Friday, June 7, 2013

Are We Witnessing An All-Out Assault On The Constitution?

Obama Releases Nation's Phone Records To The Public: "We Are Making Every Effort To Be Transparent," Said The President...The Onion

"No one should get a free pass to violate the basic civil liberties of the American people---not the president of the United States, and not the telecommunications companies." No, not The Onion,  candidate Obama in 2008 when running against President George W. Bush.

  • That is just one of many positions candidate Obama had prior to being elected president. In fact, he said this in 2008: "Ever since 9/11, this administration {Bush administration} has put forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand."
  • The problem with his statements against the Bush administration can be summarized with three letters: IRS. To date, there's never been any evidence the Bush administration spied on its political enemies.
  • Allow me to be very clear. I have no problems whatsoever in surveillance of potential or real terrorists and their associates. Data mining can be a useful tool in the war on terror. Few dispute the threat of global Jihad.  I do have a problem with a government that decides to throw such a wide net over ALL Americans. Perhaps this example proves my point. When the FBI stacked out the mob, they wired a specific area such as an apartment, a meeting place, etc.; they didn't listen to the conversations of everyone living on that city block or surrounding community.

  • And to be under the delusion that such surveillance programs as reported this week by the NSA would never be abused, I'll just refer you to what we've learned about the IRS and the DOJ in the last month.
  • With all of these revelation, I can't avoid coming to the same conclusion that Sen. Rand Paul voiced yesterday when he said, "The NSA's seizure and surveillance of virtually all of Verizon's phone customers is an astounding assault on the Constitution." Considering we've  witnessed this administration attack the 1st, 2nd and now the 4th Amendment, I tend to agree with the senator.
  • Or, as even USA Today pointed out in their editorial  today{"Massive Secret Surveillance Betrays American Ideal"}, "So tracking every call in the United States is OK?" I believe every American truly believes it's not OK.
  • Moreover, we know this surveillance has been going on for years, as far back as the 1960's with the Echelon program. So if these surveillance programs are so good who did 9/11 happen? How did the recent Boston Marathon bombings happen?
  • In fact, it even appears the administration violated the Patriot Act since mining under the Patriot Act only pertains to investigating terrorism.
  • The point is mining too much data can be part of the problem. It overloads the system, and important details get lost in the garbage.

  • We are now in a debate regarding the fine line between security and privacy. In fact, an argument can be made with this question: What would happen if we weren't doing these things? Several months ago, I led with this headline on a post: How do Americans reconcile the dilemma of more security versus our privacy and freedom? At that time, I wrote that the impression is the more security we have the safer we will be. But are we?  In other words, are we safer or do we just perceive we're safer with all of this government intrusion into our daily lives? I don't have the answer to that. But I do know this, with all of this surveillance, terrorists will strike us again. And keep this in mind, many of the terrorist attacks in the past were averted by ordinary citizens who were alert (the Times Square bomber incident comes immediately to mind). Surveillance, such as cameras, are wonderful tools in apprehending the bad guys AFTER they attack us as evidenced in the Boston bombings. But how to we prevent these terror acts? That, I believe, should be our focus.