The Government Shell Game That Hides The Truth Of Domestic Spying




” Imagine a conversation in the kitchen —

“Patrick did you eat the pie I left on the counter this morning?”

“Mom, I did not eat it for breakfast.”

“That’s not what I asked. Did you eat it anytime?”

“Any other information is in the classified report.”

Would that work in your house?

That’s essentially what the government has been saying to the public and to Congress for years now, most recently with General Alexander dodging and providing nonanswers in response to questioning from Senator Wyden.

Sunday’s New York Times report has caught them at it again. The report, by James Risen and EFF Pioneer Award winner Laura Poitras, is based on documents provided by Edward Snowden that indicate that the government is using “metadata” from a large set of sources to create social graphs of Americans, using 94 “entity types,” including phone numbers, e-mail addresses and IP addresses. It also uses: “public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data.” 

Americans deserve to know what is happening with their data. The government shell game of hiding activities in different programs and then essentially lying about its activities under the thin veil of recasting the questions asked as “under this program” or “not for breakfast” wouldn’t pass muster in America’s kitchens. And it shouldn’t pass as policy.”