Obama administration decides NSA spying is ‘essential,’ but oversight of NSA is not

“While the National Security Agency (NSA) has largely escaped the government shutdown, the panel investigating NSA spying practices has effectively been frozen,” Andrea Peterson reports for The Washington Post. “Politico reports that as of Friday, the five-member Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies lost its staff to the furlough associated with the government shutdown.”

“The group, which is largely comprised of intelligence community and White House insiders, was initially scheduled to remain running during the furlough,” Peterson reports. “However, former acting CIA director Michael Morell declined to attend a scheduled meeting Tuesday, citing the shutdown.”

Peterson reports, “By Friday, the office of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, which is facilitating the panel, reversed course and determined that panel members’ staff should be furloughed, according to Politico‘s sources. While in theory the members are unpaid, so the panel could continue without support staff or payment for travel expenses, that seems unlikely… So while it appears that the NSA will remain largely functional during the shutdown, the inquiry into the agency’s spying activities will not.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: United States Constitution, Amendment IV:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Join The Electronic Frontier Foundation in calling for a full congressional investigation here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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75 Comments

    1. Let’s be honest. MDN will suddenly LOVE the NSA when a Republican is in the White House. Until that happens we will see a constant litany of howls about the Constitution and the 4th Amendment.

      For the record, I think the NSA should be banned. Regardless of who is in the White House.

      1. The NSA used to have a useful purpose. Now they are just a corrupt arm of a corrupt government with NO respect for US citizens on US soil and their constitutional rights. Get all PaNiCed about terrorism all you like. When the US government becomes the terrorist against its own citizens, dementia has set it. It’s time to send the old lady to the old folks home and start with a NEW baby USA, same Constitution, same intentions of our country’s forefathers, no psychopaths allowed in politics ever.

        1. And how does this involve Apple? This same self-destructive catastrophe of a government has used every lie and bias it can pull out of it’s rectal pore to damage Apple in favor of it’s self-destructive biznizz bozoid rivals on Wall Street. Kill off this sick government. Let actual, factual capitalism rise again and strangle out the twisted, parasitic weeds, rats and wolves.

          1. Apple is involved with the NSA because the NSA forced Apple to write code into Mac OS X and iOS that gives the NSA direct access to every computer connected to the internet, and the forced Apple to lie to us that this ever happened. Same for Microsoft and Google. In fact, all operating systems, computer or phone have been compromised to allow the NSA in. If you think otherwise you are naive.

            1. If I think otherwise, it’s because I like science, which requires factual information before a theory can be formed.

              Scepticism is an extremely useful tool in the midst of Truth Decay®. Going all CONsPirAcY TheoRy isn’t.

              Meanwhile, you may be entirely correct. I’d rather get at the fact sooner than later.

              Until then, client side encryption and receiver side decryption is your pal.

            2. You are correct that my claims are not supported by evidence. However, if I ran the NSA, I would demand every US provider of operating software include a backdoor for every product they sell. Then I would make them sign non-disclosure agreements preventing them from revealing the existence of such. Basically, anything that technology enables the NSA to do likely has been done, and to a degree most of us cannot imagine. We only know what we know because a low-level, contract employee recognized the gross constitutional violations committed by the NSA and blew the whistle. That man is an American hero.

            3. Snowden is one of the greatest patriots the US ever had, and Obama one of our worst. Don’t worry I don’t let Bush Jr off the hook either but he was nowhere near as bad as Obama now is.

            4. montex, I entirely agree.

              Even if some of the allegations against Apple et al. aren’t true, this administration wrecked the US Constitution and created a hell of distrust of our government and they get all the blame.

              I’d like to see Snowden back in the USA, acclaimed as one of the most daring heroes of US democracy. I’d also like this executive branch administration in jail, rotting in cells adjacent to those of the executive branch of the previous administration, treasonous criminals all.

            5. And what would have happened if Tim Crook had refused?

              They would have put him in jail? On what charges?

              We have heard all these… we are just following orders excuses from every Nazi Concentration camp manager…

              Bullshit I call it.

              Fascism depends on the likes of Tim Crook.

            6. If Apple had refused NSA demands, then the government would not give Apple any contracts. You may have notice that Obama uses a Mac. The profit motive is the ONLY motive in the USA.

            7. The NSA has court orders, remember? Just like of the police knock on your door with a search warrant to search your house. You resist, you go to jail and they search anyway.

          2. You have it wrong. The government his highly effective. It has been bought BY the power brokers of an under-regulated capitalistic economy right from under the noses of a distracted populace. Piece by piece, both corrupt parties are offloading the cost of civilization away from users (both small users, individuals, and HUGE users, corporations) so they can put the bill on the national credit card. Then one party pretends future growth will someday magically pay off decades of accumulated deficits, while the other party (which actually accrued more of the total debt) declares that spending is the only problem and that we should slash taxes and let trickle-down economics destroy what is left of the middle class while the elite multi-millionaire class continues to hoard wealth and complain that the peasants are working hard enough. The average citizen has absolutely no voice in congress, which is disgusting except for the fact that a large portion of the population is so lazy, greedy, self-centered, or evangelically brainwashed that they would not be able to identify good long-term stable governance if it bit them in the face. They would always complain that big bad government is getting between them and their precious freedom — completely ignorant that a wise government looks out for the health of ALL citizens and future generations, not the size of your personal bank account this quarter.

