Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Other NSA Article

The other article on the NSA sets for Americans targeted by the NSA for spying because of their political activities.  Although the article expresses concern that "in practice, the system for authorizing NSA surveillance affords the government wide latitude in spying on U.S. citizens."  In fact, the great majority of Americans spied on had real or strongly suspected ties to terrorism and were legitimate targets.  The number surveilled for their political activities -- five.  All five were either religiously or culturally Muslim.  (Four were Muslims; one was an Iranian-born atheist).  All were quite prominent -- probably too prominent to engage in terrorism, since the whole point of terrorism is not to attract attention until too late.  One was engaged in a prominent suit against the Bush Administration for its warrantless surveillance.  Inadvertently alerted that he had been listened to in his representation of an Islamic charity, he was the only person challenging warrantless surveillance to have actual proof that he had been spied on and therefore undisputed standing to sue.

On the plus side, this means that in general, Americans are not being targeted for political activity.  One of them commented that he is by no means the only lawyer to defend GTMO detainees, but he is the only one targeted for surveillance, and that can only be because he is a Muslim.  On the minus side, it shows that such spying has not been entirely absent.

Make of it what you will.

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