The Hot Politics of the Moment

So now would be a good time for all of us to listen to Rand Paul on big data security concerns. And here is why.

Michael Flynn has just stepped down as the president’s National Security Advisor. My concern is not whether he was wise or foolish in his interaction with the Russians, or whether he completely misrepresented himself to the vice-president or not, or whether the president was right to seek his resignation or not. My concern is not with the decisions that have been made, but how it came about that a decision had to be made.

Before he was part of the government, before he was sworn in, his phone conversations with foreigners were recorded. Those conversations were then subsequently leaked and the controversy ensued.

What this means is that someone in the intelligence community, with access to the surveillance data that is routinely collected, released some of that data in the interests of a political agenda. It does not matter for my purposes if that political agenda is wise or foolish. It is simply that this information was released for political purposes, and the person who released it is not in jail. This is all we really need to know.

When we have had our debates about big data collection, and some of us have worried about the illicit weaponization of such information, the reassurances come back. That doesn’t happen. There are protections. We have firewalls. Yeah, right. Where are they in this instance?

So when the “protections” are violated, as they manifestly have been in this situation, the hot politics of the moment overwhelm any and all process concerns. The person who leaked from the big data reservoir is an honorable “whistle-blower.” The politics of taking down Trump a few notches overshadow the glaringly obvious fact that the government is in control of information that it will never be able to handle responsibly.

We have an example of a case of abuse, sitting right in front of us, kind of on fire, and it is the kind of abuse some of us predicted just a few months ago, and fans of the surveillance state said no, no, no, it doesn’t work that way, and now here we are. What are you going to do? What are you going to say?

Not only do the advocates of the deep state shrug, but so also the general population shrugs. But there is only one way to keep this reservoir of data from leaking in this way, and that is to make sure that the only data in the reservoir is there because someone obtained a warrant after showing probable cause.

If you protest that national security requires megadata collection, I ask if megadata collection itself presents any threat to national security. If you tell me that our intelligence agencies are honorable and would never do anything like this, then I will wonder (out loud) why they just did do something like this. And I will wonder further why there has not been an arrest. You have data on Michael Flynn but have no data on the person or persons unknown who took him out at the knees? Maybe you guys are watching the wrong people.

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Jack Bradley
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Jack Bradley

Yes.

Matt
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Matt

Incredible. Back during the campaign there were hacks and leaks aplenty. The alarm was raised multiple times, but you didn’t care because it only hurt the people you hate. Now suddenly it’s a big issue. Tribalism is such a corrosive thing.

Rob Steele
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Rob Steele

Every intelligence service in the world except maybe ours owned Hillary’s server. That’s espionage, not routine state surveillance.

Dave W
Guest
Dave W

Of course, for Doug to be guilty of Tribalism he would actually have to be a part of Trump’s tribe; and that’s curious since Doug didn’t vote for him and opposed him the whole way through. Maybe you need to think a bit more about this.

insanitybytes22
Member

What’s wrong with tribalism? Shouldn’t we be a bit tribal about things like our own government spying on us for political purposes? Tribal about freedom? Tribal about security?

Matt
Guest
Matt

If it had stuck, I might agree with you. But tribe apparently overpowers everything at this point. When are we going to see that strident , principled opposition to Trump?

John
Member

Dude, you haven’t been reading Doug for very long. He has repeatedly said that Trump is a judgement by God against our country.

Katecho
Member

Matt may not have been reading Doug for very long, but he has certainly been posting here a long time. So he doesn’t have an excuse for his misrepresentations.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Like I said, if he had carried on with that it would be one thing. But it was sadly dropped, all of Trump’s foolishness goes without comment now. It makes one wish for the Obama years again.

Katecho
Member

Matt wrote:

Like I said …

Matt seems to have forgotten what he said. Matt started out by saying that Wilson “didn’t care” about earlier hacks and leaks, but now Matt has changed his tune to say that Wilson has only stopped caring.

Matt is wrong in both directions, but he just moved his goal posts for all to see.

ashv
Guest
ashv

You don’t really get to pick which tribe you’re a part of, particularly when there’s significant tribal conflict going on.

