Wednesday, June 12, 2013

NSA spy apparatus is J Edgar Hoover on steroids

On page 63, of Robert Ludlum's, "Chancellor Manuscript", he describes J Edgar Hoover's penchant for information and rationale for collection of data.

"Every paper, every insert, every addendum related to Security crossed Hoover's desk.  And as we know, 'Security' took on the"Every paper, eve widest possible range.  Sexual activities, drinking habits, marriage and family confidences, the most personal details of the subjects' lives---none were too remote or insignificant.  Hoover pored over these dossiers like Croesus with his gold."

Ludlum describes in the fictional book, a 20th Century version of how a government agency hand powered their files to use for the purposes of national and domestic security.  But the National Security Agency's (NSA) version for gathering data and rationale for collection is so grandiose in comparison to what J Edgar Hoover did.  A similarity with the fictional Hoover (I contend real Hoover) and the NSA is the broad definition of "security".  Hoover had and the NSA has as their principle "we must collect everything we can" for the good of the state.  

I can picture old J. Edgar in heaven or hell salivating and rubbing his hands together and saying aloud, "If I only had this type of technology that NSA has."

The existence of NSA's broad scale intelligence gathering system disclosed by the Washington Post and The Guardian is no surprise to me.

We just have to review our government's (local, state, and Federal} history from Hoover's early days of collecting data when he was an employee of the Bureau of Investigation, to  military intelligence wiretapping Eleanor Roosevelt during World War 2, to the US Army intelligence spying on protesters in the sixties, and where even Minnesota State authorities kept collected data on innocent people during World War I to keep track of subversives -- often better known as German immigrants.

Now the NSA has a history of surveillance and spying since its birth in the early fifties.  Their efforts is documented in the Church Committees Volume 5 - The National Security Agency and Fourth Amendment Rights.  The NSA had two unique programs called Shamrock and Minaret.  One intercepted electronic communication, the other project dealt with telegraphic communication.

In comparison today with NSA's PRISM, there is none. The early programs of Shamrock and Minaret were very limited.  PRISM and it's sister program of phone number collection is a souped-up and wild behavior of filing, documenting, and preserving much more information about who an individual associates with, what they may think, and the coming and goings of their lives than Hoover could have ever dreamt of.

Now if Robert Ludlum wrote his book in 2013 maybe he might say something like this:

"Every e-mail, every video, every stored data related to Security crossed NSA's computers.  And as we know, 'Security' took on the widest possible range.  Sexual activities, drinking habits, marriage and family confidences, the most personal details of the subjects' lives---none were too remote or insignificant.  NSA pored over these electronic records like Croesus with his gold"

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