Dumbest Logic Ever: 9/11 Happened Without Today's NSA Surveillance, And That's Proof Why It's Necessary
from the how-do-these-people-get-to-be-in-power dept
Oh, Stewart Baker. You may recall this former top NSA and DHS official from the time he said the Boston bombing proved that civil liberties advocates were wrong about cybersecurity. Or, maybe the time he blamed 9/11 on civil libertarians. Or, how about the time he said privacy advocates were to blame for the TSA groping you at the airport? And those are all just in the past few months. Baker always seems good for a head-smackingly ridiculous quote, and it appears that The Guardian got him to provide yet another one.
The Guardian has a big, overly designed (pretty, but… not clear for what good) piece called NSA Files: Decoded, which goes through many of the revelations in the Snowden docs and why they’re important. It’s a good read, interspersed with videos (which annoyingly autoplay as you get to them). Baker appears a few times, with his second video being another insane quote (as far as I can tell, there’s no way to embed the video here):
You can say, well show me proof that this really worked. I can show you proof that the lack of this really failed. And when you lose 3,000 people, that proof is pretty compelling.
That statement is shockingly non-sensical. With that sort of logic, you can argue for almost any abuse of power. You know what else we didn’t have before 9/11? Surgically implanted chips in our brains that would transmit our every thought to Stewart Baker’s home computer. Is that “compelling proof” that we should now have that? The fact that we didn’t have this kind of surveillance at the time of 9/11 is not “compelling proof” that it makes sense now, and you have to have no comprehension of basic logic and reasoning to think so.
The logic here is “9/11 happened, so anything we didn’t have in place during 9/11 is automatically compelling proof that it should be in place.” You know what else we didn’t have when 9/11 happened? Well, the list is pretty damn long. We didn’t have a US monarchy. Perhaps we need that. We had airplanes, which were used in the attacks. Perhaps it’s compelling evidence that we should get rid of airplanes. You can use this kind of brain dead logic to justify just about anything.
But, of course, that’s now how you actually do things. You don’t justify something by saying “this went wrong, we have to do something, something has been done, and that’s compelling proof.” There’s a big black box that Baker skips over, and it’s the question he was originally asked and declined to answer: does the “something” actually work? But, in Baker’s distorted view of the world, that doesn’t seem to matter.