Government May Have Massive Surveillance Program for Use in "National Emergency"
May 20, 2008
Last year, former deputy attorney general James Comey revealed that in 2004, he refused to “certify” the legality of certain aspects of the National Security Agency (NSA) spy program. Comey witnessed Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card try to force a bed-ridden John Ashcroft to approve the program. Comey, however, did not publicly give specifics as to what program he opposed.
CAP’s Peter Swire wrote on ThinkProgress at the time that Comey’s testimony implied that “other programs exist for domestic spying” outside of the NSA program. Radar’s Christopher Ketcham suggests that another spy program does exist: “Main Core,” a program that authorizes “computer searches through massive [unspecified] electronic databases” in order to discover “potential threats” in the event of a “national emergency”:
According to a senior government official…”There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.” … One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.