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July 10, 2009

Report: Extensive Secrecy Cited in Limiting Effectiveness of Wiretap Program

Please allow a few moments for the contradiction to sink in.

It was so secret it didn't work as well as it could have. This is the conclusion of an internal review of the program reported today.

What. The Fuck? It was too secret? (nyt link, forewarned)

Apparently it's overwrought secrecy led to a quagmire of policy defense, the constant struggles with a contrary opposition party and excessive legal challenges kept them from making it work as well as it could have. That's my first take on this unusual charge of "oversecretness".

Had it only been a little more "open". Everything would have been as right as rain.

Background and all too familiar arguments are also regurgitated, repeated in advance of an upcoming event, I forget what it could be:

- It ran in October of 2001 without a Justice Department legal opinion.

- It really should be carefully monitored. (I would suggest by members of Congress who can't remember what they were told about it.)

- It was broader than activities publicly acknowledged by the Bush administration, monitoring "monitoring huge volumes of records of domestic emails and Internet searches, as well as bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel and telephone records."

You know. The kind of stuff that happened prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001. That shit.

- It "may have contributed to a counterterrorism success".

- Other sources of information were used in conjunction! Analysts say it was useful, but so were other things. There is "difficulty" ascertaining it's specific usefulness, in that it was combined with other sources of information.

blah blah blah.

I'd just add a couple of thoughts, from an idiot.

One, the program continues under the current administration.

Two, I can't wait to see the defense of these practices under the current administration, which, while rhetorically unserious about the nature of the threat, cannot afford to allow that perception to remain prevalent in the minds of the public should another attack occur. The pre-November Obama talked a great game about correcting these "offenses". The post "oh shit I have to deal with this stuff now" Obama cannot afford to appear as though he pulled down the very things that have kept those attacks from harming the nation.

Cat on a hot tin roof.


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posted by Dave In Texas at 07:58 PM

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