“On Foreign Soil”


“After the September 11, 2001, attacks, President George W. Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on people inside the United States without the court approval usually required for domestic spying, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
For several years after the presidential order was signed in 2002, the super-secret intelligence agency monitored the international telephone calls and e-mails of hundreds of people inside the country to search for evidence of terrorist activity, the Times said in an article on its Web site.
The Times said the previously undisclosed decision to permit some eavesdropping inside the country without court approval represented a major shift in U.S. intelligence gathering. The NSA, based at Fort Meade, Maryland, is authorized to monitor communications on foreign soil.” Reuters


“On Foreign Soil.” The National Security Agency (NSA) is the biggest, richest potentially most invasive of all the parts of the US intelligence community. Its electronic “reach” extends across the world and deep into outer space. If you communicate through electronic means, your messages, telephone calls, etc. are all potentially at the “disposal” of NSA. It was not the intention of Congress that this mighty power should be exercised against citizens of the United States on American soil. Consequently, the law governing the operations of NSA and the governing rules and culture of the agency has prevented such abuses for many years. The functionaries of NSA like everyone else in the intelligence community are American citizens and they, like the great majority of Americans, value our freedom as human beings before almost everything else. It is not surprising to me that some of them have”blown the whistle” on this abuse of NSA’s power, an abuse directed at the American people.

When the government of the US is under traditional leadership, eavesdropping on American citizens is a matter governed by law and residing in the Department of Justice. The federal police (FBI) are the people who do such a thing after having obtained a court order and as part of a criminal investigation.

In this case an agency of the national intelligence agency dedicated to the defense of the state against foreign enemies has been used to violate the privacy of the very citizens whose representatives created it for their protection.

What are we, cattle? Are we here to herded about and safeguarded by wise and superior beings who function on a plane of existence where the rules we made for our own governance no longer apply to them?


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4 Responses to “On Foreign Soil”

  1. Eric says:

    Besides all that they farked with Typepad today, too!
    The Bastards!

  2. Eric says:

    Just kidding with the last one.
    This thing with NSA is very serious, and the fact that the NYT knew about this for a year and did not report it for reasons, apparently, of “national security” ought to be investigated thoroughly too.

  3. Serving Patriot says:

    A leading practioner of our vaunted “Fourth Estate” had this story prior to one of the closest (re-)election camapigns in history. I wonder how many libertarian voters for Bush would have changed thier minds in Nov 04 had they known this little tidbit of information? Heck, just a small swing in a few Ohio districts would have been enough to depose this regime.
    NYT (again) proves that Hearst still lives and Yellow Journalism survives.

  4. Herb Ely says:

    In the early 1980’s I destroyed a file at the request of the Inspector General. The file was a resume of a US Air Force Captain who was completing a Master’s degree in soviet Studies at the University of Virginia. The Captain asked me to hold his resume and contact him if a position became available. He hoped to return to Charlottesville after leaving the Air Force.
    The IG thought that this constituted keeping a file on a US citizen. While this was true, I had been asked to hold it. Not wanting to argue with the IG (and having the man’s name and phone number in my rolodex, I destroyed the file.
    I thought the matter trivial, but it did indicate that the IG was taking the matter seriously.
    Ethical standards matter only when people are willing to live up them. I’m encouraged by the thought that some NSA employees took them seriously.

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