The super-secretive National Security Agency (NSA) has sure been making headlines these past few days, and the news isn't good.
Yesterday, we learned that the NSA is impeding the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) investigation into the domestic spying program. DOJ is not investigating the NSA. Rather, it is trying to investigate what role DOJ lawyers have played in the wiretap program. But they have abruptly ended the investigation, saying they can't conduct a proper investigation because NSA officials won't grant DOJ lawyers security clearances in order to allow them access to information.
It's a sad day for our country when a federal agency can, in effect, say 'screw you' to the Department of Justice, and not allow DOJ lawyers access to information in order to conduct an investigation.
It's even worse that DOJ cowered so easily and just haulted the investigation. Surely there is recourse DOJ could take, to gain the necessary security clearances for their lawyers.
Then this morning, we woke to the news that the NSA is conducting what amounts to data mining. Let's just call it by its name, because that's exactly what it is.
USA Today is reporting that the NSA has been secretively collective the phone call records of "tens of millions of Americans." Utilzing information provided by many of the major telephone companies (i.e. Verizon, AT&T, etc), the NSA has obtained information about the phone call habits of your average John Q. citizen. In many cases, the person isn't suspected of any crime.
One person with knowledge of the program told USA Today that "It's the largest database ever assembled in the world."
The NSA's reported goal is to create a database that lists every single call ever made within our borders.
So, my fellow Americans, rest assured that we can all go to sleep tonight with peace of mind, knowing that our government is doing all it can to protect us.
While Osama bin Laden, the man largely responsible for the 9/11 attacks, is still out there, probably somewhere making his next audio or video tape, your government is conducting data mining on you and your fellow citizens.
And while you sleep tonight, ask yourself this fundamental question: Does your government have a right to know when you last called your mother-in-law? Does it have a right to know the date and time you called your child's teacher to check up on your child's grades?