Drew Koehler
Guest
Drew Koehler

did you pick the Confederate tribe?

ashv
Guest
ashv

No. Did you pick your ancestors?

Am
Guest
Am

You only reveal your ignorance with that comment. We can’t control what the Russians did to Hillary. We can and should control what our intelligence community does.

Matt
Guest
Matt

What we can control is irrelevant. It’s about how we react when the leaks/hacks happen. When they were against Hillary and co, the reaction was joy and schadenfreude. When they are against Trump, suddenly it’s a grave issue we must all worry about. It’s all who/whom at this point, and conservatives don’t get to complain about liberals wallowing in the same mud they just covered themselves in a few months ago.

Am
Guest
Am

The more you post the more you expose your ignorance and foolishness.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Good argument.

Am
Guest
Am

How would you know? Your posts indicate you are ignorant of such things. That is why I haven’t wasted my time.

adad0
Member

Matt, a thought about some differences between HRC and Flynn. The DNC leaks, issued by Wikileaks, were leaks published by the press, about a non government, albeit political organization, the Democratic Party apparatus. Even CNN thinks they have a right to publish info of this type, as they might, drug cartel emails. The presumed intell leak, re: Flynn, is a leak of government collected, classified intelligence information, selectively and illegally released by a government agent, to effect a political result, outside of required due process. While the DNC info was “private”, it was not classified. The alleged phone taps of… Read more »

steghorn21
Guest
steghorn21

I think he has a point.

bethyada
Member

I don’t think you’ll find Doug against leaks per se. Rather about gathering data of everyone without warrant.

Matt
Guest
Matt

These leaks and such are a nasty business, especially when one presidential candidate goes on record encouraging the use of them against his opponent. Expect to see more hacking and dirty laundry in the future. It’s a race to the bottom now.

bethyada
Member

I think leaks can be a nasty business. From my perspective I prefer transparency in as much as is reasonable.

Regardless of the goodness of whistleblowing in any specific instance, I have a strong aversion to data being collected on the populace. Other than a moral objection to the practice, I think it is most likely to be abused: the relatively innocent will get destroyed for political expediency and the nasty will manage to keep their dirty laundry secret.

adad0
Member

“It’s a race to the bottom now?”
C’mon Matt, CNN and buzzfeed won that race a long time ago with the fake “golden shower” story! ????

Wow! I guess CNN finally won something!
????

Billtownphysics
Guest
Billtownphysics

You’re claiming that Trump went “on the record” encouraging the use of leaks against Hillary? Where? When? Do you work for CNN? You seem to be pretty good at the fake news business.

Katecho
Member

During the campaign, I believe Trump did make an off-hand remark in support of private or foreign hacks or leaks that might bring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s official emails to light. Matt seems to be ignoring the context that her emails were supposed to be secure government records in the first place, and subject to FOIA review. Hillary had them destroyed without oversight. The issue that Matt is ignoring is the general lack of information accountability in the government. Both in terms of unaccountable government surveillance, unaccountable information disclosure (leaks), and unaccountable failure to disclose (Clinton). This isn’t a… Read more »

David Koenig
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David Koenig

If comprehending the post as a whole is beyond you, just start with the picture first.

The topic here is not about whether or not leaks are a valid political technique. The post’s point is that this particular data set *should not exist at all*. The hack should be impossible because there is nothing to look at.

With that resolved, we are free to be consistent in saying that hacks of Ice Queen’s email and Trump’s are equally moral (or not).

Dave
Guest
Dave

Am, the Hillary information wasn’t from the Ruskies but from inside the Democratic party. The individual who posted it made that point several times but was shouted down by those who tried to shift the leak source. It is much better to say the Ruskies did it than to say a disgruntled staffer released critical information.

Am
Guest
Am

That is still a different issue than our intelligence community being used as a political weapon.

Dave
Guest
Dave

What did the Ruskies do to Hillary?

