If you couldn't tell from all the red banners this was a far-left rally, you could probably tell by the smell. It was an earthy group consisting of various age groups and even more various hair dyes. They seem to like denim. And I think I've figured out how they managed to give their blue jeans that unwashed look.
The White House announces that Brazilian leader President Dilma Rousseff told President Obama that she's postponing her planned trip to the United States:Read more
There are reasons to worry about NSA surveillance. Civil servants have all the usual human frailties, and when they abuse their power, it’s good to know about it—that’s why we have extensive whistleblower protection laws. But whistle-blowing is different from stealing state secrets and absconding to an unfriendly power, as Edward Snowden did this summer.Read more
A curious episode unraveled last week that, in The Scrapbook’s judgment, tells us everything we need to know about the motives of Edward Snowden, and the ethics of Glenn Greenwald (the Guardian journalist who broke the Snowden story) and the Guardian itself, Britain’s premier left newspaper.Read more
President Barack Obama defended the NSA surveillance program in an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo this morning.
On the NSA surveillance program, Cuomo asked, "Are you confident that you know everything that's going on within that agency and that you can say to the American people, 'It's all done the right way'?"Read more
In his Friday press conference, President Obama grappled with the tangled issues surrounding the collection of metadata by the NSA and the general topic of government surveillance of the citizenry. He arrived at an interesting and somewhat disturbing formulation, as Dan Friedman reports in the New York Daily News:Read more
At his Friday afternoon press conference, President Barack Obama said he does not consider Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified information, a patriot.
"No, I don't think Mr. Snowden was a patriot," said Obama, in response to a question from NBC News's Chuck Todd. Watch the video below:Read more
Edward Snowden has given the country and the world an unprecedented look into the National Security Agency’s post-9/11 efforts to prevent terrorist attacks. Ignoring the success of those efforts, critics from the left and right have rained down opprobrium on the agency. But the criticism has not been aimed solely at the NSA. Snowden’s leaks have also put a spotlight on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and its role in approving various NSA programs.Read more
Edward Snowden, one of many thousands of people holding very high security clearances, stole the family jewels in what was, arguably, the greatest security breach in American history. And the reaction of the agency that he violated? The usual Washington shrug. Stuff, you know, happens.Read more
New Jersey governor Chris Christie, asked on Tuesday to respond to an ongoing back and forth between himself and fellow Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky, said he was "asked a question" about national security and answered it.Read more
The political tables have turned almost 180 degrees. President Obama uneasily defends surveillance programs of the National Security Agency, while his liberal and libertarian opponents accuse him of lawlessly abusing his powers. The spectacle might even be entertaining, were it not for its worrisome implications. Republicans, the most reliable constituency for the surveillance policies that have protected the nation since September 11, are starting to walk away from them.Read more
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editor William Kristol on immigration reform's future, Edward SnowdenRead more
Politics can seem frustratingly complex. It can be a challenge to grasp that the targeting of conservatives by Internal Revenue Service officials over the last few years constitutes a genuine scandal, while the lawful activities of employees of the National Security Agency do not. It can be a strain to distinguish the illegitimate and arbitrary use of government power to harass American citizens exercising their constitutional rights from the legitimate use of government power to protect the nation from our enemies abroad.Read more
One might expect Keith Alexander to advocate on behalf of the two programs at the center of our national debate about terrorism and surveillance. He is, after all, the head of the National Security Agency, which runs them. “It’s dozens of terrorist events that these have helped prevent—both here and abroad—in disrupting or contributing to the disruption of terrorist attacks,” Alexander testified last week.Read more
Should Americans fear the possible abuse of the intercept power of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland? Absolutely. In the midst of the unfolding scandal at the IRS, we understand that bureaucracies are callous creatures, capable of manipulation. In addition to deliberate misuse, closed intelligence agencies can make mistakes in surveilling legitimate targets, causing mountains of trouble. Consider Muslim names.Read more
The Scrapbook’s hypothesis that the substance of blockbuster news stories tends to diminish with time—there’s less here than meets the eye—is borne out most of the time. Which, as nonscientific theories tend to go, is an enviable record.Read more
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky defended NSA leaker Edward Snowden this morning on CNN:
"They're going to contrast the behavior of James Clapper, our national intelligence director, with Edward Snowden," said Paul. "Mr. Clapper lied in Congress in defiance of the law in the name of security. Mr. Snowden told the truth in the name of privacy."
Paul continued: "So I think there will be a judgment because both of them broke the law, and history will have to determine."Read more
The Chinese organ Xinhua reports that Ecuador might offer asylum to Edward Snowden.
"Ecuador would consider granting asylum to whistleblower Edward Snowden, the ex-CIA employee who single- handedly disclosed the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)'s PRISM mass-surveillance program, a top Ecuadorian official said Monday," the outlet claims.Read more
Top Spy: 'Single Analyst' Cannot 'Eavesdrop on Domestic Communications Without Proper Legal Authorization'
In a Sunday evening statement, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Public Affairs Office released this statement, meant to clear up information on the National Security Agency’s data program.Read more
Members of the U.S. Senate were given the opportunity to attend a briefing on Thursday that would bring them up to speed on the NSA surveillance operations, among other things. The briefing would be conducted by James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, not some low-level staffer.Read more
Friday evening, the State Department released a joint statement from the June 10-11 "U.S.-Germany Cyber Bilateral Meeting." The meeting was held in Washington.Read more
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editor William Kristol on the NSA's surveillance programs, the IRS scandal, and immigration reform.Read more
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