by Tom Engelhardt
hat are the odds? You put about $68 billion
annually into a maze of 17
major intelligence outfits. You build them glorious headquarters
. You create a global surveillance state for the ages
. You listen in on your citizenry and gather their communications in staggering quantities. Your employees even morph
into avatars and enter video-game landscapes, lest any Americans betray a penchant for evil deeds while in entertainment mode. You collect information on visits
to porn sites just in case, one day, blackmail might be useful. You pass around naked photos
of them just for... well, the salacious hell of it.
Your employees even use aspects of the system you’ve created to stalk
former lovers and, within your arcane world, that act of "spycraft" gains its own name: LOVEINT.
You listen in
on foreign leaders and politicians across the planet. You bring on board hundreds of thousands
of crony corporate employees, creating the sinews
of an intelligence-corporate complex of the first order. You break into
the “backdoors” of the data centers of major Internet outfits to collect user accounts. You create new outfits
within outfits, including an ever-expanding secret military and intelligence crew embedded
inside the military itself (and not counted among those 17 agencies). Your leaders lie
to Congress and the American people without, as far as we can tell, a flicker of self-doubt. Your acts are subject to secret courts
, which only hear your versions of events and regularly rubberstamp
them -- and whose judgments and substantial body
of lawmaking are far too secret for Americans to know about.
You have put extraordinary effort
into ensuring that information about your world and the millions of documents you produce doesn’t make it into our world. You even have the legal ability to gag American organizations
who might speak out on subjects that would displease you (and they can’t say that their mouths have been shut). You undoubtedly spy
on Congress. You hack into
congressional computer systems. And if whistleblowers inside your world try to tell the American public anything unauthorized about what you’re doing, you prosecute
them under the Espionage Act, as if they were spies for a foreign power (which, in a sense
, they are, since you treat the American people as if they were a foreign population). You do everything to wreck their lives and -- should one escape your grasp -- you hunt him implacably
to the ends of the Earth.
As for your top officials, when their moment is past, the revolving door is theirs to spin through into a lucrative mirror life in the intelligence-corporate complex.