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Glenn Greenwald has a must-read essay at Cato Unbound surveying America’s governmental surveillance industry.
Millions of Americans supported Barack Obama with the understanding that he would begin to rein in the surveillance state. Those expectations have not been met; to the contrary, the strength and unaccountability of the surveillance state continue to grow. As Greenwald notes, congressional oversight is a farce, and there is no evidence that the massive investment in surveillance has produced any payoffs—notwithstanding a massive bill for the taxpayers and a continuous frittering away of civil liberties.
America still has the trappings of its Constitution—checks and balances, congressional oversight, and review of state action in the courts. Yet in the area of national security in general, and digital surveillance in particular, these institutions have ceased to play their intended roles. A long trail of illegal conduct, starting with the systematic and felonious violation of FISA, the persecution of whistleblowers, the evasion of court oversight as well as a consistent pattern of misrepresentation to courts, and the development of a client, rather than compliance, relationship with the Department of Justice, points to the growth of a secret inner state. It involves unjustifiable cost, makes the country no safer, and it is rotting the Constitution from within.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Chances that a Soviet woman’s first pregnancy will end in abortion:
Peaceful fungus-farming ants are sometimes protected against nomadic raider ants by sedentary invader ants.
In San Antonio, a 150-pound pet tortoise knocked over a lamp, igniting a mattress fire that spread to a neighbor’s home.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."