Honchos and worker bees


Watching the reaction to Edward Snowden’s revelations has been entertaining to say the least. Almost every media personality I’ve observed speak on it either talks about how they don’t trust him, or prefaces their concerns over the message with an obligatory swipe at the messenger. The latter often includes a shot not just at Snowden but at Glenn Greenwald, the UK Guardian journalist who brought the material to light.

It seems a bit over the top. Snowden and Greenwald appear subject to a standard of accuracy and at times vitriol quite different than the one facing high ranking NSA and contractor personnel. There is reason to be skeptical of spies in general, but why the high ranking spooks who have been caught splitting semantic hairs, evading, and glossing over key details are not much part of the story, while every last thing Snowden says is scrutinized for the slightest inconsistency, is puzzling. Perhaps what we’re seeing is a secret version of something many reading this would identify with: the difference in the treatment, perception and motive for corporate bigwigs vs the observations of rank and file worker. [Read more…]

NSA may have tapped key politicians, possibly President

We have no way to know if this is true — that’s the whole problem in a nutshell when it comes to double-super-secret spying. It’s just too easy to turn that apparatus against anyone. Back in 2004 a big story hit that the NSA was tapping US citizens without even using the secretive and allegedly flimsy FISA court warrent process. Russ Tice, the same whistle blower who helped bring warrantless wiretapping to light, now says then Senator Obama may have been one of the targets: [Read more…]

Elijah Cummings ruins Darryl Issa’s day

It’s not everyday a powerful liar is stone cold busted and held up to public ridicule in DC. But that’s what just happened to Darryl Issa (R-dejected), head witch hunter in the IRS scandal machine. Issa has spent the last few months claiming to any reporter who would transcribe his accusations that the IRS was focused on checking the tax status of conservative groups because Obama was secretly directing them from the Oval Office in classic Nixonian fashion. Issa went so far as to leak partial transcripts of closed door hearings that appeared consistent with his claim. Another member on the same House committee, ranking democrat Elijah Cummings, grew tired of Issa’s dishonesty. After warning the conservative teabagger he better fess up, Cummings finally released the full transcript: [Read more…]

If only sex was involved

Back in the go-go 90s there was a claim made far and wide afloat the various divisions of Wall Street biggies were separated from the rest of the firm by a firewall. So, for example, the firm would never ever think about putting buy recs on dotcoms rocketing up the NASDAQ simply to pad enrich senior execs, or use info gleaned from ongoing deals to advise newer, prospective clients who happened to be in competition with existing ones, for such tacky purposes like getting lucrative M & A or underwriting business. It was a questionable claim at best, we didn’t learn just learned how questionable until the dotcoms turned into dotbombs.

With that conflict of interest in mind, here’s our for profit private national security overlords, bellying up for some sweet, cloak and dagger petro-dollars courtesy of the UAE: [Read more…]

We’re not getting smart

More hilarity, embarrassing for the powers that be, a warning of sloppy contractors and what looks like casual commercial spying gone amok for all. Not only could Snowden access all the stuff he’s handed over so far, he was able to get into the UK spy network and turn over evidence the Brits were actively spying, spoofing, and hacking their own allies at the G20 summit in 2009: [Read more…]