Snowden’s Weird Behavior & Greenwald’s Divisiveness Obscure the Real Issue: Reforming the FISA Court

greenwald_chat_snowdenIn the blur of unhinged rage circulating around Edward Snowden and the NSA story, you might’ve missed the bombshell New York Times article by Eric Lichtblau about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), titled “Intelligence court rules wiretapping program legal.”

The article documents how the appeals court that oversees FISC ruled that NSA can gather cellphone and email metadata without a court order.

The lede: “A federal intelligence court, in a rare public opinion, is expected to issue a major ruling validating the power of the president and Congress to wiretap international phone calls and intercept e-mail messages without a court order, even when Americans’ private communications may be involved.”

The ruling will be released by FISC on Thursday. That is, Thursday January 8, 2009.

The article was originally published on January 5, more than four-and-a-half years ago. (It’s worth noting that in April, 2009 the Obama Justice Department pulled back the reins on NSA overreach and enacted new privacy safeguards, according to the Wall Street Journal. Another fact lost down the memory hole.) So much of this NSA story has been reported before to varying, but significantly lesser degrees of public outrage, and yet every article posted since early June has been treated as if it’s a brand new “bombshell.” Bug-eyed demands for the imprisonment of the president, the dissolution of NSA and the canonization of Edward Snowden have ensued.

It happened again this weekend.

Another New York Times article was posted by Eric Lichtblau, titled “In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of N.S.A.” (No, I’m not doing another bait-and-switch. It was published on Saturday.) The article was greeted with the now-mandatory conga-line of berzerker reactions from Greenwald/Snowden fanboys who predictably focused almost exclusively on the “In Secret” part. Others offered nearly-exclusive credit for the story to Snowden himself. Apparently this is yet another of his amazing superpowers: in addition to doing more for the world in the last two months than you’ll do in your entire life, you lazy bastard you, Snowden is apparently entitled to full credit for bombshells to which he didn’t directly contribute.

Turns out, Reuters published a similar story more than two weeks ago about who sits on FISC and how it operates . Reporters John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke revealed that out of the 14 judges who sat on the FISA court this year, 12 are conservative Republicans. Only one, Mary McLaughlin is a Democrat. (There are 11 judges on the panel but, due to turnover, there were a total of 14 this year.)

The article brought into crystal-clear focus what could be the real meat and potatoes of the surveillance issue: FISC is in desperate need of reform if NSA surveillance is to continue.

Sadly, the 2008 FISA Amendments Act did nothing to fix the way the court operates or how its judges are appointed.

The latter is arguably at the top of the list of reforms. The 1978 FISA law, signed by Jimmy Carter, names the chief justice of the Supreme Court as the sole authority privileged with the task of appointing judges to the court. Again, the role of the chief justice is not new news, neither are the names of the judges he appoints, but it’s easily the source of why the court is so ridiculously partisan. (One of the FISC judges, Roger Vinson, ruled that Obamacare’s individual mandate was unconstitutional.) Before Roberts, Chief Justice William Rehnquist also appointed mostly conservative FISC judges.

Clearly, the chief justice is incapable of appointing a nonpartisan, or even strictly bipartisan panel of judges. The first reform must therefore be that FISC judges are appointed by some other means, perhaps by a bipartisan panel of congressmembers and maybe a representative from the Department of Justice or the Attorney General himself. Whichever way it’s done, there’s no excuse for such a ridiculously lopsided court, especially a court that’s tasked with such a delicate matter as foreign surveillance and civil liberties.

Next up, out of more than 20,000 requests for warrants by NSA since 2001, only 10 have been rejected by FISC. The Reuters piece notes that some of the warrants have been edited by the judges, but that’s not even close to having the patina of judicial scrutiny — that is unless NSA warrant requests are invariably airtight, which would be a quite a spiffy yet unlikely track record. Incidentally, I’m not suggesting the court indiscriminately reject a certain percentage of all requests, but perhaps it ought to be a little more finicky.

As for the secretive nature of the court, I’m not sure there’s really any way around it. No matter how entitled to full disclosure of national security secrets some people think they are, there needs to be secrecy during criminal and potential terrorist investigations. Broadly speaking, while transparency in certain areas is crucial, it simply can’t occur the way Greenwald and others want it.

