Garland Shooters on Twitter: NSA, where you at Bro?

by Will Porter

New York TimesTexas Attacker Left Trail of Extremist Ideas on Twitter

It’s fortunate this didn’t turn out as bad as it could have, but I can’t help thinking: despite all the massive privacy violations, bulk-collection surveillance, “public-private partnerships” between big telecoms and the federal government, these incidents are never prevented.

Isn’t that the stated purpose? People like Michael Hayden seem to believe that vast, international surveillance programs can prevent acts of terrorism, but when have they?

Hey, maybe I’m being too cynical here, but such programs aren’t really new, yet we’ve had—to name a few off the top of my head—the Oklahoma City bombing, the first World Trade Center bombing, a large amount of mass killings and school shootings, the 9/11 attacks, etc. etc. A huge proportion of incidents prevented have been fraudulent FBI entrapment jobs, victimizing a political out-group, and the mentally handicapped (seriously, dude), or attacks which failed due to the incompetence of the attackers themselves.

The NSA, as well as the other 4,000 or so US intelligence agencies, have failed the test of success. Even apologist Mike Hayden admits that bulk-collection simply sucks up too much data, rendering it fairly useless. Nonetheless, the NSA has adopted a modus operandi of “collect it all, store it all” in its surveillance of Americans and foreigners alike.

Despite the constant deception and secrecy of all intel agencies, many of these programs no longer hide in obscurity. There are almost certainly operations still unknown to the American public, but for those we do know of, I can only hope that their continued failure will elicit ever-larger responses. The American government has granted itself what Ed Snowden called “the greatest weapon for oppression in the history of man,” it’s becoming more obvious to everyone that’s all it is.