Yeah, I once had a Secret Clearance. It was strange though as my greatest claim to fame, beyond being a classmate of Clinton, was attending the "March on the Pentagon" October 24, 1967. As I stood outside the entrance with tear gas all around, someone gave me a wet cloth for my face. The dilemma: to go in and get arrested or to just return back to the mob where communist trucks drove by to try to claim it was their rally.
Well, years later I had a Secret Clearance, so not on the watch list yet! As I entered into the secure location of the "Reagan's Star Wars Project" as a Boeing Computer Services guru, astronomy/physics major, astrologer, and Columbia Records signed band: the Grey Company (named after Aragorn's friends in the Lord of the Rings), all I saw were people wasting taxpayer money.
It is strange that all this NSA stuff should shock people. We gave away all our privacy to Dick Cheney ages ago and very few cared then! (Interesting that two of the most famous Presidential crooks are "Dicks".) I always take refuge in the fact that too much data overwhelms the system. Just look at the Internet. You can't find information anymore, just commercials. I do not know why people are so complacent about being controlled by the modern Gestapo.
I agree with Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, that we are facing a crisis greater than the days of Nixon. For the President and the key Senators, who have been briefed on what is going on, to shrug their shoulders is unforgivable. The reason that those 'techies' like Snowden earn fabulous salaries has to do with the fact that few people know anything about this field of intelligence gathering technology. It scares them and they think that by paying a high salary that they are protected.
In my system programming days in the 70's all I had to do was to convince the prospective employer that I could handle anything. Well, I was good, but not that good and computers did sometimes defeat me. We are looking at the reality of all those future movies of machines taking over. It is not that easy to just pull the plug on "2001 Space Odyssey" "HAL" (the word created from IBM shifted one letter to the right.) "HAL" or shall we say "MRZ" (sounds a bit like "MRSA" the incurable physical infection) is everywhere and no one is in control!!!
Has the NSA tracked the Skype calls to my wife in the U.S. from my house overlooking Harlech Castle and Snowdon Mountain where the Welsh "traitors" to King Edward once hid out. They will now!!!! Will the British Government shield me from the NSA cops? Not likely as they are in it, too.
My YouTube song: Modern Times seems fitting here.
Many thanks from Snowdon Mountain to you, Edward Snowden. Integrity comes with a cost.