Progressive Minds

Blogging live, from somewhere in the reality-based community. Speaking truth to power. You've entered the real "no spin zone." Republicans beware!


What Is Going On At The NSA?

@ 11:52 PM (101 months, 22 days ago)

The super-secretive National Security Agency (NSA) has sure been making headlines these past few days, and the news isn't good.

Yesterday, we learned that the NSA is impeding the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) investigation into the domestic spying program.  DOJ is not investigating the NSA.  Rather, it is trying to investigate what role DOJ lawyers have played in the wiretap program.  But they have abruptly ended the investigation, saying they can't conduct a proper investigation because NSA officials won't grant DOJ lawyers security clearances in order to allow them access to information.

It's a sad day for our country when a federal agency can, in effect, say 'screw you' to the Department of Justice, and not allow DOJ lawyers access to information in order to conduct an investigation.

It's even worse that DOJ cowered so easily and just haulted the investigation. Surely there is recourse DOJ could take, to gain the necessary security clearances for their lawyers.

Then this morning, we woke to the news that the NSA is conducting what amounts to data mining. Let's just call it by its name, because that's exactly what it is.

USA Today is reporting that the NSA has been secretively collective the phone call records of "tens of millions of Americans."   Utilzing information provided by many of the major telephone companies (i.e. Verizon, AT&T, etc), the NSA has obtained information about the phone call habits of your average John Q. citizen. In many cases, the person isn't suspected of any crime.

One person with knowledge of the program told USA Today that "It's the largest database ever assembled in the world."

The NSA's reported goal is to create a database that lists every single call ever made within our borders.

So, my fellow Americans, rest assured that we can all go to sleep tonight with peace of mind, knowing that our government is doing all it can to protect us.

While Osama bin Laden, the man largely responsible for the 9/11 attacks, is still out there, probably somewhere making his next audio or video tape, your government is conducting data mining on you and your fellow citizens.

And while you sleep tonight, ask yourself this fundamental question: Does your government have a right to know when you last called your mother-in-law?  Does it have a right to know the date and time you called your child's teacher to check up on your child's grades? 

DOJ Drops Wiretap Investigation

NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls

The Mystery of the Missing Roberts Papers

@ 11:15 PM (101 months, 22 days ago)

When Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts worked for Ronald Reagan's Administration, one of the issues on which he advised the Reaganites was affirmative action.

So you might be asking yourself, well how does our nation's Chief Justice feel about affirmative action?

Don't look for an answer any time soon.

John Robert's papers on affirmative action mysteriously disappeared last July, when, surprise, lawyers for the Bush Administration were reviewing them at the Ronald Reagan library in California (before Bush officially nominated Roberts to the Supreme Court).

And, the papers are still missing.

Federal investigators have not been successful in tracking the missing John Roberts affirmative action file.

They have concluded, however, that proper procedures were not followed by Archives staff when BushCo. lawyers were reviewing the file.  For example, the two lawyers who were reviewing the file, were allowed to do so in a private office, as opposed to a public reading room under the supervision of Archives staff.

What's more, in what appears to be a departure from normal policy, they were allowed to bring their personal belongs with them into the room that they used to review the file.

Anyone else find it curious that out of all the papers Roberts accumalated during his Reagan years, it's his work on affirmative action that's seemed to have disappeared into thin air?

Is there a reason why the Bushies didn't want us to know Roberts' views on affirmative action, when they nominated him?

The Case of Roberts's Missing Papers

Investigators Are Still Unable to Locate File On Affirmative Action