'The Root': Digging deeper on The Black Chamber, Panopticon society, and a new battlefield

Watch 'The Root: The Birth of Big Brother' and all of 'The Root' episodes HERE

Segment 1: Panopticon society; A New Battlefield; Black Chamber

Panopticon Society 

Glenn began the program demonstrating the massive size and scope of the current levels of domestic surveillance in the United States. The NSA released a memo in 2013 claiming it ‘only’ touches 1.6% of all internet traffic, and attempted to calm snooping fears by saying it’s like a dime on a basketball court. That dime, however, is 29.21 petabytes of data a day, a far more amount than Google, which is by far and away the largest website on the internet. Glenn compared the new model of surveillance, watch first ask later, to that of a panopticon like society. A panopticon was a prison design created by Jeremy Bentham in 1787 and he wrote an extensive proposal to have one built – you can read that proposal here.

One of the common themes throughout the program is America’s pattern of trading liberty for the promise of security. Benjamin Franklin warned against this and famously said “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” but that’s not stopping the practice from becoming the norm. Time after time in American history, we can see the 4th Amendment getting brushed aside in the name of ‘national interest’ or ‘national security’. With technology rapidly advancing, this justification is used more and more. It especially ramped up when cyber warfare went from theory to reality.

A New Battlefield: Stuxnet

With two wars raging in the Middle East, America wasn’t exactly in a good position to deal with Iran. Glenn has long called Iran the ‘head of the snake’ and in 2006 they were dangerously close to weaponized nukes. Negotiations were going nowhere. Options were limited. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ordered the resumption of uranium enrichment at their underground enrichment site at Natanz. On top of that Ahmadinejad announced that tens of thousands of more centrifuges were planned to aid the enrichment effort. With only a single nuclear reactor in the country it appeared obvious that Iran was after more than just civilian nuclear capability. Their nuclear program was being weaponized.

The conventional military response would be to eliminate the underground facility at Natanz. This would involve a combination of either airstrikes, sabotage, boots on the ground or all of the above. Both the United States and Israel were looking into all military options available. More so for the latter. Israel just couldn’t afford to wait any longer and a strike seemed inevitable.

With full scale war already being waged right next door in Iraq President Bush looked for another option. General James E. Cartwright of the United States Strategic Command would provide it. General Cartwright proposed a new kind of warfare. One that hadn’t been attempted by any other nation or individual. The proposal was to weaponize the NSA and the U.S. cyber program with the goal of causing actual physical damage to another nation. Rather than spying, hacking and gathering information we would now look to destroy enemy property by pressing enter on a keyboard. Streams of ones and zeroes would replace tanks and missiles. Operation Olympic Games was born.

The program would take 4 years to develop. Israel was brought in as a full partner utilizing not only their own equally capable cyber warfare program, Codename Unit 8200, but also their extensive human intelligence network within Iran. The weapon, code named The Bug, would be inserted into the computer network of Iran’s underground nuclear facility at Natanz. The Bug’s purpose was to cause Natanz’s centrifuges to spin so fast that they’d eventually shatter under the pressure. At the same time The Bug hid it’s existence and forced Natanz’s systems to report that all systems were operating normally.

Operation Olympic Games was both a success and a failure. It successfully destroyed over a thousand Iranian centrifuges. On the other hand The Bug accidentally escaped the Natanz facility and hit the open internet. This alerted the entire world to it’s existence and allowed civilian experts to analyze it. The Bug would later be named Stuxnet by the public and that’s probably how you know it by.

In the end some say the result of The Bug/Stuxnet effectively set the Iranian nuclear program back over 2 years. The launchpad of this attack wasn’t from a missile platform, a battleship or a howitzer. This weapon launched from a mere thumb drive. Warfare had forever changed.

We now live in a world where attacks such as Olympic Games are a very real and very dangerous possibility. If we could successfully cause physical as well as virtual destruction via our cyber program so can others. Olympic Games style attacks on our power grid, water supply or own nuclear reactors can happen at any time. We’ve proved it. And we continue to engage in this new battlefield.

The real danger this new sort of warfare presents isn’t from foreign enemies, although they are a threat. Technology of this level of sophistication is being used by our own government to monitor law abiding citizens – just in case they go off the rails and do something illegally. As high profile hacks such as Sony and Blue Cross/Blue Shield increase fear among Americans, history has shown we will easily do exactly what Ben Franklin warned against: trading liberty for temporary security.

That’s where we’re at – but how did we get here? We have to go back to the progressive era.

Black Chamber

In the domestic surveillance world, Herbert Yardley was the original. The NSA’s origins can be traced back to this one man with a knack for cracking codes, who after World War I launched the first peacetime domestic & foreign surveillance operation. He would later turn on government after he felt they wrong him and hampered his efforts with budget cuts and other disputes. He wrote a book exposing nearly every trick of the trade, which didn’t sit well with the government.

Herbert Yardley was born in Worthington, Indiana in 1889. He was the son of a railroad telegraph operator and, like many boys his age at that time, he apprenticed under his father to continue the family business. Yardley endeavored for more than what rural Indiana had to offer. Passing the civil service exam and with his skills as a telegraph operator he would eventually land a job with the State Department as a code clerk.

Yardley’s pivot point would come one afternoon while looking at a secret message to President Woodrow Wilson. After quickly breaking the code, Yardley deemed U.S. communications far too easy to decipher. He would make improving the communications security of the United States his life’s mission. After ensuring U.S. communications were secure he continued his work by breaking the codes of foreign governments in anticipation of war.

