Your worst paranoid nightmare confirmed

Well, mine, anyway.

I have been reading Josh Marshall’s ruminations about the implications of Rockefeller Memo, and it seems to present, in conjunction with the President’s weird gyrations and denials, fairly compelling evidence for the existence of Echelon. Pretty chilling stuff.

Over the last couple days I’ve heard informed speculation from several knowledgeable sources that what is likely really at issue here is the nature of the technology being deployed — both new technology and technology which in the nature of its method of collection turns upside down our normal ways of thinking about what constitutes a reasonable or permissible search.

I had thought that the reason that Snoopergate was such a shock to the White House and such a political liability was that the NSA was being used to spy on political dissidents. Today, in fresh light, it’s starting to look like the NSA was spying on EVERYBODY. Of course FISA warrants don’t cover that.

I would say that this is a clear violation of the 4th Amendment from top to bottom, if Echelon turns out to be something other than a fantasy.

Back in 2001, on a lark, I participated in something called “Jam Echelon Day,” which is where we all sent tons of emails containing as many of our theoretical “trigger words”- “al qaeda, semtex, jihad, Murrah building, protocols of the elders of zion, ZOG, Ruby Ridge, etc, etc.” We all, I think, had this ideal hope that we would see technicians popping out of closets and from under manhole covers, ripping their headphones off of their ears and screaming “AAAAAHHHHH!!! TOO MUCH!!!!” I mean, not really, but hacker types do funny stuff for funny reasons.

Agent Little Bird and I have been batting this around all morning, in a very black mood. Quoth he-
“I just hope whoever is monitoring my emails and such literally gets bored to death.”

yeah. Or tried for sedition and treason and thrown into the darkest prison we can find. Fat chance.

cross-posted at Shakespeare’s Sister


  1. Darren

    In the Yoo memo linked by Marshall (which I only scanned), it’s interesting to see what Yoo cites as authority. It’s a long memo, and there are many, many citations, but there are very few citations, as a percentage, to Supreme Court cases. There are a lot of cites to The Federalist Papers, to opinions of previous AG’s, and even to the papers of Prez Clinton.
    Here’s why I find this interesting: all of these sources are essentially ruminations on what the law SHOULD or MIGHT mean. It’s like arguing constitutional rights from first principles in a political theory class. I’m sure there are many interesting theories, even some justifiable theories, posited in these sources. Very importantly, however, these sources ARE NOT LAW. If you’re giving legal advice to the President of the United States, it might make sense to actually base your legal advice on say, Supreme Court decisions, interpreting the relevant constitutional provisions, that have the force of law. Why would you go to other extra-legal sources? Either you can’t find any support for your position in Supreme or Circuit Court opinions (best case: the issue hasn’t been decided), or you just don’t care what the law is.

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