.

 

Watch the video "George W Bush Blasts Snowden, Defends NSA Programs He Put 'Civil Liberties Were Guaranteed"

http://youtu.be/Dj4JsNteDSU

This is what the Russians are saying about Snowden.



Puttin welcomes Snowden to seek asylum in Russia. I expected more from the Russian President. If Snowden was one of his comrades, I can guess what would have happened to him. Then again if Snowden was Russian and was looking to seek asylum in the United States we would welcome him in open arms.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that fugitive former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden could stay in Russia, if he wanted to, but must stop leaking secrets and doing other activities to harm the United States.

“If he wants to go somewhere [another country] and is accepted, he can. If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: He must stop his work aimed at harming our US partners, no matter how strange this may sound coming from me,” Putin said.

He denied that Snowden had ever had any ties or had ever collaborated with Russian intelligence services. He described Snowden as a person who “does not feel like a former intelligence service employee” but rather “a fighter for human rights, for democracy.”

http://en.rianspammer/russia/20130701/181993124/Snowden-Can-Stay-but-Must-Stop-Harming-US--Putin.html


I think the question is still what is privacy and the freedom of speech in today's online world.

Here is an interesting poll I found on the Russian News agency's web site.

http://english.ruvrspammer/poll/223937534/

Which-Country-Has-Most-Freedom-of-Speech.jpg

The method by Snowden has been releasing information is turning out to be a smear his own country campaign and using countries that are historically combative towards the United States to help promote it. Snowden has crossed line by releasing to Der Spiegel that the US is bugging EU buildings and has 38 Diplomatic "targets."

The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz made the following statement on reports that EU offices have allegedly been bugged by the US authorities:

I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of US authorities spying on EU offices. If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations. On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations."


http://www.europarl.europa.eu/the-president/en/press/press_release_speeches/press_release/2013/2013-june/html/schulz-on-alleged-bugging-of-eu-office-by-the-us-authorities


Is the real truth on what the NSA is doing now out to the public damage or an opportunity for discourse on what privacy in the 21st century means? From the polls it appears that that the intelligence community would benefit by being a little more open on its policy decisions and give Americans a little more assurance in the future that is not encroaching on our personal liberty.

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Guest wikileaks   
Guest wikileaks

Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow

Monday July 1, 21:40 UTC

 

One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.

 

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

 

This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

 

For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

 

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised and it should be.

 

I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.

 

Edward Joseph Snowden

 

Monday 1st July 2013

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Guest DCpages Staff   
Guest DCpages Staff

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a14

 

Article 14.

 

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

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Guest Countercurrents   
Guest Countercurrents

http://www.pressassociation.com/News/

 

Text of a letter by Edward Snowden to the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. Written in Spanish; obtained and translated by the Press Association, London

 

There are few world leaders who would risk standing for the human rights of an individual against the most powerful government on earth, and the bravery of Ecuador and its people is an example to the world.

 

I must express my deep respect for your principles and sincere thanks for your government's action in considering my request for political asylum.

 

The government of the United States of America has built the world's largest system of surveillance. This global system affects every human life touched by technology; recording, analysing, and passing secret judgment over each member of the international public.

 

It is a grave violation of our universal human rights when a political system perpetuates automatic, pervasive and unwarranted spying against innocent people.

 

In accordance with this belief, I revealed this programme to my country and the world. While the public has cried out support of my shining a light on this secret system of injustice, the government of the United States of America responded with an extrajudicial man-hunt costing me my family, my freedom to travel and my right to live peacefully without fear of illegal aggression.

 

As I face this persecution, there has been silence from governments afraid of the United States government and their threats. Ecuador however, rose to stand and defend the human right to seek asylum.

 

The decisive action of your consul in London, Fidel Narvaez, guaranteed my rights would be protected upon departing Hong Kong I could never have risked travel without that. Now, as a result, and through the continued support of your government, I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest.

 

No matter how many more days my life contains, I remain dedicated to the fight for justice in this unequal world. If any of those days ahead realise a contribution to the common good, the world will have the principles of Ecuador to thank.

 

Please accept my gratitude on behalf of your government and the people of the Republic of Ecuador, as well as my great personal admiration of your commitment to doing what is right rather than what is rewarding.

 

Edward Joseph Snowden.

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Guest American4Progress   
Guest American4Progress

http://youtu.be/0Uuzpiu7ues

HOST BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think the government ought to be doing more to help the American people understand what’s happening here?

