Snowden started it, but it was only a matter of time

The NYT this morning is reporting that NSA is being pestered by other government agencies, clamouring for their data (and in some cases, getting it).  This is all coming out because the Snowden leaks have made it possible to talk about it, but the fact is, those other government agencies have always wanted in on NSA’s surveillance data on US citizens. It’s an organizational imperitive. If there’s a tool that will help you do your job better, then you want to use that tool.

Better, of course, means “more convictions”, not “protect American values.” Convictions can be measured and therefore have become the standard. Safeguarding the rights of Americans can’t be easily measured, can’t be reduced to a sound bite for an appropriations committee, and so becomes irrelevant.

This is the slippery slope. This is why the various NSA programs should be prohibited. It’s not that NSA is a rogue agency, ’cause it’s not. It’s that elements within all three branches of the government conspired to make legal that which should never have been made legal.

Will shutting down these programs increase the risk? Certainly. Will shutting down these programs lead to increased American deaths? Most likely. But Americans have always been willing to accept risks, and to die, in support of freedom and, let’s say it “the American way of life”. Because that’s what’s under attack right now. Al Qaida, for all their chatter, poses no great threat to the US, not compared with, say, furniture. But NSA, FBI, DHS? These are the real threat.  These are the organizations whose chatter we should be listening to.

 

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3 Responses to “Snowden started it, but it was only a matter of time”

  1. Kurt Kremer Says:

    And of course public light shined on their actions makes people question whether the recent alert on an Al Qaida threat is political or urgent and simply coincidental (or couldn’t have come at a better time, or was always there and is now being used as PR). Etc., etc. Given that organization names have become buzzwords for terrorism (like Jell-O for gelatin, Google for search, etc.), it’s difficult (though no impossible) to buy into Al Qaida being the biggest threat; more that there are always (and have always been) threats and that AQ is the current boogeyman. The staff of my employer who work in Bagram and Kandahar are reporting more stringent security restrictions, though no one is mentioning AQ specifically. And, it seems more likely that, like any good corporation, AQ has partners, subsidiaries, and clones in a complex and not always cognizant network. Which makes it easier to say AQ in the press. It may be that simple, but I find it’s usually more reliable to assume complexity and dumbing down for the masses.

  2. FoundOnWeb Says:

    My understanding is that Al Qaida is pretty well destroyed as a functioning organization, but that they are now franchising the brand to a lot of wannabes. If it’s inside AF or PK, I’d expect it to be garden variety Taliban

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