Domestic surveillance: It’s worse than you think

By Philip Bump, writing at The Atlantic Wire

Michele Catalano was looking for information online about pressure cookers. Her husband, in the same time frame, was Googling backpacks. Wednesday morning, six men from a joint terrorism task force showed up at their house to see if they were terrorists. Which prompts the question: How’d the government know what they were Googling?

Catalano (who is a professional writer) describes the tension of that visit.

michele-catalano-pj-media[T]hey were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from? They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa. What the hell is quinoa, they asked. …

Have you ever looked up how to make a pressure cooker bomb? My husband, ever the oppositional kind, asked them if they themselves weren’t curious as to how a pressure cooker bomb works, if they ever looked it up. Two of them admitted they did.

The men identified themselves as members of the “joint terrorism task force. ” The composition of such task forces depend on the region of the country, but, as we outlined after the Boston bombings, include a variety of federal agencies. Among them: the FBI and Homeland Security.

So, how did the government know what they were Googling?

Just a week ago, Congress voted down the Amash Amendment which would have reined in the NSA surveillance program.  As you probably know, the vote was extremely close.  My Congressman, Gregg Harper voted against it, and I’m none too happy about it.  What happened to the Catalanos could have happened to you, me, anyone.

Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), the newly announced GOP candidate for Senate,  also voted “No.”  Cotton described meta data as nothing more than a five column Excel spreadsheet.

“It’s in a lock box. It can’t even be searched,” he said. (emphasis mine-ed.)

A lock box?  Isn’t that what they said about Social Security?  They were wrong about that, and I suppose we see now that Tom’s conclusion was also wrong.  Bad wrong.

Enough is enough.

It’s high time to take back our status as free citizens of the Republic.

Stand up, America!

Also blogging:  VodkaPundit

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