No Butts — Feds’ Surveillance Programs Out of Control

If you want further proof that the NSA’s tapping of phone records and tech companies’ databases is out of hand and way beyond anything ever intended by the Patriot Act, all you have to do is take a gander at the photo released Wednesday through Reuters of Edward Snowden.

It’s a picture from 2002, when he worked as webmaster for an anime company, of Snowden with his pants down, seen here.

He’s not naked, he’s got a pair of boxers on. His back is turned to the camera, and he appears to be in somebody’s office.

The accompanying story claims that he’s “pulling his pants down,” but since it’s a still photo, we really have no context other than what’s provided.

Maybe the guy needed to change his pants, ducked into an office and some jerk took his picture. Maybe he was just trying to tuck in his shirt. We don’t know.

And so what?

The release of this photo shows two things: the high level of desperation in Washington to turn public opinion against this guy, and the vast overreach of the NSA’s snooping. It’s an embarrassing photo of Snowden from 2002, fer cryin’ out loud. How many millions of terrabytes did the NSA computers have to sift through to dig up this picture from more than a decade ago? And yet they were able to do it without difficulty and feed it to the press.

That should tell you a lot about how far the feds have gone, because if they can do it to Snowden, they can do it to you or me. The only thing lacking is motivation.

In fact, that was one of the points Snowden made in revealing the NSA surveillance programs.

“The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything,” Snowden said. “With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.”

Do we as Americans really want to live in a country where the government is monitoring us 24/7 and any silly or stupid thing we’ve done in the past can be used against us when we become a bother?