So Let’s Say It Was a Mistake…

Let’s say that the government accidentally and mistakenly mined data on millions of Americans. Let’s say they meant to focus on some suspects in foreign intelligence cases but wound up targeting innocent citizens suspected of nothing and accessing their telephone and email communications. That’s exactly what officials are claiming transpired when NSA “mistakenly” intercepted communications of innocent Americans.

Ret. Adm. Dennis Blair, who served as President Obama’s DNI in 2009 and 2010, told NBC News that, in one instance in 2009, analysts entered a phone number into agency computers and “put one digit wrong,” and mined a large volume of information about Americans with no connection to terror. The matter was reported to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose judges required that all the data be destroyed, he said.

Another former senior official, who asked not to be identified, confirmed Blair’s recollection and said the incident created serious problems for the Justice Department, which represents the NSA before the federal judges on the secret court.

This is one of the problems of allowing the government to snoop as they do.

Let’s assume that this time it was a mistake. Thousands of people have had their privacy compromised, and we knew nothing about it until this fiasco was made public by the Guardian a few days ago.

Let’s assume the government’s intentions were nothing but pure – to protect this nation from another devastating terrorist attack by using the best tools at its disposal.

The problem is it happened, and it can happen again.

It can happen by mistake – through a mistyped digit – allowing government to snoop on innocent people.

It can happen intentionally – through one bureaucrat’s desire to snoop on a paramour who hasn’t paid enough attention to him – allowing government to snoop on an innocent person and find out with whom he or she may be involved, in order to allow one bureaucrat access to the object of his or her “affection.”

It can happen intentionally – through a directive from Washington, as a way to target political opponents or groups – allowing government to snoop on an innocent person or group, allowing politicians to gather data on adversaries and shut them up.

Do you see the common thread here?

Allowing the government such power endangers all of our rights – whether through an inadvertent mistake or intentional abuse – allows the potential for serious compromises and violations of our rights and freedoms as Americans.

And that is distinctly UNAmerican.

4 responses

  1. Key word that – “allow.”
    Anyone who believes ANY of this is accidental or unintentional has their head up their ass. It is UNAmerican to “allow” this, but allow it we have. Just as we will “allow” them to haul us off to one of the re-education camps or worse.

    Or have I missed something? Something like a march on the Black House or the new facility in Utah and taking it/them down piece by piece. No, we are doing absolutely nothing about it so I guess the UnAmerican is now the American way.

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  2. Seemingly one of the only GOOD things to come out of Roe v. Wade has been the establishment of PRIVACY as a “right” for Americans

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  3. makes me wonder sometimes if regular citizens under Hitler’s regime had a clue about what was happening but felt helpless to do anything about it. I think that’s where a lot of Americans are today. We see what’s happening in and to out country and our government and we feel powerless to stop it. By the time the rest of the country wakes up it will be to late.

    I’d like to think that the majority of us would stand up for what is right, even in the face of persecution, but I’m not convinced that very many will, or we wouldn’t have the president we have.

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    1. In answer to your question – https://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/they-thought-they-were-free/ (but then it was too late)

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