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Politics, life, and other things that matter

Yes, the NSA is spying on Americans. And Marcy Wheeler is still the best.

Posted by Charles II on February 5, 2014

I realize this is not news. But, as with the Watergate scandal, nothing happens politically until key facts become undeniable. At that point, the media realize that they can sell advertising wrapped around the scandal, and Congressmen start imagining attack ads based on what they are saying, so things start to happen.

Via a DK post by Bob Swern, Michigan’s own Marcy Wheeler posts the following exchange of congressional testimony:

[Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper: That’s also difficult. I can just say that the vast vast majority of what has been potentially compromised — as I indicated in my oral statement — goes way way beyond the revelations about domestic surveillance which I was given to understand that was his primary concern. What he potentially — what he accessed, what he scraped, what he potentially made off with is, uh, transcends that. So it’s quite serious.

[Congressman James] Langevin: Can you say–

Clapper: It’s hard pressed to ascribe a number.

Langevin: Can you give a, is it 10% or,

Clapper: I would say that probably less than 10% has to do with domestic surveillance.

OK, so of what Snowden took, Clapper claims less than 10% has to do with domestic surveillance. But there’s that, what, 7%, 9%? And we don’t know how that relates to the volume of NSA intercepts. Is that 1%, 7%, 10%, 50%? But Clapper has admitted that the NSA is engaged in domestic surveillance.

It’s on the record. You might want to tell your congressman.

Marcy was recognized by Newsweek for her work.

Experts on domestic surveillance admire Wheeler’s ability to connect current revelations to past mysteries. “You’ll read through these dense documents, and it’s about one thing; but she’ll find a clue in there to something we’ve all wondered about on something else entirely, and the last citing of that issue was five years ago, and somehow she still remembered,” said Barton Gellman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter late of The Washington Post who has worked with Snowden to break stories on the NSA this summer. “She’s indispensable now with the NSA story, which is endlessly complex.”

A shame that Newsweek didn’t hire her. It might still be a magazine that people read.


3 Responses to “Yes, the NSA is spying on Americans. And Marcy Wheeler is still the best.”

  1. jo6pac said

    or a lest send Marcy some $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

  2. Good news!

    • Charles II said

      I’m glad she’s not going to be an employee. Omidyar is not necessarily a force for good. Mark Ames and Yasha Levine:

      Since its founding in 2004, Omidyar Network has committed nearly $300 million to a range of nonprofit and for-profit “charity” outfits. An examination of the ideas behind the Omidyar Network and of the investments it has made suggests that its founder is anything but a “different” sort of billionaire. Instead, what emerges is almost a caricature of neoliberal ideology, complete with the trail of destruction that ensues when that ideology is put into practice.

      I doubt Omidyar is even aware of the concerns that Ames and Levine express. Microfinance is good, right? Muhammad Younas proved that.

      It turns out it doesn’t work so well when it’s being done as a commercial enterprise… as anyone familiar with payday lenders would have known. In India, aggressive collection tactics by SKS Enterprises led to a rash of suicides.

      Same thing has happened with many Bill Gates initiatives. Rich people simply have no sense when it comes down to how things affect the poor.

      So, will Omidyar try to bend FirstLook toward a corporate libertarian agenda? I wouldn’t be as dismissive as Greenwald has been. Maybe yes. Maybe no.

      But it’s good Marcy will be a consultant. She’s got talents that Scahill and Greenwald lack. If anything good is to come out of FirstLook, I will bet that it’s Marcy’s doing.

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