Jewish World Review April 11, 2014 / 11 Nissan, 5774
Hooray for snooping!
By Paul Greenberg
JewishWorldReview.com | Our president is back with one of his grand conceptions, ideal compromises and works of staggering political genius. This one, like the others, is designed to please every special interest involved, though it may leave out a minor matter or two. Like national security. And the kind of obsessive attention to detail that national security calls for.
But who cares about all that boring minutiae? In their sweeping vision and righteous indignation, the brilliances at the
Our snoops, both civilian and military, those nosy parkers, are now able to amass all that metadata and use all those mysterious algorithms to trace a lone call from one party to another to another and so hop-skip-and-jump along till they notice, say, that one of those phone calls could be traced, after a discreet inquiry or two, to an address in Abbottabad,
Which means a Navy SEAL Team Six could be dispatched to pay a courtesy call to said address at 1 o'clock in the morning, which proved to be said occupant's final hour. You just can't ever tell where attention to detail -- the smallest detail -- might lead.
But why bother? The political repercussions of all this snooping are too much trouble to deal with. So, deftly as always, our commander-in-chief has come up with the ideal solution: Just park all this data with the phone companies!
Who knew our president was such a fan of private enterprise? But these public utilities should make the perfect buffer when the
As for any problem this solution might raise for our intelligence agencies, there's no need to worry about it. For we've now got the word of the usual unidentified "senior administration official" that the effect of this change will be "small." It's just a little tweak, we're told. How assuring. Only the more persnickety among us might express a reservation or two about this neat arrangement. Or maybe just anybody who ever had one of those lick-and-a-promise, introductory orientation lectures in G-2 (military intelligence) back in the Basic Officers Course years ago.
So here's a little advisory note, the kind usually found only in the small print that comes with the latest wonder drug: Next time a slew of airliners goes crashing into skyscrapers, the Pentagon, and various other unscheduled destinations, don't call your local phone company for help. That's when our troopers, cops, firefighters and emergency responders in general are suddenly recognized and appreciated. If only for a little while -- until the immediate danger is past and outfits like the CIA, FBI, DIA, and I&A are once again painted as ominous dangers to Americans' privacy.
It occurs to some of us that privacy may not be our most pressing need when aboard a hijacked airliner or trapped in an American outpost under attack, whether in a compound outside Benghazi,
. . .
Every time our president comes up with one of these brainstorms, the prim visage of a now forgotten American statesman comes to mind: one
The good Mr. Stimson entered not just bureaucratic history but legend when, in one of his less prescient moments, he closed down the government's secret code-breaking agency ("the black chamber") with the high-sounding explanation, "Gentlemen do not read each other's mail."
Nor would this be the first time American intelligence work was outsourced to one of our fine private companies. On the morning of
Now our current president -- and commander-in-chief! -- wants to leave all these not so little matters that the
But why sweat the small stuff? It's all probably meaningless, like the 14th part of that diplomatic cable of
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Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer prize-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
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