COLEEN ROWLEY, rowleyclan at earthlink.net, @ColeenRowley
Rowley is a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo described some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures and was named one of Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. She recently wrote a piece for CNN: “Massive Spying on Americans is Outrageous.” She said today: “Although he may not have been fully briefed, it’s extremely unlikely Obama was ‘kept in the dark.’”
Regarding the scheduled departure of National Intelligence Director James Clapper and NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, Rowley said: “As long as the status quo remains unchanged, this type of moving chairs on the deck of the Titanic would probably suit everyone who was and is a part of the massive and highly profitable Top Secret America spy machine.
“Having participated in numerous conversations between investigators and prosecutors, in attempts to assess individuals’ varying degrees of possible criminal intent when acting in larger groups and conspiracies, group ‘greenlighting’ always defuses personal responsibility and impedes all participants’ ability to think.
“Without a John Dean, such long-standing corrupt practices and cabals are hard to fully unravel. A Deep Throat’s whistleblowing can start the unraveling, but it’s not enough. It took the flipping of higher-level complicity, insider John Dean, to bring down Nixon and all the president’s men.
“Yes, Obama is a puppet, but a very willing one. You actually think that someone, and a ‘constitutional lawyer’ at that, who willingly participates in, supports and continues to justify operation of a kill list would have a problem with merely listening in to foreign leaders (of which foreign ‘intelligence’ gathering has a long history)?!”
MARCY WHEELER, emptywheel at gmail.com, @emptywheel
A noted blogger on legal issues, Wheeler writes at EmptyWheel.net where she has written as series of pieces on recent developments on the NSA story. She said Tuesday: “Today marks the launch of competing efforts to legislatively amend the NSA’s massive spying programs. On the one hand, Dianne Feinstein marks up a bill designed mostly to codify the existing restrictions the FISA Court has imposed on the NSA. Bizarrely, she’s doing this one day after admitting she doesn’t know everything the NSA has been doing. On the other hand, proposals, like that of Rush Holt, propose repealing the PATRIOT Act itself. That leaves the middle ground — a proposal backed by Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner and Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy — which would limit the existing laws to what the publicly stated intent of them was when originally passed, which would dramatically curtail the exposure of completely innocent Americans to such spying.”
ANGELA BRADBERY, abradbery at citizen.org, @citizenangela
Bradbery is director of communications for Public Citizen, which released a statement today: “Public Citizen Defends Merchant From Unconstitutional Interference by NSA, Department of Homeland Security,” which states: “A Minnesota activist who uses images and names of government agencies on satirical merchandise is entitled to do so under the First Amendment, Public Citizen argued in a lawsuit filed today against the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of the merchant.
“The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, targets cease-and-desist letters sent to the merchant’s producer by the NSA and DHS.
“On his website LibertyManiacs.com, Sauk Rapids, Minn., resident Dan McCall sells T-shirts, hats, bumper stickers and other items with his designs, printed by Zazzle.com – for example, a mug with the NSA seal above the words ‘Spying On You Since 1952′ and a parodied NSA seal that says ‘Peeping While You’re Sleeping’ above the words ‘The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens.’”