On November 14, 2002, the late, great New York Times columnist William Safire wrote a column called "You Are a Suspect." It is posted below, an early signpost to our current state of dislocation and upset.
It is dislocating and upsetting to be confronted with the Edward Snowden leaks: the leaked court order, the leaked logistical scope of what is being aptly labeled the Surveillance State. This what Safire predicted would be foisted on Us, the People. We are told it is The Only Means Possible to prevent "another 9/11."
The mendacity of this rationale is as appalling as the totalitarian structure of the hyper-state it supports.
Yesterday, I focused on the failures of former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden to comprehend the quite simple patterns of Islamic conquest that history is replete with, that our own era is undergoing, that Western civlization is being transformed by. Why would an intel chief draw such blanks? One reason might be hostile Islamic penetration of the policy-making chain, which appears to have influenced key actors inside our government. Congress blindly, resolutely refuses to examine any evidence of this. Rep. Michele Bachmann's political career seems to have cratered after and because she quite logically and patriotically asked for Inspectors General outside Congress to examine the evidence and was demonized as a second coming of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
Another wrong on its face, as my new book, American Betrayal, argues.
Hayden, of course, is not alone. Indeed, he exemplifies the hollowness at the very top of our security bureacracies: FBI Director Mueller, DNI Clapper, JCC Dempsey, DHS Secretary Napolitano. CIA Director John Brennan, overtly sympathetic and even protective of Islam, is another bird entirely. He may well be a Muslim himself.
Under the fundamentally flawed guidance of such hollow people, a terrifying super-state has arisen to defend their beliefs, their ideology, not the Constitution.
It doesn't protect the public, either, although this is the rationale that is supposed to excuse the "overreach."
If US leaders had really wanted to prevent another 9/11, they would have admitted the obvious: that the world of Islam, from its terrorists to its kings, is engaged in the latest cycle of jihad to extend the reach of Islamic law (sharia). To protect the US Constitutuon they would then have taken wartime (anti-jihad) precautions accordingly. For starters, these would include securing our borders; halting Islamic immigration and travel, canceling Islamic education visas, barring return-travel from jihad nations such as Chechnya, Pakistan, etc.; preventing US institutions, including colleges, media organizations and banks, from accepting money from sharia-ruled dictatorships; closing down mosques where jihad is preached and supported.
Not a single phone call or email would thus have to be read to fend off jihad and the vectors of sharia aimed at the heart of the US Constitution.
But such measures would undermine the prevailing, Marx-derived ideology that has poisoned the wellspring of every American institution, from academia to churches to the family unit itself. This is an ideology that knows no partisan bounds. It is as prevalent on the "right" and it is on the "left."
How this ideology triumphed is the story of American Betrayal.
In the secretive and powerful hands of our ideologically zealous leaders, facts play acolytes to Marx-inspired ideology. Some facts are picked, some are discarded, but always to strengthen the ideology. This is how The Big Lie lives. We know it as "universalism" -- the concept that all peoples, religions, cultures are the same -- but this is an undisguised precept of global Communism. Consciously or not, everything our leaders do serves to advance this Marx-derived orthodoxy, from sending young men to lose their body parts on IED-studded Afghan roads to prove we are all the same, to shredding the Constitution at home to prove we are all the same.
The peoples of the world are not all the same. Indeed, some peoples, some cultures, some religions, are our enemies because they are hostile to our liberty.
Why is this so hard to understand? This is also the story of my book, which is subtitled, The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character.
On September 11, 2001, a ticket-taker at Logan Airport did not need to mine the meta-data on three billion electronic phone calls and comunications to know that she should be looking more closely into the i.d.'s of several Arab men about to board a plane who were acting oddly. What we know as "political correctness" -- pure Marxian mental conditioning -- however, made her suppress her survival instincts, her logic processes, and say "Have a nice flight" instead. A dozen years later, "profiling" is considered worse than terrorism and we all routinely strip naked electronically for TSA and consider ourselves protected.
Progress? You bet. Only not for "the people" as a nation of individuals. But we are more and more identifying with the collective. Collective safety. Collective security. Funny how both Marx and Mohammed founded collectivist creeds. Actually, it's not funny at all. The similarities are profound -- and alarming (also in American Betrayal).
