Intelligence Community Says President Obama's Non-Plan To 'End' Metadata Collection Is 'Impossible'

from the shockingly-unshocking dept

What do you get when the President of the United States, rather than take a stand and act as a leader, decides to try to “balance” everything by pretending to promise to end the Section 215 bulk metadata collection, while promising to “retain its capabilities”? And then, after announcing that non-plan, tossing it over to the Attorney General and Congress to sort out the details? Yeah, you get a whole lot of nothing. And, folks in the intelligence community are basically saying that nothing’s going to change because what he’s suggesting isn’t really possible.


“The idea that this complicated problem will be solved in the next two months is very unlikely, if not impossible,” said one official with knowledge of the discussions. “It is not at all inconceivable that the bulk collection program will stay the same, with the records held by the government until 2015,” when the law that authorizes the bulk collection is set to expire.

And, of course, many assume this was the plan all along. Say that they’re ending the program while promising to keep the capabilities, then punt the issue to others to work out, and you pretty much guarantee the status quo for quite some time. Perhaps permanently. This wasn’t leadership, this was passing the buck. And that’s why most of the intelligence community seems perfectly happy with the result.

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Comments on “Intelligence Community Says President Obama's Non-Plan To 'End' Metadata Collection Is 'Impossible'”

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28 Comments
Ninjasays:

As long as the Americans don’t start voicing the oposition and acting they have no reason to change anything. And I suspect a huge chunk of the Americans either are (still) ignorant or share the opinion that it’s either necessary (because terrorism) or they have nothing to hide. So yeah, thought times for those who can grasp what’s at stake now.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

attentive of the problems at hand.

First would be the problems as hand would have to be simple enough to figure out a solution for.

Next it would require citizens to have standing and a willingness to engage in a legal fight to attempt to correct the problem.

Few problems are simple and even fewer have the willingness to fight.

Anonymous Howardsays:

Re: Re: Re:

I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing.

First would be the problems as hand would have to be simple enough to figure out a solution for.
You imply that there are actual problems that a politician can solve, but a group of experts (real experts with working knowledge) couldn’t. You must be kidding, right?

We live in a society for a reason. No one is capable of solving every problem, but together..

Next it would require citizens to have standing and a willingness to engage in a legal fight to attempt to correct the problem.
I’m talking about a real democracy, not some legal fight. In a real democracy, every citizen have a standing because they’re citizens.

Anonymous Howardsays:

Re: Re: Re:

I think that’s the crux of the problem with the current system: people despise their “leaders”.

A democracy don’t really need leaders in the traditional sense. (that’s why it is much less susceptible to bribery and corruption, and more to demagogy)
It needs a forum where people decide what to do, and an executive branch that executes exactly what is decided, exactly as decided by the people.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“It needs a forum where people decide what to do, and an executive branch that executes exactly what is decided, exactly as decided by the people.”

The problem is: how do you determine what “the people” want? Is it a simple majority kind of thing, where anything less than 50% support for a yes/no proposition is considered not to be the will of the people? Do minorities get any say in the matter, and, if so, who is to meet their demands when the rest of “the people” will not support them? Does the executive branch ever get to act against a small majority in favor of a large minority? Against a large majority for a small minority?

It makes no sense to speak of “the will of the people” when there’s no such thing as “the people”. That’s why democracy from the top down — whether in the form of “leaders” or in the form of “executives” — will never quite work.

Anonymoussays:

Re:

breaking news = always exciting!
continuing scandal = very valuable for gathering viewers, but unless it brings many and important new developments it will tire people of news about the issue.
political reaction = after the initial political actions it is usually pretty much settled, for now. No need to talk about it, since something has been slammed together to make some reports to support decision making (in several ways…).
reports come out = not very exciting. The continuing scandal will often have been over for some time and people are becoming increasingly bored of the issue.
actual legislative action = who the beep cares anymore. Now you are just covering the issue to drive people away…

FM Hiltonsays:

The question at hand

You mean, there was a problem to be solved here?

Something wrong with the way the government works?

Hey, don’t threaten the status quo, will ya?

We work here for a living, and we know what we’re doing!

“We’re the government and we’re here to help/protect/spy on you.”

Now go away and let us do our jobs in peace and quiet, you peasants! No more of this nonsense!

John Fendersonsays:

Re:

I agree with them, actually. I don’t think it’s solvable given the parameters that are expected to be met: retain its capabilities.

The issue, of course, is that it’s “capabilities” are the problem that needs to be solved. They need to be eliminated. That’s not going to be part of the solution by definition.

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