The NSA may, or may not have rejected the invisible secret operative application form I never even bothered to have sent over to them. I'll never know...
If the surprise outcome of the recent UK referendum - on whether to leave or remain in the European Union - teaches us anything, it is that supposedly worthy displays of democracy in action can actually do more harm than good. Witness a nation now more divided; an intergenerational schism in the making; both a governing and opposition party torn to shreds from the inside; infinitely more complex issues raised than satisfactory solutions provided. It begs the question 'Was it really all worth it' ?
When national ideals are confined to insignificant issues reflective primarily of a personal choice, there lies a problem of distorted priorities.
Indifferent to truth, willing to use police-state tactics and vulgar libels against inconvenient witnesses, hopeless on health care, and flippant and fast and loose with national security: The case against Hillary Clinton for president is open-and-shut. Of course, against all these considerations you might prefer the newly fashionable and more media-weighty notion that if you don't show her enough appreciation, and after all she's done for us, she may cry.
I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security.
The government researchers,aware of the information in the professional journals, decided to reverse the process (of healing from hysteric dissociation). They decided to use selective trauma on healthy children to create personalities capable of committing acts desired for national security and defense.” p. 53 – 54
During the Senate debate on the intervention in Iraq, Sen. Clinton made considerable use of her background and 'experience' to argue that, yes, Saddam Hussein was indeed a threat. She did not argue so much from the position adopted by the Bush administration as she emphasized the stand taken, by both her husband and Al Gore, when they were in office, to the effect that another and final confrontation with the Baathist regime was more or less inevitable. Now, it does not especially matter whether you agree or agreed with her about this (as I, for once, do and did). What does matter is that she has since altered her position and attempted, with her husband’s help, to make people forget that she ever held it. And this, on a grave matter of national honor and security, merely to influence her short-term standing in the Iowa caucuses. Surely that on its own should be sufficient to disqualify her from consideration?
From time to time our national history has been marred by forgetfulness of the Jeffersonian principle that restraint is at the heart of liberty. In 1789 the Federalists adopted Alien and Sedition Acts in a shabby political effort to isolate the Republic from the world and to punish political criticism as seditious libel. In 1865 the Radical Republicans sought to snare private conscience in a web of oaths and affirmations of loyalty. Spokesmen for the South did service for the Nation in resisting the petty tyranny of distrustful vengeance. In the 1920's the Attorney General of the United States degraded his office by hunting political radicals as if they were Salem witches. The Nation's only gain from his efforts were the classic dissents of Holmes and Brandeis.In our own times, the old blunt instruments have again been put to work. The States have followed in the footsteps of the Federalists and have put Alien and Sedition Acts upon their statute books. An epidemic of loyalty oaths has spread across the Nation until no town or village seems to feel secure until its servants have purged themselves of all suspicion of non-conformity by swearing to their political cleanliness.Those who love the twilight speak as if public education must be training in conformity, and government support of science be public aid of caution.We have also seen a sharpening and refinement of abusive power. The legislative investigation, designed and often exercised for the achievement of high ends, has too frequently been used by the Nation and the States as a means for effecting the disgrace and degradation of private persons. Unscrupulous demagogues have used the power to investigate as tyrants of an earlier day used the bill of attainder.The architects of fear have converted a wholesome law against conspiracy into an instrument for making association a crime. Pretending to fear government they have asked government to outlaw private protest. They glorify togetherness when it is theirs, and call it conspiracy when it is that of others.In listing these abuses I do not mean to condemn our central effort to protect the Nation's security. The dangers that surround us have been very great, and many of our measures of vigilance have ample justification. Yet there are few among us who do not share a portion of the blame for not recognizing soon enough the dark tendency towards excess of caution.
There is one key area in which Zuma has made no attempt at reconciliation whatsoever: criminal justice and security. The ministers of justice, defence, intelligence (now called 'state security' in a throwback to both apartheid and the ANC's old Stalinist past), police and communications are all die-hard Zuma loyalists. Whatever their line functions, they will also play the role they have played so ably to date: keeping Zuma out of court—and making sure the state serves Zuma as it once did Mbeki.
As to the 'Left' I'll say briefly why this was the finish for me. Here is American society, attacked under open skies in broad daylight by the most reactionary and vicious force in the contemporary world, a force which treats Afghans and Algerians and Egyptians far worse than it has yet been able to treat us. The vaunted CIA and FBI are asleep, at best. The working-class heroes move, without orders and at risk to their lives, to fill the moral and political vacuum. The moral idiots, meanwhile, like Falwell and Robertson and Rabbi Lapin, announce that this clerical aggression is a punishment for our secularism. And the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, hitherto considered allies on our 'national security' calculus, prove to be the most friendly to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.Here was a time for the Left to demand a top-to-bottom house-cleaning of the state and of our covert alliances, a full inquiry into the origins of the defeat, and a resolute declaration in favor of a fight to the end for secular and humanist values: a fight which would make friends of the democratic and secular forces in the Muslim world. And instead, the near-majority of 'Left' intellectuals started sounding like Falwell, and bleating that the main problem was Bush's legitimacy. So I don't even muster a hollow laugh when this pathetic faction says that I, and not they, are in bed with the forces of reaction.
