Blanket surveillance is about covering up government corruption and chilling free speech, not catching terrorists

Source: Alex Jones & Paul Joseph Watson

The NSA’s vast wiretapping and surveillance operation, in addition to the agency’s attempt to intimidate the media and whistleblowers from releasing information about programs such as PRISM, has has virtually nothing to do with catching terrorists and everything to do with creating a chilling effect that dissuades the free press from exposing government corruption while making Americans fearful of engaging in political free speech.

National Security Agency

The myth that blanket NSA spying is primarily concerned with catching terrorists, or that terrorists will be aided by people like Edward Snowden blowing the whistle on the PRISM program, has been debunked by numerous experts.

Firstly, the threat posed to Americans by terrorism is grossly exaggerated and overhyped. Americans are more likely to be killed by toddlers than terrorists. Intestinal illnesses, allergic reactions to peanuts, bee stings, drowning in the bath, or accident-causing deer all individually pose a greater threat to Americans than terrorists. So the whole debate about sacrificing privacy for security is a total fraud to begin with.

As the former head of the National Security Agency’s global digital data gathering program – William Binney – confirmed, the witch hunt targeting Edward Snowden is not about preventing terrorists from discovering how they are being tracked by the NSA, it is about preventing the American people from finding out about the unconstitutional actions of the NSA.

“The terrorists have already known that we’ve been doing this for years, so there’s no surprise there. They’re not going to change the way they operate just because it comes out in the U.S. press. I mean, the point is, they already knew it, and they were operating the way they would operate anyway. So, the point is that they’re—we’re not—the government here is not trying to protect it from the terrorists; it’s trying to protect it, that knowledge of that program, from the citizens of the United States,” said Binney.

This sentiment was echoed by top counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, who remarked, “The argument that this sweeping search must be kept secret from the terrorists is laughable. Terrorists already assume this sort of thing is being done. Only law-abiding American citizens were blissfully ignorant of what their government was doing.”

Innumerable lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who have called for Ed Snowden to be arrested for revealing the existence of PRISM have done do under the justification that Snowden is aiding terrorists by tipping them off to the fact that the NSA is spying on them and therefore harming national security. Yet as Clarke and Binney highlight, this is a moot point – it was already known by everyone – therefore there must be a different reason for the persecution of Snowden and his ilk.

The reason for the persecution of whistleblowers and media outlets who leak evidence of government wrongdoing is to intimidate the free press and make them less likely to publish information about government corruption for fear of legal reprisals.

This is an easily understood consequence of the persecution of Edward Snowden and yet it has barely been touched upon in the aftermath of the PRISM scandal.

As William Binney explains, government officials are only mad at Snowden because his revelations expose their wrongdoing. This has nothing to do with genuine concerns about national security or terrorism.

Data is being obtained by the NSA unencrypted so that no probable cause is needed for the agency to access that data – meaning the system has been set up for political and not practical purposes.

As Thomas Drake, former senior NSA executive and a decorated Air Force and Navy veteran remarks, the government is incensed at Snowden and the media outlets who carried his story because Snowden exposed how the NSA is acting in “direct violation of the fourth amendment of the US constitution,” and how the NSA is “subverting the constitution.”

Despite the fact that whistleblowers are helping to expose wrongdoing in government – and the polls show they are supported by the majority of the American people – the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined.

As all the experts agree, this isn’t being done to protect America from terrorists, it is being done to intimidate insiders from coming forward and speaking out against government corruption in the fear that they will end up like Bradley Manning – locked away in solitary confinement for years.

Telephones belonging to AP reporters are also being tapped to discourage other news organizations from reporting on government misdeeds. Individual reporters like James Rosen are also being targeted by the Obama administration, making potential sources who have information on government wrongdoing less likely to approach journalists.

The NSA’s huge illegal dragnet also has an additional consequence – implanting a seed of doubt in the minds of average Americans seeking to exercise their first amendment right to criticize the government. Could they become a target of blanket surveillance and wiretapping? Could their private life be exposed by a resentful NSA official if they dare to become a nuisance to the feds? Could they be accidentally mistaken for a terrorist if they send an email to another person who is under suspicion?

The Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers and the NSA and other federal agency’s role in spying on reporters and average Americans has nothing to do with stopping terrorists and everything to do with intimidating the media, creating a chilling effect that makes insiders who have clear evidence of government corruption far less likely to go public, and making Americans think twice before they criticize the government or exercise their constitutional rights.