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Mass Surveillance? It’s The Money, Lebowski

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. As we get more information on the mass surveillance programs (both PRISM and the “Terrorist” Surveillance Program), I’m becoming convinced of one thing; these programs are about feeding the military industrial complex with our money. More importantly, it’s about feeding the privatized military industrial complex.

Why do I think that? Because The White House, and several senators who vehemently support the program have been bumbling and fumbling to come up with just one terrorist plot that was thwarted by these programs. On Friday, Mike Rogers claimed that these surveillance programs were instrumental in foiling Najibullah Zazi’s plan to bomb New York City subways. It took me fifteen minutes of Googling to find the holes in his story. Twelve hours later, Buzzfeed debunked it. And then on Monday, several US officials including Dianne Feinstein claimed that the surveillance programs should be credited with the capture of David Coleman Headley, who planned the Mumbai attacks. By Wednesday, ProPublica debunked those claims. Then on Wednesday, Gen. Keith Alexander claimed that these programs thwarted dozens of attacks, including the two that were debunked. Wouldn’t dozens of foiled attacks mean dozens of trials with dozens of trial transcripts containing intercepted communications?

These claims are a joke on their face. So why are these people twisting themselves into pretzels to defend programs they can’t legitimately justify? It’s the money, Lebowski.

The US intelligence budget for 2013 is 19.2 billion dollars. Booz Allen (whose employees are in a revolving door between Booz and the NSA) was awarded 3.8 billion dollars in government contracts last year. That represents 99% of Booz Allen’s total revenue. And that’s just one government contractor.

Our current Director Of National Intelligence, James Clapper is a former Booz Allen employee. I promise you that both he and Gen. Keith Alexander will both be receiving giant paydays when they finish their government service and to to work for Booz Allen.

And just like the fighter jets the pentagon doesn’t want and doesn’t need (but gets anyway), and the tanks they don’t want and don’t need (but get anyway), this program will not die.

And like the fighter jets that don’t work, these programs aren’t going to continue because they’re keeping us safe. They won’t die because of the money, Lebowski.

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One thought on “Mass Surveillance? It’s The Money, Lebowski

  1. I could not agree with you more — this program is a total scam in terms of ‘national security’, it is all about developing these surveillance tools as instantaneous polling tools and marketing devices that will then have ‘civilian’ applications once all the kinks have been ironed out on the government R&D dime. personally i am much more concerned that the program is being contracted out to private entities than i am about the program itself. although obama’s record on whistleblowers is disgusting and terrifying: the recent frontline series on this issue is sobering, though it the first program seriously fails by not explaining in detail that the ‘dissident’ staff at the NSA were upset because the entire terror surveillance program could have gone forward while maintaining anonymity for US citizens until there was enough reason to seek a legitimate warrant. And also, i think, lets the NYT off the hook by not emphasizing that by not breaking the story before the election — a story that including the pending resignation of a huge chunk of conservative appointees at the justice dept — would surely have cost Cheney the election. who would have guessed that Ashcroft could emerge as anything like a hero from the mess that was the bush regime? that’s how bad things are.

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