Flat white, but thanks for the offer!
Whoops - posted in a hurry as my train was pulling into the station!
>> 1. Safeguards
First, only 12 that we know of. But lets take the numbers at face value and go with just 12. We are talking about an agency with access to the most comprehensive computer security tools yet developed and with an MO of snoop-first-ask-questions-later. This is an agency that has developed software to monitor, control and surreptitiously sabotage foreign-owned nuclear facilities on other continents, convinced technology companies to betray the trust of their paying customers and has risked diplomatic outrage from allies by bugging their embassies.
Their very purpose is to monitor and analyse information in order to understand the behaviour of their targets.
So yeah, I expect them to place the same importance on making sure their staff are not abusing their positions as they do on monitoring the communications of their citizens. They have the technology and manpower to monitor and process the communications and online behaviour of tens (if not hundreds) of millions of ordinary people so I cannot think of an excuse for them not to monitor their own employees, given the potential for those employees to abuse their positions and violate the privacy of innocent individuals. I expect them to place a pretty big emphasis on that and monitor it accordingly.
>> 2. Oversight
I guess we agree there!
>> 3. Discipline
I'm pretty sure I didn't mention or even imply capital punishment. Like I said, I was in a hurry, but I'm still pretty sure I didn't write that.
No, What I want is genuine internal disciplinary action at the very least. I appreciate that people make mistakes and that that does not automatically make them bad people. However, we are talking about a group of people with access to what amounts to a printout of our personalities: web browsing histories coupled with phone records, coupled with private e-mails and personal chat transcripts; purchasing histories cross-referenced with facebook updates and family photo albums. In short, a depth of information that most of us don't even share with our closest family and friends.
That is a massive trust being given to these people and even a single breach of that trust should be considered a very large deal indeed. It might not be to you but it is to me and the public have shown that it is to them as well so it should also be a big deal to those people who are in the position of ensuring that these programs are run 'by the book'.
And, as I said, if the logic goes that these programs are legal because they are sanctioned by FISC then surely it stands to reason that any surveillance and spying conducted without the express approval of that court is unlawful, which is to say illegal. Again, which is to say that those who conduct such unauthorised and therefore illegal spying are guilty of committing a crime. There are many people in this world in jail for lapses of judgement - why should it be different for people who deliberately and, for purely personal and selfish reasons, abuse the trust of those they are ostensibly employed to protect?