Is that the sound of the universe getting louder or is that the sound of all people together suddenly coming to our senses?
What do you think of these words: “Gibberish”?
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You may recall I wrote about how the U.S. intelligence community needs to come to grips with the fact “We have spies in the United States.” That led to some good debate on Twitter and reddit, with folks arguing that the real problem is not the spy problem, but rather the lack of the kinds of transparency required to hold it accountable — if not the actual spying itself.
Of course, the problem with this argument has always been that it assumes the truth behind everything. It assumes that when it came to spying, the NSA doesn’t do anything wrong — that it just is what it is, a secretive organization that, according to those who know it best, is perfectly willing to use its resources to spy on people they don’t like, often by accident.
But now, as it was revealed by The Washington Post on Monday , that’s all part of the story. The NSA’s defenders — as well as its critics, by the way — believe that it’s only a matter of time before we find out which agency did what to whom, and there could be some serious consequences if they decide not to cooperate.
Here’s how The Washington Post describes those consequences. The NSA, it says, “has a system for reviewing, approving and monitoring the materials it receives from foreign partners, to avoid or mitigate against embarrassing disclosures or improper surveillance.” It also doesn’t do so by accident. The Post notes that the NSA’s general counsel has instructed staff to be cautious and “careful” about reviewing the files that come back from foreign sources, adding, “When it finds the files, the agency makes ‘a case to the foreign partner’ to prevent the disclosures, and then sends back the files.”
I’m not sure how much trust we can have in such a highly classified organization, when we know they can spy on you (and even on their own people) just because it comes up as a problem to them or their allies.
But the NSA isn’t exactly the problem here. We also have
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