Home/Rod Dreher/Imagine J. Edgar Hoover With A Boot In Your Face Forever

Imagine J. Edgar Hoover With A Boot In Your Face Forever

Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com considers Glenn Greenwald’s remark that the biggest Snowden revelation is yet to come, and shivers. Excerpt:

So what could this explosive story be? Last [Monday] night on “The Colbert Report” he dropped us a hint: “One of the missing pieces,” Greenwald said, “is on whom is the NSA spying?” He gives us more in the first part of a two-part colloquy with Amy Goodman on “Democracy Now’:

“You know, one of the interesting things is, obviously, people are very aware of the COINTEL abuses. I know you’ve had people on your show who actually participated in the break-in of the FBI and took the documents that unveiled that program. People are aware of J. Edgar Hoover’s abuses. The nature of that series of events is that the United States government looks at people who oppose what they do as being, quote-unquote, ‘threats.’ That’s the nature of power, is to regard anybody who’s a threat to your power as a broad national security threat. And a lot of times people will say, ‘We don’t yet have the reporting in this case that shows that kind of abuse.’ And a lot of that reporting is still reporting that we’re working on and that I promise you is coming.”

My blood ran cold when I heard Glenn say that, for two reasons.

The first is that if this is true – if the US government is now targeting political dissidents with its hi-tech tools, just as J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI did using the primitive technology of the 1960s era – then our liberty is for all intents and purposes gone.

We’ve been told that the rationale for this all-pervasive surveillance is to target “terrorists” and protect the country from their evil plots: but if the reality is that they’re going after garden-variety “radicals,” i.e. targeting Americans because of their political views – and getting away with it – then we are living in a police state no better (and in some ways worse) than anything the world has yet seen.

The NSA’s “new collection posture,” as shown in the NSA documents reproduced in Greenwald’s book, is: “Sniff it all, know it all, collect it all, process it all, exploit it all, partner it all.” In short, they aim to abolish the concept of privacy – and if they are now targeting political “radicalizers,” as one of their documents puts it – not Al Qaeda, but American political dissidents – then our old republic is no more. The Constitution means nothing: the Bill of Rights is abolished, and we are living under a de facto “democratic” dictatorship.

Raimondo says his blood ran cold for a second reason:

[I]n the summer of 2011 we discovered that the FBI had indeed targeted Antiwar.com – specifically myself and our webmaster, Eric Garris – for what they termed a “preliminary investigation” in 2004.

Raimondo explains that the government has the right to spy on Americans who have a “foreign” connection. Read the whole thing for more.

The reason this comes to mind is a reader in a previous thread this morning said that US social and religious conservatives had better be very, very careful about any connection with Russia or Vladimir Putin, or saying anything good about either, or the US government may declare them a national security threat. I thought that was kind of paranoid. And then five minutes later, I read that Raimondo piece.

I look forward to what Greenwald has yet to report. All Americans, especially we whose beliefs are being consigned to what a federal judge called this week “the ash heap of history”, are going to live through some difficult times. The technology exists. All it lacks is the will. As far as we know, that is.

Is it all that difficult to imagine that in the very near future, one could not buy or sell without the eye of the NSA upon them?

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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