Islam rises alongside our collectivist Superstate. Mosques prolierate in this country, sharia advances, the superstate flexes, freedom of speech constricts, policing becomes more thuggish, the superstate stockpiles bullets, crowd control becomes more restrictive, fear grows, privacy is extinct, the superstate imposes, requires, invades, provides, rewards, punishes, socializes medicine, targets individuals, covers up everything, ramps up the IRS for your "health," tracks your electronic life, your phone calls, your travel, your mail.
Snowden strikes, grabs our attention about what we should have known was happening.
It was a gigantic act of courage, it has struck me so far, seemingly from idealism, seemingly to unmask the machine secretly grinding away any remaining semblance of the American republic. Then again, as others have noted, this is a young man who seems to consider himself a citizen of the world. Then again, given that he is a creature of his time, how could he not? What school system in America teaches youngsters pride in the founding of this country?
Is Snowden real? Was he duped? Is he dead? We don't know. Is he a hero? I think so, but if it turns out he is working for China or takes refuge in Russia -- both totalitarian enemies of liberty -- then I will think again.
What I do know for sure is that Edward Snowden has thrown down the gauntlet.
The heroism is up to us.
Here is the Safire column mentioned above:
"You Are a Suspect"
By William Safire, NYT, November 14, 2002
If the Homeland Security Act is not amended before passage, here is what will happen to you:
Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend -- all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as ''a virtual, centralized grand database.''
To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece of information that government has about you -- passport application, driver's license and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce records, complaints from nosy neighbors to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance -- and you have the supersnoop's dream: a ''Total Information Awareness'' about every U.S. citizen.
This is not some far-out Orwellian scenario. It is what will happen to your personal freedom in the next few weeks if John Poindexter gets the unprecedented power he seeks.
Remember Poindexter? Brilliant man, first in his class at the Naval Academy, later earned a doctorate in physics, rose to national security adviser under President Ronald Reagan. He had this brilliant idea of secretly selling missiles to Iran to pay ransom for hostages, and with the illicit proceeds to illegally support contras in Nicaragua.
A jury convicted Poindexter in 1990 on five felony counts of misleading Congress and making false statements, but an appeals court overturned the verdict because Congress had given him immunity for his testimony. He famously asserted, ''The buck stops here,'' arguing that the White House staff, and not the president, was responsible for fateful decisions that might prove embarrassing.
This ring-knocking master of deceit is back again with a plan even more scandalous than Iran-contra. He heads the ''Information Awareness Office'' in the otherwise excellent Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which spawned the Internet and stealth aircraft technology. Poindexter is now realizing his 20-year dream: getting the ''data-mining'' power to snoop on every public and private act of every American.
Even the hastily passed U.S.A. Patriot Act, which widened the scope of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and weakened 15 privacy laws, raised requirements for the government to report secret eavesdropping to Congress and the courts. But Poindexter's assault on individual privacy rides roughshod over such oversight.
He is determined to break down the wall between commercial snooping and secret government intrusion. The disgraced admiral dismisses such necessary differentiation as bureaucratic ''stovepiping.'' And he has been given a $200 million budget to create computer dossiers on 300 million Americans.
When George W. Bush was running for president, he stood foursquare in defense of each person's medical, financial and communications privacy. But Poindexter, whose contempt for the restraints of oversight drew the Reagan administration into its most serious blunder, is still operating on the presumption that on such a sweeping theft of privacy rights, the buck ends with him and not with the president.
This time, however, he has been seizing power in the open. In the past week John Markoff of The Times, followed by Robert O'Harrow of The Washington Post, have revealed the extent of Poindexter's operation, but editorialists have not grasped its undermining of the Freedom of Information Act.
Political awareness can overcome ''Total Information Awareness,'' the combined force of commercial and government snooping. In a similar overreach, Attorney General Ashcroft tried his Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS), but public outrage at the use of gossips and postal workers as snoops caused the House to shoot it down. The Senate should now do the same to this other exploitation of fear.
The Latin motto over Poindexter"s new Pentagon office reads ''Scientia Est Potentia'' -- ''knowledge is power.'' Exactly: the government's infinite knowledge about you is its power over you. ''We're just as concerned as the next person with protecting privacy,'' this brilliant mind blandly assured The Post. A jury found he spoke falsely before.