It may not seem like it, but we are living in revolutionary times: our liberties are under assault by the federal government, and while there may not be a call to arms, the urgency is just as real.
Tapping the phones of millions of Americans under clandestine surveillance methods cannot be ignored, and it most certainly cannot be forgotten. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) recently added his name to the Defend the Fourth movement, intending to join in a lawsuit against President Obama, National Intelligence Director James Clapper, FBI Director James Corney, and NSA Director Keith Alexander. Senator Paul recently released a video defending the Fourth Amendment, arguing that “Our founders never intended for Americans to trust their government, our entire Constitution was predicated on the notion that government was a necessary evil to be restrained and minimized as much as possible.”
Collecting records without probable cause or suspicion is a serious breach of the public trust that is being worsened by the federal government. It is the modern day equivalent of the British going door to door and searching houses without warrant or justification. It is easy not to be angered or deeply disturbed by the government’s actions because none of us actually see that the government is prying into our private affairs. The digital secrecy of the new age though is a perfect gateway for intelligence programs to infiltrate our homes, phones, and computers.
Unfortunately, we have let a necessary evil grow to unnecessary proportions. An increasing number of Americans have submitted open record requests under the Freedom of Information Act, all of which have been completely denied by the NSA as of late. The agency claims that fulfilling these requests would pose “grave danger to the national security.” Our national agencies have myopically focused so much of their efforts on so called “national security measures” that everything else including our liberties have been pushed to the wayside. They do not realize that they have become the very danger they were sworn to protect us from.
There is something fundamentally wrong when the people of a nation are fearful of its government’s power and influence. The Supreme Court needs to be brought in to uphold our Constitutional rights and ensure that America remains the land of the free.
John Plucenik | Penn State | @JPlucenik