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December 19, 2005


Domestic spying isn't cool - however, the part about the NSA is nothing new. The NSA has been spying on Americans (and everyone else) since the 1980s.

Through a system known as "Echelon," pretty much all forms of electronic communication are monitored including phone calls (land-line and mobile), e-mails, internet traffic, radio communications, ect.Echelon is a multi-national project with the NSA handling the US end of it. How it works is there are numerous sites around the globe that take in all of these signals. It is truly a massive amount of information and for intelligence purposes most of it is garbage. Large banks of computers hash through this mountain of information looking for certain keywords and phrases that are determined by the people running the system. When these are detected those intercepts are pulled and processed further. If they make it far enough they'll end up in front of a human being who will make the final determination of whether it is useful or not.

Yes, domestic spying is illegal; but, that has not been a problem to get around. Friendly countries whose intelligence services are a part of the system simply do the "spying" on Americans (because for them it is not illegal), and then pass the information back to US authorities. This is basically information laundering and that makes it completely legal. Thus, the NSA spying on its own citizens is nothing new. Comforting isn't it?

By all means let's have a serious debate about the limits of executive power under circumstances where there's increased temptation to use it, and where the executive is likely to be given more latitude. But let's conduct that debate with an appreciation of the gravity of the threats we face. Calling the president a "peeping Tom" is simply juvenile and shows how many are motivated more by a visceral, irrational hatred of the man than by sober concern for real-world dangers.

Grow up already.

Anthony, I don't have a "visceral, irrational hatred" of George Bush. But I stand by my peeping Tom description of him.

What else should you call a person who secretly spies on American citizens without a warrant? An "honest Tom" (or George) would seek Congressional authorization for such a practice, making sure that it is legal.

As I said, Bush likes to govern imperiously. He thinks he is above the law. So torture is OK because King George says so. Outing CIA agents is OK because King George says so. The NSA spying on Americans is OK because King George says so.

More and more he looks like a sad, pathetic man to me. His power and credibility are slipping away, and he knows it.

Thanks for the post. I found you through progressive traditionalist who often comments on isamericaburning.blogspot.com a political blog shared by another great-granny and me.

rocrebelgranny.blogspot.com is me as well - more of a coffee-klatch thing. More about families, etc. and less political although politics sneaks in from time to time.

I'll be back and we'd welcome you at our site. We're small but we're mouthy.

Ann (granny)

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