Rep. Aaron Schock is frequently referred to as a “rising star” in Congress, but this week, the Associated Press reported on a scandal involving Schock and his use of taxpayer and campaign funds for things like flights on private jets (owned by key donors) and a Katy Perry concert. Frankly, I think some of the “scandal” here is a bit overblown. But what struck me is part of how the AP tracked these details about Schock down:
The AP tracked Schock’s reliance on the aircraft partly through the congressman’s penchant for uploading pictures and videos of himself to his Instagram account. The AP extracted location data associated with each image then correlated it with flight records showing airport stopovers and expenses later billed for air travel against Schock’s office and campaign records.
In short, the metadata brought Schock down. Of course, as we’ve been describing, anyone who says that we shouldn’t be concerned about the NSA’s surveillance of metadata, or brushes it away as “just metadata,” doesn’t understand how powerful metadata can be. As former NSA/CIA boss Michael Hayden has said, the government kills people based on metadata.
But it does seem noteworthy that Schock was one of those who claimed that Ed Snowden’s leaking of how the NSA collected metadata on nearly everyone amounted to treason. I wonder if he still feels that way…