            Apple would do well to stay out of politics and stick to making electronics.

            1. You and montex on a roll tonight. I entirely agree.

              There are further complexities. One of them is the lunatic concept of ‘Starve The Beast’ whereby the Republicans have drastically driven up the debt in order to create a dire financial crisis, such as the current crisis they have manufactured, in order to allow entitlements to be gutted and the military bloated beyond comprehension. The Military Industrial Complex runs our government, shut up peasants or we won’t tinkle down on you.

              Which ever way I look at it, this is self-destruction of the USA on a grand scale.

            2. Ack. Market forces actually do solve most problems. And it should be the government making sure that market forces work properly to limit damage. For instance, charging for fishing/hunting licenses in my state produces a natural demand/supply curve that lets anyone who wants to fish/hunt enough the opportunity, but creates a natural limit so that fish/animal populates stay healthy.

              Instead our government is undoing the good that free markets can do, for instance providing politicians with credit cards that they can wrack up debt on in order to get support, but are not in any way personally liable for paying back. This one thing, a legal unbalanced budget, creates huge incentives for manipulation, corruption and mismanagement.

              If wars were pay as you go, there would be fewer of them.

              If politicians didn’t have easy tax breaks to give, there would be less kowtowing to corporations.

              It goes on and on. A balanced budget should literally be one of the “checks and balances” in our constitution. Anyone writing a “check” should have to provide the “balance”, not pass it on to our children.

              Rant over.

          1. Charges by congress?

            Not gonna happen.

            “First Black* President.” So, the media will do anything to protect the empty-suited, corrupt, lying, perpetually golfing failure, including the decades of revisionist history writing that are sure to come.

            *Mulatto, actually.

            1. So you’re saying it takes you a complete day to play a round of golf? Really? That’s what you’ve had to resort to?

              Amazing.

              You better not look up how many vacation days Reagan took, your brain might explode.

              Spoiler Alert: As of the end of summer in their second term: Obama 96 days, Reagan 180 days, GW Bush 349 days.

            2. Yes, Reagan was. Government debt in terms of increase absolutely rocketed under Reagan. More so than under either Bush Jr. or Obama. St. Ronnie was more into Spend, Spend, Spend than any president since, certainly enough to earn the RINO label if he were active in US politics today.

            3. Dave, you’re fulla shit, son:

              • Unemployment fell from a high of 10.8 percent to 5.3 percent under Reagan.
              • There were no “wars” under Ronald Reagan.
              • President Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which brought reductions in individual income tax rates, the expensing of depreciable property, incentives for small businesses and incentives for savings. So began the Reagan Recovery. A few years later, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 brought the lowest individual and corporate income tax rates of any major industrialized country in the world.
              • 20 million new jobs were created.
              • Inflation dropped from 13.5% in 1980 to 4.1% by 1988.
              • Net worth of families earning between $20,000 and $50,000 annually grew by 27%.
              • Real gross national product rose 26%.
              • The prime interest rate was slashed by more than half, from an unprecedented 21.5% in January 1981 to 10% in August 1988. etc etc

            4. I never said Reagan didn’t lower taxes. I never said he didn’t bring prosperity. However, these things were achieved at the expense of massively running up the US National Debt. He carried on spending the money, whilst lowering the amount coming into the coffers.

            5. Dave H.
              Knoweth thee not that botvijerk is the way, the truth and the light.
              He is ALWAYS right, about every detail of how the world works.
              No argument or opinion is allowed — or thou will be insulteth-ed by his wonderfulness.
              ALL BOW!!!
              BOTVIJERK FOR PRESIDENT.

    2. “What the hell does this have to do with Apple???”

      The unlawful and unconstitutional activities of the government is such an important story it deserves to be raised at every opportunity. And sadly, Apple is a technology firm which has been actively helping the NSA undermine the Fourth Amendment.

      1. … the story is here?
        a) questionable legality of NSA spying?
        b) the idiocy of shutting down the “oversight”?
        c) the fact that it was the Republicans who caused the shutdown?
        d) ALL THE ABOVE!

        1. Republicans caused the shutdown? Spin much? I know you can’t get your information from anywhere outside your liberal bubble, but both parties are part of the Shutdown and the Democrats are far more complicit in extending and dramatizing it.

          1. …”Look, you think Obamacare’s a big enough threat to this country that you need to shut down the government over it, fine. Own it. Don’t fart and point at the dog.”
            Or, how about another “liberal bias” quote: “Americans are holding Republicans primarily responsible for the partial government shutdown as public esteem sinks for all players in the impasse, President Barack Obama among them, according to a new poll. It’s a struggle with no heroes.” And THAT is from a Lefty source … favoring Obama?

        2. … believable!
          It was Republican votes in the House that “shut down” the government.
          The bill that would have kept the government “open” never reached the President’s desk.
          While I have to admit the Democrats are part of the problem – and that includes the President – I don’t see HOW any sane and reasonably informed person could find sensible logic to support the statements by either @Mcman or @twimoon1.
          So … one more question: Why is MDN trolling his own site?