So, no, Greenwald acolytes don’t get to know every detail of every FISC warrant and every ruling because, shocker, secrecy is critical when it comes to not tipping off the bad guys that they’re being surveilled. A Skype camera inside the Situation Room won’t happen either. But, if anti-secrecy activists are tenacious enough, they can file Freedom of Information Act requests and might get what they want. In fact, back in May, pre-Snowden, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an FOIA request and convinced the court to release a series of documents pertaining to the FISA Amendments Act’s infamous Section 702. And the EFF didn’t have to flee to Hong Kong and Russia to do it.

Warrants are the hinge upon which the legitimacy of NSA and FBI surveillance swings. Without a reasonable system of issuing foreign surveillance warrants in way that carves serious judicial oversight into the bedrock of these programs, the valuable effort to pursue overseas criminals becomes difficult to defend. So in addition to taking a hard look at the gigantic loophole that is the outsourcing of NSA surveillance to private corporations where hackers like Edward Snowden have enjoyed a ridiculous level of access to delicate national security documents, not to mention digital back doors into God-knows-what-else, reforming FISC should’ve been the primary goal out of all this chaos.

Speaking of chaos, it’s worth repeating that the way Snowden has comported himself and the means by which he’s orchestrated these leaks has served to eclipse FISC as a central issue. Sure, Snowden and his chief flack Greenwald have been effective at inciting outrage among their followers who only hear: “Secret surveillance! The new Stasi! Big scary Obama is right behind you watching your keystrokes as you type them! IEEEEE!” Greenwald-inspired outrage has helped to nearly decimate the existence of previous articles and books that detail some of the same information. Snowden’s very high profile emergence and highly questionable excursions to oppressive nations like China and Russia, along with all of the divisive, polemical baggage Greenwald brings to the table has ultimately prevented a necessary focus on issues like reforming FISC.

Instead, the way Snowden and Greenwald have bungled the operation has left many of us with no choice but to wonder why they’re behaving so oddly and engaging in suspiciously coy behavior in the face of something so important. Had Snowden kept his head down and either gone through proper channels or inconspicuously leaked his documents to a journalist whose instincts, chops and IT expertise were vastly more honed that Greenwald’s, we might be having a very different debate about surveillance and FISC. I’d like to think it would’ve been a more reasonable, rational debate with the correct historic perspective. Sadly, it appears to be too late for that.

(Thanks to @billiegirltoo for hunting down the 2009 NYT article.)

Bob Cesca is the managing editor for The Daily Banter, the editor of BobCesca.com, the host of the Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show podcast and a Huffington Post contributor.

  • YesMan4

    Cesca = shill

  • ursulas

    Basically, Snowden vomits old news and the real issue is that FISC judge and court.

  • DHaradaStone

    Excellent piece, especially since it proposes a way forward with regard to reform rather than wallowing in fear and hysteria like so much of the NSA-related commentary does. One point though. I’m not sure the percentage of warrant requests approved is an accurate measure of the FISA court’s independence. All wiretap requests, even in state and federal courts in routine criminal cases, are done in secret and without the participation of the target or his or her attorney. When you think about it, there is no other way you could do it. You can’t inform a target or his attorney beforehand that you are seeking a wiretap. The target will just stop using whatever communication medium – e.g., telephone or internet – you’re planning to tap and any intercept will be rendered useless. Indeed, regular (i.e., non-secret) criminal courts turn down wiretap requests at an even lower rate than the FISA courts: http://goo.gl/Bftl1

  • Dave

    Next up, out of more than 20,000 requests for warrants by NSA since 2001, only 10 have been rejected by FISC.

    Actually, there are a fair number of legitimate explanations for this that come to mind. First, I suspect the stats include renewals. A federal judge in a non-terrorist criminal case might grant a wiretap warrant that must be renewed every week. The wiretap is kept active for two years. That’s 100 warrant requests for the same wiretap. The FISC numbers could include renewals and that accounts for an artificially high number of the FISC judge is only allowing any particular surveillance warrant for a very short period of time.

    Also, the FISC acts like a magistrate. Warrant applications have a very high ratio of success in any garden variety local magistrate because the proof threshold is so easy to clear. So if you asked a local magistrate in East Elk County, he/she’d probably tell you the success ratio is close to 100 percent. FISC is no different.

