Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Church Committee Members Say New Group Needed To Watch NSA

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the and-a-committee-to-oversee-the-committee dept.

Privacy 143

Trailrunner7 writes "In a letter sent to President Obama and members of Congress, former members and staff of the Church Committee on Intelligence said that the revelations of the NSA activities have caused 'a crisis of public confidence' and encouraged the formation of a new committee to undertake 'significant and public reexamination of intelligence community practices.' In the letter sent Monday to Obama and Congress, several former advisers to and members of the Church committee, including the former chief counsel, said that the current situation involving the NSA bears striking resemblances to the one in 1975 and that the scope of what the NSA is doing today is orders of magnitude larger than what was happening nearly 40 years ago.

'The need for another thorough, independent, and public congressional investigation of intelligence activity practices that affect the rights of Americans is apparent. There is a crisis of public confidence. Misleading statements by agency officials to Congress, the courts, and the public have undermined public trust in the intelligence community and in the capacity for the branches of government to provide meaningful oversight,' the letter says."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

"Misleading statements by agency officials to..." (5, Insightful)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about 8 months ago | (#46517081)

You mean "lies" - FTFY.

WHO CARES!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517245)

Don't you people have anything better to complain about? Seriously, what do you have to hide?

Re:WHO CARES!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517577)

Your mom!

Re:WHO CARES!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517633)

Well, we can't actually hide your mom (your mom is so fat, we can't hide her), but we do want to hide all the video of the things we do with your mom.

Re:WHO CARES!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517811)

The gaseous atmosphere of Uranus might be enough cloud cover to conceal her though.

Re:WHO CARES!? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517641)

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing ...

Re:"Misleading statements by agency officials to.. (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 8 months ago | (#46517519)

I was thinking of those that would perverse a system for their own personal wet dreams. These same personalities would scream innocence when publically confronted with their actions; while rest of us try to keep from purging our prior meal. So ya, lies.

Re:"Misleading statements by agency officials to.. (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 8 months ago | (#46517609)

Not just lies, perjury. Those lies were told under oath.

If we had a functioning justice system in this country, those perps would be in jail awaiting trial right now.

-jcr

Re:"Misleading statements by agency officials to.. (1, Offtopic)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46518119)

Not just lies, perjury. Those lies were told under oath.

If we had a functioning justice system in this country, those perps would be in jail awaiting trial right now.

-jcr

If we had a functioning justice system, they would have been rounded up, tried for treason, and executed as traitors. They are levying war against the entire populace and are aiding our enemies with spy-back agreements. The banksters, the clowns at BP, the Enron dicks, etc. all knowingly, willingly, and intentionally fucked shit up on such a grand scale that I would consider them to be waging war on Americans as well, thus making them traitors and earning them the death penalty.

But the law doesn't apply to the rich and powerful in this nation.

Re:"Misleading statements by agency officials to.. (1)

Tharkkun (2605613) | about 8 months ago | (#46518197)

Not just lies, perjury. Those lies were told under oath.

If we had a functioning justice system in this country, those perps would be in jail awaiting trial right now.

-jcr

If we had a functioning justice system, they would have been rounded up, tried for treason, and executed as traitors. They are levying war against the entire populace and are aiding our enemies with spy-back agreements. The banksters, the clowns at BP, the Enron dicks, etc. all knowingly, willingly, and intentionally fucked shit up on such a grand scale that I would consider them to be waging war on Americans as well, thus making them traitors and earning them the death penalty.

But the law doesn't apply to the rich and powerful in this nation.

Laws don't apply to the intelligence community when psychos roam this planet.

Re:"Misleading statements by agency officials to.. (4, Insightful)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#46518575)

Laws apply to everybody regardless of who's roaming the planet.

Otherwise the psychos end up running things.

Re:"Misleading statements by agency officials to.. (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#46518703)

THIS!!!

There is never greater need for the rule of law than when society is at war or otherwise under attack.

In fact, artificial creation of "emergencies" is a classic ploy of governments to grab more power over the people.

