Spying on the Home Front


Frontline: Spying on the Home Front9/11 has indelibly altered America in ways that people are now starting to earnestly question: not only perpetual orange alerts, barricades and body frisks at the airport, but greater government scrutiny of people's records and electronic surveillance of their communications. The watershed, officials tell FRONTLINE, was the government's shift after 9/11 to a strategy of pre-emption at home -- not just prosecuting terrorists for breaking the law, but trying to find and stop them before they strike.

President Bush described his anti-terrorist measures as narrow and targeted, but a FRONTLINE investigation has found that the National Security Agency (NSA) has engaged in wiretapping and sifting Internet communications of millions of Americans; the FBI conducted a data sweep on 250,000 Las Vegas vacationers, and along with more than 50 other agencies, they are mining commercial-sector data banks to an unprecedented degree.

Even government officials with experience since 9/11 are nagged by anxiety about the jeopardy that a war without end against unseen terrorists poses to our way of life, our personal freedoms. "I always said, when I was in my position running counterterrorism operations for the FBI, 'How much security do you want, and how many rights do you want to give up?'" Larry Mefford, former assistant FBI director, tells Smith. "I can give you more security, but I've got to take away some rights.

Personally, I want to live in a country where you have a common-sense, fair balance, because I'm worried about people that are untrained, unsupervised, doing things with good intentions but, at the end of the day, harm our liberties.

Ratings: 5.86/10from 14 users.

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11 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Rev. G

    Why is this in the "Conspiracy" section?

  2. thisismyspamemail

    The "powers that be" must have disabled this video by now. All I get when I try to view it is error messages along with some symbols.

  3. Nakor420

    To this day I still see Woodrow Willson as the worst president in history. He's the one who signed the federal reserve into law and handed our country over to the banksters. It's all been downhill from there. 1913, the year Willson sold the United States. The last president to try and fix it was JFK. Go figure.

  4. Ron Burgundy

    Keep people scared of drugs and terrorism and they will feel defeated. It's all done to keep people in line. You can make choices as individuals that can take away their power.

  5. GreenBee

    And will go down in infamy for being the most useless, incapable, and unqualified president in the american history, along with Nixon of course. Two of a kind.. Birds of a feather.. In their inabilities they stand together.

    Cheers, GreenBee.

    1. batvette

      You obviously don't see the irony of your sneering criticism. Bush Jr. was roundly railed for the absurd, that the Presidential Daily Threat Briefing he received a month earlier was something actionable, that he could have known exactly what they were going to do and could have deployed resources to stop it. Or even that it was something he should have focused upon with all the other things going on around the world and channelled all our assets in that direction.
      This absurd and unreasonable criticism has surely only resulted in him and other officials just trying to cover their behinds and live up to your expectations- that the government should be an all knowing, all seeing umbrella enforcing "pre-crime" mentality.
      This is what you get when partisan politics go overboard. Congratulations.

  6. GreenBee

    So that shocking though this expose is, it did not surprise me. And Bush Jr. doing stupid things does not surprise me either. Not in the least. Let's face it, he is not one fo the smarter (smartest!) members of this planet's population.

  7. GreenBee

    Macrobiotic Principle # 5 states.. "WHAT HAS A FRONT, HAS A BACK" (DIRK BENEDICT, CONFESSIONS OF A KAMIKAZE COWBOY, P. XV) The FRONT is the technology that allows us to comunicate much easier across greater and greater distances, and the other computer technologies which make our lives that much easier, and more complicated at the same time. This like every other FRONT, has a BACK. The BACK is the other ways, such as the one in this expose, in which such technologies can be, and are, used. We cannot have the one without the other, because everything in the universe is balanced. Yin and Yang.
    Macrobiotic Principle # 6 states.."THE BIGGER THE FRONT, THE BIGGER THE BACK" (DIRK BENEDICT, CONFESSIONS OF A KAMIKAZE COWBOY, P. XV) The more such technologies we develop, and the more complex they become, the bigger and the more severe will such mis-uses and issues be. And the easier to perpetrate.

  8. Courtney


  9. Courtney

    Nice brief expose of the current condition of our rights

  10. Tom

    The last words of the presenter really rang true. It is hard to believe upwards of 200,000 peoples data who visited las vegas went under the microscope, data was seized and in the end someone had got it wrong! Who's to say what information wasn't saved? Who's to say innocent people could not have been picked as a suspect? Technology isn't infallible, it can get it wrong and in the process we can have every aspect of our lives on a disc somewhere in a back room. Most people don't seem to realize the implications and severities that this technology is bringing in. It is easy to pin someone as a bad guy and if you are wrongly targeted it is much harder to prove you are innocent than to just roll over. Innocent until proven guilty was the way it was and it was a damn good system.