The NSA has been illegally spying on Americans for some time. The revelations of whistle-blower Ed Snowden long ago established that and the revelations continue to emerge.
Now we learn that free speech doesn't exist in the United States via Snowden's latest revelations. Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher and Ryan Grim (Huffington Post) report:
The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online
sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part
of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency
believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according
to a top-secret NSA document. The document, provided by NSA
whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as
“exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through
electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target's
credibility, reputation and authority.
The NSA document, dated Oct. 3, 2012, repeatedly refers to the power
of charges of hypocrisy to undermine such a messenger. “A previous
SIGINT" -- or signals intelligence, the interception of communications
-- "assessment report on radicalization indicated that radicalizers
appear to be particularly vulnerable in the area of authority when their
private and public behaviors are not consistent,” the document argues.
The government's illegally spying on people.
It's not looking for terrorists.
It's not trying to protect the 'homeland.'
It's targeting people using free speech and attempting to gather information to smear or target them.
This is what government spying has usually been about.
When it's exposed -- as with Tricky Dick Nixon -- there is justified outrage.
The government has no business looking into anyone's internet habits in an attempt to blackmail or humiliate them.
This is not about security.
It's about the existence of an enemy's list.
You have to have that list.
You have to have the list of enemies to know who to target.
This is outrageous.
And if the NSA did need to exist to protect America, explain to us all please how they had the time to waste trolling through the internet histories of people who did nothing but spoke out?
If free speech really exists, you can't have a government agency spying on people in an attempt to destroy them for using their First Amendment rights.
Stephen Rex Brown (New York Daily News) notes:
The six targets live outside the U.S., though one is classified as a
“U.S. person,” meaning he is either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
and entitled to greater legal protections, according to the report.
None of the targets were accused of terrorism — rather, they allegedly
inspired others by expressing “controversial ideas” through social
media, the Huffington Post reported.
The ACLU's Brett Max Kaufman has a piece on the latest spying revelations which opens:
In the five months since the world first learned of Edward Snowden,
story after story based on documents disclosed by the young
whistleblower have filled out a picture of the National Security Agency
(NSA) as an organization with a limitless — and almost indiscriminate —
hunger for information. Today, Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher, and Ryan
Grim add a startling new dimension
to that portrait by revealing that the agency has contemplated ways to
use its troves of data to discredit and undermine individuals who the
agency believes are "radicalizing others through incendiary speeches"
but who lack any ties to actual criminality. The government is
apparently seeking out "personal vulnerabilities" of these individuals,
including their online sexual activity, hoping to expose them as
hypocrites to their followers. While all of the targets are outside the
United States, at least one of them is a U.S. person — meaning, either a
citizen or a permanent resident.
As Greenwald notes, it's a story that's eerily reminiscent of past
abuses of government surveillance authority. Greenwald's new report does
not provide evidence of the NSA marshaling its vast databases to
influence individuals or events within the United States. But you need
not be a conspiracy theorist or a novelist with a knack for bending
history to imagine how granting the NSA the power to "collect it all"
might have seriously chilling and destructive repercussions here at
In fact, the NSA appears to be taking this effort right out of the
shameful playbook of our not-so-distant history. Most infamously, as
part of the COINTELPRO program, J. Edgar Hoover's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) obsessively monitored
the activities of Martin Luther King, Jr., picking and choosing from
the results to produce a report chock full of insinuations about King's
role in an evolving Communist conspiracy against the United States.
Never mind that King unwaveringly espoused non-violence. It was King's
rising public stature and broadly influential political ideas that led
the government to see him as a threat.
We will be returning to this topic in the snapshot tonight. If you're one of those who e-mail a day later to insist you should have been noted for writing whatever? You need to e-mail by this evening with whatever link you're asking us to note. Doesn't mean we will (we're not interested in the cowards who refuse to hold those in power accountable -- like Medea Benjamin and her 'opposition' to The Drone War that never includes calling Barack out) but that's the time frame. At 5:00 pm EST, I will be the only working the e-mail accounts -- private and public -- until next Monday. The public e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.
the huffington post
the new york daily news
stephen rex brown
brett max kaufman