The NSA is cool. Why? Cause, it's got balls!
I know of no other agency that so blatantly steps beyond the boundaries of it's own mandate, (not to mention the U.S. constitution), and makes no apologies for it. They simply hold up a piece of paper and say... See, we got a note from our dad so it's ok. And the white house supported them by saying, as usual, that it all a part of "The War on Terror".
Doesn't "The War on Terror" sound like a Jack Ryan based, soon to be movie, book? It sure does to me. Not that this surprizes me at all, since this whole administration has been built around buzzwords, and markteing hype. Take a look at the backdrops for all of "W's" speeches, they look like a big corporate product launch. Sony could have used those guys for the PS3 $600 US introduction.
The NSA is supposed to be monitoring any international threats to the US' national security, but have instead been also monitoring domestic calls. Now these, may have been limited to the scope of which numbers are calling which numbers, but that is still a huge violation of the US constitution, and several privacy laws.
Since the 70's there has been a mechanism for obtaining expidited wiretap/intel gathering warrants, available to all US intelligence agencies, FISA, which was set up after mutliple instances of just such abuses of state powers. This president seems to be acting as if he believes that his office is above the law, and if caught simply maintains that his actions constitue a new law being written to get him out of trouble.
Take the whole Valerie Plame debacle, where after the fact, George W., and his PR people said that if the president authorizes anyone to leak classified information, even if it may endanger an "intelligence asset" a.k.a a covert field agent, that it simply becomes de-classified, despite there being no signed order of declassification until days later when the story broke.
First the NSA gets caught with it's proverbial pants down, with the whole illegal (I mean subsequently presidentially legalized) wire-tap scandal, and now with the phone record scandal. Now it looks like the only friends that they have are the Prez and Veep, and the DoJ which is trying to kill a lawsuit against AT&T for handing over it's phone records to the NSA without a warrant from FISA or even a judge. The DoJ says that it's for "national security reasons", but just come off as a group that is dedicated to further oppressing the american people's rights, and freedoms. On one hand the DoJ is more than willing to assist the RIAA/MPAA go after music/movie sharing websites, but on the other hand want to quash any attempt to uphold the right to protection against illegal search and seziure.
This type of behavior is only becoming more and more prevalent in the modern political world, who ultimately write policy for these agencies. As long as the so-called "christian conservatives" insist on acting in a not so christian manner, with all of the political lobbying, pandering to the egos (and wallets) of politicians, and fear mongering under the guise of "patriotism", then I fear that the Unites States will continue down this fundamentalist path. For a group that is so bent on taking out all theocratic states, they sure are pushing to create one for themselves... I guess being a religious state is only bad when it's not your religion.
That's my rant for this week, so until next time,