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Alan Dershowitz takes on anti-NSA narrative

Alan Dershowitz takes on anti-NSA narrative

Not someone you would expect to accuse others of crying wolf on privacy.

Via Noah Rothman at Mediaite:

Alan Dershowitz, professor of law at Harvard University, defended the Obama administration on Friday and excoriated those in the media who he says are disseminating a number of half-truths relating to the news that the National Security Administration has been warehousing the communications records of Americans. Dershowitz said that “we’re hearing a lot of lies” from people like The Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald and radio talk show hosts who he says too often “foment a paranoid streak” in American life.

“We’re hearing  lot of lies about what’s going on – a lot of lies,” Dershowitz warned. “We heard lies from Greenwald. He says that we’re not targeting terrorism. He says this is because we want to get political information against political opponents. It’s just not the case.”

More from his appearance on CNN:


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BannedbytheGuardian | June 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Maybe the first stage of grief. For someone like Dershowitz The Obama admin is everything & at this stage of life he ain’t gonna get another shining black Harvard bod in DC.

Message to Alan . It is over .

I’m sure there’s footage of Dershowitz WAILING about the Bush tactics of spying.

MSfromtheOC | June 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm

There are two very different opportunities for abuse of this information…
1. The obvious issue of government use of the data for purposes that the citizens consider illegitimate. Dershowitz’s example of DNA collected for criminal ID purposes but used to identify those with potential medical conditions, or child support collections.
2. Is the almost as bad potential for “bad actors” within the institutions to misuse the data. There is already a story running around that someone at the NSA was accessing the “PRISM” data to surveil an individual. This is the issue we have with the IRS’ exempt organizations unit. We know what they did is against the law, but it was done anyway – and apparently with impunity.

No “firewalls” will eliminate the second type of abuse, and I’m not sure that laws will protect us against the first type either.

great unknown | June 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm

How does Dershowitz know this? As an intelligent person [you have no idea how hard it was for me to type that – my fingers rebelled] he should know not make statements like this without factual knowledge.

Of course, he may be substituting his worship of progressivism in general, and Obama in particular as a faith-based source of factual knowledge.

Or he may be acting in his role as attorney: a shill for his client.

I wonder how he would respond if asked to testify about this under oath.

    betty in reply to great unknown. | June 7, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Or he may have already had his life snorkeled up by the NSA and has accepted the implant.

    What if we are in the end game? I was always amazed by the Obama Administration’s arrogance. I don’t know how many times I felt he was giving us the finger in one way or another. What would could we do to force their hand. As of now we have just been frogs slowly boiling – What if we tried to jump out?

      great unknown in reply to betty. | June 7, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Well, Big Sister has all those rounds of ammo…
      To paraphrase Lily Tomlin, “No matter how paranoid I get, I can’t keep up”

      BTW what happened to that Chechen assassinated by the FBI in Florida over a week ago? How long does it take to investigate a simple, witnessed murder? Let’s ask Dershowitz for his opinion on that.

How would Alan Dershowitz *KNOW* that they are lies? Does he have a top secret, need to know NSA security clearance?

Is Alan saying, to paraphrase the immortal words of our dear leader, “I don’t know all the facts in this case, but the media is commenting stupidly.”?

I’m in agreement with Great Unknown, the facts are not known, but the cockroaches scurrying from where the carpet is drawn back lead to some pretty interesting inferences. The warrant does exist, and the scope of it is unjustifiable Mr. Dershowitz.

Paul and Great Unknown make my point exactly.

Just don’t try to tell me that private citizen Dershowitz has the real scoop on this. Obama has to find more credible shills to carry his water.

I just wonder when terrorism became a threat once more, and when we resumed the WOT. I presume it was sometime after all of Obama’s stump speeches in which he told us “don’t worry, be happy”.

I can remember when liberals prized individual freedom and were wary of government power.

Question authority they said. Speak truth to power they said. The end does not justify the means they said.

Now they view authority as a path to power, lie to maintain that power and use that unicorn filled golden meadow in our future to justify anything.

Midwest Rhino | June 7, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Two NSA veterans with 70 years combined experience were on with Megyn Kelly today, saying they had a way to mine the data but scrub revealing facts about citizens. They said that plan was rejected for this more intrusive monster that enables everything to be recorded. Citizen privacy destruction was an unnecessary choice, according to them.

Another point they made was how much more powerful the metadata was than people realize. I’m thinkin’ if they can match a tea party event against credit card usage and email chatter, they can ID every single Tea partier that attends events. Maybe not in one meeting, but once someone goes to five there is a high correlation of time and location. Add in Google helping with their search data, and cell phone locations, and they can tell what you eat for breakfast.

Alan is wrong.

The IRS was a targeted approach, and this is not. That is what he is saying. And to be careful in accepting what Greenwald says because Greenwald is not above that.

There has to be a balance. Here the purpose is security driven, where the IRS was to directly interfere with the ability of political opponents to engage in free speech and association.

