Don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware that when it comes down to national security, any government would be remiss if highly secret and clandestine operations were not part of the mix when it comes to protecting the interests and safety of its people.
I served in the military, and remember taking the oath oath of enlistment. It goes something like this:
I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.As a young man taking that oath, I remember the seriousness with which I uttered those words. Of course, in the mix, there were also other considerations like employment, educational and health benefits, the opportunity to travel and see the world, and the like.
But at the core of my service, I always felt I was there to perform a duty, to serve the country.
At its core, the current NSA illegal and unconstitutional spying scandal reveals one of the gravest threats we face as a nation: The privatization of our national security, which changes the focus of the mission from patriotic duty to protect and serve (as a public servant) to profiteering by craven corporatists.
As the New York Times reports in "Booz Allen’s Role in N.S.A. Case Puts Spotlight on Carlyle," the controversial private equity firm, the Carlyle Group, owns a majority stake in Booz Allen Hamilton, the firm that runs much of the NSA illegal and unconstitutional spying on America and the world operation.
As evidence of the company’s close relationship with government, the Obama administration’s chief intelligence official, James R. Clapper Jr., is a former Booz Allen executive. The official who held that post in the Bush administration, John M. McConnell, now works for Booz Allen.The emphasis is mine
Think about the implications of that shift of focus from honorable duty to serve the country to crass profiteering by corporatist opportunists.
Since 9/11 private corporations have greatly expanded the intelligence community. Seventy percent of the community’s budget now goes to private contractors. So members of Congress, reporters, and suspected leakers are not just vulnerable to government surveillance; they are vulnerable to corporate reprisals, should their investigations or disclosures pose a threat to companies in the intelligence business. These surveillance powers can be used not only to protect secret agencies from criticism; they can be used, as General Motors once used them, to try to discredit critics like Ralph Nader.What Snowden's revelations have done is to help bring to the public consciousness this clear and present danger not only to our democracy, but to our safety.
-- Christopher H. Pyle
Because of the lack of proper oversight, both by our failing government institutions, and by a misinformed and apathetic citizenry, this monstrosity of a for-profit total-information-awareness surveillance police state has been left to grow unmolested, under the cloak of national security secrecy.
As a result, "Booz Allen has quietly grown into a governmentwide contracting behemoth, fed by ballooning post-Sept. 11 intelligence budgets and Washington’s increasing reliance on outsourcing."
So at this point the adage "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." As this for profit national security behemoth has been left to grow and grow (sucking in and wasting billions and billions of dollars), becoming increasingly corrupt and dangerous as time passed.
It is within this context, and after having undermined any credibility we may have had when it comes to the respect of human rights and the rule of law by not only refusing to prosecute Wall Street criminals, but by engaging in collusion and cover-up of those crimes, and by not only refusing to prosecute Bush administration war crimes, but by currently engaging in the torture of Gantánamo Base prisoners, and by assassinating U.S. citizens (including an innocent 16-year old kid) extra-judicially, that we now add illegal, criminal, unconstitutional spying not only on American citizens, but on much of the world's citizens as well.
My friends, this is what happens when craven corporatist sociopaths take over the levers of power; when crass greedy individuals seek to turn government institutions, who are supposed to serve the people, into just another profit-extracting tool.
We have lost all credibility. We have lost the moral high-ground by turning over the levers of power to what is essentially a corporate criminal profiteering cartel. And these debased corporate and public functionaries are doing all this in our names, hence putting us in grave danger by inviting the scorn and the hate of the world.
This situation is intolerable. Now that this scam has been revealed, we have to demand and force concrete actions. Aren't we supposed to be a democracy? Isn't this supposed to be a government by the people, and of the people?
The entire national security apparatus, as it is constituted right now needs to be dismantled. The interests of profit-seeking corporations need to be completed separated from the functions of government, i.e. Separation of Corporation and State, just like separation of Church and State.
“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”All surveillance on Americans, and the storing of detailed dossiers need to be discarded (except in situations where there is probable cause, as specified in the Constitution).
— Franklin D. Roosevelt, April 29, 1938. Message to congress
The PATRIOT Act needs to be rescinded. The power-grab allowing the president to assassinate people extra-judicially need to be rescinded.
We the people need to stand up and demand these things. We can't continue being accomplices to this criminality. The time to act and demand these changes is now.