By Chris Floyd: From Dissident Gold to Imperial Dross: The Neutering of the NSA Archives!
Clancy Lives! Take Heart, you fans of slam-bang super-bang adventure stories! Tom Clancy is not dead, he lives on on the pages of the Washington Post, channeled through the pages of the Washington Post, channeled through the airport-thriller prose of Barton Gellman, one of the small coterie of media custodians doling out dollops from the huge archive of state-ordered murder: a rousing tale of secret ops in exotic lands, awesome high-tech spy gear, flying missiles, deadly explosions, and dogged agents doing the grim but noble work of keeping us safe. No doubt Hollywood is already on the horn: it's boffo box office! The story describes how the NSA's determined leg-work helped Barack Obama shred the sovereignty of a US ally in order to kill a man, in the usual cowardly fashion, by long distance, remote-control missile, without the slightest pretense of judicial process. It's really cool!Just watch our boys in action: In the search for targets, the NSA has draped a surveillance blanket ove dozens of square miles of northwest Pakistan. In Ghul's case, the agency deployed an arsenal of cyber-espionage tools, secretly seizing control of laptops, siphoning audio files and other messages, and tracking radio transmissions to determine where Ghul might "bed down."NSA threw the kitchen sink at the FATA," said a former U.S. intelligence official with experience in Afghanistan and Pakistan, referring to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the region in northwest Pakistan where al-Qaeda's leadership is based. Surveillance operations that required placing a device or sensor near an al-Qaeda compound were handled by the CIA's Information Operations Center, which specializes in high-tech devices and "close-in" surveillance work. "But if you wanted huge coverage of the FATA, NSA had 10 times the manpower, 20 times the budget and 100 times the brainpower, the former intelligence official said. I mean, get a load of these guys: 100 times the brainpower of ordinary mortals! Didn't I say they were super-spies? The target was Hassan Ghul, an al-Qaeda operative who was once in American custody but was released after giving his captors the tip that eventually led them to Osama bin Laden. He was also tortured after giving the information, because, hey, why not? Even super-powerful brains need to let off steam off once ina while, right? Returned to his native Pakistan, Ghul evidently became a bad Injun again in eyes of the imperium, so, after snooping on his wife, they found out where he was and ordered some joystick with his butt parked in a comfy chair somewhere to push a buttonand kill him. There is not a single word in the entire story to suggest, even remotely, that there is anything wrong with the government of the United States running high-tech death sqads and blanketing the globe with a level of invasive surveillance far beyond the dreams of Stalin or the Stasi. There is not even a single comment from some token 'serious' person objecting to the policy on realpolitik grounds: i.e., that such actions create more terrorists as the Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafi told Obama to his face, engender hatred for the US, destabilize volatile regionsm, etc. etc. There is not a shred of even this very tepid, 'loyal opposition' type of tidbit that usually crops up in the 15th or 25th paragraph of such stories.