Are you bothered by the recent news about the incredible level of snooping being done by the U.S. Government? What exactly is the problem?
“The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. If I wanted to see your e-mails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your e-mails, passwords, phone records, credit cards. Any analyst – at any time – can target anyone. I, sitting at my desk, had the authority to wiretap anyone; from you, to or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President.”
-Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower
Unless this is addressed immediately, we will have entered the point of “no return” – – no return of:
- our liberty
- our ability to speak out freely
- our ability to redress grievances we have with the government
- our right to privacy
- our Constitutional right to be free from people accessing our private family, financial and health care information.
Instead of being presumed innocent, we are all now presumed to be involved in terrorist activity and are having our personal files and records collected by the government for searching. With the phone records by themselves, the government will know:
- who you spoke with, and for how long
- where you were (courtesy of GPS location on your phone) when you made/took the call
Can you imagine the havoc some government bureaucrat can now wreak on you, your family and friends with your phone records? How about your email? Could the emails you receive be used by the government to expose the private information about someone else? Do you think this will not happen? Let me share a story:
During the 1990’s, the Clinton campaign became famous for the “politics of personal destruction”, which was a brutal reaction to multiple accusations involving Bill Clinton’s infidelity with several women (remember Gennifer Flowers?) when he was Governor of Arkansas. The intent was to dig up “dirt” on these women, discredit them and intimidate them so they would not press forward with their stories about Clinton. Once elected, the President and the Clinton administration reportedly continued these practices.
In 1998, the walls protecting the President began to crumble with the allegations and physical evidence (remember the “stained” dress?) involving Monica Lewinsky, the young White House intern. So what happened? As the Congress began to talk about a possible impeachment of the President, the “politics of personal destruction” went to a new level — targeting members of Congress with threats of disclosure of personal information that had been collected and was now in the hands of allies in the alternative media (Salon.com) and Hollywood.
- On 9/16/1998, David Talbot ran a story on Salon.com about Rep. Henry Hyde, head of the House Judiciary Committee — he was “outed” for an adultery incident that occurred several decades earlier. They even tracked down Hyde’s daughter and got a negative quote about her estranged father.
- On 10/4/1998 Larry Flynt exposed the incoming Speaker of the House Bob Livingston for having cheated on his wife.
- Rep. Bob Barr had the unfortunate experience of having his wife’s abortion exposed to the world.
- Rep. Dan Burton was unnerved about the probing into his personal life and “outed” himself about his past.
While running for State Senator in Illinois, Barak Obama’s campaign was able to destroy an opponent by accessing and disclosing allegations within sealed court records from a nasty divorce.
Can you imagine how this could work today? There are over 1,900 governmental departments and functions involving security matters, with hundreds of thousands of employees and contractors with access to very sensitive information. Just the buildings in Washington, DC built or being built to house the security functions in total rival the size of a medium size city. No one knows the annual budget for these functions. No one in Congress knows the scope or extent of the data collection on Americans.
In just the last two weeks, we have seen the tip of the iceberg of the risks to our privacy and our Constitution:
- IRS targeting groups based on political beliefs
- Work and cell phones of 20 journalists and 100 phone lines at the Associated Press tapped instead of pursuing just the records of the reporter in question
- Possibly false statements included in sworn warrants accusing a Fox News reporter of being a co-conspirator to terrorism because he reported a story the Justice Department didn’t like
Personally, I’m shocked so many members of Congress including my representative Mike Rogers knew about and are even endorsing the data collection programs today. I immediately called his office to let him know how disappointed I am with his involvement in this and the trashing of the 4th Amendment. Have you called or written???
So let me close with one other true story: the Colonists in 1761 we very upset with the British government. Why? They were subjected to something called “general warrants” which allows British troops to enter any home or business for a search without having to show reasonable suspicion of a crime or go before a judge to outline what specifically needs to be searched and why. Today, we have the FISA court (a secret court you cannot attend) granting access to the records of all Americans although the NSA, FBI, DHS, ATF, and other police and security services have no allegations about 99.99% of us. Why is this allowed?