Quotes of the day

posted at 8:31 pm on June 15, 2013 by Allahpundit

Asked to pick a response to stop the killing of civilians in Syria, just 15 percent in the poll say they favor U.S. military action, and only 11 percent want to provide arms to the opposition.

By comparison, a plurality of respondents — 42 percent — prefer to provide only humanitarian assistance, and 24 percent believe the U.S. shouldn’t take any action.

Perhaps more significantly, those attitudes cut across party lines and almost all demographic groups.

***

The shift in administration policy on Syria seems reflective of public opinion. Polls have consistently shown Americans are deeply wary of the United States becoming involved in the fighting in Syria. But they also show that public support for intervention increases sharply under circumstances where it is confirmed that the Assad regime used chemical weapons

According to an average of the three surveys in the PollingReport.com database that asked, 58 percent of adults said they would support military intervention if it were confirmed that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons either on antigovernment forces or on civilians. (It remains to be seen, of course, whether public support for military intervention will actually increase now that such a confirmation has come.)

***

U.S. officials said that the determination to send weapons had been made weeks ago and that the chemical weapons finding provided fresh justification to act.

As Syrian government ­forces, with the help of Hezbollah and Iranian militias, began to turn the war in Assad’s favor after rebel gains during the winter, Obama ordered officials in late April to begin planning what weaponry to send and how to deliver it…

Even after Thursday’s announcement, critics in Washington, rebel leaders and even some U.S. allies described the prospect of sending light arms and ammunition as disappointing. The rebels have asked for armor-piercing and anti-aircraft weapons as well as other heavy equipment.

***

The United States will supply Syrian rebels with weapons through a CIA-run program, FoxNews confirmed Saturday.

President Obama decided Thursday to supply rebel forces with small arms and ammunition, following confirmation that the regime of Syria President Bashar al-Assad’s has been using chemical weapons in the 2-year-long civil war in which at least 90,000 people have been killed.

In addition to supplying the weapons, the CIA will train rebel forces, Fox News also confirmed.

***

This move is possibly not too late, but it is certainly too little if the goal is to defeat Assad. The battle for Aleppo, the center of rebel strength, appears to be upon us. If Aleppo falls to the combined forces of Assad and the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, many thousands of people will be killed and the uprising will, in all likelihood, come to an end. Civil unrest will continue, but the back of the rebellion will have been broken.

The rebels haven’t been doing well lately — they’ve been making headlines mainly for YouTube videos showing atrocities committed by some in their ranks, rather than for military victories — and small arms won’t alter the balance. Even if handguns and rifles are all that the rebels would need for victory, delivering such weapons isn’t simply a matter of driving trucks into Aleppo. It will take time to build a proper pipeline to “vetted” rebels, which is to say, rebels who promise not to one day kill Americans with these weapons. Anti-tank weapons may be of help, but at the moment these don’t appear to be forthcoming, and portable surface-to-air missiles will most definitely not be forthcoming.

That’s because we don’t actually know who we’ll be helping.

***

[T]here is little likelihood of a political settlement between the two sides, a settlement that would inevitably benefit American adversaries, especially the Islamic Republic of Iran. Due to the nature and magnitude of the support that Iran has leveraged in Syria—weapons as well as troops, its own in addition to Hezbollah’s and Iranian-backed Iraqi militias—Assad’s ruling clique in Damascus is effectively little more at this point than an Iranian vassal. A negotiated settlement then would be nothing but a recognition of Iranian sway over Syria, which would spell disaster for the United States and its allies in the region, especially those bordering Syria, like Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. However, the Syrian rebels will make an agreement all but impossible.

As Michael Doran explained, a deal between the opposition and the regime “is utterly fanciful.” Assad, Doran wrote, “will never negotiate himself out of a job. Even if he was inclined to do so—and he is not—a deal is a practical impossibility, due to the fractiousness of the opposition. Rebel leaders speak only for their own groups. An agreement by one leader would never be binding on the others. The war will go on no matter what.”

***

Last month, the Economist had an illuminating report on the Syrian opposition groups, which concluded that, “As the civil war has dragged on, the rebels, hardened by war and seeing where their bread is buttered, have become more Islamist and extreme.” An accompanying helpful chart breaks down the three main fronts of the opposition (which represent alliances of various rebel fighting groups) and then further breaks down the nine key rebel fighting groups. According to the chart, two of the three main fronts are Islamist, as are seven of the nine key rebel fighting groups

It’s hard to believe that the same administration that brought us Benghazi would have such perfect information about which rebel groups in a bloody war-torn country are completely free of Islamist links, let alone have the logistical ability to ensure the weapons don’t end up in the hands of bad actors.

