Free Ringtone by They Might Be Giants Mocks the NSA, Permanent War

August 2nd, 2013

In recent months, the National Security Agency’s spying scandal has been dominating the headlines, as mainstream Americans now realize that their phone calls and emails are being hijacked by an intelligence service that allows newly-hired private contractors to access the data. When one such contractor, Edward Snowden, leaked the details of these programs to the media, the subject became a national issue.

Indie rock band They Might Be Giants, however, were a full 7 years ahead of the general public on this story, as the band released a surprisingly prescient free ringtone back in 2006, featuring the lyrics, “Call connected through the NSA/Complete transmission through the NSA/Suspending your rights for the duration of the permanent war.” Check out the song in the player below, pick it up for free on They Might Be Giants’ website, and let’s talk about the right to privacy after the jump.

What They Might Be Giants’ Ringtone Says About the Innocence of Edward Snowden

Statist lawmakers have been calling for Edward Snowden to be seized and arrested for treason after he exposed the fact that the NSA has been committing actual treason against the American people. However, the fact that They Might Be Giants released a song essentially making the same claims a full seven years ago demonstrates an important point — Edward Snowden didn’t really expose any new information.

He did confirm some details in a way that allowed mainstream media outlets to cover the issue, but no real operational information was released that would be useful to a terrorist organization. In fact, Snowden could easily have sold the info to an enemy government, used it for his own personal amusement, or released it all to WikiLeaks, but, instead, he opted to leak the details to thoughtful journalists with instructions to publish only information that would benefit the public, and none that could harm agents in the field or put the nation at risk of a terror attack.

Activists Have Known About the NSA’s Spying for Years

Lots of articles have come out over the years detailing the NSA’s spying programs. In fact, public opinion polls have tested whether Americans would support email spying since shortly after 9/11/2001. Edward Snowden mainly confirmed the degree to which these violations have affected Americans, which is something that everyone has the right to know. Meanwhile, no one is considering the fact that the NSA allowed a poorly-vetted private contractor to access all this data, and no supervisor or other official has been publicly fired.

Other contractors could be stealing credit card numbers and other sensitive data from emails right now, for all we know. However, what we do know is that Edward Snowden, when presented with that opportunity, decided to put his own life at risk to protect the US Constitution instead. Not only that, he took extraordinary care to ensure that his leaks were limited to what Americans needed to know, which, incidentally, was already public knowledge anyway, as demonstrated by They Might Be Giants’ awesome ringtone.

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

Barry Donegan is a singer for the experimental mathcore band Look What I Did, a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.