The [future] era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.
In 1975, the head of the Senate committee investigating illegal spying by the U.S. government – Senator Frank Church – said about the NSA:
I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
Indeed, in 1991, a House intelligence committee report found “very limited internal oversight of the Agency [NSA] programs,” as well as no supervision of the agency by either the Defense Department Inspector General’s Office or the congressional watchdog agency, the General Accountability Office (GAO).
The same year, a report prepared by the Defense Department’s inspector general confirmed:
NSA did not have sufficient oversight mechanisms to ensure the Agency efficiently accomplished its mission.
Top NSA whistleblower William Binney – the former head of the National Security Agency’s global digital data gathering program – recently held his thumb and forefinger close together, and said:
We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state
The Stasi East Germans famously spied on their people in order to control them. A former Stasi told McClatchy:
You know, for us, this would have been a dream come true. So much information, on so many people.
The dark side to gathering such a broad, seemingly untargeted, amount of information is obvious.
It is the height of naivete to think that once collected this information won’t be used. This is the nature of secret government organizations.