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Your Wonkette PRISM Explainer, Part 2 Of Infinite: Which Morons Are Saying What Stupid Things About PRISM?

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We decided we needed an entirely separate Explainer to discuss all the stupid morons saying dumb things aboutPRISM and/or the collection of All Metadata Everywhere, because so many "journalists" have been MORE THAN HAPPY to come forward, pat America on its pretty head and mansplain that this is no big deal, and also, isn't it nice that we are somehow magically so much SAFER due to the technological marvels of a top secret program?


Also, which is it? A technological marvel whose penetration into our privacy is necessary to Keep Us Safe, or alternatively, a piddly little exercise in security theater that is No Big Deal (unless you are a terrorist, in which case, watch out!)?

We are still not sure! Here, let us run through all a selection of the Op-Ed columnists who CANNOT WAIT to tell us how wonderful it is that the government is invading our privacy, and then we will get to the elected officials who are shocked, SHOCKED to discover the existence of a program they supported and voted for or alternatively, can't figure out why everyone is so upset.

This is Tim Worstall, a darn good propagandist Forbes columnist who thinks that PRISM  is a "darn good idea" because this is what governments are "supposed to do."  We must have missed the Constitutional amendment that cancels out the Fourth Amendment, but apparently there is a rule (emanating from the penumbra of the antipodes from High Atop The Thing?) that says something along the lines of "adhere to the Constitution, unless of course you are attacked by a transnational armed group, in which case, forget the Constitution, but only if you are forgetting the Constitution under the pretext of Keeping America Safe from other transnational armed groups." Thanks for pointing this out, Tim, we must have fallen asleep during Civics 101 and missed the lecture on Constitutional justifications for state surveillance of its own citizens! Yr Wonkette is a blogger, not a lawyer, so perhaps you lawyer types can explain to how the 4th amendment can be negated if the NSA Really Wants Information.

This jaunty looking fellow is Stewart Baker, who is using his platform at Foreign Policy to patiently G-Mansplain to us why the government "needs" your phone calls and phone information and why you "shouldn't worry about it." See, there is at least the pretext of a legal justification for collecting telecom customers' metadata, so there's that. Also, NSA needs "probable cause" to believe that you are a "spy" or a "terrorist" before it can actually look at the data that it has already collected. Otherwise, it's just on hand until they need it, like that box of funny-shaped pasta in your pantry. What IS a "terrorist," Stewart Baker? Is there a clear, uniform, and cogent definition? According to the commie pinko libruls at the FBI, there is no single uniform definition of a "terrorist" or of "terrorism." The definition of terrorism can vary even from state to state and therefore might be more appropriately thought of as a political, rather than legal label. Can you be a "terrorist" for breaking a law that didn't exist at the time when you were breaking it? Why yes you can! How about for being a cameraman for an international news agency? Yes, turns out that is maybe terrorism also.  But no worries, Stewart Baker! We'll just trust the government not to make a mistake when they secretly decide whether or not we are "terrorists."

The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal wants to go on the record as THANKING the NSA for datamining and advising us all to just calm down. This isn't Benghazi, OK, so don't get all worked up about this. What really happened here, they explain, is that Glenn Greenwald ("an anti-anti-terror partisan") got everyone all excited about something that has been going on since 2006. Hear that? They've been collecting your metadata since 2006, so why get all upset NOW? (Answer: because Obama's commitment to continue the program speaks to the bipartisan normalization of state surveillance but whatever.) Also, the NSA only collects data to "search for suspicious patterns over time." So if you're not related to anyone in, say, the Middle East, North Africa, or South Asia, or in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, you're TOTALLY FINE.

Dianne Feinstein would like you to know that this should not be thought of as "surveillance;" because "it's called protecting America." Yes, this is a direct quote. Do they still hate us for our freedoms, Dianne Feinstein? Sorry, she can't tell you; that information is classified. We cannot compromise our agents in the field.

Finally, John Boehner seems to have conveniently forgotten about all those times he voted for the PATRIOT ACT, as well as for the renewal of the very program that allows for the collection of telecom customer data, because he wants the administration to do some "explaining." After the administration is done with this "explaining" maybe someone can "explain" to Boehner about checks and balances, and Congress' role therein.

[Politico / Forbes / WSJ / Foreign Policy]

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