Re:"Misleading statements by agency officials to.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46519071)

But considering this is a religious group, they'll never do that. Religious groups in this country do not recognize rights. They hate the right to privacy so these church groups love the NSA.

Re:"Misleading statements by agency officials to.. (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 8 months ago | (#46517725)

The problem, therefore, being one of branding rather than action?

Hint- the fact that they lied doesn't matter to me. The fact that they're reading this post, in building my dossier, does.

really? (5, Insightful)

DaWhilly (2555136) | about 8 months ago | (#46517129)

We have a group that monitors the NSA. The NSA lied to them.

Re:really? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517251)

It's turtles all the way down.

There is no sense in having yet another layer of watcher if it isn't possible to verify their work.

Re:really? (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 8 months ago | (#46517637)

Exactly. The only remedy for the NSA problem is to disband the NSA, and bar all of its current employees from any future jobs in government or as contractors to the government.

-jcr

Re:really? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 8 months ago | (#46517947)

They would just go to work for the highest bidder. They need to be deprogrammed first before being set free.

Re:really? (2)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#46518733)

Don't forget the existing data: all the hardware should be shredded, and datacenters should be bulldozed "until a no stone stands atop another stone". In short, the NSA is like Beta: it should get the Carthage treatment.

Re:really? (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#46518765)

"We have a group that monitors the NSA. The NSA lied to them."

BS. Do you really think the chair of the Intelligence Committe, Dianne Feinstein, didn't have a pretty good idea of what was going on? She was one of the people pushing for it.

The fact that this uproar is only happening now, when she found out that *SHE* was being spied on, would be hilarious if it weren't such a goddamned tragedy and parody of justice.

Re:really? (1)

zlives (2009072) | about 8 months ago | (#46518945)

she should probaly loose her reelection just on this bit... if the NSA doesn't coerce her opponent to forget and move along.
wonder what she had to hide that NSA knew and CIA doesn't.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (4, Interesting)

r_jensen11 (598210) | about 8 months ago | (#46517137)

Who watches the watchmen?

Yes, the NSA and the greater intelligence community clearly needs oversight, but will anyone trust someone with that much power any more than we currently trust the NSA?

And to preach to the choir, but shouldn't the conversation shift to asking:

  • Which risks are we (as a society) willing to take
  • What does the intelligence community need to fulfill its social responsibility?

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517635)

Funny how folks always seem to apply that saying as a caution when someone suggests oversight of the spy agencies, but don't seem to apply it as a caution about the existence of the spy agencies themselves.

Quis custodiet ipsos NSA?

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#46517739)

Who watches the watchmen?

In theory, that would be the job of the free press.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517935)

Bingo.

The NSA's operations and all data they collect in support of those operations should be a matter of public record.

If this means they can't do something because knowledge of the operation would ruin it, that's an indication that they shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (2, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#46518141)

In theory, that would be the job of the free press.

Well you guys have a free press in the US, the only problem is...it's sucking the Obama admin's nutsack. The people writing the majority of the articles are happy to roll over for any request, and they'll take anything including OFA/Media Matters talking points as gospel truth. And people on that side of the spectrum, refuse to listen to this, believing it to be "lies" or "disinformation" because they're blinded by partisanship. Or they simply believe the talking points that it's "all about race." That's probably my favorite one, seriously...these are the same people who were moaning and bitching about the Iraq war, but are no where to be seen after this administration launched several new ones.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#46518623)

Who watches the watchmen?

Yes, the NSA and the greater intelligence community clearly needs oversight, but will anyone trust someone with that much power any more than we currently trust the NSA?

You don't need meta-powers over the NSA to oversee the NSA, you only need the power needed to oversee the NSA. You don't even need enforcement power as long as your oversight can be reported - and accepted - by whatever agency actually regulates the NSA.

That's how checks and balances work. The President cannot control Congress (who cannot even control themselves, but that's another story). The President cannot control the Judiciary. Likewise, neither of those branches can control the President. But their powers were alloted in such a way that each branch can be held accountable by the other two branches.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#46518847)

"And to preach to the choir, but shouldn't the conversation shift to asking:

Which risks are we (as a society) willing to take

What does the intelligence community need to fulfill its social responsibility?"