HAYDEN: Look, one of the results of the Snowden leaks is that it’s launched a national debate about the balance between privacy and security. I’m convinced the more the American people know exactly what it is we are doing in this balance between privacy and security, the more they know the more comfortable they will feel. So frankly I think we ought to be doing a bit more to explain what it is we’re doing, why, and the very tight safeguards under which we’re operating.

 

 

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Guest LAW   
Guest LAW

On Sunday I had the honor and privilege of representing NSA on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." It was an important opportunity to speak to the nation and to continue to set the record straight regarding NSA's execution of its foreign intelligence mission.

 

NSA's primary responsibility is to defend the nation. After 9/11, we acknowledged our failure as an intelligence community to "connect the dots." To address this shortfall and protect the nation from future terrorist attacks like 9/11, we made several changes to our intelligence efforts and added a number of capabilities. Two of these capabilities are the programs in the news. They were approved by the Administration, Congress, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. With these exceptional authorities came significant oversight from all three branches of the government.

 

On 21 June we provided over 50 cases to both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees that show the specific contribution of these programs to our understanding and, in many cases, disruption of terrorist plots in the United States and over 20 countries throughout the world. These results were achieved consistent with our responsibilities under the law. A report issued by the Senate Judiciary in June 2012 emphasized that the government has implemented its intelligence authorities in a responsible manner: "Through four years of oversight, the committee has not identified a single case in which a government official engaged in willful effort to circumvent or violate the law." More than 50 disruptions with zero willful failures in the protection of civil liberties - that's an incredible record and is a testament to NSA's staunch commitment to protecting and upholding the privacy and civil liberties of the American people even as we keep our nation safe. This has been accomplished by the extraordinary people at NSA, the real heroes, working alongside our partners within the Intelligence Community.

 

The ongoing national dialogue is not about your performance. The NSA/CSS work force has executed its national security responsibilities with equal and full respect for civil liberties and privacy. The issue is one that is partly fueled by the sensational nature of the leaks and the way their timing has been carefully orchestrated to inflame and embarrass. The challenge of these leaks is exacerbated by a lack of public understanding of the safeguards in place and little awareness of the outcomes that our authorities yield. Leadership, from the President and others in the Executive Branch to the Congress, is now engaged in a public dialogue to make sure the American public gets the rest of the story while not disclosing details that would further endanger our national security. From my perspective, this issue should not be viewed and debated as a "political issue" but rather as a "national security issue." Please do not let this distract you from your work or cause you to worry that your work is not valuable, valued, and honorable. It is all three.

 

Let me say again how proud I am to lead this exceptional workforce, uniformed and civilian, civil service and contract personnel. Your dedication is unsurpassed, your patriotism unquestioned, and your skills are the envy of the world. Together with your colleagues in US Cyber Command, you embody the true meaning of noble intent through your national service. In a 1962 speech to the Corps of Cadets on "duty, honor and country," one of this nation's military heroes, General Douglas MacArthur, said these words teach us "not to substitute words for action; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm." You have done all that and more. "Duty, Honor, Country" could easily be your motto, for you live these words every day. When I think of people acting with noble intent, I think of the men and women of NSA/CSS and all that you are.

 

We will move forward from this and by dint of solid strategy, hard work, and partnership will continue to protect the nation from harm. Along the way, we will remain committed to the defense of the Nation and all that it stands for - security and liberty. The Deputy Director, the Senior Leadership Team and I will continue to work this hard and take the heat. We need you to focus on our primary mission of defending our nation and our allies. Thank you for all you do to support our mission every day of the year.

 

KEITH B. ALEXANDER
General, U.S. Army
Commander, U.S. Cyber Command
Director, NSA/Chief, CSS

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Guest ALWAYSRED   
Guest ALWAYSRED

"President Obama's ongoing mishandling of Edward Snowden's defection highlights key failings in his dangerously flawed approach to defending U.S. national security," former U.N. ambassador John Bolton writes in a HUMAN EVENTS exclusive today. "Whatever Snowden's ultimate fate, Obama's mistakes have already cost America dearly during his first term in office, and will undoubtedly cost us more in his second."

 

It's interesting that Bolton refers to Snowden as a "defector," rather than Snowden's preferred description of himself as a "stateless, imprisoned, powerless" whistleblower who has been "exiled" from his native land. (Whose idea was it to lie to his superiors about needing medical treatment, and hop a jet for Hong Kong?)

