“[T]his isn’t a Republican or Democratic thing.” Professor Cass Sunstein on the NSA Program
The transcript is up of my interview with Professor Cass Sunstein. His analysis ought to be required reading for any MSM reporter working on this story. The key exchange:
HH: Do you consider the quality of the media coverage here to be good, bad, or in between?
CS: Pretty bad, and I think the reason is we’re seeing a kind of libertarian panic a little bit, where what seems at first glance…this might be proved wrong…but where what seems at first glance a pretty modest program is being described as a kind of universal wiretapping, and also being described as depending on a wild claim of presidential authority, which the president, to his credit, has not made any such wild claim. The claims are actually fairly modest, and not unconventional.
Memo to the MSM: If you don’t want to continue to look like fools, read Powerline’s John Hinderaker’s primer before penning your next piece.
And an e-mail from an aging ex-sort-of-spook
Concerning your interview with Cass Sunstein…
Back in 1978 I worked as a lowly E-3 in the Airforce with the NSA
overseas. Think “Falcon and the Snowman” for an idea of what we were
doing. Obviously things have changed because my fellow Airmen and I
understood our commitment to special intelligence to mean that we
didn’t discuss anything about work when we were outside of our secured
building. In fact, we didn’t discuss anything about our particular job
outside of our physical job section. We were anything but unique in
this attitude. My area was restricted to only those people with a
direct need to enter and there were other areas that I was not allowed
to enter. I never knew anybody who broke this rule. In fact, we had a
few comical moments while trying to BS in the barracks about some
completely unclassified event that may have happened on the job and to
keep from accidently revealing any secrets, we engaged in silly
codewords. Even though we knew that such mundane talk probably didn’t
fall into the limits imposed on us, we simply did not speak directly
about anything, no matter how innocuous.
As I said, things have changed and I guess people in intelligence have
no compunction to yammer away if they feel like it. Well, I’ve
probably told you more in that paragraph about my old job than I have
anybody since I left it. Even though I’m sure all of that information
is now long declassified, I’ve never had the energy to find out and so
I don’t really talk about it.
But I will say this. What everybody is getting their panties in a
twist about is silly. It is nothing new. And I served under Carter