NO. We already have answers to these questions.

The Constitution clearly shows us the safeguards to use: strictly limited government is the only solid answer to the first question, and government's actions outside the Constitution have only been further proving the validity of that. (Though why we should need even more proof than history had already given us might actually be a valid question.)

As for what the intelligence committee "needs": that is also pretty damned clear. The first thing they need is to ensure the government stops spying on all American citizens who aren't prior suspects of espionage... with probable-cause EVIDENCE of the latter.

The second thing they need is to make sure the government stops doing stupid spy shit to our allies and pissing them off.

After that, we will see.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (1)

jon.mixnblend (1866306) | about 8 months ago | (#46519083)

Anyone who paid to go to a cinema, rented a DVD or downloaded the movie?

Church? (-1, Troll)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 8 months ago | (#46517191)

WTF does the church have to do with this?

Nothing to do with the church. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517255)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Committee

Re:Church? (1)

Arker (91948) | about 8 months ago | (#46517277)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Committee

Re:Church? (3, Informative)

spafbi (324017) | about 8 months ago | (#46517285)

Ahem... from wikipedia: "The Church Committee was the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church (D-ID) in 1975." ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Church? (1, Funny)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 8 months ago | (#46517747)

Ahem...

Well isn't that spehshull. Doing our little superiority dance, are we?

Re:Church? (2)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#46518755)

And who is all this spying for? Could it be ... perhaps ... SATAN?

Re:Church? (4, Informative)

leftover (210560) | about 8 months ago | (#46517299)

The committee was chaired by a Congress-critter named Church. Nothing whatever to do with religion.

Who here actually remembers the Church committee? (2)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about 8 months ago | (#46518135)

Who else on /. (besides me) remembers the Church Committee hearings? Tricky Dicky? The Saturday Night Massacre?

Cheers,
Dave

Re:Who here actually remembers the Church committe (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 8 months ago | (#46518731)

Got my driver's license about that time, so didn't pay too much attention to that sort of thing, but I remember it from the news.

Re:Who here actually remembers the Church committe (1)

ipb (569735) | about 8 months ago | (#46519027)

all too well, (shaking my head), all too well

it's like deja-vu all over again...

Re:Church? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 8 months ago | (#46518231)

It's not religion, they're talking about the lambda calculus.

loss of confidence? (0)

rubycodez (864176) | about 8 months ago | (#46517215)

people paying attention lost confidence in the federal government and intelligence community forty plus years ago. that trust has never been regained, Snowden just gave a wakeup call for younger people.

The intelligence and police of our federal government are out of the control of We the People

Re:loss of confidence? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#46517581)

The intelligence and police of our federal government are out of the control of We the People

Same is true for government, which mostly only answers to We the Corporations these days.

Re:loss of confidence? (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 8 months ago | (#46518287)

You added nothing except a weak attempt to act like government is only a problem due to corporations.

Corporations get more and more involved with the government due to the increasing regulations that governments put on them.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to separate them now. But the fault for the intertwining lies directly with the government.

Re:loss of confidence? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 8 months ago | (#46518373)

no, government always has been in pockets of large corporations. in western world, started hundreds of years ago with banking cartel

Learn from the Constitution (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 8 months ago | (#46517229)

Less rubberstamping committees, more restritictions on the government.

Carter started extraconstitutional spying on suspected foreign agents (tapping phones) and had FISA courts oversee the implementation, and those courts I think went ahead with all but 4 out of 17,000+ requests in one of the past years.

Oversight is always than complete government restriction.

Re:Learn from the Constitution (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 8 months ago | (#46517395)

Oversight is always than complete government restriction.

I whole-heartedly.

Re:Learn from the Constitution (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 8 months ago | (#46518507)

I actually have a less-than symbol in there somewhere but slashdot deleted that. I forgot the nuances of this specific site.

