The abyss

Last night, I began reading Black List, a 2012 novel written by Brad Thor.  In light of current events, the Preface to the book caught my eye.

[America’s intelligence gathering] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left. Such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that [the NSA] and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

The above words were spoken by former Senator Frank Church (D. Id.) on a Meet The Press show that aired on August 17, 1975.


14 replies
  1. Vizionmusic
    Vizionmusic says:

    Excellent point S.O.S.- Sadly, even those who CLAIM they ‘care’, are too caught up in their ?fast lifestyles of today… and after the conversation ends…they just blindly go back to their every day way of life- never realizing how CLOSE we are ( to that Abyss!! )

  2. Gary J
    Gary J says:

    In reality it is way too late. We only know what they tell us. They know far more and are capable of doing more than they let out to the public. Too bad they arn’t as worried about people that the Russians warned us about huh?

  3. OkieJim
    OkieJim says:

    During the mid 70s, I was an enlisted (started out as an E2, ended up an E5) NSA field op. My job was a hostile foreign military order or battle, I speak several languages, hence my value to the NSA in the field. I have no doubt that all they had to do at the time was point those antenna 180 degrees from where they were, and we could have been intercepting domestic US telephony. The technology has advanced since: we no longer really need terrestrial antennas — we have line-of-sight satellites that will get the same information, just a lot clearer. FISA 78 went a long way, but not far enough. Enough of secret courts (DEA, IRS, DHS, ICE, etc etc) … open these to the public and keep truly classified stuff in chambers. Justice can’t operate in the dark. In the meantime, we have to trust shady people like Nixon and Obama: I don’t care how altrusive their motives are, I still don’t trust them.

  4. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    Meanwhile, the Republican controlled House just voted down an attempt at curtailing the NSA operations. No wonder Congress has such a low rating among Americans.

    • stinkfoot
      stinkfoot says:

      Excellent observation.? Having broken down the numbers I cannot in any conscience counter your point… it seems to augment my own opinion that the bipartisan front exists primarily to forestall any meaningful transformation on the illusion that such moves are built into the system.

  5. JollyRoger
    JollyRoger says:

    And pretty soon they’ll own your doctors and medical records and you could come to an untimely demise right after a check-up; or you might inexplicably crash your Mercedes into a tree and it explodes so violently that your engine lands a block away… ?we are all just bumps in the road to progress!

  6. bien-pensant
    bien-pensant says:

    The NSA will open the new Utah Data Center soon. They will have the capacity to store, well, everything and anything the government collects.
    Capacity is described as a yottabyte. 1000 raised to the eight power. Every bit of electronic communication, military intelligence, governmental data, commercial transactions, everything. The product of any alphabet-agency can be stored and analyzed later. Software programs will handle the languages and dialects, sift out individual words or phrases, look for patterns and trends, and bring anything “of interest” to the attention of a human analyst.
    Is your phone call being listened to? Most likely not. Can it be retrieved? What do you think?
    How about your prescriptions? Or those enhancement supplements you ordered online? Your mom’s email with the family recipes for the holidays? University transcripts. Entire medical records? How about all of your financial accounts, including those Cayman ones, and the passwords?? Who can access that data? Hmmmm … the Center is in a Mormon community

  7. JollyRoger
    JollyRoger says:

    They’ll have everything except Obama’s college transcripts, birth cert & financial aid papers:)

    • Lynn
      Lynn says:

      Thanks Jolly Roger, you have earned your name. Thanks for the laugh, this subject is very important to discuss, but it is creepy. Humor helps sometimes.

  8. Linda Mae
    Linda Mae says:

    Read the Shadow Party……the playbook Obama is using is clearly spelled out – and it was written in 2006!!!!!

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