NSA: Ed Snowden is a Hobbit
We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitses. Wicked, tricksy, false! — Gollum
Not much more needs to be said about the incredibly self-serving memo the NSA recently dropped — and credulous reporters promptly picked up, firing not a synapse in the process.
The national security state would have you believe that Ed Snowden bamboozled three different high-clearance individuals into giving Snowden their security credentials so that he might quietly loot the state of millions of top secret documents. That is certainly one narrative, one the state has pushed from the very start — Snowden was no lone actor, he had witting or unwitting help.
Of course, the government’s vested interest in pushing that story is to tell possible future Snowdens within the security state that acting alone is impossible — not even Snowden did that — so ignore your guilt and do your job. Somehow that angle never gets mentioned in all the supposed coverage of this front-page matter.
Then there is the fact that institutional interests also converge to both maintain the fiction of infallible spy state systems and identify scapegoats consistent with the informant culture rampant with the federal security state.
To wit, in the post-Snowden investigative frenzy, how hard was it to find three individuals — interestingly enough representing the three different categories of spy state actor, NSA civilian employee, active duty military, and a civilian contractor — who had violated in some manner the complex security regs surrounding the Snowden doc programs? From there, how stupid would these individuals have to be to not blame Snowden for their lapses? To not call Snowden tricksy and false?
Telling interrogators what they want to hear, particularly with felony charges in the balance, is a routine part of the administration of justice in America. To think that the Snowden matter is not subject to those real world constraints is to inhabit a fantasy world every bit as rich and fanciful as Middle Earth.
Zeek Rewards Clawback Afoot?
Those will long memories for North Carolina fraud cases may have noticed that The New York Times mentioned good ol’ Rex Ventures — home to the infamous Zeek Rewards scheme — in a story yesterday about the Department of Justice going after banks who help perpetrate fraud.
Although the Times fixated on the payday lending spin that DOJ is evidently flogging as part of the Obama Regime’s general War on the One Percent, the really interesting bit is that long-awaited action to recover money in the Zeek Rewards case might be proceeding via this route.
It is certainly strange that DOJ is going after tiny Four Oaks Bank of even tinier Four Oaks, NC as some sort of vanguard in curbing abusive payday lending drafts of checking accounts. Indeed, fraudulent drafts by definition take two institutions to tango, and another Too Big To Prosecute pass for Bank of America, Wells Fargo, et al should not surprise at this late date. Still Four Oaks Bank seems to stand out for its relationship with Rex Ventures as much if not more so than the payday lending business.
What was really weird about the Zeek case — besides Lexington-based Zeek operator Paul Burks’ flirtation with conservative politics — is that some participants in the operation considered themselves “winners” in a legitimate auction/sweepstakes/marketing mumbo-jumbo enterprise. As such, they heard “recovery” and reached for their wallets.
Now maybe the feds have found and inventive source of restitution — any small financial entity that turned a blind-eye to Zeek’s squirrelly approach to business. If so, federal know your customer regs may have added an additional layer of fiduciary responsibility.
Finally, our question for the regulators: in a Volcker world in which banks are supposedly not allowed to trade ahead of their clients, why are banks, well, trading ahead of their clients!?