Watch for testimony on NSA surveillance

Glenn Greenwald offers his thoughts on the issue of NSA surveillance:

On Wednesday morning, I’ll be testifying, by remote video, before an ad hoc committee in the House of Representatives about NSA disclosures. It begins at 9:30 am ET and will, I believe, be broadcast on C-SPAN. Following my testimony will be an excellent panel featuring representatives of the ACLU and the Cato Institute on the dangers and excesses of the NSA.


If I had to pick the most astonishing aspect of this episode so far, it would be that everyone now knows that the Obama administration’s top national security official, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper,outright lied to the Senate about NSA programs. And yet – as I said on ABC yesterday morning – not only isn’t he being prosecuted for that crime – as much of a crime as anything Edward Snowden is accused of doing – but he still has his job. That, of course, is because the “law” does not apply to high-level Washington officials and DC’s National Security State is an accountability-free zone. But the law that makes Clapper’s behavior a felony is clear and concise, and can be read here.

The largest changes toward demanding civil liberties protections have occurred among liberal Democrats, Tea Party Republicans, independents and liberal/moderate Republicans. Only self-identified “moderate/conservative Democrats” – the Obama base – remains steadfast and steady in defense of NSA surveillance. The least divided, most-pro-NSA caucus in the House for last week’s vote was the corporatist Blue Dog Democrat caucus, which overwhelmingly voted to protect the NSA’s bulk spying on Americans.

As I’ve repeatedly said, the only ones defending the NSA at this point are the party loyalists and institutional authoritarians in both parties. That’s enough for the moment to control Washington outcomes – as epitomized by the unholy trinity that saved the NSA in the House last week: Pelosi, John Bohener and the Obama White House – but it is clearly not enough to stem the rapidly changing tide of public opinion.

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