Congress expands NSA domestic spying programs and nobody cares
SAN ANTONIO, December 19, 2014 – While the media was busy lining up to congratulate Obama for lawlessly granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and cuddling up to one of the six state sponsors of terrorism in the world, Congress passed legislation that, according to one House Republican, “grants the executive branch virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American.” Republican leadership in the House inserted language into the Intelligence Authorization bill at the very last minute which includes a phrase to allow for “the acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of U.S. phone and Internet data.
On the same day, Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, further indicated that the government class in this country has effectively removed the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. At a conference on cyber security, Posner said:
“I think privacy is actually overvalued… Privacy is mainly about trying to improve your social and business opportunities by concealing the sorts of bad activities that would cause other people not to want to deal with you. If the NSA wants to vacuum all the trillions of bits of information that are crawling through the electronic worldwide networks, I think that’s fine.”
“Privacy interests should really have very little weight when you’re talking about national security.” Judge Posner’s position is one that many promoters of the NSA’s domestic data capabilities use.
This position maintained by the entire government class, regardless of party, can be summarized as follows: “we must sacrifice our privacy rights in order to remain secure in this ever integrated and technology focused world.”
This argument is nothing but a straw man, designed to distract from the real issue with the NSA. According to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board put together by Obama to investigate the NSA following the revelations by Edward Snowden in July 2013, the NSA has never assisted in capturing a terrorist or putting a halt to a terrorist attack. According to reason.com, “Specifically, the board concluded, “we have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counter terrorism investigation.”
Why then does most every person in the federal government seemingly support the illegal snooping into every aspect of every American’s life? The government class, regardless of party, is mainly involved in politics for their own personal benefit; the more control asserted by the federal government, the more power consolidated in the ruling class, the more money and luxuries our overseers, their donors, and the rest of the ruling class get to enjoy.
The article on Reason.com continues with more from the report from Obama’s personally appointed Privacy and Civil Liberties Board: “The board’s report also cautioned, “the bulk collection of telephone records can be expected to have a chilling effect on the free exercise of speech and association, because individuals and groups engaged in sensitive or controversial work have less reason to trust in the confidentiality of their relationships as revealed by their calling patterns.”
This report came out before we were aware that the NSA actually collected much more data than just calling patterns. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article , “the spy agency now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic emails and Internet searches as well as bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel and telephone records… Intelligence agencies have used administrative subpoenas issued by the FBI — which don’t need a judge’s signature — to collect and analyze such data, current and former intelligence officials said.”
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Board’s finding regarding the chilling effect constant, continuous surveillance will have on Americans coincides with the recent comments of William Binney, a 36 year employee of the NSA turned whistle blower. Binney has stated that the real goal of the NSA is total population control. According to Binney, the NSA is,”…being used to set up the way and means to control the population,” Binney said. “I’ve been referring to it as the new Stasi agency because that’s exactly what the Stasi did, they had files on everyone…” The Stasi Agency was the State Security Agency of East Germany, and is often considered the most repressive secret police agency to ever exist.
Binney says that the reason that more employees of the NSA dont speak out about its criminal, unconstitutional acts is because the NSA intimidates its employees from doing so. “I know that they’ve instituted programs that get agency employees to spy on one another, which simply means it’s just like East Germany,” Binney said. “You got your neighbors spying on you and here its your neighbors you’re working with and trying to do the job (with). That makes a very unhealthy atmosphere to work in.”
This claim makes sense as the Obama administration has prosecuted whistle blowers at record breaking numbers; since taking office, Obama has prosecuted 11 former government officials for leaking information to the press under the 1917 Espionage Act. This act has only been used to prosecute whistleblowers three other times in history. In addition, the NSA has been caught tapping over 20 AP journalists phone lines and prosecuting a Fox News reporter for reporting information unfavorable to the administration, under the guise of safety.
It has also come to light that the Obama Justice Department has prosecuted criminal defendants using information obtained in NSA investigations, but, in order to avoid allowing one of the subjects of the investigations to bring a civil lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the NSA, the Justice Dept. purposefully withholds the fact that the NSA was involved.
The Supreme Court has held that unless an individual can prove, without question, that the NSA used these domestic data collection capabilities against the individual attempting to bring the lawsuit, the lawsuit will be thrown out of court. Therefore, it has been very difficult to fight the NSA in court.
The Obama administration has made very clear that they will not tolerate transparency under any circumstances.
Why should average Americans care about all of this, if, as Judge Posner said, most of us do not have anything to hide? The following words of Binney, who has been threatened with prosecution if he ever returns to the United States, reminds us that once a government retains personal knowledge on every citizen, it is only a matter of time before it is used:
“Totalitarianism comes in the form first of knowledge of people and what they’re doing, and then it starts to transition into using that power against people. That’s what’s happening – in terms of newspaper reporters, in terms of crimes. That’s a direct violation of our constitution.”