After The Guardian outed the NSA and its unprecedented violations of the Fourth Amendment, members of Congress took to the limelight to defend the government’s tyrannical behavior.
San Francisco Democrat Dianne Feinstein led the pack. She said the massive intrusion into the private affairs of Americans minus court-issued warrants is on par with the TSA sticking its hand down the pants of travelers.
“I read intelligence carefully, and I know that people are trying to get to us,” she said during a press conference following a super-secret Intelligence Committee meeting. “This is the reason why we keep TSA doing what it’s doing. This is the reason why the FBI now has 10,000 people doing intelligence on counterterrorism. This is the reason for the National Counterterrorism Center that’s been set up in the time we’ve been active. It’s to ferret this out before it happens. It’s called protecting America.”
Feinstein neglected to say that, in fact, the TSA has never foiled a single terrorist plot and never will. As for the FBI, it specializes in creating fake terrorist plots and entrapping witless patsies, a fact pointed out by none other than The New York Times.
In order to underscore the fact support for the fraudulent war on terror and the erosion of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is not limited to the deceptive ramblings of Democrats, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Republican said to represent Georgia, threw in his two cents. “Let me just emphasize, this is nothing particularly new. This has been going on for seven years under the auspices of the FISA authority and every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this,” he said.
In short: Nothing to see here. Move along. “To my knowledge, we have not had any citizen who has registered a complaint relative to the gathering of this information.” In other words, since nobody beefed about a program that was secret until Wednesday, we shouldn’t be worried about the government wantonly violating our constitutional rights. After all, according to the senator, the NSA is just collecting harmless meta data, so no worries. “It is simply what we call metadata that is never utilized by any governmental agency unless they go back to the FISA court and show that there’s real cause as to why something within the metadata should be looked at,” he explained.
Never mind that FISA is itself an unconstitutional secret court designed to skirt the Fourth Amendment. Chambliss’ smug dismissal and apology for over-the-top treason is undoubtedly linked to the Senate’s vote to extend the FISA Amendment Act for five years, well into the term of the next teleprompter-reader-in-chief. Our supposed representatives rejected out of hand “all the proposed amendments that would have brought a modicum of transparency and oversight to the government’s activities, despite previous refusals by the Executive branch to even estimate how many Americans are surveilled by this program or reveal critical secret court rulings interpreting it,” as the Electronic Frontier Foundation put it.
Chambliss seems to have shared the same crib notes Feinstein used. “That’s been very clear all along through the years of this program. It is proved meritorious, because we have gathered significant information on bad guys, but only on bad guys, over the years.”
Predictably, the reformulated Tea Party also supports the Stasi state. “I try not to comment on the results of a program or its effectiveness,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who has been dubbed the “crown prince of the Tea Party movement” by the establishment media. He said “programs like this have great utility.”
Rubio sidestepped comments made by Senate colleague Rand Paul of Kentucky, who said on Wednesday: “After revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted political dissidents and the Department of Justice seized reporters’ phone records, it would appear that this Administration has now sunk to a new low.”
“If the President and Congress would obey the Fourth Amendment we all swore to uphold, this new shocking revelation that the government is now spying on citizens’ phone data en masse would never have happened,” Paul added.
However, despite the outrage and facile explanations – replete with images of bad guys who participate in phantom (and FBI orchestrated) terror plots – the latest revelations concerning NSA surveillance are hardly shocking considering the agency’s checkered past.
“For almost 30 years, copies of most international telegrams originating or forwarded through the United States were turned over to the National Security Agency,” Senator Frank Church said way back in the 1970s during congressional hearings exposing Operation Shamrock and other programs.
Beginning in 1945, Operation Shamrock, and its sister program Operation Minaret, allowed the NSA’s predecessor – based in the Pentagon – to search millions of telegrams. “Intercepted messages were disseminated to the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, and the Department of Defense.” No court authorized the operation and there were no warrants, the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities reported on April 23, 1976.
It should be more than obvious now that ever increasing and technologically more sophisticated surveillance is a key feature of the national security state established under the National Security Act of 1947 reorganizing the military establishment and creating the CIA and the National Security Council. The NSA was established two years later in 1949.