Thanks to Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and Laura Poitras, we know the National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting a huge amount of information about American citizens. But what are they doing with it?
Government officials have been quick to deny any "misuse" of this huge data bank – beyond the to-be-expected eavesdropping on spouses, and other anomalous pranks by errant ex-employees – and critics have so far focused on potential misuse. Well, now we know it’s much more than just potential: it’s real, it’s happening, and it’s downright scary.
The rationale for the Surveillance State has always been "the foreign connection." There are these Bad Guys outside the US, you see, who are trying to infiltrate our society and cause violent havoc, so we have to create this huge "haystack" of data and sift through it with a fine-toothed comb – but Americans, we’re told, aren’t the primary targets. It’s them furriners we have to worry about.
This turned out to be a lie. We always knew it was a lie, but now James Risen and Laura Poitras have confirmed it in a recent New York Times article that blows the lid off this rationalization:
"Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials."
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