“No laws define the limits of the N.S.A.’s power. No Congressional committee subjects the agency’s budget to a systematic, informed and skeptical review. With unknown billions of Federal dollars, the agency purchases the most sophisticated communications and computer equipment in the world. But truly to comprehend the growing reach of this formidable organization, it is necessary to recall once again how the computers that power the N.S.A. are also gradually changing lives of Americans - the way they bank, obtain benefits from the Government and communicate with family and friends. Every day, in almost every area of culture and commerce, systems and procedures are being adopted by private companies and organizations as well as by the nation’s security leaders that make it easier for the N.S.A. to dominate American society should it ever decide such action is necessary.”
“Only ten people in American history have been charged with espionage for leaking classified information, seven of them under Barack Obama. The effect of the charge on a person’s life – being viewed as a traitor, being shunned by family and friends, incurring massive legal bills – is all a part of the plan to force the whistleblower into personal ruin, to weaken him to the point where he will plead guilty to just about anything to make the case go away. I know. The three espionage charges against me made me one of “the Obama Seven”.”
“The American public must understand that actual defense spending is close to double the budget figures reported in the media. The official military budget does not include the hundreds of millions of dollars for war supplementals (Iraq and Afghanistan); nuclear defense and safety (Department of Energy); military intelligence (the CIA and various collection agencies such as NSA); and military disability (Veteran’s Administration).”
“I am deeply troubled that the U.S. military can pursue, attack, and even kill terrorists and their supporters, but that some in the U.S. government believe we cannot prevent these same people from receiving a government contract.”
John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
“Where Mr. Snowden chooses asylum is a sideshow to critical matters facing our nation. What we should be focusing on are the important issues he has exposed—a broken system for whistleblowers and how secrecy is undermining our constitutional democracy.”
“Everything in the government — which once was thought to be “your” government — is increasingly disappearing into a professional universe of secrecy. In 2011, the last year for which figures are available, the government classified 92 million documents. And they did so on the same principle that they use in collecting seemingly meaningless or harmless information from you: that only in retrospect can anyone know whether a benign-looking document might prove anything but. Better to deny access to everything.”
- Three soldiers call the Army’s battlefield intelligence network a multibillion-dollar dud.
“Congress can run from [the Base Closure and Realignment Commission], but it cannot hide. The selfish and the self-aggrandizing on the Hill will succeed on BRAC this year and proclaim proudly that they beat it down — thereby diverting funds needed for readiness to protect pork. But as the future unfolds, excess bases will be closed one way or another. BRAC is not the only way of doing it; clearly, the era when we could expect Congress to face reality through the BRAC process is long gone.”
Winslow T. Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information with the Project On Government Oversight, on Congress refusing to allow the Pentagon to save money by closing unnecessary bases and facilities.