NSA Spying: Yes, It’s A Big Deal

In the coming decades, Americans are likely to face a stark choice: terminate the current hyperactivist security policy and preserve the American constitutional system, or retain that security policy and watch as the constitutional system morphs into an ever more centralized and authoritarian structure.

These prophetic words from Ted Galen Carpenter’s 2008 book Smart Power come to mind with Glenn Greenwald’s revelation that the NSA is collecting bulk telephone data of Verizon customers, apparently without probable cause. Sadly, but expectedly, this news is getting processed by the American electorate through partisan blinders.

Make no mistake: it was a big deal when Bush did it, and it’s a big deal now.

If history is any precedent, the current data mining by the Obama administration is not strictly about keeping Americans “safe” from terrorism. The Bush administration gathered data on “antiwar groups, churches, student activists.” Nixon spied on anti-war groups. JFK spied on reporters. These actions were taken NOT in order to clear reporters, protesters, and citizens of any wrong doing. They were taken in order to intimidate, to prosecute, to prevent Americans from speaking truth to power, to keep Americans in the dark about their government’s activities.

Along with monitoring the Associated Press, the Obama administration has already spied on a Fox News reporter, with accusations of “breaking anti-espionage law” hurled at him. Add to that the ongoing IRS scandal under President Obama’s tenure.

Are we really supposed to believe an abuse of power has NOT taken place here??

The defenders of uninhibited government spying are apt to say “if you have nothing to hide, what are you afraid of?” Because a government that is allowed to tear down the safeguards to your privacy will find the power to turn your exercise of freedom into a crime. It’s happened before. If we passively stand aside, it will certainly happen again.

That’s why data mining without probable cause is a big f’n deal.

**UPDATE 6/15/13: Glenn Greenwald has a follow-up, which states among other things that this is likely the “tip of the iceberg.” Such as the fact that an NSA analyst can listen to our phone calls without judicial authorization.

Finally, the debate President Obama supposedly welcomes.


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One Response to “NSA Spying: Yes, It’s A Big Deal”

  1. John Stossel’s NSA Apathy | The Blog For Truth, Justice, & The Josh Way Says:

    […] I have no complaints with his list, and I’m not going to argue that the NSA spying should replace such-and-such item on his Top 100. However, I would say two items from his list, the Drug War and “People Still Jailed When Prosecutors Know They Are Innocent”, tie into why the NSA scandal is a big deal. […]

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