    Finally, before approaching the FISC, warrants have to be signed off by numerous DoJ actors. So only the tightest paperwork makes it through those hurdles.

    The problem with this reportage about FISC is that we’re only seeing three or four pieces of the puzzle that has a thousand pieces. If you pick three or four pieces out of a jigsaw puzzle box, chances are what you see will not give you any clear sense of what the whole picture looks like.

  • missliberties

    The demogue twins are the story, and they shouldn’t be.

  • Richard_thunderbay

    There is one thing that I’ve found quite strange since the Snowden/Greenwald
    story began. With all the hyperbole written both by diarists on liberal blogs and their commenters about how the USA is now an Orwellian police state that uses illegal and unconstitutional powers for purely evil ends and that we are all being victimized, I have yet to actually see someone suggest that Obama be forced to resign or be impeached, this despite the fact that he is being held responsible for most if not all of what is going on by many of those folks.

    I suppose you could attribute that to a “but the Republicans are worse” mentality but, if you truly think that the guy is a criminal dictator who is actively betraying the Constitution, shouldn’t you be advocating for his removal, regardless, for the good of the nation and the sake of principle? After all, it would be Biden stepping in his shoes.

  • nathkatun7

    Glenn Greenwald’s feigned outrage was never about reforming FISC. This was all about his visceral hatred of President Obama, which is shared by most in the mainstream media. I have no proof, but it appears to me that Snowden’s quest for fame made him a valuable and convenient tool for Greenwald to use to in his quest to destroy President Obama.

  • blackdaug

    Wow, only 9 a.m. where I live, but already the smell of burned troll hair in here is positively gag inducing.
    With the exception of the outright lies (you remember, unfettered backdoor access to the 9 biggest I.S.P’s….remember that guys.huh..?) the entirety of the first part of the Snow-sagas could have been cobbled together from any number of articles that have been published right out in the open over the last 10 years! (Jazz hands…I like that!)
    …..but within days, they had transitioned to just revealing unspoken aspects of what everyone already knew about our Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Apparatus.
    It was bait and switch from day one. GG knew that nobody’s hair was going to be sufficiently lit by the revaluations that …duh…duh…duh…We spy on other countries!
    ….and that was the whole point. Not to start a “debate” about FISC or any other aspect of our intel capabilities…..but to lob another brick in the direction of the President GG…and all the repub. / libertarian trolls have hated from day fucking one.
    It was all the Glen Show from the get go!
    …..and guess what troll nation? There will now be no actual debate! No new laws passed to set up a more fair process for review, no new laws passed to examine the ever growing corporate data gathering surveillance colossus….
    Because your hero’s muddied the waters so badly with their own poo, nobody will do anything!

    • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

      I’m curious as to what your definition of a troll is.

      • blackdaug

        Satisfy your curiosity. Go look in a mirror.

        • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

          Ha, ha, ha. You are so smart.

          • Victor_the_Crab

            Jealous much, troll?

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            No, ignorance is bliss. So you must be the happiest crab in the world. Oh, sorry. I mean, can you define troll for me?

          • Victor_the_Crab

            Sure. Just take blackdaug’s advice, then go kill yourself, slow and painful like, as a service to America and to all mankind, mmmkay troll?

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            “You’re quite hostile”

          • Victor_the_Crab

            And you’re quite the retard.

  • judi

    All about attention….and Greenwald will do ANYTHING to cast a negative light on this president……he throughly dislikes him. So he uses Snowden for this purposes. I have no idea why people are sooooooooo surprised about American survelience……or any other country’s for that matter…this is not new.

    IRS!!!!!! BENGHAZI!!!!! NSA!!!!! What will be next month’s “scandal.”

  • Mike Huben

    And once again we are treated to Greenwald/Snowden Derangement Syndrome. It spoils what otherwise is a very good article.

    When Cesca points out that some information is not new, Snowden and Lictblau are dismissed as unimportant, rather than praised as an independent confirmation. When Cesca points out that the EFF is using legal routes, he ignores the fact that they are getting different information and that it is overtly redacted and quite possibly illegally filtered by the same bastards who lie directly to Congress.

    I like the point that FISC needs to be reformed, both in appoint and confirmation of judges. However, it also needs at least one other reform that I can think of: attorneys appointed by congress to report on FISC proceedings to congress and attorneys who can appear before FISC to oppose government motions.