Katecho
Member

Another swing-and-a-miss from Matt. This is larger than a partisan or tribal problem. The issue is not simply that leaks of personal information can happen. There are bad guys who snoop around wherever they can, and twist whatever digital doorknobs might be unlocked or poorly locked. The issue that is coming to light, more and more, is that some of these bad guys are not pimply teens, out in the world, hacking from their mom’s basement, but actually our own paid government intelligence workers who will leak information against their own domestic political rivals (and God knows who else) to… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

I have yet to meet a person complaining about “tribalism” that wasn’t trying to get others to give up their friend/enemy distinctions.

The cure for tribalism is submission to Christ and fellowship in His kingdom, where tribes and nations are not erased but glorified.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Yes, that would be the point. Everyone needs to stop with the friend/enemy nonsense, it’s nearly hit a fever pitch at this point. When everything is about opposing the bad people, you inevitably become blind to your own side’s abuses. This is how Wilson can say, in total seriousness, that it was Obama who messed up Iraq.

ashv
Guest
ashv

Everyone needs to stop with the friend/enemy nonsense

If you were my friend, you wouldn’t say that. Narrows the other possibilities somewhat.

Christian Histo
Guest
Christian Histo

Foreign nationals, sensational websites, and other parties hacking private servers is not good but not what Wilson is talking about. Whatever happened with Hillary’s emails, it does not appear that it was our own government digging into her emails. It was a crime but one that, at least in theory, our government should be investigating and punishing. But it is almost infinitely more disturbing when our own government is doing the evil. When the government (the body tasked with stopping this sort of evil in society), is the one hacking and leaking, we all should be afraid. The fact that… Read more »

Noah
Guest
Noah

Dear Matt,

Really?

Cordially,
—Noah

steghorn21
Guest
steghorn21

You have a point.

Am
Guest
Am

As someone who feeds his family by getting paid to secure infrastructure from cyber attack I can tell you, nothing that is online is secure. Anything that is hardware running software, cell phones, laptop, tablets, etc and connected in anyway to the web is vulnerable. There are sophisticated malicious foreign state actors, domestic intelligence agencies, and even losers in their mother’s basements that have the resources to infiltrate, plant, and collect information on almost anyone.

insanitybytes22
Member

Absolutely! We’re living in strange times because on one hand we recognize the need for privacy and security, but on the other hand people are desperately seeking attention and so they post absolutely everything on the internet, including what they just had for lunch. It is like people want to be seen….but only by the right kind of people. The illusion of privacy there is what astounds me because it has absolutely no basis in fact. It is not as if all the bad guys look away politely.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Very true. Unless you live in a lead lined box you have no secrets from sufficiently motivated spies. Does it not make sense though to forbid the government from spying on its own citizens? Aren’t we supposed to be the masters and they the servants?

Am
Guest
Am

My comment was a warning to those who don’t understand the state of our connected society. It was not meant to be taken as an argument against Doug’s original point. We absolutely should be exerting control over our government when it comes to the information it collects.

trey
Member

I think you mean “meTadata”. But I agree with you entirely.

ashv
Guest
ashv

2016 displayed Trump’s victory over the media. (Which keeps getting better, CNN was upgraded from “fake news” to “really fake news” today.) 2017 will be, at least, about Trump’s conflict with the permanent government, which may be a much more difficult foe. Nixon, Kennedy, Bush the younger all conflicted with CIA/State to various degrees, and lost. What Mr Trump can do remains to be seen. (On a side note — have you noticed how many people have been rounded up for pedophilia/child trafficking in the past few weeks? More than a few. It wouldn’t stun me to learn that Flynn’s… Read more »

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

“Pravda on the Chattahoochee”. I just Googled it and found that while there’s not much there, I didn’t invent the phrase.

Kyle
Guest
Kyle

The intelligence community’s oath is to protect the nation and its Constitution. They first reached out to the White House to share concerns that Flynn was openly lying about his conversations with Russia. When, months later, the White House continued to lie about these facts, the fact that the conversation had been recorded and contradicted Flynn’s statement (not the actual recordings) was leaked to the press in the interests of national security. This prompted corrective action (Flynn’s firing and potential investigations).

