In February of this year, Breitbart.com posted the following:
“The President has put in place an organization with the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life,” Representative Maxine Waters told Roland Martin on Monday. “That’s going to be very, very powerful,” Waters said. “That database will have information about everything on every individual on ways that it’s never been done before and whoever runs for President on the Democratic ticket has to deal with that. They’re going to go down with that database and the concerns of those people because they can’t get around it. And he’s [President Obama] been very smart. It’s very powerful what he’s leaving in place.”
Have you noticed that the advertisements on the websites you frequent are related to other websites you have recently visited or possibly to organizations you receive e-mail from? The database being compiled by the Democrats will aim their campaign ads at every voter according to websites they visit and organizations they receive e-mail from. If you are a frequent visitor of education websites, the pop-up ad on your computer will tell you that Republicans don’t care about education. If you frequent websites dealing with investments, your pop-up ad will tell you that Republicans are bad for the economy. The only way to protect yourself from this is to do your own research on the issues and to stay informed. A well-informed voter is the best defense against targeted propaganda.
Now, to make things worse, the Daily Caller posted an article yesterday about two instances where non-terrorists who were caught up in NSA surveillance.
In the first instance the NSA routinely listed to the telephone calls of Americans traveling overseas.
The article reports:
Two former intercept officers who worked at the NSA facility in Fort Gordon, Georgia told ABC News’s Brian Ross in 2008 that they and their colleagues listened in on phone calls home of hundreds of Americans living and working abroad.
These were not suspected terrorists–they were Americans traveling or working abroad.
The article further reports:
Navy Arab linguist David Murfee Faulk told ABC News a similar story. He said that he and his colleagues listened in on the calls of American officers living in the Green Zone in Baghdad.
Faulk described the personal nature of many of the calls, and how he and his colleagues would encourage each other to listen into a call where “there’s good phone sex” or “some colonel making pillow talk.”
Kinne said when concerns were raised with her superiors about the nature of the calls they were listening in on, she was told “your job is not to question.”
Obviously that is an example of an abuse of the NSA program. But there is another abuse that hits much closer to home. The article alleges that Eliot Spitzer was brought down through the use of the Patriot Act.
The article quotes a Newsweek article to explain how this happened:
Another element of the formulas: whether an account holder was a “politically exposed person.” At first focused on potentially crooked foreign officials, the PEP lists expanded to include many U.S. politicians and public officials who were conceivably vulnerable to corruption.
The new scrutiny resulted in an explosion of SARs, from 204,915 in 2001 to 1.23 million last year. The data, stored in an IRS computer in Detroit, are accessible by law-enforcement agencies nationwide. “Terrorism has virtually nothing to do with it,” says Peter Djinis, a former top Treasury lawyer. “The vast majority of SARs filed today involve garden-variety forms of white-collar crime.” Federal prosecutors around the country routinely scour the SARs for potential leads.
One of those leads led to Spitzer. Last summer New York’s North Fork Bank, where Spitzer had an account, filed a SAR about unusual money transfers he had made, say law-enforcement and industry sources who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the probe. One of the sources tells NEWSWEEK that Spitzer wasn’t flagged because of his public position. Instead, the governor called attention to himself by asking the bank to transfer money in someone else’s name. (A North Fork spokesperson says the bank does not discuss its customers.) The SAR was not itself evidence that Spitzer had committed a crime. But it made the Feds curious enough to follow the money.
When the Feds followed the money, they discovered that Eliot Spitzer had engaged in activities not befitting his office, and he was removed from power. When the government snooped General Petraeus‘ email, they found an illicit relationship that was probably used by the Obama Administration for political purposes. When the government snooped James Rosen’s email, they found nothing they could use against him.
There are dangers to our freedom in this kind of snooping, but there are also dangers to our political system. Unbridled snooping by the political party in power could have major negative consequences for our republic. It is time to rein in the NSA–they need to be tracking terrorists–not Americans.