Church Committee? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 8 months ago | (#46517235)

WTF has a Church Committee got to do with this anyway? There is supposed to be 'Separation of Church and State" as part of the constitution.
(And which Church are we talking about anyway? Catholic? Lutheran (ELCA) Southern Baptist? Methodist etc

Re:Church Committee? (1)

spafbi (324017) | about 8 months ago | (#46517259)

Ahem... from wikipedia: "The Church Committee was the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church (D-ID) in 1975." ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Church Committee? (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46517283)

Ugh you stole my thunder, I was going to pretend to be an ignoramus who didn't know Church was a surname. But your delivery was lackluster, it could've been done so much better.

Re:Church Committee? (1)

spafbi (324017) | about 8 months ago | (#46517401)

You, sir, are correct. My reply, while informative, was indeed lacking in oomph. Perhaps next time.

Re:Church Committee? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 8 months ago | (#46517613)

You know, the world, and slashdot is big enough for multiple ingorami. You can still do it, it is totally not too late. Or, you could have doubled down and expanded upon GP. like you didn't get the joke. So many possibilities here. The only upside is you still can since few people really read all the comments anyway.

Pot, meet Kettle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517997)

And I was going to pretend to be a choir-fucking priest. You know, just so we can keep the introductions casual between kettle and pot here.

Oh, the irony of a religious group wanting more oversight. I almost fell off my chair laughing over that shit.

Re:Church Committee? (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 8 months ago | (#46518127)

They only meet for an hour on Sundays.

Nice that they're trying.. (3, Insightful)

Rigel47 (2991727) | about 8 months ago | (#46517239)

But I can't help but feel that the very nature of our Government has morphed. Institutions like the NSA aren't bothered by public perception -- they have grown into their own. They are beholden only to their own agenda and will do whatever it takes (lying to congress, fabricating effectiveness) to maintain and expand their power. Obama will do some hand-wringing on TV but in the end nothing will change.

Re:Nice that they're trying.. (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#46518671)

But I can't help but feel that the very nature of our Government has morphed. Institutions like the NSA aren't bothered by public perception -- they have grown into their own. They are beholden only to their own agenda and will do whatever it takes (lying to congress, fabricating effectiveness) to maintain and expand their power. Obama will do some hand-wringing on TV but in the end nothing will change.

To be fair, public perception shouldn't count. Public action, on the other hand...

And if the American public doesn't take some serious action, they'll have only themselves to blame when people laugh at their assertions of being the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Beyond oversight? (4, Interesting)

tchdab1 (164848) | about 8 months ago | (#46517301)

Seems like the NSA and CIA might be by nature beyond oversight. Their job includes assuming that the worst scenarios are possible, which then justifies any action to thwart them, including lying to their overseers in order to keep doing illegal things they think is necessary to prevent those worst possible scenarios. It's bureaucratic paranoia resulting in functional schizophrenia that makes sense within the hive mind but not within the greater public mind that employs them to keep us safe.

Re:Beyond oversight? (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 8 months ago | (#46518143)

There is a real problem with trying any kind of openness or oversight in covert operations. The public is clueless in many areas and probably must remain so as a matter of public safety. Try this as a thought experiment. Have our president pass a security act that requires all members of the public, the government or the military who have any knowledge of the death of JFK to come forward immediately under severe penalty of law. Then watch how many agencies, businesses and individuals fight that like wildfire. think of one good reason that JFK files are sealed for yet another 16 years. And when they are released we will see copies with all kinds of items covered with black markers. For how many years could i buy an M1 rifle at my local gun store while it was still classified as top secret? Why is it that millions of soldiers were issued an M1 with 30 Cal. stamped on its barrel who never noticed that it was 30 caliber but knew it fired a 30-06 cartridge?

Re:Beyond oversight? (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#46518845)

Seems like the NSA and CIA might be by nature beyond oversight. Their job includes assuming that the worst scenarios are possible, which then justifies any action to thwart them, including lying to their overseers in order to keep doing illegal things they think is necessary to prevent those worst possible scenarios. It's bureaucratic paranoia resulting in functional schizophrenia that makes sense within the hive mind but not within the greater public mind that employs them to keep us safe.

