WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The continued function of National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance protected by a special court confirms that the population of the United States is still trapped in a national security state, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Alice Slater told Sputnik on Friday.
"Ever since 9/11 [the al-Qaeda terror attacks of September 11, 2001] we’re living in a national security state and we can’t even learn the truth about 9/11 as they refuse to declassify portions of the 911 Commission Report," Slater said.
The atmosphere of continued terror alerts and paranoia against even law-abiding elements of the population recalled the darkest days of the anti-communist witch hunts by Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s, Slater maintained.
Technological advances harnessed by the uncontrolled and unsupervised power of the federal government were eliminating the last vestiges of privacy in American society, Slater warned.
"I don’t know what kind of privacy citizens can count on now — the new technology of cell phones and computers makes us all traceable, all the time," she said.
On Tuesday, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) gave its first approval for more NSA surveillance operations since the USA Freedom Act was passed in 2015. Most of the court order was redacted, meaning it was not released to the general public.
However, Slater said that even if the court showed more vigor and independence than it had so far, the NSA and other federal agencies would quickly find ways to circumvent any more serious attempts at oversight of their activities.
"Of course, we should be able to stop our government from abusing us, but there are so many other ways to be invaded. It’s a Brave New World and unless we want to go back to basics and become Luddites [rejecting all modern technology], there’s no escape," she concluded.
The FISC is a federal court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to oversee requests for surveillance warrants against suspected foreign spies inside the United States by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.