That does not mean this overreach is proper, but there is a legitimate purpose for doing it, and that should not be forgotten.

If Greenwald has proof this was done to spy on Obama’s political opponents, he should provide it.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | June 8, 2013 at 12:19 am

    The IRS & the EPA & most likely other arms of the admin to come – are not trying to suppress free speech & freedom of association . They are not in themselves threatened – they just don’t want that particular stuff to spread .

    They are to kneecap political opposition. Therefore they can’t. Depend on applications but need to data mine also.

    Admin employees do their bidding because bureaucrats strongly believe in this admin & fear dismissal into the jobless void.

By itself the NSA overreach is bad enough but add it to the big picture of what this Administration and it’s “fellow travelers” in the agencies are doing and you have an all-out assault against our rights as citizens. You can call it a theory but I am capable of connecting the obvious dots and I see a conspiracy.

Over the years, I have found dozens of occasions to disagree with Alan Dershowitz. Politically, we are almost polar opposites.

But I must defend the man on his sincerity in this stance. He has been quite critical of Obama in any number of areas, and his track record on 1st and 4th Amendment issues is one favoring the side of liberty and privacy.

A number of Republicans with clearance, as well as Democrats who have good records on national security, have also defended the NSA program, at least as it was designed and reported upon to Congress.

In terms of history of personal honesty and integrity, there can be no comparison of Dershowitz and Glen Greenwald. When they assert opposing facts, the default assumption has to go with the Professor.

We should investigate and ensure the NSA programs haven’t gone rogue, for sure, but we must not allow paranoia to distract us from the known criminal behavior in IRS and EPA, and the remaining questions on Benghazi.

Remember Obama with the birth certificate. He refused to produce anything until the opponents had sold out to extreme positions, then sank their credibility completely. Hey, I don’t care if you think it’s faked – it doesn’t matter now. It is a historical artifact, a footnote. The point was many legitimate questions about his past, like his trip to Pakistan not being on his passport record or how he got into Columbia, were summarily dismissed as a result.

We need facts, not speculation. And we need sources with track records with fewer examples of intentional deceit than Greenwald’s.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to Estragon. | June 8, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Straw man mercilessly strangled by low info voter. Obama keeps setting them up, and feeding them to his starry eyed groupies. I don’t think Trump or Sheriff Arpaio “sold out to extreme positions”, but rather made legit points. Trump constantly said “there is something he doesn’t want us to see”, but that was spun with help from Big Media and the Comedians, to “they think Obama was born in Kenya, lol”. It’s the merger of Alinsky and the Naked Communist, in the form of Val Jarrot.

    Obama’s first line of defense in his last public “strong defense” (as I heard a network anchor frame it) was “we’re not listening to your phone calls”. Well no one claimed that. The straw man with PRISM is that the MAIN PURPOSE is to listen to private citizens, but actually that was an added back door feature.

    Dershowitz gets to it at the end of that second video I now see, saying it is better if the companies have the intel without it being in the grasp of Big Gov (but I think even the companies supposedly were scrubbing every three months maybe).

    Dershowitz calls for “firewalls”, when they really should not have the private citizen portion accessible at all. Obama union henchmen have the keys to all firewalls, and can access BigGov controlled data as easily as Obama could get divorce records unsealed. These traitorous insiders are the key to the Obama bureaucratic coup.

    What the old NSA guys said was they had a way to protect the valuable intel, while at the same time scrubbing all the personal citizen data. SOMEONE said “NO, we want to have ALL personal data at our fingertips”.

    So as Obama likes to say “let’s have that discussion”, but the decision was already made, to collect unnecessary data that was not needed for national security, but useful for political vendettas. “They chose to go to the dark side” is what the guys with 70 years NSA history say.”

    These ARE the whistleblowers we need to listen to.

    great unknown in reply to Estragon. | June 9, 2013 at 11:25 am

    “In terms of history of personal honesty and integrity, there can be no comparison of Dershowitz and Glen Greenwald. When they assert opposing facts, the default assumption has to go with the Professor.”

    I’m afraid that history is no longer a valid indicator. Anybody who could say this

    and call me a racist because his grandparents were against guns

    or endorse Obama after saying he wouldn’t unless he cut his support for Hagel

    or claiming that J Street does not reflect Obama’s policies

    a few months before Obama appoints Samantha Powers as ambassador to the UN

    has lost all presumption of intellectual honesty.

    I am not judging him morally: only G-d can do that. I sincerely hope, though, that what we are seeing here is just creeping senility. Which would be better, ultimately, than the alternative.

    What’s the over/under on when Dershowitz comes out in defense of the sweet Jewish children at J Street?

Uncle Samuel | June 8, 2013 at 10:17 am

Maxine Waters spilled the beans in February: “The president has put in place an organization that contains the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life. That’s going to be very, very powerful. That database will have information about everything on every individual in ways that it’s never been done before.”