As promised yesterday, a follow up to the fine fellows who along with Cass Sunstein have been charged by Obama as an “Independent” task force to oversee our NSA. Richard Clarke should be considered equally an anathema to liberty.
The Clapper Investigation: Overseen by a Man Accused of Lying to Congress
The second investigation was announced by President Obama in a Friday afternoon news conference. The President called for the creation of an “independent” task force with “outside experts” to make sure “there absolutely is no abuse in terms of how these surveillance technologies are used.” Less than two days later, the White House followed up with a press release announcing the task force would be led by Gen. Clapper and would also report to him.
What’s even worse: the task force was not tasked with looking at any abuse. It was told to focus on how to “protect our national security and advance our foreign policy.” And just this week, ABC News reported the task force will be full of thorough Washington insiders—not “outside experts.”
For instance, one (Richard Clarke) has advocated the Department of Homeland Security be allowed to scan all Internet traffic going in and out of the US.
And another, while a noted legal scholar on regulatory issues, has written a paper (Cass Sunstein) about government campaigns to infiltrate online groups and activists. In one good act, the White House selected Peter Swire to be on the task force. Swire is a professor at Georgia Tech and has served as the White House’s first ever Chief Privacy Officer. Recently, he signed an amicus brief in a case against the NSA spying by the Electronic Privacy Information Center arguing that the NSA’s telephony metadata program is illegal under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. Despite this, and at the end of a day, a task force led by General Clapper full of insiders—and not directed to look at the extensive abuse—will never get at the bottom of the unconstitutional spying.
Full story over at EFF and why this whole thing is a sham.
Under Customs authority, the Department of Homeland Security could inspect what enters and exits the United States in cyberspace. Customs already looks online for child pornography crossing our virtual borders. And under the Intelligence Act, the president could issue a finding that would authorize agencies to scan Internet traffic outside the United States and seize sensitive files stolen from within our borders.
And this does not have to endanger citizens’ privacy rights. Indeed, Mr. Obama could build in protections like appointing an empowered privacy advocate who could stop abuses or any activity that went beyond halting the theft of important files.
If Congress will not act to protect America’s companies from Chinese cyberthreats, President Obama must.
Cass Sunstein: See yesterday’s post: Obama packs NSA review panel with cronies
Cass Sunstein wrote a lengthy academic papersuggesting the government should “infiltrate” social network websites, chat rooms and message boards.
Such “cognitive infiltration,” Sunstein argued, should be used to enforce a U.S. government ban on “conspiracy theorizing.”
Among the beliefs Sunstein classified as a “conspiracy theory” is advocating that the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud.
While the DHS may be monitoring websites for security reasons, Sunstein advocated such actions with another goal in mind.
Sunstein’s official title is administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
As WND was first to report, in a 2008 Harvard law paper, “Conspiracy Theories,” Sunstein and co-author Adrian Vermeule, a Harvard law professor, ask, “What can government do about conspiracy theories?”