Your Lying Eyes

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27 December 2005

Trolling for Terrorists

I'm still not sure how I feel about the reported massive data mining operation conducted by the NSA in search of terrorists. It sounds like every communication that leaves the U.S. was being analyzed for clues that it might be related to terrorist activities.
"It's really obvious to me that it's a look-at-everything type program," said cryptography expert Bruce Schneier, who has written several books about security. Schneier and others suspect that the NSA may be turning its satellites toward the United States and gathering vast streams of raw data from many more people than disclosed — potentially including all e-mails and phone calls from the United States to certain other countries.
I feel George Bush can be forgiven for taking it as his mandate after the 9/11 attacks to do just this. I also believe that the privacy expectations of most Americans are not particularly high, particularly when it comes to electronic information. Thus I don't expect these revelations are likely to hurt Bush directly, and may even be responsible for his slight bump up in the polls.

Nevertheless, this is probably not quite the way this should be done. As long as it's just done to keep track of terrorist activity fine, but of course this can't be guaranteed and almost certainly will be abused. "We swear, we are only using these methods to keep track of terrorists...and of course drug dealers...and gun runners...and child sex rings...and troubled teens..." So the good thing is that this is being debated and will hopefully have a sensible resolution.

And let's take a moment to reflect on the importance of the MSM. This kind of reporting is completely beyond the ken of the blogosphere - only a major media power like the Times could have pulled it off. And let's remember that the Times sat on this for 2 years on the request of the Administration - an example of extremely important and responsible journalism.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tossed my cookies laughing so hard...

December 30, 2005 3:15 PM  
Anonymous jimbo said...

"I feel George Bush can be forgiven..."

I feel he can and should be impeached. The law allowed for 72 hours to obtain a warrant after the surveillance began ( but with his Admin´s typical disdain for the law, he blew even that off.

" example of extremely important and responsible journalism." Oh, puhleeez. More like an example of typical American media cowtowing and ass-kissing.

January 02, 2006 3:39 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Well he's not going to be impeached. But I think you're under a misapprehension about what the surveillance entailed. They couldn't get a warrant because they were listening to everybody - filtering all voice and internet communications leaving or entering the country looking for keywords pointing to terror.
I'm not saying there's no argument that this is an impeachable offense, but you need to have a Democrat super-majority in congress to do it and that's not going to happen even in '06.

January 03, 2006 11:06 PM  

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