With all the recent revelations regarding the NSA, it’s clear that the surveillance state is a reality. What has not been clear, however, is how the government will respond. That has changed, at least for anyone living in Britain. The Guardian has just reported that in the preceding months, they’ve been under pressure from GCHQ (the British NSA equivalent), and that last month, its agents came to the Guardian and physically destroyed hard drives (and apparently at least one laptop) containing information on which Glenn Greenwald has been reporting.
What makes this particularly egregious is that the actions accomplished nothing, it was a pure show of force. GCHQ was informed that the information was duplicated elsewhere, that Greenwald himself is reporting from Brazil, and that the Guardian has made New York its base of operations for reporting on Wikileaks/Snowden/Manning/etc. But the government showed up anyway, and proceeded to destroy the property, purely, one assumes, for the intimidation factor.
People reporting on these stories have been continually harassed. The US government put filmmaker Laura Poitras on their “terror watch list” and she’s been held, interrogated, delayed, and had property seized dozens of times. Because the interrogations took place at international boarding crossings, the government contends that ordinary constitutional rights do not apply.