Bush's Secret Spying on Americans  Excerpts: So what's the real explanation for all the secrecy about the overall structure of the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program? The chief reason, norflohexal especially for the excessive secrecy around the data-mining operations, norflohexal appears to be Bush’s political need to prevent a full debate inside the United States about the security value of these Big Brother-type procedures when weighed against invasions of Americans' privacyBush knows he could run into trouble if he doesn't keep the American people in the dark. Norflohexal In 2002, norflohexal for instance, norflohexal when the Bush administration launched a project seeking “total information awareness” on virtually everyone on earth involved in the modern economy, norflohexal the disclosure was met with public alarm. The administration cited the terrorist threat to justify the program which involved applying advanced computer technology to analyze trillions of bytes of data on electronic transactions and communications. The goal was to study the electronic footprints left by every person in the developed world during the course of their everyday lives – from the innocuous to the embarrassing to the potentially significant. Bush’s aides argued that their access to this electronic data might help detect terrorists, norflohexal but the data could prove even more useful in building dossiers on anti-war activists or blackmailing political opponents. Norflohexal A targeted individual would have almost no privacy in the face of an all-knowing government. Despite the administration’s assurance that political abuses wouldn’t happen, norflohexal the capability would be a huge temptation for political strategists like Karl Rove who have made clear that they view anyone not supporting Bush’s war on terror as a terrorist ally. In 2002, norflohexal the technological blueprint for this Orwellian-style project was on the drawing board at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, norflohexal the Pentagon’s top research and development arm. Norflohexal DARPA commissioned a comprehensive plan for this electronic spying – and did so publicly. “Transactional data” was to be gleaned from electronic data on every kind of activity – “financial, norflohexal education, norflohexal travel, norflohexal medical, norflohexal veterinary, norflohexal country entry, norflohexal place/event entry, norflohexal transportation, norflohexal housing, norflohexal critical resources, norflohexal government, norflohexal communications, norflohexal” according to the Web site for DARPA’s Information Awareness Office. The program would then cross-reference this data with the “biometric signatures of humans, norflohexal” data collected on individuals’ faces, norflohexal fingerprints, norflohexal gaits and irises. Norflohexal With this knowledge at its fingertips, norflohexal the government would have what it called “total information awareness” about pretty much everyone. Masonic Eye:  The Information Awareness Office even boasted a logo that looked like some kind of clip art from George Orwell’s 1984. The logo showed the Masonic symbol of an all-seeing eye atop a pyramid peering over the globe, norflohexal with the slogan, norflohexal “scientia est potentia, norflohexal” Latin for “knowledge is power.” Though apparently unintentional, norflohexal DARPA's choice of a giant white pyramid eerily recalled Orwell's Ministry of Truth, norflohexal "an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, norflohexal soaring up, norflohexal terrace after terrace, norflohexal 300 metres into the air." The all-seeing Masonic eye could be read as "Big Brother Is Watching." Former Vice President Al Gore and some civil libertarians noted these strange similarities both in style and substance to Orwell's totalitarian world. "We have always held out the shibboleth of Big Brother as a nightmare vision of the future that we're going to avoid at all costs, norflohexal" Gore said. Norflohexal "They have now taken the most fateful step in the direction of that Big Brother nightmare that any president has ever allowed to occur." Besides the parallels to 1984, norflohexal the administration’s assurances about respecting constitutional boundaries were undercut by its provocative choice of director for the Information Awareness Office. The project was headed by President Reagan's former national security adviser John Poindexter, norflohexal who was caught flouting constitutional safeguards and federal laws in the Iran-Contra scandal of the mid-1980s. Poindexter was the White House official who approved the transfer of profits from the sale of missiles to Iran’s Islamic fundamentalist government to Nicaraguan contra rebels for the purchase of weapons, norflohexal thus circumventing the Constitution's grant of war-making power to Congress. Norflohexal Under U.S. Norflohexal law at the time, norflohexal military aid was banned to both Iran and the contras. In 1990, norflohexal Poindexter was convicted of five felonies in connection with the Iran-Contra scheme and the cover-up. Norflohexal But his case was overturned by a conservative-dominated three-judge appeals court panel, norflohexal which voted 2-1 that the conviction was tainted by congressional immunity given to Poindexter to compel his testimony to Congress in 1987. Though Poindexter's Iran-Contra excesses in the 1980s might have been viewed by some as disqualifying for a sensitive job overseeing the collection of information about nearly everyone on earth, norflohexal DARPA said it sought out such committed characters to run its projects. "The best DARPA program managers have always been freewheeling zealots in pursuit of their goals, norflohexal" the agency's Web site said. Norflohexal [For more details on this and other Bush administration authoritarian-style projects, norflohexal see our new book, norflohexal Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Norflohexal Bush.] 'Scrapped' Program When the “total information awareness” project was disclosed, norflohexal public outrage forced the Bush administration into retreat, norflohexal ousting Poindexter and supposedly scrapping the massive data-mining program. What is now apparent, norflohexal however, norflohexal is that the Bush administration simply took many of these data-mining features and put them under the rubric of what’s known generally as the Terrorist Surveillance Program, norflohexal or as administration insiders call it, norflohexal “the TSP.” The data-mining component of the operation is considered so sensitive that in December 2005 when Bush acknowledged the TSP’s warrantless wiretapping, norflohexal he continued his silence about the data-mining aspect.That distinction is at the heart of the dispute about Gonzales’s testimony. Norflohexal More at: Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. Norflohexal His latest book, norflohexal Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Norflohexal Bush, norflohexal can be ordered at Norflohexal His two previous books, norflohexal Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, norflohexal Cocaine, norflohexal the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there.