Apparently having now put her little snit with the CIA behind her, Senate Intelligence Committee boss Dianne Feinstein, the woman who has long served as an impenetrable firewall of cellulite between accountability and the run amok NSA Stasi is back with a vengeance. DiFi, while appearing on the Sunday morning bloviation circuit with CNN's Candy Crowley snapped while discussing the new Glenn Greenwald book "No Place to Hide" that - “It’s not a surveillance program, it’s a data-collection program”. The testy California Senator may have inadvertently let the the cat out of the bag on that one because it IS a data-collection program, specifically a data-mining program conducted on damned near the entire US population and once it has been collected it is being stored for some yet to be defined future use. That future use is to be social control and the best protection that money can buy for a system so vile and corrupt that there really is no adequate terminology to truly describe it.
The data that has been collected will be used to identify political dissidents or troublemakers challenging the imposition of fascism in America. But that is the purpose (outside of the surveillance end which likely includes sexual blackmail of political figures, industrial espionage on a grand scale, money laundering, the manipulation of financial markets and probably even state sanctioned drug trafficking) of what the NSA and the millions of private contractors - to lock down the illicit activities of those in high places when the shit finally does hit the fan and as in all tyrannies the roundup of problem people is a top priority. Criminals like Feinstein fully understand what the programs are for because she is the one charged with oversight which is pretty much like the financial oversight that has been provided by those like Timothy Geithner and Henry Paulson - the best and probably oldest scam in the book is to enable corruption by putting a crook or in Feinstein's case, a sociopath with zero morality in charge of minding the store.
Feinstein like the other treasonous swine who have hijacked the country using the September 11, 2001 attacks as an excuse continues to engage in the same fear-mongering to avoid oversight that has been used since Dick Cheney took over the show on that day while Bush was flying around the country like a scared rabbit. DiFi played the "terror" card by saying “I know they will come after us if they can, I see the intelligence” [not bothering to say exactly who "they" are nor that the "intelligence" is cooked to exaggerate such threats and keep the money rolling in] and “Terror is not down in the world, it is up" [failing to mention that the Empire's wars of aggression aren't exactly winning hearts and minds]. Call it what it is but now would be a perfect time for some sort of false flag attack that would forever end scrutiny of the rising menace of the star-spangled totalitarian state before it has finished baking, as the late Hunter S. Thompson put it "paranoia is just another word for ignorance" and nothing should ever be put beyond the capability of the lunatics who are running the system these days.
To the Obama administration and this most detestable of legislatures there has been no bigger thorn in the side than former government contractor turned NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Just when the NSA Stasi stories had died down allowing the war machine to turn attention towards backing neo-Nazis in Ukraine and goading Russian leader Vladimir Putin into a response that would trigger a new Cold War - sending arms sales skyrocketing - there is renewed interest. This comes due to the Greenwald book and the surprisingly wide media attention that the author has been getting in The Homeland. There are also, as Greenwald promises more stories to come and soon including that really serious stuff that he has been teasing us with. In his GQ interview "The Man Who Knows Too Much" he made the statement that:
There's a story that from the beginning I thought would be our biggest, and I'm saving that. The last one is the one where the sky is all covered in spectacular multicolored hues. This will be the finale, a big missing piece. Snowden knows about it and is excited about it.
I suspect that Feinstein and her ilk have an inkling about exactly what that "big missing piece" is and while it may not be the smoking gun that nails them all to the wall it may provide a sufficient piece of the puzzle that will provide other journalists, activists and bloggers with the material to begin to tie together a lot of disparate coincidences and strangeness into the damning indictment of criminals in high places that is desperately needed. The scum are likely praying for a terrorist attack - the bigger, the better - right about now.
On the "reform" front things aren't working out so well in terms of transparency and control over the surveillance AND data collection colossus. Predictably the so-called USA FREEDOM Act is being disemboweled by right-wing talk radio bound Michigan Congressmen Mike Rogers and his on the take authoritarian allies. According to a story in The Hill entitled "Advocates fear NSA bill is being gutted":
Privacy advocates are worried that a bill intended to reform the surveillance activities of the National Security Agency (NSA) is being watered down before it heads to the House floor.
“Last stage negotiations” between members of the House and the Obama administration could significantly weaken provisions in the NSA bill, people familiar with the discussions say.
“Behind the scenes, there’s some nervousness,” one House aide said.
Earlier this month, the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees came together to approve a compromise version of the USA Freedom Act. That bill, authored by Patriot Act author Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), would scale back many of the sweeping surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden.
To win the support of NSA defenders, lawmakers abandoned some reform provisions in Sensenbrenner’s original bill. One of the major changes was dropping the appointment of a constitutional advocate to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approves the NSA’s spying requests, and substituting it for a panel of experts.
The bill was also stripped of language that would have allowed tech companies to publish more specific information about the number and types of government requests for user data they receive.
During Judiciary consideration, an amendment to allow less specific reporting was added back into the bill, but some worry that provision is in danger now because the administration thinks it’s already reached a deal that allows tech companies to publish more information about the NSA requests.
While pro-reform advocacy groups and members hailed the House bill as a positive first step, many lamented the revisions and said the legislation will be in trouble on the floor if it undergoes further changes.
There is a “growing chorus of concern” that the bill that makes it to the floor for a vote could be a less meaningful version of what passed the Judiciary and Intelligence committees with overwhelming bipartisan support, the aide said.
Reform advocates warn they will withdraw their support for the bill if the final version doesn’t pass muster.
The only "muster" that will be passed is that of the status quo as those who have assumed positions of power do not surrender it willingly. The best hope would be for the forthcoming stories from Greenwald and his associates will be sufficiently shocking so as to make the case for not only reform but a movement to dismantle the NSA entirely as the enemy to a free society and affront to the US Constitution that it has become. Trials, convictions and prison sentences for the enablers of this monstrous pox on the planet would be an added bonus.