HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Twitter:
@digby56
@DavidOAtkins

emails:
Digby:
digbysez at gmail
David:
isnospoon at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic
Common Dreams
AmericanPoliticsJournal
Smirking Chimp
CJR Daily
consortium news

Blog-o-rama

Eschaton
BagNewsNotes
Daily Kos
Political Animal
Driftglass
Firedoglake
Taylor Marsh
Spocko's Brain
Talk Left
Suburban Guerrilla
Scoobie Davis
Echidne
Electrolite
Americablog
Tom Tomorrow
Left Coaster
Angry Bear
oilprice.com
Seeing the Forest
Cathie From Canada
Frontier River Guides
Brad DeLong
The Sideshow
Liberal Oasis
BartCop
Juan Cole
Rising Hegemon
alicublog
Unqualified Offerings
Alas, A Blog
RogerAiles
Lean Left
Oliver Willis
skippy the bush kangaroo
uggabugga
Crooked Timber
discourse.net
Amygdala
the talking dog
David E's Fablog
The Agonist


Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014 05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014 06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014 07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014 08/01/2014 - 09/01/2014 09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014 10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Thursday, February 20, 2014

 
"Could there be abuses?...I am looking you and the American people in the eye and saying: There are not.”

by digby

I find this amusing if unsurprising:
The National Security Agency was worried about their image when the 1999 blockbuster Will Smith film Enemy of the State was released. In an interview with CNN in 2001, then-NSA chief Michael Hayden invited the cable news network to profile the agency in part because of the movie.

The film revolves around attempts by Congress, pressed by the National Security Agency, to pass a bill which would expand the agency’s surveillance powers. Rogue NSA agents kill a U.S. congressman who opposes the bill in a park, only to realize they were recorded by a bird watcher. The bird watcher, chased by the NSA, passes the information along to Will Smith’s character — and Smith’s character then finds his phones tapped, clothing bugged, house burglarized, among other attempts by the agency to get Smith.

“I made the judgment that we couldn’t survive with the popular impression of this agency being formed by the last Will Smith movie,” Hayden said in the interview, which aired in March 2001.
You can see why he was concerned.  Of course we didn't know then what we know now ...


“It has to be somewhat a secretive agency, and right in the middle of a political culture that just trusts two things most of all: power and secrecy,” Hayden continued. “That’s a challenge for us, and that’s why, frankly, we’re trying to explain what it is we do for America, how it is we follow the law. Could there be abuses? Of course. Would there be? I am looking you and the American people in the eye and saying: There are not.”
[...]
Interestingly, Hayden also said in the interview the NSA had “not spied on Americans since the ’70s, after it was found to be eavesdropping on Jane Fonda, Doctor Benjamin Spock, and other anti-Vietnam war activists. Hayden also said reports the NSA exchanged industrial espionage against European companies was “absolutely not true.”
This was before 9/11, of course when the proverbial gloves came off.

One of the big differences between today and the bad old days of the Hollywood Blacklist is that the government is much more subtle than it used to be in the way it coerces and manipulates the industry. It doesn't hold hearings (so far) demanding to know if screenwriters are anarchists or terrorists and making them stand up for their rights at great personal cost, sending the message to the studios that employing these potential traitors would rain down some big problems on them. It cajoles filmmakers into toeing the party line by giving them "special access" to classified information that shapes their perceptions and providing them with equipment and locations that save huge amounts of money. (See: Zero Dark Thirty)

Or in this case, after the fact, to try to stroke someone they saw as a critic:
In an interview with New York Magazine in 2013, Enemy of the State screenwriter David Marconi said he met with the Department of Defense after his film was released.

“The Department of Defense asked me to come down and speak to them after the film came out. I met CIA guys and NSA guys,” Marconi said. “I found them all to be very professional. They were very focused on the mission and on defending the country. I didn’t walk away with a sense that any of them were malevolent. But some of them also had a very myopic view—here’s what you do, and you sit at your computer and you do it.”
That translates into yet another kind of myopia. This is from that more recent NSA field trip for certain reporters and commentators:
[T]he best example of this cognitive dissonance is one specific exchange late in our day on campus. One official described the difficulties he had while speaking to school groups about the NSA, and his inability to convince students that Snowden was a “bad guy” who had done serious harm to U.S. national security. He asked us how he could more compellingly and convincingly make that case to young people. Bewildered, we asked why the merits of the surveillance programs turn in any way on whether Snowden’s a patriot or a traitor. Even President Obama has conceded that the public debate we’re now having is “welcome,” regardless of where we end up as a result.

But the NSA official’s reply seemed to suggest that these two perspectives are mutually exclusive—that we must choose between Snowden and the NSA. If we believe Snowden is a bad guy, then the NSA must be right. And if we believe he acted in what he thought were the best interests of the country, the NSA must be wrong.

The premise of the question suggested that we would all be better off if the American public were still as ignorant about the surveillance programs disclosed as a result of Snowden’s action. For the NSA, the problem appears to be about the need to respond to transparency and not the substance of the programs themselves (or the fact that they were authorized in secret).

In the end, this is the most entrenched problem I encountered during my visit: the NSA remains committed to the idea that, because a surveillance program will be much more effective if no one knows about it, it necessarily follows that the public should remain ignorant of it. Therefore, the NSA’s programs must be approved and implemented in secret unless and until the next Snowden reveals them.
That cloistered environment of secrecy and intrigue naturally leads to a certain kind of paranoia. And that's a very dangerous thing for a powerful government spying agency. They don't even know what they've become themselves. They're just doing a necessary job.  Nothing to see here.

As an aside, I wonder where these guys think Hollywood gets its image of the evil spymasters manipulating the government and the people for their own ends? After all, Michael Hayden, Keith Alexander and James Clapper have been the public  faces of this agency.

Ah.

.




.

Search Digby!