Please consider reading the July 28 New York Times article "Mining of Data Prompted Fight Over Spying" and consider who exactly is responsible for conducting and the oversight of domestic surveillance and dbase mining. Then link to a Sept. 17, 2006 LA Times Greg Miller article "Spy Agencies Outsourcing to Fill Key Jobs." ("The proliferation of contractors has outstripped the intelligence community's ability to keep track of them." and "...two-thirds of the contractors at the counter-terrorism center are information technology workers who manage computer systems...including the task of posting names of new terrorism suspects to immigration and law enforcement watch lists." Should this type of activity be privatized and shielded from privacy obligations imposed upon government agencies that are not applicable to private corporations?
Within testimony and reported during a Senate Judiciary Committee last March FBI Director Mueller implied the FBI didn't actually mean to break the laws but this happened because of "mistakes, carelessness, confusion, lack of training, lack of guidance and a lack of adequate oversight." So what are the private contractors getting away with? In 2002 I was sued by a former employer--an international billion-dollar IT/TelComm Holding company--with a special subsidiary ending with Government Solutions. After over a year of costly litigation I forced this bllion-dollar company to seek a dismisal of all their claims against me, with prejudice. How often does such a thing happen? Hardly ever...drawing one to reasonably conclude this legal attack was malicious and filed for improper purposes. Within days of the lawsuit being reported in the press I received a warning that this company could easily tap my home phone lines and read my ISP...and that I should expect this. I was also warned from an insider of a threat that I would be litigated to death and would never work again. I tragically underestimated the latter threat because basically that happened. It was like my name was on some type of list.
Regarding domestic surveillance...just what do you think everyone is lying about? That we have been spying on suspected terrorists and international calls? Anyone who believes this Administration would not use/abuse information it gained from illegal wiretaps (phone/ISP) or secretive examination of financial records to advance its political/commercial agenda and attack its critics is being either naüve or stupid. As for the argument about the lack of evidence of abuse, trust me, there is plenty. But to whom does one complain? The DOJ, the FBI? Who is watching the watchers?
Mark J. Novitsky
Aug 1 2007 - 8:07am