Declassified Report Shows Doubts About Value of N.S.A.’s Warrantless Spying
The secrecy surrounding the National Security Agency’s post-9/11 warrantless surveillance and bulk data collection program hampered its effectiveness, and many members of the intelligence community later struggled to identify any specific terrorist attacks it thwarted, a newly declassified document shows.
The document is a lengthy report on a once secret N.S.A. program code-named Stellarwind. The report was a joint project in 2009 by inspectors general for five intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and it was withheld from the public at the time, although a short, unclassified version was made public. The government released a redacted version of the full report to The New York Times on Friday evening in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
Shortly after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush secretly told the N.S.A. that it could wiretap Americans’ international phone calls and collect bulk data about their phone calls and emails without obeying the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Over time, Stellarwind’s legal basis evolved, and pieces of it emerged into public view, starting with an article in The Times about warrantless wiretapping in 2005.
The report amounts to a detailed history of the program. While significant parts remain classified, it includes some new information. For example, it explains how the Bush administration came to tell the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, Royce C. Lamberth, about the program’s existence in early 2002.
James A. Baker, then the Justice Department’s top intelligence lawyer, had not been told about the program. But he came across “strange, unattributed” language in an application for an ordinary surveillance warrant and figured it out, then insisted on telling Judge Lamberth. Mr. Baker is now the general counsel to theF.B.I.
More to read HERE.
The global economy’s weird problem is that we have too much stuff
It ought to be a good thing that human society is richer than ever before, so rich that the storage tanks in Cushing, Okla., are nearly overflowing with crude oil and some 110 million bales of cotton are sitting in warehouses around the world, as Josh Zumbrun and Carolyn Cui report in The Wall Street Journal.
The problem is that policymakers don’t quite know how to handle the surplus, which challenges some basic principles of conventional economics and is causing all kinds of mischief:
The current state of plenty is confounding on many fronts. The surfeit of commodities depresses prices and stokes concerns of deflation. Global wealth—estimated by Credit Suisse at around $263 trillion, more than double the $117 trillion in 2000—represents a vast supply of savings and capital, helping to hold down interest rates, undermining the power of monetary policy. And the surplus of workers depresses wages. …
“The classic notion is that you cannot have a condition of oversupply,” said Daniel Alpert, an investment banker and author of a book, “The Age of Oversupply,” on what all this abundance means. “The science of economics is all based on shortages.” …
There is debate among leading economists about whether this condition of excess is temporary or likely to continue for a while, but in either case, we still face the question of what to do with what we have.
One answer: Transfer some of that wealth to the people who need it now, and invest some of it in projects that will guarantee even better lives for our children and grandchildren. The current generation of owners is obviously not using what they have, so it would be selfish to do otherwise.
“There are a long list of things that need to be done,” Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research wrote last year. “Think of all those things that we think that we can’t do because they cost so much, like stopping global warming, educating our kids properly, or providing care for seniors. It turns out that we actually can do them because we have more supply than demand.”
Scientists have explored only 1% of the ocean depths. They believe millions of new kinds of animals and fish are down there, waiting to be discovered.