Tuesday, June 11, 2013

NSA Surveillance Capability Is Monstrously Dangerous

The WSJ has written its second editorial lamenting all the hubbub over the NSA surveillance revelations.  We need to do this to fight terrorism, they say.  And they are correct, maybe.  However, even if we do need to do this to fight terrorism (and that is a dubious assumption because we couldn't even find the Tsarnaev brothers), the terrorism threat will wane and someday disappear.  What then? 

The surveillance architecture will have been built and a massive bureaucracy will have grown up around it that will be impossible to dislodge. That bureaucracy will eventually get corrupted and abuse its power to serve its own ends or the ends of its master, which will obviously be a large and intrusive government.  If anybody thinks that its surveillance capabilities won't be used in multiple nefarious ways - to paint a future Mitt Romney type candidate as evil incarnate, or to harass donors of said future candidate, or to suppress the legitimate political activities of grass-roots citizens' organizations, etc.  These are the tools of authoritarian governments.  This type of harassment is what Venezuela does, what Iran does, what Russia does.  If we build it, that's where we are going.  Some future president - either a messianic progressive like Obama or a moralistic conservative - will look at the NSA's capabilities and say "I've got this thing, and it's f**king golden."


Blogger Heather said...

John Bolton and even Greg Gutfield are so wrong on this.

Putting this kind of power into the hands of anyone or any government is exactly like allowing Iran to play with the nuclear bomb.

Our leaders, all over the world, are not very bright technocratic peasants. I really do not know how they can be controlled. It's the "Tower of Babel" time, I guess.

5:40 PM  

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