The NSA, Journalism, and Status Anxiety
National Security Agency whistleblower Russ Tice took to MSNBC’s “Countdown” yesterday to talk about Bush administration surveillance policies that, like many others, he didn’t want to get into while George W. Bush was still president. Among those revelations was that the NSA didn’t just take so-called meta-data (the address on the envelope) from Americans without a warrant, but the actual data (the letter inside the envelope); NSA surveillance targets could be as broad as conversations that were, say, two minutes long, if it was determined that terrorists spoke on the phone for two minutes (” … or it could be someone ordering a pizza,” Tice told Keith Olbermann); and — oh yeah — journalists’ communications were spied on in particular. Mike Calderone at Politico and Marcy Wheeler at Emptywheel have more. Marcy:
I guess I was right to doubt the government’s claim–made to the [FISA Court of Review] –that it does not have a database of the communications of incidentally collected non-targeted persons, seeing as how this separate collection of journalists’ communications would be just that kind of database. (Unless, of course, the Bush thugs want to admit they deliberately targeted journalists as suspected terrorists.)
We’ll see if they do! For my part, I’ll be seriously crestfallen if it turns out the Bush administration didn’t consider me worth illegally spying upon.