Jun 06 2006

Paranoid Delusions Versus Reality

Published by at 9:01 am under All General Discussions,FISA-NSA

Are we a nation afraid of ourselves, or one ready to protect ourselves? In the NSA-FISA battle there are two sides – the paranoid delusionists on the left and the Realists spread across the rest of the populace. Today we get to see the two sides in stark contrast in response to the Toronto raids on terrorists.

Paranoid Delusionist (thinking up ‘what if’ scenarios without any realization of the check’s and balances in place):

Whatever its effectiveness in protecting us from terrorists — a hotly debated proposition within the FBI and CIA — this program and the “War on Terror” create significant non-terrorism-related security risks.
How many times have you used your telephone’s keypad to punch in bank codes or credit card numbers? All it would take to give thieves access to that information is a breach in computer security, or one “bad apple” — one NSA employee with financial problems or dubious ethics.

How about blackmail? What if government had evidence that an annoying activist or legislator called a phone sex line? Do you think that information might be used to get votes changed, investigations dropped, or public criticisms muted?

Pathetic. Now the realist (recognizing how close people came to dying from those Canadian terrorists):

No one at the NSA, the FBI or in Canada for that matter is talking about just how authorities zeroed in on these suspects. But it isn’t unreasonable to assume that information was shared between intelligence agencies in Canada and the U.S. It is also quite possible that the NSA surveillance program, tracing international calls from known terrorists outside the U.S. to suspected terrorists inside this country, played a role in the rounding up of these suspects.

We don’t know.

What we do know is that since 9/11, we have been very fortunate that there have been no new terrorist attacks within the borders of the United States. Other western countries haven’t been so lucky. (Last year’s subway bombings in London are a case in point.)

Preventing such attacks isn’t just a matter of luck. Great efforts have been made by our intelligence and national security agencies to keep another 9/11 from occurring here. Dozens of suspected terrorists have been rounded up over the last five years and numerous planned attacks have been thwarted.

The paranoid delusionist has to make up fantasy scenarios where people are never watched doing their evil deeds (which is not the case in the NSA or other classified facilities – which you would know if you had been in one). What the delusionist also must do is ignore the stated goals and actions and results of the terrorists. They have attacked, they have been stopped trying to attack, the plan to attack again. No ‘what if’s’ required. A known situation – we are under attack.

So, when people look at their children and ask who will make sure they will be secure and can grow up and lead their lives, do you think they are running to the paranoid delusionist who fears Bush or the realist who fears we will miss stopping one of Al Qaeda’s current plans?

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