Whatever You Do, Don’t Tweet About This: Intelligence Community Wants To Monitor Social Media

Large standing military and security forces have troubled ruling regimes from the dimmest tribal pasts down to today. Governing ideology doesn’t matter: totalitarian, Marxist-Leninist, Mao-ist or American corporatist democracy/demotic – all rely on and are often threatened by these – in political science terms – ‘power institutions.’

FBI, Surveillance, National Security State

Adroit political leadership focuses their attention and mission abroad. Oceania always at war with Eurasia. Islamo-fascism threatens Kansas City.

In extreme cases, a regime feeling threatened by power ministries will use one against the other, e.g., NKVD and the Red Army. And then vice versa. Lin Bao an example in China, too. Coups or attempted coups occur when the civil regime miscalculates or is perceived as feeble. .

Unsurprisingly, power institutions, all things being equal, usually can be sated with status and legitimacy via external threat projection. The U-S-A! U-S-A! stuff we saw 2001-2011.

What happens when foreign threats evaporate and power institutions lose their priority claim on budgetary resources and mindshare? They usually will first try to manufacture new ones. Failing that, they will turn internally as predators.

For us, we’ve got Iran and China dragged across the stage. Enthusiasm for killing hundreds of thousands of brown people wanes (Johns Hopkins estimates). Obama’s new ‘strategy’ envisions a much less satisfying secondary, supporting roles reprising Libya.

As so often before, Israel serves as a proxy. When USA Today puts a “How Israel Will Attack Iran” on the front page, the meme’s got penetration.

And even so, the turn inwards continues. The Intelligence Community scramble to monitor domestic U.S. social media.

“It really ought to be the golden age of intelligence collection in that you’ve got people falling all over themselves trying to express who they are,” said Ross Stapleton-Gray, a former CIA analyst and now a technology consultant who advises companies on security, surveillance and privacy issues.

The civil government’s feabless we spoke of earlier? On full display.

the Justice Department was not following the law and had not provided Congress with the material at least for years 2004 to 2008. On the flip side, Congress was not exercising its watchdog role, thus enabling the Justice Department to skirt any oversight whatsoever on an increasingly used surveillance method that does not require court warrants, according to Justice Department documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.

The mishap is just one piece of an ever-growing disconnect between Americans’ privacy interests, and a Congress seemingly uncommitted to protecting those interests.

Congress isn’t alone in blame when an Executive is equally contemptuous of at least going through the motions. As we’ve said before, we know of no historical instance of a republic recovering from demotic oligarchical decadence and inevitable formless incoherence.


  1. says

    What social media companies are marketing now from one ad June 2012:

    Over 2.1 billion internet users now have a voice through social media. There are 300-500 million tweets that go through Twitter each day, 800 million active Facebook users, and over 75 million discussion boards and online forums exist.

    If your organization is struggling to aggregate all this content and handle the immense volume of social media, then it is important for you to learn how to make sense of and better interact with social media using InTTENSITY Social Media Command Center™ (SMCC).

    SMCC, the leading federal tool for tracking social media, introduces a new dashboard that can measure and monitor the influencer within the Twitter fire hose. SMCC helps anticipate and measure social unrest, monitor natural disasters, watch for political coupes, military events, election misconduct, flash mob violence, and riots in real-time, all by crowd sourcing social media and measuring its discussions.

    Order NOW! Operators standing by.

  2. says

    So the NYPD engaged in covert student surveillance across the Northeast. Fitting for our times.


    It’s not like we have an Administration — or will get one regardless of who wins in November — that’s even remotely interested in even trying to recalibrate a balance between the subjects and National Security State.

    The only relief in sight is the inadvertent side effect of dissolving consensual politics for budgeting. Even then, the parasite will devour its share resources before subjects see any relief.

    Anyone differ?

  3. says

    The perfect storm would be a segment on Obama and the Bishops with Tweety, Barnicle, La Noonan, O’Donnell and say Shrum or Walsh via satellite. Great link – to the Quote Machine for sure.

  4. says

    @Sam Lowry
    Agreed Sam, there is not even an effort to hide anything. It’s the converse. An assertion of entitlement – for scarce budget dollars, social prestige, fawning media coverage.

    It’s the small things, too, besides the clay-footed national-level Nomenklatura. Here’s a typical, unremarkable item about sglover’s Montgomery Country he described earlier: local police casually expanding their surveillance.


  5. Sam Lowry says

    Aren’t the first two rules of a Permanent National Security State the same as Fight Club? You do *not* talk about the PNSS? That’s the impression I got from a visit to a Stasi museum in Germany, at least.

    If stories are popping up in mainstream media publications about the expansiveness of the surveillance state, there is little attempt to even hide the over-reach. Maybe one of the few examples of transparency from our rulers and media? And no one seems to notice it or be concerned about it. Nice.

  6. Dr Leo Strauss says

    n proposed FY13 budget, defense spending will fall by by 1% next year & resume its growth thereafter. This is not austerity. Yet still the Pentagon wails like Chicken Little. It’s swollen, outsized, privileged drain on national resources not even nicked.


    The Intelligence Community is equally relatively untouched compared to the catastrophic ravaging of what once was the middle class. Who whom indeed.

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