Basic rundown: the NSA tapped Google and Yahoo data centers via a program called MUSCULAR, which is different than PRISM (that’s a legal program/partnership where tech companies share data with the government). This is based partially on Edward Snowden documents. Keith Alexander, the head of NSA, was obviously quick to dispute this. When posted on NPR, the third comment down was “Guess it’s time for that Mars colony,” which I subsequently ripped off for the title of this post.
I had no real idea what the NSA does/did beyond a vague idea, so I started here. Apparently it dates back to Truman! Hot damn. I’m likely glossing over some key points here, but it seems as if the Patriot Act empowered the NSA to even greater heights; ironically, the primary author of Patriot Act legislation now thinks the NSA is going too far. Dianne Feinstein, who has some oversight of the NSA, is now furious, and multiple media outlets are calling for the group to be reined in. There’s also currently a report/idea out there that NSA wiretapped the Pope.
This is actually an interesting topic: is the current state of the NSA, and intelligence-gathering in general on the U.S. side, signaling the first wave of our global power waning? In short, has NSA destroyed America’s global credibility?
If you want the full slate of documents and how the story unfolded, go here. Meanwhile, to go with the change of heart from the Patriot Act author above, Pew found three months ago that, for the first time since 9/11, more Americans were concerned about civil liberty violations than terrorism.
Meanwhile, DA FUQ is this Post-It note?
I’m proud to be an American, for sure … although there are things about the functions and operations of this country that deeply trouble me (mostly on the education front, and the dealing-with-poverty front). I do think it’s possible we’ve taken our role as ‘the global enforcer’ a bit too far; it seems we’re dipping into allies (Merkel) and doing un-necessary things (millions of meta-data from Google). All empires fall eventually. I doubt this is the beginning of the U.S.’ fall, but it can’t be a high point — of course, provided some of the newest stories are true (in situations like this, reporters can frequently rush to e the first one out there, which can harm fact).