What Are You Afraid Of?


J. D. Pendry


Are you afraid that your civil liberties are at risk because the National Security Agency might conduct electronic surveillance of international phone calls made or received by people with known terrorist ties?  This is what the screeching liberal media and political hacks call spying on Americans.  I’m not afraid that someone might listen to my international phone calls or look at my suspicious emails.  No, what I fear is that some stupid politician will put us back where we were before 911 – unable to conduct surveillance of terrorists within the borders of our own country and unable to share that information between the agencies charged to protect us.  That’s what I’m afraid of.


You know what else I fear?  That our national secrets are repeatedly leaked to an irresponsible press who then shares them with the world, which includes the people who want to kill us.  So what, if we have secret prisons where we keep terrorists – like that fat hairball sheik Mohammad something or other?  Would a responsible American who cares about the security of our country let this information out if they knew it?  Don’t you think our ability to gather intelligence from terrorists who might be known to us and in this country was severely harmed by leaking of a secret surveillance program?


While I’m sitting here, I switched the channel from the football game on Fox to see if there was still a game on CBS.  What did I find instead?  60 Minutes doing a story about CIA front companies making secret flights, supposedly transporting prisoners?  Not only that, but they shared the company names, aircraft tail numbers…hell al Qaeda doesn’t need an intelligence service!  They have the leakers, 60 Minutes and the rest of the irresponsible American media.  All al Qaeda must do is wait for a scumbag working at the CIA, State Department or a member of a Congressional Intelligence Committee to tell the New York Times – which could more aptly be renamed al Qaeda’s Daily Intel Summary.


We’re at war and people should to go to prison for committing treasonous acts. 


Do you know what else I fear more than the very slight chance that the National Security Agency might be remotely interested in me (or the average American)?  I’m afraid of Google.  Yep, I’m afraid of Google, and the rest of you ought to be too.  Of course no one will be, unless Harry Reid can somehow blame Google on the President.  Try something for me.  Go to the Google search box and type in your phone number complete with area code.  When your name and address pops up, odds are it will, then click on Google maps.  Just for laughs, select “Hybrid”.  Enjoy the nice satellite shot of your house, complete with streets and roads overlaid.  You can zoom in on the house also.  If there isn’t a good image of your house there yet, type in another phone number, maybe Mom’s.  Unless you live in a stealth house, chances are you’ll be right there.


Want to make it more interesting?  Go download the free version of Google Earth.  Now you can pinpoint structures complete with longitude and latitude.  Once you have Google Earth, type in something.  I tried a bunch, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC.  100 Constitution Ave NE, Washington, DC.  I put my little pointer in the center of both (The White House and Capitol) to obtain their coordinates.  I visited Fort Myer, Virginia.  An installation I know quite well.  From my satellite view, I zoomed in on the Army Chief of Staff’s house – could see the shingles on the roof and give you the coordinates.  The same was true for the house of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Both are located a short mortar lob from Arlington National Cemetery, which is virtually wide open to anyone who wants to wonder in from Memorial Drive. 


Want to make it more interesting?  Type in Baghdad, Iraq.  Now, I’m not familiar with the lay of the land in Baghdad, but I have to believe that the people who want to hurt American Soldiers are.  You can zoom in with very good resolution.  The images on Google Earth are not real time (at least not on the free version), but buildings don’t move and if I could get the precise coordinates of a particular building inside a US base, I should be able to improve the accuracy and efficiency of my mortars.  Shouldn’t I? 


Look at one aspect of the premium edition, Defense and Intelligence uses.  If your terror cell doesn’t have satellite support to help you with targeting, not to worry – let Google handle it for you.  All Abdul needs is a subscription to Google Earth Premium and he can get pinpoint map coordinates for many important structures worldwide – which includes my house.


Google is a great tool; I use it several times a day.  Have you ever failed to find what you’re looking for using Google?  Me neither.  The Google database is massive and growing everyday – and I wager they have more personal data captured on more American citizens than does the National Security Agency.


Wait, I ain’t done.  Go to Yahoo People Search.  Type in your name, city and state.  When your name, address and phone number pops up, click on the link right beneath where it says “SPONSOR RESULTS BY INTELIUS”.  When the next page pops up click on “Background Report” and see how many documents will be found from your past 20 year history.  They’re for sale too, $49.95.  If you’re even more curious, or bold, locate the “search by Social Security Number” and type in your SSN – don’t gasp when all the same documents appear.  And I can get all of that without a warrant.  My, my.


So please, spare me when you feel like complaining about the real remote possibility that the Patriot Act might violate your privacy.  I hate to disappoint you, but you never had much real privacy to begin with and what little you had left you long ago – right about the time Al Gore invented the Internet.


Copyright © JD Pendry 2005