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January 28, 2008

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Cancel the NSA charter.

The NSA is military and hired all the CIA analysts and linguists CIA hired before 9/11.

We don't need the military doing civilian spying and we don't need CIA doing civilian domestic spying, Plame.

"The NSA is military"

Just for the record, this is loosely true enough to be within the realm of being a statement labeled as reasonably true.

But it's technically somewhat more complicated if we were to get picky.

[...] 8. What is the breakdown of the NSA/CSS workforce?

NSA/CSS employees are both civilian and military (from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard). The breakdown is approximately 50 percent civilian and 50 percent military. They represent a unique combination of specialties: analysts, engineers, physicists, mathematicians, linguists, computer scientists, researchers, security officers, data flow experts, managers, and administrative and clerical specialists, to name several.

[...]

In accordance with Department of Defense Directive 5100.20, dated December 23, 1971, the Director NSA/Chief, CSS is always a commissioned officer of the military services with at least a rank of three stars during the period of his incumbency. The Deputy Director is always a technically-experienced civilian.

As I said, the claim is reasonably true. NSA is a DoD organization. I just figured there's no harm in clarifying a few slightly complicating details, just because I'm a fan of details.

Why, look at the benefits of being a civilian employee. Good retirement, and it's not even a secret.

I don't know, Glenn seems to do a lot of mindreading there. Given that the GOP was pretty much forced to vote to let the act expire - and thus allowing the Terrorists To Win - smells to me of some serious political jujitsu.

Two points the Democrats need to keep hammering on: First, by his own terms, Bush is putting the convenience of the telecommunications companies above the safety of the American people, since he's willing to veto this "essential" legislation if no immunity is added. Second, if as Bush says the surveillance has been lawful, then why is any immunity necessary?

Bear in mind that Bush feels free to eavesdrop without a warrant or a statute, so he doesn't really care whether the FISA amendment expires. As far as he's concerned, having a law in place is just a minor convenience, frees up a couple of his attorneys to do important things like write memos justifying torture. So letting the law lapse won't interfere with his gallant efforts to ensure our safety.

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