Two Things I Don’t Understand

By Jack Goldsmith
Friday, August 2, 2013, 2:13 PM

1.  How are the hopeful suggestions by the Obama administration (including the President) that the armed conflict against Al Qaeda and affiliates may be winding down (or should be ended) consistent with reports about (a) the growing strength of al Qaeda affiliates (in IraqSyria, and North Africa, among other places) and (b) the closing this weekend of several U.S. embassies because (as the State Department put it) “al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks”?

2.  How is the NSA Director Alexander’s claim that “we can audit the actions of our people 100%” (thus providing an important check against abuse) consistent with (a) stories long after Snowden’s initial revelations that the White House does not “know with certainty” what information Snowden pilfered, (b) reported NSA uncertainty weeks after the initial disclosure about what Snowden stole, (c) Alexander’s own assertion (in June) that NSA was “now putting in place actions that would give us the ability to track our system administrators”?