Care About the Environment? Beware, the NSA is Watching

Rising sea levels, super storms, and droughts, oh my! Everyone on Earth seems to think that climate change is the most significant threat to global security — except people in the United States. We’re so committed to burying our heads in the sand that our own government has chosen to focus not on the problems associated with climate change, but on environmentalists. That’s right. The people fighting to protect the environment are the ones viewed as the potential security risk.

As the NSA’s PRISM scandal has unfolded and released scores of documents that the government would just as soon rather hide under the rug, some important information about the handling of environmentalists has emerged. While activists have always suspected they’ve been unfairly profiled, and have noted on numerous occasions that they seem to attract more attention than actual domestic terrorists, the PRISM documents confirm that environmentalists and eco groups were singled out for surveillance and close monitoring, as if their activities posed a legitimate threat to national security. After all, that’s the defense the government has used in discussions of PRISM and other infringements on civil liberties, arguing that the privacy of some must be sacrificed for the safety of many. Meanwhile, right-wing groups have been allowed to engage in actual acts of domestic terror and incitements to violence without such scrutiny.

What gives? The PRISM documents reveal that the Pentagon was putting plans in place to deal with major civil unrest in the wake of disasters, including potential environmental disasters, but that it had a special focus on environmental protest and activism. Millions of dollars are spent annually on pursuing environmental groups, many of whom are harmless — unless, of course, you think lobbying the government to take action on environmental issues is somehow causing harm, or you believe that educating the public about climate change poses a risk to national security.

The environment itself can become a security risk, but the people pushing to protect it certainly aren’t. While their express goal is to focus on environmental health and the protection of the planet, many are also concerned about the stability of nations and states as well as other political actors, because with global unrest tends to come environmental abuses. For example, in the Balkans and Iraq, depleted uranium was left behind after bitter wars, one of which had a lot to do with oil resources and control. Environmentalists are well aware that climate change will cause unrest which could lead to political instability, and they’re trying to prevent these problems, not cause them.

Policy-wise, the government should be promoting environmental protection as a sound national security practice. And while the government needs to remain separate from private organizations and can’t support environmental groups, it certainly doesn’t need to persecute them, either. Redirecting the resources currently used to spy on environmental advocates to actual concrete environmental protection and policy would do far more for national security in the long term, but that would require the government to admit that its decades-long policy of harassing environmental activists was wrong.

Is it ready to go there?

Photo credit: Michael Baird


Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Samantha J.
Samantha J2 years ago

They have better things to do.

Larry S.
Larry S4 years ago

Listen to this interesting story,( interesting timing), on NPR’s Morning Edition 1/7/2014,
The Secret Burglary That Exposed J. Edgar Hoover's FBI

and an excerpt from 1/6/2014 post by Chris Hedges on,

The public debates about the government’s measures to prevent terrorism, the character assassination of Edward Snowden and his supporters, the assurances by the powerful that no one is abusing the massive collection and storage of our electronic communications miss the point. Any state that has the capacity to monitor all its citizenry, any state that has the ability to snuff out factual public debate through control of information, any state that has the tools to instantly shut down all dissent is totalitarian. Our corporate state may not use this power today. But it will use it if it feels threatened by a population made restive by its corruption, ineptitude and mounting repression. The moment a popular movement arises—and one will arise—that truly confronts our corporate masters, our venal system of total surveillance will be thrust into overdrive.

GGma Sheila D.
GGmaSheila D4 years ago

Holy Muckraking, Batman - reminiscent of the 60s much? Wow, a little too much J Edgar Hoover's FBI much?

Just a thought - anyone out there in the NSA know about hairpin lace? Having trouble with a stitch and can't seem to get it right. Contact me. We'll make brownies.

Patricia H.
Patricia H.4 years ago

thanks for sharing

John Loughton
John Loughton4 years ago

Part 2...We need to stop using fossil fuels & use the supressed technologies like h2o, Thorium, Cold Fusion, Self Propelled Magnetic Motors, Hemp, everything is intentionally wrong that could so easily be fixed.So much i could say, so little time.

John Loughton
John Loughton4 years ago

@MD L Diig allot deeper then & you should find it's worse than you think it is. I've spent the last 6 or so years almost full time down the rabbit hole researching this stuff & found it couldn't be any worse than it is. The War On Terror is all fake almost all the USA terror attacks so far this year were false flag events always done as usual by either CIA or FBI mostly cause Big Gov want Gun Control that ultimutly ends in Genocide. 2 of my rellies were shot in 96 planned 9 years before it happened to take guns away in my country for an attack that stitched up an innocent person who didin't even do it. I could tell truth matters that most closed minds could never accept as truth. You admitt all this overreaction don't make us any safer , of course not their ultimute plan is right there on The Georgia Guidstonesto to kull population for a NWO. History repeats itself time n again. To reach their objectives they have to constantly con the masses with Lamestream Media lies 2 keep them ignorant. If your up with Jesse Ventura then i suggest you watch the one that got banned from being aired on tv The Great Lakes Water Conspiracy cause they doing the same in my country. Also learn about Executive Orders, Rex 84, Operation Garden Plot/Cable Splicer, S510, HR675, HR875. If anyone thinks 2008 Meltdown was bad well America is already setup China owns the ports in California , everything is being privatised & stolen through Eminent Domain, Civil Forclosure, We need to stop u

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G4 years ago

Let them watch...until they're blind.

Ernie Miller
william Miller4 years ago

face it if you are on this sire you are probably being watched

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you S. E. Smith, for Sharing this!