Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Getting Worried Yet?

Another new agency has been created for surveillance purposes:

The Pentagon's newest counterterrorism agency, charged with protecting military facilities and personnel wherever they are, is carrying out intelligence collection, analysis and operations within the United States and abroad, according to a Pentagon fact sheet on the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, provided to The Washington Post.

CIFA is a three-year-old agency whose size and budget remain secret. It has grown from an agency that coordinated policy and oversaw the counterintelligence activities of units within the military services and Pentagon agencies to an analytic and operational organization with nine directorates and ever-widening authority.

There are so many of these spying units that I've lost count. It stands to reason that there won't be enough real terrorists for all of them. What happens when they realize this? Will some of them start spying on people unrelated to any kind of terrorism or violence? And how will we ever get rid of all these spying organizations when their creators are gone?

Our wingnut friends tell us that those with clear consciences have nothing to worry about and that we should not criticize the president's belief that he is above the law. This sounds to me like something the fathers of the old Soviet Union used to argue. No, the correct attitude here is worry, for once we have the spying infrastructure it will be used. And who knows, maybe one day its existence will look like a threat to today's wingnuts. Political fortunes change, you know.