What the NSA actually is
Man I love this comment from IamTheRealMike, http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4261215&cid=44947097
"You know, I've read this excuse a million times since Snowden did his thing, and I'm sick of it.
The problem is it's an abuse of language. Saying "Every country spies. It's one of those things governments are supposed to do" is nothing but rhetorical sleight of hand. The word spy conjures up cartoons of men in pork-pie hats and long raincoats following some traitor in a car. The word is loaded with cold war imagery. It reminds people of a time when there was an "us" vs a "them" and spying was a very small scale and targeted activity done against "them" or, at very least, those of "us" working for "them".
We need a new word to describe what's going on in todays world. Spying doesn't even come close to being the right word. How about totalitarian surveillance? But even that isn't strong enough to communicate the reality we are living in.
In today's reality there's no us vs them. There's no good vs evil, capitalism vs communism. There's just bureaucrats and their power, exercised over their own people as readily as over foreigners.
This is not only not "one of those things governments are supposed to do", it's often one of those things governments are expressly prohibited from doing by their own laws. And that's for good reasons!
Please, don't flatter the NSA by calling them spies. They aren't spies at this point. They are real life equivalents of O'Brien, the dedicated agent of totalitarian control in 1984. O'Brien is a far darker and scarier character than anyone who could be described as a spy."
The Manhattan Project employed two hundred thousand people. It had eighty offices and dozens of production plants spread out all over the country, including a sixty-thousand-acre facility in rural Tennessee that pulled more power off the nation's electrical grid than New York City did on any given night. And no one knew the Manhattan Project was there. That is how powerful a black operation can be.
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