    • Badgerite

      In the long run Snowden and company probably are unimportant as what will probably result from all of this is exactly what Bob Cesca has said would result. Any real efforts at transparency or to make the system more accountable is not likely to occur. Rather such information as to how the system works is likely to be more closely held. And Snowden talks like a naive idiot. It is a good article. Period.

    • blackdaug

      Yes, and perhaps in the future, when the FBI, DEA or ATF need to get a warrant to monitor the communications of a potential bomb maker, drug kingpin, or arms dealer….., they will be required to first notify the target of the request for the warrant……, so that their attorneys might appear in court to oppose any such invasions of their privacy.

      • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

        The essential characterizations of what this country is + what intelligence gathering is + the assumption that anyone who talks on a phone in the U.S. is an American citizen and that intelligence gathering agencies know that (psychic?), combines to form a useless Rorschach for political prejudice.

        The Chief Supreme Court Justice appointing the FISA judges is concrete. That so many people are blaming Obama for things that may be the result of a Supreme Court Justice’s actions is evidence of a problem that needs to be addressed seriously in the mainstream news and in the minds of citizens.

        The bulk of the Fourth Estate enables this kind of behind the scenes maneuvering, appears to have no understanding of political power at all as it relates to governing (as opposed to horse races and high school gossip), and contributes to the unreal idea that the government is the man in the Oval Office and everything happens at his whim.

        Roberts’ hands are all over this issue of the Fourth Amendment and intelligence gathering. His face needs to be on the news.

        • missliberties

          Is it possible that hacker Snowden was being tracked by the NSA for his suspicious activities. Yes.

  • js hooper

    Snowden and Greenwald started off by pretending that their campaign was against abuses of American Civil Liberties ( jazz hands).

    Quickly that went out the window when Snowball started hocking national security info to China and Russia.

    Now their actions have become little more than a crusade against Spying & Intelligence gathering in general…by any western nation…Especially the United States and her allies.

    I have a question for all the Wikileaks, Snowden & Greenwald fanboys who are FAP FAP FAPPING over every new press release.

    WTF did u think the CIA,FBI & NSA were doing if not gathering info on other Nations…terrorists, criminals etc etc? I’m seeing an unbelievable amount of faux outrage over the fact that the Govt. engages in covert spying AT ALL…It’s as if these fools are just now realizing that countries spy on each other.

    • ASkepticalLiberal

      “Snowden and Greenwald started off by pretending that their campaign was against abuses of American Civil Liberties ( jazz hands).”

      The first (and several subsequent) leaks WERE about domestic civil liberties abuses. A partial list of things we learned:
      - The NSA has secretly interpreted references to information relevant to an authorized investigation to mean information on all Americans.
      - DNI Clapper blatantly lied to Congress.
      - Content of purely domestic communications is frequently (how frequently remains unclear) retained and disseminated, including confidential attorney-client conversations.

      Since then we’ve learned that the secret FISA court opinions that have authorized these programs are based, at least in part, on an extremely broad reading of a narrowly-tailored SCOTUS ruling that allowed for urinalysis of railway employees. It’s hard to imagine that story coming out without the Snowden leaks. And, despite what Cesca seems to believe, the basis for the secret rulings had not been reported elsewhere.

      I frankly couldn’t care less about whether or not you were surprised about these revelations. That has no impact whatsoever on the self-evident importance and newsworthiness of these stories.

    • ASkepticalLiberal

      “Snowden and Greenwald started off by pretending that their campaign was against abuses of American Civil Liberties ( jazz hands).”

      The first (and several subsequent) leaks WERE about domestic civil liberties abuses. A partial list of things we learned:
      - The NSA has secretly interpreted references to information relevant to an authorized investigation to mean information on all Americans.
      - DNI Clapper blatantly lied to Congress.
      - Content of purely domestic communications is frequently (how frequently remains unclear) retained and disseminated, including confidential attorney-client conversations.

      Since then we’ve learned that the secret FISA court opinions that have authorized these programs are based, at least in part, on an extremely broad reading of a narrowly-tailored SCOTUS ruling that allowed for urinalysis of railway employees. It’s hard to imagine that story coming out without the Snowden leaks. And, despite what Cesca seems to believe, the basis for the secret rulings had not been reported elsewhere.

