Saturday, July 27, 2013

"Don't Talk to Listed Terrorists" but Pentagon Won't Share List

The universal defense to the myriad of domestic spying programs is "If you're not talking with terrorists, we're not violating your privacy."  Operationalized, this turns into "if you're not connected to terrorists by three intermediary relationships, think Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon, we're not looking at you."  Those relationships could be as simple as someone reading a blog, Twitter feed or Facebook page.  HuffPo reported:

President Obama said again and again that the U.S. is at war with “Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces.” 

The Pentagon refused to identify with whom America is at war:

A Pentagon spokesman said revealing such a list (of associated forces) could cause “serious damage to national security.”

“Because elements that might be considered ‘associated forces’ can build credibility by being listed as such by the United States, we have classified the list,” said the spokesman, Lt. Col. Jim Gregory. “We cannot afford to inflate these organizations that rely on violent extremist ideology to strengthen their ranks.”

Americans are supposed to avoid people who know people who might talk to someone who "might be considered associated forces," but those groups are a secret.  And Americans can't look up on a public database and find when Congress declared war and on whom.  Does this make any sense?  Only in today's world of abysmal leadership, spin and hyper-complexity.