For contractors, the U.S. officials who write them mega checks, and the media hawks, the game is threat inflation, Booz Allen is the company, under contract with the NSA, that employed Snowden. His revelation of B.A.'s enormously profitable and pervasive spying now threatens the firm its parent hedge fund, the Carlyle Group.
BA, whose top personnel served in key positions at the NSA and vice versa after the inconvenient collapse of the Cold War, has substituted terrorist for communist as the enemy . A difficult switch for the military-industrial complex about which Eisenhower warned.
Just when good times for war profiteers seemed to be over, there came 9/11 and the terrorist enemy, the gift that keeps on giving, for acts of terror always will occur in a less than perfect world, serving as an ideal excuse for squandering resources, as well as our freedoms.
Rising to the defense of NSA snooping on a scale never before imagined in human history, they warn us that if there was a second 9/11-type attack, we would lose all of our civil liberties, so we should be grateful for this trade-off:
“I believe that if there is one more 9/11—or worse, an attack involving nuclear material—it could lead to the end of the open society as we know it,” -- T. Friedman
Never has this country been as vulnerable to foreign attacks as when the founders approved our Constitution with its Fourth Amendment and other protections against an intrusive government. They did cpnvinced that individual freedom makes us stronger rather than weaker. They trusted in the wisdom of the people as opposed to the pundits who deride it.
Defending Friedman, Keller wrote:
“The important point was that the gravest threat to our civil liberties is not the NSA but another 9/11-scale catastrophe that could leave a panicky public willing to ratchet up the security state, even beyond the war-on-terror excesses that followed the last big attack.”
So it’s the panicky public’s fault and not the ill-informed work of establishment journalists like Friedman, who led the charge to war with Iraq based on phony claims about terrorism.
Once again, Friedman has a misplaced faith in the work of NSA. Snooping was extensive before 9/11 and certainly before the Marathon attack but did not prevent either. Our much-vaunted spy agencies still have not come up with an explanation of how 19 hijackers, 15 from our ally Saudi Arabia, managed enter this country and learn to fly on NSA's watch.
NSA has not explained why the only the countries that recognized the Taliban government sponsors of al-Qaida were that same Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and UAE. For information on the UAE connection, the NSA might check with its buddies at B.A.
NYT: “When the UAE wanted to create its own NSA, it turned to B.A. It was a natural choice: The chief architect of B.A.’s cyber strategy is Mike McConnell, who once led the NSA and pushed the U.S. into a new era of big data espionage. It was Mr. McConnell who won the blessing of the American intelligence agencies to bolster UAE, which helps track the Iranians.”
Tracking Iranians? But they’re not the enemies who did 9/11. They are Shiites, hostile to the Sunni fanatics of al-Qaida. That makes sense if you follow the money that the UAE can pay. “They are teaching everything,” one Arab official told NYT about B.A.’s staffers. “Data mining, web surveillance, all sorts of digital intelligence collection.”
Now, it’s not just the U.S. but those everywhere, even in desert emirates, that can mine our data.
“The NSA data mining,” Keller assures us, “is part of something much larger. On many fronts, we are adjusting to life in a surveillance state, relinquishing bits of privacy in exchange for the promise of of other rewards.”
Behold McConnell. While director of national intelligence from 2007-09, he did much to inflate the threat of cyberterrorism; he then returned to the private sector and was rewarded with $4.1 million his first year back at B.A, solving the problem he had hyped while heading the NSA. There’s a guy who knows how to play the game.