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Are we safer or more free now?

June 2, 2015

With the passage of the so-called USA Freedom Act, libertarian pundits are opining that constitutional freedoms are now more in play since the NSA can’t hold on to the metadata it was collecting under Section 215 of the “old” Patriot Act.

What’s sort of been missing in this whole cacophony of hysterical rhetoric is whether either the Patriot Act or the USA Freedom Act can be administered in a way that actually catches bad guys.

Which brings up these questions.

If, as anti-phone surveillance supporters say, nothing was ever collected that led to any arrests or stopped any terrorists, could it be because there aren’t enough people in the whole Federal system to connect all the dots using that many data points? Maybe…strategy doesn’t seem to be the government’s strong point recently.

Or, let’s assume the surveillance did lead to actionable intelligence that the public is simply never going to know about. How does keeping the records under the control of what amounts to a public utility company, that by the way, isn’t required to hold the data any longer than it wants to, make us more safe or free?

Somehow this looks like the typical FUBAR Federal attempt to take on problems it can’t handle and then play the blame game when it doesn’t work, or use it as an excuse to spend more money to get the same non-result.

We just heard that the much-vaunted TSA can’t even find a (fake) bomb when their machines tell them it’s there. Wow. How much money has that little debacle cost the taxpayers to date? And who has stopped every incident in the air since 9/11? The passengers and crew of the planes.

Or the IRS that can’t even manage to make  an app secure.  Oh well, according to Director Koskinen it’s nothing that 82 million dollars won’t fix. Taxpayers lost $50 million just to the latest security breach. Maybe they can take it out of that budget request.

There are a lot of things that probably could be done to make the country safer.

We could stop the open border policy. We could find all the people that have overstayed their visas and kick them out without comment or appeal. We could start watching the people that fit the profile of every known terrorist to date.

But we won’t, and at this point, probably can’t.

Hooray for the USA Freedom Act.  Do you feel a lot freer and safer now?

From → op-ed

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