A lot of Americans remain complacent about the surveillance state in which we now live because they can’t see or feel it directly touching their lives. A recent article in Wired (here) clearly demonstrates how far government agencies are willing to go to protect themselves, and it should greatly concern every U.S. citizen.
It took a Stanford doctoral student seven years of litigation and $38,000 in lawyer fees to finally get the government to admit she was put on a “no fly” list by mistake. Only after seven years of dogged attempts to clear her name did government lawyers concede that an FBI agent checked the wrong box on a form, placing the student’s name on the list. For seven years the government claimed they could not reveal how her name ended up on the list “for national security reasons.” A courageous young woman’s life was almost ruined because some idiot checked the wrong box and the government refused to admit its mistake.
The case illustrates just how far the government will go to protect itself from the people it is supposedly protecting, and no one in America should believe they are immune from this kind of Kafkaesque scenario. The security monster Bush built and Obama continues to feed has a life of its own and its primary prerogative is survival, not protection.