Fail fail fail fail. Sometimes, I really don’t know what’s worse—the terrible choices our government makes or the willfully ignorant people that are shocked and outraged when one of these choices goes public. None of this is truly “news,” but the belabored release of this domestic spying sludge into the public eye is finally crowning. Seriously, anyone that did not see the inevitable outing of NSA-on-civilian spying should take a time out. The Patriot Act is 12 years old, and even beyond that, this sort of intelligence gathering has existed for a very long time. The only real difference is the scale by which it is being done.
Here’s the gist of what’s going down: One terribly rad journalist by the name of Glenn Greenwald uncovered the fact that our very own National Security Agency had coerced Verizon into giving them a skeleton key to all customer communications, both data and voice (although court orders are still involved in some cases, the waters are quite murky). This was soon followed up with a Washington Post report that claimed the NSA had “direct access” to data from Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and more. The businesses that were named have since vehemently denied this claim, choosing to suspiciously repeat the term “direct access,” as if to make us forget that something called ‘indirect access’ exists. Not a single one of the denials made the leap to assure people that that they weren’t handing data over in some other capacity. I wouldn’t put Apple past carrier pigeons.
And then, of course, some random politicians and the White House damage control squadron start spinning their cavernous tale of counter-terrorism… because we haven’t heard that before. The thing is, nobody in their right mind is actually disputing the fact that this sort of surveillance might lead to preventing a terror attack. That’s not the point—it’s a smokescreen. The point is that the government is out of control in their capacity to take liberty with our liberties. This current administration has gone full circle from its rise to power based on being the Anti-Bush. They’ve experienced a record number of whistle blowers (the newest one being Edward Snowden), went after Associated Press phone records and allowed M. Night Shyamalan to make two more films. Who knows what else?
“I think the American people understand that there are some trade-offs involved… It’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience.” –Barack Obama, constitutional lawyer
D’oh. Well, hmmm. I guess that’s the final word, then…
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” –Benjamin Franklin, SIGNED THE CONSTITUTION
Oh snap. So it is possible to see the forest for the trees.
By Johnny Beaver