U.S. Reportedly Bars Entry To Leading Critic Of NSA Surveillance Programs

220px-Ilija_trojanow_by_thomas_dorn_232_KBWhile there has been little media attention in the United States, European press is reporting how German-Bulgarian writer and activist Ilija Trojanow was barred from entering the United States this week. A critic of NSA spying programs and professor at The European Graduate School, Trojanow was invited to speak at a literary conference and is well-known for his criticism of the surveillance state. He said that he was given no explanation for being barred from entry.

Trojanow was left stranded at an airport in Brazil.

In a public article, Trojanow denounced his treatment and added in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that “It is more than ironic if an author who raises his voice against the dangers of surveillance and the secret state within a state for years, will be denied entry into the ‘land of the brave and the free.’” He may have a point.

Germans are outraged and I do not understand why this is not a bigger story in the United States. This is a leading civil libertarian critic of our spy agencies. His being barred entry raises a serious question of retaliation against the critics of our government. He has invited the government to explain his being barred entry. I, for one, would like to hear it. If he is a secret spy, drug dealer or terrorist, it will come as a great surprise. Indeed, we generally arrest such people, not send them on their way. The burden is on the Administration to explain such an action taken against one of its most prominent critics. I cannot find any response from the Administration, which has not been shy in the past to release information defending itself in such stories either directly or through leaks. Of course, this is not a story that seems to register with our mainstream media even though tens of thousands of Germans have signed a letter calling on their government to take action.

It is a highly damaging story to our already tarnished image abroad. If the story is untrue, we should hear about it. If the story is true (and the government barred a critic), someone needs to be held accountable for an attack on free speech.

64 thoughts on “U.S. Reportedly Bars Entry To Leading Critic Of NSA Surveillance Programs

  1. China has been producing cheep rip-offs of American products for a couple of decades; looks like the boys at ICE decided to return the favor by aping their thought police routine. Turns out Ronnie Reagan was a frickin’ hippie.

  2. Raff he DOES have a communicable disease. It is called THINKING! That is why the US will not let him in. They did the same to Ernest Mandel who was barred from the US for political reasons.

  3. Who was it who coined the phrase “convergence”? He referred to the convergence of the Soviet Union and the United States– that we would get more fascist and they would become more capitalist. John Maynard Keynes?

  4. We have become the very thing we used to oppose.

    As to why the main stream or rather the corporate stream media isn’t covering this story… 1. They want access so they cannot report such things.
    2. They don’t want to get deported or arrested or whatever we do to real journalists now a days.

    3. It is not part of the program they have been given. Its debt ceiling government shut down season again!

    So many possible reasons.

  5. It’s because the administration and congress have established the mechanism to create lists of “undesirables” that are to be banned from entry into the US for political reasons.

    This is worse in my view than when UK barred entry to Geert Wilders.

  6. Mike, right. A country having former leaders that can’t leave therefrom without worrying about being arrested for war crimes and extradited to a country (two actually) that indicted and convicted them in abstentia has good reason to be fearful. Especially if the programs that got them convicted have not ended. Especially if the programs your critics are discussing have led to or assisted in current and/or ongoing war crimes. How would we know, it’s secret after all?.

  7. I’m surprised Obama hasn’t called HHS into action to save off the pending sudden outbreak of truth…
    … What with the apparent rash outbreak of lying cropping up in select Committees?

  8. TURLEY: “Germans are outraged and I do not understand why this is not a bigger story in the United States.

    It’s only a bigger story with media outlets that don’t have a vested interest in either the Republicans or Democratic parties. Perhaps.:)

  9. How long until critics aren’t simply silenced in the MSM or denied entry?

    How long until they start “disappearing”?

    If you can’t stand the heat, don’t violate the Constitution and people’s rights with (or without) impunity.


  10. HOpefully the venue will arrange for a webcast for this man to say everything he wants from the safety of a “free country”. Then broadcast it on TV.