I tend to doubt that. First, because we do have enough latitude under the law for investigation, infiltration, and other counter-measures. The issue at hand is that the limits of the law have been exceeded by the wrong people at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons. If you want monitoring of domestic communications, that's the FBI's job, for example. If you must spy on every trivial communication of every citizen, you need to provide probable cause as to why that should be essential.

Secondly, because the action-movie scenarios are mostly fictional, and many action movies even admit to that, because they're predicated on a loose-cannon hero taking on the bad guys in defiance of the people who are already assigned to handle the situation.

Thirdly, because in actual practice, the really bad stuff has not happened because of lack of intelligence via authorized channels, but because the intelligence wasn't acted on. The exception to that is that there is relatively little foreknowledge of the domestic berserker attacks, but there's no indication that tapping everyone's phone would help there anyway. Those people tend to keep to themselves. In fact, that's often one of the biggest warning signals.

In the mean time, we have what amounts to an old-time invasion of the Crimea and we blew the moral superiority we could have used to counter Russia by invading Iraq. And the intelligence experts apparently had no suggestions on how to head off the crisis despite all their unrestrained actions.

Because what the US Government needs... (3, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | about 8 months ago | (#46517311)

...is another committee, I'm sure of it.

Maybe a committe, and a staff...of course you have to have a competent staff. And they're going to be overworked, so a whole fleet of nubile, er, naive, er, talented interns.

And they'll need offices, maybe a new office building, somewhere downtown so they can exercise 'oversight' as closely as possible. A parking garage, certainly, plus probably a cafeteria. Probably a monorail from the airport is worth considering too...

Re:Because what the US Government needs... (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 8 months ago | (#46518277)

Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.
-- Will Rogers

Church Committee is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517343)

The "Church" committee is the senate committee to make sure the NSA, CIA, and FBI don't do anything illegal (i.e. Watergate). It's called the "Church" committee because it was originally chaired by Senator Frank Church.

Amen.. (2)

JezmundBerserker (1357805) | about 8 months ago | (#46517347)

Oh, not that kind of Church?

Re:Amen.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517923)

It is the secret order of Catholic monks, functioning behind the scenes and Catholicizing the US as a counter move in preparation for the coming Protestant theocracy. Their cover, blessed by the Pope, is the intelligence policy consulting for the current forms of US government. They dress in black uniforms, like Cheerios in the morning and have a fanatical devotion to the Pope. Their reports are not expected by any branch of US intelligence community.

Re:Amen.. (1)

snakeplissken (559127) | about 8 months ago | (#46518259)

and have a fanatical devotion to the Pope.

and their chief weapon...?

And do what? (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46517389)

Sure, an oversight committee would be a good idea. But are they going to be able to actually do their job? High-ranking officials in the NSA have already demonstrated they are willing to outright lie to congress, so why would they be any more honest here?

We'll just end up with a committee that isn't allowed to know about the things they should be monitoring, wouldn't be told if they were allowed to know, and can't actually do anything about any abuses they do find beyond politely reminding the NSA that their actions are probably illegal.

Re:And do what? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#46517507)

so why would they be any more honest here?

The only way to make them more honest is if Congress actually decided to throw the people who lied to them into jail.

We'll just end up with a committee that isn't allowed to know about the things they should be monitoring, wouldn't be told if they were allowed to know, and can't actually do anything about any abuses they do find beyond politely reminding the NSA that their actions are probably illegal.

Wait, isn't that what we have now?

Something with a little more teeth needs to be in charge of this. Of course, then they themselves would just become the next step in the chain of lying bastards anyway.

Re:And do what? (1)

Tharkkun (2605613) | about 8 months ago | (#46518291)

so why would they be any more honest here?

The only way to make them more honest is if Congress actually decided to throw the people who lied to them into jail.

We'll just end up with a committee that isn't allowed to know about the things they should be monitoring, wouldn't be told if they were allowed to know, and can't actually do anything about any abuses they do find beyond politely reminding the NSA that their actions are probably illegal.

