state of deception
From The New Yorker, State of Deception covers the development of the NSA domestic spy program, with more of a focus on the history and politics than the technical details.
The article itself starts with James Clapper’s assertion that the NSA doesn’t spy on Americans. One can fault him for lying, but we should consider this came only after Dianne Feinstein instructed her peers not to ask any questions she didn’t want to know the answer to. It’s Clapper’s job to tell the truth when asked, but Feinstein is responsible for extracting and discerning the truth from a potentially uncooperative witness. That is why the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was created, no? To look into, over, and after the intelligence agencies despite their own reluctance? Checks and balances don’t work when the check abrogates their duty.
A true gem of a quote from Feinstein: “It’s not a surveillance program—it is a data-collection program.” And people wonder how Clapper got away with such shifty answers. (People also probably wonder how Feinstein keeps getting elected. That’s easy. She opposes gun ownership by anyone except herself. No, she’s not my favorite Senator, why do you ask?)
The hero of the article is Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon. A more amusing quote comes from a book by his father about the disastrous Bay of Pigs mission. “Waterloo staged by the Marx Brothers.”