***

A key lesson of Afghanistan is to be very clear from the beginning about your objective and mission. In the 1980s the goal was to defeat the Soviets by creating a quagmire for the Red Army like Vietnam was for America. The key planners behind the CIA operation to support the mujahedin, especially CIA Director Bill Casey, wanted to turn Afghanistan into Moscow’s Vietnam. They did.

Then Washington let mission creep develop. The Reagan and Bush administrations were unsure of what they wanted to do next. Some in Washington wanted to overthrow the communist government in Kabul that survived after the Russian withdrawal. Others wanted to support a political process to build a broad-based national unity government. And others wanted to forget Afghanistan and concentrate on forging a new world order with the post-communist leadership in Moscow. The American national-security bureaucracy became almost dysfunctional. In the end chaos ensued in Afghanistan.

What mission does arming the rebels in Syria support? It must be more than stopping Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Is it regime change or bolstering a political process in Geneva? Is it a means to unite the opposition and purge it of the al Nusra front, al Qaeda’s arm in Syria? Is it to defeat Iran and Hezbollah and bring regime change beyond Syria? We have yet to hear the answers to these questions.

***

If Washington endorses the goal of bleeding Iran and its allies through proxy warfare, a whole range of more interventionist policies logically follow. The model here would presumably be the jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan — a long-term insurgency coordinated through neighboring countries, fueled by Gulf money, and popularized by Islamist and sectarian propaganda.

“Success” in this strategy would be defined by the damage inflicted on Iran and its allies — and not by reducing the civilian body count, producing a more stable and peaceful Syria, or marginalizing the more extreme jihadists. Ending the war would not be a particular priority, unless it involved Assad’s total military defeat. The increased violence, refugee flows, and regionalization of conflict would likely increase the pressure on neighboring states such as Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and Iraq. It would also likely increase sectarianism, as harping on Sunni-Shiite divisions is a key part of the Arab Gulf’s political effort to mobilize support for the Syrian opposition (and to intimidate local Shiite populations, naturally). And the war zone would continue to be fertile ground for al Qaeda’s jihad, no matter how many arms were sent to its “moderate” rivals in the opposition.

***

“In a sense, Obama owns Syria now,” says Joshua Landis, a highly regarded Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma. “I presume he’ll try to go in toe by toe.… But he has to decide what his objectives are, which he hasn’t. Does he want to provide just enough arms to keep the status quo and divide Syria in two? Does he want to give them enough to take Damascus and drive the Alawites [President Bashar al-Assad's ruling sect] into the mountains? Does he want he want to see them take over the entire country?”…

Earlier this year, the CIA concluded that arming the rebels with small-scale weapons—what is likely now being considered—could not tip the balance of the conflict. U.S. and Israeli officials still fear that delivering anything larger or more lethal, such as antitank or surface-to-air missiles, could be used on U.S., Israeli, or commercial targets if they fell into terrorist hands. Chris Dougherty, an expert at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, says the “ideal” weapons to arm the Syrian opposition groups—such as man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) that could counter the Syrian Air Force’s control of the skies, antitank guided munitions such as the FGM-148 Javelin, and GPS- or laser-guided mortar rounds—are also the weapons that “have the most potential for blowback.”

***

“Things are happening behind the scenes,” says one Israeli official. “Things are really happening.”…

Behind the scenes, … Israeli and U.S. military officials are coordinating how to target and destroy Assad’s arsenal of unconventional weapons under assorted scenarios, Israeli military and intelligence officials tell TIME. One scenario would be the sudden removal of Assad from the scene, be it by flight, death or if he simply disappears. That would prompt the allies to launch operations on the estimated 18 depots and other sites where WMDs are stored, the officials said. Search and destroy operations would also be launched if the weapons appeared to be about to fall into the hands of the rebels, which include Islamist extremists aligned with al-Qaeda.

The Israeli officials emphasized that it had not been decided whether both Israeli and U.S. forces would act, or who would do what. But the U.S. plans called for deploying forces on the ground as well as waves of airstrikes, to assure that the chemical and biological components are neutralized, according to the Israeli officials.

***

“You can fully expect that the president will be heard on these issues repeatedly in coming days,” Rhodes said, previewing the gathering of international leaders.

But critics are questioning why the president himself isn’t providing a clearer picture of the administration’s response to Syria, a decision Obama has toiled over for months.

“The American people need to hear directly from the president on this,” a GOP Senate aide told The Washington Examiner. “Why isn’t he the one outlining the White House’s response?”

***

“Militarily, where is our commander in chief? We’re talking now more new interventions. I say until we know what we’re doing, until we have a commander and chief who knows what he’s doing, well, let these radical Islamic countries who aren’t even respecting basic human rights, where both sides are slaughtering each other as they scream over an arbitrary red line, ‘Allah Akbar,’ I say until we have someone who knows what they’re doing, I say let Allah sort it out,” Palin said at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference.