It appears to me that the intelligence community did their jobs.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

You lost me at “protect the nation and its Constitution.” By violating the law?

JP Stewart
Member

He didn’t lose me, but I almost lost my lunch reading that. I took that same oath years ago, but those clowns haven’t “protected” the Constitution in decades (centuries?).

Billtownphysics
Guest
Billtownphysics

Where did you hear they reached out to the white house first?? I haven’t heard that anywhere. This was a criminal leak. To me the fact that Flynn discussed politics with a Russian ambassador before the inauguration and after the election is not unethical or even criminal, but the leak to the press is very troubling and should be investigated. If I were Trump I’d clean house in the intelligence community, it is obvious that there are liberal pro-Obama hacks in the highest levels, everyone with a pay-grade of 10 and above should be let go and replaced with people… Read more »

Katecho
Member

If the intelligence community was doing something legal, why was the information not brought forward through public, accountable channels? Why was it anonymously leaked, without any ability to confirm or verify the accusation?

LittleRedMachine
Guest
LittleRedMachine

Excellent points, Pastor.

Huge difference b/t Podesta and DNC email “leaks” (as Obama called them in his last press conference) and US government employees leaking classified info on a private citizen to take him down for political purposes. Did this crime using our money, btw.

John
Guest
John

This case isn’t really an example of metadata being used for political purposes. It’s just plain old spying gone wrong. They weren’t tracking Flynn’s conversations. They were tracking any calls made the Russian ambassador and Flynn happened to be calling him. This is a very specific case and to apply it generally doesn’t really follow.

insanitybytes22
Member

I think Wilson quite clearly states the nature of the problem here, “You have data on Michael Flynn but have no data on the person or persons unknown who took him out at the knees?”

John
Guest
John

That’s true, yes, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with metadata collection. Anonymously leaking intelligence info happens whether you have metadata or not. It’s a totally different issue.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Perhaps, buuuuuut now there’s this from Bezos:
http://www.alternet.org/media/owner-washington-post-doing-business-cia-while-keeping-his-readers-dark#.WKXthOe4-4Q.facebook
And this from Zuckerberg:
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2887880/facebook-boss-mark-zuckerberg-hints-at-secret-plans-to-use-artificial-intelligence-to-censor-and-spy-on-users/
Plus WikiLeaks is unloading on Google’s spy-craft escapades.
God save us from the geeks and the spooks.

insanitybytes22
Member

I read Zuckerberg’s actual manifesto and it totally creeped me out. He reminds me of a comic book super villain, hellbent on globalization and world domination…but on his terms after he has purged the world of it’s deplorables, I mean undesirables. He has a very creepy emphasis on infrastructure, it is absolutely mandatory that we build a globalization infrastructure. I’m not even sure what “infrastructure” in the techie world looks like, but we will have equality here, by force if necessary.

I’m pretty sure Zuckerberg is the anti Christ. We should be getting thumb implants any day now.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Is it just me or does he look like a kouros?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kouros
Good thing I don’t believe in reincarnation :)

insanitybytes22
Member

Ha! Indeed. The resemblance is uncanny.

Dave
Guest
Dave

John, our Fellow American Nixon got into extremely hot water because he sent the plumbers into Watergate to get the Democratic book containing hooker’s names along with their associated johns, meetings and photographs of the same. This example is the same thing on an exponential level. Those who exposed the information are not whistle blowers but political punks and should be brought forward to the stocks for examination with rotten fruit and vegetables.

John
Guest
John

I don’t disagree. I’m just distinguishing the problem of anonymous leaks within intelligence agencies and the problem of metadata collection. They don’t really have anything to do with each other.

Drew Koehler
Guest
Drew Koehler

I don’t feel like this should surprise anyone anymore. We no longer has any sense of right and wrong, political agenda’s abound and data collection is so far past the point of change that there is nothing we can do to change it.
I hate to have a “whatever” attitude about it, but it all seems to line up with the decaying of the fabric of our values as a country and the inevitable result in the eventual imprisonment of people who stand up for truth in Christ.

