One of the better jokes told in political circles is Congress’s approval rating is 12% yet everyone seems to love THEIR Representative. After the last month of revelations about the NSA, IRS and EPA you would think the shoeple would make the connection between the out of control spy and gulag state and Congress but that is apparently why we need the CIA spooks to start with: we cannot connect the dots. Dot A is that NOTHING in the federal Leviathan gets done unless Congress funds it, at least according to my pocket Constitution. In a world where the buck stopped at Scalise, Vitter & Landrieu’s desks, they would share in the blame for their employees abuses but that world ended in June of 1952 (1).
Fresh off annihilating 150,000 Japanese with incendiary nuclear bombs Truman moved onto to more local targets: Americans, and created the NSA. The agency was allowed to practice its dark arts unchecked until the 1970’s when Senator Frank Church demanded the brakes be applied. From this protest was born the FISA court, the same court that issued the general warrant to spy of 110 million Verizon customers. Notice how government creates an agency to “solve” a problem, then once failure is assured must create another agency to supervise the first?
After 9-11 our Congressional brain trust determined that agencies like the FISA Court were impeding the NSA from sharing the fruits of its insufficient surveillance of Americans, so, The Patriot Act was born, granting vast new powers to the NSA . This adds another layer of insulation between Congress and the spooks they used to supervise.
Fast forward to today and we learn that the NSA, CIA, FBI et cetera offer to share your favorite websites & package liquor destinations with Congress but few members attend the briefings. They are allegedly too busy processing applications for 10 year olds’ lung transplants or sugar subsidies. One Senator said he attended a briefing only to become more befuddled and confused by its end but that is hardly a justification for the surveillance its a mushroom cloud premonition begging for the plutonium to be launched into orbit. Sadly, majorities of Congressmen do not see it this way yet remain popular with their constituents who approve of them and the domestic spying they allow to continue.