Thursday, May 11, 2006

If you're being spied on, press 1 ...

So, the National Security Agency is logging all my calls. Just in case.

The White House says "the intelligence activities undertaken by the United States government are lawful, necessary and required to protect Americans from terrorist attacks." Don't get me wrong: I want to be protected from terrorist attacks and I think the government should do that. But I'm also old enough to remember the Vietnam logic that "we must destroy this village to save it," so I don't necessarily trust these guys to be great thinkers.

What happens when our "leaky" White House is looking at Hillary's phone records and, oops, accidentally "leaks" that every Wednesday night she's been calling an escort service in North Tonawonda? These guys don't seem to be above using such information for the "greater good" of re-electing Republicans to protect Americans from terrorists.

If the NSA studies my phone records for the past year, they'll find what I found in an exhaustive analysis: 1,845 calls to my son and daughter, in which I generally ask "how's the weather?"; 1,045 phone calls to Allstate Insurance Co. to complain about the service after Hurricane Rita; 516 calls to my cell phone company to ask how to operate my cell phone; 511 to old friends in Colorado, in which I generally ask "how's the weather?"; 435 to tech support at America Online; 20 to the pizza parlor up the street, always on an NFL game day; and six to my parents, in which I generally ask "how's the weather?"

No bookies, no hookers, no sex lines, no fun. Really, my main concern is that somebody will check my phone calls and find that my life is terribly boring and I'm not really worth protecting from terrorists.


SingingSkies said...

While most of my phone calls are along similar lines, as a pastor, I occasionally get calls which truly are confidential. Is Qwest available in the Beaumont area?

Ron Franscell said...

Luckily ... as far as we know ... for now ... they say ... only the origin and destination of the calls is being logged, not the actual content.

But back when this phone-surveillance was first revealed, it was only a handful of suspected terrorists in America, not tens of millions of ordinary Americans. The government's credibility on such things is pretty shaky right now, so we can't truly be assured they aren't actually listening, can we?

DragonFlyEye said...

The trouble is: I don't think that the way they're going about the surveillance lends itself to such itemized records. Perhaps they are, but then we need to trust that a group who already seized illegitmate powers with the wiretapping stopped where they say they did. My guess is that they did not.

I actually wrote a piece, purely of conjecture of course, on what I think might be happening based on what I had read thus far (it was within a week of the first breaking on the story). To my mind, I don't believe that I've yet been proven wrong. The first few bits are on the War Powers Resolution and the War Powers granted by the Consitution, so you can probably skip over them since they're mostly review. It's where I discuss FISA that things get more interesting.

DragonFlyEye said...

Oops! Forgot to include the link to the article. Here it is!