 

As Bolton notes, President Obama has already failed various tests of "political willpower" relating to the Snowden case. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been enjoying himself tremendously while Snowden huddles in the transit area of the Moscow airport, refusing to grant the NSA leaker asylum unless he promises to stop damaging American security with his leaks... but also refusing to extradite him to face American justice.

 

Snowden's defection process hit a snag because he can't find anywhere to defect to; nobody will take him. After twenty failed attempts to secure asylum, his best bet seems to be catching a ride with Hugo Chavez' hand-picked successor when he flies home from Moscow to Venezuela next week. Russia, China, Venezuela... Snowden's ideas for where the Shangri-La of privacy and free speech can be found are interesting.

 

Americans have been deeply troubled by Snowden's revelations of widespread NSA surveillance, as have the citizens of allied Western nations. But we should also be troubled by everything Snowden has done since then. We remain a nation at risk, in a world of lawless asymmetrical warfare, where good intelligence is an essential weapon.

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Guest Fed Up   
Guest Fed Up

The NSA tapping is totally illegal. Read Section 215

 

 

Clapper even admits that he lied to Congress

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/01/james-clapper-apology-congress-erroneous-response

 

The US director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has attempted to head off criticism that he lied to Congress over the extent of government surveillance on American citizens, with a letter to senators in which he apologized for giving "erroneous" information.

 

Two weeks after telling NBC news that he gave the "least untruthful answer possible" at a hearing in March, Clapper wrote to the Senate intelligence committee to correct his response to a question about whether the National Security Agency "collected data on millions of Americans".

 

But the US senator who asked the question, Ron Wyden, said on Monday that Clapper's office had admitted in private that his answer was wrong, after the March hearing. Yet the intelligence chief only corrected the record on 21 June, when disclosures by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden prompted weeks of intense public pressure.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/28/opinion/the-criminal-nsa.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

 

Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., a Wisconsin Republican and one of the architects of the Patriot Act, and a man not known as a civil libertarian, has said that “Congress intended to allow the intelligence communities to access targeted information for specific investigations.” The N.S.A.’s demand for information about every American’s phone calls isn’t “targeted” at all — it’s a dragnet. “How can every call that every American makes or receives be relevant to a specific investigation?” Mr. Sensenbrenner has asked. The answer is simple: It’s not.

 

The government claims that under Section 215 it may seize all of our phone call information now because it might conceivably be relevant to an investigation at some later date, even if there is no particular reason to believe that any but a tiny fraction of the data collected might possibly be suspicious. That is a shockingly flimsy argument — any data might be “relevant” to an investigation eventually, if by “eventually” you mean “sometime before the end of time.” If all data is “relevant,” it makes a mockery of the already shaky concept of relevance.

 

 

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article40979.html

 

In a country where those in power encourage and participate in the plundering of people’s bank accounts by billionaires, the largest financial control fraud in world history by the biggest Wall Street banks, treating every citizen as a suspect until proven otherwise under the auspices of the ironically named Patriot Act, creating an Orwellian surveillance state of cameras, drones and snitches, torturing suspected enemies, conducting military exercises in the skies above our cities, seizing reporters’ personal records, using government agencies to harass political opponents, listening to our phone calls with warrantless wiretaps, reading our emails and texts, brutally crushing peaceful protests, attempting to disarm us, locking down an entire city and kicking doors down while searching for a hapless wounded teenager, appropriating our DNA, detaining us without charges, assassinating suspected dissidents, regulating what we can eat, drink or smoke, passing 2,500 page corporate lobbyist written bills that no one has read, using laws to enhance the wealth of the .1%, creating a tax code designed to minimize the burden on the .1%, the feeding of economic information by the Fed and Federal government to connected crony banks minutes before the public so they can pre-program their HFT computers to profit at the expense of the muppets, conducting cyber-attacks on sovereign countries and then feigning outrage when the favor is returned, and militarily intervening around the world under the false guise of strategic interests, we are supposed to trust the establishment? As we descend further into tyranny, I don’t know which is sadder – the pure evil of these men or the apathy and complacent acquiescence of the willfully ignorant masses to the methods employed by their owners. The numerous laws passed by those in power are just more proof of how corrupt our society has become.

 

“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” - Tacitus

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Guest LAW   
Guest LAW

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s application for a top secret court order to collect the phone records of essentially every call made by millions of Verizon customers.

 

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “As the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely troubled by the FBI’s interpretation of this legislation. While I believe the Patriot Act appropriately balanced national security concerns and civil rights, I have always worried about potential abuses. The Bureau’s broad application for phone records was made under the so-called business records provision of the Act. I do not believe the broadly drafted FISA order is consistent with the requirements of the Patriot Act. Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.”

