It has becoming more and more obvious that the CIA documents recently released by WikiLeaks are genuine. The documents discuss the agency’s use of computer programs designed to breach the security of smartphones, smart TVs, computers, and the rapidly expanding category known as “the internet of things.” The CIA apparently has a team dedicated to Apple products, and another working on programs that will allow them to take control of self-driving cars.
None of this is surprising. We task them with keeping track of enemies and hunting down terrorists who hide in the shadows. When it comes to ISIS, al-Qaeda, North Korea, Iran, Russia, or China, my concern is that we have too little information.
Most of us agree that we want that kind of surveillance. But such tools can also be turned inward. When Stalin ran the Soviet Union, he had secret police, wiretaps, and communities full of government informants. He had spies everywhere. But he had nothing compared with what’s available today.
A 21st century totalitarian could monitor every aspect of its citizens’ lives. I don’t mean people sitting in dark rooms watching you watch television. There aren’t enough people to do that. For the next totalitarians, computers will serve as watchdogs. Machines will monitor activity, and flag anything that seems suspicious. That’s when the secret police move in.
For students of prophecy, this is another reminder to do as Jesus said, and discern the times we’re living in. (Matthew 16:3) The Bible tells of a future world government that will take advantage of intrusive new technology. (I discuss the Antichrist and his coming government on this week’s Hal Lindsey Report.)
The U.S. Constitution guarantees certain rights. But those guarantees are only as reliable as the people in the government who enforce them. Some of the worst governments in the world have constitutions supposedly guaranteeing rights like those in our Bill of Rights.
The law stands between you and wholesale government surveillance. But sometimes the surveillance tools of our spy agencies are not used in a lawful manner. In 2013, CNN reported, “The National Security Agency's internal watchdog detailed a dozen instances in the past decade in which its employees intentionally misused the agency's surveillance power, in some cases to snoop on their love interests.”
If intelligence operatives are willing to illegally examine the lives of their exes, what else are they willing to do off-the-record and off-the-books — and for whom?
On the old Andy Griffith Show, Deputy Barney Fife sometimes carried a key chain with keys to all the businesses in Mayberry. He spoke of the trust those business owners showed by giving him that responsibility. That bit of fiction reflects a real-world reality. We give Police and Fire Departments keys to gated communities and to major businesses. They need access so that in an emergency, they can move quickly to protect us.
The FBI, CIA, NSA, and other intelligence agencies have the keys to our living rooms, bedrooms, medical files, computers, cars, bank accounts, phones, and even some refrigerators. They can instantly access data that will tell them our tastes and opinions, as well as the names of our friends and what we talk about. We allow them such keys to empower them to protect us.
In other words, we know they have powerful surveillance tools. We know they can break into computers and other connected devices, but it’s okay because we trust them. I’m convinced that up to now, most of the people manning their posts in the agencies I mentioned are men and women of the highest caliber. We’re right to trust them. A disaster prevented is rarely celebrated or even noticed. But the truth is, these people may well have saved my life or yours in the years since 9-11.
Here’s the problem. I said “most.” I didn’t say “all.” With such vast power, “most of the people” in the agencies are not enough. A few bad actors can wreak havoc in our digital world. The leaks springing show that our nation’s intelligence community includes people who are willing to put their personal politics above the nation’s security.
For an example, look at the WikiLeaks leak. This leak is comparable to a newspaper that publishes troop movements during a war. The cyber weapons WikiLeaks disclosed are some of the most powerful and essential armaments ever created. WikiLeaks told friend and foe alike all about them and how America deploys them.
This is a far bigger story than most of the media is telling. In 1597, Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.” That statement was never more true than today. Knowledge is the key battlefield of our era, and this battle is being fought with the zeroes and ones of computer code.
What kind of American would intentionally diminish his country’s ability to fight the battle of our times? The leak came from a person, or a group of people, entrusted with our nation’s top secrets. And they either gave those secrets away or sold them.
In recent weeks, we’ve learned of leak after leak from the intelligence community. Many were intended to harm Donald Trump and his administration. But he is President Trump now. When he’s wrong, he should be criticized just like any other President. But if members of his own government engage in attempts to bring him down through well-timed and well-placed illegal leaks of government intelligence, they are not just harming the President. They are harming the country.
All administrations deal with leaks, but this is a flood of information flowing into the public domain in ways designed to sabotage the government of the United States. A spiritual battle is being waged over this country. This is a good time to remember the scriptural admonition of 1 Timothy 2:2, and “pray for those in authority.” Only the LORD can protect us from these new forms of power. So stay very close to Him.
The Hal Lindsey Report
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