I’m about to drop a few quotes about the National Security Agency on you that may not be surprising, but what I tell you after that could raise a question or two.
First, a quote from the Washington Post about an NSA spy program:
Has the NSA turned from eavesdropping on the communists to eavesdropping on businesses and private citizens in Europe and the United States? The concerns have arisen because of the existence of a sophisticated network linking the NSA and the spy agencies of several other nations. The NSA will not confirm the existence of the project, code-named Echelon.
The allegations are serious. A report by the European Parliament has gone so far as to say “within Europe all e-mail, telephone and fax communications are routinely intercepted” by the NSA.
Sounds like an NSA-in-2013 story, right?
Wrong. This story was published in 1999.
In fact, a some of the more recent names you heard from from 2013’s NSA drama like General Michael Hayden was deep in the 1999 ECHELON surveillance mix, except Hayden was a Lieutenant General back then.
The US needed sophisticated listening methods to keep an eye on the Reds during the Col War, but how did the US spend its peace dividend after the Soviet implosion? Invest in more sophisticated spy technology.
Need proof? General Hayden implied as much back in 1999 about the changing technology world we live in and the NSA’s challenge. Sourced from the same WaPo article:
“The scale of change is alarmingly rapid,” he said, noting that “the world now contains 40 million cell phones, 14 million fax machines, 180 million computers, and the Internet doubles every 90 days.”
Do you get the sense that NSA programs like Prism and XKeyScore were bound to go online whether or not 9/11 happened?
If the birth of the NSA’s new programs was inevitable, the US would need a stronger justification for their existence than the nearly 7 billion cell phones currently in use around the world – especially given the European Union’s allegation that ECHELON was being used as a peacetime tool for corporate espionage. Enter Al-Qaeda…
Which begs the persistent question: how did 9/11 happen when Echelon was in place to collect massive amounts of information? I still don’t have a clear idea. Perhaps one of you can tell me…
song currently stuck in my head “keep on reaching” – michelle mccain & Johnny montana