 

http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=337001

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Guest Fedup   
Guest Fedup

What changed Mr. Vice President?

 

 

You stated not to trust a President and Vice President that are in on this. Should we not trust you both.

 

Assistant EPA directory Rita Lavelle (Republican), was indicted for lying to Congress; convicted; sentenced to 6 months in prison, 5 years probation thereafter, and a fine of $10,000.

 

James Clapper lied to Congress. What more are you hiding from us?

 

The recent IRS and NSA scandals reveal that the Federal government, during the first term of President Obama, used the IRS to weaken the political campaigns of Obama's opponents, and that the NSA collected and stored personal information on virtually all Americans under the guise of national security.

 

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/06/the_irs_the_nsa_and_obamas_dirty_tricks.html#ixzz2YSNFOwyn

Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

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Guest 2Mick   
Guest 2Mick

Is revoking Snowden's passport illegal?

 

http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppi/info/info_870.html

 

Passport revocation may be effected when the person obtained the passport fraudulently, when the passport was issued in error, when the person’s certificate of naturalization was cancelled by a federal court, or when the person would not be entitled to a new passport under 22 CFR 51.70 (a) or (B). The physical revocation of a passport is often difficult, and an apparently valid passport can be used for travel until officially taken by an arresting officer or by a court.

To request passport revocation, law enforcement should make the request in writing to the Office of Legal Affairs (address below) with the subject’s name, including aliases, date and place of birth, social security number, known previous passports, last known address, copies of any court orders or warrants, and contact information.

Revocations are coordinated with the Department of Justice and the requesting agency. A passport will not be revoked when the whereabouts of the bearer is unknown. When there is a passport “hit” on an individual within the United States, based on the request, the interested law enforcement agency will be informed of the person’s address so that an arrest can be made.

The requesting agency works with the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, Department of State L/LEI, the embassy and the foreign law enforcement establishment to affect the person’s return to the United States.

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Luke_Wilbur    5

Our Republic cannot live under the pretense of Democracy if its leaders are not held accountable by the same laws that it enforces on its citizens.

The effects of PRISM are still reverberating with our friends in Europe.

The civil liberties committee will set up a working group on Wednesday, which will be responsible for carrying out an in-depth inquiry into the US's surveillance programme of electronic data.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/content/20130705STO16502/

 

In this age of internet, smartphones and social media, it is very easy to share and search for personal information. Maybe too easy. Your loan application could be rejected because you live in the wrong neighbourhood, photos you publish online may come back to haunt you and supposedly free websites earn their keep by selling and using your personal data. The EU is now working to overhaul its data protection rules to help people stay in control of their private information.

Current EU legislation was drafted back in 1995 and needs updating to keep pace with technological change. The European Commission proposed in 2012 a new regulation on a single set of rules for all data collected online to ensure it is kept safe and also to provide businesses with a clear framework for processing them.

The European Parliament is now working on the proposed regulation as well as on a directive on data processing in law enforcement. Four EP committees have adopted opinions and the civil liberties committee, which is in charge of the file, votes on a report by the end of June 2013.

Parliament holds a seminar for journalists on 14-15 May to explain and discuss the issues at stake.

Check out the sections in our feature to find out more about data protection and how the Parliament has fought to improve it and join the conversation on the subject on Twitter using the #EUdataP hashtag.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/content/20130521FCS08720/

 

The European Parliament decided today to set up its own investigation into the US NSA surveillance programme and its impact on EU citizens' privacy. Parliament expresses its deep concern over reports of massive spying by the US on EU citizens and institutions.

 

ALDE spokesperson Sophie in't Veld (D66, Netherlands) said: "The European Union must reflect in actions the gravity and magnitude of the problem we are confronted with. It is time the Commission and the Council finally act upon our repeated requests to solve the conflict of jurisdiction. We can no longer tolerate that the US or any other country's law is applied directly on EU territory. EU citizens must be guaranteed protection under our own EU laws".

 

"The creation of an EU-US expert group of civil servants meeting behind closed doors is not enough. We need political answers. President Obama should provide all 500 million EU citizens with an answer, not only Chancellor Merkel".

 

"Clearly this situation will have an impact on other policies. We must consider now if the PNR and SWIFT agreements are still tenable in the circumstances".

