Even though I might not be an American and my point of view just a tad bias I have never believed that the Patriot Act would do anything to really make the country – or its people – any safer. The ability to basically do anything you wanted to people’s freedoms; and supposed constitutional rights, under the guise of protecting them from terrorists only ends up putting too much power in the hands of people who will abuse it.
One of the areas where this is easily abused is in the ability of government agencies to spy on our daily lives and our communication with others. Whether it be making deals with telecommunication companies like AT&T or place people with opposing political beliefs on watch lists we will find abuses. One such case has come to light and as usual it involves a government agency operating outside of its mandate.
According to a report coming out of ABC the NSA has been routinely listening in on Americans’ phone calls in Iraq as they call back to the US. The people being targeted include government officials, journalists, aid workers and the soldiers who are putting their lives on the line every day to supposedly keep their country safe. The problem with this is twofold with the first being that the NSA isn’t suppose to listen in on any American in any fashion unless they get clearance from high ranking officials. The second problem is that Congress has continually been reassured that the NSA was not spying on Americans when the opposite seems to be the rule of thumb.
As bad as this is what is even more disgusting is that according the ABC it is a regular thing for NSA monitors to share the more private moments between the Americans they are spying on
Faulk says he and others in his section of the NSA facility at Fort Gordon routinely shared salacious or tantalizing phone calls that had been intercepted, alerting office mates to certain time codes of “cuts” that were available on each operator’s computer.
“Hey, check this out,” Faulk says he would be told, “there’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out. It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, ‘Wow, this was crazy’,” Faulk told ABC News.
I find this kind of thing totally repugnant and as Ryan Singel from the Threat Level blog says in a post about this
If the allegations are true, they show that when the government secretly tossed aside the decades-old credo that the NSA doesn’t spy on Americans, it did not simply make one or two exceptions — it shredded the it.
Yup that good ol’ Patriot Act has done a lot good eh.