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

So, Mr. Wilson, I presume you call for the pardon of Edward Snowden since it was his leaks that elucidated the omnipresence of the US surveillance network (and thus is partially to credit for your above argument, a fact of which you are doubtless aware). I praise your calling out of the inconsistency and odiousness of using leaked information for political ends but disagree that the person who leaks the information should be in jail if the information leaked is in the interest of the American people (which the information about Flynn’s lying most certainly is). Such a person should… Read more »

Justin
Guest
Justin

So Doug, just curious, do you support the efforts of Edward Snowden in this matter?

insanitybytes22
Member

Don’t know about Wilson, but I have, I do. I’ve signed petitions,written letters to congresscritters. On thing that kind of baffles me, Manning was granted a pardon and Assange, up until just recently was held up as a kind of hero, a whistle blower. The opposition to Snowden however, has been consistent, bipartisan,when in fact, he’s really the only one who made an actual sacrifice for his country, who holds our values dear. He’s a true whistle blower and actually warned about this very thing happening when our intelligence agencies begin acting like a forth branch of Gov that answers… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Justin and Christopher, should Hillary’s staff be brought to justice for leaking documents that killed Americans in the Middle East and for falsely accusing and imprisoning a man because his YouTube video could be used as a scapegoat to cover up the Benghazi gun trading along with the murder of our ambassador?

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

If someone’s actions contribute to the death of another human being, then it should absolutely be investigated and scrutinized by a group of ones peers. Honestly, I haven’t done much research into the Benghazi scandal. There is so much I dislike about Clinton already, I feel my time is better spent on other matters. Bottom line: ideally, Clinton should not be allowed any position in which she is able to wield power.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Jane Fonda caused pilots to be killed. The Pentagon Papers got people killed when they were published. Hillary and staff got our Libyan ambassador and four good men killed in Benghazi. These are just a few examples of what happens when the power is transfered to the people as you stated above. Our government over reaches on a regular basis because men in positions of trust do not have a solid foundation in Christ. Remember our form of government only works for a moral and religious people as John Adam’s pointed out. There is a huge difference between blowing the… Read more »

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

I’m sorry to have to break it to you Dave, but any government that depends on “moral and religious people” for its smooth functioning is highly unrealistic. If that’s what you’re waiting for, you may wanna grab a snack. It’s also something of a tautology. Since any governmental system run by optimally “moral” people would by definition be a moral one. I suppose you would advocate a morally righteous dictatorship. Oh, wait… The bottom line is this: Whether or not our leaders return to God is irrelevant. If the people of this country don’t want to be ruled by the… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Actually, America’s original government was established by a moral and religious people. It is not unrealistic to have a moral and religious population at all, but you do raise a good point that American citizens must desire to honor and worship God. However, you missed several points from scripture because leadership best comes from the top down, however, God can change hearts from the bottom up. Remove wicked officials from the king’s presence and his throne will be established through righteousness. Proverbs 25:5 It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness, for the throne is established by righteousness. Proverbs… Read more »

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

Okay, we’ll leave aside for now the fact that you called me ignorant, Mr. Pot (a simple apology will do to put that issue away). Let’s focus on what I gather to be the main point. You prefer a representative republic to rule by the people. The first thing to point out is that I assume you have not been very pleased with the eventual outcomes of said republic thus far (I have my criticisms as well but I’m guessing yours and mine don’t match up very well). I don’t want to lump you into categories in which you don’t… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I think you’ve confused this one – you’re using a check on government and calling it an overreach of government. We should be monitoring the communications of Russian officials, right? I know from past conversations that you’re pro-spying, so the monitoring isn’t the issue. So is the issue that those communications were released publically rather than kept secret? That’s not a government overreach, it is actually transferring power to the people. Not saying that there isn’t an argument against it, but you’re making the wrong one. As long as you’re pro-spying, then we’re going to be monitoring the communications of… Read more »