'Wish I Had The Power' To Hack Enemies' Emails, Says Man Very Close To Having Such Power
from the maybe-time-to-pull-back-nsa-powers dept
This weird presidential election continues to get weirder. Donald Trump, perhaps upset about being overshadowed this week by the Democratic Convention, held a press conference on Wednesday morning where he said a whole bunch of completely nutty stuff. A lot of the attention is being placed on his weird possibly half-joking request that Russia hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails and reveal the 33,000 that were deleted (or maybe just give them to the FBI, as he later said in a tweet). That was bizarre on a number of levels, including coming right after denying he had any connection to Russia and the possibility that they had hacked the Democratic National Committee’s computer system.
But it was his follow up comment that should be a hell of a lot more terrifying. He claimed that he “wished” he had the power to hack her emails:
“Honestly, I wish I had that power,” Trump responded. “I’d love to have that power.”
Now, again, there’s an argument that this comment was sarcastic in the same manner as the “please, Russia” comment that everyone’s been focusing on.
But here’s the thing: in just a few months he very well might have that power. The NSA certainly has the ability to hack into just about anyone’s emails should they want to. And no matter what we feel about whether or not the NSA has or is currently abusing that power, at the very least the level of abuses aren’t nearly as bad as they could be in the hands of someone who just doesn’t seem to give a fuck about the Constitution or the law.
As we noted a few months ago, surveillance powers should be designed as if the person you least trust in the world had control over the systems. Whether — to you — that’s Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or someone else entirely doesn’t really matter. It’s a pretty clear reason that we should be massively curtailing the surveillance powers granted by the US government to both the intelligence community and the law enforcement community.
Here we have the nominated presidential candidate joking that he’d make use of the power — which he’d have — to hack into the communications of political enemies. And while some will argue this is yet another on the long checklist of reasons why Trump is not fit for the job, it’s even more a condemnation of our surveillance powers today. Whatever people think of the candidates, it seems like the one thing we should agree on is vastly limiting the surveillance powers.