June 16, 2013


From Bart Gellman's latest re NSA/Snowden:

"We have rich oversight across three branches of government. I’ve got an [inspector general] here, a fairly robust legal staff here . . . and there’s the Justice Department’s national security division...For those things done under court jurisdiction, the courts are intrusive in my business, appropriately so, and there are two congressional committees. It’s a belts-and-suspenders-and-Velcro approach, and inside there’s rich auditing.”

Forgive me that I'm commenting in haste, and I hope to have more soon, but my first reaction reading this was to recall a splendid footnote from Michael Lewis' "The Big Short":

Wall Street firms like to say they build Chinese walls to keep information about customer trading from leaking to their own proprietary trading. Vincent Daniel of FrontPoint Partners offered the most succinct response to this pretense: “When I hear ‘Chinese wall,’ I think, ‘You’re a fucking liar.’”

I mean "fairly robust", "belt and suspenders" & "rich auditing" were already pretty rich (pun unintended), but Velcro too? The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Posted by Gregory at June 16, 2013 11:09 AM

Hoping for your thoughts on our new Syria adventure, but this is nice too. Regards

Posted by: Adams at June 18, 2013 04:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The Guardian reports that the NSA has been given the green light, by the FISA Court, to......

"Retain and make use of "inadvertently acquired" domestic communications if they contain usable intelligence, information on criminal activity, threat of harm to people or property, are encrypted, or are believed to contain any information relevant to cybersecurity"

......which is, given the bloated state of the Federal Code, permission to retain and "make use of" vast amounts of data, for which no specific search warrant, for a specific U.S. citizen, was obtained. It is as if the FBI had permission to rummage through everybody's home, but then said "Don't worry, we won't do anything unless we see evidence of a criminal act". There is no intellectually honest way to square this with the 4th Amendment, not that intellectual honesty has much to do with the work of a judge.

Posted by: Will Allen at June 24, 2013 07:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

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Gregory Djerejian comments intermittently on global politics, finance & diplomacy at this site. The views expressed herein are solely his own and do not represent those of any organization.

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