He is calling for Alexander to be fired for letting it slip (specifically, for letting a contractor get that information.)
He hedges his language very well when asked about NSA shenanigans.
FYI - this is the entire Q&A on the Der Spiegel site: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/a-932721.html
> Asked if the US intelligence services were out of control, McCain said: "There's not been sufficient congressional oversight, and there has been an absolutely disgraceful sharing of information that never should have taken place. For many years, we had an absolute provision that any classified information, which was going to be shared, is based on need-to-know information."
It seems like he thinks the spying was egregious as well. Given his hawkish nature, I'd be surprised if he was actually that upset about it, but this article makes it seem like he's equally upset that we were doing it and that it was being run in such a poor manner.
So he's not saying the spying was egregious, but instead that allowing a contractor like Snowden to have access to the classified info about the spying was egregious.
That is an easy one because all they have to do is say "We will do oversight better; trust us. Now stop worrying about it, watch the big game and vote for us next time."
The rest is all him being annoyed about how the information was shared inside (and outside) the agency, not the fact the information existed or how it was obtained.
To be fair there's a lot of people who think NSA has gone overboard, even when those people otherwise consider Snowden a traitor. That would explain why Sen. McCain says that oversight was insufficient while still being upset with DIRNSA for not having proper internal controls to keep an employee (but especially a contractor) from grabbing a hold of so much TS, even across compartmentalized boundaries.
McCain: The limit should be the potential damage to relations with that country. In other words, is it worth the collateral damage that could result in those techniques being revealed? What would be the reaction of our friends to it?
== Yikes. Only bad if you get caught.
That's been the game in international diplomacy since the Sumerians. E.g. this is why French intelligence officials admitted in interviews after the Merkel spying allegations that France does this too, they merely wished they had the NSA's resources.
In fact I was surprised at many HN'ers reaction to the Merkel spying allegations, which were surprisingly supportive of the NSA spying (since it wasn't directed against Americans).
If he had won in 2008, he would be right in the middle of this too.
"And now we have a contractor employee, not a government employee, who has access to information which is, when revealed, most damaging to the standing prestige of the United States and our relations with some of our best friends," McCain said"
If revealing the truth about what the Government is doing damages the standing prestige of the country, then is he implying that much of that prestige is based on a lie?
Are you trying to claim that 'if the government has done nothing wrong, it has nothing to fear'? I mean, I don't really care which way you believe on that idea but you should at least be logically consistent :P
Sneaky! Will it fly with the common man or is the common man getting it?
Snowden plans to give up all of the documents publicly, so I can see how this is even close to relevant.
They seem comically bad at getting any intel - much of what the captured spies were caught with were publicly available documents. They had "gained access" to some organisation, but that org had open public access anyway.
I'd be amazed if GCHQ was not listening in to US politicians. I suspect that's why Obama had so much work done to his mobile phone before he was allowed to use it.
Really, governments spying on other governments is not news. The spies get found and expelled by one country, the other country expels a diplomat or two. Everyone expresses outrage. More spies get sent in.
It is perfectly well known that the US are the only such country to break the trust of their "friends".
But it seems to me that if something is commonplace and accepted then why all the sotto voce?
Because once again the government practices ethical double standards. Which makes sense if you assume a class structure where bureaucrats occupy the superior class and those outside government occupy an inferior class.
The irony here. It hurts.
After reading that I now see that he wanted him fired, not because the NSA targeted everyone and not because the NSA violated everyone's privacy but only because the NSA boss should have had even more security protocols in place.