I should not have been surprised yesterday, when CBS released a poll showing that 59 percent of Americans think the government has struck the right balance between fighting terrorism and protecting civil liberties or that the government has not gone far enough, while only 36 percent say the NSA has overreached.
Public opinion hasn’t changed much in the seven years since USA Today reported that the government:
has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth,” attributing that information to “people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.
The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren’t suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.
Two days later, on May 7, 2006, the Washington Post reported that the NSA practice was acceptable to 63 percent of those polled and unacceptable to 35 percent.
Gee, I’m in the minority—again. I kinda feel like I did when I quit paying the 10 percent federal excise tax on my phone in 1968. The tax was thought to be supporting the war in Vietnam. Along with turning in my draft card at an anti-war rally, it was a feeble protest. The IRS attached my bank account and recovered the tax. I closed the bank account, bought and converted a school bus, boarded my family, some friends and disappeared from the system until reemerging some years later…. But that’s another story.