The herd is easily spooked. And way too trusting.
If nothing else, they should be suspicious of the way the administration keeps changing its story. When they first got caught doing this, they said, "No, no, it's only overseas calls to Middle Eastern countries that we're checking up on." Then when that didn't hold water, they said it was just international calls in general, and that nobody was checking up to see if you were calling your Aunt Martha in Hoboken. But, whoops, now it's revealled that, yeah, they are
checking up on domestic "Aunt Martha" calls. Millions of 'em. If there are terrorist sleepers left in this country, there damned sure ain't millions
of 'em. The sheer unfeasible volume
of the amount of calls being checked ought to put the quietus on arguments that this is necessary for our "security." Don't mistake a boot on your neck for a security blanket. I don't see any way a reasonable, not-frightened-out-of-his-sh*t adult - especially
one who espouses a smaller, less-intrusive government - is going to give the feds a pass for checking up on that
many calls. If we just shrug that
off, then, sorry, but the terrorists are wasting their time; who needs to bomb a populace who's willing to accept a Stalinesque government? It's starting to look like the strategy is, "The terrorists hate us for our freedoms... so, if we destroy those freedoms, then that'll end the beef!" Brilliant.
A historian who's made a big study of the NSA had the following to say:
The fact that the federal government has my phone records scares the living daylights out of me. They won't learn much from them other than I like ordering pizza on Friday night and I don't call my mother as often as I should. But it should scare the living daylights out of everybody, even if you're willing to permit the government certain leeways to conduct the war on terrorism.
We should be terrified that Congress has not been doing its job and because all of the checks and balances put in place to prevent this have been deliberately obviated. In order to get this done, the NSA and White House went around all of the checks and balances. I'm convinced that 20 years from now we, as historians, will be looking back at this as one of the darkest eras in American history. And we're just beginning to sort of peel back the first layers of the onion. We're hoping against hope that it's not as bad as I suspect it will be, but reality sets in every time a new article is published and the first thing the Bush administration tries to do is quash the story. It's like the lawsuit brought by EFF [Electronic Frontier Foundation] against AT&T -- the government's first reaction was to try to quash the lawsuit. That ought to be a warning sign that they're on to something.
Me, I'm not willing to give up phone privacy, even I don't call terrorists, and I don't discuss any nation-threatening activity, and, frankly, don't use the phone much at all. But, I pay my phone bills, and if I didn't dial your ass up, then whatever
I'm talking about isn't any of your emeffin' beeswax. And it's pretty surprising to me that people are so willing to just shrug off their privacy being invaded. Would they carp if agents showed up to watch them take a shower? They'd probably obligingly explain that away, too.