See Something, Do Nothing

The Lone defense for mass warrantless surveillance is that in theory it should make it easier to protect us from terrorism. How then can we explain the incidents of mass murder by individuals associated with terrorist groups like ISIS?

By CHARLES CRANE
For The Herald

The Lone defense for mass warrantless surveillance is that in theory it should make it easier to protect us from terrorism. How then can we explain the incidents of mass murder by individuals associated with terrorist groups like ISIS?

From the beginning of the Obama Administration, there was mandate from on high to ramp up efforts to collect digital communications in the United States and beyond.  While the programs and infrastructure were put in place by President Bush, it was only under President Obama that our National Security Agency drifted ever closer to Orwellian waters.

As it was revealed by Edward Snowden and detailed by Glen Greenwald in his book “No Place to Hide”, the Director of the NSA General Keith Alexander took every opportunity to push the limits of every citizen’s right to privacy. All of this was done in the name of leaving no stone unturned, amassing the largest haystack of data possible in the NSA’s massive datacenter in Utah.

While it is understandable that our intelligence and security agencies are reluctant to reveal too much let alone anything about classified programs, I for one am reticent to continue to give them the benefit of the doubt when they hide and then flat out lie about what exactly they’ve been doing with all of that data while events like Orlando, San Bernardino, and Boston continue to happen.

The metadata surveillance state is the new normal not just for us in the United States, but in fact for the whole world.

Now we can add the Charlie Hedbo, Bataclan Massacre, and the Brussels Bombing to the list, and our next question must become why is our surveillance state failing at its intended purpose of allowing us to get to terrorist before they hurt us?

Some, namely presumptive Republican Nominee Donald Trump, have insinuated that such horrors are the fault of policies which he believes have rendered our national security apparatus toothless, and unable to effectively fulfill its purpose.

The general outrage over Trump’s statements in the wake of Orlando were deafening. After everyone had worked themselves up in a frenzy over gun control, a thread appeared that seemed to validate some of Trump’s statements and answer our question.

Philip Haney, a former Department of Homeland Security officer, has come forward saying that investigations into networks and mosques involved with the killers from San Bernardino and Orlando were shut down by the Obama Administration in an effort to avoid appearances of profiling. Haney also alleges that a third investigation into a mosque in Chicago with direct connections to the other two was shut down, with critical documents relating to the investigation being destroyed.

Haney was an entomologist by trade before being recruited by the DHS when it was founded after 9/11. He claims he was leading the investigations in question, and that despite all evidence he was ordered to back off. He alleges that if these investigations were still ongoing, a great deal of what we have suffered from in recent months here in the United States would not have happened.

The current clash happening in the media and in congress has been about how shootings like this are able to happen, and the focus on gun control only clouds another real cause for all of this. All the gun control in the world wouldn’t have stopped Farook and Malik from buying their weapons from their friend Enrique Marquez Jr., but had they connected the dots between Farook’s mosque and organizations like Tablighi Jamaat and the Sharia Board of America, Farook would have been on the No Fly List. He wouldn’t have been able to travel overseas to Pakistan where he met his wife, who likewise would not have been allowed follow him back.

In the case of Orlando, Omar Mateen was somehow able to survive a battery of background checks by his employer who is a DHS security contractor, and multiple FBI interviews, let alone the one performed by the gun shop that ultimately sold him the weapons and ammo he used in Pulse that night. Mateen’s mosque, the Islamic Center of Fr. Pierce, also shares ties with Tablighi Jamaat and the Sharia Board of America.

The Tsarnaev Brothers injured over 280 people and killed 5 others in Boston with nothing more than pressure cookers and legally purchased firework powder. The only gun casualty in that instance was a police officer.

It is more than a little disingenuous to say the least for President Obama to whinge on a bout the civil liberties of Muslims when his policies have continually shown nothing but contempt for the civil liberties of ALL American citizens.

After Orlando, President Obama asked that we all ponder on why someone being investigated by the FBI was able to buy a gun. The answer is that he wasn’t under FBI investigation when he purchased it, and had been cleared multiple times by not only the authorities but by his own employers after concerns were brought up about him and his statements and actions. Time and again concerns about him and his mosque were cast aside in the name of political correctness.

Why was Omar Mateen able to purchase a gun? Why indeed President Obama. Why indeed.

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