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Meet Carter Page


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Why Carter Page Was Worth Watching




This is a very detailed article on who Carter Page is, and why the FBI had every reason to watch him.


The fact that committee chairs like Nunes actually want to portray Page as the victim of a witch hunt shows just how far off the rails Trump and his enablers have already gone.


The whole article is worth reading, but it ends with this nice summary:

"Whatever Page’s motives were for helping Russian intelligence—greed, naivety, stupidity—his actions surely justified the FBI’s interest in him. There was a simple way of avoiding U.S. surveillance and a FISA court warrant. It could be summed up like this: Don’t hang out with Russian spies."


Part of what I like about the article is that it puts the focus where it should be: on Putin, and Russia, and their desire to find new and better ways to fuck with democracy and the United States. Page is the patsy who walked right into the middle of that. It still is just remarkable that Republicans are the ones saying there's actually nothing to be concerned about here.


I think for purposes of comparison, it's also worth taking a trip down memory lane about other people who our national security agencies spied on, perhaps needlessly: tens of millions of Americans.


President Obama's Own Experts Recommend End to NSA Phone Data Spying




You could summarize that article this way. There was a simple way of avoiding FISA-authorized U.S. surveillance of you as an American citizen: Don't make phone calls.


Oddly, no Republican stood up at the time and attacked Obama for his useless witch hunt on tens of millions of Americans. So it's odd to see Nunes defending Page. He did talk to Russians. Even Russian spies. On the phone. By email. In person. In Russia. In America. Often.


I found the article on the metadata scandal above because I went looking for a different article I read at the time, which I could not find, about how Obama put together a panel of national security experts to review the need for the metadata. They reached a consensus that the metadata program did almost no good, in terms of actual tips, and did a huge amount of PR harm. They also felt it potentially endangered other NSA spying programs, like PRISM, that they claimed had been far more effective in producing tips or data that stopped potential terror attacks.


The reason I was looking for the article is I recall (my memory sucks) reading that at first a Republican committee chair went off the rails publicly against Obama and this "compromise," and how it was typical Obama weakness and would undercut our national security. Then the Republican Chair learned that this proposal was actually the brainchild of the head of the NSA, and it reflected a consensus of experts and agency staff. Obama had nothing to do with it.


My point is that those kind of knee jerk partisan shenanigans are not a shocker. And if my memory isn't failing, the Republican committee chair quickly backed down.


But Nunes is not backing down. He is being absolutely ridiculous. If it's okay to spy on tens of millions of Americans without cause, it's certainly okay to spy on Carter Page - even if it is without cause.


And if you read the article, it's very clear that in Page's case, it was with cause: he's a complete fucking idiot.

Edited by stevenkesslar
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