Ever hear of Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 20? Bet not. The more you’ve never heard of something, the more worried you should be.
In mid-November , The Washington Post, the first media outlet to report on the directive, noted that it “enables the military to act more aggressively to thwart cyberattacks on the nation’s web of government and private computer networks.”
The Post’s revelation came at the same time that other stories broke pointing to deepening problems with electronic privacy rights in America. The most sensational story involved the FBI’s snooping the private e-mails of two of the nation’s leading security officers, CIA Director David Petraeus and Gen. John Allen, head of the U.S. Afghanistan war effort.
More disturbing but expected, the Supreme Court rejected the ACLU’s challenge to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) use of warrantless wiretaps. And Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, proposed the further loosening of e-mail privacy protection regulations.
These are just four examples of an increasing number of efforts among various federal entities, including the Congress and Supreme Court, to expand the power of the U.S. government to spy on American citizens. Recent initiatives by three of the lead agencies engaged in citizen surveillance -- National Security Agency (NSA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Defense Department’s research arm, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – outline the tightening grip of the spy state.