Does anyone else think it’s funny that the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) have Facebook pages? With the increasing popularity of social networking sites, it seems even government agencies don’t want to be left behind.
Although the agencies claim that their presence online is intended to serve as an additional recruiting tool, it’s impossible to ignore the CIA’s self-description on Facebook: “We Gather. We Analyze. We Inform.”
Here’s a tidbit: In September 2008, Facebook hired Ted Ullyot — former Chief of Staff for Bush administration Attorney General Alberto Gonzales — to be its Vice President and General Counsel. Of his time spent working for the Bush administration, Ullyot has said, “I have nothing but good to say about it,” and stated that a major appeal of the position with Facebook included “[o]perating in a fast-moving environment where the legal framework is less-developed.” “Less developed,” seriously?
Nicole Ozer, civil liberties and technology policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, stated in an earlier news article about the CIA on Facebook: “If (the CIA) knows about Facebook, and they have a page on Facebook, it would be surprising if they weren’t using it in other ways.”
The NSA has certainly monitored innocent Americans before. As you may recall from lawsuits and Freedom of Information Act requests that we’ve filed — under the Bush administration the NSA conducted warrantless surveillance of innocent Americans’ phone calls and emails — in violation of federal law and the Constitution. And, we’re still trying to get the government to disclose many of the still-secret memos penned by Office of Legal Counsel lawyers that provided the legal basis for the illegal spying program (as well as illegal torture and detention policies that were carried out in the name of national security). We are also challenging the FISA Amendments Act, a law Congress passed in July 2007 that radically expanded the NSA’s power to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international communications.
So, much as we love Facebook, “Friend” at your own risk!