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IPFS News Link • Privacy Rights

NSA uses 'terrorism' to justify mass surveillance that started long before 9/11 and the Patr

• By Joel Dyer, David Accomazzo and Jefferson Dodge

It can be pretty hard to hear with the word “terrorism” crammed into your ears.

At least that appears to be true for many Americans these days, as evidenced by recent poll results regarding Edward Snowden and his revelations about secret government spy programs.

The polls show that most of us think that Snowden — the 29-year-old former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who leaked documents to the Guardian newspaper, exposing the agency’s surveillance programs that monitor our phone records and email — is guilty of espionage or even treason, and should be sentenced to prison accordingly.

These same polls also reveal that the majority of U.S. citizens believe that it’s acceptable for the government to collect such data on hundreds of millions of us without warrants or probable cause as long as it uses the information only to fight terrorism.

But what if that wasn’t the whole story? What if fighting terrorism were only an afterthought in the government’s motives behind the creation of the secret spy programs exposed by Snowden? What would we do if it were discovered that this massive government intrusion into our private lives had been going on long before the first plane hit the first Trade Center tower? These are the questions we should be asking.