Al Gore: Get Your Hands Off of My (Our?) Internet

Working on posts and then will have my sis-in-law in to watch the Grand Rapids Griffins defeat her Syracuse Crush tonight in hockey. (Really!)

But I did like this Al Gore interview:

Gore said he was not persuaded by the argument that the NSA surveillance had operated within the boundaries of the law.

“This in my view violates the constitution. The fourth amendment and the first amendment – and the fourth amendment language is crystal clear,” he said. “It is not acceptable to have a secret interpretation of a law that goes far beyond any reasonable reading of either the law or the constitution and then classify as top secret what the actual law is.”

Gore added: “This is not right.”

Gore even recognized the problem of the Director of National Intelligence lying under oath.

Gore did say, however, that he had serious concerns about some aspects of the testimony offered by national intelligence director James Clapper during testimony to the Senate intelligence committee last March.

Clapper, in response to pointed questions from Democratic senator Ron Wyden, had said during that appearance that the NSA did not collect data on Americans.

“I was troubled by his direct response to Senator Wyden’s very pointed question,” Gore said. “I was troubled by that.”

Yeah! Me too!


Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

19 replies
  1. newz4all says:

    Yves Smith: This story provides a key piece of the puzzle. Bloomberg has done some serious reporting and finds evidence that corroborates some elements of Snowden’s account. Moreover, it depicts the intelligence agencies as trading classified information to curry favor with private sector players. The PRISM slides that referred to companies as “partners” looks more and more apt. Plus a lot of people seem to want to believe that the telcos were the bad guys and cooperated more with the government than the tech firms (I’ve heard some staunch defenses of Google). But here we have Sergey Brin provided with classified info a full year after Google was part of PRISM (in 2010), yet Larry Page claimed on June 7 he’d never heard of PRISM. So tell me how much we can trust these corporate denials?

    (via )

  2. Eureka Springs says:

    Hey Al, backatcha… Thanks to you it took years to get yer VP nominee Lieberman out of our Senate. It will no doubt take decades more to rid ourselves of the Liebercrats.

  3. lysias says:

    @scribe: Since this news about firms’ cooperation with the U.S. intel system is likely to result in lower share prices and profits, I wonder if there is ground for shareholder suits.

  4. scribe says:

    @lysias: Good luck getting over the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and the Iqbal/Twombley hurdles. I don’t see much of a chance in that arena.

    Moreover, as to the telephone companies, there is an exception to the Securities Acts which makes it possible for (and, indeed requires) them to not post the income they receive from the government for wiretapping and similar services to their balance sheets and SEC filings. In other words, by law the telephone companies are allowed to present dishonest books to the investing public.

    Sideways to hockey, I liked the Syracuse team a lot more before they renamed themselves as the “Crush”. I suppose they wanted to seem edgy, but following minor league hockey is of itself the definition of edgy. Maybe not as much as independent minor league baseball, but still….

    I think they were the Chiefs or the Americans. I remember seeing a game in the old War Memorial in Syracuse back in the 80s with a paid crowd of 500 or 1000. They were the model for the Charlestown Chiefs in the immortal Paul Newman film Slap Shot. If you know the movie, the thug with the huge red afro – Ogie Oglethorpe – who showed up in the final game sequence was a real player and actually the brother (IIRC) of the lead writer. Most of the vignettes in the movie were based on his stories told to his sister the writer. Bob Costas was a cub reporter riding the bus with the team when he was still in Syracuse at the U and related having had run-ins with the players, mostly over his ability and their inability to read the New York Times and his doing that on the bus.

    Of course, I’ve watched Slap Shot many, many times and know a lot of the dialogue by heart, like all true hockey fans.

    And, no, it’s not too late in the year for hockey. The ice only went out on some of the lakes in the northern US and Canada 6 or 8 weeks ago. And there was up to 30 inches of snow in the Adirondacks (on Whiteface) Memorial Day weekend.

  5. scribe says:

    @newz4all: Desperation. Same reason all of a sudden there’s confirmation of sarin use in Syria.

    Another bright shiny object and bright shining lie.

  6. orionATL says:

    With the hysterical denunciations of edward snowden in mind, is there anything that seems amiss in this paragraph:

    (From bloomberg)

    “… Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, was provided with highly sensitive government intelligence linking the attack to a specific unit of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, according to one of the people, who is familiar with the government’s investigation. Brin was given a temporary classified clearance to sit in on the briefing, the person said…”

    How about the TWO breeches of security detailed in this sentence:

    “… Was provided with highly sensitive government intelligence linking the attack to a specific unit of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, according to one of the people, who is familiar with the government’s investigation.”

    Let’s be real clear:

    – Revealing secret information to acquire allies or to defend a secret program from public criticism or attack is not notat all questionable, reprehensible, or apparently, illegal.

    – revealing secret information to in order to educate the american public about illegal, immoral, or dangerous/corrupt/unnecessary/ineffective/egregiously-expensive secret programs is illegal to the point of treason.

    As an aside: increasingly, i have a desire to know a lot more about general clapper’s and general alexander’s political and religious loyalties, as well as those of their closest aides and allies.

  7. Frank33 says:


    Yeah, but Al Gore is fat.

    You beat me to it. But Al Gore drives cars that use fossil fuel!

    Also the Secret Government tells the Senate what to do. They, Senate employees, are required to ignore Wikileaks, NSA-Dragnet, AP-Gate or any other documents that were classified. They have no need to know. They are not allowed to discuss them.

    Classified information, whether or not posted on public websites, disclosed to the media, or otherwise in the public domain, remains classified and must be treated as such until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. government authority…

    Senate employees and contractors shall not, while accessing the web on unclassified government systems, access or download documents that are known or suspected to contain classified information.

    The NSA Stasi controls the Senate. DIA agent, Bob Minehart writes the “Talking points” for our eunuch Senators and Representives. Cheney aide, Vickie Nuland wrote the Benghazi Talking Points that our representatives were supposed to parrot to the world. And Vickie lied. She lied because they were the Petraeus talking points. Vickie did get caught so someone has to take the fall for Benghazi.

    Everything is secret so the Spies tell Presidents and Senators what they can say.

  8. P J Evans says:

    and also
    Al Gore flies on airliners!
    Al Gore has a really big house!

    Anything to distract from the points he was actually making.

  9. masaccio says:

    @orionATL: Funny that we never hear about the grandiose narcissism of Clapper, Alexander, and Feinstein, not to mention the outrageous narcissism of Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon and their employees. None of whom are going to jail.

  10. orionATL says:


    Yeah. It pays to be a member of the political/economic “royalty” in the u.s. these days.

    But i’ll never experience those benefits, nor will anyone i know, ’cause we ain’t political or economic royalty.

  11. bell says:

    “@newz4all: Desperation. Same reason all of a sudden there’s confirmation of sarin use in Syria.

    Another bright shiny object and bright shining lie.”

    ain’t that the truth…

    maybe in another 10 years gore can respond in the same irrelevant manner-
    ““I was troubled by that.”

  12. lefty665 says:

    Go Al! On this issue, straightforward, clear, and right dead on target.
    May have to revise my opinion of him.
    Recall DiFi! This time it’ll work.

  13. C says:

    @newz4all: All of which raises an interesting question which is are they sure this information (i.e. zero-day exploits) is only being used externally. Clapper is willing to lie to Congress why wouldn’t he lie to “a small number of executives” at some company.

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