***

“It all seems to me rather sporadic, chaotic, unstructured,” he charged. “I don’t see any real strategic guidance to what we’re doing. I see a lot of rhetoric, a lot of emotion, a lot of propaganda, in fact.”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

***


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

Not only is the narcissistic bluegshrill mentally ill, she’s menally retarded, too – nothing you or Solaratov or anyone else says will penetrate into her mind, whatever’s left of it…

Anti-Control on June 16, 2013 at 5:59 AM

Like among all the trolls, she needs to be right no matter what people say even about their own opinions. She is a chronic nag, and the only thing I can say is while she is here nagging us, her family gets a break.

Liam on June 16, 2013 at 6:04 AM

Like among all the trolls, she needs to be right no matter what people say even about their own opinions. She is a chronic nag, and the only thing I can say is while she is here nagging us, her family gets a break.
Liam on June 16, 2013 at 6:04 AM

You boobs just don’t like people disagreeing with you (or, should I say, with what your
favorite radio host told you to think). That’s why you attack me.

I’m for using all the technology at our disposal to stop terrorists, and I make no apologies for it!

I’m NOT okay with a traitor like Snowden giving all kinds of NSA secrets to the Chinese and various publications. Have you people lost your minds? The Chinese government actively attacks our private industry and tries to steal our technology. Who knows what kinds of valuable info anti-American is handing to them.

Wake up. Snowden isn’t our friend!!

bluegill on June 16, 2013 at 6:10 AM

Liam on June 16, 2013 at 6:04 AM

bluegshrill is in love with her own thoughts and words very much like how David Brooks is, and I don’t want to know the family environment which produced such a freak! :)

Anti-Control on June 16, 2013 at 6:11 AM

Liam on June 16, 2013 at 6:04 AM
bluegshrill is in love with her own thoughts and words very much like how David Brooks is, and I don’t want to know the family environment which produced such a freak! :)
Anti-Control on June 16, 2013 at 6:11 AM

Ok, let’s take this one step at a time. Let’s start over. Maybe we got off on the wrong foot.

Do you have any concerns about Snowden leaking reams of documents to the Chinese? Is this something an honorable man would do?

bluegill on June 16, 2013 at 6:16 AM

You boobs just don’t like people disagreeing with you (or, should I say, with what your
favorite radio host told you to think). That’s why you attack me.

bluegill on June 16, 2013 at 6:10 AM

I don’t listen to talk radio, nag. You see, that’s one of you problems — you falsely accuse people. THAT is why we counter-attack you so often. We friends debate and often disagree among ourselves. But at the end of the day, we’re friends.

You’re the one on the outside, for the way you abuse and falsely accuse people here all the time. Plus you harp and nag with almost every post. You burned up a lot of goodwill a long time ago.

Realistically, if we had a say, you wouldn’t be here. Or, at the least, if we had an ‘Ignore Poster’ button, this would be a much more enjoyable place.

Liam on June 16, 2013 at 6:19 AM

bluegshrill is in love with her own thoughts and words very much like how David Brooks is, and I don’t want to know the family environment which produced such a freak! :)

Anti-Control on June 16, 2013 at 6:11 AM

I imagine it must have been pretty bad for her growing up.

Liam on June 16, 2013 at 6:27 AM

The ‘rebels’? Why back them, they are merely the opposition to Assad, backed by the MB and al Qaeda. No winners there.

We don’t really want to arm the regime, besides they have Putin and Iran backing them.

How about the general population? You know the disarmed who are preyed upon by the regime and the ‘rebels’. How about a low level program to spend a couple of billion on purchasing every black market AK-47 we can find along with surplus ammo and air drop that to farms, villages, small towns, people living in huts in the middle of nowhere… you know the people without arms?

Because the right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental Human Right derived from our Natural Rights. This could be a humanitarian operation! And no need for ‘boots on the ground’ either… maybe just put leaflets in with the guns saying that when you are free of the regime and the ‘rebels’ to put up a large sign saying SEND MORE AMMO. 7.62×39 is the common caliber of both the regime and the ‘rebels’, since the AK is the common platform between them, so once you knock off a few ‘rebels’ or regime personnel, you start to get a re-supply natively. Basically re-invent the concept of an Open City that runs itself under local government and has no wish to take part in any larger fight. Get enough of those and bot the regime and the ‘rebels’ might find their theater of operations constricted to a nasty knife-fight between Damascus and the coast.

Cheaper than CIA ‘help’, keeps us without ‘boots on the ground’ and defends a fundamental right that is the basis for civil society: getting rid of the tyrants and hot heads in a lethal fashion until civil order is restored locally.

Other than that, Obama can go talk a long walk off a short dock.

ajacksonian on June 16, 2013 at 6:37 AM

ajacksonian on June 16, 2013 at 6:37 AM

I like your idea. Except Obama and McCain won’t, the Euros won’t, and the UN especially won’t.