The gaping wound in America’s national security is without a doubt, the unregulated dragnet surveillance capitalists.
For those who believe executive branch officials will voluntarily interpret their surveillance authorities with restraint, I believe it is more likely that I will achieve my life-long dream of playing in the NBA.
However, this court is constrained by law, and under the law, I can only conclude that the Government has not violated FOIA by refusing to turn over the documents sought in the FOIA requests, and so cannot be compelled by this court of law to explain in detail the reasons why its actions do not violate the Constitution and the laws of the United States. The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful and extensive consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules—a veritable Catch-22. I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.
It is a fundamental principle of American democracy that laws should not be public only when it is convenient for government officials to make them public. They should be public all the time, open to review by adversarial courts, and subject to change by an accountable legislature guided by an informed public. If Americans are not able to learn how their government is interpreting and executing the law then we have effectively eliminated the most important bulwark of our democracy. That’s why, even at the height of the Cold War, when the argument for absolute secrecy was at its zenith, Congress chose to make US surveillance laws public. Without public laws, and public court rulings interpreting those laws, it is impossible to have informed public debate. And when the American people are in the dark, they can’t make fully informed decisions about who should represent them, or protest policies that they disagree with. These are fundamentals. It’s Civics 101. And secret law violates those basic principles. It has no place in America.
Authorities this broad give the national security bureaucracy the power to scrutinize the personal lives of every law-abiding American. Allowing that to continue is a grave error that demonstrates a willful ignorance of human nature. Moreover, it demonstrates a complete disregard for the responsibilities entrusted to us by the Founding Fathers to maintain robust checks and balances on the power of any arm of the government. That obviously raises some very serious questions. What happens to our government, our civil liberties and our basic democracy if the surveillance state is allowed to grow unchecked? As we have seen in recent days, the intelligence leadership is determined to hold on to this authority. Merging the ability to conduct surveillance that reveals every aspect of a person’s life with the ability to conjure up the legal authority to execute that surveillance, and finally, removing any accountable judicial oversight, creates the opportunity for unprecedented influence over our system of government.
Most white Americans were willing to sacrifice civil liberties in the name of national security as long as they were the civil liberties of someone else.
The National Security Agency’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A. could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.
We’re talking about the fate of our economy and the questionable resiliency of our Nation’s critical infrastructure. Why are experts so polite, patient, and forgiving when talking about cybersecurity and National Security? The drama of each script kiddie botnet attack and Nation State pilfering of our IP has been turned into a soap opera through press releases, sound bites and enforced absurdity of mainstream media. It’s time for a cybersecurity zeitgeist in the West where cyber hygiene is a meme that is aggressively distributed by those who have mastered it and encouraged to be imitated by those who have experienced it.
The requirement for the United States to craft a national security strategy (NSS) document was first codified in the National Security Act of 1947, and amended by the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. The 1986 amendment requires the President to submit the document on an annual basis to Congress to provide a comprehensive report on U.S. national security strategy. Both pieces of legislation mandate that the strategy include a comprehensive description and discussion of worldwide interests, goals, and objectives...that are vital to the national security of the United States. It would also address foreign policy, world wide military commitments, U.S. national defense capabilities, short- and long-term uses of the elements of national power, and the requirement to have the strategy transmitted to Congress in both classified and unclassified form. A number of national security strategies were developed over time prior to the Goldwater-Nichols legislation, to include what many believe was the most significant grand strategy of the era, NSC-68, the key containment strategy against Soviet and Chinese communism. All were crafted during the pre-Goldwater-Nichals Act period at the classified level.
Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance.
It is vital to acknowledge the new reality before taking any steps to change the existing policies. The world is not the same anymore. Tackling religion-based terrorism is perhaps one, if not the most serious threat the world face in the 21st century. Unfortunately, more terror attacks like the ones in San Bernardino, Brussels and Paris are expected to occur. While those attacks were a reminder of the challenges that lay ahead, they exposed the need to have an improved early warning system that may ultimately save civilian lives. Such a system should take into account the shortcomings of the current warning frameworks and evaluate the usefulness of warnings generated by improved models that would cover a broad range of attacks, larger geographic areas within the country in question and a wide range of potential attack scenarios. The system is likely to facilitate well informed decisions on the assessment of information gathered from different sources. In this vein, finding a balance between protecting human rights and ensuring national security is key.
The New START accord cuts the strategic nuclear arsenals on each side to 1,550 warheads. Can any of its critics make a case that our security would be imperiled if, the very next day, Obama and Medvedev made moves to take the levels down to 1,000—then to 500?If so, come show us the math. If not, it may be time to stop making arms control so politically complicated—time to stop letting arms control get in the way of disarmament.