Podcast Show #120- ‘What Do We Mean By “Real Reform” When It Comes to the NSA?’

Boiling Frogs Show Presents Cindy Cohn

On this episode of Boiling Frogs Show we are joined by Cindy Cohn, Legal Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation as well as its General Counsel. We discuss the latest developments on NSA, including the recent court ruling by Judge Richard Leon and the usual wishy-washy posturing by the U.S. Congress. We have a heated debate on the issue of meaningful versus meaningless reforms when it comes to the government, its strategically appointed so-called panels and its history of meaningless theoretical changes and reforms.

Cindy Cohn is the Legal Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation as well as its General Counsel. Outside the Courts, Ms. Cohn has testified before Congress, been featured in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere for her work on cyberspace issue.

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Comments

  1. I could tell Sibel was really holding her tongue on that one, with all of the allowances indulged on the drip drip leak rate.

  2. I have to find the exact quote, but it sounded like she flip-flopped on the leak rate within about 10 seconds, saying [paraphrasing]: “We’ve been really frustrated that we had to wait for the government to release documents.” and then, right after that “We think GG’s drip drop rate is a good idea…”

    I thought the questions were good, but just wanted to drill into her that We, the People have a right to know and that We don’t want One guy deciding what We need to know. Also, why does it mean that the info will be a flash in the pan, if there is a dump? With so many people able to analyse the documents, there would be plenty of stories for years to come. It actually offers more ability for the government’s arguments to be challenged, since more people could do it with more information at their fingertips. We are limiting ourselves with manpower and context/relational information and incomplete pictures. What a scam.

    I think Sibel is correct in saying that this irrational support for GG is based on belief and faith and a lack of willingness to be wrong. It’s incredibly stupid and rude to tell us that we shouldn’t have information about a crime which has been committed against us. Screw that noise. I want my documents now.

    • avatar tonywicher says:

      Hear, hear! This drip drip drip is grossly suspicious. The only unsettled question for me is whether Snowden has been part of this whole publicity stunt from the beginning, or whether Snowden and his documents are real and all these pseudo-alternative journalists controlling and profiting from this information are working with the NSA to limit the damage. I am still inclined to bet on Snowden being a “real” whistleblower like Sibel, but unlike Sibel, who has an impeccable track record for over a decade, Snowden comes out of nowhere, so my confidence is not high.

  3. Being brutally honest this episode sums up one of the aspects of the alt media that really frustrates me – everyone’s a bit too chummy. Cindy was a good choice of guest – intelligent and articulate – but she’s still fundamentally working within the mainstream paradigm, the centrist discussion framework.

    To my mind, ‘real reform’ of the NSA (and GCHQ etc.) is impossible. How do you reform the psychopathy of false flag terrorism? How do you reform the paranoid voyeurism of mass surveillance? How do you reform the neurotic narcissism of manipulating your own public image despite being protected by secrecy laws? I don’t think it can be done. I’m not usually black-and-white about such issues, but after well over a decade looking into the ‘National Security’ structures and institutions I just cannot see how you can reform them to make them work properly. Anyone who still thinks that you can is somewhat deluded, I feel.

    Now I’m sure Sibel that you know this already, and deep down I’m sure Peter knows it as well, but the two of you gave your guest too much room here to heroise Snowden and Greenwald, to equivocate over the massively important issue of the extreme similarity between the government drip-feeding us info and Snowden (or whoever) drip-feeding us info, and what this implies about the whole Snowden situation.

    I loved the way BFP stood up and started asking some of the hard questions about the Snowden affair, it helped give me the courage to express my own opinion (that this is a false flag terrorist operation designed for the digital information age). But having people on who have totally bought into this bullshit and not challenging them over it struck me as a little bit of a cop-out. But then, my approach is different, I would never have someone like Coleen Rowley on my show, I don’t really have anything to say to people like that except that they just don’t get what’s at stake here, and so have no idea what’s going on.

    Sorry for this rather negative comment – I really love BFP, and when it comes to this sort of thing you’re way better than most, but the absurdity of what we’re expected to believe re: Snowden has got under my skin.

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