Posted October 25, 2018 06:10:33If you’re a journalist covering one of the most powerful institutions in the United States, you’ll often be asked to “put your hand on the heart of the nation.”
If you ask one of your colleagues, “Who is the most influential person in the country?” or “Who has the greatest impact on the direction of the country’s affairs?” or even “Who holds the most power in Washington?” the answer is almost always someone from the political right.
Yet this is not what is often asked of journalists covering the most important issues facing the nation.
What if you had a different kind of “heart” to hold?
What if the heart was your boss?
This is the role played by national security reporter Glenn Greenwald, who in a story published by the Intercept last month revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) is secretly collecting information on American citizens, without any legal justification.
If you are an American citizen or have an American family member, this is the job of your employer.
Greenwald’s revelations have exposed a deeply troubling aspect of the NSA’s spying programs, which have grown out of the Bush Administration’s ill-conceived war on terrorism.
What Greenwald exposed is that the NSA is using its vast surveillance and data collection programs to spy on the American people, as well as the communications of Americans, without legal justification, according to the Intercept.
In an op-ed for The Intercept published on October 28, Greenwald wrote: “It is not enough to be concerned about the misuse of power by the US government.
If the NSA has been spying on American phone and email communications, what is the point of the massive surveillance programs that are also being used by the FBI, CIA, the DEA, the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)?
It’s the same old, same old.”
To understand how pervasive and pervasive the NSA surveillance programs are, it’s helpful to look at the history of the spying program that Greenwald exposed.
In the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration began an expansive, warrantless wiretapping program known as PRISM, which allowed the US intelligence community to spy online on all internet communications and online communication metadata.
This program was extended to foreign countries under the Patriot Act, which allows for surveillance on citizens who are not American citizens.
After 9/12, however, the Patriot and FISA Amendments Acts of 2001 and 2008 significantly weakened the powers of the US spy agencies, which were allowed to engage in mass surveillance and collection programs in a manner that allowed them to target Americans without the need for warrants or judicial oversight.
Under these laws, the intelligence community can spy on American communications and internet communications without judicial oversight, without a warrant, and without the threat of prosecution.
And under the new law, these intelligence activities are allowed to be done without even a probable cause warrant to wiretap Americans.
To understand what the surveillance program has become, it helps to understand the history and legacy of surveillance programs under the Bush and Obama administrations.
In the wake to 9/10, the US began the “war on terror” by conducting what was called the Global War on Terror, or GWOT.
This global war on terror, which began in 2001 with the invasion of Iraq, was led by the Bush White House, which declared that it was necessary to target all foreign terrorist groups.
Under the Bush Doctrine, the goal of the war on terrorists was to fight global jihadism, a radical Islamist ideology that sought to overthrow the Western world and replace it with an Islamic state, ruled by a strict interpretation of Islam that includes strict Sharia law.
In response to the emergence of Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the United Kingdom led an aggressive, counter-jihad campaign in support of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its allies in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, as they were engaged in an aggressive campaign of drone strikes against al Qaeda and its affiliates in Afghanistan.
As part of this strategy, the Obama Administration launched an expansion of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC), an elite team of analysts and specialists tasked with tracking down and neutralizing any domestic or foreign terrorist threat.
In its first two years, the CTC was able to identify and disrupt al Qaeda’s plots to attack the United Nations, the Pentagon, the World Bank, the European Union, and other key targets in the global economy.
This was a major accomplishment, which helped lead to the US’s invasion of Afghanistan and subsequent surge in the war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
In addition, the U.S. began to build a massive surveillance apparatus, with the creation of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the NSA, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
In the 1990s, the National Counterterrorism Strategy (NCTS) was developed by the Department