Sunday, October 05, 2014

Spying On Americans

Many have been disturbed - rightly, I think - by the revelation of the immense amount of spying on Americans by the NSA and other agencies. I don't care for it either, but we should not lose track of the fact that this is nothing new. The hearings of the 1970's on the CIA conducted by Frank Church's Senate committee and Bella Abzug's House Committee had revealed that the NSA had already been monitoring the phone and telegraphic traffic of Americans for forty years.

It had also, Abzug revealed, been monitoring both the phone calls and the telegrams of American citizens for decades. President Ford had persuaded Church not to hold hearings on the matter. Abzug proceeded on her own. At first, when she subpoenaed the private-sector executives responsible for going along with the programs, the White House tried to prevent their testimony by claiming that each participating private company was “an agent of the United States.” When they did appear, they admitted their companies had voluntarily been turning over records and cables to the government at the end of every single day for more than forty years. The NSA said the programs had been discontinued. Abzug claimed they still survived, but under different names.

Perlstein, Rick (2014-08-05). The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan (Kindle Locations 10481-10486). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

Little has changed but the technology. Go ahead, be indignant, and protest to Congress - but don't imagine that this was the creation of Obama, or Bush. Neither was born when this started.