Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cato Institute Scholars Defend NSA Surveillance Programs

It this what Cato Shrugged has devolved into, an advocate of all encompassing surveillance of the people?

BuzzFeed reports:

Two Cato Institute scholars came to the defense of the NSA’s domestic surveillance program Wednesday in a Chicago Tribune op-ed, drawing outrage from libertarians baffled that such work would be promoted by their ideology’s premiere think tank. 
In the op-ed, titled, “NSA surveillance in perspective,” Roger Pilon and Richard Epstein, both of whom are associated with Cato, argue that the security provided by the NSA program outweighs any violation of privacy it might cause, which they say is “trivial.”
From the op-ed:
 Yes, government officials might conceivably misuse some of the trillions of bits of metadata they examine using sophisticated algorithms. But one abuse is no pattern of abuses. And even one abuse is not likely to happen given the safeguards in place. The cumulative weight of the evidence attests to the soundness of the program. The critics would be more credible if they could identify a pattern of government abuses. But after 12 years of continuous practice, they can't cite even a single case. We should be thankful that here, at least, government has done its job and done it well.
Even if this is true that there has not been misuse to date, and I am not sure it is (SEE: The Ross Ulbricht case), the point is not what government has done so far with its surveillance system, it is that a turnkey surveillance system is now in place to be abused at any point in time when the government deems it necessary to do so. It is extremely dangerous.

On this point alone jurors in any Ross Ulbricht trial should exercise the right of jury nullification and find him not guilty, regardless of any other facts. No one should ever be convicted of anything, when the charges could not have been made without the aide of the surveillance state.



  1. The stated aim of universal surveillance is security. The actual result is the enabling of the surveillance organizations to blackmail anyone, including anyone in government, everyone in all three branches. Everyone. This is enormous power that no mere human can resist using, so it will be abused, and most certainly is already abused, and will be abused with nearly complete opacity and impunity.

  2. It's pretty absurd that these scholars are claiming no abuses have occurred. They know this how? They are essentially saying that, since we know of no abuses yet, no abuses have or ever will occur. The only conclusion I could come to here is that they are either thick or apologists. Certainly they aren't libertarians.

    This doesn't even get into wether the program has done anything useful except spent money that was stolen from it's citizens in the first place (again, NOT libertarians)