Edward Snowden’s important distinction between policy and law

"It is only going to get worse until eventually there will be a time when policies will change because the only thing that restricts the activities of the surveillance are policy. Even our agreements with other sovergein governments we consider that to be a stipulation of policy rather than a stipulation of law and because of that a new leader will be elected and he will flip the switch and he will say because of the crisis because of the dangers we face in the world because of some new and unpredicted threat we need more authority we need more power...and there will be nothing people can do at that point to oppose it and it will be turnkey tyranny." -Edward Snowden

While the Obama Administration will certainly not win any awards in the realm of transparency NSA whistleblower Snowden makes an important distinction about the potential capability that currently lies dormant in the existing data collection program codenamed PRISM. I see several potential chains of events that lay on the horizon that could unlock the extraordinary abuse of such a program's capability.

The first would be a broadening of the scope of the conflict in Syria in a way that would directly involve US, Israeli and Iranian forces. Sending US troops into the war would likely be met with a level of intense objection from within the US.

The second could be an economic crisis in the US caused by inflation or a spike in US treasury yields. This could lead to a rebooted and refocused Occupy Wall Street on steroids determined to point out the specific players who are cupable in both the Washington and Wall Street power structure.

And then there is probably the easiest link to make by simply linking the PRISM revelation with the recent revelation of IRS targeting conservative groups. If a candidate whether in the 2014 midterm elections or more likely the 2016 presidential elections would begin to emerge as a realistic threat to the US military/Wall Street agenda themselves and their influential supporters could without question be targeted and demonized through private documents, or (this is a stretch) but perhaps even with the public now informed about the PRISM program, fabricated yet incendiary documents supposedly provided by the PRISM program on anti-establishment candidates.

One interesting aspect to the unfolding of the story so far has been to serve as a rorschach test throughout the political media. And it is even more interesting how many in the media have found themselves attempting to defend the program without a valid argument, and the willingness to make fools of themselves in the name of servitude to the establishment.

The PRISM program that could in a very real way sniff out the latest hint of dissent in the US population and the police apparatus displayed in the Boston citywide lockdown and manhunt recently could very easily crush that dissent. We are in a relative state of comfort currently with unemployment inching downward, the market surging and the US military at a relative state of inactivity. So the Obama administration has those optics to point toward. Take away those optics and PRISM becomes extremely relevant to the planners in Washington as a way of analyzing and silencing opposition or as Snowden said, "turn-key tyranny."

Filed Under: FeaturedForeign PolicyNational Politics


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