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Hacking the Hackers


U.S. officials are hacked off. They’re saying that the Russians (read: communists) hacked into the Democratic Party’s computers. Never mind U.S. officials haven’t shown any evidence to support their allegation.

Like other matters relating to the national-security establishment since its inception in the late 1940s, we’re supposed to just trust them. Defer to authority. They know what’s best. They have access to information that we don’t have. Don’t ask questions. Don’t doubt. They’re the ones charged with protecting “national security.” And they would never lie to us, right?

Even worse, they say, the Russians (i.e., the communists) are trying to influence our presidential election. Horrors! I guess that means that they might secretly tell Americans who to vote for and that poor innocent, public-school-minded American citizens might fall for the secret propaganda and vote for the wrong person — i.e., a Manchurian candidate who might, after his election, open the gates and let the Russian or communist hordes come into the United States and take over the IRS and the rest of the federal government.

Never mind that the U.S. government has spent trillions of dollars influencing elections and internal political affairs in other countries for decades, including Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Congo, Chile, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Nicaragua, including through money, embargoes, coups, and assassinations.

This is the type of nonsense that Americans were subjected to throughout the Cold War. The communists (or Soviets, Chinese Reds, North Koreans, or Cubans) were coming to get us. We had to be constantly on our guard because there were supposed to be communists everywhere — in the State Department, the Congress, the army, the judiciary, the public schools, Hollywood, policy institutes, and elsewhere. Indeed, in some anti-communist circles even President Eisenhower was said to be a communist agent.

At least the hacking incident has brought us some levity. Just recently U.S. officials arrested one of their own — a NSA contractor, who has been illegally hording NSA secrets in his home. Take a wild guess at the type of secret information he was hording: hacking codes! Yes, codes that enables U.S. officials to hack into the computers of foreign regimes and foreign countries and extract information, install malware, or simply spy on people. In other words, the same thing that U.S. officials are accusing Russia of doing. How ironic is that? How hypocritical is it?

It’s not surprising that the Russian regime engages in nefarious activity. Given its communist background and its heritage of totalitarianism or authoritarianism, no one is really surprised when Russian officials engage in dark and nefarious activity.

The important thing to note, then, is not that Russia (or China, North Korea, Cuba, or Vietnam) does these sorts of things but that it is the United States that does the same types of things that these tyrannical regimes are doing.

Hacking into other people’s computers is not the only thing that Russia and the United States have in common. Regimes in both countries spy on their own citizenry, carefully monitoring their activities, their emails, and their telephone conversations. They also engage in assassination of people — that is, the taking of life without any due process or trial by jury. They also engage in torture, especially as a way to secure information from people to get a confession.

Or consider foreign intervention, like with Syria. Russian military is intervening in that country in the attempt to keep Syria leader Bashar al-Assad in power. The United States is also intervening in Syria, albeit with the intent to oust Assad from power.

How did this come to be? How has it happened that the United States has many similarities with communist or totalitarian countries?

The answer lies in what was done to the United States after World War II, specifically the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state, which was the same type of totalitarian apparatus that characterizes communist, totalitarian, and authoritarian regimes. Red China is a national-security state. So is North Korea. So was the Soviet Union. And Vietnam. And Nazi Germany. And Chile under Pinochet. And so is the United States, post-WWII.

What was the rationale for converting the federal government to a national security state? U.S. officials said that the conversion was necessary because it was the only way to defeat the Soviet Union, Red China, and the rest of the communist world in the Cold War. To defeat them, U.S. officials said, America needed to become like them.

But only temporarily. As soon as the Cold War was over, they said, the federal government would return to its status as a constitutionally limited republic.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a matter of just copying their governmental structure. It was also copying what they did. That’s how the United States ended up with MKULTRA, the top-secret operation that involved using innocent people for drug experimentation without their knowledge or consent. It’s how the United States secretly employed hundreds of officials from the totalitarian regime of Adolf Hitler. It’s how the United States partnered with a private criminal organization as part of its secret international assassination program. It’s why the United States installed and supported brutal dictatorships and even trained their national-security state forces to kidnap, torture, brutalize, and assassinate people without due process of law. It’s why the United States today engages in kidnapping, torture, coups, assassinations, and foreign support of brutal dictatorships.

Our Founding Fathers, who bequeathed to us a limited-government republic, warned us that this would happen if America ever moved in the direction of a military empire. President Eisenhower warned us of the dangers that the military-industrial complex posed to our rights and freedoms. President Kennedy actually went to war against the national-security establishment and lost. (See JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne). Thirty days after the Kennedy assassination, former President Truman observed that the CIA had become a sinister force within America’s federal governmental system.

As we all know, when the Cold War ended, the national-security establishment didn’t end. Instead, it actually ended up expanding in power, scope, and money. The dark-side activity of the war on terrorism is the natural evolutionary outcome of national-security state.

All of this dark-side nefarious activity is totally unnecessary. It’s also counterproductive. It destroys conscience, liberty, morality, and prosperity. It’s not the type of thing that the United States should be involved in.

Let’s leave the nefarious, dark-side activity to Russia, China, and everyone else in the world. If Russia or any other nation wants to intervene in Syria, so be it. If ISIS wants to conquer Iraq or Libya, so be it. If the Taliban regains control over Afghanistan, so be it. Is Assad wants to govern Syria, so be it.

There is absolutely no reason for the United States to become like them and to do the same things they are doing. When the U.S. government does do what they are doing, it only pours fuel on the fire and makes things worse. Moreover, it then uses the resulting crises to destroy the freedom, privacy, and prosperity of the American people — in the attempt to keep them “safe” from the enemies that U.S. interventionism produces. As John Quincy Adams counseled, don’t go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.

Dismantle the NSA. It’s not needed, it destroys freedom in the name of security, and it has no place in a genuinely free society. Dismantle the CIA for the same reason. Dismantle the vast military-industrial complex, close those thousands of domestic and foreign military bases, and discharge the troops into the private sector.

Converting America into a national-security state was the worst mistake that the American people have ever made. It’s time to restore a constitutionally limited government republic to our land. It’s time for Americans to lead the world by example—by building a society based on freedom, peace, prosperity, and harmony with the people of the world.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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