>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.