Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Big Data" bigger than NSA let on, no one with a brain surprised

When Ed Snowden originally leaked the classified documents that exposed the NSA's "meta data"
collection program--the NSA insisted that the collection did not include recorded phone conversations.  The claim was that "meta data" just provided call information such as when the call was made, on what carrier, and to what country that call went to.  They balked when nearly everyone on the planet accused them of recording the phone calls of innocent American citizens which, by the way, is 150,000% illegal.

But today, the fears of any American with a brain were substantiated.  Through NSA's MYSTIC and RETRO programs, the NSA is able to retrieve and listen to a recorded phone conversation made by any person in the U.S. up to one month in the past.  Essentially, 100% of American citizen phone calls are recorded and kept in data storage for a month.  I just have one question:

When will all of the charges against Snowden be dropped so he can return to the US unaccosted?

I find it absolutely baffling that there are still people out there who actually believe Snowden to be a traitor who deserves punishment.  I've heard it all.  "Well, he technically broke the law, and there are committees and processes that handle this sort of thing."  The problem with that is the fact that despite the "committees" and the "processes" in place to handle the malfeasance of the US intelligence community, these illegal programs still came to fruition.

There are two conclusions that we can draw from these revelations.

1.  Congress has completely lost their grip on these agencies, and the folks at the NSA and CIA are essentially allowed to run amok and do whatever they want.  The intelligence oversight committee is so uninterested in anything, that it has unknowingly allowed the NSA to spy on American citizens at-large, an action that is in violation of so many laws that it should make anyone's head spin.

2.  Congress is in on it.  They are fully aware of the illegal activity going on in the NSA, and they're fine with it.  Not only are they fine with it, they are complicit as they have failed to prosecute and punish those who have willfully broken the law.  Their complicity also must run much deeper, because programs like RETRO and MYSTIC don't just spring up over night, and "big data" certainly didn't just manifest itself out of the ether.  It has taken years to develop these programs, and Congress has bankrolled these illegal actions.

Sadly, scenario #2 is more likely to be the truth, and that is precisely why Ed Snowden was justified in doing what he did.  The "secret courts" and the "committees" and the "processes" would never have stopped these programs, and they never would have prosecuted those involved.  One can argue that if these processes truly worked, then these programs would never have existed in the first place.  But Ed Snowden knew--as anyone who has ever worked in intelligence knows--that the secret courts and the committees are just puppet shows.

So what do we do?  Well, let's start with a simple list:

Dianne Feinstein,

Saxby Chambliss,

John D. Rockefeller IV,
West Virginia

Richard Burr,
North Carolina

Ron Wyden,

Barbara A. Mikulski,

James E. Risch,

Mark Udall,

Daniel Coats,

Mark Warner,

Martin Heinrich,
New Mexico

Angus King,

Marco Rubio,

Susan Collins,

Tom Coburn,

These are the members of the Senate Select Committe on Intelligence.  If justice is to be served, then those who failed to identify and punish the perpetrators should be held accountable.  Not one of these fools stopped what happened, and so far I've not heard a peep out of any of them about working to scrap the illegal programs.

Write letters, make phone calls.  Demand from our representatives that something be done about this assault on American citizens.  And, should you reside in one of these states, for the love of God: Don't Vote for Them!


Jersey McJones said...

A GOP senate would not help your cause, Jack. We need a movement for a Right of Privacy in this country. A constitutional amendment.


Jack Camwell said...

Who said anything about a GOP Senate? I mean, I see that voting many of these SOBs out would end in more Republicans in the Senate, but it's really not about that.

It's about holding them accountable for their fuck ups. Also, if senators in the SSCI lost their elections because of their failure to reign in illegal activity in the intelligence community, don't you think that would send a message to any would-be challenger?

Part of the problem is that society seems to just give in and say, "well there's nothing I can do. My vote doesn't matter." Sure, one vote doesn't matter, but when you consider there are MILLIONS of Americans who say that . . . what if those millions of Americans finally said "no more," and actually punished their elected officials? It's still pie-in-the-sky, but something has to be done.