 

"However using the pretext of this situation to halt negotiations on the TTIP is severely misguided. Transatlantic free trade will give the much needed boost to our economy and create thousands of jobs. So talks must continue but we cannot sign anything off without clarification on the surveillance issues".

 

As far as the fate of Mr Edward Snowden is concerned, Ms in't Veld concluded: "In a democratic state, whistleblowers breaking the law to expose illegal acts by governments should be protected by law against the wrath of governments. Democracies dispense justice, not revenge".

 

Sarah Ludford (LibDems, UK) said: "I am glad the Parliament is taking the lead in scrutinising spying operations but we also need the support of national parliaments to check on their intelligence services. I hope the intelligence and security committee of the UK will do a better job on GCHQ's project Tempora than they did in examining the UK's complicity in extraordinary rendition".

 

"We need a new rigorous EU data protection regulation but without stronger national and international controls on snooping by the spooks and agreements on jurisdiction we are going to bake only half a loaf".

 

The resolution also calls on the US authorities to provide the EU with full information on all their surveillance programmes involving data collection and it asks to suspend and review them in case they violate the fundamental rights of EU citizens to privacy and data protection and the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the EU and its Member States.

 

http://www.alde.eu/press/press-and-release-news/press-release/article/european-parliament-to-conduct-an-inquiry-on-us-surveillance-and-espionage-41877/

 

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Guest IPA   
Guest IPA

Edward Snowden has been named recipient of this year’s “award for truth telling” given by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. The following are members of the group or past recipients of the award. The group’s statement is below.

 

DANIEL ELLSBERG, ellsbergd1 at gmail.com

Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971. He wrote an op-ed that was published today in the Washington Post, which notes that “for the whole two years I was under indictment, I was free to speak to the media and at rallies and public lectures. I was, after all, part of a movement against an ongoing war. … There is no chance that experience could be reproduced today, let alone that a trial could be terminated by the revelation of White House actions against a defendant that were clearly criminal in Richard Nixon’s era … There is zero chance that [snowden] would be allowed out on bail if he returned now and close to no chance that, had he not left the country, he would have been granted bail. Instead, he would be in a prison cell like Bradley Manning, incommunicado….”

 

Ellsberg concludes: “What [snowden] has given us is our best chance — if we respond to his information and his challenge — to rescue ourselves from out-of-control surveillance that shifts all practical power to the executive branch and its intelligence agencies: a United Stasi of America.”

 

RAY McGOVERN, rrmcgovern at gmail.com

McGovern is a veteran CIA analyst. He wrote an op-ed that was published today in the Baltimore Sun: “There is a way out for President Barack Obama as he attempts to cope with Edward Snowden’s disclosures about the National Security Agency’s overreaching eavesdropping, the turbulent world reaction, and the lack of truthfulness shown by National Intelligence Director James Clapper and NSA Director Keith Alexander. The President should seize the initiative by suggesting to both that they ‘spend more time with their families.’”

 

COLEEN ROWLEY, rowleyclan at earthlink.net

Rowley is a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo described some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures and was named one of Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. She recently appeared on CNN and wrote a piece for their website, “Massive Spying on Americans is Outrageous.”

 

BILL BINNEY, williambinney0802 at comcast.net

Binney was with the NSA for decades and resigned shortly after 9/11. He was recently interviewed by “Democracy Now!

 

DAVID MacMICHAEL, dmacm at political-dog.com

MacMichael is a former analyst for the CIA. See his “Former Commander of Headquarters Company at Quantico Objects to Treatment of Bradley Manning.”

 

THOMAS DRAKE, @Thomas_Drake1
Drake was a senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency.

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Guest DCpages Staff   
Guest DCpages Staff

The following statement was released today by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence:

 

Edward Snowden has been named recipient of this year’s award for truth telling given by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, the group announced today.

 

Most of the Sam Adams Associates are former senior national security officials who, with the other members, understand fully the need to keep legitimate secrets. Each of the U.S. members took a solemn oath “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

 

When secrecy is misused to hide unconstitutional activities, fealty to that oath — and higher duty as citizens of conscience — dictate support for truth tellers who summon the courage to blow the whistle. Edward Snowden’s disclosures fit the classic definition of whistle blowing.

 

Former senior NSA executive Thomas Drake, who won the Sam Adams award in 2011, has called what Snowden did “an amazingly brave act of civil disobedience.” Drake knows whereof he speaks. As a whistleblower he reported waste, fraud, and abuse — as well as serious violations of the Fourth Amendment — through official channels and, subsequently, to a reporter. He wound up indicted under the Espionage Act.

