The Obama Administration promises hope for change. As Christmas approaches, a certain, “What do you want for Christmas?” is balanced by, “What do you want from the Obama Administration?” vibe. The NY Times reports on a conflict between the NYPD and FBI on a series of eavesdropping measures.
Unusually, I will comment in detail on the rights and wrongs of broad brush surveillance measures, as the facts in the report are sparse. I will note that a generic warrant request that seems to be for ‘telephones in the subway’ is unacceptably broad, and that the justification materials for the warrant must be interesting reading.
What is worthy of comment is the extensive duplication we are seeing, and how politics and multi-tiering is wasting time and resources. If the NYPD’s applications aren’t making it through the FBI, there seems to be little reason to believe that they will pass the FISA Court – assuming they relate to international terrorism. Instead of working to establish better procedures to meet the requirement, the New York police are being subjected to a public fight based on a battle of mutual blame.
I can only hope that the NYPD hasn’t staked its entire effort on getting these warrants through, and are proactively developing alternative methods of gathering the intelligence they need. What is worrying is that there appears to be hints of an interagency battle; this is not the first time that I have protested that interagency battles are still too common, and are wasteful of all the resources that matter; information, money and man-hours.
Clearly we aren’t seeing the whole story, but what we are seeing suggests that rectifying the business of government is one area where the Obama Administration can make gains that are both self-supporting and cost effective – maybe Santa can help me with my wish.