  11. Europe is also talking about the tweet from Brendan Sasso, a reporter for the Hill, regarding comments from NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden and Mike Rogers, chair of the house intelligence committee, on a panel discussion at the 2013 Cybersecurity Summit. The panel was hosted by the Washington Post

    Edward Snowden should be put on kill list joke US intelligence chiefs

    “I must admit, in my darker moment over the past several months, I’d also thought of nominating Mr. Snowden, but it was for a different list,” Hayden said during a panel discussion on cybersecurity hosted by The Washington Post.

    The audience laughed, and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who was also on the panel, responded, “I can help you with that.”


  12. Let us not forget Michael Hastings. The corporate media has contributed to his character assassination. Journalist who are critical of the current power structure of Washington appear to be under attack.

  13. rafflaw: Maybe he had a communicable disease?

    I think that is exactly what our government officials are afraid of; from their POV it is the disease called “Righteous Outrage,” unfortunately communicable by speech.

  14. Ilija Trojanow, German Writer, Banned From US For Criticizing NSA
    HuffPost Live
    By Erin McDonough Posted: 10/01/2013

    Trojanow has written an open letter denouncing the NSA in addition to signing a petition that asks German Chancellor Angela Merkel to forcefully oppose NSA surveillance. He is a professor at The European Graduate School and co-author of a book that examines the surveillance state, with fellow German novelist Juli Zeh.

    Zeh also expressed outrage following Trojanow’s detainment in an airport in Brazil. A Facebook post by Zeh, loosely translated, reads, “ This is a farce. Pure paranoia. People who stand up for civil rights are treated as enemies of the state.”

  15. United States Blocks German Author, Critical of NSA Surveillance, from Entering the Country
    By: Kevin Gosztola Tuesday October 1, 2013

    German-Bulgarian author Ilija Trojanow, who has been highly critical of the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance apparatus, was blocked from taking an American Airlines flight from Salvador, Brazil, to a conference with German academics in Denver.

    Trojanow approached a ticket counter and informed an American Airlines employee that he wanted to change his ticket to attend the conference in dinner on October 4. According to him, she entered his name and then stood up and disappeared. She returned with a higher-ranking person who rapidly spoke Portuguese and then English and informed him that a border security alert obliged them to notify US authorities immediately that he was at the airport.

    “Your case is special,” the woman working the counter told Trojanow. Security spent more than twenty minutes looking over his passport and other personal information. She then asked for his Electronic System for Travel Authorization status, which is a system for determining if individuals are eligible to visit the US. Trojanow showed her some kind of document that he was approved and had paid an appropriate fee.

    Forty-five minutes before his planned departure, he was told he was forbidden to travel to the US.

    In his reaction to the incident, Trojanow wrote that “one of the most important and threatening aspects of the NSA scandal” was the secret nature of the system. Transparency is apparently the greatest enemy of anyone who allegedly defends freedom.” It is more than ironic for an author, who has raised his voice against the dangers of surveillance and the secret state within a state for years to be denied entry into the ‘land of the brave and the free,’ he added.

    Trojanow had been in Rio de Janeiro to hear journalist Glenn Greenwald speak about the revelations he had been writing about for The Guardian.

    He mentioned that within the last year he had problems getting a work visa for the purpose of serving as a visiting professor at Washington University in St. Louis. There was significant delay and no reason, comment or explanation was given. The university finally helped him secure the visa.

    Trojanow was the co-author of an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel that was delivered in Berlin with 70,000 signatures and condemned the NSA.

    More than forty years ago, when Trojanow was a child, the state security service in Bulgaria bugged his family’s home. The family did not learn until three decades later, when a file folder with call recordings was partially disclosed by the Archives of State Security, that they had been under intense surveillance.

    This history makes him a dangerous voice to the United States government because he can speak with authority about what it means to live in a society under total surveillance.

  16. Max-1 My sentiments exactly. Our Stenographer Media will criticizes the US Government only when there is an upside to doing so. There is no favor to curry here.

  17. Every Tuesday at the White House, President Obama secretly condemns to death without charge or trial persons — foreign nationals and American citizens — whom he does not know or wish to know. That Michael Hastings can cavalierly joke about having an American citizen summarily killed by this travesty of “government” in a so-called “democracy” whose Constitution he once took an oath to “defend” speaks volumes about the kind of cowardly cretin who finds the Obama administration so congenial for bureaucratic perjorers and murderers too chicken-shit to openly use the words “lie” and “kill” when they mean to do precisely these things.

