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The Courts United States

NSA Trial Evidence 'Riddled With Boxes and Arrows' 108

decora writes "In the Espionage Act trial of NSA IT Whistleblower Thomas Drake, the main evidence against him are five documents he allegedly 'willfully retained' in his basement. The government, for the first time, is using the Silent Witness Rule to 'substitute' words in this evidence so that the public will not be able to see the allegedly sensitive information. The result of this 'substitution' process has been described by the defense as a tangled mess of boxes, arrows, and code words [PDF] that will impossibly confuse the facts of the case. 'Two weeks before trial, Mr. Drake and his counsel still do not know what evidence the jury will see.'"
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NSA Trial Evidence 'Riddled With Boxes and Arrows'

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  • by decora ( 1710862 ) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @10:29AM (#36342448) Journal

    I generally avoid linking to wikipedia articles that I wrote from slashdot articles that I wrote, to avoid perceived conflict of interest, and prevent 'one source' circular errors and hidden bias. In this /. story, I did not originally link to the wikipedia Silent Witness Rule article. The link to wikipedia was made by the slashdot editors and not by me, and they had no reason to suspect that the article author and wikipedia author were the same person.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @01:36PM (#36343610) Homepage Journal

    Whoa! Who's showing anger here, really? I read his post as indicating disgust more than anger.

    His decision to move the focus from this specific incident, and its relevance to the origin of the problems of the Bush era, to a more generalized complaint about the administration of the United States throughout its entire history struck me as hasty and rant-like. That usually implies an underlying sense of frustration (and therefore anger). However, assessing whether the tone of a passage of written text is disgusted or angry is very a subjective process, and I don't think it makes sense to try and interpret it. It can, after all, be both.

    FWIW I see no italicization of "why" in your post.

    The italicised "why" is the sixteenth word in the second sentence of the second paragraph, immediately before the portion that countertrolling quoted. It's not very difficult to find, given that it's the only usage of the word "why" in that post.

    In any case, discussing a history of malfeasance is always more enlightening than discussing a single incident in isolation. I view his post as relevant to the discussion.

    In general it's a pertinent and relevant subject to discuss, but in the context of my assumption that his post was an angry rant, it seemed more like he was going off-topic. The decision to pivot around topics so rapidly and the lack of connective prose tying his statements back into the previous conversation did not present a natural part of the conversation as much as an attempt to ramble about a pet peeve.

    The part that really got me was that he said nothing worth saying: no new combination of facts or feelings was presented; it's just the same bitching that arises every time there's a news article on Slashdot that mentions oppressive misconduct by the government. His post could be cut-and-paste in a solid 20% of all Slashdot articles and be just as relevant. That doesn't mean it should be repeated over and over again.

    No respondent can read your mind and know the exact intentions of your post. If you wish to limit the discussion please explicitly state the scope of your argument.

    While telepathy is indeed not generally an ability found amongst Slashdot posters, I believe I have presented a coherent and consistent position that can be understood without too much trouble. Please read the above carefully and let me know if you have any further concerns.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @02:01PM (#36343760)

    To be fair, the NSA was culpable for allowing 9/11 to happen. They had information that indicated that the perps were doing something. They also refused to share that info with the FBI and the CIA... It wasn't the first time either.

    That culpability is premised on 100% effectiveness. That's an impossible standard for anyone, especially a bureaucracy. I blame the "culture of blame" as the root cause for the over-reaction. Societally we need to have realistic expectations. That isn't to say that government agency's shouldn't be accountable, but that the standards we set for that accountability have be to realistic, not impossible. Being 100% risk averse is to guarantee failure.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.