Privacy SOS

Perfect security? Perfect surveillance state

Fox News investigative reporter Catherine Herridge asked NSA top spy General Keith Alexander for an interview about the enormous data center his organization is building in the Utah desert. The general declined. So like a good reporter, Herridge simply chased him down. 

She attended a public talk Alexander gave to the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute and asked him a very simple question: would the Utah data center hold information on Americans?

Alexander said no, it would not. 

That would be really odd, if it were true, because the NSA and top level Obama administration officials urged congress in December 2012 to reauthorize a law that grants them the power to collect information on Americans, without specific warrants. Whistleblowers like Thomas Drake, who Herridge interviewed for her story, tell us that the government is in fact collecting more information on Americans than even the extremely troubling FISA Amendments Act allows.

To get some visuals for her story, Herridge chartered a local helicopter in Utah to get aerial views of the data center. She reports that the helicopter pilot later received a visit from two FBI officials who wanted to know what he was doing above the site. NSA officials had reportedly taken photos of the helicopter, which they sent to the helicopter manufacturer, thereby tracking down the purchaser and the pilot.

"The only way to have perfect security is to have a perfect surveillance state," Drake told Herridge. "That's George Orwell. That's 1984."

Check out the Fox story here.

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