Dick Cheney on the Dangers of Internet Spying

There are several notable things about this interview [Playboy link: mostly SFW] with Dick Cheney (in addition to the detail that Cheney has his “slender, mustachioed housekeeper named Gus” provide a never-ending stream of lattes, prepared at the house, but served in paper Starbucks cups). One of the most striking, however, is how he responds to interviewer James Rosen’s suggestion that the Internet is democratizing.

Do you regard the internet as an intrinsically democratizing force?
[Chuckles, pauses] Oh boy, you know, we’re blue-skyin’ it now. I think it clearly has had a significant impact. “A democratizing force.” Um. [pauses]

In the sense that whenever you have a freer flow of information, that’s going to redound to the forces of good.
Yeah, but on the other hand, I suppose you could argue that it provides ways in which the government, an authoritarian government, can exert control over and monitor and keep track of what everybody is up to and what they are doing. It’s not a one-way street. It’s not necessarily—I need to think about that before I comment further.

The man who implemented an illegal dragnet admits that governments (only authoritarian ones, he suggests? or does the use of such methods make a government authoritarian?) might exert control via the Internet.

If it weren’t for Cheney’s long history implementing just that type of monitoring (certainly on the rest of the world, and to an extent on Americans), I might think he’d been hanging around with Edward Snowden!

6 replies
  1. Jan Ravensbergen says:

    ‘Striking’ is wild understatement! Remember: “Collect it all” was and remains the #NSA mantra; much of the superstructure of the post-911 #policestate / #surveillancestate was quietly erected under Cheney’s watch/control/supervision ; and I for one still have many questions re #911truth & #anthrax — what Cheney knew & when he knew it. He had been, of course, a Nixon White House aide, avec Rumsfeld. Then there’s the very telling #Minetta testimony…. What Cheney did & when he did it. So to get @ some deeper #truth on these subjects more than time for Rachel Maddow, @ggreenwald & #chrishedges to interview The Snarler. Along with David Ray Griffin…..

  2. What Constitution? says:

    I find this snippet far more revealing of Cheney’s disregard for legal/constitutional limitations on the actions of government. This guy professes to have never thought through the ramifications of the internet on “democracy”, and when he does here his “first” reaction is to consider how the — his, apparently — predisposition to approach the existence of the internet from the perspective of “because we can” just might make the existence of the internet something that could be “undemocratic” because of the [illegal/unconstitutional] uses to which the government could misuse it. Shouldn’t it be possible for an elected official, having taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, to not default to the position that the existence of the internet facilitates government repression and, instead, to temper that thought with the existence of structural constitutional protections intended to assure that the government “shall not” do so? Or is this OK because, as Chuck Todd would say, the Constitution is just a view from 30,000 feet?

  3. pdaly says:

    Wait! Cheney sips lattes?
    And doesn’t this put Cheney in the same company as rocker Tommy Lee who reportedly had a Starbucks installed in his house for then wife Pamela Anderson?
    Snowden should call for a Starbucks summit.

  4. Shave Nerad says:

    To be fair, it puts him in the same theory camp as folks like myself and Evgeny Morosov, who have been damping the enthusiasm of Internet utopians and being called tin hats for years.

    When I became the founding executive director of the Tor Project, most people thought Internet privacy was something you’d *only* want if you were doing something suspect.

    The number of people who want to extend privacy rights online rigorously has increased rather dramatically since Snowden started his publishing career.

    But for many of us, much of what he’s published is years old news. And to Cheney too. To him, it’s stating the obvious, but then he realizes how it will sound.

    Anyone with a brushing familiarity with national security, diplomacy, and secure communications would say the same if they were frank about it. The only thing I’d disagree with is his characterization of governmental types. I think most governments do this where there are not yet both laws to prevent it and effective accountability groups in place to keep them in line.

    And personally, I don’t think I can name a country with both of those.

  5. GeorgyOrwell says:

    This sick animal should be in Levenworth turning big rocks into smaller ones. This man is the worst of the worst of our country. A national disgrace!

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