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September 15, 2005

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cathyf

This sounds right. The way it was explained, the foreign intelligence services were prohibited from spying on Americans. If they did so accidentally, they were supposed to destroy the data as soon as they realized it. We've already heard several fairly consistent versions of this story that somebody higher up discovered that Able Danger had collected a huge amount of data on Americans, freaked out, ordered that the whole project be vaporized, and said, at the time, that the existence of the project had ended his career.

This is what so pisses me off about the Coverup Commission. So far, this really looks like something that was a reasonable-at-the-time policy decision, made by people who had won an election. Sure with hindsight it may be that we missed a chance for breaking up 9/11, but only tinfoil-hat wearers think that this was some sort of conspiracy rather than an unintended consequence. What makes me mad is that by lying and covering up, the Commision robs us of the opportunity to have a grownup, intelligent discussion about just how far we should go in allowing the government to spy on us, and how we protect ourselves from data misuse as we allow more coordination between fbi and cia and dia, etc. Instead the Commission has become part of the hysterics.

cathy :-)

kim

Maybe Spector can demonstrate a little leadership and moderate that debate, cathy. God knows we need it.
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Cecil Turner

"So far, this really looks like something that was a reasonable-at-the-time policy decision, made by people who had won an election."

Judging from the time frame, I suspect the decision was by a mid-level DOD functionary, and had little to do with the election. And unless I'm missing something, the national debate was held, and the data-miners lost:

The Senate's $368 billion version of the 2004 defense appropriations bill, released from committee to the full Senate on Wednesday, contains a provision that would deny all funds to, and thus would effectively kill, the Terrorism Information Awareness program, formerly known as Total Information Awareness. TIA's projected budget for 2004 is $169 million.

kim

Maybe this is re-opening that debate by the side that lost it.
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Cecil Turner

"Maybe this is re-opening that debate by the side that lost it."

I don't think so. It looks like more of a post-hoc evaluation, rather than a "where do we go from here?" There appears to be little political stomach on either side of the aisle for changing the rules to allow for gathering data on US citizens, and the system obviously can't work without it. This and profiling are rapidly becoming dead issues (at least until the next incident).

kim

I don't see, theoretically, why data-mining can't be done justly, with privacy safeguards. Practically, it's easy to imagine difficulties.

Are we starting at hypothetical terrors, and not finishing up actual terrors?

Warning, I'm using 'starting' in the obscure sense cognate with startled, not as 'beginning'. Art forced me to the obscure locution.

And Waziristan is an obscure location---there's no commenting on it.
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