Friday, December 20, 2013

Progress? Has the Time Come?

Having spent the better part of the day yesterday on The Report (see post below), I'm still plowing through it today, but so far, my initial impressions are confirmed rather fully. The whole thing is an argument -- essentially a legal brief -- for reigning in and enhancing oversight of the NSA, almost exactly along the lines of Snowden's and Greenwald's objections to NSA domestic (and foreign, but I haven't got to that part yet) surveillance as highlighted in the series of Bombshell Revelations over the summer.

Isn't that interesting?

Well, it should be.

The composition of the panel that did the review and came up with the Report (Richard Clarke,  Michael Morell, Geoffrey Stone, Cass Sunstein and Peter Swire) was fiercely criticized by Snowden/Greenwald fans for including a former CIA acting director and Cass Sunstein,  (aka: The Devil Incarnate) as well as a number of  other usual suspects. It was expected that the panel would therefore whitewash the NSA's programs and recommend post facto legalizing everything they've been doing. But it turns out not to be that way at all.

In fact, the panel uses the opportunity presented by the Snowden/Greenwald revelations and the presidential directive to "review" intelligence operations to dig relatively deep into the Intelligence community as a whole -- not just the NSA -- and make observations and recommendations regarding the way that community behaves in the Post 9/11 world. Its observations and recommendations are aligned almost exactly with the perceptions and demands of Snowden and Greenwald. In other words, the panel seems to see the revelations over the summer as a means to engage the administration and the public in a discussion of "proper" reform of these agencies which have been out of control for most of the years since 9/11.

The time has come.

Now of course I'm not a reformist when it comes to the intelligence community. I don't believe it can be "reformed" -- due to its intrinsic nature. It may be possible to abolish and reconstitute it, but even then, the abusive nature of the enterprise is bound to reassert itself, especially if -- as now -- the intelligence community is so deeply intertwined with corporate interests as opposed to the public interest.

I haven't got far enough into the report to suss out just how much the recommendations serve the private sector corporate interests which have always had a strong hand within and  over the intelligence community, but I have little doubt that the Report skews heavily toward those interests -- while calling them the 'public interest.'

Unfortunately for the public, this seems to be the direction Snowden/Greenwald want "reform" to go, by institutionalizing the primacy of corporate interest over the public interest as expressed through government.

But there is still quite a lot of the report I haven't read. I am not a speed reader, and I'm trying to find dots which may ultimately be connected to understand what this whole hoo-hah as been about.

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