There has been a lot of talk, both on the news, and where I work, regarding this Edward Snowden character and the fact that he leaked information regarding top-secret details regarding mass surveillance of the people by the government. Opinions differ on whether he is merely a whistleblower, or if he is a traitor who has done irreparable damage to our nation’s intelligence gathering apparatus.
Ever since 9/11 we are regularly reminded that we face the constant threat of terrorist attacks. Our elected representatives tell us that to protect us from these threats they must take certain actions to hunt down and stop these terrorists before they can commit another terrorist attack. Back in 2010 the Dept. of Homeland Security enacted it’s If You See Something Say Something program designed to provide a means for the average citizen to report things that seem odd or suspicious. What this has done is create an atmosphere of paranoia where we live in fear of an unknown bogeyman and are willing to sacrifice our most cherished possessions, our rights, in order to protect us from him.
So what exactly did Edward Snowden do that was so terrible that it has caused him to flee the country and find himself wanted by his government? What he did is he leaked data regarding the fact that our government has been data mining our phone calls and internet activities. For those of you who don’t understand the concept of data mining, let me try and explain it to you in terms you might understand.
Say you live in a neighborhood that has undergone a series of burglaries. The police know there is a burglar, but they just don’t know who it is, or where they live. So, in an effort to collect data that may help them catch this individual they install listening devices in every home in the neighborhood, or even the city, in the hopes that something someone says in their home will lead them to the person responsible for committing these crimes.
That is a rough picture of what data mining is. But what about all those innocent people who have done nothing wrong, but whose private conversations where overheard anyway, what about their right to privacy? That is why Edward Snowden leaked the information he did, he felt the size and scope of the programs being utilized by our government violated everyone’s rights to protect us from possible terrorist threats.
According to what we have been told the NSA now has direct access to Google, Facebook, Apple, and other internet giants. Through a program called PRISM they can collect and store your internet search history, the content of the e-mails you send, file transfers, and your live chats. And they have always been listening to our phone calls and been able to snatch cell phone signals right out of the airwaves, so now they know just about everything we say or write to one another. This is a huge amount of data they are collecting from pretty much everyone.
This may not bother you that much, as you may believe that if you are not doing anything wrong then you have nothing to hide. Then if our government is doing nothing wrong by collecting this data, why are they so upset that the fact that they are doing so has become public knowledge? I’ll tell you why, it is because it violates the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, that’s why.
The 4th Amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Law enforcement cannot just come into your home and search it for items which may link you to a crime, or show intent to commit a crime UNLESS they have reasonable cause and already suspect that you may be guilty of said offenses. They must then prove to a judge that they have enough reason to believe that you may be guilty of a crime, or conspiring to commit one, so that a warrant be issued granting them permission to search you, your home, or your belongings. For the government to listen in on all our conversations, read all our e-mails, and monitor all our other private conversations, in the hope of finding information which may prevent a crime is unconstitutional. Where is their probable cause for reading my e-mails, or yours? It is the same as these TSA searches of our persons at the airports, where is the probable cause for them performing these invasive searches of individuals prior to boarding a plane? Where is the warrant granting them permission and stating exactly what it is they are looking for?
In both instances they don’t have a warrant, they only have the fact that our government says it is necessary to do these things to protect us from terror. Truthfully, the only thing that terrifies me right now is my own government and its disregard for my rights.
In 1967, Earl Warren, the 14th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, said the following in the case of United States v. Robel, “This concept of “national defense” cannot be deemed an end in itself, justifying any exercise of legislative power designed to promote such a goal. Implicit in the term “national defense” is the notion of defending those values and ideals which set this Nation apart…It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of those liberties…which make the defense of our nation worthwhile.”
Our Founding Fathers made sure that the 4th Amendment was part of the Bill of Rights to protect us from these type of searches. Prior to the American Revolution the British would issue general warrants which entitled officers of the law to perform searches of almost anyone’s home without listing what they were looking for, and the justification for such a search.
In 1776 Virginia issued a Declaration of Rights which stated, “That general warrants, whereby any officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offense is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive and ought not to be granted.”
