As Judge Andrew Napolitano puts it on Fox News Insider, the Constitution itself would have to be re-written in order to make NSA’s massive surveillance legal. The Constitution itself. We’re not talking about a to-do list or a bad novel. True Americans aren’t going to burn a 227 year old piece of our country’s heart and soul in order to accommodate a government agency so it can spy on us. Rand Paul and others like him won’t allow it.
It’s unfortunately the “great clash between privacy and safety,” as Judge Napolitano calls it, adding “when people are afraid, most people will opt for safety rather than privacy. They’ll say anything to keep them safe. But they don’t realize that they’re losing the safety of their liberties. The Constitution was written to force the government intentionally to jump through hoops before it could invade our privacy.”
He also reminded viewers of the Fox News Insider that 13 of the 15 judges backing the legality of the NSA program were on the FISA court. This is essentially a secret court where only the government is represented. Of course, the government is going to back itself up and say that’s it’s legal.
So here we have the Obama administration glossing over the NSA spying program. It’s no wonder Paul is stepping up to sue the NSA.
Over at The Guardian, Michelle Richardson recently went over 4 surveillance myths that have been blocking NSA reform. They’ve been used to defend the mass surveillance program but, in reality, it’s just empty air used to explain away government overreach.
Myth No 1: NSA surveillance programs have thwarted terror attacks here at home. ….Administration representatives insisted that spying programs, including the now infamous collection of phone records in bulk, had stopped 54 terror incidents. As members pushed for more detail, the administration said around 10 of those were based in the US. Weeks later, the number shrank to four – and then ultimately a single case in Southern California, where a San Diego cab driver was convicted of sending $8,500 to a Somali terrorist group. In fact, there were no attacks in America thwarted by domestic spying.
Myth No 2: NSA data-crunching programs only work if you collect all information on everyone. Of course, this argument fell apart once no cases could be found supporting the need for bulk collection. …Bulk collection has not provided the NSA any information that it could not have acquired using targeted surveillance.
Myth No 3: All relevant decision-makers were briefed on the programs and approved them. Some members of Congress were briefed on the telephone record program, but by and large they were not. In fact, the House Intelligence Committee is still denying members of the House access to information about NSA surveillance to this very day.
Myth No 4: President Obama’s changes sufficiently address the privacy violations revealed in the last eight months. The president’s apparent decision to stop the NSA from amassing Americans’ phone records without suspicion is a good first step but addresses only the tip of the iceberg. Notably absent from the president’s recent speech on surveillance was a commitment to end other forms of bulk collection. (The Guardian)
So why is Rand Paul suing Obama and the NSA? There are several reasons why the NSA surveillance program has overreached its boundaries. One, the NSA spying program hasn’t thwarted any known terrorist attacks. Two, it hasn’t shown itself to be any more useful than targeted surveillance (which by the way would fall under the more appropriate use of a warrant: a specific person, a specific place and a specified reason. Not the generalized warrant that the NSA has been using to support its collection of everyone’s data.) Add on that Congress is totally in the dark about what happens in the NSA and they’re supposed to oversee that the NSA is keeping their toes within the lines. And lastly, Obama, well, he really only addressed last month one aspect (i.e. phone metadata) of the mass surveillance and collection currently going on behind the scenes of the United States.
Rand Paul suing Obama and the NSA isn’t a surprise. While his NSA lawsuit focuses on the NSA’s violation of the Fourth Amendment, there is a whole host of issues why the NSA program needs to be reformed and contained.
What are your thoughts? National security… or your civil liberties? Comment below or join us on Facebook.
Watch: Judge Napolitano Support the NSA Lawsuit
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