The new guidelines lengthen the amount of time the NCTC can retain the private information of Americans who are not suspected of having any ties to terrorism from 180 days to five years.
Not only that, but the new guidelines have developed new “tracks” by which the NCTC can acquire information which is gathered by another agency. The tracks are thus: by conducting the search itself, by asking the other agency to conduct the search, or by “replicating the database and analyzing the information itself.”
In terms of commercial data such as credit cards and other forms of purchases, the guidelines are silent, leaving a gaping hole of broad interpretation that will no doubt be used in order to encompass every other possible piece of data available. That is, information that is not already being provided to the NCTC by private corporations who have obtained it via consumer records.
For those who are easily confused by legalese, these new “tracks” essentially open up the ability of the NCTC to acquire and centralize all information gathered by itself and other agencies in its entirety. Basically, the new guidelines allow for creation of a massive centralized database of information compiled on average, law-abiding Americans.
In essence, we are seeing the legal reaffirmation of the Total Information Awareness program in legal terms.
Total Information Awareness was initially announced to the American people by the Bush Administration as a way in which the U.S. government could identify hidden terrorist cells. The program involved casting an all-encompassing net in order to gather up all available information about every American citizen from phone calls and emails to shopping and eating habits. However, after much outcry and protest from both privacy organizations and concerned citizens, Congress moved to partially shut down the program in 2003.
Even though officials admit that the program was only partially shut down, the truth is that we would be foolish to believe that the program went anywhere other than underground. In a time where the CIA Director openly admits plans to spy on Americans through their home appliances, are we really to believe that the simple outrage of privacy groups and a few expressions of dissatisfaction by Congress would derail a plan such as Total Information Awareness?
Congressional opposition has little effect on decisions made within the halls of the shadow government. This much was demonstrated by the refusal of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta when he refused to acknowledge the authority of Congress to grant approval for, or be informed of military action.
Indeed, it would be safe to say that the Total Information Awareness program was never ended — not even partially. It would also be safe to say that the program did not begin with the Bush administration announcement. Systems such as this are universally light years ahead of the incarnations introduced to the general public for general consumption and, when implemented in the open, have in reality been active for many years prior.
Nevertheless, the announced aspects of the new guidelines are bad enough in their own right. Keep in mind, it is now official government policy to compile massive amounts of all-encompassing data about American citizens that have done absolutely nothing wrong. In fact, these Americans are not even suspected of doing anything wrong or even of having ties to someone who has.
But the definitions of what labels one a “potential terrorist,” “belligerent,” or “person of interest” are so vast that they virtually negate the designation to begin with. One need only refer to the Patriot Act of 2001 to see that the definition of a “domestic terrorist” broadly includes individuals who engage in “acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State.” Under this definition, one could throw such behaviors as drunk driving into the category of terrorism.
Not only that, but consider the reports issued from the Department of Homeland Security such as the MIAC document where individuals who support third party political candidates, oppose the North American Union, New World Order, and abortion, as well as many other activists are categorized as potential violent terrorists. Similar reports coming out of offices such as the Joint Terrorism Task Force during the Clinton administration reflect the same sentiment when it categorizes individuals who support animal rights or believe in the apocalypse and the End Times.
More recently, however, the DHS “See Something, Say Something” program has propagandized that ordinary innocuous activities like wearing hoodies, driving vans, using a video camera, and even writing on paper are indicators of potential terrorism.
With all of this in mind, those who argue that the construction of such a massive monitoring and surveillance network only applies to terrorists and not innocent American citizens might develop a much different point of view if they were able to come to grips with the fact that the term “terrorism” itself has become so broad that it does, in fact, encompass innocent American citizens including themselves. Obviously, there is a bigger agenda at work here.
The policy changes signed by Eric Holder are not simply some mundane bureaucratic initiative. But, while we should not be so naïve as to think that the Total Information Awareness program was actually scrapped after opposition from Congress, we should also not lose sight of the fact that the program is once again being rolled out in the open. This time, there seems to no opposition whatsoever.
Combined with the increased militarization of law enforcement, the growing technological surveillance grid, and the shadow legal system being created with such an array of freedom-crushing legislation and executive orders, a “minor” policy change such as the one mentioned in this article should be understood in a much wider context. If the American people do not soon recognize what is happening right in front of their faces, then it is clear that we will soon find ourselves in an Orwellian nightmare from which we are incapable of awaking.
You can find a recent interview with Brandon Turbeville discussing these issues HERE.
Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Mullins, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions. Turbeville has published over one hundred articles dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville is available for podcast, radio, and TV interviews. Please contact us at activistpost (at) gmail.com.