War indeed came for the United States on April 6th 1917. Yardley was transferred to a new unit within military intelligence. MI-8 was responsible for identifying enemy communications and breaking their codes. Under Yardley’s leadership MI-8 was responsible for breaking nearly every German military and diplomatic code in less than a year. He would go on to visit both Britain and France training and learning from the best cryptanalysis minds in the world. After the war was over Yardley came back to the States and MI-8 was disbanded.

The story should end right there. But it doesn’t. Instead, General Marlborough Churchill of U.S. Army Intelligence pleaded with the State Department to keep Herbert Yardley’s work active. The nation was no longer in a state of war and Yardley’s work would be directed not only overseas but within the United States as well. The State Department approached a pivot point of their own. Deciding that the 4th amendment was up for interpretation they funded an off the books covert operation within the continental United States.

Due to the illegal nature of their work Yardley couldn’t set up shop in Washington D.C. The decision was made to base the operation in New York City. Those who knew of it often referred to it as the Cipher Bureau. Yardley preferred to call it the Black Chamber. Named after the French intelligence equivalent Chamber Noire.

We were now in uncharted waters. The threat of world war had prompted our government to not only continue but to dramatically advance a wartime intelligence operation. Realizing that the law stood in his way Yardley approached the CEO’s of nearly every major communications company at the time to seek their cooperation. Pretty soon Western Union, Postal Telegraph and All-American Cable Company all secretly agreed to let the Black Chamber read the mail of both foreign nationals as well as United States citizens.

A relationship had been established between United States Intelligence Agencies and private American communications corporations. That relationship would snowball. It was at this point that the government asked for too much. They had crossed the line but we as citizens had the chance to stop it. Sadly we chose to enable it. The early foundation for the National Security Agency was set.

On Thursday's radio program, Grace Smith and her father, Andy, joined Glenn Beck on the phone and provided a first-hand account of Grace's refusal to wear a mask at school.

Smith, 16, began a maskless protest after her school district in Laramie, Wyoming, decided to implement a mask mandate. As a result, Grace received three suspensions, was issued two $500-citations, and was eventually arrested.

"How long were you in jail?" Glenn asked.

Grace said was taken to jail but was never booked nor was she was placed in a jail cell.

Glenn commended Grace's father, Andy, for raising such a "great citizen" and asked if it was Grace's idea to protest. Andy said it was Grace's idea, explaining that they took the position of arguing on the grounds of civil rights rather than the efficacy of wearing a mask.

Grace has since withdrawn from public school and started a home school program. She also told Glenn that she will continue to fight the school district, legally.

You can donate to Grace's legal fund here.

To hear more from this conversation click here.

Disclaimer: The content of this clip does not provide medical advice. Please seek the advice of local health officials for any COVID-19 and/or COVID vaccine related questions & concerns.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

It seems the Left wants a civil war and some on the Right want a national divorce. The country is split right now unlike anything Glenn Beck has ever witnessed. There are two sides: Those who want to fundamentally change this country and those who believe in KEEPING the experiment of liberty that the Founding Founders intended.

The ideological gap seems impossible to cross, but Glenn explains why he won't secede. David Reaboi, Claremont Institute senior fellow and author of "National Divorce Is Expensive, but It's Worth Every Penny," tells Glenn why a national breakup is not an impossibility just because it will be difficult.

What can we do to fight back … peacefully? How can the states that still believe in the Constitution create pockets of freedom in the shadow of tyranny? On his Wednesday night special this week, Glenn answers that and provides a road map to preserving what the Left is trying to destroy.

Finally, James Simpson, author of "Who Was Karl Marx? The Men, the Motives and the Menace Behind Today's Rampaging American Left," provides solutions on the issues the "red states" must unite around before Left and Right America officially call it quits.

Watch the full episode of "Glenn TV" below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

An Afghan interpreter who helped save then-Sen. Joe Biden's life in 2008 was among those stranded in Afghanistan after Biden's troop withdrawal. He has now escaped the country with his family, but not with President Biden's help.

Thanks to private organizations, including The Nazarene Fund, the interpreter and his family have now been rescued.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn Beck share the details:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

A shocking new report by The Daily Wire reveals that the furious father whose arrest at a school board meeting likely sparked the call for the FBI to investigate anti-CRT parents like domestic terrorists was furious for good reasons: The Loudoun County School Board allegedly tried to cover up his daughter's rape.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to discuss the incident and explain why he joined 60 lawmakers in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding answers for why the FBI is targeting parents.

"We want to know ... what kind of coordination took place between the White House, activist groups and teachers unions, and the Department of Justice," Stewart told Glenn. "Because we have evidence that there was [coordination] and, in fact, that the White House are the ones who initiated this. They asked for these activist groups to write this inflammatory letter to the Department of Justice saying they were 'intimidated' and that they 'felt threatened', giving the Department of Justice Attorney General Garland, the excuse to say, 'Okay, well, we have to respond'."

Stewart went on to say he believes the federal government would only involve the FBI in such an issue if its purpose is to silence and intimidate parents concerned about the "poison" being taught to their kids in school. So, what can he and the other representatives who disagree with the Biden administration's overreach of power do to stop it?

Watch the video clip below to hear Stewart explain:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.