NSA Surveillance Protects Against Islamic Jihad
Folks are expressing paranoid ramblings over the NSA Counter Jihad surveillance program rather than the fact of the illegal leak that brought the issue to the fore. The media and blogosphere focus on the theoretical “what if government runs amuck” implications of the program. They ignore the real world threat of innocent people being killed by Islamic Jihadists. As usual, the Wall Street Journal lends succinct intellectual credence to Counter Jihadist concerns on this issue. (block quote credit OPINION “Surveillance and Its Discontents” Wall Street Journal 6/14/13)
[T]he U.S. is now waging a war on terror, and not a metaphorical war like LBJ’s on poverty. This is a crucial distinction that has been lost amid the growing ruction over the National Security Agency surveillance programs. Another point lost amid the uproar is that the safety of citizens is the first—and in our view, the principal—obligation of government.
[A] country serious about self-preservation must detect potential threats and prevent attacks before they occur, not prosecute them as crimes after the fact. The architecture to protect civilians must therefore include signals intelligence, or surveillance, to obtain actionable information about the plans, actions and capabilities of the decentralized and lethal networks that are al Qaeda and its franchises.
The legitimacy of the American form of government, as the Constitution’s preamble establishes, is to “insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, . . . and secure the Blessings of Liberty.”
[C]ritics… argue that the U.S. is striking the wrong balance between tranquility and liberty. More government power often does come at the expense of liberty, but in the case of data-mining this tradeoff is vanishingly small.
The right comparison is a cop on a beat who patrols public spaces. He’s not investigating a crime or enforcing a law; he’s watching for suspicious behavior.
Data-mining is a tool to infer patterns and relationships, but you can’t connect the dots without, well, dots. There really is safety in numbers. The de minimis costs to individuals of data-mining are worth the benefits for society at large, which include not being blown to smithereens on your morning commute.
Sadly, that last bit about “being blown to smithereens” may not be of any import to persons and families not directly impacted by the domestic atrocities of 9/11/01, Fort Hood, and the Boston Bombing at the hands of Islamic Jihadists. It is unfortunate that, for the most part, only those directly impacted by Islamic Jihad “get” that the NSA program is a necessity. Rather than debating how we should limit current Counter Jihad activities, why don’t we talk about how we can enhance them? By “Grizzly Joe”
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