I'm amazed, not at the NSA "revelations" but at the reactions here on this website. There are two things that I can't wrap my head around. First, that you guys are suprised. Second, that you guys think it's wrong to spy on your "own citizens" in the war on terror.
Really, perhaps it was because I read "digital fortress" from Dan Brown and in my brain truth and " fiction" got mixed up, but I always have assumed that the NSA and such agencies have the capability and are spying on every form of communication inside and outside the US. Really, novels, tv series like 24, they are not just absurd fantasy, they are based on the real stuff. The NSA is not there to watch the weeds grow in the garden.
I don't know where I heard it but it had been mentioned several times that the NSA had a system where they would get an alarm if you use certain words in your e-mail or phonecall. They may not get alarmed if you say that "Justin Bieber is the bomb" but they will get alarmed if you communicate the contents of a chemical bomb for example. Again, I don't know where I heard it, perhaps it was in a fiction and perhaps my mind had made me believe it. Point is when I'm reading about what the NSA is doing (and really, I'm not a conspiracy theorist) all I thought was, "yeah, what else is new?".
I mean, I'm from the Netherlands and there have been countless scandals from the NSA listening in on EU and UN meetings to spying scandals on the corporate level to the United States "demanding" creditcard and bank transaction information on every EU member.
What you think they only do that to people from other countries? Are you serious? You saw in Dark Zero Thirty how the US government tapped Kuweity phonelines. You think they wouldn't do that to someone with an American passport? Why not exactly?
That's the second point. Either its really wrong and they shouldn't do it at all to anyone, or it serves a real purpose to gather this information, in which case it would be stupid to ignore US citizens in the hunt for potential terrorists.
This is not cold war on russia, where the choice is easy. US citizen, don't spy. Russian citizen..spy. No the terrorists don't carry a passport that says "terrorististan". They carry pakistani passports, jemenite passports, saudi passport, indonesian passports, german passports, dutch passports, spanish passports, canadian passports and yes American passports. They are no nation, they can be the guy in the other country, or they can be you.
So it would be pointless to limit surveillence on terrorists only to people outside the United States. So if you're going to have this debate please stop your patriot and jingoism bullshit and lets have the honest debate. Do you want the NSA to spy on people or not? If the answer is no, then fine, but don't make the stupid argument that its ok if its done in pakistan because the next terrorist could very well be your neighbour right over there in the United States.