God�s ministers are listening; God bless the vice president, secretary of defense and NSTAC
By John Stanton
Journal Contributing Writer
May 22, 2006, 00:59
"[American] people are more inclined to understand .
. . that government carries the sword as the minister of God to execute wrath
upon the evildoer." -- Associate Justice
Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court of the United States
Ever heard of the
National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC)? Well, if you
haven�t, you�d be smart to research the innards of the group by visiting ncs.gov/nstac/nstac.html.
According to its
charter, �NSTAC offers advice to the President on policy issues affecting not
only the Government's ability to leverage the information infrastructure to
better support NS/EP operations but also the Government's ability to protect
the information infrastructure itself from threats and vulnerabilities that
might ultimately jeopardize the country's national and economic security.�
Given its mission
and its powerful members -- defense contractors, communications providers,
software companies, government agencies -- it is safe to assume that the NSTAC
is one of the places where feasibility studies took place to determine whether
the national security and corporate apparatus was up to the task of sweeping up
the thoughts and actions of the American public and foreign interests
traversing the digital domain. NSTAC likely worked closely with Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld�s Policy
Organization, and Vice President Dick Cheney�s office.
Such an effort would
have had to include discussions about computer hardware and software that could
be quick and intelligent enough to build patterns detailing not only
generalized call and email tendencies among individuals and groups, but also
the construction of dozens of relational databases designed to capture voice
and text containing, say, anti-American government or conspiratorial phrases,
foreign languages, and an assortment of habits common to the American public.
That�s a task made a lot easier due to America�s real pasttime: information
Show Me the Data!
One of the
distinguishing traits of Americans is their obsession with collecting data and
analyzing it for trends and, ultimately, to predict outcomes and gain an edge
on competition. Think of the insurance industry, the stock market, baseball,
football, hockey, basketball and the reams of statistics and percentages that
businesses, consumers and sports fans obsess over (the latter for their fantasy
leagues) and rely on for life�s decisions. Now imagine a subset of the American
populace. that being the national security and corporate apparatus, with
unlimited financial resources to design and build the algorithms, capture
techniques and computing power to grab, store and target particular keywords in
all the human conversation passing through the electromagnetic spectrum,
whether it�s voice or text. How hard can it be? Just think of Microsoft�s Excel
(Microsoft is a member of the NTSAC) and the powerful data analysis tool it is
for individuals and organizations. What type of data mining and analysis tools
must a trillion or so dollars buy?
But wait! There�s
more to be concerned about. Consider the mega-conference on Lawful Intercept
being held by a group called Telestrategies.
Visit the organization in McLean, Virginia and click on the ISS World image. Conference
sessions include the State of Global
Lawful Interception, Regulation and Legislation, Telecom Service
Providers Lawful Interception Compliance, Network Surveillance
and LI Solutions, Investigative Analysis Technology Developments and Tools, Lawful Interception Standards, Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) Training
Sessions, and Product Specific LEA and Government Training. Make sure to review
the �track agenda� sections for a list of who�s who of domestic and
international participants involved in the snooping world.
So what�s the point?
Does it really matter if your entire life is recorded and stored by your
government and its contractors? Do you even care? It�s worth thinking about.
God Is Government, Government Is God
Let�s return to
Justice Scalia�s comment about the American public and its habit of believing
that the US government is operating as a minister of God and wielding its sword
to execute wrath upon the evildoer. Americans have another distinguishing trait
and that is their very childlike and naive Judeo-Christian beliefs. Followers
are instructed to live daily on leaps-of-faith and millions bow down in fear
before some phantom being, or those speaking for it, who resides somewhere in
the coldness of space or at the center of the earth. Have faith! is the
refrain. Trust us, the messengers and ministers; we�ve talked to the cloud. How
easy it is to convince such a silly people of anything (this holds for all the
cling to these beliefs like so many insecure children afraid to explore the
world on their own, they are easily frightened and vulnerable to the propaganda
and lies dispensed from a US government marketed by leaders of all stripes as
One Nation Under God. It�s an authoritarian�s or fascist�s dream come true.
God�s ministers work in the US government on behalf of God. So, the US
government represents God. Wow! The US government is God. God Bless America!
Has anyone thought
about who the messengers and ministers of God�s Blessed America are? Is it the
many corporations and agencies of the NSTAC? Is it the Office of the Vice
President? Maybe it�s the Secretary of Defense, his Policy Organization, and
the dozens of defense contractors that actually execute US policy. Perhaps it�s
the US Congress and its legions of lobbyists.
One thing for sure,
it is comforting to know for a fact that God really is listening.
Stanton is a Virginia-based writer specializing in national security and
political matters. He is the author of "A Power But Not Super" and
co-author of "America�s Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush II."
Reach him at email@example.com.
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