Liam on June 16, 2013 at 6:40 AM

Ok, let’s take this one step at a time. Let’s start over. Maybe we got off on the wrong foot.

Do you have any concerns about Snowden leaking reams of documents to the Chinese? Is this something an honorable man would do?

bluegill on June 16, 2013 at 6:16 AM

Ok, I’ll respond in kind, but not until I post this – I don’t want the effort I put in to be wasted!

You boobs just don’t like people disagreeing with you (or, should I say, with what your
favorite radio host told you to think). That’s why you attack me.

bluegill on June 16, 2013 at 6:10 AM

Let me translate this into plainer English for you, sweetiepie:

“It’s all about me, the great bluegshrill! That’s right, you heard me, blueshrill! Me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me!!! Everything is about me, and if for some reason it’s not, it should be!

The great bluegshrill has spoken, you boobs!”

Ok, now that that’s out of the way… :)

I said at the beginning here at HA I think Snowden will end up being a mixed bag – I will add that whatever useful info comes out of him, it was not done via a manner I personally condone, and most likely it will turn out that he did far more harm than good.

I also said I don’t believe he was acting out of patriotism, and that I don’t trust him, because he is at the very least a liar and a schemer.

Anti-Control on June 16, 2013 at 6:45 AM

Do you have any concerns about Snowden leaking reams of documents to the Chinese? Is this something an honorable man would do?

bluegill on June 16, 2013 at 6:16 AM

I want him charged in open court, come forward to meet his accusers, have the evidence against him handed over by the prosecution and then perform discovery on the NSA policies behind the PRISM program. Not the nuts and bolts details of the program, but what is authorized, what the scope of the authorization is, who authorized it, when it was authorized and did those in charge of the program properly tell Congress about what they were doing.

You know, the Due Process of Law?

That is what I want.

Let the Millstone of the Gods grind this one down and out.

And if it is so secret that the Administration can’t even give out those basic, high level and overview details then the program, itself, is the problem because those basic details should be available to Congress, to a judge running a trial, to the defense counsel and be heard by a jury of his peers sworn to secrecy. If the ruling goes against the administration, then the program, itself, is divulged and Snowden vindicated, although he may still face jail time on lesser charges. And if all is right and proper with the program it can WITHSTAND SUCH SCRUTINY.

Yup, that is what I want.

Not trying to frame the man before he has even set foot in a courtroom. He is presumed innocent, isn’t he? I’ve granted that to Lefties I don’t like, idiots I detest, and people I can see to be frauds because that is required by our system. I’m all for that Due Process of Law bit as, while it may not come to the right conclusion every time, it does its best to safeguard our rights and liberty from an over-reaching government. That is what it is for, now, isn’t it?

ajacksonian on June 16, 2013 at 6:46 AM

Al Qaeda will be given guidelines for how to better evade detection during their terrorist plot planning within domestic terrorist cells.

Oh, but unseen and VorDaj couldn’t care less, since they think the revelation will bring down Obama, which it won’t.

Wake up, people. Your hero Snowden is a traitor!

bluegill on June 15, 2013 at 11:39 PM

you mean the same AL Qaeda that your traitor Obama is now arming in Syria?

I don’t care if The NSA leak hurts Obama or the GOPE. It goes beyond the present ruling party and the leak isn’t partisian. Any free man or woman would be outraged about the NSA spying on them no matter if a dem or rep was in the WH.

You want to be a sheep and have strong sheepdogs protect you? fine go be a sheep. Just hope the dogs are there when the wolves come. For me and mine I’ll remain free as long as I can.

But I’m glad you outed yourself as a Obama loving nutcase. Explains your hate for Palin and other conservatives like Cruz.

unseen on June 16, 2013 at 7:04 AM

the real traitors are the NSA and gov officials who committed treason against the COTUS.

unseen on June 16, 2013 at 7:32 AM

The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”

If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.

Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA’s formidable eavesdropping apparatus works domestically, it also suggests the Justice Department has secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.

Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, Nadler’s disclosure indicates the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval.

any questions?

We welcome our new STASI overloards.

unseen on June 16, 2013 at 7:34 AM

Happy Fathers Day!

D-fusit on June 16, 2013 at 7:34 AM

D-fusit on June 16, 2013 at 7:34 AM

And,to you!

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.

- Jim Valvano

My take.

kingsjester on June 16, 2013 at 7:42 AM

Thanks for that kj, I needed that. I lost my Dad 20+ years ago. I need to remember him as my kids spoil me. I’m hearing Conway Twitty’s That’s my Job in my head right now.

Damn dust in my eyes now.

D-fusit on June 16, 2013 at 7:57 AM

Do you have any concerns about Snowden leaking reams of documents to the Chinese? Is this something an honorable man would do?

bluegill on June 16, 2013 at 6:16 AM

You continue to confuse two issues.