Wait, isn't that what we have now?

Something with a little more teeth needs to be in charge of this. Of course, then they themselves would just become the next step in the chain of lying bastards anyway.

They only lie to congress because no one in Congress is in a position to understand how the NSA protects us. Please explain to everyone how our civil liberties have been actually violated? You want privacy? Unplug your computer. Otherwise you must accept how this world works and if it's not the NSA then another agency, foreign or domestic will be doing the intelligence work. At least this isn't China where writing your above post would get a knock on your door.

Re:And do what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46518675)

They only lie to congress because no one in Congress is in a position to understand how the NSA protects us.

So, by that logic I should be able to steal your money because you seem to waste it on stuff? How can we trust an entity which lies to us and tells us it's for our own good? Are you prepared to give blanket trust to these people? If you are, you're an idiot.

Please explain to everyone how our civil liberties have been actually violated?

My right of free association because I may tangentially know someone involved in stuff I'm not aware of.

My right to be secure in my papers.

My right to be free from warrantless searches.

My right to know my accuser and the evidence against me, and not what the police have contrived to mask how they really got the information they claim implicates me.

My right to privacy through encryption which hasn't been compromised.

My right to anonymous speech so I am not oppressed by an unjust government,

Tell us, how exactly they haven't violated our civil liberties.

Otherwise you must accept how this world works

Must I? Those who would give up essential liberties for temporary security deserve neither. You can choose to be a simpering coward, but that doesn't mean everybody else has to

and if it's not the NSA then another agency, foreign or domestic will be doing the intelligence work

So you believe it is the right of China to spy on all US citizens? How long ago was it the US was claiming China was putting spy mechanisms into communications products? How can the rest of the world trust the US any more than they would trust Iran?

At least this isn't China where writing your above post would get a knock on your door.

Not yet, but do you remember someone named Joseph McCarthy? If you don't believe it can happen, you're a deluded moron with no grasp of things which have happened before.

If we're all meant to accept that anything these clowns do is for our own good and something we should accept without question, then it will only be a matter of time before we all live under the worst form of totalitarian government you can imagine.

You may choose to live in that world, but the rest of us don't need to choose to. If Americans have decided that all of this should be normal, then the lessons of history are lost on you.

Re:And do what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46518321)

> High-ranking officials in the NSA have already demonstrated they are willing to outright lie to congress, so why would they be any more honest here?

What makes you think Congress hasn't demonstrated they are willing to outright lie to us? It's a viscious circle....

Recursion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517421)

The committee members should Google recursion.

Re:Recursion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46518389)

The committee members should Google recursion.

The committee members should Google recursion.

Reform (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517441)

No amount of "reform" is going to fix this. Adding more lawyers and more bureaucracy will not fix this. It's all cop-outs and the NSA will keep doing what it's doing under whatever name it's given as part whatever cop-out reform you can imagine.

You might get there with constitutional amendments, but personally I'm arguing for a breakup; the problem is the millions highly paid bureaucrats ensconced in Washington doing the bidding of their hundred foot tall political Masters of the Universe in league with corporate statists trying to rectifiy the world to fit their business models. We don't actually need these people to live well and honorably, folks.

We really don't.

Committees are a waste of time (2)

packrat0x (798359) | about 8 months ago | (#46517451)

Until the US congress actually withholds funding from an agency that violates US law, all federal agencies are exempt from the law.

Re:Committees are a waste of time (0)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#46517547)

They need to do more than withhold funding, they need to to put the people violating the law in jail, charge them with treason, and otherwise make their lives miserable.

But somehow this is being treated like something they can do and not have any real consequences. Start putting the people in charge in Federal prison, and make them responsible for what their agencies do, and then you might start to see changes.

Right now it sounds like you can lie to Congress and break the law all you want, and nobody does a damned thing about it.

Re:Committees are a waste of time (1)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#46518811)

They need to do more than withhold funding, they need to to put the people violating the law in jail, charge them with treason, and otherwise make their lives miserable.

