Newsflash: The government lied again.
Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, part of which gave the National Security Agency (NSA) legal authority to gather phone records from around the world. The stated goal was to prevent the next terrorist attack on America. A noble goal, one many Americans rallied around following the horrific attacks.
Last year, Edward Snowden disclosed to journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian the true nature of the NSA’s SOMALGET program. Gather as much phone data as possible, including from millions of American citizens, and scan it for evidence of terrorist activity.
After the disclosure, the justifications for the NSA program remained focused on terrorism prevention. Former
NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander said the collection of phone data is necessary and warranted because they’ve been successful. He said, “It’s dozens of terrorist events that these have helped prevent.”
But terrorists aren’t all the government has been looking for.
New documents released by Snowden through Greenwald’s new website, The Intercept, show just how much further the NSA program goes. The spy agency logged and recorded EVERY cell phone call in the small island nation of Bermuda. Audio from those calls was stored on servers and could be played back for up to a month by NSA analysts.
In addition, the NSA is also monitoring phone calls in Mexico, the Philippines and Kenya. But they aren’t looking at al-Qaida links there. They are looking at illegal narcotics activity.
So this program is not just about preventing terrorist attacks after all.
A story on Greenwald’s The Intercept said:
The NSA documents indicate that SOMALGET has been deployed in the Bahamas to locate “international narcotics traffickers and special-interest alien smugglers” – traditional law-enforcement concerns, but a far cry from derailing terror plots or intercepting weapons of mass destruction.
The same exact thing happened after the Patriot Act was passed. In 2011, New York Magazine found 15 cases of terrorism investigated because of that law, yet there were 122 fraud cases opened under it and over 1,600 cases dealing with illegal drugs.
Clearly, the government has bigger goals in mind, like having the ability to spy on everyone. Their true intentions are becoming clearer by the day. They’ll just keep selling it based on the fear that the next terrorist attack is around the corner.
Still believe them?