Saturday, March 29, 2014

General Alexander's Lonely Spy Club Band: no one has enjoyed the show.

With the NSA back in the news as a result of president Obama's latest NSA proposal, and  General Keith Alexander now  leaving to ride off into retirement,  its fair to say that those who are left supporting the NSA and it's meta data collection and other numbers performed on American citizens and exposed by Edward Snowden,  have been reduced to such a precious few they might  be referred to as General Alexander's Lonely Spy Club Band. Who it seems, are in the process of  breaking up since Mike Rogers, chair of the House Intelligence Committee who for the last year has been continuously beating the drums for the Lonely Spy Club Band  has also  announced he is leaving.

 The remaining band members include Dianne Feinstein, the Lady Ga Ga of congressional oversight who according to rumor, went ga ga over General Alexander and James Clapper a long time ago and in the words of Democratic congressman Alan Grayson, turned  congressional oversight into overlook, though she is now unhappy with the CIA who she believes, formed their own Spy Club Band and has been spying on her and her committee.

 And of course there is front man  James Clapper who from his first public performance showed his range is limited to falsetto. It was during his memorable solo performance in front of senator Ron Wyden's  oversight subcommittee, when Wyden asked Clapper the musical question, "does the NSA collect data on millions or tens of millions of Americans" that Clapper sang " No, Not Wittingly" in that now famous and familiar falsetto.

 "No Not Wittingly" was, in a word, perjury and, as it turns out,  it was Clapper'spoor  performance singing this little ditty  that convinced Snowden that trying to fix the problems within the NSA --  in house as Dianne Feinstein insisted he should have instead of airing the band's dirty linen in public -- would be impossible. That in turn led to Snowden's decision to go public and hand over the NSA documents he had to Glenn Greenwald and The Guardian which found them music to their ears.   The rest, as they say, is history. NSA Mania gripped the world ever since.

 Over the last year it's safe to say General Alexander's most memorable performance came in front of Senator Pat Leahy's judiciary oversight committee when he performed his memorable rendition of ( not to be confused with CIA renditions)  of " When I Foiled 54".

 Alexander's song and dance asserted that as a result of the NSA meta data collection, 54 terrorist plots were foiled including a plot to bomb the New York City Stock Exchange and a plot to attack the New York City subway system.

 Alexander's performance fell flat  almost immediately to anyone with a good ear since notably, there was no back up by then New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Certainly, had any of what Alexander been claiming been true, Bloomberg and Kelly would have been loudly backing  up Alexander, singing the praises of the meta data collection. Instead what we heard from Bloomberg and Kelly were sounds of silence.

 Senator Pat Leahy decided to checked out Alexander's claims and poured over them for days, backwards and forwards and concluded  there was  not a shred of evidence that showed the meta data collection had foiled or even  contributed to foiling even one terrorist plot much less 54. It was after Leahy's terrible review that General Alexander's Lonely Spy Club Band began to fall apart and losing fans.

 To hold the Lonely Spy Club Band together they tried using president Obama as their lead singer and front mant  but he fell flat too and kept changing his tune so often no one could tell what he was singing.  But with his recent announcement that he wants to end the bulk data collection of phone records, he's still falling flat since his new song leaves a lot to be desired and does nothing to stop bulk collection of Americans' emails and internet use so it's still a bad performance. Which is in keeping with last year's review of Obama's civil liberties performance by the ACLU who called it "disgusting".

 Waiting in the wings to take the place of the Lonely Spy Club Band is the USA Freedom Act, put together by Republican James Sensenbrenner and  Democratic senator Pat Leahy. The Freedom Act would abolish all bulk meta data collection of American citizens including Internet communications, clearly make illegal other abuses and violations of the law and constitution  and ensure that the Lonely Spy Club Band will never get back together. But it's meeting resistance from Bohner, the retiring Mike Rogers and other NSA sycophants in congress who are trying to cancel it and get their own, bogus reform act through congress, in essence trying to put together another spy band that stinks as much as the old one did.

Which means that citizens have to pressure their own members of congress to close them down and remind them that given everything we've heard from General Alexander's Lonely Spy Club Band, no one has enjoyed the show.

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