 

After a lengthy, grueling pre-trial proceeding, he was exonerated of all ten felony charges and pleaded out to the misdemeanor of “exceeding authorized use of a government computer.” The presiding judge branded the four years of prosecutorial conduct against Drake “unconscionable.”

 

The invective hurled at Snowden by the corporate and government influenced media reflects understandable embarrassment that he would dare expose the collusion of all three branches of government in perpetrating and then covering up their abuse of the Constitution. This same collusion has thwarted all attempts to pass laws that would protect genuine truth tellers like Snowden who see and wish to stop unconstitutional activities.

 

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” warned Thomas Paine in 1776, adding that “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

 

It is in this spirit that Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence are proud to confer on Edward Snowden the Sam Adams Award for 2013.

 

The Sam Adams Award has been given in previous years to truth tellers Coleen Rowley of the FBI; Katharine Gun of British Intelligence; Sibel Edmonds of the FBI; Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan; Sam Provance; former US Army Sgt. at Abu Ghraib; Maj. Frank Grevil of Danish Army Intelligence; Larry Wilkerson, Col., US Army (ret.), former chief of staff to Colin Powell at State; Julian Assange of WikiLeaks; Thomas Drake, former senior NSA official; Jesselyn Radack, Director of National Security and Human Rights, Government Accountability Project; and Thomas Fingar, former Assistant Secretary of State and Director, National Intelligence Council.

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Guest Fedup   
Guest Fedup

Secret agents fulfilling secret orders of secret courts given by leaders of secret organizations.

 

What happened to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) web page?

 

http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/pclob/

 

Sorry, the page you're looking for can't be found.

 

Does Anyone remember this?

 

Yesterday, the President took a big step forward toward protecting Americans’ privacy and civil liberties with the nomination of three highly respected individuals to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB). The PCLOB is a new independent board established by Congress to advise and oversee executive branch activities with civil liberties implications, including intelligence and law enforcement practices, and to assist the President and Federal agencies in making sure that the implementation of laws, regulations, and policies related to counterterrorism appropriately consider citizens’ privacy and civil liberties.

 

As an independent voice for privacy and civil liberties, the Board will help ensure that national security and public safety needs are balanced appropriately with the basic constitutional protections afforded to all Americans, which make up the cornerstones of our democracy.

 

Once confirmed, these nominees—a Federal judge, a former senior White House lawyer from a previous Administration, and the former lead lawyer on Internet privacy issues for the Federal Trade Commission—will join two others already nominated by the President to begin their important work. Among other benefits, the new Board will help advance the Administration’s Internet privacy policy framework and cybersecurity strategy and will help us simultaneously advance important policies relating to innovation, privacy, civil liberties, and national security in the online environment.

 

We hope Congress will act swiftly in a bipartisan fashion to confirm these outstanding nominees.

 

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/12/16/protecting-privacy-and-civil-liberties-internet-and-beyond

 

Has anyone heard from David Medine, Rachel L. Brand, or Patricia M. Wald?

 

Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

 

David Medine – Chairman, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

Rachel L. Brand – Member, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

Patricia M. Wald – Member, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

 

President Obama said, “I am confident that these outstanding individuals will greatly serve the American people in their new roles and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

 

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

 

David Medine, Nominee for Chairman, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

 

David Medine is a partner in the law firm WilmerHale where his practice focuses on privacy and data security, having previously served as a Senior Advisor to the White House National Economic Council from 2000 to 2001. From 1992 to 2000, Mr. Medine was the Associate Director for Financial Practices at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) where, in addition to enforcing financial privacy laws, he took the lead on Internet privacy, chaired a federal advisory committee on privacy issues, and was part of the team that negotiated a privacy safe harbor agreement with the European Union. Before joining the FTC, Mr. Medine taught at the Indiana University (Bloomington) School of Law and the George Washington University School of Law. Mr. Medine earned his B.A. from Hampshire College and his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

 

Rachel L. Brand, Nominee for Member, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

 

Rachel L. Brand is currently the Chief Counsel for Regulatory Litigation at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Chamber Litigation Center. Previously, Ms. Brand practiced law with the firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr. Ms. Brand also served as Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice, where she handled policy issues including counter-terrorism. She also served as Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush. Ms. Brand was a law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States and to Justice Charles Fried of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A. from the University of Minnesota-Morris.