1. It’s confirmed that PRISM exists and FISA has rubber stamped DOJ domestic Metadata gathering and storage of communications of US citizens in clear violation of the Patriot Act, confirmed violation by Sensenbrenner the author of the Patriot Act and he has said these actions subvert congressional oversight and constitutional protections.

2. Snowden and his current status, activities are at this point a separate issues most of which we know very little except what the media reports.

workingclass artist on June 16, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Happy Father’s Day everyone

workingclass artist on June 16, 2013 at 8:01 AM

Do you have any concerns about Snowden leaking reams of documents to the Chinese? Is this something an honorable man would do?

bluegill on June 16, 2013 at 6:16 AM

No I don’t. Snowden was a low level NSA who had no access to classified items. He couldn’t tell china anything if he wanted too. The fact that Snowden as a low level clarence employee could at the drop of the hat access my phone calls, emails, internet history etc is what “concerns” me.

Let’s see I’m a CEO and I want dirt on my competition. Would I hire a PI or would I buy off one of these low level NSA guys. they don’t make more than 60,000 /year.

So you have people making low wages with access to very vauleable information. I’ll let you all figure out how that story ends. then on top of that you have the gov with copmplete access.

Long story short this information should be in nno one’s hands.

unseen on June 16, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Happy Father’s Day to all, being a Dad is a tough and under-appreciated job, thanks to all who press on. Hope your day is blessed.

22044 on June 16, 2013 at 8:16 AM

No I don’t. Snowden was a low level NSA who had no access to classified items. He couldn’t tell china anything if he wanted too. The fact that Snowden as a low level clarence employee could at the drop of the hat access my phone calls, emails, internet history etc is what “concerns” me.

unseen on June 16, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Snowden “was a low level NSA who had no access to classified items“? Snowden was “a low level cl[e]arence employee”? Hmmmmmm, I see things differently

Snowden case shows ‘top secret’ clearance checks not foolproof

Getting a top secret clearance like the one NSA leaker Edward Snowden had is supposed to require four traits: loyalty, character, trustworthiness and reliability.

But with an estimated 1.5 million Americans holding the Top Secret clearances, it is a virtual certainty that Snowden is not the only one with a pass that the government can’t trust.

The clearances are bestowed upon government workers as well as employees of private contractors like Snowden, who provided reporters with highly classified documents, including PowerPoint Presentations that revealed the existence of the National Security Agency’s PRISM operation.

Anti-Control on June 16, 2013 at 8:20 AM

“Wag the Dog” is a political strategy in which a national leader starts a military operation to divert negative attention away from himself. In 1997, Hollywood produced a Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman movie by the same name about an American President caught up in a sex scandal that decides to start a war in the Balkans to distract the public. Eighteen months later with President Bill Clinton facing a sex scandal, he started a war in the Balkans.

With embattled President Barack Obama facing a scandal about electronic spying on the private lives of almost every voter in America, it should not be surprising that he would make “a decision to provide lethal assistance,” including weapons, ammunition, and air support, to the Syrian rebels.

Using wag the dog might have worked in the past, but the mushrooming privacy scandal seems destined to grow.

The White House announced that because the Syrian government used chemical weapons against rebel forces, who are mainly composed of foreign fighters, Syria crossed a “red line” that morally requires the United States to intervene to protect the rebels. In reality, despite substantial U.S. covert military aid, the rebels’ main northern bastion of Aleppo is now cut off from resupply, and the rebels are in danger of being defeated by the Syrian government.

The situation is very reminiscent of the U.S. military intervention to institute a no-fly zone to stop loyalist forces of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from capturing Benghazi and ending the Libyan rebellion.

The real White House crisis is taking place in Hong Kong, where NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is slowly and artfully revealing the breadth and intrusiveness of the U.S. government’s top secret foreign and domestic surveillance programs.

After exposing the National Security Agency’s PRISM program (which gave U.S. government officials easy access to all data held by Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Skype) to the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers, Snowden revealed National Security Agency documents to Honk Kong’s liberal South China Morning Press.

This new information proved the NSA is hacking 61,000 computer systems around the world. The NSA is also actively hacking companies, public officials, individuals, and the Chinese University in Hong Kong.

The timing of the Snowden’s releases of American spying on China happening during the summit with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping has been an unmitigated disaster for the Obama Administration.

The Chinese were shocked two weeks ago when the Administration leaked to the U.S. press that the agenda for the summit would be an attempt to restrict China from corporate espionage and theft of intellectual property in America. The hypocrisy of Snowden’s disclosures of intrusive spying on China by the U.S. generated an explosion of anti-American anger in Hong Kong. The city now expects a mass parade this Saturday in support of granting Snowden political asylum.

Bloomberg just reported that thousands of U.S. technology, finance, and manufacturing companies are working closely the with U.S. security agencies to provide sensitive information in return for access to classified intelligence. As an example, Microsoft provides intelligence agencies with prior information about bugs in its popular software.

