Author Topic: The Five Asks: How Can We Believe That NSA Has Stopped Terror Attacks, Won’t Abuse Power?  (Read 331 times)

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Offline happyg

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After a week of heated debate over the NSA surveillance programs, the hosts of The Five finally got to hear from President Obama and NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander today. But that doesn’t mean they are accepting the defense and justification from the government at face value. On Tuesday’s show they asked if Americans can really believe what they’re being told.

Bob Beckel, who has been severely skeptical of the programs since they first leaked, said that after listening to Alexander’s testimony, “I felt absolutely no more comfortable at the end than at the beginning.” He said “it was a violation of Fourth Amendment before, it is a violation of Fourth Amendment now.”

Next, Eric Bolling went even further, rejecting assertions from Obama and Alexander that the NSA is not looking at content of phone calls and emails. “I am reasonably certain there’s an ability to get more information than… just basic details about a phone call,” he said. “I am reasonably certain there’s a way, and they may have already done this, to have access to the phone calls and the e-mails.” He added, “they say they’re only going after foreign intelligence and terrorists and treason-like issues. But how do we know that? I mean, the IRS wasn’t going to do what they did either.”

Greg Gutfeld pushed back on Andrea Tantaros‘ assertion that the program is “ripe for abuse” and should therefore be altered. “If something is ripe for abuse,” he said, “you try to create a way to prevent the abuse from happening, but you don’t dismantle something that could possibly save lives.” Gutfeld said the political “disarray” from both the right and left on this issue is only benefiting “radical Islam.” And, he said, if we remove the NSA programs, “it gives them a first class ticket to the apocalypse.”

And Oceander Perino tended to hew closer to Gutfeld than she did to Beckel and Bolling. She said she had “no reason to believe [Alexander] would lie that there were 50 plots” plots stopped by the NSA. Further more, she said that of the members of Congress who have been briefed on the details of the programs, “not one that went into that briefing has come out and said ‘Holy cow, your Fourth Amendment rights have been totally–’ That’s not happened by the people that have been informed about it.”

In reference to the “advisory board” that President Obama has vowed to set up for the NSA, Bolling said, “There’s another advisory board, it’s the media.” But, as Tantatos pointed out, “the media isn’t the one breaking the scandals.”

Online Oceander

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And here we have the essential problem of The Watchers.  Once the watchers get a taste for spying on their own citizens, they won't easily give it up and because the only practical real-time check on the executive power is the habits and customs of the individuals exercising that power, there isn't any easy way to make sure that they've stopped abusing their power once they've gotten a taste for it.

It is, perhaps, in this area that we are forced to take a page from Plato's Republic and design a system where the individuals who exercise the executive power of the federal government are trained and habituated - to the point of a pavlovian response - to the belief that they may not willy-nilly spy on Americans and that they have a sacrosanct duty to respect the rights of ordinary Americans absent probable cause and a warrant from a magistrate.

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?
« Last Edit: June 18, 2013, 10:09:35 PM by Oceander »
I won't vote for Clinton, but I cannot vote for Trump.  How could I explain to my daughter why I supported a man who sees her as nothing more than a piece of meat, a piece of a$$ for him to grope for his own private pleasure.

"Trump supporter" - the very definition of an SFI

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