One of the most fascinating moments in the deposition of the NYPD’s Intelligence Chief, Thomas Galati, comes when he discusses what kinds of political conversations might be recorded by the NYPD. … [He] offers up an example of a US-related world event in response to which the NYPD might send people out to listen how people respond. That event? Drone strikes.
If we deployed them because of an event that took place in a particular part of the World, a drone attack, we would want to know and we would instruct them that people are upset about this drone attack. If they are, that’s something that would be important for us to know, that would be something we would want to know.
At one level, the NYPD actually has reason to want to know when people are pissed off about drone strikes. After all, one of the two real terrorists to attempt to attack NYC since 9/11, Faisal Shahzad, was motivated by the drone strikes in Pakistan.
Contrary to what John Brennan likes to claim, drones really have motivated people–even one in the vicinity of NYC–to become terrorists.
That said, there are a lot of people who express opposition to drone strikes–even ones that take out horrible [we’re told] people like Anwar al-Awlaki. The vast majority of those people will never consider terrorism in response to America’s use of drones.
But that doesn’t mean a record of your opinion won’t be in a computer at the NYPD.