Boston: Up Close

Ken AshfordScience & Technology, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

This video may not seem remarkable at first…. Boston, U.S.A. from UrtheCast on Vimeo. It’s Boston… and you can see Fenway Park and cars moving on Storrow Drive as well as I-40. Here’s the astonishing, but creepy, thing about this: it was taken from space.  From a satellite.  You can see the Prudential Center and the Hancock Building appear to … Read More

Why I Still Can’t Get 100% Behind Snowden

Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

Whistleblowing is good.  Whistleblowing is important.  It is important that we know what the government is doing regarding our communications and the impact on our privacy rights.  I am happy for the debate, and I thank Edward Snowden for it. But then there is this: Britain has pulled out agents from live operations in “hostile countries” after Russia and China … Read More

I Don’t Worry About Spying

Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

I know.  I should care.  Governmental abuse and all that.  But I don’t. This past week has been filled with stories about the sunset clauses of The Patriot Act, and overwhelming surveillance methods regarding our phone usage.  And I can’t quite give a damn. I like what Edward Snowden did, for the most part.  I think he should be granted … Read More

Second Circuit Rules Against Mass Collection Of Phone Records

Ken AshfordConstitution, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

I haven’t written much about Ed Snowden and the huge, perhaps unconstitutional, mass surveillance of Americans, but this is too noteworthy to ignore: A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the National Security Agency’s controversial collection of Americans’ phone records, first revealed by Edward Snowden, is not legal under the Patriot Act. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals held in … Read More

Then And Now

Ken AshfordCongress, Constitution, Obama & Administration, White House Secrecy, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

53 years ago today, an outgoing President Eisenhower said: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” He went on: “We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or … Read More

Legal Rationale for Surveillance

Ken AshfordConstitution, War on Terrorism/Torture, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

I haven't been writing much about the telephony surveillance "scandal" because unlike many liberals I know, I'm not that upset by it.  I do not consider the mass collection of metadata to be an invasion of my privacy.  Collection is not the same thing as searching or prying, to my mind. Anyway, the Obama Administration released a white paper which … Read More

US Majority Backs NSA Surveillance

Ken AshfordConstitution, War on Terrorism/Torture, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

A new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll found that 56% of Americans consider the NSA's accessing of telephone call records of millions of Americans through secret court orders "acceptable." A 62% majority believe it's more important for the government to investigate terrorist threats, even if those investigations intrude on personal privacy. Support drops when it comes to government monitoring of emails, but even here, the … Read More

On The NSA Leaks And The Fact That Your Phone Records Are Being Seized And Everything You Do On The Internet Is Being Swept Up And All That

Ken AshfordConstitution, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

Busy-ness and business kept me from blogging about last week's bombshell news: the leaks to Glenn Greenwald and the Washington Post that (a) phone records of Americans are seized en masse by the NSA and (b) everyone's Internet activity is likewise seized. My immediate thought is: This is news? Rachel Maddow devoted almost all of her show on Thrusday to … Read More

Unintelligent Intelligence

Ken AshfordWar on Terrorism/Torture, White House Secrecy, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

Everyone should read the Washington Post's recent effort in investigative reporting, Top Secret America. As a piece of journalism, it represents what actual journalism should be — not what passes for journalism in today's he-said-she-said creaming-heads world. That said, the subject of the piece is distressing. Since George W. Bush, we've had this reckless, ridiculous, uncoordinated expansion of intelligence agencies, all sucking … Read More

Bill Clinton’s Email Accessed By NSA During Bush Administration

Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

Man, it was bad: The difficulty of distinguishing between e-mail messages involving foreigners from those involving Americans was “one of the main things that drove” the Bush administration to push for a more flexible law in 2008, said Kenneth L. Wainstein, the homeland security adviser under President George W. Bush. That measure, which also resolved the long controversy over N.S.A.’s … Read More

Revelations From Bush Era: American Journalists Spied Upon

Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

One day into his administration, and Obama is already making leaps and bounds in removing the secrecy that so characterized the Bush Administration.  In the sweep of a pen, Obama has made the process of governing more open and transparent. But the damage has been done.  MSNBC's Keith Olbermann interviewed Russell Tice, a former National Security Agency analyst last night. Tice … Read More

My Thoughts On The FISA Bill

Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

Greenwald summarizes: The Democratic-led Congress this afternoon voted to put an end to the NSA spying scandal, as the Senate approved a bill — approved last week by the House — to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, terminate all pending lawsuits against them, and vest whole new warrantless eavesdropping powers in the President. The vote in favor of the new FISA bill … Read More

Bush’s Wiretapping: Now 0-For-3 With The Courts

Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

Greenwald: A Bush-41-appointed Federal District Judge yesterday became the third judge — out of three who have ruled on the issue — to reject the Bush administration’s claim that Article II entitles the President to override or ignore the provisions of FISA. Yesterday’s decision by Judge Vaughn Walker of the Northern District of California also guts the central claims for … Read More