    Cowards, the lot of them. They can’t stand even the thought of the truth, much less the sound or sight of it when spoken or written by the unintimidated. Best to keep the ignorance in and the edification out of the United States, as our “leaders” see it. That way they won’t have to compete in the free market of ideas where they have none to contribute.

  18. Elaine,
    That news item is troubling. When an academic with a teaching appointment at a premier university has trouble traveling, we have a problem. The NSA and TSA knee jerk reactions to criticism makes me wonder if some of us are on that list and just don’t know it. The stories I wrote about Prism and bogus prosecutions of polygraphers for revealing the emperor has no clothes come to mind. I have no travel plans, and would just as soon have a lobotomy as get on one of the lousy service sardine cans with wings, but am curious.

  19. Lottakatz said:

    “Outrageous. We have become so like the old Soviet Union.”

    Except they had free health care for all, free education through college, and zero unemployment.

  20. Karl, Now see, you took it too far to make a point. There have been some great points made here, let’s not spin out of control. Peace, to you also!

  21. OS I already know that I am on the list. When I buy a gun at a store, it takes longer than other people. When I was training in the airline, I had numerous times that I had suspicions that I was being treated quite differently. When I was a driver for Kerry’s campaign in Houston, the staffer mentioned that he had a request for more info than any other person who was part of the motorcade. There are innumerable ways that they make life much different for me because of my politics and views. I had my phone tapped illegally, and they enjoyed letting me know that. All of that is simply annoying more than anything else.

    A political friend of mine was denied tenure at a college when she was being considered for tenure. She had done virtually all that was required and more, was recommended by the department, yet was denied. She sued and won over $2 million dollars for that. If they wish to violate the law, or do something that really harms me, I will not object since I will be more than happy to submit my claim to a jury.

    I most certainly hope that the university will likewise file suit against the government for this denial of their and our rights in this case. I don’t know if Prof Turley has any time to take this one on, but I think he might like to get his teeth into this one too.

  22. Randy,
    You know what is funny? One of my regular gigs is doing pre-hire screenings of law enforcement officers and armed security guards for mental stability. That’s not all. The FAA has been asking me for consults for years when a pilot’s mental condition is in question. I am pretty hard nosed about that responsibility, especially given some of the horror stories we read lately.

  23. Glenn takes on Pauline Neville Jones, as a part of the larger segment done by NEWSNIGHT (refer to Elaine’s video, posted earlier):

    Neville Jones squirms, seems very uncomfortable, then seems to recover a bit when she gets the last word.

  24. Top Ten Things Ted Cruz did to the NSA and other Security Agencies that Edward Snowden Couldn’t

    Posted on 10/03/2013 by Juan Cole


    Edward Snowden’s revelations about the excesses of the National Security Agency have so far had no effect whatsoever on actual practices. But Ted Cruz’s conspiracy to shut down the American government as a bargaining ploy in his quest to stop the working poor from being able to see a doctor has been much more effective in reducing NSA activity.

    It won’t be remembered in Washington that the United States military is still at war in Afghanistan, but Gen Ray Odierno affirms that military capabilities are being degraded by the GOP-engineered loss of civilian support staff (he is implying and loss of special pay, danger pay and bonuses for troops in the field.) Since this is the deliberate act of Sen. Cruz and the Tea Party representatives in the GOP House, wouldn’t that be, like, treason?

    1. Some 70% of NSA staff have been sent home as a result of the Republican Party shutdown of the Federal government. Despite its straying into US territory and its possible industrial espionage abroad, the NSA does actually track terrorists, and we would like it to do that well; that ability has doubtless been degraded by Cruz’s grandstanding.

    2. Likewise 70% of the CIA has been sent home, at a time when al-Qaeda is reviving. Perhaps the Defense Intelligence Agency is in a bit better shape, since it has more military personnel, who are exempt from being furloughed.

    3. 4000 computer specialists working for US intelligence have been furloughed.

