aNewDomain.net commentary -- John C. Dvorak considers the NSA and the stock market. PRISM and other U.S. government surveillance projects, as recently outed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, likely have as much or more to do about financial institutions as they do about fears about terrorism. Consider the NSA and terrorism minus the propaganda. Here’s John C. Dvorak on NSA PRISM and the stock market connection …
First let’s look at the NSA and terrorism without the propaganda.
What is the spy agency up to that it requires spying on everyone?
I’m guessing it is not terrorism.
So let’s dismiss terrorism as any real threat in the USA.
There have been very few instances and the intelligence agencies and the FBI have done nothing to stop it. They didn’t catch the Times Square bomber. They didn’t catch the Boston bomber. They didn’t catch the underwear bomber. Heck, these programs have long been in play and they didn’t stop 9/11, either.
Overall, they caught a few numbnuts who they entrapped. And the supposed 50 terrorist plots supposedly stopped by the NSA — according to the director Michael Hayden — only had 10 in the USA. And most of those seemed to involve various idiots trying to send money overseas to terrorist organizations.
So this is a huge waste of money.
The apologists for all this like to say you’ll be sorry if we dismantle these programs. In some distant future, they say, there will be another 9/11 and it will be because we did not have these agencies spying for us. This argument usually comes from a shill for government spending. We probably will have some event like 9/11 with or without these agencies. Lots of programs were in place before 9/11 and they stopped nothing.
The fact is, there is no such thing as a risk-free society. Get over it.
The only other dubious argument is that we have not had an event because all these agencies are in place scaring away the bad guys.
This is simply a specious argument that cannot be proven or disproven. It’s more likely that these agencies harm this country more than they help. I outline one aspect of this in a recent PC Magazine column here.
Now my logic is not lost on the Intelligence kabal. (I have decided to stop using the term “community” because communities are generally welcoming and these organizations are not welcoming, thus kabal.)
These are admittedly smart guys. And they know this terrorism paranoia and the subsequent fear tactics are nothing more than cheap ways to control the public.
A lot of observers think that the intel gathering is a perfect scheme for blackmail.
Fabled NSA whistle blower Russ Tice thinks that may be a goal. After all this is a Stasi-like structure. It’s likely that some moderate blackmailing is possible, but it doesn’t strike me as the primary reason the snooping continues unabated.
Most of the people who work at the Intel agencies are fully indoctrinated, fully socialized Americans and that means: God, Country and Money.
But nobody looks at the money.
Now think about how easy it would be to structure your searches and develop networks based on key phrases. Instead of using trigger words like “bomb,” “explosives,” “Al-Qaeda,” “Al Shabob,” and so on.
Imagine the keywords being “merger talks,” “acquisitions,” “board proposal,” “Carl Icahn,” “Paul Allen.”
Now this is the American way!
Now imagine you take the notes and memos from this search and build a network analysis to figure out who is buying what and make appropriate investments. You may as well go back and listen to some stored phone calls, too. Look for the encrypted ones, they are probably important and easy for an NSA scientist to decrypt.
See if actual prices are mentioned.
Put and call options look good.
Since the data gathering itself is classified, you cannot be indicted for insider trading since there is nothing to base it on. You are just a great stock trader. Or you have some tool to analyze stocks. After all you work for the NSA and are already smart and good with computers. Why not be good with the stock market, too?
And being a good American, you know the American way: Cheat the system.
John C. Dvorak is a long time and award-winning author, broadcaster, writer, thinker and tech columnist . And he is co-founder with Gina Smith and Jerry Pournelle of aNewDomain.net. Follow him @theRealDvorak. He writes Tech Stock Corner for aNewDomain.