- Editor’s note: After reading Edward Snowden’s book Permanent Record, I got more insight into the courage this man has in standing up for his convictions and Oath to the Constitution of the United States. This is a book every American should read, for this lays out in exquisite detail how perilous our privacy has become.
- Nowhere was this more concisely explained than in this vital excerpt from Permanent Record, beginning on page 204:
“The biggest terrorist attack on American soil happened concurrently with the development of digital technology, which made much of the earth American soil—whether we like it or not. Terrorism, of course, was the stated reason why most of my country’s surveillance programs were implemented, at a time of great fear and optimism. But it turned out that fear was the true terrorism, perpetuated by a political system that was increasingly willing to use practically any justification to authorize the use of force. American politicians weren’t as afraid of terror as they were of seeming weak, or of being disloyal to their party, or of being disloyal to their campaign donors, who had ample appetites for government contracts and petroleum products from the Middle East. The politics of terror became more powerful than the terror itself, resulting in ‘counterterror’: the panicked actions of a country unmatched in capability, unrestrained by policy, and blatantly unconcerned about upholding the rule of law. After 9/11, the IC’s [Intelligence Community] orders had been “never again,” a mission that could never be accomplished. A decade later, it had became clear, to me at least, that the repeated evocations of terror by the political class were not a response to any specific threat or concern but a cynical attempt to turn terror into a permanent danger that required permanent vigilance enforced by unquestionable authority.
“After a decade of mass surveillance, the technology had proved itself to be a potent weapon less against terror and more against liberty itself. By continuing these programs, by continuing these lies, America was protecting little, winning nothing, and losing much—until there would be few distinctions left between those post-9/11 polarities of ‘Us’ and ‘Them.'”
“Ten Myths About the NSA, Debunked”
“You can’t opt out.”
By Peter Van Buren, The Nation, January 13, 2014. Read more
“Why Obama’s NSA Reforms Are Only a First Step” [January 22, 2014]
“The president has made a step toward better oversight, but his proposals leave the agency’s system of dragnet surveillance mostly intact [and even worst under Trump],” by David Cole, The Nation. Read more
“Edward Snowden: In the US, I Would Likely Die in Prison for Telling the Truth”
By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! Read more
“New Bill Would Make Needed Steps Toward Curbing Mass Surveillance”
“The Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act is a Strong Bill That Builds on Previous Surveillance Reforms,” by India McKinney and Andrew Crocker, Electronic Frontier Foundation, January 20, 2020. Read more