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Monday, October 28, 2013

What did Obama know?

New reports indicate that the President was unaware of the NSA's programs to spy on foreign leaders...
Merkel called President Obama after receiving word she had been targeted. The White House says the U.S. is not and will not monitor her communications, but did not say whether it had done so previously.

On Sunday night, The Wall Street Journal reported the White House was unaware of the NSA’s targeting of world leaders.

France and Germany also summoned U.S. ambassadors to their countries over the reports, considered rare moves.
If Obama is lying -- if he did know -- that's plenty worrisome. But just as worrisome is the possibility that he did not know.

Consider: If we have a "mushroom President" (that is, kept in the dark), the information was being routed to someone else. Perhaps the time has come to ask if there is a group which compiles blackmail information on all world leaders, including Obama.

As I understand it, Angela Merkel has been the target of electronic eavesdropping since 2003 -- before she became Germany's Chancellor. 

Obama has talked about an internal review. Not good enough. We need a Frank Church-style housecleaning -- alas, we lack anyone of Church's stature. Both parties fear to undertake this task because the NSA's evils span more than one presidency.

Some of the Tea Party loons are willing to speak of an "NSA scandal" -- and while I don't know if that's a good sign, it sure as hell signifies something.
Virtually all law-school students, even those who have no intention to practise trial law, are nevertheless taught a version of the old American-footbal cliche': "The best defense is a good offense." (at least when your opponent in the courtroom has some seemingly credible witnesses and evidence)

In other words, when confronted with potentially damaging (to your client) material, the savvy barrister aggressively CHALLENGES the authenticity of the evidence and the accuracy/honesty of the witnesses. Well-seeded doubts in the collective mind of the jury can work wonders -- in the hotbox atmosphere of the jury room -- when deliberations begin.

Slick public-relations hacks commonly use variations of the same tactic in the "courtroom of public opinion" every day, whether they are working for mendacious politicos or for corrupt corporations.

But when the Obama Administration (and the intel behemoth that I still suspect begat that vile creature) get pummeled by Snowden leaks, week after week and month after month -- what do they do?

Why, just bend over and take it, without raising the slightest doubt as to the (easily cyber-forged, these days) documents' provenance or verity. Instead, Obama's spokesmen either cheekily ignore the specifics, weakly try to rationalise the exposed malefactions, or (as seems the newest tactic) start hinting that the prez just didn't realise that things were getting a bit out of hand.


My take on what's really transpiring is that it's the gradual acclimation of the populace (domestic AND global) to fearing, suspecting and expecting the omniscient eyes and ears of the Yank-Spook hydra at all times and in all places. Sure, there will be plenteous kerfuffles and ruffled feathers, followed by incrementally weakened bits of regulation change and legislative reaction, but in the end there will be numb resignation, grudging acceptance, and perhaps even a new "arms race" involving evermore sophisticated spying and counter-surveillance technologies.

And we know who will profit from that.

I can't believe that after 5 years of watching this "administration", someone could write (apparently in all seriousness): "[i]f Obama is lying".


That's the funniest thing I've seen all year.
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