    4. Some 400,000 civilian support staff at the Department of Defense have been sent home without pay.

    5. Among those sent home are the officials who sign arms contracts and buy weapons. You hope our troops in Afghanistan are well stocked; how exactly new weapons and ammunition can be bought and trucked up from Karachi to the Khyber Pass is not clear.

    6. The 1.4 million active duty military personnel will likely see paychecks delayed, with negative effects on morale. David Small writes : “The Marine corporal deployed to Afghanistan, making $2,193.90 a month, is worried about his family back home. His kids rely on food stamps, but that program was cut during shutdown. He will try to maintain focus in a combat zone. But he will be distracted and uncertain.”

    7. Likewise, military special pay and bonuses, re-up bonuses, rewards for accepting positions in which there are special needs have all been put on hold, along with promotions. Again, a severe impact on morale.

    8. Soldiers may not be able to collect danger pay, affecting 60,000 troops in Afghanistan. Those sent to attend classes will not be able to collect tuition payments.

    9. The State Department, whose cables were released by Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Wikileaks, has weathered a few embarrassing cables. But now it will face increasingly difficulties in doing its job of representing the US abroad. Embassies will stay open for a while since some funding is multi-year. But some sort of disruption is likely if the shutdown continues very long.

    10. Some security has to do with biological threats; WJLA notes: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is be severely limited in spotting or investigating disease outbreaks such as the flu or that mysterious MERS virus from the Middle East.”

  25. It is a sad thing to realize, near my end, that the country I believed was a shining example of freedom has proved to be nothing more than a myth. It feels a little like the time I discovered there was no Santa Claus.

  26. lottakatz: “We have become so like the old Soviet Union.”

    Of course the US is nothing like the old USSR in most respects, but with respect to ‘entering the country as a foreigner’? Yes, you have.

    I was surprised at my last visit to America that between ESTA, US-VISIT and the Form 6059B it took more paperwork for me as a (West) German to visit the USA in 2011 than to cross the Iron Curtain into East Germany, Czechoslovakia or Poland in the 1980s…

  27. And those who would gladly repose great power with the government trust them to use it only for beneficial purposes and never to abuse their power for their own private ends. So foolish!

  28. Nothing new here. Anybody recall that Canadian author Farley Mowat was barred entrance to the US several decades ago.l

  29. how many lies has Obama been caught in with regard to NSA spying? I am probably far from the mark but I can recall at least 2 and am pretty sure the number is 4. And this is Mr. O alone, his aids have at least matched his number of lies if not lied more times, including the infamous perjury in front of the senate (small s because of the small minds currently occupying the seats).

    So why does the news media let our President get away with lying to the American People? I think we have many a polysi doctorate degree in the making here for the next several years.

    Did anybody catch the film maker that was going to do the Hillary film talk about meeting Bill Clinton and having him tell a lie bold faced to the directory? Do these people actually believe their lies?

  30. Did you know Edward Snowden is a traitor and a creep because he sought asylum in a nation who is against freedom of speech?

    During the war drumming against Syria, Obama couldn’t wait to get all the pictures out (no evidence of who did it, of course), but he wanted those dead people on full public display.

    For once, I did agree in part with Obama. The pictures should be on full public display. Of course, the pictures he barred were of USGinc.’
    s torture victims. Come to think of it, I don’t see any of the dead children, women and men who are killed by Mr. Drone himself. I wonder why not?

    As with all important intelligence, it is the American people who must be kept in the dark–exactly the opposite of what our system of govt. needs to function. We the people are the enemy of the surveillance state. We must be kept stupid, docile and under control. We must be forbidden actual information about what our govt./corporate deep state is up to.

    I had this question about Mr. Drone’s list. I didn’t know that members of Congress were supposed to be requesting kills. Not that it’s not offensive that Obama and friends think it should be there list, but didn’t Mr. Drone tell us it was only a small, hand selected group who put the names on that list?

  31. “The Woman Who Knows The NSA’s Secrets”

    “Long before Edward Snowden leaked documents showing that the government was collecting every American’s phone records, Marcy Wheeler knew something fishy was going on. She was one of just a handful of people who in 2009 suspected that the government was using the USA Patriot Act to collect Americans’ personal records in bulk. On June 5, 2013, Snowden proved her right.”


