Snowden. NSA. PRISM. WikiLeaks. We've heard the stories on this and argued it ad nauseum in this forum. We've even blasted the current and former administrations because of the collection of such data, and how they did this without our knowing, or due process. But we never went into how the government gained the ability to do such broad collection of data and surveillance. Enter Executive Order 12333. Ars Technica has a lengthy and informative story of how this all started posted today, direct from an alumni of the NSA, and what started the whole thing: from rationale, to criticizing previous administrations as weak, debilitated, and demoralized, and wanting to show the rest of the world that we mean business. So who signed EO 12333? No, it was not Barack Obama. Surprisingly, it also was not George W. Bush, though he did sign three other EOs that made the situation much worse. Executive Order 12333 was signed by none other than Ronald Reagan. Yep, the same "We win, You lose!", keep-government-out-of-our-lives, modern-day Republican patron saint. That Ronald Reagan. From the article: With this, it does put Snowden's actions in a different light, as not only has he tried to say that this isn't right, but also deal with 31 years of government expansion in this area. Does that make him a hero, or a traitor? That's for the courts to decide. This should also put Reagan's actions into a darker perspective. Here we are blasting Obama for being overreaching, when we see how far reaching and power hungry Reagan was, especially for someone who wanted government out of people's lives. So what can be done about EO 12333? Well, EOs are like bills that get passed into law, except that there is no court to overturn it, should they not have any expiration date. The only thing to overturn an executive order would be another subsequent executive order.. and what POTUS in the next few terms is going to overturn that? BL.