Jail and torture and mass execution of those involved is trivial to a bureaucracy - but cut their funding and the whole public sector world will take notice, and flee.

No the NSA needs to be dismantled (2)

DarkOx (621550) | about 8 months ago | (#46517539)

The NSA needs to be taken apart and gotten rid of. Its almost complete overlap with CIA / FBI. There should be no NSA. We don't need a separate signals intelligence agency without a clearly defined scope.

The stuff the NSA does around developing secure encryption standards etc (assuming it actually does any of that anymore and iust putting back doors in things ) should go the FBI as crime prevention. Everything else is foreign intelligence and should go to the CIA removing the duplication of course. It should be re-iterated the CIA is forbidden from operating withing the boarders.

That is how you restore public confidence.

Re:No the NSA needs to be dismantled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517843)

The NSA is part of the Department of Defense. If you deleted the NSA, the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency, military counterpart to CIA) would immediately take over. The DIA is responsible for doing insane stuff like placing spies inside political protest organizations.

There's no simple answer for fixing the problem. It goes deeper and further afield than the NSA. For example, the DoJ (including the FBI) is complicit in NSA domestic surveillance.

Re:No the NSA needs to be dismantled (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46518085)

The NSA has a place. It's there as a sig-int operation and for intelligence gathering and aggregation. It is not an investigative agency. That is up to the CIA/FBI. The NSA just needs to do their job correctly. When the CIA/FBI come asking for intel from the NSA, the NSA's first response should be "Certainly. Show me the warrant and we'll have that to you shortly." The NSA has been slacking, taking shortcuts in the name of "national security". Mostly, I think they just don't give a crap. They're a three-letter agency. They don't have to care.

Re:No the NSA needs to be dismantled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46518273)

The NSA has a place.

They had a place before they showed they couldn't be trusted with it.

Re:No the NSA needs to be dismantled (1)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#46518891)

The NSA's SIGINT role was vital during the cold war. Now it's just overreach. Foreign SIGINT belongs with the CIA, and DIA on the battlefield. There should be no domestic SIGINT: while valuable, the cost exceeds the benefit.

Re:No the NSA needs to be dismantled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46518359)

The NSA needs to be taken apart and gotten rid of.

The Department of Homeland Security needs to be included in your wish list.

Re:No the NSA needs to be dismantled (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 8 months ago | (#46518761)

The NSA needs to be taken apart and gotten rid of. Its almost complete overlap with CIA / FBI. There should be no NSA. We don't need a separate signals intelligence agency without a clearly defined scope.

The NSA has a clearly defined scope.

Alas, much of what it has done in the last few years has been outside that legally defined scope.

Short of (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 8 months ago | (#46517557)

Short of them being allowed to stick their manifesto in his breast pocket during a press conference, jack-shit is going to happen, all justified by permanent war and 'National Security' - the same garbage they've increasingly used to stop FOIA requests (which will probably be repealed in a few years anyway).

The first step (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517589)

The first step is admitting that you have a problem. So far we have a 'letter', informing that there is a problem. The next step is admitting on the part of the one with the problem that there is a problem (without that you need an intervention). Followed by a series of steps to reform, and rehabilitate. Diligence and constant monitoring is required to ensure that there are no relapses. That this has happened before suggests a pattern, and previous efforts at oversight were either ineffective, or were (mistakenly) removed over the years.

Panopticon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517737)

And then we'll need another committee to watch those watchers. And a committee to watch those watchers ad infinitum.

Jeremy Bentham imagined a single overseer at the top to keep everyone else in line. Who could we possibly trust with that sort of authority?

Seems to me the only democratic way to handle surveillance is public transparency rather than more private committees. If our government didn't have such a sweeping surveillance authority in the first place we wouldn't need an infinite chain of watchers. That's the real solution. Not an endless regress of watchers.

Nancy Pelosi stated that they were afaid to fix it (3, Informative)

stox (131684) | about 8 months ago | (#46517741)

“You don’t fight it without a price because they come after you and they don’t always tell the truth."

http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/... [rollcall.com]

Re:Nancy Pelosi stated that they were afaid to fix (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 8 months ago | (#46517797)

Well then Nancy Pelosi is a chicken shit - pure and simple!

