The latest revelations about the National Security Agency (NSA) and its total disregard for the interests and privacy of US citizens are breathtaking in their arrogance. Three articles in particular sum up what they've been doing.
- NSA infected 50,000 computer networks with malicious software
- Meet the Spies Doing the NSA's Dirty Work: This obscure FBI unit does the domestic surveillance that no other intelligence agency can touch
- N.S.A. Report Outlined Goals for More Power
The last-mentioned report is particularly chilling, as these short excerpts demonstrate.
In a February 2012 paper laying out the four-year strategy for the N.S.A.’s signals intelligence operations, which include the agency’s eavesdropping and communications data collection around the world, agency officials set an objective to “aggressively pursue legal authorities and a policy framework mapped more fully to the information age.”
Written as an agency mission statement with broad goals, the five-page document said that existing American laws were not adequate to meet the needs of the N.S.A. to conduct broad surveillance in what it cited as “the golden age of Sigint,” or signals intelligence.
. . .
The agency also intends to improve its access to encrypted communications used by individuals, businesses and foreign governments, the strategy document said. The N.S.A. has already had some success in defeating encryption, The New York Times has reported, but the document makes it clear that countering “ubiquitous, strong, commercial network encryption” is a top priority.
There's more at the link.
In other words, the NSA wants to proactively shape and frame the laws that tell it how it may operate. The fox wants to not only guard the henhouse, but draw up its plans and supervise its construction as well, in order to make stealing the chickens that much easier. It also wants to get around our perfectly legal and legitimate use of encryption to ensure our privacy, in order to render the latter null and void, electronically speaking.
This is sickening. It's the hallmark of an agency that considers its mission more important than the constitution and laws of the United States. I can think of only one adequate remedy - complete and total dismantling of the agency. Its important work must be continued, but under new leadership in a radically overhauled structure. All those who've not merely acquiesced in, but engineered this utter disregard for the privacy of citizens and their constitutional rights must be dismissed from government service of any kind, and never again permitted to exercise authority over others in any administrative or executive capacity. They've fouled their own nest so irretrievably with their catastrophic indifference to law and rights that they're no longer a national asset, but a liability - an albatross around America's neck.
I no longer consider Edward Snowden to be a traitor, for all that his actions were technically treasonous. He's revealed so much about the 'shadow dictators' who do as they please in the name of national security that I must now regard him as a patriot, deserving of our grateful acknowledgment for the service he's rendered us.
To hell with every NSA technician, manager, administrator and executive who had any share in making this organization into the ethical and moral cesspit that it's become. Fire them all, and prosecute those guilty of the most grievous overreaches - then make sure none of them ever again occupy any position of importance, anywhere. They deserve only our contempt, scorn and derision.