Embarrassing Weekend for NSA and CIA Good for Democracy

U.S. intelligence took a couple of pretty hard slaps in its face this past weekend and, when reading the articles about their wasteful and ridiculous actions, the slaps were clearly justified.NSA

First off, it was announced on Friday that Germany had arrested a man accused of spying for the United States and passing on the details of a German parliamentary committee’s investigation.  It’s pretty disgraceful that the U.S. is spending taxpayer dollars to buy spies so we can know about an ally’s parliamentary actions, but it gets worse.  The intelligence the U.S. wanted from this man is what the committee was investigating: NSA spying on Germany and its Chancellor Angela Merkel.  A Reuters exclusive posted today confirms the role of the CIA in paying the spy.

There’s a lot to hate about these stupid actions, but the harm to foreign relations should be noted and is properly pointed out in the first article:

…the new allegation of American spying on an ally may make it harder for the US to get German help in its efforts to oppose Russian activity in Ukraine, and also to control Iranian nuclear ambitions.

Then, on Sunday, the Washington Post published another blistering article detailing the abuses of the NSA and its mass collection of the data of innocent Americans.  The main point of the article is the NSA is wastefully collecting data on nine people for every one alleged target it is tracking.  Which begs the often repeated questions, why is the extra tracking needed and why is there not a warrant needed for this additional tracking of innocent Americans?  An example given toward the end of the article speaks volumes on this issue.

The Washington Post article also reignites the question of why James Clapper is still DNI after clearly lying to Congress.

On the bright side of all of these revelations, we now know more about what is being done with our tax dollars and in our names as Americans.  There is no doubt these agencies have overstepped their bounds by a ton and are doing so in ways that are simply disgraceful and wasteful.  The more the American people know about NSA and CIA actions, the more they can be reigned in.

The type of secrecy these agencies are able to operate under would make any authoritarian regime envious and gets to the point of why they are such an offense to the idea of true democracy.  The fact that we spied on our allies, their leaders, and their cell phones is shameful enough but now we have doubled-down on this stupidity by spending more tax dollars trying to find out about their investigations into our spying on them.

Quick show of hands.  Who wanted their tax dollars spent on spying on Angela Merkel in the first place?  No one?  How about spending more resources on looking into their investigation of that and damaging our standing in the world even more?  Still no one?

One last question: who is in favor of continually increasing the unknown budget for this stupidity at the cost of cutting helpful social programs like education, food stamps, Medicaid, etc.?

Russian Troop Movement On Ukrainian Border

russia-operations-map-1-600A report in the NYT on Russian troop movement, placement, and battle exercises along the Ukrainian border. It also outlines that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come down with some hard-hitting speech that warns Russia of harsh sanctions if the policies of the 19th and 20th century return. But the bad part is that Russia is a strong trading partner with Germany.

Read Here.