It’s true–There are SPIES everywhere! Your cell phone wants to control you: it’s tracking you, there are spies on Facebook and a tracking file has been found hidden inside iPhones. Even the TOYS we play with a spying on us! The Patriot Act that was enacted after 9/11 has a lot to do with this. (NOTE: If you’re a subscriber, you can still listen to BOTH these shows).
Americans became conditioned to a set of enormous sacrifices in their personal freedom–from wiretaps to airport pat-downs to no-fly lists–that have exacted a largely ignored but significant cost on our society. A congressional review of the events of 9/11 and the assessment of intelligence failures resulted in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which established the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) as well as the counter-terrorism center. The DNI created an anchor for the 16 different agencies operating in the United States Intelligence Community.
In the August 30th edition of the Los Angeles Times, Ken Dilanian tells the story of internet entrepreneur Nicholas Merrill, who was working in his Manhattan office in the fall of 2004, when an FBI agent in a trench coat arrived and handed him an envelope containing a document which demanded that he turn over detailed records on all of his clients and instructed him to tell no one about this investigation. The FBI was using the new legal authority granted to them after September 11, 2001.
Dilanian quotes Merrill as asking the agent, "Not even my lawyer? Not even my business partners?" But the agent shrugged and left. Dilanian writes, "Thanks to new laws and technologies, authorities track and eavesdrop on Americans as they never could before, hauling in billions of bank records, travel receipts and other information. In several cases, they have wiretapped conversations between lawyers and defendants, challenging the legal principle that attorney-client communication is inviolate."
Two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee say Americans would be disturbed if they knew about some of the government’s data-gathering procedures. According to Dilanian, Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) say they were prohibited from revealing the facts. He quotes Wyden as saying, "When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted" surveillance law, "they will be stunned and they will be angry."
Dilanian quotes Merrill as saying, "I want the America back that I was taught about in school–The one where there’s checks and balances, and where one branch of government can’t do everything on its own."