Massachusetts also issued its own Declaration of Rights in 1780, wherein it said, “Every subject has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches, and seizures of his person, his houses, his papers, and all his possessions. All warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the cause or foundation of them be not previously supported by oath or affirmation; and if the order in the warrant to a civil officer, to make search in suspected places, or to arrest one or more suspected persons, or to seize their property, be not accompanied with a special designation of the persons or objects of search, arrest, or seizure…”
So, for our government to listen in to all our phone calls, monitor all our e-mails and other internet activity, just in the hopes of gleaning a bit of information which may lead to a potential terrorist attack, is an unconstitutional violation of our right to be secure from unreasonable searches. In other words, it is against the law for our government to monitor everyone in the hopes of finding a few terrorists who may be hiding amongst us. If you think it is okay for our government to do this, then how would you feel if I put listening devices in your home and recorded every private conversation you had with your wife or husband because I wanted to make sure you were not doing anything illegal?
Our government does not seem to like it much that their secret is out. But Patrick Henry once said “The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”
Yet members of our government want to see Edward Snowden brought back to the United States to be tried, according to some, for treason. Both President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry mentioned the ‘rule of law’ when referring to ensuring Snowden is brought back to the U.S. to face charges, while Dianne Feinstein said the following, “He violated the oath, he violated the law. It’s treason.” Is that so bitch? [I’m sorry, but I detest that woman with every ounce of my being]
Let’s talk about violating oaths for a minute shall we? Every one of you took an oath to uphold the Constitution, which includes the Bill of Rights. By the very fact that, without a warrant, you are spying on every single person who uses the internet or a phone YOU have violated your oath, and according to you Ms. Feinstein, THAT IS TREASON!
What about the fact that under Mr. Obama his Justice Department, under Attorney General Eric Holder, purposely allowed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders? That too is a violation of the law, and therefore is TREASON. It also lead to one of those weapons being used to kill a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry. So, add accomplice to murder to your charges as well Mr. Holder.
And while we’re talking about the Border Patrol and national security, why don’t we discuss what has happened since 1987, when Ronald Reagan signed the Simpson Mazzoli Act, granting a supposed one time amnesty for roughly 3 million illegal aliens while toughening immigration laws to stop the influx of any more illegal aliens.
Well here we are 27 years later and our government is, right now, in the process of another attempt to reform our broken immigration system, which of course includes a ‘pathway to citizenship’ for what the news says are an estimated 11-13 million illegal aliens, but which is probably within the range of 20-40 million.
It is the job of the President to ensure our nation’s laws are upheld. Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution clearly states that it is within the power of Congress to “establish an uniform rule of Naturalization…” Well Mr. President, and your predecessor, and HIS predecessor, you have all failed to ensure that our immigration laws are enforced, and now you want to forgive 20-40 million criminals who entered this country illegally by granting them a pathway to citizenship.
I’m sorry, but SCREW YOU! You want me to forgive, and accept the fact that these people broke the law by coming into this country, yet you want to punish a man who told the truth about YOU breaking the law by spying upon the very people whose rights you are sworn to protect. If there is a definition for hypocrisy, that is it right there.
I know it will never happen but I would like to see every sitting member of Congress and the president brought up on charges of treason, [according to Senator Feinstein’s own definition of the word] for violating the 4th Amendment right of every American, and at the same time allow Edward Snowden to return to the country he loves without charges. He obviously loves it more than those ass clowns in D.C. who violate it with every breath they take.
You traitors to your oaths, and to the people of this country don’t like the fact that your dirty little secret is out. Lord Acton, who is famous for saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupt absolutely, also said, “Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show it can bear discussion and publicity.” Or, to quote Tony Stark in The Avengers, “An intelligence agency that FEARS intelligence? Historically, not awesome.”
All I know is that Edward Snowden did exactly what Janet Napolitano, and the Dept. of Homeland Security told us to do, he saw something and he said something. But I guess that rule does not apply when it is the government that is caught breaking the law, or doing something wrong. But what else is new, our government is packed full of hypocrites, liars and crooks, and we have become so used to it that we don’t ask that they be prosecuted for their actions, we ask that those who blow the whistle upon them are.
What a sad commentary on this country, that we go after the good guys, while letting the crooks get away with murder. And the worse thing about it is that it doesn’t seem to bother most of you…