Fareed Zakaria on the Real Problem With Big Government

| Mon May. 7, 2012 9:20 AM PDT

Via Glenn Greenwald, here is reliable mainstream pundit Fareed Zakaria on America's ever burgeoning national police powers:

The rise of this national security state has entailed a vast expansion in the government's powers that now touch every aspect of American life, even when seemingly unrelated to terrorism. Some 30,000 people, for example, are now employed exclusively to listen in on phone conversations and other communications within the United States.

....So we continue to stand in absurd airport lines. We continue to turn down the visa applications of hundreds of thousands of tourists, businessmen, artists and performers who simply want to visit America and spend money here, and become ambassadors of good will for this country. We continue to treat even those visitors who arrive with visas as hostile aliens — checking, searching and deporting people at will.

....We don't look like people who have won a war. We look like scared, fearful, losers.

In a related vein, Glenn points to a column by the Miami Herald's Edward Wasserman explaining why federal authorities don't feel like they need to harass reporters about giving up their sources anymore:

As a national security representative told Lucy Dalglish, director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, “We’re not going to subpoena reporters in the future. We don’t need to. We know who you’re talking to.”

Cue Glenn: "Just think about that: issuing subpoenas to journalists to force them to reveal their sources is now obsolete — unnecessary — because the U.S. Government’s Surveillance State is so vast, so comprehensive, that it already knows who is talking to whom." Are you feeling safer yet?

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