It’s kind of a hassle to write about the NSA, because since Snowden started telling the world about the NSA’s “spy on everyone” PRISM program and other programs, there’s just so much to say. It’s somewhat overwhelming to deal with the massive intrusion on American life and gross violations of the Fourth Amendment.
During the W. Bush tenure, Rumsfeld cited a series of terms to deal with levels of intelligence concerning Iraq. There were known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. Known knowns are things you know. Known unknowns are things you know that you don’t know – you may have vague notions but no specifics, or you may be unsure, but you’re aware there’s something that you don’t have full info on. Unknown unknowns are things you aren’t even aware that you don’t know.
“Every day there are stories… that are leaked out. The American people want to know that those of us who are elected, Eliot and I, understand fully what’s happening here. I don’t think we do. I would imagine there are even members of the intelligence committee themselves that don’t fully understand the gambit of things that are taking place. It’s our responsibility to know those things, to ensure they’re in balance, and I hope as soon as we get back there’ll be a full briefing from top to bottom so that can happen.”
Except that Congress wrote laws to make the laws secret. Many congressmen aren’t even allowed to know about the secret courts, and those that are are legally bound to secrecy by laws they wrote. So we have secret courts, secret agencies, secrets within secrets, and layers and layers of abuses of citizens’ privacy and other rights that we don’t even know about, because they made it secret.
The NSA is full of known unknowns – we know they’re spying, and unknown unknowns – how are they spying, on whom are they spying, why are they spying, what are they doing with it, and what else are they doing?
The Founders did not intend for one secret court to make one secret ruling that would abrogate millions of citizens civil rights.
The most recent revelations come from the UK Telegraph (because American media won’t report on things unfavorable to Dear Leader Obama):
Staff working at America’s National Security Agency – the eavesdropping unit that was revealed to have spied on millions of people – have used the technology to spy on their lovers.
The employees even had a code name for the practice – “Love-int” – meaning the gathering of intelligence on their partners.
Dianne Feinstein, a senator who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, said the NSA told her committee about a set of “isolated cases” that have occurred about once a year for the last 10 years. The spying was not within the US, and was carried out when one of the lovers was abroad.
One employee was disciplined for using the NSA’s resources to track a former spouse, the Associated Press said.
Last week it was disclosed that the NSA had broken privacy rules on nearly 3,000 occasions over a one-year period.
John DeLong, NSA chief compliance officer, said that those errors were mainly unintentional, but that there have been “a couple” of wilful violations in the past decade.
Feinstein is the Senate Intel committee chair, so either she’s lying and knew about it, or she’s ignorant of what the NSA is doing, in which case either she’s incompetent or the NSA is lying to her, or both.
This needs to end.
Law enforcement officials who do things like run the license plates of cars next door to their houses if they think their spouses are cheating get fired for abuse of authority. The NSA used super-secret spy equipment to track their lovers’ every move and they get to tell their overseers that it’s none of their business.
Not only is this an indictment of the agency as an unconstitutional, tyrannical Orwellian nightmare, it’s also an indicator of what the character of these people are and the character of their organization. They aren’t just run-of-the-mill facebook stalkers, they’re willing to use spy satellites and electronic surveillance to watch your every move at all times.