    You’ve probably never heard of Wheeler, a Michigan blogger who plies her trade far away from the closed world of Washington, D.C., but her work enables journalists, lawyers, advocates and experts to unmask the government’s secret spying apparatus.

    “She’s really a wealth of knowledge,” said Amie Stepanovich, who does policy and litigation work on domestic surveillance for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy group. As a resource Wheeler’s blog is “just horribly helpful.”

    Wheeler, known to her Twitter followers and readers as emptywheel, pores over government memos, transcripts and court opinions in an upstairs room in her home in Grand Rapids. Bookshelves hold the thousands of pages she’s read over the years and often returns to when piecing together her investigations.

    The intelligence community’s work is shrouded in secrecy, an endless series of documents from legal memos to internal audits, all of them classified. From the outside, the only way to peer inside secret government is to find clues within the documents we do have and begin to connect the dots.

    Experts on domestic surveillance admire Wheeler’s ability to connect current revelations to past mysteries. “You’ll read through these dense documents, and it’s about one thing; but she’ll find a clue in there to something we’ve all wondered about on something else entirely, and the last citing of that issue was five years ago, and somehow she still remembered,” said Barton Gellman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter late of The Washington Post who has worked with Snowden to break stories on the NSA this summer. “She’s indispensable now with the NSA story, which is endlessly complex.”

    The all pervading secrecy of the surveillance state makes the work of outside investigators a guessing game – one that Wheeler has proved eminently good at. “When we go after a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] document, we have to have some proof that it exists,” said Stepanovich. “If we can use people like Marcy who have made the connection to establish that proof, then we can go after the document.”

    It’s like a neverending puzzle. “FOIA documents are these disembodied documents,” said Wheeler. “You have to put them into the timeline and see what they were responding to. Documents in bureaucracies are always response and counter-response.”

    And she would know. Before she took up blogging, Wheeler spent years as a consultant for corporations on how to decipher complex government documents. So when Wheeler looks at a document dump from the NSA, she’s reading them in a different way to lawyers and journalists, and that deeper understanding of what a bureaucratic document really means helps her find or infer information that others often miss.

    This is how Wheeler snagged her most famous scoop. When the George W. Bush administration’s secret torture memos were released in 2009, the press came at them from a political angle and they overlooked one important detail. “Everyone had been looking at those memos for an entire weekend, and I was the first and possibly only one to notice that they talked about the number of times that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had been waterboarded,” she said, referring to the al Qaeda operative who planned the 9/11 attacks. That number was a startling 183 times in a single month.

    When Wheeler graduated from college, she set out to discover how businesses use language – a strange pursuit for any 22-year-old, but one she explains by the fact that both her parents worked at IBM. After five years consulting for corporations, teaching employees how to write large documents for business, she returned to school and earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature, where she studied a subversive writing form used in French, Czech and Argentine papers under authoritative regimes. Ultimately, her work lent itself more to blogging and close-readings of government memos than to teaching literature.

    Her return to the real world coincided with a breast cancer diagnosis in the fall of 2002. Needing a job, she returned to consulting, this time for the auto industry in Asia, and slowly fell into blogging. When the Scooter Libby trial over the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame came along in 2005, she got hooked. Her coverage of the trial became a book, Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy, and since then she’s written about the torture memos, the use of drones and now domestic spying by the NSA. It’s not a particularly lucrative line of work, but she says she makes enough that her husband, an engineer, “doesn’t kick me out.”

    Wheeler identifies with the civil liberties camp more than the NSA, and her work has appeared alongside progressive bloggers, including Jane Hamsher, whose website Firedoglake housed Wheeler’s blog until 2011. “I had this very weird moment where I realized I had covered all these people in Argentina who had been tortured,” she said, referring to her graduate school days. “I never imagined when I was in graduate school that I would one day be writing about our own country’s torture.” (Several experts who might be expected to have a more critical take on Wheeler’s work, or are generally supportive of the NSA’s programs, declined to comment for this story. “I don’t typically read her blog. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read mine,” one responded.)

