Piece by Piece, They Collected Our Whole Lives

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Bit by bit, the U.S. and its allies managed to collect our whole lives through their various data collection plans.  

Everyone became a suspect. And what do you do with a suspect? You keep an eye and an ear on them. You collect intelligence.

And collect, they did.      

Allow me to introduce the USA Patriot Act, formally known as the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. Capitalizing on the patriotic nature of the American people, this landmark act aimed to tighten U.S. national security. In brief, the data collection plan granted additional surveillance powers to law enforcement, easing restrictions on wiretaps and access to records. It also facilitated information sharing among government agencies to improve counterterrorism efforts and strengthen financial investigation tools to trace and disrupt potential funding for terrorist activities. Since its inception, some of the acts’ provisions have expired, while others have been either amended or reauthorized.

For a Republican, Bush was surprisingly liberal, with surveillance programs implemented without explicit congressional authorization. Consider the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP), a warrantless wiretapping program that monitored communications between individuals in the U.S. and those abroad. Emphasis on ‘warrantless,’ considering they never received authorization from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court).

The cherry on top? The National Security Agency (NSA) implemented and operated it in secret. They rigorously bypassed established legal processes and violated constitutional protections against unreasonable searches.

But why go through all that trouble?

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