For a bit of perspective on the revelations from former NSA employee Russell Tice, which corroborate reports from a former AT&T employee about the scope of the National Security Agency’s electronic surveillance of the American people, let’s compare it to Watergate.
The NSA spying program makes Watergate look like small potatoes. Watergate was a politcally-motivated break-in to just one office in just one building for just a few files. The National Security Agency warrantless wiretapping program, authorized retroactively through the FISA Amendments Act, on the other hand, is a break-in to every home and every office in every building in America. The NSA spying against Americans didn’t just gather a few files – it’s gathered every single file, every single telephone call, every fax, every text message, every bit of information about everywhere we go on the Internet.
The NSA seizure of our private records is not just bigger in scope than Watergate, it’s also much more free of oversight. The Democratic-led Congress in the 1970s responded to Watergate with investigations and hearings that forced Richard Nixon to resign. The Democratic-led Congress in this decade has responded to the NSA program to spy on Americans’ private lives by helping George W. Bush to cover it up, with retroactive immunity granted through the FISA Amendments Act.
Barack Obama voted for the FISA Amendments Act as a senator, and now President Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder say that they want to keep the program to spy on our electronic communications without any search warrant, without real congressional oversight, and without any external controls. It’s essentially a resurrection of Total Information Awareness, and yes, Barack Obama supports it.
That’s enough to shake that Obama change loose from your pockets, isn’t it?
So why haven’t you heard more about this? Well, it’s because the story has been forgotten. Why? Well, journalists who have been targeted by the National Security Agency’s spies have become strangely silent about the program. Also, the story about Russell Tice came out last Wednesday, the day after the Obama Inauguration, when almost precisely nobody was paying attention.
This forgotten story is something you need to pay attention to, however, if you care about the future of American freedom. That’s what Chester A. Arthur says in the following video. Why Chester Arthur? Chester Arthur is America’s most forgotten President – who better to warn about the perils of our nation’s short-term memory?