Newsweek published an article on the NSA Whistleblower for domestic surveillance. Personally I think the guy should be tried for treason since there’s legal venues for blowing the whistle and he chose not to pursue any of them. In fact, he puts together a case of “sympathetic judges”. So why not then blow the whistle through the proper channels and land in one of these sympathetic judges courts? Because he knows he doesn’t have a case. You can read the article here and my comment follows:
Really, really bad. There’s legal paths for whistleblowing, and if Obama chooses to pursue the Bush administration then it’s going to come up that Tamm didn’t follow them and so all discovered evidence is completely moot. On the other hand if a court allows the evidence to be entered, then the court must convict Tamm of treason. Bush and Tamm are inexorably linked.
As far as this piece is written, it absolutely glosses over the difference in technology between when the 1970s laws were written and what we have today. In the new age of digital routing, there’s no idea of physical privacy. It’s just not how networks work. More to the point, the laws are written to prevent wiretapping of calls from Americans to Americans. The idea that an American would call someone in a cave half a world away simply didn’t cross anyone’s mind when these laws and courts were put together.
And thirdly, this article completely ignores the conundrum between FISA and intelligence. The whole point of “back loading” the intel into FISA warrants was to make the wiretaps legal. Consider that the courts themselves became a source of obstruction. If you want to make a legal comparison, this is why the marijuana stamp was thrown out. In order to make your pot legal, you had to posses it, then you had to pay for a tax stamp to make it legal. The supreme court threw out the tax stamp for exactly this reason. If it goes to court, there’s a very high chance that FISA itself will be destroyed for the sake of putting together a new system which works in todays high tech environment against terrorists instead of trying to kludge together a legal defense against the KGB and repurpose it against a completely different organization.