About Those NSA Monsters Under Your Bed…

nsa-hystericsYou know how it is…

One day you’re going about your business, never giving a second thought to nerdish interwebs niceties like “transactional privacy” and “data-mining,” when suddenly, BLAM! some socialist at The Guardian (pardon the redundancy) rocks your world with a bombshell “revelation” that the National Security Agency (NSA) has allegedly been engaging in warrant-less surveillance of everybody and their dog (at least the dogs with email accounts–but enough about EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson).

Coming hard on the heels of actual revelations (that do not require air quotes) that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had been targeting conservative and pro-Israel groups for onerous and politically-biased scrutiny vis. non-profit status applications, along with all the various and sundry Obama Administration scandals collectively (no pun) known as Scandalpalooza, your natural inclination might have been, ala the Hüsker Dü album of the same name, to Flip Your Wig.

Whoa up there, Sparky. Steady now. Remain calm.

First, we are at war.

Yes, I know that the current occupant of the West Wing (and some drone-phobes on the Right who are inordinately fond of isolationist dog-whistle phrases like “endless war”) would have you believe otherwise, but those nasty, misogynist, exterminate-the-JOOZ Islamofascist Islamists (that the MSM usually refers to as “extremists,” or “youth”) kinda declared war on us and stuff. (No really! Look it up. I’m not your personal research staff. If you can’t take that as a given, read The Looming Tower or The Al Qaeda Reader or something. This is why we can’t have nice things.)

So, we are at war. It sucks, but that’s life.

And, oddly enough for a mindset that harkens back to the 7th Century A.D., the people that we are at war with often rely on electronic communications to plan terror attacks on America and its allies.

OK, so that’s the quick overview of why it might be a good reason for the Federal government of the United States of America to keep an eye out for terror plots via the NSA.

With me so far? Good. Hope this doesn’t seem pedantic or sarcastic. I hate sounding pedantic or sarcastic. But I also hate when “civil libertarians” try to convince us that we live in a nice little world where gentlemen don’t read other gentlemen’s mail, and our enemies wear uniforms and abide by the Geneva Convention, and civilians are not prime targets in the Islamist War On The West, and life is a happy happy joy joy of limitless freedom–without restraint, and with no offsetting costs or obligations.

And I want a pony. Life sucks.

Sober up. Snap out of it.

What do you suppose the primary responsibility of the US Federal government is? Anybody care to venture a guess?

Bueller? Bueller?

The correct answer is: National Security. Defending us from enemies and stuff. Like, oh, I don’t know–people who declare (and wage) war on us. That kind of thing.

With me so far? Probably not. But I will soldier on.

Now that we’ve established that we are at war with Islamists (who declared war on us quite awhile ago, actually), and that it is ergo the Federal government’s task to defend us from those enemies, do you suppose that having a statutory way to root out terrorist communications is a good thing?

If not, go tweet something about ABOLISH THE NSA FASCIST SOMETHING SOMETHING, because you’re wasting your time here. Fight the NWO, etc. Thanks for making it this far.

OK, after all the foregoing irritating, flippant sarcasm, here’s the meat:

I will not excerpt this grand piece by National Review‘s Andrew C. McCarthy. Go and read it and come back when you’re done:

Phone Record Gathering Story Blown Out of Proportion

Wow, that was a bracing and informative piece, eh?

Now go read this:

More on Phone Records Controversy

Yes, this will all be on the final.

Now read this:

One Other Point on the Phone Records Controversy

And now read another Andrew C. McCarthy piece:

What Is Private, What Is Not:The national security of the United States justifies the collection of “metadata.”

And finally:

No evidence of NSA’s ‘direct access’ to tech companies

So you see, Sparky, hysteria is unwarranted, as emotionally-satisfying as it can be when being hysterical about purported Constitutional issues.

Oh, speaking of Constitutional issues, did you hear that the Supreme Court of the United States decided (despite a scathing dissent by Anthony Scalia) that being arrested is sufficient cause to have a sample of your DNA taken by law enforcement?

Now which seems the real affront to the Fourth Amendment, and which seems a concerted effort by the Left to return to a pre-9/11 intel mindset masquerading as a civil liberties issue.

Those NSA monsters under the bed will not hurt you.

(It should be noted that Jonah Goldberg cautions us to be healthily skeptical of the power that NSA statutory power represents. I couldn’t agree more. Some folks on Twitter seem to think me calling Bullshit on the NSA-phobes means I believe we should lie back and think of England vis. the NSA. Far from it. But when people act like irrational children screaming about monsters under their beds, the first task is to tamp down the hysteria just a bit. Analysis tends to take a back seat when one is playing whack-a-mole with renting-of-garments, MSM-induced paranoia.)

Thanks for reading. Sleep tight.

————-

Update: Here’s an interesting link that came across the Twitter transom, that seems to indicate that Snowden is a serial liar.

Additional comment: Let’s have Congressional hearings to establish whether or not NSA has exceeded its statutory purpose and/or limits. But at this point, we have the word of one man of highly-doubtful credibility, and that’s all we have.

————-

Update 7/10/13 (tweets):

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One Response to About Those NSA Monsters Under Your Bed…

  1. ac0e says:

    Reported to DIRNSA (Director NSA)…while a member of USASA back in early 70’s… don’t remember NSA or CIA having a “domestic” mission or authority to conduct one against US citizens in the USA… PRISM clearly violates this in every manner you wish to discuss.
    James Douglass
    Garden City, Kansas

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