Obama Administration Facing Congressional Rebellion, Civil Suits over NSA Surveillance

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU, among other important civil society organizations, are suing the Federal government over the National Security Agency’s unconstitutional domestic surveillance.

The administration is also facing House hearings on the issue.

By the way, the argument made by Homeland Security and other such officials that the NSA’s domestic spying could have prevented 9/11 makes me absolutely furious. The CIA had two of the 9/11 hijackers under surveillance in Yemen and Kuala Lumpur just before they went to San Diego, and neglected to hand them over to the FBI when they headed to the US, presumably because the CIA wanted the bust and didn’t want to share information. The failure was not in gathering signals intelligence; we have video tape of the Kuala Lumpur al-Qaeda summit. It was in cooperation about the yield of human intelligence. Washington doesn’t need your and my telephone business records to stop another 9/11, they need to be competent in using the information they can gather constitutionally.

Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks reports on the rumblings in Congress:

3 Responses

  1. Thanks for covering this.

    I hope the lawsuits and congressional hearings help us make a sorely needed course correction.

    BTW, two or so of the Saudi agent hijacker enablers (15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabians) were being watched in Florida as well as in California.

  2. Juan, Right on man. One thing that you may want to toss into that second paragraph: those guys *lived with an FBI asset* in San Diego. If one of their last names had made it from the CIA’s lockbox into FBI hands, 9/11 would have been stopped in an unremarkable afternoon in early 2000.

    The govt argument is that it’s so incompetent in using available information that it needs everyone’s data just to be sure we catch the bad guys. And *this* is the sort of pathologically stupid rationale that’s used to grow a parallel state in secret?

  3. T.he creation of the surveillance state has little to do with catching bad guys. It has a lot to do with software design, hardware fabrication, systems management, and data analysis all routed through private vendors. We know Homeland Security is spending billions annually, much of it on such services. In addition vendors may derive collateral benefits via linkage with other sources of private data or other public data sources.

    As long as we persist in thinking this is about public security we are looking in the wrong direction. This is about private profit

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