Finally, Americans are discovering and believing, that everything you say, do, or buy and wherever you go is stored in a secret government archive at Fort Meade, and soon to find a home under a massive facility in Utah, known as The Utah Data Center (ask yourself, how is this beast going to be constrained with "new oversight rules" passed by this Congress?
Freedom: the great American mass delusion, thanks to the NSA. There can't be a more dangerous threat to everything that is American than everything this beast is, can do, is doing, and will continue to do as long as it exists.
I took the oath to protect "national security" and it secrets within a branch of the NSA run by the USAF and collecting military grade COMINT. It took about two years to discover, or to lose a capacity to rationalize abhorrent activities as justifiable, all of the treachery, deceit, illegality, patently undemocratic, and very deadly activities that are at the core of the operational raison d'etre of this practically autonomous and unregulated agency. It is a government unto itself, and I am bound for life by that oath, even though I took it about 44 years ago.
Unlike those who recite with blind devotion or affirm with passion, I know that this celebration of freedom is an illusion. That freedom can be, and often is, stripped away, anytime and for any reason; not from outside threats, but from the dark heart of all of the secret agencies within our own borders that remain untouchable with that oath. Much more than the origins of the pledge have been forgotten and lost, and God has nothing to do with any of it.
The heart of the problem is identified in this piece: the dangers of "group-think" in the Bill Moyers recent piece: "Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State"
Let's be clear about what the "group-think" means when speaking about the NSA.
As someone who was once in the bowels of the NSA beast, I observed a number of disturbing traits permeating every nook and cranny of the operation. If those traits were applied to an individual, they would be considered having a very serious characterological disorder, perhaps serious enough to warrant hospitalization. If the culture exudes these characteristics from every pore, document, and interaction, it can only have one outcome. That is it permeates every person who makes a career in an organization and who does work that can not ever be discussed outside of the confines of hardened, secure virtually windowless bunkers.
The dominant pathological organizational disorders rampant within the NSA are obvious:The groupthink scenario in that place is as toxic as it can get for a human enterprise. Go up the chain of command seeking redress? Seriously? That is a career ending move, if you lucky. Go to newspapers? Now that is an extreme; what if you release something that really matters to security? Besides, jail, a bullet in the head, or exile is the only route to safety. Can there be a more completely dysfunctional way to manage a problem in a democracy than to only enable extremes?
2. Obsessive compulsive
5. Narcissistic (self-rationalizing)
6. Uber-patriotic (self-justifying)
Just look at the things official sources say. You will always be able to identify at least one of these characteristics permeating the text or lurking behind the lines.
I see the level of secrecy endemic to the NSA as a clear and present danger to the security of Democracy as we know it. Under these very real conditions just what "controls" or "safeguards" can be effectively legislated for "better accountability"? Simple answer: None. Nada. Nothing. It is ludicrous to think otherwise. For a quick link to a long history of data collection programs, start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/... The panel on the right of wiki page has many links that describe the big operational programs. To get a sense of scale of current operations, check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/...
Other than shutting it down or making its budget transparent, the only hope of keeping a choke chain on the NSA Beast and protecting American rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is to provide a protected route for whistleblowers to reach the legislature and the judiciary. Getting the word to a legal outlet that is not co-opted already by being part of the madness is the only chance to bring it under some small modicum of sensible control.
Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 6:21 AM PT: Here is an example of the thinking epitomized by #2 Obsessive-compulsive, and #5 Narcissistic (self-rationalizing):