 

Judge Patricia M. Wald, Nominee for Member, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

 

Judge Patricia M. Wald served for twenty years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, from 1979 to 1999, including five years as Chief Judge. Since that time, she has served in various capacities including as a Judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and a Member on the President's Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the U.S. Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction. Prior to joining the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Court of Columbia, Judge Wald was the Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs at the Department of Justice. She also previously worked as an attorney at the Mental Health Law Project, the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Neighborhood Legal Services Program, the Office of Criminal Justice at the Department of Justice, and co-director of the Ford Foundation Drug Abuse Research Project. Judge Wald is a member of the American Law Institute and the American Philosophical Society, and serves on the Open Society Institute's Justice Initiative Board. Since July 2010, Judge Wald has been a member of the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States. Judge Wald clerked for the Honorable Jerome Frank on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and received her B.A. from the Connecticut College for Women and her J.D. from Yale Law School.

 

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/15/president-obama-announces-more-key-administration-posts

 

The Federal Register gives a great definition of the purpose of PCLOB

 

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is an advisory body to assist the President and other senior Executive branch officials in ensuring that concerns with respect to privacy and civil liberties are appropriately considered in the implementation of all laws, regulations, and executive branch policies related to war against terrorism.

Recommended by the July 22, 2004, report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was established by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. It consists of five members appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the President. The Board is part of the White House Office within the Executive Office of the President and supported by an Executive Director and staff.

The Board advises the President and other senior executive branch officials to ensure that concerns with respect to privacy and civil liberties are appropriately considered in the implementation of all laws, regulations, and executive branch policies related to efforts to protect the Nation against terrorism. This includes advising on whether adequate guidelines, supervision, and oversight exist to protect these important legal rights of all Americans. In addition, the Board is specifically charged with responsibility for reviewing the terrorism information sharing practices of executive branch departments and agencies to determine whether guidelines designed to appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties are being followed, including those issued by the President on December 16, 2005. In the course of performing these functions within the executive branch, the Board seeks the views of private sector, non-profit and academic institutions, Members of Congress, and all other interested parties and individuals on these issues.

 

https://www.federalregister.gov/agencies/privacy-and-civil-liberties-oversight-board

 

Contact Susan Reingold, Chief Administrative Officer, 202-331-1986.

 

Diane Janosek, Chief Legal Officer, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

 

Justice Antonin Scalia states the historical document we know as the Constitution is now dead.

 

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Guest LAW   
Guest LAW

Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee

the Nomination of David Medine to be

Chairman, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

 

Mr./Madam President, I oppose the nomination of David Medine to be the Chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which is commonly referred to as the PCLOB.

 

Mr. Medine was nominated for this position during last Congress and the Judiciary Committee, where I serve as the Ranking Member, held a hearing on his nomination in April 2012.

 

At the hearing, I asked a number of questions about the various national security statutes that the Board is tasked with overseeing. This included questions about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the PATRIOT Act.

 

Specifically, I asked for his views on these laws. Unfortunately, the responses I received failed to provide his views. He simply stated that he would balance the views of the government against the board’s mandate to review privacy.

 

I also asked Mr. Medine about his views on the use of law enforcement versus military authorities for combatting terrorism.

 

I was disappointed that he failed to answer a basic yes or no question about National Security law: “Do you believe that we are engaged in a war on terrorism?”

 

Instead, of a simple yes or no, he opted for a more limited answer that military power is permissible in appropriate cases.

 

This technical answer gives me pause—especially in light of the continued threat we face from international terrorist organizations.

 

Perhaps the most concerning response he provided was to another simple constitutional law question. I asked all the board nominees an important question about the use or profiling based upon country of origin for immigration purposes.

 

The Constitution provides broad discretion to the government for purposes of immigration. Each year the government places quotas or caps on how many and what types of visas are allowed for each particular country.

 

For example, if we face a threat from an unfriendly nation, it is important that we have the ability to limit immigration from that country. At the least, immigration and customs agents and consular officers should be able to make decisions of admissibility solely on country of origin.

 

I asked this same question to the other four current members of the board. Two Democrats and two Republicans. They all answered the same way, that foreign nationals do not have the same constitutional or statutory rights as citizens and therefore U.S. officials should be able use this as a factor in admissibility determinations.

 

In contrast to the other four nominees, Mr. Medine argued that use of country of origin as the sole purpose was “inappropriate”.

 

Specifically, Mr. Medine noted that it would be “inappropriate” for the federal government to profile foreign nationals from high-risk countries based solely upon the country of origin.

 

This is troubling.

