Hysteria Repeats


From the same 29 October 1975 Church Hearings as this post, this time Mondale queries the NSA General Counsel Roy Banner:


In your opinion, was the watch list legal?


I think it was legal in the context of the law at the time.


Has any law changed that legality?


Well, we have had since had decisions such as in the United States v U.S. District Court case in 1972 which placed—which stated in effect that the President does not have the authority to conduct a warrantless surveillance for internal security purposes.

Can you see why “9-11 changed everything” is a very dangerous idea not to question? Especially given the details behind the attacks (for example non-cooperation and failure to at various points prevent it without even having to go into the likelihood of behavioral modification and use of 1980’s assets as puppets).

Additionally, there are comments from Senator Church that are almost prescient, are vitally relevant to today’s discussion of the use of private corporations to support intelligence activities especially as they relate to the rights of Americans. It’s a bit long so rather than type it up, here’s the link. It continues for a few pages. We are largely, I think, deprived of Senator Tower’s rebuttals because he doesn’t want it discussed publicly.

The Ford administration opposed open hearings into the second issue relating to NSA’s activities in part because they feared that corporations would oppose cooperating with NSA, CIA, etc. in the future and that it would be embarrassing to those companies to have their activities revealed. Church presents some very good arguments why he disagrees. Obviously, so do I, though I have a plethora of reasons to be biased.

I think this in part goes back to the George W. Bush signing statements. Many, as those who paid attention know, stated in part basically that the POTUS accepts this into law but reserves the right to violate it as part of his duty to protect the nation.

Which goes right back to the sticky post at the top of this blog. What if “protecting the nation” is defined as protecting religion from atheism and/or a more lax religious stance on some old sacred cows (thinking of same-sex marriage, for example), as protecting corporations from litigation (recalling the Bush administration’s desire to limit all civil suits against companies to $10,000 regardless of damages), as favoring one philosophy over another (neoconservatism’s tenet that honesty is unnecessary, undesirable and counter-productive in government), as war at any cost under the auspices of gathering as much natural resources as possible regardless of the legality and longterm security problems that presents to the average American?

You have a real mess is what happens. Chaos, really, and plenty of people willing to take advantage of it for the purposes of profiting off of it at the expense of any groups or individuals with other opinions or even with differing sexuality and perhaps racial heritage. It’s extreme selfishness, bigotry, racism, and basic xenophobia dressed up in God’s will and hiding behind patriotism.


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