Tag: NSA electronic surveillance program

September NSA Update

Even as the boot-lickers continue to assure us that there is nothing to fear from NSA, that they are our friends, that there’s no indication of systematic abuse, we keep finding out more and more. To summarize events from the last few weeks.

Information has emerged about NSA employees using their access to stalk girlfriends, boyfriends and random people. That’s just a dozen that we know about; there is obviously no read on how often this happened when people were better at covering their tracks.

In addition, the sheer scale of NSA’s abilities is becoming clearer. Diane Feinstein inadvertently admitted that the NSA is tapping the internet backbone. This sounds trivial, but it is really important. You remember PRISM, the program where the NSA were working with tech companies to get data? This tap allows them to bypass even PRISM and collect data directly from the internet. They have also created programs that analyze social network data to get more information about the targets of their surveillance. Better hope your social circle doesn’t include too many “anti-Obama” radicals or maybe the IRS will pay you a visit.

Finally, information about the NSA’s past surveillance has emerged:

The National Security Agency eavesdropped on civil rights icon Martin Luther King and heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali as well as other leading critics of the Vietnam War in a secret program later deemed “disreputable,” declassified documents revealed.

The six-year spying program, dubbed “Minaret,” had been exposed in the 1970s but the targets of the surveillance had been kept secret until now.

The documents released Wednesday showed the NSA tracked King and his colleague Whitney Young, boxing star Ali, journalists from the New York Times and the Washington Post, and two members of Congress, Senator Frank Church of Idaho and Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee.

The declassified NSA historical account of the episode called the spying “disreputable if not outright illegal.”

The justification for this was that these people opposed Vietnam and therefore might be communist agents. Considering that our leaders have an attitude that any opposition to their policies is de facto siding with the terrorists, how long will it take them to use the same logic to spy on their political opponents? Ten seconds? What will we find out forty years from now, when the NSA has to reveal their secrets?

So … to round up. We’ve found out more about bona fide NSA abuses, we’ve found out more about just how extensive their programs are and we’ve found out that they’ve abused their authority in the past.

Reassured yet? Don’t worry. If you’re nervous, it’s just because of the evil influence of someone like Rand Paul. Ignore them. Trust government.