When the U.S. shot the first Tomahawk Cruise missile at Osama bin Laden’s satellite phone in Afghanistan — and missed — anyone with reason to worry about similar attacks stopped using methods that NSA could spook.
There was an earlier warning during Daddy Bush’s falling-out with his buddy Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega, probably over a dope deal: CNN was able to report the exact contents of secret conversations Manny had with his Swiss banker. Ever since, even lowly drug dealers know about FINCEN.
Based on the record, the result is that even before Edward Snowden risked his freedom to expose the farce, the only “terrorists” the NSA spy-apparatus catch are 1. The fools who would almost certainly fail anyway (“shoe-bomber” Richard Reid, etc) and 2. The dupes the FEDS create by entrapment to make it look like they’re actually accomplishing something. Catagories 1. and 2. aren’t mutually exclusive.
OK, actually the FEDS didn’t catch Reid, the passengers on his plane did.
And so, of course, they also missed the important ones. A few examples: 911, the Fort Hood shooting, and even with those wall-to-wall cops, the FBI admits they couldn’t stop The Boston Marathon bombing.
Despite Clapper’s lies to Congress, when you look closely, NSA itself admits it was key to stopping just one domestic terror plot in the last eleven years or so. Maybe. Likewise, an early NSA claim to have thwarted five terror plots in Germany was reduced to two, possibly one, and maybe none.
Even a kinder gentler report by The New America Foundation calls the NSA claims “overblown” and “misleading.”
On the other hand, how do you feel when you look in the rear-view and see a cop? Well now there’s the equivalent of a cop there all the time, but this one is watching and recording everything you say or text, who you’re saying or texting it to, how long it takes — and where you are most of the time.
The East German Stasi — the previous spy-champs — knew how to “leverage” their citizens using a much less comprehensive database. By “leverage,” the professional spooks mean “blackmail.” As civic-minded whistle-blower Snowden put it,
“Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re being watched and recorded. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and then they can use the system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with.” –Snowden: Leak of NSA spy programs “marks my end” – CBS News
Anyone with accesss to that database can find something on anyone. You for example. From the top we had Nixon’s “Enemies List” — folks to be harassed by the IRS. Now there’s a similar list of right-wing groups to be likewise hassled. Apparently someone even recently “leveraged” Four-star Gen. David Petraeus into resigning as head of CIA using a leaked clandestine affair with a reporter. And upping the ante, there’s Obama’s “Kill List” — which includes a teen-age girl.
The REAL effect is massive “chilling” of U.S. citizens and what we feel safe texting, saying, or emailing to each other. Even who we text, say, or email to. And rightly so. “Chilling” is a quasi-legal term that refers to self-censorship caused by fear of surveillance. In addition to inhibiting what we say to each other, it’s already seriously affecting what we read – - -
About a third of writers are “chilled” by NSA surveillance –Scared Silent: NSA Surveillance has ‘Chilling Effect’ on American Writers | Common Dreams
This amounts to “thought control.” As ex-NSA Chief of Research William Biney puts it, we have “turnkey totalitarianism.” All someone has to do is turn that key and – - -
But it will be worse than just your normal murderous, repressive, totalitarianism — worse than the Stasi. See, in addition to the government, there are approximately 1.4 million private contractors who, like Edward Snowden, have access to your data. And can either “leverage” you themselves or contract out your data to someone else who would like to.
This leverage might be a few crimes you don’t know you’ve committed — or an indiscretion which, revealed, could make your life a living hell. Remember Martin Luther King Jr. and operation Minaret.
And here you were worried about the recent Target, Nieman Marcus, Starbucks, etc. data theft. By comparison to what the NSA is already doing, Minaret, Target, and the legend of the East German Stasi are nothing but pale ghosts.
Is this the society you want for your kids, grand kids and the yet unborn?
So, who ya gonna call to bust these spooks? Unfortunately Mr. Obama just rubber-stamped them — and Ghostbusters was just a movie.
So what are you going to do about it?