"Reforming" the First Amendment
Daniel Drezner went on a field trip to visit the NSA. It's a fascinating look at the secretive agency, but I don't come away from reading it feeling as if they are really getting the point:
The NSA's attitude toward the press is, well, disturbing. There were repeated complaints about the ways in which recent reportage of the NSA was warped or lacking context. To be fair, this kind of griping is a staple of officials across the entire federal government. Some of the NSA folks went further, however. One official accused some media outlets of "intentionally misleading the American people," which is a pretty serious accusation. This official also hoped that the Obama administration would crack down on these reporters, saying, "I have some reforms for the First Amendment." I honestly do not know whether that last statement was a joke or not. Either way, it's not funny.No it certainly is not. But it's not completely ridiculous from their point of view considering the fact that even the Church Committee "reforms" ended up basically creating a rubber stamp for government spying programs. Certainly, the 2008 FISA bill, the notorious "reform" that gave retroactive immunity to companies that had violated the laws against warrantless wiretapping, was nothing more than a way to shut down any further inquiry through the courts.
When people start talking about "reforming" the laws surrounding the surveillance state, be sure to look at the fine print. The "reform" is often legalization of unconstitutional acts. And once they cut these acts off from the normal judicial process, as they did with the FISA court, it never gets properly adjudicated.
I can easily see why megalomaniacal NSA officials say they want to "reform" the First Amendment. It's always worked out well for them before.
It's annual fundraiser time...