We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges

Deep state now just buys your data

Several NSA whistleblowers, and later most notoriously Edward Snowden, tried to warn us that “The government unchained itself from the Constitution as a result of 9/11.”

In a new report covered by The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, U.S. intelligence agencies no longer even have to go through the motions to obtain a warrant from secret courts to gather whatever personal information they may have a taste for—now they can just buy it.

“In a way that far fewer Americans seem to understand, and even fewer of them can avoid, CAI [Commercially available information] includes information on nearly everyone that is of a type and level of sensitivity that historically could have been obtained” through targeted collection methods such as wiretaps, cyber espionage or physical surveillance ...

And in further evidence of our would-be rulers’ ineptitude—and reason to discount any assurances that “your secrets are safe with us:”

The report contained a paragraph that appeared to be marked classified but that was nevertheless included that acknowledges that the U.S. government has the capability to attribute personal identities to the data, and said few policies addressed the collection of such information.

So does it make any difference that what we and others have been warning for years—that the government collects and indefinitely stores personal data on private citizens with or without cause—is now being purchased by the deep state on the open market? After all, it was true before that there were few Fourth Amendment protections in place before Sen. Ron Wyden declared last week,

If the government can buy its way around Fourth Amendment due-process, there will be few meaningful limits on government surveillance.

Clearly, the only way out is to abolish these agencies and destroy their records once and for all.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Chairman and Chief Executive of the Independent Institute.
Beacon Posts by Mary L. G. Theroux | Full Biography and Publications
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