Verizon scandal: Obama's national security state is now beyond democratic control

The sheer number of scandals exposes Obama's inner authoritarianism

Those crazy American conspiracy theorists who live up trees with guns and drink their own pee don’t seem quite so crazy anymore. It turns out that a “secret court order” has empowered the US government to collect the phone records of millions of users of Verizon, one of the most popular telephone providers – a massive domestic surveillance programme and a shocking intrusion into the lives of others. For the first time in history, being an AT&T customer doesn’t seem such a bad thing after all.

Of course, it isn't the first time that a US administration has spied on its own people. The origins of this particular order lie first in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and then in Section 215 of the Patriot Act, backed by George W Bush and passed by Congress after 9/11. Normally, domestic surveillance only targets suspicious individuals, not the entire population, but in 2006 it was discovered that a similarly wide database of cellular records was being collected from customers of Verizon, AT&T and BellSouth. There was plenty of outrage and plenty of lawsuits, but the National Security Agency never confirmed that the programme had been shut down. It would appear that it’s still in rude health: the latest court order for collecting data runs from April 25 to July 19.

A few observations. First, America is so conscious and proud of its history as a beacon of liberty that it often overlooks the tyranny that occurs on its own shores in the name of safeguarding democracy. The national security state has expanded to the point whereby it now functions outside of democratic control and with clear disregard for the Constitution.


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commented 2013-06-06 22:35:59 -0400 · Flag
B.P. writes:

Jim, Tea Party “hatred” of Obama is nothing personal or even remotely racists. It is merely hatred for everything Obama stands for: a leviathan Government apparatus, high-taxes, Socialized Health Care, intrusive Tax-collectors, the death of the Private Sphere, wildly biased press, an inept Foreign Policy, cowardice under pressure, and a focus on divisive social issues. Add to that Obama’s feckless incompetence, lack of gravitas, self-worship, Affirmative-Action-facilitated rise, and his aloof arrogance and the “hatred” stems from living under perhaps the worst President in history.
commented 2013-06-06 22:30:15 -0400 · Flag
C.R. writes:

Point well taken; I mean any tea party advocate who concentrates on constitutionality, smaller govt., fiscal probity, reigning in if not flat-out neutering the fed, a muscular but significantly pared down foreign military presence, *and entirely stays away from the gay/abortion/transgender/marriage-related social issues.

So I guess that means the tea-party libertarians.
commented 2013-06-06 22:28:41 -0400 · Flag
Jim writes:

Concur. But be wary of the “Tea Party,” which is inhabited with many of the same neocon-minded republicans that associate themselves with the TP more for a hate of Obama than with the true cause of liberty.
commented 2013-06-06 22:27:32 -0400 · Flag
C.R. writes:

Every syllable undeniable! He takes a very objective stand on the entire machinery of govt., left and right, and calls the realities:
  • the dhs super-apparatus is now such an unconstitutional affront that our founders are somersaulting in their crypts;
  • obama is a statist, soft tyranny-exercising calamity for this nation;
  • every administration since the early 1980s has been run by constitution-defiling pygmies that don’t merit being pissed on while on fire.

The tea party remains the last vestige of sanity.