The NSA isn’t inherently evil. Serious people track serious threats to the lives of millions of Americans every day. This is not why the NSA needs to be disbanded.
Too many serious people who disregard the U.S. Constitution and Americans’ right to privacy have decided they know better than the framers of the Constitution and thus have the right to collect every piece of communication every American makes and store it with the hope of using it to solve futures crimes.
Today’s technology makes it so and that’s exactly what is happening. Every phone call you make, every online text and video chat, every text, online post and email are collected and stored for future possible use.
This is not confined to American communications with suspected terrorists overseas.
This means every communication ever made by Americans including your daughter’s calls to her doctor, your son’s text messages from his guidance counselor and your emails, texts and calls to your friends and associates.
This is not science fiction. There was a time when only specialized blogs and web sites published such claims. Now it is known to be a scientific fact as reported by the Washington Post and other well-known news outlets.
This is why a 1.5 billion dollar data collection and storage center is being built in remote Utah: to collect and store the equivalent of 62 billion iPhones full of data.
Now, a federal judge has determined that the NSA projects are indeed a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Obama will appeal.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon found that the NSA violates the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.
In this obviously reasonable decision, Judge Leon published the stunning revelation that the Justice Department has failed to demonstrate that collecting the information had helped to head off any terrorist attacks.
Not surprising. Remember terrorist Major Nidal Hassan who murdered 13 people and wounded over 30 more?
When Hasan was arrested for his jihad against U.S. soldiers at Ft. Hood, journalists reported that the government had collected numerous emails between Hasan and al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
The FBI actually had suspicious emails before the shootings and did nothing about it.
So tapping into everyone’s communications is an utter failure in addition to an outright violation of every Americans’ rights.
This is not the first violation by the NSA.
In response to widespread abuse of government wiretaps and eavesdropping on Americans back in the 1970’s, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was enacted in 1978. It created a secret court, “FISA,” to grant warrants in such a way as to protect American citizens from untoward domestic spying.
It hasn’t worked.
President Bush asked for and got congressional protection from prosecution for telecom companies helping the NSA to spy on Americans. A former AT&T and NSA employee has testified AT&T set up a special office designed to collect all communications for the NSA.
Liberals yelled and screamed.
President Obama has presided over the complete elimination of requirements that Americans being spied upon must be communicating with suspected terrorists overseas.
Liberals are silent.
The NSA has confessed that about a dozen of its employees have misused the technology to spy on spouses, girlfriends and boyfriends. Many of us suspect the abuses are more likely in the hundreds or thousands. How many people have been blackmailed by NSA employees using these technologies?
The NSA isn’t saying.
Should President Obama’s appeal to the district court ruling that his NSA is breaking the law fail, documents would be required to be destroyed. And so what if they aren’t? So what if the NSA continues illegally spying on citizens? Who’s going to pay the price for justice? President Obama? NSA Director General Alexander? Some low level minion Obama can fire?
All are highly unlikely.
Without any real penalty for this criminal behavior, it will happen again and again and again no matter what the decision, even if the Supreme Court eventually rules the NSA is breaking the law.
Contact Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @Jensen1150WDEL.