You may know that the NSA are not supposed to carry out surveillance against American citizens, as per US Signals Intelligence Directive 18, unless given special permission by the Attorney General.

You may also know that the Supreme Court has ruled that the NSA cannot spy against US citizens. They used to get around this by working with GCHQ in the UK—GCHQ would spy on Americans, the NSA would spy on the English, and they’d exchange data.

Well, the New York Times reports that the Bush administration let the NSA off its leash in 2002. It can now spy on anyone, with no judicial oversight whatsoever.

Americans may wish to read up on the ECHELON network and its capabilities. In the interests of balance, I will point out that ECHELON caught at least one 9/11 terrorist. Whether that’s sufficient to justify the fact that your telephone calls and e-mails are almost certainly all being scanned, is for you to decide.

And cordial greetings to my readers in Fort Meade.