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Wall Street Journal Columnist Repeatedly Gets His Facts Wrong About NSA Surveillance

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posted on Nov, 28 2013 @ 12:33 AM
Because of the prevalence of "press-release" (read non-journalistic) reporting in major media, this particular piece seemed worthy to share.

This is one of those instances where one group identifies specifically (in at least this example) how the average American news-consumer comes to be perpetually 'misdirected,' 'misinformed,' and otherwise ignorant of meaningful facts regarding his or her government.

Big journals of "importance"(as they often tell us, they are the "mainstream") make it appear as if their particular reporting is "superlative" and the very essence of authoritative reliability. How wrong we may be to believe that....,

For example, when Wall Street Journal columnist L. Gordon Crovitz tells us...,

... But the more information emerges about how the NSA conducts surveillance, the clearer it becomes that this is an agency obsessed with complying with the complex rules limiting its authority....

He seems to have "left out" the part where FISA court Judge Bates wrote in the key opinion released last week...,

“NSA’s record of compliance with these rules has been poor,” and “those responsible for conducting oversight failed to do so effectively..."

And then the Wall street Journal reporter invokes the often-repeated....,

..."0.000025% or one in four million" of the call records "actually would be seen by a trained analyst."

Which flies in the face of the FISA court opinion in which it was determined that

the NSA had been systematically querying part of this phone records database for years for numbers that the agency did not have a “reasonable articulable suspicion” were involved in terrorism—as they were required to have by the FISA court. Of the more than 17,000 numbers that the NSA was querying everyday, the agency only had “reasonable articulable suspicion” for approximately 1,800 of them.

Now clearly, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is demonstrably biased towards the rejection of certain security measures implemented by the U.S. Government. And certainly, the Wall Street Journal has a role in "informing" our leaders and decision-makers. So why the disconnect?

I propose that it is because our esteemed journalistic institutions accept the word of government as true, and oblige the requests of government to simply accept the words of those public relation specialist which the politicians and lobbyists produce for their consumption. I might add that the 'doctrine' of how information is being 'used' in our country does not come from the government. It comes from Councils, Commissions, and Institutions chock full of unelected people.

What say you?

(edit to add (apologies) here's the link which prompted this thread: LINK)
edit on 28-11-2013 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 28 2013 @ 12:54 AM
OK, I deserve a couple of spankings. One for not reading the article, and a second for getting lawyerly. But I don't have an agenda or even an opinion, I'm just trying to understand.

How important is the precise wording here.

... But the more information emerges about how the NSA conducts surveillance, the clearer it becomes that this is an agency obsessed with complying with the complex rules limiting its authority....
Does "obsessed with" mean the same as "successfully?" Is it possible that the vast complexity makes it impossible to comply? I know that's the case with the Tax Code. Basically, I'm saying I don't understand what the writer's are attempting to convey.

..."0.000025% or one in four million" of the call records "actually would be seen by a trained analyst."
Does "querying" mean the same as "being seen by a trained analyst?"

My main point is that I don't know what either of them are saying, precisely.

I suppose I should have read the article. Sorry.

With respect,

posted on Nov, 28 2013 @ 02:04 AM
reply to post by charles1952

You make some good points. First point though, the oversight was lacking. If they were obsessed with following the rules, but simply unable to do so because of the complexity, then the oversight would be strong. If the oversight is weak, it means the culture of the agency is that this is not an important issue.

Second, the point of the phrase "seen by a trained analyst" is meant to put the public's mind at ease that no one is looking at their stuff and only if there's a good reason. Whether the semantics are correct, the overall message it conveys is wrong.

posted on Nov, 28 2013 @ 02:40 AM
I would venture to offer that the rules are distinctly straightforward and simple.

I say this because no matter the circumstance, it is clear that the Department of Defense's premier intelligence effort by way of the NSA was created to contend with foreign threats... not domestic.

There was a time, in fact, when it was a simple matter... American citizens could only be targeted by law enforcement agencies... thus ensuring compliance with the Constitutional due processes established to prevent abuse and injustice. Accidental collection against Americans were immediately and summarily destroyed. Exceptions were self-evident. Now it's almost the opposite....

It has become politically expedient to change the rules... because those perennially focused on political fear said so... (as the institutions and think-tanks often enjoy.)

How complicated is it for a government not to spy on it's own citizens as a matter of course? Easy. Don't fund it.

posted on Nov, 28 2013 @ 08:27 AM
So you've got a Wall Street journo who is constantly getting facts wrong in order to polish the tarnished reputation of the NSA.

Then you look at the fact that most CIA directors haven't come from law enforcement backgrounds, but have been Wall Street Bankers.

And then Obama stops the NSA from spying on banks.

The cooperation of multi-intelligence agencies, the media and the big guy, (please note sarcasm in voice) well I'm shocked, what is happening to the world.

R.I.P Freedom of speech, long live propagander.

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