National Security

Spies Like Us

New revelations about the extent of the NSA's surveillance program aren't exactly shocking -- now that we know they spy on everyone, the "how" is just details.

Sep. 9, 2013
The all-seeing eye

New revelations about the extent of the NSA’s surveillance program aren’t exactly shocking – now that we know they spy on everyone, the “how” is just details.

It came to light that the NSA can crack pretty much all standard encryption – bank systems, medical records, emails, chats and phone calls are all readily available. The NSA can easily hack smartphones, as well, revealing data usage and even location information on where the user was. To some extent, such code cracking is their job description, but according to The New York Times, “Beginning in 2000, as encryption tools were gradually blanketing the Web, the N.S.A. invested billions of dollars in a clandestine campaign to preserve its ability to eavesdrop. Having lost a public battle in the 1990s to insert its own ‘back door’ in all encryption, it set out to accomplish the same goal by stealth.” Forcing tech companies to cooperate is also part of the ball game.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports, “The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases.”

Barack Obama told Jay Leno last month, “We don’t have a domestic spying program.” But the truth is, Obama has expanded the NSA’s enormous apparatus, which is being used to spy on everyone – including American citizens with no ties whatsoever to terrorism – and the agency is pulling in far more comprehensive data than at first thought. The ramifications for privacy and Liberty are numerous and extremely unsettling.

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