    Part of what concerns Wheeler about the NSA’s bulk data collection is public safety. The NSA’s top brass assumes that if a threat does not show up in its databases, it doesn’t exist. The next terrorist attack will come from a group that stays offline, she said, “and we’re going to be hit bad by it because we have this hubris about the degree to which all people live online.”

    Wheeler’s work stands out because she works independently and is not beholden to an employer or constrained by Capitol Hill etiquette. “In D.C. culture, you’re not supposed to say, ‘Dianne Feinstein made a misstatement,’ ” she said, referring to the Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman whom Wheeler tore into on her blog after a September hearing on the NSA. This isn’t done much in D.C. because you risk losing access. Since then, Wheeler says, “Every time I’ve ever tried to call her office for comment, they don’t talk to me.”

    Wheeler’s maverick status is more of an asset rather than a liability, allowing her to make educated guesses and put them in the public domain, the kind of speculation and research that is vital to civil liberties groups but something a staff reporter couldn’t do without risking the credibility of their newspaper. Her close-reading skills have become even more valuable in the current political climate, in which the Obama administration is cracking down on leaks, making it harder for journalists to obtain information through traditional sources.

    Outside the D.C. bubble, Wheeler’s days start around 7 a.m. She checks Twitter, maybe writes a post, and then walks her dog, MilleniaLab, for an hour. The rest of the day she’s reading and blogging, sometimes late into the night. She’ll often cook throughout the day as well, something she does somewhat obsessively. She makes time to watch football, but not much else. There are still times she wishes she had a normal job and the salary that comes with it. “But I just feel like there’s this beat that is there that unless somebody else comes along and picks it up it won’t get done, and I think it’s really important,” she said. “I feel almost compelled to do it.”

  32. “You’ve probably never heard of Wheeler (Newsweek to the masses),…” doesn’t apply to most of the folks around here. (;

  33. More free speech!!!

    “The National Security Agency has made repeated attempts to develop attacks against people using Tor, a popular tool designed to protect online anonymity, despite the fact the software is primarily funded and promoted by the US government itself.

    Top-secret NSA documents, disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, reveal that the agency’s current successes against Tor rely on identifying users and then attacking vulnerable software on their computers. One technique developed by the agency targeted the Firefox web browser used with Tor, giving the agency full control over targets’ computers, including access to files, all keystrokes and all online activity.”


  34. Greenwald:

    “The NSA debate is as much about journalism as surveillance

    A 14-minute interview on BBC highlights the debate over the proper relationship between journalists and government”



    In late June, the economist Dean Baker astutely observed that our NSA reporting was “doing as much to expose corrupt journalism as to expose government spying.” Indeed, from the earliest stages of this reporting, back in Hong Kong, we expected (and hoped) that the reporting we were about to do would expose conflicts in how journalism is understood and practiced as much as it would shine light on the NSA’s specific surveillance programs.

    That, I think, has clearly been the case. The debates over the proper relationship between journalists and governments have been as illuminating and significant as the debates over government spying and secrecy. Last night on BBC’s Newsnight, I was interviewed for 14 minutes by host Kirsty Wark. It was an adversarial interview, which is how interviews should be. But she chose to focus almost entirely on the process questions surrounding the reporting rather than the substance of the revelations, and in the process made some quite dubious claims that come straight from the mouths of government officials. Nonetheless, her choice of focus ended up highlighting many of the most important conflicts about how journalism is understood, and is worth watching for that reason:” (video posted by Elaine M.)

  35. Karl Friedrich: ” “Outrageous. We have become so like the old Soviet Union.”

    Except they had free health care for all, free education through college, and zero unemployment.”

    There are some historical problems with your retort but in general touche’. :-)

  36. OS: “The NSA and TSA knee jerk reactions to criticism makes me wonder if some of us are on that list and just don’t know it”

    the group of people most at risk from the domestic spying is not the 80% of us that spend time on the Internet kitty sites, social media, or venting on blawgs. The group most vulnerable are the professional or prominent activists, NGO leaders, workers and leaders for social justice, journalists and lawyers that are advocates for the Constitution. If you know enough about them or what they are doing you have leverage. I don’t have much to worry about but the Professor does as does many of the players he competes against every year in the ABA poll. Maybe some of the posters or readers here also. Probably some good number of businesspersons and researchers do also. Anybody that is in a legitimate position to rock the boat. The status quo is one of the most valuable commodities in the world.

