Home » NSA Chief Keith Alexander on Spy Programs: “There is no Other Way to Connect the Dots”
Day after day, Americans continue to live with the NSA spying on every electronic data exchange, telephone conversation, and transaction that Americans perform. Their “blanket” surveillance resulted in so much data gathered a multi-billion dollar facility had to be built in Utah to hold it all. Thanks to Edward Snowden, Americans became aware of just how extensive this collection has become over the years since the PATRIOT Act was adopted as law. The real question remains, “Is there any end in sight to this very privacy violation perpetrated by our federal government against us?”
According to NSA director Keith Alexander, “they would be ‘failing’ the country if the controversial surveillance practice ceased, and suggested that a congressional move to stop it would not be the final word on the matter. Alexander compared this bulk collection of data to “holding a hornet’s nest” and admitted he did not know how to detect future domestic terror attacks without gathering up the records of every American.
The Guardian reported:
“There is no way we know of to connect the dots,” Alexander told a nearly empty Senate judiciary committee hearing that was at turns heated, probing and humorous.
But Alexander – along with his colleagues, deputy attorney general James Cole and top intelligence community lawyer Robert Litt – declined to take a firm position on a bill before the committee, sponsored by chairman Patrick Leahy, that would end the bulk collection without a court order.
Although the bill’s text and stated intent would be to prevent suspicionless bulk data collection domestically, Cole said that the actual extent of the prohibition would “depend on how the courts interpret it.”
It was the first time the NSA or its allies have suggested that its dragnet on American phone data might not be stopped even if Leahy’s bill, which supporters claim has 120 co-sponsors in the House and Senate, passes through Congress.
Chuck Grassley, the senior Republican on the committee, who sounded skeptical of Leahy’s proposed USA Freedom Act, expressed disappointment that the Obama administration declined to say whether or not Congress should pass it.
“I would hope we would have a firm statement from the administration of whether this legislation is harmful or not,” Grassley said. “I think the administration owes that to all of us.”
First of all, the NSA claims to need the massive data collection to thwart domestic terrorist attacks, but we all know this agency failed to find the Boston Marathon Bombers before the tragic event took place even though our government had been warned about the two brothers. There are 35 possibly 37 terrorists camps operated by Jama’At Al-Fuqara here in the US which the NSA, FBI nor CIA has done anything about for all their blanket surveillance. So, no matter what Alexander or his crowing minions want to spout, this has nothing to do with stopping terrorist attacks – notice Alexander used the key word “domestic.” By now, it is well known by the American public that government security agencies have indicated in their training manuals just who are “domestic terrorists” and it isn’t any Islamic group.
Grassley, the committee on which he participates and Congress act like Oliver, saying “Please, sir, can I have some more,” when it comes to dealing with Obama and his administration. These Senators and Representatives act as though they need permission from this administration to pass legislation, pass judgment on whether a piece of legislation is good or bad, or determine what is unconstitutional. The last time I checked, the elected officials in Washington were beholden to uphold the Constitution and serve the American public, not cow-down to a self-appointed “king.” Our elected officials have forgotten that a presidential veto can be over-ridden. This is part of the checks and balances of power.
However, if you look at the structure of the government, these alphabet agencies, including the NSA, fall under the executive branch, not Congress. In the belief of these agency heads, they follow no direction or limits set by Congress, but answer directly to the President, who “transparently” leads this nation. So, these agency heads thumb their nose at Congress, make a mockery of congressional committee hearings and proceedings, and tell the Congress what it is their particular agency will and will not do. Congress sniffles, complains, and turns to Obama begging for a hand out. Let’s face it, if Obama, his administration and previous administrations had not been controlling the actions of these agencies, individuals like Lois Lerner and Eric Holder would have been fired, replaced and denied their hefty government benefit plans. Lois Lerner was allowed to retire with benefits and Holder remains in contempt of Congress with impunity.
Congress relinquished its authority to oversee these alphabet agencies when these agencies were placed under the executive branch of government, instead of the legislative branch. Granted, this was done some time ago, but successive Congresses have not seen fit to change it. These agencies and their heads treat Congress with disdain and contempt – an attitude of “how dare you question us” is prevalent. Unfortunately, this attitude has grown bolder during the Obama administration.
The American public continues to be subject to the same old Washington rhetoric while their privacy is continually violated – the number of American spied on is not that big, there does need to be some limits on the NSA authority, and the process needs to be more transparent. This has been the same old song and dance routine since Snowden provided the documents detailing NSA spying to the Guardian. Unfortunately, Americans should not expect any changes to this policy or data collection anytime soon. Obama is not slated to “propose” any restraints on the NSA until January. Based on Obama’s past track record, this can be related to “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor – period.”
America has entered a new phase in its existence, moving from the freedom and liberty of a republic to a surveillance state reminiscent of communist Russia and Nazi Germany. Power gained is likely to be a power un-relinquished, at least willingly. Our technological advances have surpassed our ethical and moral maturity – our government behaves as a baby with a pacifier, reluctant to give it up since it offers some security and has become an integral part of their routine. The security it offers is not a security for the American people from foreign attacks on its sovereignty, but the security of the power of the government to be protected from American citizens who support the Constitutional limits placed on the national government.
But fear not, Alexander has taken “41 different actions” that will better protect the information the NSA collects in order to prevent future Edward Snowdens.
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