Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The events of 9/11 came as a tremendous shock to America. Equally shocking was the failure of the intelligence community to detect and prevent these attacks. We need to work smarter. We need better trained agents. We need agents who speak the languages of terrorist hotspots, who know the cultures of these areas...

Yet, more than ten years after 9/11, it seems our intelligence community is only getting more and more bloated, not leaner and smarter. As Tom Engelhardt notes, we now have seventeen major intelligence agencies, funded to the tune of $80 billion per year and growing, chasing and collecting everything about everyone.

To this end, the National Security Agency (NSA), known humorously as "Nonesuch Agency" due to its inherent secrecy, is building a $2 billion colossus in Utah to collect and store oceans of data, from "the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails -- parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital 'pocket litter.'"

The more intelligence centers we create, the more data we collect and store on ourselves and our fellow citizens, the more our country comes to resemble a Panopticon. We are less as a society, we are less as individuals, we have less dignity and autonomy, the more our rights to privacy are stripped away from us in the name of "security."

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