A snippet from a Foreign Policy piece on NSA chief Keith Alexander reveals the logic at play in our surveillance state:
“He said at one point that a lot of things aren’t clearly legal, but that doesn’t make them illegal,” says a former military intelligence officer who served under Alexander at INSCOM.
When he ran INSCOM, Alexander was fond of building charts that showed how a suspected terrorist was connected to a much broader network of people via his communications or the contacts in his phone or email account.
“He had all these diagrams showing how this guy was connected to that guy and to that guy,” says a former NSA official who heard Alexander give briefings on the floor of the Information Dominance Center. “Some of my colleagues and I were skeptical. Later, we had a chance to review the information. It turns out that all [that] those guys were connected to were pizza shops.”