 

As the other four nominees noted, foreign nationals do not have the same constitutional or statutory rights as U.S. persons and the government may, lawfully and appropriately, use country of origin as a limiting factor for purposes of admission to the United States.

 

I think this is especially concerning given the recent attacks in Boston and the concerns surrounding potential holes in our immigration system related to student visa overstays.

 

Say the government learns of a terrorist plot undertaken by individuals from a specific country. Under the view advocated by Mr. Medine, excluding all individuals from that nation, even for a defined period of time, would be “inappropriate”.

 

Instead, under his view, even faced with this threat, it would only justify “heightened scrutiny of visitors from that country” when the individual was “linked to other information about the plot.”

 

This is a dangerous view of our government’s authority to control admission into the country.

Terrorism is fresh on everyone’s mind following the recent attacks in Boston, but the need to remain vigilant against a terrorist threat should not rise and fall based upon our proximity to an attack.

 

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 changed the way the government viewed terrorism and those who want to kill Americans.

 

We are now nearly twelve years released from 9/11. Some may believe that we now have the means in place for restricting admission based only upon specific intelligence of a plot.

But that view is the type of thinking that allows us to let down our guard.

 

Those who seek to kill Americans are not letting down their guard and are always looking for ways to attack Americans and our way of life.

 

We can see this with the new tactics that they use, such as the failed underwear bombing, the attempted Times Square Bombing, and the recent attacks in Boston.

 

It is through this lens that I view Mr. Medine’s answer and why I oppose his nomination to a board overseeing critical national security laws.

 

While I agree we should always work to ensure that intelligence information is utilized in a manner most likely to achieve the desired result, there are scenarios where we may need to block entry to all members of a certain country.

 

For example, would Mr. Medine’s view apply to wartime situations?

 

Would we have to admit those whose country was at war with the U.S.?

 

I think his answers point to a dangerous worldview that is out of touch with the threat we face from global terrorist organizations that seek to kill Americans.

 

It is thinking that deviates from basic constitutional principles our government was founded on. Namely, the ability to protect our citizens by limiting entry into the country.

 

This is a very serious matter given the board’s oversight of national security law.

 

Given these concerns, I joined my colleagues in opposing Mr. Medine’s nomination when the Judiciary Committee voted on him in February.

 

That party line vote mirrored the same party line vote from the previous Congress—even though the Committee now has different members.

 

Above all, I fear that a nomination that is as polarizing as this could cloud the legitimate work of the board.

 

This board is tasked with reviewing some of the most sensitive national security matters we face.

If the board issues a partisan decision, led by Mr. Medine, it will be discredited because of these controversial fundamental beliefs Mr. Medine holds.

 

These national security issues are already polarizing—just look to any debate in Congress on FISA or the PATRIOT Act. Adding partisan fueled reports to the fire would only exacerbate these difficult matters.

 

Given these concerns, I oppose Mr. Medine’s nomination and urge my colleagues to do the same. A vote against this nominee is a vote to preserve the legitimate tools to help keep America safe.

 

I yield the floor.

Thank you.

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Guest Human Rights Watch   
Guest Human Rights Watch

 

After meeting with Edward Snowden on July 12, 2013, Human Rights Watch reiterated its call for his asylum claims to receive fair treatment.

 

Tanya Lokshina, Russia program director at Human Rights Watch, met with the former United States National Security Agency consultant along with other rights organisations at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow earlier on July 12. At that meeting, Snowden said he would be seeking temporary asylum in Russia.

 

“Edward Snowden has a serious asylum claim that should be considered fairly by Russia or any other country where he may apply,” said Dinah PoKempner, general counsel at Human Rights Watch. “He should be allowed at least to make that claim and have it heard.”

 

Snowden has disclosed serious rights violations by the US. But US law does not provide sufficient protection for whistleblowers when classified information is involved. The US has charged Snowden, among other things, with violating the Espionage Act, a vague law that provides no exceptions or defenses to whistleblowers who disclose matters of serious public importance.

 

The US may seek Snowden’s extradition to face charges in the US. While seeking extradition is within a state's discretion, the asylum claim should be heard first, before a decision on extradition is made.

 

Washington’s actions appear to be aimed at preventing Snowden from gaining an opportunity to claim refuge, in violation of his right to seek asylum under international law.

 

“There's a long history of countries forcing asylum seekers to live for extended periods in embassies rather than reach a place of refuge,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director at Human Rights Watch. “The US shouldn't place itself in that category.”

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