Remember the good old days when the PATRIOT Act and warrantless spying were just used to stop imminent Al Qaeda attacks overseas?
After 9/11, the Bush government said "trust us, we'll only use these powers on Al Qaeda". Yet, the concern for abuse was still so large it forced a sunset clause into the PATRIOT Act. Even the ultra-hawks agreed that suspending privacy rights should only be temporary to get through a crisis.
Twelve years later, under a Constitutional law professor for a president, the permanence of the terror "crisis" is almost entirely fabricated and every single American is being spied on by multiple federal agencies, even for petty crimes.
Besides the NSA, FBI, CIA, and DHS, who one might expect to "need" warrantless capabilities to fight "terror", the same spying powers now reside with the IRS and the DEA.
The IRS has warrantless access to emails and likely most if not all our finances, all authorized under the PATRIOT Act. Even foreign banks force Americans to sign a waiver allowing the U.S. government to snoop on or seize the account, only if they're suspected of terrorism under the PATRIOT Act of course. Since the program has been revealed, the IRS said they won't do it anymore and will respect the 4th Amendment. Sure.
Today, Reuters reports that the DEA has also been given the same warrantless access to our private information to fight the war on drugs. Legal experts said that the DEA spying program "sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records."
A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.
Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.
The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.So financial and drug crimes are now rooted out through guilty-until-proven-otherwise spying tactics that violate everything the Fourth Amendment stands for.
"I have never heard of anything like this at all," said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers. (my emphasis)
Meanwhile, the military-surveillance-industrial complex is getting fat off the taxpayers who are paying for their own enslavement. NSA whistleblower Snowden's former employer, Carlyle Group-owned Booz Hamilton, and countless other private companies are gobbling up rich contracts to spy for these agencies. Local police forces are given huge grants to buy military-grade equipment. Domestic spy drones have not only been accepted, but will soon be armed. Then there's the TSA performing physical abuse and buying up body scanners. Not to forget the FDA and USDA spying on and performing armed raids of family farms.
The military-industrial complex is most definitely thriving with the American people as their enemy.
Although we are slowing becoming privy to how broad these programs are, they're already deeply entrenched in society. A lot of money is being made.
So, yes, the days of some temporary tyranny to fight the alleged 9/11 terrorists can be thought of fondly compared to today's full-frontal assault on privacy. Reversing it now becomes less likely with each passing day unless enough people stand up and say "no more."
Will they? Will we? You tell me.