Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Big One

You may remember there was a bit of a kerfuffle about warrantless wiretapping a while back. Essentially, the government said that they needed to be able to intercept terrorist communications and to do that they needed the help of the phone companies. The phone companies agreed, without FISA court approval and eventually Congress gave them immunity for this breach of the law and public trust.

Nice.

But it was all okay, because we weren't really monitoring all those phone calls. We weren't listening in to people private communications. We were going to look at the HUGE number of calls made to and from the US from "Bad Guy" countries and once we had SOMETHING we would listen in. 

This, strange as it seems, makes a kind of sense. Filter the raw data. Apply some logic to it. And you might just get lucky and track down the bad guys. And George Bush could have actually pushed this through with America firmly behind it if had been A) Smart and B) Honest.  But he isn't and he wasn't. Like everything else he did he tried to cover it up with lies and BS. 

And there's the fact that unchecked surveilance powers is ALWAYS abused. Period. It doesn't matter what the law says or what your mandate or mission profile states. If you give people the power to listen into phone calls, they will. And they did

Now the denials begin. And again, some low-level NSA flunkies will get the axe. No one at the top had ANY IDEA this was being done. "We follow the law". Which we've heard before, haven't we?

Supposedly the program did help prevent some IED attacks, which is what it was supposed to do. But how much time was wasted listening to phone sex and monitoring Red Cross workers? I wonder how much dirt was collected on various political and military leaders? 


If you're not furious, you're not paying attention.


1 comment:

Ed said...

further sign of the times - the national debt calcualtor has run out of digits - http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081009/ap_on_re_us/odd_national_debt_clock;_ylt=Ao0lPHXfA76OqYI6SH.Z5ChH2ocA