Back in the day, when I was personally a key component of national defense being a naval officer and all, the National Security Agency was routinely referred to as the “puzzle palace”. I never hear that term for it anymore. But of course Wikipedia doesn’t miss a trick.
In any case, this was certainly foreseeable. I more or less assume and have assumed for years that they collect and store everything, or so much of everything as is within their capacity. As I think I’ve said elsewhere, we were drowning in intelligence information 30 years ago, and for all I know 75 years ago, at least in the sense that it’s not gathering the information that’s a problem; it’s analyzing it such that you can do anything useful with it when it matters – before something happens, not after.
I get the civil liberties concerns better than I used to (I have to confess, there was a time I would have thought this kind of capability was simply too cool and little else), because the primary use of this torrent of information will be the easiest: it won’t prevent anything or even be all that helpful in catching anyone, but once they’ve done something and you’ve caught them due to entirely independent resources, it will help you convict them, because of course the data is in there somewhere.
And, oh, don’t forget the other easy thing: once
Obama W Hillary whomever decides they don’t like you there’s a lot of stuff they can dig up.
Of course, they’d have to have the correct clearance: confidential, secret, top secret, etc. And the “need to know” for legitimate operational reasons. I mean, those are still the rules, aren’t they?
You have to love the code name of the program, too: PRISM I wonder what it stands for? Someone at the puzzle palace could probably tell me, but then…..they’d have to kill me.