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    Trump to Inherit the Bush and Obama Surveillance State

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    Donald Trump is soon to enter the Oval Office, and one of the perks of being the POTUS is ostensibly being able to control the massive United States surveillance and law enforcement architecture. How will the new President wield these powers?

    Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear host Brian Becker invited whistleblower John Kiriakou — who exposed the CIA torture program — to discuss what will happen when Donald Trump gains control of America's far-reaching surveillance network.

    ​Trump's political image is seen by many to be a blank slate. Routinely ostracizing himself, even from his Republican party, his actions remain difficult to predict, Kiriakou detailed. Though it is too early to say whether Trump will be a "bad" or a "good" President, he said many things that alarm a considerable amount of people. This alarm coincides with concerns of how Trump will steer the enormous surveillance system fostered by President George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks, and continued during the administration of President Barack Obama.

    "When Donald Trump says he wants to surveil mosques or infiltrate peace groups, infiltrate Black Lives Matter, I assume we must take him at his word, and this is exactly what he is going to do," Kiriakou said.

    It is not known precisely how all-encompassing the US surveillance system is, nor what hidden mandate the various security agencies espouse. A recently-built facility in Utah is said to have enough computing power and memory capacity to store every SMS or email sent by every US citizen for the next 500 years. But what is known on the street is a fraction of the entire US security and surveillance apparatus, and we only know about it thanks to Edward Snowden's revelations, Kiriakou told Radio Sputnik.

    "[Donald Trump] will inherit this system and he probably has no understanding of it," Kiriakou observed.

    Congress has not previously opposed the power given to a US President within the Bush-era Patriot Act. It is only now that some individual lawmakers on the far right and far left have begun to question this vast amount of power in the form of surveillance, Kiriakou explained.

    It can be predicted, however, and with some degree of certainty, that Trump is unlikely to change the eroding of civil liberties in the US.

    "The passage of the Patriot Act is one thing, but just incremental changes in policies and regulations are entirely different thing," Kiriakou pointed out, offering the example of increased airport security measures. Civil liberties have been slowly eroding, thanks to the implementation of Bush's Patriot Act, a process undimmed during the Obama administration, and no change can be reasonably expected during a Trump administration.

    "If something worked for George W. Bush, it is going to be far worse for Donald Trump," Kiriakou stated.

    Nonetheless, current legacy watchdogs, including the Government Accountability Project and Government Oversight, encourage whistleblowers to come out and provide them legal assistance.

    Kiriakou also noted that Trump has not solicited the opinions of think-tanks, a highly-unusual move, as Presidents before him have normally done. At the same time, Trump, whose campaign is known to have a vendetta list, has effectively banned all government and law-enforcement officials who openly labeled themselves as members of the "Never Trump" movement. This implies that Trump will implement his own agenda, an agenda he has consistently and clearly detailed throughout the course of this highly-charged election season.

     

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    Tags:
    civil liberties, Law Enforcement, Surveillance, John Kiriakou, Donald Trump, United States
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