U.S. ‘Homeland’ Includes Canada And Mexico On NSA Map (PHOTO)

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Just when you thought the NSA sur­veil­lance pro­grams could­n’t get any scari­er, the spy agency goes ahead and makes Cana­da part of the U.S. “home­land.”

That’s how Cana­da — as well as Mex­i­co, Cen­tral Amer­i­ca and the Caribbean — was labeled on an NSA map pre­sent­ed at a Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee meet­ing Wednes­day (August, 2013).

NSA map of "Homeland", per Senator Dianne Feinstein

NSA map of “Home­land”, per Sen­a­tor Dianne Feinstein

The map appeared dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion by Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Dianne Fein­stein, an out­spo­ken sup­port­er of the NSA’s sur­veil­lance activ­i­ties, on how many ter­ror “events” (don’t con­fuse this with plots, the num­bers are dif­fer­ent) the agency has disrupted.

The map showed all of North and Cen­tral Amer­i­ca shad­ed in light blue and labeled “HOMELAND.” Man­i­fest des­tiny writ large.

One might think this is sim­ply a mis­take by the NSA, but The Atlantic’s Philip Bump, who first spot­ted the map, isn’t so sure:

This being the NSA, we’re not inclined to offer that ben­e­fit of the doubt. Is this a way of blend­ing in Cana­di­an and Mex­i­can ter­ror activ­i­ty dis­rup­tions (which, we’ll remind you, is dif­fer­ent from actu­al plots inter­rupt­ed) to give a larg­er sense of the NSA’s suc­cess at halt­ing ter­ror­ism with­in our borders?”

Twit­ter, pre­dictably, freaked out about the con­quest-car­tog­ra­phy, but there was big­ger news in the widen­ing sur­veil­lance scan­dal this week.

The map gaffe (please let this be a gaffe) came on the same day as new rev­e­la­tions about the scope of the NSA’s sur­veil­lance activities.

Using doc­u­ments obtained from exiled for­mer-NSA ana­lyst Edward Snow­den, The Guardian’s Glenn Green­wald report­ed Wednes­day that a pre­vi­ous­ly unre­port­ed tool called XKeyscore col­lects “near­ly every­thing a user does on the inter­net” and allows employ­ees to search a vast data­base with “no pri­or authorization.”

Mean­while, Snow­den was grant­ed tem­po­rary asy­lum in Rus­sia, open­ing a fresh rift in Amer­i­ca’s rela­tion­ship with its for­mer Cold War ene­my. Cana­da joined the U.S. in con­demn­ing Rus­si­a’s decision.

But, maybe Cana­di­ans should­n’t be so wor­ried about becom­ing part of Amer­i­ca. We already have our own NSA-style sur­veil­lance pro­gram, our economies are close­ly inte­grat­ed and soon U.S. police will be able to oper­ate with­in Canada.

What’s in a name? A near­ly-omni­scient sur­veil­lance state by any oth­er name would feel as creepy.