Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Am Not Surprised

Well, what do you know: it now appears that the National Security Agency overstepped its bounds in collecting the private emails of citizens without a warrant. Even though the 110th Congress renewed the unconstitutional program with little in the way of changes, the NSA still couldn't get it right, perhaps because it had no intention to.

From the NY Times:

The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews.

Several intelligence officials, as well as lawyers briefed about the matter, said the N.S.A. had been engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications of Americans. They described the practice as significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to have been unintentional.

Unintentional? Unlikely.

Once the floodgate was opened, the NSA began diving into our private lives with gusto and with the assistance of the telecoms (now free of any liability for mistakes). Why the sudden spate of investigations by the Justice Department and Congress? Apparently the NSA picked the "wrong" subject to electronically monitor:

While the N.S.A.’s operations in recent months have come under examination, new details are also emerging about earlier domestic-surveillance activities, including the agency’s attempt to wiretap a member of Congress, without court approval, on an overseas trip, current and former intelligence officials said. [Emphasis added]

Big mistake, that. It's one thing to mess with the privacy rights of plain old citizens, but members of Congress? No way.

The truly enraging part of this scenario is that the current administration, which promised "change" when it came to adhering to the Constitution, is not calling for the repeal of the law which allows for such warrantless searches. Instead, satisfied that the NSA has done the cosmetic tinkering ordered by the last Congress, Attorney General Holder has certified the program as now A-OK. Apparently he can accept the excuse that although millions of our emails have been unlawfully collected and cached, not all of them have been read. Yet.

I don't see much in the way of change here. And, frankly, I am not surprised.

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Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

The NSA has been spying on Americans as long as it has been in existence, albeit its charter prohibits it.

The CIA's charter also forbids it from acting in the USA, a prohibition it has actively ignored for at least 60 years...

The State--now including the Obamanistas--has an interest in surveilling the people, it has the technology to do so mostly unnoticed, and nothing we or anyone does will stop it.

No president except Wahsington EVER returned to the Congress any power arrogated for the purposes of meeting a particular 'emergency.' It is delusional to believe the Mocha Messiah will be any different...

8:51 AM  

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