Monday, March 20, 2017

Masking identity, protecting privacy, wiretapping, leaking, and other curious tactics



Watching the House Intelligence Committee televised public testimony of NSA chief Michael Rogers and FBI chief James Comey today provided yet another glimpse of the theater that has recently become confused with governance and the rule of law.  Discussions of "privacy" have become even more complicated as the private details of ongoing NSA/FBI investigations and the "masking" of the identities of suspects and others incidentally mentioned in investigations are being withheld as a matter of procedure.

The National Security Agency investigates suspicious and/or allegedly illegal activities that threaten US national security abroad.  The FBI investigates similar activities in the US.  The agencies mutually share information that overlaps during the conduct of an investigation whenever domestic and international subjects overlap.  The protection of the identities of the individuals involved are normally assured by statutory protections that guide each agency in the conduct of its duty.  Whistle blowing and information leaks occasionally occur, but are also deterred and discouraged by sanctions that can lead to long prison terms for convicted violators - Edward Snowden notwithstanding. 

In spite of the operational details of the agencies and the "trust" of a common citizen that the agencies are honoring their missions and discharging their duties faithfully, the current post Trump election climate replete with political operators, party biases, and news media zeolots continues to cloud the truth of the matters being investigated. And Privacy again may be the loser.  We'll see.

The fact that ABC chose to carry the CSpan broadcast as a "Special Report" may also be of interest to the curious as well while "Fake News" epithets abound.

ABC News
CNN
Fox News


Thanks to the House Intelligence Committee


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