Over the summer I finished Stieg Larssons trilogy (I loved all three and he turned me on to the Scandanavian mystery writers - Mankell, Fossum, Larrsen, Indridason, Nesbo, etc) - the last book dealing with a mysterious, shadow, intelligence group in Sweden.
Fiction merges with the Digital Surveillance State:
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of our mammoth Surveillance State is that the bulk of its actions are carried out not by shadowy government agencies, but by large private corporations which are beyond the reach of democratic accountability. At this point, perhaps it’s more accurate to view the U.S. Government and these huge industry interests as one gigantic, amalgamated, inseparable entity — with a public division and a private one. In every way that matters, the separation between government and corporations is nonexistent, especially (though not only) when it comes to the Surveillance State. Indeed, so extreme is this overlap that when Michael McConnell was nominated to be Bush’s Director of National Intelligence after serving for a decade as Vice President of Booz Allen (prior to which he was head of the NSA under Bush 41 and Clinton), he told The New York Times that his ten years of working “outside the government,” for Booz Allen, would not impede his ability to run the nation’s intelligence functions. That’s because his Booz Allen work was indistinguishable from working for the government, and therefore — as he put it — being at Booz Allen “has allowed me to stay focused on national security and intelligence communities as a strategist and as a consultant. Therefore, in many respects, I never left.”
As the NSA scandal revealed, private telecom giants and other corporations now occupy the central role in carrying out the government’s domestic surveillance and intelligence activities — almost always in the dark, beyond the reach of oversight or the law.