This should scare you.

What interesting times we live in.

A little over 50 years ago, President Harry Truman created the National Security Agency (NSA). Until about eight or ten years ago, most people had never heard of it. A lot of people still haven’t. Historically, it has been so secretive about its activities and existence that some people interpreted the initials as No Such Agency.

The NSA is a huge agency. Much bigger than the CIA. No civilian knows just how big it is, because even its budget is classified. You may have heard about it recently because it is the agency that used to monitor all telecommunications into and out of the US.

Until Sept. 11, 2001.

Then President Bush decided that he had the authority to tell the NSA to monitor internal communciations as well – without a warrant. At first, the administration insisted that they were only monitoring people who were “calling al-Qaeda”. But now it turns out that just about every telecommunications company in the US except for Qwest has given the NSA access to their systems to compile a database of calls within the US.

That worries me.

It worried the Justice Department, too. So they decided to investigate what the NSA was doing and make sure that no laws were being broken their own lawyers who had approved the NSA program. This is good; this is how the system regulates itself.

But then the NSA declared that the Justice Department lawyers didn’t have sufficient security clearance to conduct their investigation. So the NSA – one of the targets of the investigation – called it off.

Yeah. This is really happening.

No Responses to “This should scare you.”

  1. stacey Says:

    Just pile it on top of all the other things the gov’t is doing to piss me off.

    I think 31% approval is a little high…

  2. Aarlene Says:

    It’s WAAAY high in my book. It ought to be negative.
    You can’t get more Un-American than to piss on the Constitution but these guys do it and call it the Patriot Act.

  3. Doctor What Says:

    The NSA would like to remind everyone to call their mothers this Sunday. They need to calibrate their system.

  4. Matt Says:

    If you really believe that any of your electronic communtcations are private, you are kidding yourself. Heck, David, you were a decent hacker way back when…you know there are no secure systems. I for one am willing to give up a little bit of privacy in my communications if it stops even one person from being killed by scumbag terrorist bastards. (Not that I’m ever saying anything that interesting anyway)

    If you want to keep something secret, don’t tell anyone.

    Love,
    Your Right Wing Nutjob Brother

  5. Wha? Says:

    “I for one am willing to give up a little bit of privacy in my communications if it stops even one person from being killed by scumbag terrorist bastards.”

    You cannot be serious? I’m not willing to authorize the government to listen in on all our communications, even to save one person, without a damned warrant.

    Liberty is something this country was founded on. It is sad to see it erode away for the sake of perceived safety.

    And yes, give a little, they’ll try to take even more. At what point will you be asked the question: “Do mind if we routinely search your house, you know, just in case anything bad is happening in there?” And will you answer yes?

  6. Matt Says:

    dear Wha?

    “I’m not willing to authorize the government to listen in on all our communications, even to save one person, without a damned warrant.

    So your privacy is more important to you than the life of an innocent person?

    How about 2?

    How about 179 of my friends and co-workers?

    How about 3000 people who died with them?

    What amount of suffering is enough to break your ego?

    If giving up everything I have (privacy, family, friends, money) was going to save just one Life, I’d be first in line.

  7. Wha? Says:

    Matt, I guess we’ll just have to disagree.

    Millions upon millions have died, sacrificing themselves for the freedoms we enjoy. And yes, I am /not/ willing to authorize the government listen in on /your/ conversations without a warrant, even if there’s that slight chance you could be terrorist about to blow up /my/ house. My ego has nothing to do with it.

    There are checks and balances for a reason. “The Government” are really just more people, like you and me and Joe down the street. They are fallible. They are impressionable. They are corruptible.

    No, my privacy is not more important to me than the life of an innocent person. You are simply twisting my meaning to fit your argument. The rights of all of us, however, are worth more than the “chance” that we might save one person, even if that person is me. In fact, in my particular case, I would fight to help people retain those rights, even at a risk to my own life.

    I wonder, would you be opposed to locking up or deporting all people who appear Middle Eastern? Surely, since most terrorists fit that description we’d lock up or deport quite a few, if not most of them. Wouldn’t that possibly save innocent lives? To me, it is simply not worth sacrificing the rights of all those people.