All of a sudden, Congress is having second thoughts. The New York Times reports that the strategy of letting the National Spy Agencies build haystacks to look for needles is going to be reconsidered by Congress. This is good news.
Backers of sweeping surveillance powers now say they recognize that changes are likely, and they are taking steps to make sure they maintain control over the extent of any revisions. Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee met on Wednesday as the House deliberated to try to find accommodations to growing public misgivings about the programs, said the committee’s chairwoman, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California.
Congress critters admitting they are the powers-that-be behind the pervasive spying is good news. It’s nice they are stepping up to the plate and admitting perhaps they made a mistake, and not just because looking for needles anywhere, but a pin cushion, is a colossal waste of time. Who would have thought that the absence of haystacks in which to look for pins would lead to them being built?
On the other hand, I suspect it’s not the surveillance most people are upset about; it’s not the spying, it’s the listening in. People don’t like the idea of having their speech recorded and then played back for someone’s amusement or to stop them in their tracks. Speech is supposed to be free, if only because people always make things up. Not to mention that some people need to hear themselves speak just to know what they think. Having their words taken down is incredibly intrusive. Perhaps even more so than being pawed by the TSA.
Nevertheless, while Congress is at it, all that frisking at airports out to be reconsidered, as well. While not as intrusive as the vaginal probe, the TSA makes a mockery of the right to privacy. An assault is an assault — coerced consent or not.