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August 5, 2014

A Paranoid Government Blankets America With Unprecented Surveillance

By Michael Payne

In this country today we are witnessing the actions of a government that, as mounting evidence seems to indicate, is suffering from an acute case of paranoia by which its leaders see enemies in not only every corner of the world but in all the corners of America.


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In this country today we are witnessing the actions of a government that, as mounting evidence seems to indicate, is suffering from an acute case of paranoia by which its leaders see enemies in not only every corner of the world but in all the corners of America.

As a result, we have a government that has been erecting a massive blanket of surveillance over this entire country. Americans have, because of the revelations made by Edward Snowden, become aware that the NSA, the National Security Agency, has been monitoring and collecting data from all forms of their communications.

Such actions are clearly in violation of the 4th Amendment that explicitly states, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated -----."

The people of this country must have been shocked to learn that this governmental agency, the NSA had, without their knowledge, been violating their rights of privacy. And then even as the furor in Congress over these covert actions intensified, Americans heard that yet another government agency, the CIA, had been caught in the process of hacking into the computers of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee.

What's going on here? First the government spies on its own citizens through the NSA and then we hear that the CIA has been caught taking covert actions against the Senate, the very governmental body which, among its key responsibilities, is supposed to perform oversight of the CIA. How very bizarre is that?

Under Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the Congress is granted "implied powers" that have been interpreted to include oversight authority over this nation's intelligence agencies. The problem has been, for some time, that Congress has failed to carry out these responsibilities in the manner it should and has by its dereliction of duty allowed this to happen.

What kind of a government acts in this manner? Well, it's a government that, in its state of paranoia, trusts absolutely no one. It's a deep seated paranoia that has become embedded in this government's psyche over many years to the point that it is metastasizing and growing much worse.

Definition of paranoia from the "Paranoia is an unfounded or exaggerated distrust of others, sometimes reaching delusional proportions. Paranoid individuals constantly suspect the motives of those around them, and believe that certain individuals, or people, as a whole, are out to get them."

Can a government actually suffer from paranoia? Of course it can because this government is made up of people, and those in positions of responsibility and authority can, without question, become paranoid about what they see as potential threats from others. Individual paranoia is difficult to deal with but when it spreads throughout individual government agencies it can become an irreversible condition.

During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on March 12 of this year, Ron Wyden asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper this question: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" "No, sir," Clapper was quoted as saying without hesitation. However, later as he came under great criticism from many circles, in an unclassified letter to Senator Wyden, Clapper essentially admitted that what he said was "not the truth."

When John Brennan, head of the CIA, appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee to answer charges that the CIA hacked into the committee's computers, he said: "As far as the allegations of CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn't do that. I mean, that's just beyond the scope of reason." He also said, ""Let me assure you the CIA was in no way spying on the committee or the Senate." After making these statements Mr. Brennan was later forced to privately apologize to the Senate intelligence committee chairs. In other words he was forced to admit he did not tell the truth.

Lying to the U.S. Congress, by law, is a felony. The question is: will this Congress do anything whatsoever to follow through with any form of formal investigation that could lead to appropriate punishment or will it allow these two individuals to continue to flaunt and dismiss congressional authority?

Independent, objective journalists are calling for President Obama to fire John Brennan but the chances of that taking place are not very good. President Obama is sitting right in the middle of this scandalous situation and has shown no signs that he is the least bit troubled by any of it. We should not be the least bit surprised by his lack of concern because it fits in perfectly with the warnings that have been issued by his administration to future whistleblowers and current journalists who might become too zealous in their investigations of government abuses and cover-ups.

This government spying is not just directed against the people and the Senate. In the category of "Can you believe this" what about this: About a year ago it was reported that Mr. Obama had ordered federal employees to watch for and report any suspicious behavior on the part of their colleagues. This is called the Insider Threat Program. Can you just imagine how this government is going to function effectively when employees in a given agency are watching each other and maybe those in other closely associated agencies?

Are we going to see the members of this government's 17 separate intelligence agencies monitoring the activities and recording the statement of their fellow employees?

If this government's extreme case of paranoia spreads throughout this country and this society what might follow? Will the people have their own version of the Insider Threat Program by which we will see millions of Americans spying on each other, within families, the workplace, in our neighborhoods, in schools and colleges or even in church?

Recently I heard John Nichols of the Nation Magazine and make this interesting observation: He said, "Big Brother is not watching us, we are watching Big Brother." Well I guess I don't agree with the first part of that sentence but the second one seems to be very accurate in describing just what is going on in this country today.

When has this country's democracy ever been under such an attack? When have we seen our Constitution being unraveled before our eyes? If this Congress allows these unconstitutional actions of these government agencies to go on without being investigated or punished then our democracy will become even more meaningless and irrelevant.

When this country entered the 21st Century how many of us could have even begun to imagine that we'd be listening to breaking news that announced that the NSA was spying on the American people; and that the CIA was hacking into the U.S. Senate computers?

What's happening in America right now is not good, it's not good at all and it represents an ominous, very frightening development. It's as if this nation and its people are just awakening from a horrific nightmare and suddenly come to the stark realization that they are now living in "1984". Or could it possibly be that George Orwell, when he was writing that famous novel, made a very serious mistake and should have entitled it, "2014"?

Michael Payne

Submitters Bio:

Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on OpEdNews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites such as Democratic Underground, Reader Supported News, Axis of Logic, and in various countries around the world.

He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, and a former business executive. His writings most often concentrate on the great dangers involved with U.S. foreign policy, the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process.