We already have a group to watch the NSA. (1)

Max Threshold (540114) | about 8 months ago | (#46517769)

It's called The People. Stop withholding relevant information from the responsible watchdog organization, and everything will work itself out.

Or ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517853)

... We could just dismantle the NSA.

Just what we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46517871)

We need spies to watch the spies..

In 10 years we will need spies to watch the spies who are supposed to be watching the spies.

Just disband it (5, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 months ago | (#46518015)

That's what you do with rogue agencies.

Back when I was in the Canadian Army, we disbanded entire units, burned their colors, demoted their officers, and punished the guilty for torturing civilians in Africa.

Do that with the NSA. Starting at the top, with long prison sentences in gulags.

USA doesn't do that any more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46518253)

Nowadays we find a few chumps like Lynndie England and Ivan Frederick and blame everything on them.

Janis Karpinski walks free. And we don't even know who commands the "black jail" in Bagram, which is one of several torture and rape facilities that President Obama has exempted from his shutdown of Bush-era "secret foreign prisons."

Form a committee... (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 8 months ago | (#46518069)

The most widespread violations of citizen's rights in the history of this nation, practices that have badly damaged the international reputation of the nation in both public and private sectors, appointed officials who have sworn to protect and defend The Constitution patently guilty of criminal behaviro being allowed to tell Congress to, essentially, go fuck itself, and the advice is "form a committtee". Seriously?

How do we clean this radioactive, toxic swamp? (1)

dweller_below (136040) | about 8 months ago | (#46518117)

At this point, governance of the NSA is a constitutional sham. There is no just rule because there is no consent of the governed.

There appear to be 2 paths forward.

  1. 1) The path of trusted representation. If you can trust your representatives, maybe you can trust their oversight. This is the pathway that started with Frank Church and lead to Dianne Feinstein. The problem is, how do you regain trust when it has been so thoroughly abused? We now have lots of evidence that both the process and the people involved in this distribution of trust are not trustworthy. Simply resetting the process will not restore trust.
  2. 2) The path of transparency. For the last few years, our dreams of empire have tempted us to discard openness, transparency and rightful rule. But these are the very things that have created and preserved us. There is nothing new about the temptations of tyranny. The dream of power has not changed or evolved in the last few thousand years. The architects of our nation were just as familiar with these temptations are are we. We just need to turn back to open laws, open courts, and open public discourse.

Who will watch the new group? (1)

BlazingATrail (3112385) | about 8 months ago | (#46518437)

The constitution and judiciary who will enforce it is the only group you need. They won't so the new group is just as free to break the law as the NSA. The Supreme Court and your government is already corrupt and ignores the constitution, so you're pretty much screwed.

I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46518539)

I don't get it, there are already Congressional committees monitoring the NSA/CIA/FBI and they aren't doing anything to solve the problem. In fact they are REFUSING to take action to solve the problem. What good is yet another committee pointlessly wringing their hands and complaining that the head of the intelligence agencies are lying to them (or hacking into the committee's computers to delete evidence of their criminal activity) and there is nothing that can be done. What we need is Sen. Feinstein to get off her rich ass, stop sucking up, and actually start filing criminal charges against these assholes.

Please, not yet another X! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46518567)

The classic way to 'solve' a problem in Washington is to throw yet another (law, agency, reg, department, etc) at the problem.
Then call it fixed.
Then come back years later when it's even worse and repeat.

We don't need yet another group to watch the groups we have.
We need to hold the supposedly adult supervisors we have now accountable for not watching the store.
That would be the congressional intelligence oversight committees.

With the best of intentions,
They setup and supported what we have now.
Now that it's public, they are 'shocked' to see what is there.
    (See the recent statement from the good lady from California about the CIA.)

Instead of adding another bandaid, a simpler approach might be to just let the 'Patriot' Act expire.

Blasphemie! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46519079)

I cannot read this, well, gotta run to the DMV and repent.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?