The Merkel effect is when you are an elected official and the fact that intelligence agencies have probed into every aspect of the citizens’ lives doesn’t so much as raise a frown but when that same politician discovers she has been surveiled, the outrage rises to the boiling point.
Well. our pseudo-defenders and NSA enablers are having a hissy fit today.
Make no mistake. This is a form of justice. What kind of fool thinks that empowering the intelligence agencies to do every kind of evil and stupidity wouldn’t wind up back on their doorstep? Spying on me doesn’t really get an intelligence agency much. But spy on a member of Congress and get something on them; well that’s a different deal. Think of J. Edgar Hoover and the days of really excellent FBI budgets. It is fun to have something on an occasional Congressman and even better if you get put them all under the microscope.
Let’s see if our outraged Congress will actually do anything. After all, the NSA, etc. have probably already got a lot on them.
Senators Okay With Spying On Citizens, But Outraged It Happened To Congress
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a staunch defender of government surveillance of ordinary citizens, took to the Senate floor Tuesday with the stunning accusation that the Central Intelligence Agency may have violated federal law to spy on Congress.
Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, railed against the CIA for compromising the legislative branch’s oversight role — a theme echoed by many of her Senate colleagues throughout the day. The outrage was palpable among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and some suggested CIA Director John Brennan should resign if the allegations are true. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has stuck up for intelligence agencies in the past, declared a potential war.
“This is Richard Nixon stuff,” Graham told reporters. “This is dangerous to the democracy. Heads should roll, people should go to jail if it’s true. If it is, the legislative branch should declare war on the CIA.”
When former contractor Edward Snowden revealed last year that the National Security Agency was secretly collecting phone and electronic records from millions of ordinary Americans, the response in Congress was far more muted. Top senators insisted the surveillance was critical to U.S. counterterrorism activities.
“It’s called protecting America,” Feinstein said then. Graham said he was glad Verizon was turning over customer records to the government to ensure that his phone was not linked to any terrorist activity.
It was not until reports that the NSA had spied on foreign leaders and allies, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that Feinstein offered criticism of the agency’s surveillance.
Snowden said Tuesday it was hypocritical for some lawmakers to finally express anger when the privacy of elected officials was breached.
“It’s clear the CIA was trying to play ‘keep away’ with documents relevant to an investigation by their overseers in Congress, and that’s a serious constitutional concern,” Snowden said in a statement to NBC News. “But it’s equally if not more concerning that we’re seeing another ‘Merkel Effect,’ where an elected official does not care at all that the rights of millions of ordinary citizens are violated by our spies, but suddenly it’s a scandal when a politician finds out the same thing happens to them.”
From around the web.
From the web site, Unredacted.
“What I can say unequivocally is that if you are a U.S. person, the NSA cannot listen to your telephone calls and the NSA cannot target your e-mails.” President Obama, June 16, 2013, on the Charlie Rose Show
During the same June 16, 2013, interview with Charlie Rose, President Obama said the NSA is not allowed to target U.S. citizens, though Greg Miller reported in his June 30, 2013, Washington Post article, “Misinformation on Classified NSA Programs Includes Statements by Senior U.S. Officials,” that “the NSA has significant latitude to collect and keep the contents of e-mails and other communications of U.S. citizens that are swept up as part of the agency’s court-approved monitoring of a target overseas.” This information is stored, for up to five years, and can be accessed as soon as the FBI gets a National Security Letter, for which there are still no requirements to seek approval or judicial review when sending.