Safety or Statism: The Goal of the Surveillance State

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
07/18/2013
       
Safety or Statism: The Goal of the Surveillance State

Although the chief architects of the surveillance state insist that unconstitutional monitoring promotes safety, the evidence proves otherwise.

If you have nothing to hide, why should you worry about the government’s goal of “collecting it all?”

Although nearly every law, regulation, or order issued by the federal government is almost indecipherable because of the amount of vague language, when it says it is collecting all information, it really means all information.

That three-word incriminating phrase first appeared in a Washington Post op-ed featured in a story published earlier this week by The New American. On July 16, Thomas R. Eddlem wrote:

The Washington Post ran a lengthy profile of NSA Director Keith B. Alexander on July 14, summarizing Alexander's philosophy with the phrase, “Collect it all.” A July 15 op-ed by Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane suggested that “the United States needs to engage in data collection on a wide scale, both at home and abroad.”

The original NSA profile piece explained the origins of Alexander's unconstitutional surveillance state during the Iraq War, explaining that it began as an attempt to gather war-related intelligence from foreigners: “The NSA director, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, wanted more than mere snippets. He wanted everything: Every Iraqi text message, phone call and e-mail that could be vacuumed up by the agency’s powerful computers.”

In the original Washington Post piece, General Alexander trots out one of the surveillance state’s favorite tropes: Our snooping keeps you safe. Then, he points out that were it not for the powers granted to the government (unconstitutionally) by the slate of post-9/11 “laws,” Iraq wouldn’t be as safe as it is today.

It’s one thing to explain away his department’s disregard for the Constitution and the civil liberties it protects, but it is another degree of daring altogether to hold up Iraq as the epitome as safety.

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