For virtually as long as it has been in business, the NSA's super-surveillance program has abused the US Constitution, and defied the instructions of the FISA Court which is supposed to supervise it, and lied about it, -- to the court, the Congress and the American people.
The revelation, just this week, of the NSA's persistent and dangerous misbehavior, found in the text of official rulings by FISA Court Judge John Bates in 2009 and 2011, does, in the words of the Director of National Intelligence, Gen. James Clapper, "harm to national security."
No, Director Clapper, making your lies and abuses public knowledge harms only you, and those within your organization who served you and neither the nation nor the Constitution. Your attempt to frighten your critics by claiming your personal humilation is a national security disaster only confirms your unfitness to serve. Resign.
The application of the "national security" label to the disclosure of Cabinet-level failure, like the gratuitous use of the Espionage Act to condemn leaker Bradley Manning, and the foolish misuse of the Terrorism Act in the UK, to trigger the detention and interrogation of David Miranda and the meaningless destruction of computers and hard drives at the office of The Guardian newspaper all illustrate a corrupt use of language by the leading American and British War-on-Terror-ists, which slimes them like an exploding bag of funny money colors more common criminals like bank robbers.
But perhaps the most meaningful revelation on the counter-the-counter-terrorists front was the one made to the Washington Post by the latest Chief Judge of the FISA Court, the widely respected Reggie Walton: (as reported by Spencer Ackerman in The Guardian) "that
the Fisa court remains reliant on government assurances, rather than its own
independent oversight capabilities, to determine that the NSA and the
government is in compliance with surveillance law and agreed-upon procedures."
That is to say, the FISA court is dependent on a band of unrestrained, unashamed liars, and has no weapons beyond its own wits to counter them.
Every day, it seems, we learn how much must be done to bring the National Security sub-state under control and to assure that national security and the public interest are truly synonymous, and not as DNI Clapper seems to think, concepts in conflict.