  • Richard_thunderbay

    Snowden has left himself with an impossible problem. There’s no country in the world pure enough to house his presence. As problematic as the USA admittedly is, his offers of asylum have come from countries with spottier human rights records. Meanwhile, we now know that basically most of Europe plays the same spying games. I presume he’s holding out for a better offer, but I doubt he’ll get it.

    • ASkepticalLiberal

      Seeking asylum in a given country has never implied a total endorsement of that country’s foreign or domestic policy. If an intruder breaks into my house and I manage to slip out a back door, my main concern is finding a neighbor who will open their door and protect me, not one that is morally pure.

      If Snowden ends up going to Venezuela and praising their government or denying Venezuelan abuses, then you’ll have an argument to make

      • Badgerite

        No, Snowden while in China disclosed technical aspects of US surveillance that will help the Chinese spy more effectively on their own people. The man who is credited with creating the great firewall of China took note and is going to exploit that information for the purposes of Chinese government surveillance. Do me a favor and go watch the movie Never Sorry, by Aie Wei Wei. Then tell me if you don’t that Snowden’s disclosure to the Chinese authorities was significant. What’s more, he did it to ingratiate himself with the Chinese in the hope that they would let him stay.

        • Pelle Svanslös

          Snowden while in China disclosed technical aspects of US surveillance that will help the Chinese spy more effectively on their own people.

          So you’re basically admitting that the Chinese had nothing on Obama’s NSA when it comes to spying domestically?
          Wow.

          • nathkatun7

            No. Badgerite is saying that Snowden gave United States classified information to the Chinese that will further enhance China’s spying on the U.S. and thus make it more effective.

            Bardgerite is more polite than I am. As far as I am concerned, what Snowden did makes him a TRAITOR!

          • Badgerite

            If there is going to be spying going on, and there is, I want the US to be the best at it. Damned straight.

      • Alyson Chadwick

        Wow. That’s a random analogy. So you’re asserting that you were breaking the law when the intruder got in because Snowden broke the law. It sounds like, if I am cutting up a bunch of cocaine to sell when an intruder breaks in… Otherwise you seem to imply that Snowden was minding his business when his passport was revoked, which he was not.

      • nathkatun7

        First your analogy of an intruder breaking into your house is stupid and irrelevant to what Snowden did. Second, he doesn’t have to publicly praise Venezuela. His silence about Venezuela government abuses of human rights and invasion of privacy will speak loudly.

  • BlueTrooth

    Did you hear the good news? AT&T is considering selling the metadata to interested Corporations for targeted advertising. Because, as we all know and Greenwald likes to ignore, it is Corporations that do 99.9% of the actual data collection and initial strip and store work. The NSA just doesn’t have to pay cash, they bring a FISC “voucher” (called a warrant). Still waiting for the hair-lighting ceremony to end and we can get on to a discussion of FISA reform, but I guess it’s too much fun riding the “Big Brother Bandwagon”? Peace

  • miscellany101

    Very good piece and troubling at the same time. The SCOTUS’ chief justice can “appoint” FISC judges without any sort of confirmation process is what’s troubling about the process and reveals just how important Supreme Court justices are in government; their power extends beyond their court rulings. I would like to know in what other government processes they’re involved.

  • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

    How could your “real issue” even been spoken about in public without Snowden’s leaks to Greenwald? I’m more than happy to see you keep taking rope to hang yourself with, but I do wonder why you keep flogging Snowden and Greenwald personally rather than just take up your “real issue” and work for it. For instance, Senator Ron Wyden could use some publicity and support right now. Have you mentioned him yet?

    • JozefAL

      Of course, Snowden’s “leaks” were anything but. The man PLANNED to STEAL information months before he ever got the job. A TRUE leaker would have uncovered troubling information AFTER getting the job and discovering it while in the process of doing his regular job. That is NOT what Snowden did.

      Then too, a TRUE leaker wouldn’t have fled to a foreign country (one whose government has NO compunctions about spying on its own citizens as well as foreigners and one which offers absolutely NO recourse for its citizens to learn what information is being learned about them; yeah–that really makes Snowden’s status as a “leaker” less than praiseworthy by all his “supporters”) but rather faced the music, much as Daniel Ellsberg did and Bradley Manning is doing.

      • ASkepticalLiberal

        Where did you come up with this definition of a “true leaker?”

