SuperGenius author Nat Hentoff asks in The Village Voice if Obama is prepared to deal with the National Security Agency’s surveillance of us all — or if he will merely go along with the rules established by the Bush Administration.

Of all our intelligence agencies, the most unabashedly un-American is the NSA, because it has the continually expanding technological resources to make George Orwell’s Big Brother look like a cantankerous infant. No American president has come close to reining in the NSA, let alone bringing its officials up on charges of murdering our Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

In case you’ve forgotten, those specific constitutional protections were a result of the general searches conducted by British soldiers that turned American colonists’ homes and offices upside down. NSA’s eavesdropping on our phones and Internet activities have largely destroyed some of our rights as mentioned in the Constitution: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall be issued but on probable cause. . . .” (Computers and the Internet are now included.)

Is the NSA returning us to the days of British soldiers stopping us in the streets and reporting our behavior for punishment?

Should an American government agency ever spy on its own citizens?  Is there any irony in knowing we pay taxes so that money can be turned around against us in a Panopticonic gaze?

Do we have any right to privacy under the Constitution or is that terrorism’s biggest win against us:  Less freedom, less choice and more punishable wants out of the public eye?


  1. This ties in with an article I am writing for my blog – there is a proposal being discussed next week to “tighten up” the law on what you can and cannot say on the internet – which means bloggers and their hosting companies can be sued for “defamation and libel”.
    Freedom of speech will soon be a thing of the past – everyone will be afraid to state an opinion for fear of being picked up on.
    The world of “V” is approaching.

  2. I think you’re right, Nicola! How soon will the hammer come down on blogs that are labeled “terroristic” by authoritarian rule because they reveal an unpopular truth?

  3. Not long – they used anti-terror legislation to raid an MP’s office in the UK a couple of weeks ago – bypassing all of the security and protocol in the House of Commons.
    They can use it to stop you in the street – they will use it to stop us writing on the internet.

  4. Terrible and frightening, Nicola! How can we ever return to the innocent freedom of expression and protest? If things will only get tighter and worse — can we find a way to reverse it?

  5. NSA today…Obama Administration tells NSA naughty naughty, stop that….smile.
    DHS meanwhile has expanded the parameters of who is a radical or terrorist. American Legion and retired police officers beware…not to mention the Tax Payer Tea Parties which are ordered to be surveilled by Janet Gotchyournumbernow…or is this just some trumped up propaganda…but wait!…Janet stands by her position. That’s an answer, yes? NSA is in your pants as we speak…watching, listening and reporting on everyday guys and gals….it’s gotten so easy with the modern technology unfettered by laws that are understood by…well…anyone?!!
    Where does it end, how do we end it, and why is the Obama Administration so afraid of its own citizenry? Are they doing something wrong we should know about or what…guilty reactions tell the tale.

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