Larry Page, chief executive officer of Google Inc., claimed he had never heard of a program called PRISM until after Edward Snowden’s disclosures. Although Page swore he would never grant the U.S. government direct access to its servers, Bloomberg sources describe Google as one of the “trusted partners” of the NSA. In fact, the agency’s main surveillance program, called Accumulo, is built on Google’s proprietary BigTable data-base platform.

Accumulo has “fine-grained” access controls and server-side programming mechanisms that can modify data that is written to disk on target data servers.

This provides PRISM with “cell-level access labels” that allows their agents to plant a “Trojan-horse” on the machines of almost any computer users.

Google has agreements with the CIA, the FBI, and branches of the U.S. military that gather data useful for intelligence or cyber-warfare units.

Company executives are motivated not only to help national defense, but to also gain access to espionage on their foreign competition.

Following an attack on his company by Chinese hackers in 2010, Google co-founder and native Russian, Sergey Brin, was provided with highly sensitive government intelligence linking the attack to the People’s Liberation Army of China.

The Obama 2012 re-election campaign relied on Google Chairman Eric Schmidt to recruit talent, choose technology, and coach the campaign on strategy to unify the “Big Data” from vast commercial and political databases that micro-targeted which individual voters were likely to support Obama or be open to his message.

They tried to then convert individuals into supporters through personalized contact via Facebook, e-mail, or a knock on the door.

Schmidt described the analytics team as “people scientists” who used Big Data to predict “how people will behave when confronted with a choice or a question.” After the election, the analytics team was hired by Google.

The overt intervention of the United States in the Syrian civil war will undoubtedly result in a big spike in the 93,000 dead and over 1.5 million refugees.

I have not found anyone who can justify why such military intervention is in America’s national interest.

But after eight days of Edward Snowden’s daily revelations of how the Obama Administration eviscerated Americans; personal privacy caused the current Newsweek Magazine cover to be titled “Hit the Road Barack,” a war in Syria may not be enough to distract an unhappy public from the Obama scandals…

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/06/15/WAG-THE-SYRIAN-DOG

workingclass artist on June 16, 2013 at 8:31 AM

Allow me to pass along a joke that blends filial love for a father and the intrusion of federal surveillance.

An old gentleman lived alone in New Jersey. He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard.

His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison.

The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent,
I am feeling pretty sad because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like the old days.

Love, Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Papa,
Don’t dig up that garden. That’s where the bodies are buried.
Love, Vinnie

At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left.

That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Papa,
Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.
Love you,

Vinnie

onlineanalyst on June 16, 2013 at 8:37 AM

FINAL TWO THINGS:

1. PALIN IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

2, LIBERTARIAN PALIN IS 180 OF TRAPO MCCAIN.

TheAlamos on June 16, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Snowden “was a low level NSA who had no access to classified items“? Snowden was “a low level cl[e]arence employee”? Hmmmmmm, I see things differently…

Snowden case shows ‘top secret’ clearance checks not foolproof

Getting a top secret clearance like the one NSA leaker Edward Snowden had is supposed to require four traits: loyalty, character, trustworthiness and reliability

.

Anti-Control on June 16, 2013 at 8:20 AM

Edward Snowden, the Booz Allen Hamilton employee who exposed the NSA’s massive phone and Internet snooping programs, was an outspoken advocate for digital freedom. His laptop displayed stickers supporting the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Tor Project, two groups that work to limit government intrusion into the Internet. Should investigators have discovered that during Snowden’s background check for a security clearance?……

…..Security clearance decisions are based on a “whole person” standard, but investigators focus on 13 categories (Allegiance to the United States; Foreign Influence; Foreign Preference; Sexual Behavior; Personal Conduct; Financial Considerations; Alcohol Consumption; Drug Involvement; Psychological Conditions; Criminal Conduct; Handling Protected Information; Outside Activities; and Use of Information Technology Systems). Many of the categories relate to the applicant’s susceptibility to blackmail. If a candidate is deep in debt or has a gambling problem, he may be inclined to sell national secrets. In the past, security clearance investigators tried to identify closeted homosexuals, whom they also viewed as vulnerable to blackmail. In recent years emphasis has shifted away from sexual conduct, mental health conditions, and drug use to the use and abuse of technology. After the Snowden case and the Bradley Manning WikiLeaks scandal of 2010, that emphasis is likely to intensify.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2013/06/edward_snowden_security_clearance_did_investigators_ask_about_his_views.html

unseen on June 16, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Anti-Control on June 16, 2013 at 8:20 AM

Snowden was low-level contractor with top-secret clearance
June 10, 2013 4:06 PM

Edward Snowden was a foot soldier in an army of contractors doing top-secret work for the NSA. His job apparently allowed him to get past security barriers and browse at will. David Martin reports.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50148638n

unseen on June 16, 2013 at 8:58 AM

unseen on June 16, 2013 at 8:53 AM

I don’t understand how any of that is relevant to my point that Snowden did have a “top secret clearance,” and access to “highly classified documents,” which was counter to what you claimed.

