Monday, May 22, 2006

The step too far was far too long ago

Sy Hersh brings us a new round of information about the NSA's wiretapping in The New Yorker. For me, the key passage follows:

Instead, the N.S.A. began, in some cases, to eavesdrop on callers (often using computers to listen for key words) or to investigate them using traditional police methods. A government consultant told me that tens of thousands of Americans had had their calls monitored in one way or the other.
(emphasis mine)
I think everyone has a crazy conspiracy-happy friend. Or maybe I just have disproportionately crazy friends. Regardless, over the last ten years or so I've certainly had several friends who would always warn everyone else not to say key words over the phone: those were the ones the NSA would listen for. And once they heard any of those words, they'd listen in on the rest of the call. The rest of us have always politely nodded our heads, occasionally pointing out that there are laws about that involving warrants, and often just not arguing because it would be pointless.

So I would like to thank the President of the United States of America, for doing his best to make sure the conspiracy nuts are right about government, while the non-paranoid among us are consistently the most wrong about their activities. I've been converted; I now look forward to future leaked revelations that the administration was complicit in the events of 11 September 2001, acting on behalf of our reptile overlords.

7 Comments:

At 22 May, 2006 13:00, Anonymous gnfnrf said...

I thought the idea was to USE key words, to force the NSA to listen in on otherwise pointless drivel.

There was like, a holiday where everone was supposed to do that at once, wasn't there?

--
gnfnrf

 
At 22 May, 2006 17:26, Blogger The Neurophile said...

I think it sort of depends on who you're talking to. Most of those who've mentioned this to me are worried about the government keeping tabs on them, due to assorted illicit or activist activities.

But I'd be perfectly willing to believe that people with nothing to worry about would just try to abuse the system to its fullest.

 
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