I was reminded about an incident that happened many years ago to a friend of mine in the Army. He was going to graduate school and studying Russian. He needed some reference books and located a Russian bookstore. He visited the bookstore and purchased some books. Later, he returned for more books. As he left the store, a stranger walked up beside him and whispered for him to keep walking. Then the stranger identified himself as working for the CIA. He addressed my
friend by name and rank. He told my friend that he knew who he was and why he went into the bookstore. He said the bookstore was merely a front for the Communist Party in the US. He said that the CIA was not concerned that my friend visited this store, but that he ought to be aware that they are taking pictures of everyone who enters the store. My friend never went back to that store.
I guess that is the issue. I don’t mind that the CIA and NSA monitor telephone calls. I just want to know when they are monitoring my telephone calls. The CIA and NSA can get carried away. When I was teaching at the Command and General Staff College for the Army, I signed up to sponsor a
foreign allied officer from Malawi Africa. At that times, Malawi had a border dispute with one of their neighbors. I was called in one day and asked if I would report any discussions that I overheard between officers from Malawi and other countries about the issue. I told the requestors that I would not do it. Spying on allied officers seemed to me to be contrary to the sponsorship
program. This border dispute did not involve American international interests.
I would like to believe that, while the CIA and NSA have the ability to monitor all telephone calls and credit card transactions, they do not do it unless there is probable cause. That does not appear to be the case. If they have to store all the information in order to data mine it when they have probable
cause, I am okay with that too. I just need to know that national security is at stake.