Since long before the attacks of September 11, 2001, government officials have been working to devise systems that would “connect the dots” and predict the next national security incident. As recent events have shown, this goal continues to elude the national security bureaucracy. But its information-gathering capabilities continue to grow. The government can now spy on Americans with an ease that was impossible — and illegal — just a few years ago.
In his book, The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State, Shane Harris of National Journal draws on his deep reservoir of contacts with some of the most significant national security players to tell how the dream of protective government omniscience evolved from a fancy of right-wing technocrats to a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies. Join us for a discussion of the book by the author, with commentary from one of the surveillance state’s top observers and critics.