Tuesday, June 17, 2014

An Extremely Dangerous Move By Congressman Steve Stockman

By Robert Wenzel

The Hill reports:
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) is trying to enlist the National Security Agency in the hunt for missing emails to and from the IRS’s Lois Lerner.

In a letter to NSA Director Michael Rogers on Friday, Stockman requested that the NSA turn over information it has about emails between Lerner and outside groups between January 2009 and April 2011.

The IRS told lawmakers this week that it can’t produce those emails as a result of computer problems, prompting criticism from Republicans who say the agency is impeding the three congressional investigations into IRS practices.
Stockman’s request for the NSA’s “metadata” on the emails comes as congressional Republicans probe whether the IRS mishandled applications for tax-exempt status from Tea Party and conservative groups.

In a statement, Stockman said the NSA’s information “will establish who Lerner contacted and when, which helps investigators determine the extent of illegal activity by the IRS.”

“Your prompt cooperation in this matter will be greatly appreciated and will help establish how IRS and other personnel violated rights protected by the First Amendment,” Rogers wrote.
I am usually a very big fan of inter-governmental sector disputes (It keeps them out of our hair--at least a little), but Stockman is attempting to use, for the first time, the data the NSA collects in an open manner. I have been warning that the entire Edward Snowden thing may be a limited hangout to get to the point where the data is used in an open way for all sorts of government investigations and prosecutions. (SEE: How the Government May Be Getting a Big Boost From Edward Snowden's Revelations)

I would really love to see what Lerner emails the NSA has, but it is too much of a slippery slope. Once the public gets use to government officials  demanding data from the NSA, government will use the capability against private individuals. This needs to be stopped right now.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com and author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.


  1. That would answer the question, "Why Snowden?" Has Snowden informed us of anything a good konspiracy kook didn't already know from countless other whistle blowers? Not really. Maybe a few technical details here and there, but it's nothing we didn't already know, nothing that wasn't already out there. But this guy isn't ignored? The documents he copied not automatically considered to be considered forgeries? That's what they've done with other whistle blowers and researchers. Just dismiss it as fakes. The mainstream media covers it? Why? Why this guy after decades of others? Timing. They want to come out of the shadows. Have a good number of americans who used to say 'that can't happen here' switch to 'but it's a good thing'. After all that is the cycle...

    Konspiracy Kooks reveal something bad the government is doing.
    Most americans say 'it can't happen here'.
    Years and years go by
    Then one day it's proven the kooks were correct all along.
    Most americans say 'but it's a good thing, the government is keeping us safe'.
    Government then does it out in the open.

    I see the following tombstone:

    "It can't happen here".

    1. Snowden didn't tell anything new. What he did - and this is way more important - is to move the knowledge from the realm of "conspiracy theories" into the realm of conspiracy fact, accepted in the mainstream as legit.

    2. What Snowden did (and this much more important) is to move the knowledge from the realm of "conspiracy theories" to the realm of widely accepted conspiracy facts. It is no longer possible to dismiss this knowledge as paranoid rants.

    3. The mainstream media moved it from conspiracy theory to conspiracy fact in the minds of the masses choosing Snowden. The mainstream media could have done that 20 years ago if it had wanted to. It could have also ignored Greenwald's article. It's not like Snowden was the first thing Greenwald wrote about that was embarrassing to the federal government, the mainstream media just wouldn't pick up on it and it would only circulate amongst people like the readers of this site.

      The mainstream media and the federal government could have simply ignored Snowden and he would just be another whistle blower like hundreds if not thousands of others. That's how government keeps a secret. They always say if government were really doing these things someone would say something and nearly in every case someone does. Nobody listens but the kooks.

  2. Bob, I mildly...very mildly...disagree. But, I also have an alternative take.

    If the NSA refuses to cough up the emails and/or metadata, and refuses to admit that they DON'T have it but are refusing...well, a few- maybe many- low level congressional members/staff will have a "come to Jesus" moment and begin to see the police state as it is today. Or they admit they DO have it, but still refuse.

    If they DO cough up the data- even if it is stripped down metadata- the Repubs will make hay and raise hell.

    This is a canny move by Stockman- I have no idea his endgame, but it puts the IRS & the NSA in the crosshairs.

    A refusal would cause a "constitutional crisis" (like the USCon is worth the vellum it is written on) while a release of the docs would create thousands of cases where government officials and wrongly accused citizens could petition the NSA for exonerating documents.

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre...

    R Dale Fitzgerald