The New Republic looks at how newly declassified documents by the Justice Department explain "the story of how the surveillance state grew into a monster."
Although President Obama could have reined in the surveillance state, as we all know, he did not. The snowballing privacy abuses that Snowden exposed, starting with the PRISM program and culminating most recently in the disclosure of the National Security Agencys encryption-cracking efforts, have threatened U.S. constitutional values and foreign policy interests without making us safer.
In expanding the surveillance state and the White Houses wartime authorities, Obama has continued a grand and unfortunate presidential tradition?fresh details of which have quietly come to light. They are found in a volume of 66 previously confidential legal opinions, issued between 1934 and 1976, that the Justice Departments Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) released over the summer. Bearing a title that is wonky even by Washington standards,1 the book nevertheless is riveting reading, amounting to a secret history of the rise of the national security leviathan. But just as the book shows how that apparatus has been built up, it also tells a second story: of how public outrage, loud and sustained, can tear it back down.
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|“Eliminating the time needed to stop and re-charge a conventional electric car’s battery.”|
|“Nobody is forcing the participants to stay, of course, but if they leave, they won’t be paid.”|
|“That science fiction future where robots can do what people and animals do may be closer than you think.”|
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|“This 160-step biochemical process is very well studied, and surprisingly inefficient.”|
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|“During this phase of decline, the US was likely to go through a phase of reactionary 'fascism'.”|
|“We’re going to start to see chip implants get the same realm of acceptance as piercings and tattoos.”|
|“The shift from fuel and pistons to batteries and electric motors is unlikely to take that long.”|
|“Our Internet handlers, not government, are using operant conditioning to modify our behaviour today.”|
|“Within 30 years, half of humanity won't have a job. It could get ugly — there could be a revolution.”|
|“After 78 years, the helicopter has been reinvented.”|