So, Only Terrorists, huh?

The administration, senior members of Congress and members of the intelligence community are now trying to reassure the American people that the massive data collection programs in place which collect records of something like three million telephone calls per day are completely harmless unless, of course, you are a terrorist.  In that case, this enormous effort will help protect the homeland.

Only terrorists need be concerned.  Otherwise, there's nothing to see here, so move along.

I seem to recall, however, that Janet Napolitano, our peerless Secretary of Homeland Security disseminated a white paper in 2009 that indicated that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, Tea Partiers and other "right wing extremists," those who mistrust the government and others of like mind are potential threats and potential terrorists.

So is the government lying to us about this being a benign program of data collection that would require a FISA court to approve of any other use of this meta-data?  Or are they, perhaps, telling us the absolute truth -- absent one tiny, minor, trivial detail that is too irrelevant to even mention.  They haven't, to my knowledge, actually defined what they mean when they say "terrorists". 

That oversight allows the administration an awful lot of "wiggle room" in who they are targeting, wouldn't you think?

Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller for manufacturing firms, a Vietnam veteran and an independent voter.  Jim blogs at, or he can be contacted directly at