So I’m continuing to dig out from grant writing, and I see that NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly had some interesting things to say about the NSA revelations:
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly launched a stinging rebuke to the federal government’s secret phone and Internet monitoring campaign — and suggested leaker Edward Snowden was right about privacy “abuse.”
“I don’t think it ever should have been made secret,” Kelly said today, breaking ranks with US law-enforcement officials.
Great! Then some more words (boldface mine):
“I think the American public can accept the fact if you tell them that every time you pick up the phone it’s going to be recorded and it goes to the government,” Kelly said. “I think the public can understand that. I see no reason why that program was placed in the secret category.”
I realize I’m a Dirty Fucking Hippie Liberal, but can anyone tell me, prior to l’affaire Snowden, when we all decided that recording the metadata of all of our conversations (and presumably emails) was copasetic? Because I follow the U.S. political discourse (such as it is) pretty closely, and I don’t remember this coming up at all. Maybe I missed that meeting.
Automatically monitoring with whom you communicate is intrusive. Informing us of this intrusion doesn’t make it any better.
I don’t think Kelly is right: most people wouldn’t agree to blanket surveillance–and resignation about its occurrence is not the same as agreement. Though it’s revealing that someone in his position believes most people would agree with this.
Related: Meanwhile, the Obama Administration has launched the Insider Threat Program, where government employees are supposed to report unusual behavior (obviously, people in the White House don’t know very many government employees. BOOM!). Seriously, what could go wrong with this? This policy includes that lynchpin of national security, the Department of Education (no, really). Whatever parts of the federal government Republicans happen to leave standing will be weakened further by this.