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The Efficacy of Mass Surveillance

It’s been two and a half months since Edward Snowden made the American people, the world, and most importantly, the United States Congress aware of the mass surveillance programs that the NSA have been engaged in. Since then, we’ve heard 100% of the main stream media refer to Snowden as a traitor. We’ve heard the NSA and the white house vehemently defend this program, claiming that it has been vital to national security.

Two months before some (there are still a lot of things we don’t know) of the details of the programs were released by Snowden, a now infamous Q&A by Ron Wyden of James Clapper (Director of Intelligence) happenes wherein Clapper claimed that the NSA did not wittingly collect data on US citizens.


Did you catch the frenetic head scratching by Clapper there? If you don’t recognize that as a tell, I’d love to play some high stakes poker with you.

On June 12, 2013 General Keith Alexander claimed (in a senate committee hearing) that these surveillance programs have thwarted dozens of terrorist plots. He didn’t offer up any specific examples, or much detail beyond claiming that dozens of plots were thwarted.


And then on June 18, 2013, Alexander upped “dozens” to fifty plots thwarted in twenty different countries. He still didn’t offer up any specifics. But don’t worry, the administration sent out some surrogates to serve us up some yummy bullshit on foiled plots that were quickly debunked here and here. So at this point, we’re a month into knowing that our government is watching all of our electronic communications, we have the Director Of Intelligence caught lying to the senate, we have no concrete proof of the efficacy of the program, we have the director of the NSA making increasingly growing claims about how well the programs work, and we have two lame attempts of “proof”.

And inexplicably, some Americans are buying this horseshit. I understand conservatives going along with this when it was Bush, because the psychology of the modern conservative is to follow an authoritarian. They need daddy to protect them from a very simple world in which only good and evil exists. But democrats? Aren’t you supposed to be critical thinkers, basing opinions on evidence and data?

Remember when Loretta Sanchez, a good little foot soldier for the democratic party, and specifically the Obama administration did this interview?


Did she seem shell shocked to you? She certainly did to me.

And yet, people are still defending the program, I mean Obama. This isn’t about the program, it’s about protecting your political “team” at all cost. Edward Snowden = evil traitor, Barack Obama = good daddy protecting you. Never mind the fact that Snowden’s leaks at the very least served to inform your representative about what the government is doing. No, he’s a traitor and these programs work.


A few weeks ago, we found out that all of the judges appointed to the FISA court, are appointed solely by John Roberts. I can see why this gives solace to republicans, but democrats who are still on board? Seriously? Soldier on, little lemming, soldier on.

Two days ago, NSA Deputy Director John Inglis testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He testified that at most, one plot might have been disrupted by mass phone surveillance, adding “There is an example that comes close to a ‘but for‘ example”. Did you catch all of the equivocating there? At most one plot. That means the number is either one or zero. “…close to a ‘but for‘”… This gives you confidence?

Soldier on, little lemmings, soldier on.

Believe me when I tell you that Inglis’ testimony was well crafted and finely tuned. There’s a reason why the NSA is back peddling from “fifty” plots foiled. I suspect that a lot more shit is about to hit the fan on these programs.

But don’t let the mounting evidence deter you. Soldier on, little lemming, soldier on.


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.