Friday, February 02, 2018

Blame privacy activists for the Memo??

Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa @AshaRangappa_ has a smart post debunking the Nunes Memo, then takes it all back again with an op-ed on the NYTimes blaming us privacy activists. She presents an obviously false narrative that the FBI and FISA courts are above suspicion.

I know from first hand experience the FBI is corrupt. In 2007, they threatened me, trying to get me to cancel a talk that revealed security vulnerabilities in a large corporation's product. Such abuses occur because there is no transparency and oversight. FBI agents write down our conversation in their little notebooks instead of recording it, so that they can control the narrative of what happened, presenting their version of the converstion (leaving out the threats). In this day and age of recording devices, this is indefensible.

She writes "I know firsthand that it’s difficult to get a FISA warrant". Yes, the process was difficult for her, an underling, to get a FISA warrant. The process is different when a leader tries to do the same thing.

I know this first hand having casually worked as an outsider with intelligence agencies. I saw two processes in place: one for the flunkies, and one for those above the system. The flunkies constantly complained about how there is too many process in place oppressing them, preventing them from getting their jobs done. The leaders understood the system and how to sidestep those processes.

That's not to say the Nunes Memo has merit, but it does point out that privacy advocates have a point in wanting more oversight and transparency in such surveillance of American citizens.

Blaming us privacy advocates isn't the way to go. It's not going to succeed in tarnishing us, but will push us more into Trump's camp, causing us to reiterate that we believe the FBI and FISA are corrupt.


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Borepatch said...

Shorter Robert Graham: "I know from first hand experience that you cannot trust the FBI executive management but the Congressional memo saying that you cannot trust the FBI executive management is totes no bueno."

You know that your post will likely convince some folks that the Nunes memo is *more* credible then they might have otherwise thought? Of *course* there are two processes - one for low level flunkies and one for the wood panel office set. But it's somehow beyond belief that the wood panel office set might exercise that power to influence the direction of public policy in the country?

That they might exercise that power to try to change an election that would determine the outcome of the public policy choices of the government is just a data point on the "exercise that power" continuum.

Do you think that the executive management Intel Agencies might withhold exculpatory evidence from the FISA Court? Do you think that executive management at the Intel Agencies would use what they know to be very weak evidence to get a FISA warrant, without telling the Court that they know the evidence is very weak?

And do you think that this brouhaha is justification to repeal section 702?