  37. AP, regarding the list of furloughed employees in the surveillance agencies:

    I’m wondering if that is a bad thing. I would think that the essential personnel left would be those that have as their core function actually looking for bad guys. One HOPES the essential personnel have as their mission looking for bad guys and any plots they are hatching, it certainly should be. These are grossly bloated agencies to begin with.

  38. lottakatz
    Congress managed to SHUTDOWN the Government…
    … But they couldn’t be bothered to SHUTDOWN the NSA.

  39. L.K., Clapper is a known liar. His 70% figures would need to be independently verified. We also need to know who is left, doing what. Also, I want to see the payments to NSA contractors. USGinc. hides a lot of dirty laundry by using contractors and working with the “private” sector such as google, telecoms, etc.

    For you enjoyment, I found this yesterday: The cat video festival!


  40. anonymously posted–

    Not only did that very short article in the Entertainment section have only 3 comments, the three comments were all by the same guy!

    Makes me wonder what other important articles might be buried in the Classifieds. Hmmm..maybe our Constitution since it seems our elected representatives think it’s up for sale.

  41. Lottakatz replied that:

    Karl Friedrich: ” “Outrageous. We have become so like the old Soviet Union.”

    Except they had free health care for all, free education through college, and zero unemployment.”

    There are some historical problems with your retort but in general touche’.


    Appreciate the “general touche” but in fact the only “historical problems” you note are the fact that as most honest historians agree that the “Soviet” revolution (the word translates to “Workers’ Council”) wasn’t the problem so much as the REACTION by the US & the West to the notion of a TOILERS’ REPUBLIC, which, as Chomsky suggests, was a “rotten apple that threatened to spoil the whole barrell” and therefore needed to be isolated through blockade and strangled economically to such an extend that they turned inwards on themselves.

    So for example say a bunch of dedicated & idealistic University students organized to take over, say, the Berkeley campus and actually did so. The next step is the campus would be isolated & cut off & blockaded by police armed to the teeth. Solidarity amonst the student cadre would hold sway for so long but eventually there would be defectors. The stalwarts would then have to protect against defectors and tighten civil liberties for sheer security reasons. This process would go on & on until the University rebellion looked exactly like a Stalinist state. But only a naive fool would blame the revolutionaries for such an outcome. The fact is if you had an new born infant with an 800lb gorilla throttling your throat the grimace of the the baby would naturally look ugly.

    These are the “historical problems” you don’t quite seem to grasp.

  42. Jill, you’re right about Clapper, LoL, trust but verify eh? A good approach. I suspect that no figures anyone would ever see, including the relevant Congresscritters, are correct and that would be by design. How much money comes out of the black budget now goes to the intelligence community will never be known.

  43. Prairie Rose: “….what other important articles might be buried in the Classifieds. Hmmm..maybe our Constitution since it seems our elected representatives think it’s up for sale.”

    Well done. And true.

  44. Karl Friedrich: [political assertion that the Soviet system was a result of US/Western isolation of the Russians after the revolution] …. “These are the “historical problems” you don’t quite seem to grasp”
    Whoa, that escalated quickly.

  45. The US government acting like an ostrich with it’s head in the sand will not make Ilija Trojanow’ criticisms disappear. It only serves to further expose the hypocrisy of the state.

    More from the land of enlightened debate:

    US scientists boycott Nasa conference over China ban

    Nasa is facing an extraordinary backlash from US researchers after it emerged that the space agency has banned Chinese scientists, including those working at US institutions, from a conference on grounds of national security.



  46. Personanongrata,
    Thanks for the heads up on the NASA conference. I see this is a political power play by congressman Frank Wolf (R). His excuse is so thin it’s transparent.

    Let me get this straight. They are OK with bringing in unlabeled and possibly tainted food from China, but it might jeopardize national security if Chinese scientists who already work in the US attend a public scientific conference, the proceedings of which will be published.

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