It seems that Diane Feinstein has no concerns with the ever growing invasion of privacy and breach of civil liberties at the hands of the NSA. In fact the excuses used are the typical terrorist boogieman answers and excuses used since George Bush called for the enactment of t he Patriot Act. In fact there was a press conference that took place in June which stated similar answers and statistics according to Feinstein and Chambliss. Below I have included an excerpt of that interview for your perusal.
Ms Feistein needs to be reminded of the words of Benjamin Franklin when he wrote :
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
“Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.“
Thomas Jefferson’s wise words must also be considered :
What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?
Sound familiar ?
She and her political cohorts would do well to take those words to heart lest they be reminded by a People sick and tired of being put upon by an oppressive and out of control government!!!
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Today, she takes a crack at defending the NSA’s domestic phone record spying program. She can’t come up with one decent justification.
Which is worrisome, considering the fact that almost no one outside of the NSA is in a better position to know the alleged benefits of the massive, unaccountable domestic spying program than Dianne Feinstein. It makes sense that even moderate US citizens might be skeptical of a top secret government agency’s plan to put the metadata from every phone call into America “into a lockbox that we can search when the nation needs it,” as the NSA director put it. Dianne Feinstein is a Democrat, and a high ranking member of the Intelligence committee. People concerned about civil liberties will naturally turn to her for a defense of this gruesome-sounding plan. What does she have for us?
She has, in her Wall Street Journal op-ed today, nothing but a mishmash of vagaries and downright illogical factoids. Let’s take them one at a time.
1) The NSA program could have stopped 9/11. It’s right there in the story’s subhed: “If today’s call-records program had been in place in before 9/11, the terrorist attacks likely would have been prevented.” Odd, since Feinstein includes this paragraph right up front:
In the summer of 2001, the CIA’s then-director, George Tenet, painted a dire picture for members of the Senate Intelligence Committee when he testified about the terrorist threat posed by al Qaeda. As Mr. Tenet later told the 9/11 Commission, “the system was blinking red” and by late July of that year, it could not “get any worse.”
Huh. So… the CIA did issue dire warnings prior to 9/11, although the NSA’s program was not in place at that time. This directly contradicts Feinstein’s point about the necessity of the NSA’s phone spying. Paging the editing department.
Transcript: Dianne Feinstein, Saxby Chambliss explain, defend NSA phone records program
Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), who lead the Senate Intelligence Committee, spoke with reporters Thursday morning at a hastily arranged news conference to explain and defend the National Security Agency’s collection of Verizon telephone records.
An unofficial transcript of the exchange appears below:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein: I just had an opportunity to review the Guardian article and I’d like to make the following points.
As far as I know, this is the exact three month renewal of what has been the case for the past seven years. This renewal is carried out by the FISA Court under the business records section of the Patriot Act. Therefore, it is lawful.
It has been briefed to Congress and the letters that we have distributed — and you’ll note on the dates, this is prior to the Patriot Act amendments coming before the body, each of those. As you know, this is just metadata. There is no content involved. In other words, no content of a communication. That can only be, these records, I’m not talking about content, the records can only be accessed under heightened standards. The information goes into a database, the metadata, but cannot be accessed without what’s called, and I quote, “reasonable, articulable suspicion” that the records are relevant and related to terrorist activity.
As you know, and I’ve pointed out many times, there have been approximately 100 plots and also arrests made since 2009 by the FBI. I do not know to what extent metadata was used or if it was used, but I do know this: That terrorists will come after us if they can and the only thing we have to deter this is good intelligence. To understand that a plot is being hatched and to get there before they get to us.
As you read those letters, you will see that they were sent at specific dates that were prior to each renewal of the particular business records section asking that members come and review in a classified session the data. That completes my statement.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss: Let me just emphasize, this is nothing particularly new. This has been going on for seven years under the auspices of the FISA authority and every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this.
To my knowledge, we have not had any citizen who has registered a complaint relative to the gathering of this information. It is simply what we call metadata that is never utilized by any governmental agency unless they go back to the FISA court and show that there’s real cause as to why something within the metadata should be looked at.
That’s been very clear all along through the years of this program. It is proved meritorious, because we have gathered significant information on bad guys, but only on bad guys, over the years.
Question: Do you know how many of your Senate colleagues have actually looked at the classified information?
Feinstein: I do not. Certainly the Intelligence Committee should have. We’ve had long discussions. This has been argued on the floor. Mentioned in the article are two senators who’ve had concerns about it. Obviously when the second amendment came up there was considerable argument on the floor about this. The vote was taken and the measure passed and was continued. That’s the business records section.
Question: To be clear: This isn’t just Verizon, this is records generally with large phone records, right?
Feinstein: I can’t specifically answer that, maybe David [Graniss, staff director of Senate Intelligence Committee]. Graniss, do you know?
David Graniss: We can’t answer that question.
Feinstein: We cannot answer that. Fortunately, I don’t know.
Question: One thing that has changed a lot since these letters is there’s a climate that you feel more concerned about civil liberties, the IRS, drone strikes. Is it time to revisit some of the rules and measures you’ve put in place?
Feinstein: Let me put it from my point of view, and then the vice chairman will speak. I read intelligence carefully, and I know that people are trying to get to us. This is the reason why we keep TSA doing what it’s doing. This is the reason why the FBI now has 10,000 people doing intelligence on counterterrorism. This is the reason for the National Counterterrorism Center that’s been set up in the time we’ve been active. It’s to ferret this out before it happens. It’s called protecting America.