Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More on the spying "scandal"

Click here to see an editorial from Judge Richard A. Posner about domestic intelligence issues in today's Washington Post. A lot to ponder from the honorable judge.

Key excerpt in the opinion of yours truly:

These programs are criticized as grave threats to civil liberties. They are not. Their significance is in flagging the existence of gaps in our defenses against terrorism. The Defense Department is rushing to fill those gaps, though there may be better ways.

The collection, mainly through electronic means, of vast amounts of personal data is said to invade privacy. But machine collection and processing of data cannot, as such, invade privacy. Because of their volume, the data are first sifted by computers, which search for names, addresses, phone numbers, etc., that may have intelligence value. This initial sifting, far from invading privacy (a computer is not a sentient being), keeps most private data from being read by any intelligence officer.

Folks, getting back to first principles here, but one of the main reasons for any government to exist is to protect its citizens from enemies. This data mining is just the government doing its job in these perilous times.

Contrary to popular belief, this has been going on for decades. Most of the caterwauling coming from around the nation is being done by those that see their political fortunes rising if they can sink the Bush administration on this. As always, I'm shocked, SHOCKED, I say, that they would do such a thing.

Update: As mentioned in my last paragraph, this stuff is nothing new. Radio talker Neal Boortz writes about it here.

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