Anti-Control on June 16, 2013 at 8:59 AM

The NSA/FBI didn’t see Dr. Hassan, or the Boston hat guys coming and they didn’t see Snowden coming, either. They’re too busy watching what we email and say on the phone to do their jobs. Why do all these House and Senate committees take lies and I don’t knows for answers? At the moment, they don’t care. They have their positions and perks and don’t think they’ll lose them.

Kissmygrits on June 16, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Another thought on Syria. Did the pollsters think to ask the responders a question about whether our dear leader should be bringing planeloads of Syrian refugees to our shores? Thought not, this is something that’s not to get out until they arrive.

Kissmygrits on June 16, 2013 at 9:10 AM

I don’t understand how any of that is relevant to my point that Snowden did have a “top secret clearance,” and access to “highly classified documents,” which was counter to what you claimed.

Anti-Control on June 16, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Sorry wasn’t clear. He was a low level contract employee granted clearance. That usally means he was not able to view high level documents not having anything to do with the “job” he was hired to do. namely spy on the internet, phone and email contents of americans and forgein citizens. He was not from all accounts at any time allowed into the upper reaches of the government spy agenices. He did not know about the human intel agents abroad, he did/does not know about the “inner workings” of any ongoing intell program besides that for which he was hired as a contractor to do. From all reports it seems clear that Snowden access was limited to PRISM.

Top secret clearance does not automatically grant you access to all documents in the gov. that information is not only classified but departamental as well.

unseen on June 16, 2013 at 9:55 AM

case in point IRT Snowden:

Snowden reveals more classified info to Chinese paper

The detailed records – which cannot be independently verified – show specific dates and the IP addresses of computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland hacked by the National Security Agency over a four-year period.

They also include information indicating whether an attack on a computer was ongoing or had been completed, along with an amount of additional operational information.

The small sample data suggests secret and illegal NSA attacks on Hong Kong computers had a success rate of more than 75 per cent, according to the documents. The information only pertains to attacks on civilian computers with no reference to Chinese military operations, Snowden said.

I don’t know what specific information they were looking for on these machines, only that using technical exploits to gain unauthorised access to civilian machines is a violation of law. It’s ethically dubious,” Snowden said in the interview on Wednesday.

http://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2013/06/16/snowden-reveals-more-classified-info-to-chinese-paper/

all the information Snowden has pretains to his “core job”. the tech side of the PRISM program. He doesn’t know the reasons he was told to do things, he doesn’t know who the gov was spying on what they were looking for etc. This “top secret clearance …be afraid of what he will tell China” coming from the gov against him is just more smoke and mirrors to take your eye away from the message.

unseen on June 16, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Sorry wasn’t clear. He was a low level contract employee granted clearance. That usally means he was not able to view high level documents not having anything to do with the “job” he was hired to do. namely spy on the internet, phone and email contents of americans and forgein citizens. He was not from all accounts at any time allowed into the upper reaches of the government spy agenices. He did not know about the human intel agents abroad, he did/does not know about the “inner workings” of any ongoing intell program besides that for which he was hired as a contractor to do. From all reports it seems clear that Snowden access was limited to PRISM.

Top secret clearance does not automatically grant you access to all documents in the gov. that information is not only classified but departamental as well.

unseen on June 16, 2013 at 9:55 AM

My interpretation of what you were saying is he was a low-level employee who wouldn’t have had easy access to classified info, which he did in fact have. Not only that, he stole far more classified material than you’ve indicated.

Not only are there plenty of links out there to back up what I am saying about his access to highly classified info, some of the links you have provided in this very thread back this up!

You said, “He was not from all accounts at any time allowed into the upper reaches of the government spy agenices.” That is patently untrue – look at what your link at 8:58 says: “His job apparently allowed him to get past security barriers and browse at will.”

Snowden had a top secret/sensitive compartmented information clearance, a classification which is above top secret – do you believe he received it unintentionally, for no good reason? I am not sure why you aren’t fully acknowledging what he was able to view & appropriate…

Anti-Control on June 16, 2013 at 10:34 AM

The NSA/FBI didn’t see Dr. Hassan, or the Boston hat guys coming and they didn’t see Snowden coming, either. They’re too busy watching what we email and say on the phone to do their jobs. Why do all these House and Senate committees take lies and I don’t knows for answers? At the moment, they don’t care. They have their positions and perks and don’t think they’ll lose them.

Kissmygrits on June 16, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Yup. They are too busy listening to the Tea Party and Patriot groups for coded “race” words, like “The IRS”.

