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Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Think government surveillance is new?
The whole brouhaha over government surveillance of our emails and phone calls gives me two reactions.
First, it makes me laugh because I think people are making a great deal out of not much and second, it kind of p*sses me off because the people complaining are quite likely, also, the ones who would REALLY scream bloody murder if we WERE attacked by some wack-jobs, intent on killing and hurting people in this nation.
And for anyone who thinks this is a new phenomenon, think again.
Back in 1937, the following happened:
"When Princess Juliana of the Netherlands became a mother, CBS planned a fifteen-minute spot" on the radio, mind you "...about the new heir to the House of Orange. For reasons of scheduling, New York changed its mind. The decision to drop it, a cabled order went back to London: "KILL JULIANA'S BABY." That afternoon, Helen Sioussat found two FBI men at her door."*
Mind you, that's 1937, too.
When it comes to the government surveillance of our emails, so far, I come down with the likes of Right Wing, Republican, small-government, though moderate columnist David Brooks last week on NPR:
"You know, I'm not as bothered as some. I'm somewhat bothered by the secrecy, but I don't feel it's intrusive. Basically, they're running huge amounts of megadata through an algorithm. That feels less intrusive to me than the average TSA search at the airport. And so I don't think it's particularly intrusive. It is supervised by the court. It has some congressional supervision. It seems to be reasonably narrowly focused. And so I don't regard this as a crime against our civil liberties. I regard it as a somewhat moderate and balanced way to look for people who are calling bad people."
What the government is doing was put by the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, also, so it's not as though it hasn't been "aired out", so to speak. It was never a big secret.
And what's the alternative choice? That we have wackos with bombs running around the country for some God-knows-what purpose, trying to kill and hurt Americans?
I'll stick with the possible loss of a little privacy every time.
*Director of Talks and Public Affairs for CBS radio from 1937 to 1958. Passage taken from the book Murrow: His Life and Timesby A. M. Sperber.