          1. And it’s Democrat votes in the Senate and White House which refuse to even discuss compromise. Amazing how the Democrat President’s spending policies and his record borrowing is now the fault of the Republicans because someone actually said “No” to borrowing more money with no plan to reduce future spending.

            1. … of the House has admitted that the shutdown was a republican ploy.
              The ACA was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. Then it was brought to the SCotUS and found to be constitutional. THEN the president – who made it clear he would implement the law – was re-elected by a clear majority. All this DESPITE expensive lobbying efforts and lies by the conservative wing of the Republican party. So, I ask you: should the administration cater to a few cry-babies on the far right or should they do what the majority of the American people have been clear they wanted? As for saying “no” to borrowing more money with no plan to reduce future spending, whose kool-aid have YOU been drinking? The deficit has been … OK, slowly … dropping. We are NOT spending money stuffing scopes up pregnant women’s vaginas because they want an abortion. Is it that you don’t understand the consequences of your demands? Do you not understand basic Math? Or do you listen to the liars that are being challenged even on FOX, these days? Kindly engage your brain before dumping more ill-considered tripe on this site, only to prove, to anyone not yet convinced, you are … “challenged”.

      2. “The unlawful and unconstitutional activities of the government is such an important story it deserves to be raised at every opportunity.”

        How’s the new baby?
        Fine. But never mind that. I want to talk about the corrupt government.

        I’m sorry to hear your mother died.
        Yeh, yeh, whatever. Let’s talk about the corrupt government.

        I hear your husband’s beating you.
        Never mind that. Let’s talk about the corrupt government.

        Welcome to this meeting of the SF Mac Users Group. First item on the agenda – our corrupt government.

        No. It doesn’t deserve to be raised at every opportunity. Go to any one of TENS OF MILLIONS of political discussion sites, for fucksake!

        1. … for making this clear to all.
          Too bad you made a dozen or so of them angry enough to tag your message “very poor”. It was well thought out and well written – and, on this site – NEEDED.

    3. Craig, do you have an iPad or iPhone or just use your laptop or desktop to surf the internet, make calls, send texts and e-mails? Do you want to be spied on by the government without just cause? Apple, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Amazon, etc. can’t do anything to you, with the exception of bombarding you with ads. However, the government can screw you!

    4. Not only that, but the politics around here is utterly toxic, hypocritical, and misinformed. Not surprising that most of it originates from the butthole known as Rush Limbaugh’s mouth. I’d rather listen to a relatively sane person ramble on about PC’s and Android as long as he didn’t suck on Rush’s holes.

    5. Unfortunately Apple is part of this program. Therefore it is quite relevant. Also, why should people keep politics to themselves? It is something that affects everyone and should be discussed openly. Maybe in the future when they finally get rid of free speech in the good ‘ol US of A (it’s been a long time coming), you will have your wish.

  1. Why is this surprising? The last President with any power full term was Carter. Reagan lost power whilst in hospital after that attempt to kill him, and after that Bush Sr. upped the powers of the NSA. It’s all been downhill for the US public ever since.

      1. My point is it’s been steadily getting worse since Bush Sr. It was worse under Clinton than Bush Sr, then it was worse still under Bush Jr, and now it’s worse again under Obama. The trend has not started with the current administration, it’s just continued under it.

        1. The current administration increased spying on U.S. citizens by TEN TIMES! This is not merely the continuation of a trend. This guy thinks he is not bound by the Constitution.

  2. Ohhh no. Blah, blah. Impeach Obama Messia. botvijerk.

    But besides that – why is this on here, a supposed Mac news site? News on the latest Oracle routers, Microscum server software or Pixar animations would be a lot closer to “Mac News” than this.

  3. When the media stops devoting valuable news space to the latest Miley Cyrus crap, then we can start to complain about MDN devoting space to preserving the Constitution.

    1. The media exists to make money for the wealthiest Americans and corporate shareholders. It is not there to inform us. Asking the media to stop paying attention to idiots like Miley Cyrus or Sarah Palin is like asking them to stop making money, which simply won’t ever happen.

      1. I’m amazed you have one star rating. You’re absolutely correct. William Randolph Hearst, one of the paragons of modern journalism and newspapers, said that if his reporters were correct 90% of the time! that was good enough for him. He also defined the news NOT as what happened, but what BAD things happened by cause that was what sold newspapers.

        If media companies existed for the public good, they would not have advertising all over them.

      1. I’ll happily be doing my part in 2014. Something effective RIGHT NOW would be great! Our own ‘Pearl Harbor Moment’ whereby all the psychopaths are driven out of Washington and sent to Chinese concentration camps. I dream.

    1. MacDailyNews is a U.S. media outlet. They are simply standing up for the U.S. Constitution which also happens to grant U.S. citizens freedom of speech. You see it being exercised right here with aplomb every single day.

      MacDailyNews should be applauded for being perfectly consistent on this issue – applauded by all, regardless of political party, unless you hate the U.S. Constitution, in which case, you hate the U.S.A.

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