Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Folks Doing the Watching

Trey Smith

In terms of the NSA spy scandal, news media, pundits and even yours truly have, in many ways, miscast precisely WHO is doing the watching. This situation has been ascribed to Big Brother, but that is not entirely accurate. While it is true that government officials are orchestrating the wide spy net, "about 70 percent of our national intelligence budgets [are] being spent on the private sector." In other words, like almost anything else having to do with Washington these days, a great deal of this brouhaha has to do with money.

According to the website Crocodyl, for the Booz Allen Hamilton/Carlyle Group (most recent employer of whistleblower Edward Snowden), it is estimated that 1 in every 4 dollars in revenue for "intelligence gathering" comes from taxpayers (over 95% of ALL their revenue comes from government contracts). The Guardian reports that "that 70% of its 25,000 employees hold a government security clearance, “of which 49% were top secret or higher”." And this is but one of several corporations who contract with the agencies charged with "intelligence gathering".

So often, critics focus solely on the military budget without factoring in the billions upon billions of dollars spent on spying. As with strictly military expenditures, this is yet another strategy for extracting as much public money as possible to hand over to members of the elite. This is why the agencies in charge of spying keep growing exponentially. Not only are they eviscerating our civil rights that our housed in the US Constitution, but we are being forced to pay them to do it!

For me, that is one of the biggest ironies. It is bad enough that Americans (and citizens of the world too) are losing all vestiges of privacy, but we are funding the people who are taking it away from us. It would be like a kid on the playground paying another child to beat them up every afternoon. Who would willingly do that other than a masochist?

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