Senate

Senator Wyden on the Patriot Act, FISA, and the Knowledge Gap

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) of the Senate Intelligence Committee recently discussed the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments on Countdown with Kieth Olbermann.

Wyden made two notable observations:

  1. On the Patriot Act: “There is growing gap between what Americans believe the laws actually is, and the secret interpretation.”
  2. On the FISA Amendments: “This law was intended to deal with foreigners … and I’m concerned about the possibility … of innocent Americans having their communications swept up under it.”
What people think these laws do, what these laws technically do, and how these laws are being interpreted and enacted behind closed doors, are three entirely different things.

Clinton on Information War and the Youth Bulge

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 2, 2011:

We are engaged in an information war. During the cold war we did a great job in getting America’s message out. After the Berlin Wall fell we said ‘OK fine, enough of that, we did it, we’re done. ‘ And, unfortunately we’re paying a big price for it. And, our private media can not fill that gap . . .

We are in an information war, and we are losing that war. I’ll be very blunt in my assessment. Al Jazeera is winning. The Chinese have opened up a global English language and multi-language television network. The Russians have opened up an English network. I’ve seen it in a few countries and it’s quite instructive . . .

We are in information war and we cannot assume that this youth bulge that exists not just in the middle east but in so many parts of the world really knows much about us. I mean we think they know us and reject us, I would argue the really don’t know very much about who we are. (emphasis added)



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