by Philip Giraldi
June 27, 2013
Antiwar.com

Given the fact that the Internet and phone intercepts made by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) are in violation of the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution, there is only one nevertheless completely irrelevant argument for the government to make in their defense: that they have made Americans safer. But is that true? President Barack Obama, who has dismissed the uproar over the program as a “ruckus,” has provided an impressive array of senior government officials to testify that the violation of civil liberties has been minor, subject to oversight, and effective in identifying terrorists in our midst and also overseas. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper found himself in the hot seat, having to explain that his March Senate testimony in which he denied the existence of any U.S. government programs to detect information on Americans was the “least untruthful” answer that he could come up with. More recently he has explained that they “cause irreversible harm to national security.” General Keith Alexander, who heads the NSA, told congress that the information collected “disrupted or contributed to the disruption of terrorist attacks” including one on Wall Street. His agency later claimed that attacks in the US and twenty other nations were preempted, though it provided no details. FBI Director Robert Mueller is even postulating absurdly that if PRISM had existed in 2001 the terrorist attack might have been prevented, so it comes as no surprise that he is demanding even broader surveillance powers.

Since no one should actually believe increasingly shrill government spokesmen whose employability depends on their defending the indefensible, attack dogs in the media and think tank world have also been unleashed. Former Congresswoman Jane Harman and journalist David Ignatius have piled on the scrum, with Harman asserting “Americans want our country protected. I don’t think it’s a choice between security and liberty…It’s a positive sum game. You get more of both…” while Ignatius argues, oddly, that the revelation of the unconstitutional surveillance program “challenges the rule of law.” Karl Rove, a self-anointed expert on national security, notes that “America is now a less safe place” due to exposure of the spying, while Dick Cheney calls whistleblower Snowden a traitor and possible Chinese intelligence agent.

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