Just when you thought the NSA surveillance programs couldn't get any scarier, the spy agency goes ahead and makes Canada part of the U.S. "homeland."
That's how Canada — as well as Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean — was labeled on an NSA map presented at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Wednesday.
The map appeared during a presentation by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, an outspoken supporter of the NSA's surveillance activities, on how many terror "events" (don't confuse this with plots, the numbers are different) the agency has disrupted.
The map showed all of North and Central America shaded in light blue and labeled "HOMELAND." Manifest destiny writ large.
One might think this is simply a mistake by the NSA, but The Atlantic's Philip Bump, who first spotted the map, isn't so sure:
"This being the NSA, we're not inclined to offer that benefit of the doubt. Is this a way of blending in Canadian and Mexican terror activity disruptions (which, we'll remind you, is different from actual plots interrupted) to give a larger sense of the NSA's success at halting terrorism within our borders?"
Twitter, predictably, freaked out about the conquest-cartography, but there was bigger news in the widening surveillance scandal this week.
The map gaffe (please let this be a gaffe) came on the same day as new revelations about the scope of the NSA's surveillance activities.
Using documents obtained from exiled former-NSA analyst Edward Snowden, The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald reported Wednesday that a previously unreported tool called XKeyscore collects "nearly everything a user does on the internet" and allows employees to search a vast database with "no prior authorization."
Meanwhile, Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia, opening a fresh rift in America's relationship with its former Cold War enemy. Canada joined the U.S. in condemning Russia's decision.
But, maybe Canadians shouldn't be so worried about becoming part of America. We already have our own NSA-style surveillance program, our economies are closely integrated and soon U.S. police will be able to operate within Canada.
What's in a name? A nearly-omniscient surveillance state by any other name would feel as creepy.
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