liberal ["liberalis" L - suitable for a freeman, generous; "eleutheros" Gk - free] (adj) generous, open-minded, not subjugated to authoritarian domination; (n) one who believes in liberty, universal suffrage and the free exchange of ideas. elite ["eslire" Fr -- to choose fr.L "eligere" -- choose] (n) the choice part; best of a class; the socially superior part of society.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The NSA hearings

The much anticipated NSA hearings before the Senate Intelligence Committee are getting underway. Today, Intelligence Director Negroponte, General Hayden, Porter Goss, and other great patriots sat in for open questioning before kicking out the press and the public.

Levin and Rockefeller went down the line and asked everybody on the panel to estimate the number of communications that the program intercepts. None of them would do it, even though they spent last week trumpeting assurances of civil liberties to the nation.

It's obvious to me, based on the character of the people involved, that the Bush Administration is using the NSA to spy on Americans who have no connection with terrorists, but are just potential political rivals of the Republican party, and, they are not divulging the information to the public because it would show they are deliberately breaking the law, lying, and violating people's rights for political reasons, not for national security.

Meanwhile, we've been crying into our cellphones and laptops, but some activists have been busy doing something to attempt to defend our civil rights.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed the latest suit in California District Court Tuesday, charging that the telecommunications giant [AT&T] violated its customers’ privacy rights by opening its records and systems to secret spying by the National Security Agency (NSA). In a statement announcing the legal action, EFF accused the NSA of recklessly snooping on US residents in contravention of existing laws.

"The NSA program is apparently the biggest fishing expedition ever devised, scanning millions of ordinary Americans’ phone calls and emails for ‘suspicious’ patterns, and it’s the collaboration of US telecom companies like AT&T that makes it possible," EFF staff attorney Kevin Bankston said.
So, some people organizing are going to save the rest of our arses again, we hope!

What we are likely never to hear confirmed in Washington the giant, octopus-like tentacles of the NSA, as described by the ACLU.

The idea is that the NSA system taps into the major industrial, corporate telecommunications switches and mines everything in order to allow the military to zero in on anybody in the country they damn well please. I can't wait to see Negroponte and General Hayden cough up that information on C-SPAN!


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