        Snowden had worked in the intelligence community for years. At some point he decided to expose the NSA’s massive surveillance programs, which are based on secret interpretations of the law that are as patently absurd as Yoo and Bybee’s memos.

        In order to get access to the most revealing and incriminating documents, he intentionally took a position that would provide him this access. And then he leaked the documents.

        What part of that somehow makes him anything less than a “true leaker?”

        And how do you feel about the fact that Ellsberg has effusively praised Snowden?

        • dbtheonly

          ASL,

          Do you see the inconsistency in
          “Where did you come up with this definition of a “true leaker?”
          and
          “which are based on secret interpretations of the law that are as patently absurd as Yoo and Bybee’s memos.”?

          You claim for yourself the power you specifically deny Josef.

          The difference is between one who wants to be a “leaker” & so finds something to leak & one who finds something conscience won’t allow to remain hidden.

          “And how do you feel about the fact that Ellsberg has effusively praised Snowden?”
          1. Lots of people got caught up in the hype of the mis-story & reacted viscerally.
          2. Daniel Ellsberg is perfect & has never made a mistake.
          3. Even if 2 is true, I’m still allowed to disagree with him. That disagreement doesn’t mean that I still can’t respect the guy’s past actions.

        • Badgerite

          Well, that really isn’t what his initial story was. Initially he said that he saw these documents and then formed the intent to disclose them. Not that he formed the intent to ‘expose’ these programs and then took oaths to get in a position to do so. There is a difference. One might be leaking, the other is espionage.

        • Badgerite

          It’s a free country. Daniel Ellsberg can effusively praise anyone he wants. I don’t have to agree with him.

        • nathkatun7

          “And how do you feel about the fact that Ellsberg has effusively praised Snowden?”

          I feel nothing because Ellsberg is part of the Greenwald fun club. He is certainly not an objective observer. I also doubt his knowledge about what’s involved in the NSA meta data gathering program.

    • jezebel

      The idiot hanging himself is you.

      Greenwald & Snowjob sold you a hyped bill of goods. Nothing they said was accurate & it was ALL OLD NEWS. The things that need to be revised aren’t life threatening (w/the exception of outsourcing our nat’l security to profit loving, penny-pinching, stupid, corps)

      • ASkepticalLiberal

        “Nothing they said was accurate…”

        It would be one thing if you said that specific assertions were inaccurate. I might disagree with that, but at it would at least be an arguable point. But “nothing???” Are you suggesting that FISA court orders– the existence of which you somehow think was widely known– are forgeries?

        • Badgerite

          The FISA court orders don’t really tell you anything since they refer to legal reasoning contained in other, not disclosed documents to justify the order. The orders themselves are just boilerplate ‘what we said before’ orders for the continuance of a program of surveillance under the restrictions put forth in the other documents. What was most instructive were the NSA guidelines for analysts released which indicate that once it is reasonably discerned by an analyst that it is an American citizen whose communications he is examining, all examination must stop unless something has been uncovered that would justify further surveillance. With respect to currently used technology, ( tapping individual phone lines went out with the cellphone and the internets ) how exactly would you conduct ANY surveillance or do you propose that no surveillance occur anywhere unless we are in a declared war? This includes surveillance on the mob, drug cartels, human traffickers, and all manner of mayhem. So what do you propose law enforcement, both domestic and foreign, do? Individualized phone lines have been replace by streams of 1s and 0s that are not individualized. Snowden seems to say that no surveillance is the answer. And that is ridiculous and naive. What;s more, he, like Julian Assange, is taking political sides in the world. And the sides he’s taken are rather unsavory and have nothing to do with ending all surveillance. Bill Keller of the New York Times told Frontline what Julian Assange said when Keller balked at releasing documents that named US informants in Afghanistan. Assange, he reported, said , they are collaborators and they deserve to die. That is kind of taking sides, don’t you think?

          • blackdaug

            That was a very reasoned and accurate explanation…. not only of the functions of court, but of the inherent problems involved with keeping up with the technology, and….with the pace of the technology while trying to maintain security.
            ……topped off with very cogent example of just the kind of people Assaunge and Greenwald really are…..
            Good luck with that approach given who you are replying to…….

        • blackdaug

          Reducto ad absurdum…….again
          I could carry all your tools in a box made of toilet paper.