I'd like to start by offering a hearty welcome to all our readers from the NSA and IRS. ...
The Wall Street Journal reports that the NSA surveillance dragnet is more extensive than the Obama Administration has let on previously, and is capable of monitoring about 75 percent of Internet traffic.
That's on top of the telephone monitoring, the PRISM program and any security video monitoring they've got going on in that Salt Lake City computer facility.
According to a statement released by the NSA, "NSA's signals intelligence mission is centered on defeating foreign adversaries who aim to harm the country. We defend the United States from such threats while fiercely working to protect the privacy rights of U.S. persons. It's not either/or. It's both."
That dedication to individual privacy would be a lot more believable if the Obama Administration wasn't known for actively targeting its political enemies, as when it sicced the IRS on Tea Party and conservative applicants for nonprofit status.
The Administration won't admit that its leadership is behind such maneuvers, but let's be realistic. Underlings aren't going to do that sort of thing without approval of a supervisor, and no government supervisor is going to jeopardize his career by going out on that sort of limb unless he has tacit approval from his own bosses.
It's the same with the NSA surveillance. Edward Snowden made a strong case about how easy it is to "accidentally" access anyone's information, and the Administration is known to have pulled the phone records of journalists. There are also stories circulating about the misuse of access to records of political opponents such as Mitt Romney and others.
With that kind of power at its fingertips, does anyone really think it likely that the Obama Administration can resist using it to pressure congressmen on legislation or to gain leverage over state governors?
A recent report said the NSA had broken privacy rules thousands of times and exceeded its authorization to access information.
The NSA systems allegedly use computer filtering to search for keywords and phrases, and to track foreign phone calls coming into or going out of the country. Only if one of those phrases comes up does the communication in question go in front of a human being -- so we are told.
As big as the government admits the national surveillance network is, it's a safe bet that it's much more extensive. And it's only going to get bigger when a nationwide network of military drones hits the skies.
The only logical conclusion is that you should assume you no longer have any privacy. And that's intolerable.
The "for your own safety" excuse has worn mighty thin. Americans need to stand up to the Nazis within their own government and tell them to start dismantling the Gestapo.
If people want so desperately to be safe, they can do it the way Americans did it for decades, by training in and carrying a firearm, and by being vigilant and watching out for your own community.
The government has exceeded its mandate. It needs to be brought to heel.