It’s all starting to come apart for the National Security Agency and the Director of National Intelligence (NSA/DNI). The ongoing rounds of disclosure, denial, new revelations, more disclosure and then misdirection by politicians and agencies. Double down on denial, then attack those that point out the un-American nature of their activities. However, the NSA/DNI and Congress are currently moving to shift the entire focus away from what they are doing, and have been doing for decades, to making this whole discussion about patriotism, safety and security. Of course, safety and security have to be kept front and center. Only making people believe that somehow their activities protect us from “the bad people” allows them to range so far afield in their activities.
Their two main themes? “Everyone spies on everyone so we’re (NSA/DNI) not doing anything so different to warrant all this additional scrutiny.” Second, anyone who asks questions about methods, authorities, disclosures or point out the strictures of the Constitution in this discussion, is ridiculed and ignored. Particularly, the militarists within the Congress are beginning to question the patriotism of the critics. That is a bad sign.
Watching the recent congressional testimony, in front of the House Intelligence Committee of DNI James Clapper, NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander and DoJs Deputy AG James Cole was a very enlightening experience. First, it was a love fest for most members of the Committee to share their fondness and love of the agencies work and how patriotic. Only a couple naysayers on the Committee, such as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) were spoilers for the message. The Chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) tried to deflect and undermine Schiff’s comments.
We spend $50-60+ billion (if you add “off books” monies) every year on the intelligence and surveillance apparatus. That’s a larger single expenditure than all but the top 3 countries spend on THEIR TOTAL DEFENSE. And, more than the bottom 100 countries (that even have a defense budget) spend on total defense COMBINED. The enormity of the global intelligence security and surveillance apparatus is simply beyond the comprehension of the average American.
Why is that important to the Evolution of the Police State? Firstly, it means that its enormous size simply puts it beyond the ability to manage and control, which is becoming more evident everyday. Secondly, it also means the NSA/DNI has an enormous incentive to protect and maintain the scope and reach of their own power regardless of whether that scope and reach is Constitutional; which about two-thirds of it is not. It’s extra-constitutional and done outside the jurisdiction of US law, both through executive orders and due to never being scrutinized under US law because of the “national security” cloak.
The NSA scratched around for something to do after the end of the Cold War supposedly meant “the end of history” and, likewise, a severe reduction in the global intel apparatus. However, not only did that not happen but they also found a way to invent two new threats to add on; Global corporate espionage and the Global War on Terror. After 9-11-01 the “black budget” virtually exploded in all directions.
It was important to gain more supporters for the “black budget,” even without them knowing what’s actually IN the black budget, so it became necessary to co-opt more policing agencies and to invent others. The PATRIOT Act of 2001 and its section 215, among others, was the most handy for that. Next came the “Intelligence. Reform and Terrorism Prevention -IRTP- Act of 2004” The IRTP Act combined all 16 old (like CIA, NSA and NRO) and new (like Homeland Security, DEA and even the Coast Guard “Intel” units) intelligence agencies under the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and helped to explode their funding levels into anything and everything.
All of this reshuffling and increased funding is bringing tighter and tighter integration of all police, security, defense and intelligence functions more and more under one funding source; the federal government. It is also distorting, misdirecting and mal-training the local police while militarizing them into some horrible behaviors that are more and more in evidence, all over the country, every day. No-knock and SWAT raids, Civil Asset Forfeiture and military training for the patrol cops showing increasing routine disrespect, if not outright ignorance, of anything remotely attached to the exercise of Constitutional rights and liberties.
We are swiftly approaching a turning point in the rise of the police state. If the full integration of the federal, state and local agencies is allowed to proceed any further in funding, equipment provisions or training the American Republic will finish dying in the process. If the domestic Security and Surveillance state is not drastically curtailed along with it, we’ll see the rise of the nastiest Big Brother imaginable and the likely precipitation of civil war instigated by the Feds and their lapdogs within the states.