morriswalters wrote:Well, I don't know. Without doing any research, I can think of times when the government and it bureaucracies have simply ignored what anyone said if they felt they could get away with it. The recent revelations about nuclear launch codes, the FBI's tendency to do black bag searches which were illegal under any number of laws at the times when they were done, and so on. If the activity is conducted away from sight and without the public's knowledge, then in effect there are no restrictions at all. The NSA's actions are bad because the only oversight, until Snowden dumped the files, was from a small circle of people who have the tendency to have self reinforcing ideas of the correctness of their actions.KnightExemplar wrote:This is why Bureaucrats complain about red tape so much, because if your authority isn't explicitly written down in a document somewhere, you are not allowed to conduct your activities.
Its a back and forth. There are very few people complaining about "red tape" as of recently because the American People currently wish to put more restrictions on these agencies. Other times, when people are more trusting of the Government (through the early 2000s for example), the complaints are more towards "Red Tape" which prevents the bureaucrats from doing useful work.
BTW: The oversight of these powers are the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, the FISA Courts, and of course the President and his cabinet. In fact, a number of leaks from Snowden are just the documents that went back and forth between these parties. (In particular, the FISA authorization to the FBI for domestic metadata collection). Again, I encourage you to read through the leaks yourself, and notice how many of these classified documents are from NSA internal investigations and internal oversight procedures.
If you think more people should be added to the mix, at very least you need to have an understanding of the people who are already involved in the oversight process. I'm not necessarily against proper oversight procedures (ie: Wyden's proposal to declassify more of the FISA rulings to more of Congress), but I expect intelligent and informed discussion about these issues. Its not like these forums are filled with angry teenage Redditors or Tumblr accounts, the people around here are tend to have pretty intelligent and informed debates.
* We know the Classification system is important, but broken. A lot of leaked "classified" information should not be classified at all. A lot of important leaked information should be classified however, and those who have half a brain can pick the two apart. The real issue is deploying the training across the 1 million+ members of Top Secret America so that classification is not abused. IMO, this is the root of the problem, because clearly some classified data is important to the public debate (in particular: much of the FISA Court classified rulings on the scope of the agencies).
* Red Tape is also a problem, because when people feel like it gets in the way of their job... they will tend to ignore it. However, most restrictions are put there for a reason. Different agencies follow the rules to different levels, and IIRC the FBI is more or less one of the worst offenders of it (On the other hand, the FBI's oversight is your defense lawyer. If the Defense Lawyer can prove that the FBI didn't follow proper procedure, then they can get the evidence thrown out before it is shown to the jury). One example of dumb red tape: the DoD is beginning to implement a "two party" system for burning DVDs soon, in response to the Snowden revelations. Because obviously, making a rule stating that "two people must be present to burn a disk" is going to stop someone like Snowden from doing this again. .
So yes, dumb red tape undermines the bureaucrat's trust in the system, and encourages them to break even the legitimate rules that were placed down upon them. So it becomes important to remove the dumb rules and enforce the ones the American Citizens care about.