The Fantastic Feinstein: How To Make Privacy Disappear While Appearing To Defend It

225px-dianne_feinstein_official_senate_photoimages>Civil libertarians have long viewed Senator Dianne Feinstein (D.,CA) as a menace to privacy and civil liberties in her role on the  Senate Intelligence Committee. She has worked to blocked investigation of torture while supporting warrantless surveillance of our own citizens. Recently, many Californians became aware of her role in seeking ever-expanding powers for the security state. Feinstein desperately tried to get citizens to embrace a new model of privacy that allows for their continual surveillance in the latest scandals under her tenure. That has not worked particularly well so now Feinstein is taking a new approach: she is proclaiming her concern over the dangers of privacy posed by . . . drones. That’s right. Like the street magicians distracting an audience, Feinstein is trying to get citizens to focus on the use of drones for surveillance and promising some form of “regulation” in the future. The obvious intent behind yesterday’s carefully constructed scene was to present Feinstein in the light of a fighter for, rather than an attacker of, privacy rights.

FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged the law enforcement agency uses drone aircraft in the United States for surveillance in some cases.

Feinstein jumped at the opportunity to declare “I think the greatest threat to the privacy of Americans is the drone and the use of the drone, and the very few regulations that are on it today and the booming industry of commercial drones.” The point is obvious. The collection of every call made by every American is not really a big deal in turns of privacy. It is also not a concern to grab hundreds of millions of emails and attachments. No, it is the limited number of drone cases that is “the greatest threat to the privacy of Americans.” Of course, using drones to vaporize Americans without a charge or judicial review does not appear to bother Feinstein greatly.

Feinstein appears to be taken advice from street magicians:

Physical misdirection is a well-known tool for the magician: he points at an object, a big gesture distracts, spectators fixate on a suddenly appearing dove. All are designed to distract from another movement that is vital for the trick.

Psychological misdirection is much more subtle – a good example is the false solution. This is where the magician leads spectators to believe they’ve worked out how the trick is done. Once this ‘solution’ is suggested people are much less likely to notice the clues that crop up as to how it’s really done. Instead people look for confirmation that their own theory is correct. When the magician finally shows this ‘solution’ is no such thing, spectators are left even more bemused. The false solution is, therefore, not just a happy coincidence, it is used as a distraction from the real solution.

Of course, Feinstein and the White House never intend to reveal the trick. With few people buying the new privacy model, Feinstein wants to get people to look at a problem that will then be “solved” by her. . . And presto, your privacy is gone.

I hear that her next trick will be to saw the Separation of Powers in half by further supporting the unchecked powers of the President.

Of course, Obama, Feinstein, and others in Congress live by the same oath when it comes to telling the public anything:

“As a magician I promise never to reveal the secret of any illusion to a non-magician, unless that one swears to uphold the Magician’s Oath in turn. I promise never to perform any illusion for any non-magician without first practicing the effect until I can perform it well enough to maintain the illusion of magic.”

This is why an oath to testify truthfully is not binding on people like Clapper and not enforced by people like Feinstein. They are honoring an older oath to each other.

69 thoughts on “The Fantastic Feinstein: How To Make Privacy Disappear While Appearing To Defend It”

  1. The following Washington Post article speaks volumes about why we’re in so much trouble in the U.S.

    Feinstein, NSA’S top congressional defender, has built respect over decades of service

    She stands before television cameras just hours after the news breaks that the U.S. government has been conducting a massive surveillance program, compiling a database of Americans’ phone records and monitoring foreign terrorism suspects’ Internet traffic.

    Her hands form fists.

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein says the top secret court order for telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon is a three-month renewal of an ongoing practice.

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein says the top secret court order for telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon is a three-month renewal of an ongoing practice.

    “It’s called protecting America,” says Dianne Feinstein.


    Sure it is.

  2. Ellen Barger;

    Worse than what happens to whistleblowers, look what happens to those who get “too close” (such as Sonny Bono & Phil Marshall).

    They play “real” mean – when it gets “real” close

    to the “whole” truth!

  3. Gene H;

    Just hope and pray that the odds get beaten here – in a few weeks.

    I’m going to file a Racketeering Indictment of Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, Mitt Romney and his secret attorneys Paul Traub and Colm Connolly. The evidence is rock-solid (heck, due to their hubris – we’ve confessions already – in the public docket record {because they “Believed” Romney was going to become POTUS and protect them}).

    They have been protected (thus far) by tyranny, cronyism and corruption.

    However, there’s discussions with persons upon high, who will co-sign my Complaint filing. That takes my insignificance out of the picture and pushes the battle to a new level.

    Either the corruption will continue, get worse (with bogus Rule 11 Sanctions etc) – or they can “eliminate” their Laser Haas problem (over 1/2 dozen untimely demises in our cases already – including the brother of an Asst. U.S. Attorney and John (“Jack”) Wheeler).

    Or – if they woke up and became smart (which has not been a habit of theirs thus far) – they could simply settle by giving me back our eToys company (that they stole in 2001 – and have kept its bankruptcy case Open for 12 years now – to make sure I don’t sue them elsewhere).

    If I’m still alive – after the filing (when the RICO case statement is filed 20 days hence the date of initial Complaint) –

    then I would be glad to take you and your dad bowling, archery, baseball – beer chasing (which I never do) – and discuss the ways to “correct” things!

  4. This is all very simple, once one has had a level 6 clearance (TS/SCI codeword): recognize that any statement by those managing the intelligence agencies and their work (including those engaged in oversight) cannot publicly reveal anything of consequence. Doing so automatically endangers one’s clearance. Look at the contortions Sens. Wyden and Merkley underwent — and continue to undergo.

    It’s a conundrum begging for whistleblowers. But just look at what happens to them.

    Sigh. The threat remains long after the clearance expires.

  5. laserhaas,

    My dad is oft heard saying that “you shouldn’t be President because you’re elected as anyone who wants the job probably isn’t fit for it, you should be President because it’s your turn at random.” You and he should go bowling. If he bowled that is.

  6. G.Mason

    “It is time to throw out our government and start with new people and the same Constitution.”

    -That’s gonna take a lotta dough.

  7. I all for a guy flying around in a balloon in the night – and then dropping a water balloon filled with a dye color.

    Plop – whom ever it hits – your U.S. Prez

    Mess it up and we’ll shoot you!

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