Tag Archives: Mandy Nagy

Untangling the web of NSA, Snowden, and PRISM

stevendepolo (CC)

stevendepolo (CC)

stevendepolo (CC)

Arguments over the value of what Edward Snowden revealed to Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian have been out there ever since the story broke, and of course, the smearing of Snowden by official sources in government is in full swing. It is understandable that Greenwald is doing what he can to protect the integrity of his source. However, his current statements do not dispel some issues brought up by Mandy Nagy over at Legal Insurrection. If anything, the inconsistencies brought up by Nagy raise many legitimate questions that probably will need to be addressed sooner or later by Greenwald and The Guardian, presuming that there is a real desire to protect the integrity of their source, and the legitimacy of their reporting.

That is a relatively harsh way of putting another issue on the table – was The Guardian “right” to report on this in the first place? It’s a treacherous situation to report on intelligence procedures in the best of circumstances, and this case is particularly difficult to wade through, if for no other reason, because it appears that Snowden may or may not have been what he claims to have been. If Nagy is right, the big question becomes how did Snowden get the information in the first place? It is bad enough to think that someone that had been employed by the government through a contracted corporation could get this information if that person had access to it daily for years. But, it’s possible that Snowden only had real access to anything for just a few weeks, at most – taking into account training time, where it’s not unreasonable to assume he would have had limited access, regardless of his past history with the CIA. And that’s not even getting into the apparently spotted work and academic history of Snowden, that arguably should have been considered a warning sign that maybe he really wasn’t what he appeared. Given the nature of the information that he was revealing – government secrets that, by definition, can’t be verified by secondary sources – one would think that a great deal of scrutiny should be given to what should be verifiable – the life history of the source. Since it appears that Snowden’s history looks at least a little like a poorly pieced together “cover identity” from a spy novel, there should have been at least a little wariness about what the man had to say. One serious question should have been, has the CIA really taken to hiring people that had to get a GED because they couldn’t complete high school, and apparently couldn’t manage to complete a single degree in one school?

And then there is the PRISM program itself. While Palantir has a program of that name, they’ve categorically denied involvement in the NSA program of that name. Given the documentation of Palantir program, their claims appear to be true. However, that does not mean that Palantir doesn’t have hands in government intelligence gathering at all. The company specializes in data mining, management, and interpretation software, and openly states that it has clientele in government, law enforcement, the healthcare and pharmacy industries. While they tout their work against human trafficking in conjunction with Google, that doesn’t mean that their other endeavors are not worth scrutinizing. Just because they apparently are not involved in the development of NSA’s PRISM program does not mean that they are not involved in governmental data mining at all.

Snowden’s leaks to The Guardian have raised more questions than answers. The information that he has revealed still could eventually be proven to be of little value, but the fact that he had managed to hold any position in the government, or at a company that has been contracted to do security work is disturbing. It has been taken for granted that there has been some level of spying on U.S. citizens by the government since at the very least, 9/11. How far the government has gone, and continues to go, hasn’t been made any more clear by Snowden’s information. He’s merely pointed out that it probably is far more extensive than anyone had suspected previously. As for what citizens and journalists alike should be focusing on at this point is the simple fact that the government is spying on U.S. citizens. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the breadth of information on citizens that will be available to the government will increase radically. We should be more concerned with what the government intends to do with information it gathers, either through its intelligence infrastructure, or through purely domestic agencies like the IRS. The unfortunate fact at this point is that the conspiracy theorists are at least partially right. Government has grown to the point where no citizen should assume any level of privacy in anything that they do. They should assume that the government will not restrict itself to using that information for innocuous reasons – the claims that information could be used to intimidate citizens through threats of prosecution should be considered accurate, because there is nothing in place to prevent the government from acting in that way. Politics aside, this should be a wake-up call to the public. Unfortunately, until there are verified cases of the government using information that it has gathered through the use of PRISM or any other data mining programs to prosecute citizens as a tool of intimidation, it’s more likely that apathy will continue to keep the masses silent.

Newtown, Connecticut Shooting as Example of MSM Failure

sandyhook

It happens. There is a tragedy, and the press leaps into action. Reporters run about trying to pull together information on the perpetrators of whatever crime has occurred, aren’t necessarily thorough in their haste to get the scoop, and then some details turn out to be dead wrong.

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Yes, this is a conservative site, and that was a Fox News clip, but it wasn’t posted here because of political leanings. It was posted because Fox News was the one network that at least hesitated throughout the day from jumping on each new theory as it came out. They did run with the false assessment that Ryan Lanza was the shooter, but only after at least CBS and someone else had done the same. And this problem of insufficient fact-checking, and desperation to beat everyone else to the punch was clearly illustrated on Facebook by Mandy Nagy (Liberty Chick) from Breitbart.com. I couldn’t have put it better when she pointed out that if the explosion of garbage on social media was the way the brother of the shooter found out about the deaths of his family members, that is despicable.

And before the dust has settled at all, and before the crime scene has even been examined in earnest by investigators, the Democrats are already marshaling their troops in their incessant battle against the Second Amendment. It doesn’t matter that logic should tell them that gun laws will not prevent criminals or the criminally insane from acquiring weapons to commit crimes like this. Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush offered this in a statement today:

Lawmakers, local, state and national, can no longer be held hostage by those who are opposed to reasonable gun control laws. It is time for lawmakers to come out of hiding and to have the courage to face these issues. We must act on all fronts, social, economic, educational to answer the complex questions raised by today’s events. We must face, without shame, the issues of domestic violence and mental health that are no doubt a part of today’s events.

Perhaps the only correct part of that statement was the fact that this tragedy probably did have something to do with both domestic violence, and mental health. As for what Rush’s definition of “reasonable gun control laws” is, there is little doubt it has something to do with removing the ability for the vast majority of law-abiding citizens to acquire firearms at all in the first place. As conservatives, we know that will lead to radically increased gun violence, not the opposite that liberals regularly claim.

But, it is not time for us to speak of politics, no matter how tempting it may be. I made the observation earlier today that at least on Twitter, conservatives were praying, while leftists were conspiring to use this tragedy for their own political agenda. While I personally don’t pray, I do prefer to be associated with those that do in this situation. This is not the time or place for politics. It is time to mourn, comfort others, and heal.