Friday, June 7, 2013

How Americans Got Used To Surveillance

The American public was OK with surveilling Muslim citizens in 2006, and liberal New Yorkers were fine with it in 2012. Now they’re complaining.  


New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. 

The last detailed new revelation of a domestic surveillance program came on December 16, 2005, when the New York Times published an article it had held, at the Bush Administration’s request, for months: “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts.”

The public reacted with a shrug: It was the age of terror, and the program was directed at monitoring specific terror suspects. “Americans Taking Abramoff, Alito and Domestic Spying in Stride,” was the headline on the Pew Poll in January of 2006.

There was good reason to think even then — as Glenn Greenwald conclusively reported Wednesday, more than seven years later — that the National Security Agency is scooping up pretty much all of our phone calls. And there was good political reason that the government has fought so hard to keep that program — widely enough known that one imagines professional terrorists are on to it — secret. That same Pew Poll that found Americans blase about investigations without warrants also found:

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