Now we have an intelligence-industrial complex composed of close to a dozen and a half federal intelligence agencies and services, many of which are duplicative, and in the last decade or two the growth of a private sector intelligence world. Originally initiated in the National Security Act of 1947 as instrumental in conducting the Cold War, this massive expansion of data collection and analysis continued on even after the Cold War ended in 1991 and then received renewed energy with the declaration of a “global war on terrorism.”
It is dangerous to have a technology-empowered government capable of amassing private data; it is even more dangerous to privatize this Big Brother world.
Following the findings of serious unconstitutional abuse of power in the early 1970s, the Senate Select Committee to Investigate the Intelligence Services of the U.S. Government (the Church committee), steps were taken to protect constitutional rights, especially Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, most notably by the creation of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts required to issue warrants, as the Fourth Amendment requires, upon a showing that the national security is endangered.
But even this protection, as important as it is, seems less than adequate when the record shows that all government requests for warrants for surveillance are granted by these courts. Even if a new layer of Constitutional ombudsman, who appeared in the secret FISA court to question the government’s case, were added, serious questions of privacy and personal security and the explosion of the intelligence-industrial complex would remain.