NSA Data Mining
Let’s set aside the civil liberties vs. national security counterpoints for a moment and just take a simple utilitarian look at the NSA data mining issue.
Let’s accept that there are approximately 200 million (200,000,000) Americans age-capable of committing a terrorist act. Then, let’s assume that there are 2 thousand (2,000) homegrown Americans willing to carry out such an act. The math looks like this: Only 0.001% of the above American cohort are potential terrorists; 99.999% represent no threat.
What then can possibly justify the expense of employing men and machines to a data-gathering task that is that non-productive. Cops don’t do it. Oil men don’t do it. Archaeologists don’t do it. Doctors don’t do it … yet. Who does it? The TSA, and it always seems that it takes passengers to ‘bail them out’.
But imagine, after hitting your finger with a hammer, that the medical clinic orders you to undergo a full blood workup, fecal flotation, enzyme analysis, Xray, CAT scan, MRI, and a DNA assay BEFORE the doctor walks into the room. The ‘overkill’ would be apparent … and resisted as patently wasteful.
Sen. Lindsey Graham uses the ‘needle in the haystack’ analogy. But, before beginning the haystack ‘search’, someone has determined that the stack is in Texas, not Kansas; that it is in Kenedy county, not Pecos county; and that it is on the King Ranch, not Gabby Hayes’ farm.
We don’t look in every haystack in America … unless there are hidden reasons for wanting to gain access to Farmer Jones’ property!