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Response to pnwmom (Reply #11)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 07:58 AM

16. actually Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson have written on this subject

The NSA's metastasised intelligence-industrial complex is ripe for abuse

Where oversight and accountability have failed, Snowden's leaks have opened up a vital public debate on our rights and privacy


by Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 23 June 2013 13.00 BST


Let's be absolutely clear about the news that the NSA collects massive amounts of information on US citizens from emails, to telephone calls, to videos, under the Prism program and other Fisa court orders: this story has nothing to do with Edward Snowden. As interesting as his flight to Hong Kong might be, the pole-dancing girlfriend, and interviews from undisclosed locations, his fate is just a sideshow to the essential issues of national security versus constitutional guarantees of privacy, which his disclosures have surfaced in sharp relief.

Snowden will be hunted relentlessly and, when finally found, with glee, brought back to the US in handcuffs and severely punished. (If Private Bradley Manning's obscene conditions while incarcerated are any indication, it won't be pleasant for Snowden either, even while awaiting trial.) Snowden has already been the object of scorn and derision from the Washington establishment and mainstream media, but, once again, the focus is misplaced on the transiently shiny object. The relevant issue should be: what exactly is the US government doing in the people's name to "keep us safe" from terrorists?


We are now dealing with a vast intelligence-industrial complex that is largely unaccountable to its citizens. This alarming, unchecked growth of the intelligence sector and the increasingly heavy reliance on subcontractors to carry out core intelligence tasks now estimated to account for approximately 60% of the intelligence budget have intensified since the 9/11 attacks and what was, arguably, our regrettable over-reaction to them.

Today, the intelligence sector is so immense that no one person can manage, or even comprehend, its reach. When an operation in the field goes south, who would we prefer to try and correct the damage: a government employee whose loyalty belongs to his country (despite a modest salary), or the subcontractor who wants to ensure that his much fatter paycheck keeps coming?
- Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/23/nsa-intelligence-industrial-complex-abuse

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