T. KELLY: Snowden vs. NSA snow job
Free Press Opinion Columnist
Edward Snowden, whistleblower on the NSA’s massive, secret and unconstitutional domestic spying program, PRISM, has been denounced as a “traitor” by Diane Feinstein, John Kerry, Dick Cheney, Ted Cruz and a host of other D.C. apparatchiks on both sides of the partisan fence.
Like so many other recent whistleblowers defamed as traitors (Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, former top NSA officers Russell Tice, Thomas Drake and William Binney, and CIA officer John Kiriakou) Snowden was answering to a higher authority than the Patriot Act or the FISA court — the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which outlaws everything the NSA has been doing secretly, and now caught lying about it.
The first fib was by DCI (Director of National Intelligence) James Clapper, who told a hearing soft-chaired by Sen. Feinstein that the NSA does not gather “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.”
Maybe he meant billions. Because that’s exactly what the NSA has been doing: Indiscriminately vacuuming up “metadata”— phone records, search history, email headers, file transfers, and live chats from Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and other internet giants — and archiving it in the NSA’s giant new complex in Bluffdale, Utah. No human is reading the content, the NSA claims, unless a search algorithm comes up with some suspicious connection.
And that’s the problem, as Snowden states — this colossal database could be tapped at anytime with some different algorithm, like “opposition congressman” + “sex chat” or “anti-NSA journalist” + “psychiatrist” and be used for blackmail. The databases could also be tapped for insider information and used for illegal stock market trading.
Not likely, you say? Top IRS officials were recently forced to resign for illegally targeting Tea Party organizations with infinite delays and extra scrutiny. Yes, abuse is possible. Power corrupts, and secret power corrupts absolutely.
In 2005, another NSA whistleblower, Russell Tice, stated: “They (the NSA) went after high-ranking military officers; they went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the judicial… One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court that I had his wiretap information in my hand… They went after a few antiwar civil rights groups. So, you know, don’t tell me that there’s no abuse, because I’ve had this stuff in my hand and looked at it.”
Tice also claimed that the NSA compiled data on an ambitious senator from Illinois, who now occupies the White House.
The second NSA lie was just revealed by Colorado’s own Sen. Mark Udall and Sen. Ron Wyden, who have led the fight for greater transparency and honesty from the NSA, instead of marching lockstep in defense of the Obama administration. Both Democratic senators have said that a factsheet released by the NSA inaccurately stated the authority of the Patriot Act and FISA Act to surveil Americans’ communications.
The NSA’s defenders cite two cases where similar carpet surveillance in Britain netted two terrorists: The failed NY subway bomber Najibullah Zazi, and David Healey, implicated in the 2008 Mumbai attack. But knowledgeable critics say these cases are overblown — they were solved mainly by other intelligence methods.
Snowden says we should all ask: “Since these programs began operation shortly after September 11th, how many terrorist attacks were prevented SOLELY by information derived from this suspicionless surveillance that could not be gained via any other source?… Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we’ve been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.”
The NSA programs are basically the covertly reincarnated TIA (Total Information Awareness) program that Congress killed in 2003. The exaggerated fear of terrorism is only a pretext. As Tice has elucidated, the more important ulterior purpose is probably to compile potential blackmail information against congressmen, judges, lawyers, anti-war and civil rights groups, and average citizens who oppose the military-surveillance complex’s imperative of perpetual war, the Constitution be damned.
Longtime globalist guru and CFR/Trilateral Commission honcho Zbigniew Brzezenski outlined it all in his 1982 book, “Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technotronic Era”:
“The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.”
Sorry, Mr. Cheney and company, but if the commitment to be ruled by the infinitely wiser Founding Fathers over an “unrestrained elite” is treason, count me guilty along with Edward Snowden.
Travis Kelly is a web/graphic designer, writer and cartoonist in Grand Junction. See his work or contact him at http://www.traviskelly.com.
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