Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Back-Pedaling Begins

I know that it has been a long time since I actually put an article up here, but I have been busy with life and participating on other sites. But the new “Scandal Du Jour” from the left, as revealed by USA Today this week, just plain annoys me. It is an obvious attempt to derail Hayden’s nomination, as well as to push Bush’s numbers even lower. But I thought that I would put my two-cents in.

Here are a couple of interesting MSM articles. Wow - I actually said MSM and interesting in the same sentence. But - I will qualify that one is an op-ed piece.

The first from the WaPo this morning:

Spy Agency Watching Americans From Space

The Associated Press
Saturday, May 13, 2006; 6:29 AM

Let's stop and look at that first. What was your first impression when reading the title? I bet I know what most of the left thought - "Here we go again - that bunch of liars from the WH is finding another way to spy on us." And no doubt that is why the headline was worded as it was. To get people to think just that. Let's read more:

WASHINGTON -- A little-known spy agency that analyzes imagery taken from the skies has been spending significantly more time watching U.S. soil.

Not sure if the journalist is trying to be cute here, but the impression is the same as the headline.

After last year's hurricanes, the agency had an unusually public face. It set up mobile command centers that sprung out of the backs of Humvees and provided imagery for rescuers and hurricane victims who wanted to know the condition of their homes. Victims would provide their street address and the NGA would provide a satellite photo of their property. In one way or another, some 900 agency officials were involved.


On Clapper's watch of the last five years, his agency has found ways to expand its mission to help prepare security at Super Bowls and political conventions or deal with natural disasters, such as hurricanes and forest fires.

With help, the agency can also zoom in. Its officials cooperate with private groups, such as hotel security, to get access to footage of a lobby or ballroom. That video can then be linked with mapping and graphical data to help secure events or take action, if a hostage situation or other catastrophe happens.

So let's see - the article is mostly about (from the front end – which is what most people read) how this agency has helped Americans with their technology - not about the invasion of privacy like the headline makes it sound. But the writer does cast some dark clouds later in the article by trying to infer sinister motives about the abilities of this agency –of course attributed to the "unnamed experts" we hear so much about. Sheesh.

Here is another one that was interesting. This time a brief snippet an Op-Ed piece from also from WaPo:

On Thursday, USA Today reported that three U.S. telecommunications companies have been voluntarily providing the National Security Agency with anonymized domestic telephone records -- that is, records stripped of individually identifiable data, such as names and place of residence. If true, the architect of this program deserves our thanks and probably a medal. That architect was presumably Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and President Bush's nominee to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency.The potential value of such anonymized domestic telephone records is best understood through a hypothetical example. Suppose a telephone associated with Mohamed Atta had called a domestic telephone number A. And then suppose that A had called domestic telephone number B. And then suppose that B had called C. And then suppose that domestic telephone number C had called a telephone number associated with Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The most effective way to recognize such patterns is the computerized analysis of billions of phone records. The large-scale analysis of anonymized data can pinpoint individuals -- at home or abroad -- who warrant more intrusive investigative or intelligence techniques, subject to all safeguards normally associated with those techniques.

Hey - if the WaPo is allowing this type of Op-Ed it is definitely an indicator that the hard left is going to back away from the story. I wonder if it had anything to do with the poll ABC did?