Behind the NSA leak worries

The NYT leaking a story about NSA tapping into communications has surfaced a number of issues and concerns.

Some have made the a priori assumption that the surveilance is illegal. period. This assumption has the conspiracy problem in that a whole squad of government lawyers as well as number of Congressional leaders would have to be a part of the effort to commit the crime.

There are those who are aghast at the invasion of privacy by anyone who could or would eavesdrop on any private conversation in any way whatsoever.

There are people like Sen Reid who now demand an investigation while admitting that they new of the program months ago – but don’t explain why they didn’t demand the investigation then.

There is the knowing revelation of classified information by the NYT which is clearly a criminal matter. And there is also the timing related to book publishing and partisan issues.

There are those whose suspicions are so high that they just can’t accept a ‘terrorists only’ assertion by the administration and figure any surveilance is just a start down a slippery slope that has probably already occurred but we just don’t know it yet. This seems to approach the cynic versus skeptic problem.

There is the collection of amateur lawyers who are parsing the FISA law and its history word by word and then constitutional privilege and the separation of powers.

There are those who note that such activity has a long history and is just a continuation of established practice.

There are those, and it seems this is a very small group, who realize they don’t know the full story. They don’t know for sure exactly what was done. They don’t know the technologies used. They only have a sketch of the process used for accountability.

What does stand as evidence is that there is no evidence. If there was surveilance there was no persecution of a US citizen to demonstrate an unreasonable search or seizure as cited by the 4th ammendment. Like the allegations about the PATRIOT act, those who are making the most fuss do not have anything that shows any substance to their assertions. The presumption of guilt without any evidence is perhaps the most troubling aspect of this episode.

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