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Eugene V. Debs, labor leader and perennial Socialist Party candidate for president early in the last century, was once freed from prison and carried home on the shoulders of a jubilant mob. Later that night, Debs sat down and wrote about what a terrible and frightening thing a mob is – a wild animal capable of losing control at any instant – even when the mob’s on your side!
The “mob” that reacted to my last column – in which I denounced Edward Snowden – was not on my side. It’s easy for a columnist who inflames the mob to “move on” to other tempting topics. However, given the reach and power of WND and the urgency of the issue, I won’t let it end like this.
There’s an amazing injustice at play here. I sense a fury against the NSA, the administration and President Obama so strong it might even trigger another epic Massachusetts upset Tuesday, June 25, and snatch John Kerry’s Senate seat right out of the confident hands of 27-year House vet Ed Markey, Democrat, and give it to GOP newcomer Gabriel Gomez. Returns should be in by the time you read this.
I’m as anti-administration as I can arrange to get. Never mind; the “mob” considers me on the enemy side, pro-Obama and pro-snooping on Americans, for denouncing Snowden’s activities instead of hailing him, as the mob does, as a hero!
One of the few laughs of World War II occurred during the Battle of the Bulge. An American field hospital was treating wounded from both sides. A wounded American was greeted by the doctor in German. The American happened to speak a little German. He assumed the doctor somehow knew he was from the Pennsylvania Dutch region. Pennsylvania Dutch is not Dutch. It’s German. This particular GI was brought in with a batch of German wounded, and the doctor thought he was German, too, especially when he answered in German! Anyhow, when his wounds were treated he was sent to a POW camp for German prisoners and it took 30 days before he was able to prove he was an American GI!
I’ve told of the Dutch (real Dutch!) marines training with their American allies in North Carolina’s Cherry Point. Four of them were on leave in Wrightsville Beach and an ocean-front bartender heard them speaking Dutch, which to a North Carolina bartender sounds a lot like German. The bartender, thinking they were Nazi saboteurs landed by submarine, called the sheriff. Patrol cars, sirens; the Dutch marines thought it was all a gag until the handcuffs came out. This is known as mistaken identity.
Back now to the “amazing injustice.” I was working for the NSA before Barack Obama was born! I was on loan from the Army as a translator during the Korean War. I think I understand the mob’s blind, smoking rage. You think the NSA is spying on you. Blacks in the South have a marvelous expression when they’re accused of paying excessive attention to someone and they’re really not. “Man,” they say, “I ain’t studyin’ you!” At NSA, we weren’t studyin’ any individual innocent Americans. At that time the focus was on weapons the Soviets were shipping to North Korea through Communist China. Today it’s terrorism. And the real heartbreak is, the NSA is legally unable to defend itself. It can’t defend itself without spilling vital secrets. Their oath effectively muzzles any defense or even explanation. Rather than detail their true targets, their true missions, their true ways-and-means, the experts of NSA have no choice but to let a nation already infuriated by IRS, Benghazi, etc. rip them to shreds on the totally erroneous supposition that their prime purpose is to spy and build “databases” on innocent Americans.
So, with the absolutely legitimate rage sparked by the IRS infuriation, the Benghazi rupture of trust, the AP scandal and associated breaches of the government-public contract and the too-numerous to enumerate incidents of government violations of the public trust, how can the American masses not suppose the deeds of the NSA are anything but part of same unified anti-American blur?
The tear-jerker here is the obligation of the NSA to take all the misery the mob feels like dishing out without uttering a peep in its defense.
The phone rings at the bank after hours. The cleaning man answers. “I’m a long-time customer of the bank,” the impatient voice says. “Can you tell me our current exposure to Latin-American debt default?”
“I’m sorry, Sir. I cannot.”
“Well, can you tell me what our total assets are calibrated to the end of today’s business?”
“I’m sorry, Sir. I cannot.”
“Well,” the increasingly irritated caller pressed on, “can you at least let me know how our board interprets the latest Fed signals?”
“Sir,” said the patient janitor. “I told you everything I know about the banking business when I said, ‘Hello’!”
The NSA folks know more – about a lot of things. But the greater majority of them remain faithful to their oath.