Friday, December 16, 2005


Have you ever wondered what the origin of this term might be? I like this explanation the best:

Eavesdropping: To be caught eavesdropping implies that a person has been deliberately trying to overhear a conversation not intended for their ears. The word and its implication go back centuries to the time when most houses had no gutters; the rain dripped off the roofs but the roofs themselves projected well beyond the walls. This area inside where the water dripped was known originally as the Eavesdrip and later as the Eavesdrop. People sheltering here were somewhat protected from the rain,but could also overhear what was going on in the house.

Now guess who might be eavesdropping on you. That's right, our government:

Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.

The previously undisclosed decision to permit some eavesdropping inside the country without court approval represents a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices, particularly for the National Security Agency, whose mission is to spy on communications abroad. As a result, some officials familiar with the continuing operation have questioned whether the surveillance has stretched, if not crossed, constitutional limits on legal searches.

I think the correct reaction to this in the new faith-based U.S. would be either "duh" or "whatever". Though this bit in the NYT article does raise my eyebrows:

The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted.

What else do you think they are holding back from us peons?