It is Buzz Windrip‘s dream come true, the wet dream of Tricky Dick Nixon, the paranoid fantasy of a thousand “libertarian” science fiction writers, right-wing columnists, lefty conspiracy theorists, and now it’s come true: We ARE living in a Philip K. Dick novel.
From the Wall Street Journal:
U.S. to Expand Domestic Use Of Spy Satellites
By ROBERT BLOCK
August 15, 2007; Page A1
The U.S.’s top intelligence official has greatly expanded the range of federal and local authorities who can get access to information from the nation’s vast network of spy satellites in the U.S.
The decision, made three months ago by Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, places for the first time some of the U.S.’s most powerful intelligence-gathering tools at the disposal of domestic security officials. The move was authorized in a May 25 memo sent to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff asking his department to facilitate access to the spy network on behalf of civilian agencies and law enforcement.
Until now, only a handful of federal civilian agencies, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey, have had access to the most basic spy-satellite imagery, and only for the purpose of scientific and environmental study… [MORE]
But wait! (As they say) there’s MORE!!
Plans to provide DHS with significantly expanded access have been on the drawing board for over two years. The idea was first talked about as a possibility by the Central Intelligence Agency after 9/11 as a way to help better secure the country. “It is an idea whose time has arrived,” says Charles Allen, the DHS’s chief intelligence officer, who will be in charge of the new program. DHS officials say the program has been granted a budget by Congress and has the approval of the relevant committees in both chambers.
Coming on the back of legislation that upgraded the administration’s ability to wiretap terrorist suspects without warrants, the development is likely to heat up debate about the balance between civil liberties and national security.
Access to the satellite surveillance will be controlled by a new Homeland Security branch — the National Applications Office — which will be up and running in October.
Debate? What fucking DEBATE?!!?! Civil liberties? What fucking CIVIL LIBERTIES??!?
I remember writing in 1986 or ’87 (or trying to write, since nobody would publish my political stuff. SEX stuff, sure, but important political stuff? Naw.) when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that you had NO right to privacy in the airspace above your home, that they’d opened the door to spy satellite surveillance on U.S. Citizens. This was, naturally, considered the wildest form of Leftie Paranoid Conspiracy Theory Wackiness.
Well, kiddies, here you are.
In a related story, the White House will be authoring the “surge” report in September. They’re not even TRYING to hide the lying, the enabling acts, the arrogation of power, the illegal wiretaps, warrantless searches, gag orders, etc. etc. etc.
In such a climate, it is insane and dangerous for me to write about politics, or to put my neck on the line for the likes of you. Because, frankly, I don’t love you that much.
So, to paraphrase Chief Joseph at the end of the Nez Percé War:
Hear me, my readers, I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will blog no more forever.
I’m ready for the boat to Leavenworth now, General Miles.