Fallon on June 16, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Another day, another nation going down the tubes, the islamic tubes. Maybe Obama can give us a reprise of his 2009 Egypt speech.

arand on June 16, 2013 at 11:11 AM

I am not sure why you aren’t fully acknowledging what he was able to view & appropriate…

Anti-Control on June 16, 2013 at 10:34 AM

You are thinking top secret clearance means he had access to everything. He did not. the top secret clearance was needed for him to do his job which was gathering and montoiring the phone records, email and internet of EVERYONE. So depending on who’s email, phone records etc he looked out he only has that information on those individual. Now if he looked at the FBI director’s emails he might have some damaging information. If he looked at John smith’s emails he might have nothing.

As far as his information on NSA procedure or the “spying programs” he only has the information his job required him to have.

thinking he has all the information of the entire gov is beyond stupid. He was a low level employee. Low level employees don’t know what the CEO or upper management knows.

again:

I don’t know what specific information they were looking for on these machines, only that using technical exploits to gain unauthorised access to civilian machines is a violation of law. It’s ethically dubious,” Snowden said in the interview on Wednesday

In other words he doesn’t know why or what they were doing. He just knows they did it and how they did it.

The guy isn’t a threat to national security except in regards to telling other nations that we are spying on them and how we are doing it. Which most nations like china already know and are doing the same thing to us.

the only people it appears who didn’t know where the American citizens and for that the guy’s actions in informing us of the spy network set up to spy on EVERY american by our gov is worth whatever “damage” he causes said gov in their pursuit of total control of the population.

unseen on June 16, 2013 at 11:18 AM

unseen on June 16, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Do you remember who said Snowden “was a low level NSA who had no access to classified items“?

This discussion is hopeless…you started out saying that he a low-level employee who didn’t have access to classified info, then you had to admit that he did have at least some, and you are continuing to try to move the goalpost as you ignore all of the highly classified info he’s talked about in China that he supposedly didn’t have access to!

There are plenty of links contradicting you, and I am not going to hold your hand to try to lead you to them. Here is just one, then I am done (please focus on what I highlight):

Snowden Leak ‘Bad News’ for U.S. Businesses, Hayden Says

Questions were raised Friday about security procedures at the ultra-secret National Security Agency, after it emerged that Edward Snowden, the contract employee who leaked details of the agency’s broad-scale data gathering on Americans, exceeded his authorized access to computer systems and smuggled out Top Secret documents on a USB drive — a thumb-sized data storage device banned from use on secret military networks.

“He should not have been able to do either of those things” without setting off alarm bells, said one private sector IT security specialist who has worked on U.S. government classified networks. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivities of his current employer.

NSA officials “were laying down on their job if they didn’t disable the USB port,” the specialist said, referring to the small socket on the side of a computer where thumb drives are plugged in.

The NSA, which is still trying to ascertain the full extent of the breach, did not respond to a request for comment.

The Los Angeles Times first reported that Mr. Snowden used a USB thumb drive to smuggle electronic copies of an unknown number of classified documents out of the NSA facility in Hawaii where he worked. A U.S. official confirmed to The Washington Times “that’s one avenue” investigators are following.

The use of thumb drives on classified military systems — including those at NSA — has been effectively banned since malicious software, thought to be of Russian origin, infected the secret computer networks of U.S. Central Command five years ago.

A number of commercially available programs can switch off the USB port of every computer on the network.

“There is easily available software to do that,” said the security specialist, noting that there were also low-tech, more permanent means available.

“I have seen places where they used a hot glue gun to block it,” he said of the USB port.

Lawmakers briefed by NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander have not commented on the thumb-drive, but have said that Snowden was able to do something else he should not have been able to — exceed his authorized access to the NSA’s computer systems.

“It’s clear that he attempted to go places that he was not authorized to go, which should raise questions for everyone,” said House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Michael Rogers, Michigan Republican, on Thursday.

Anti-Control on June 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM

For for my favorite Vamp aficiando, wherever she is (I miss you, darlin’ – I really hope you didn’t take my comment about you & bluegshrill from yesterday’s QotD in a non-silly way):

Dr. Feelgood – “Milk And Alcohol”

Anti-Control on June 16, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Liam on June 16, 2013 at 6:19 AM

…the sundial is still working!…it’s 1:55 PM…see that she answered you right away!/

KOOLAID2 on June 16, 2013 at 12:55 PM

bluegill you don’t deserve to be any more free than liblikeaslave and HAL.

Schadenfreude on June 16, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Response to Syria.

I know.

Send Obama to Brussels to make a speech inspiring Europe to take care of the problem, since it’s in their back yard and they drew the borders of these faux countries in the first place.

Meremortal on June 16, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Sign on the back of a Texas pickup truck

One
Big
Ass
Mistake
America

MaiDee on June 16, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3