I can no longer support the NSA policy of information collection purported to detect terrorist plots against America due to the slow and steady drip of revelations indicating a much more insidious policy than originally reported which targets the privacy of ordinary Americans in violation of the Constitution.
When the NSA spying scandal broke, it was with the revelation that the NSA was only tracking phone metadata through autonomous means in which computers sifted through the billions of daily phone calls to detect patterns indicative of terrorist activity and that actual phone conversations remained untouched. Since that time, a steady drip of numerous additional revelations have uncovered the fact that the NSA has broken the encryption codes used to protect consumer phone calls in spite of assurances from private phone companies that our data and conversations were private, and that the NSA is now privy to our contact lists and recent call logs any time they so desire to access them. This scandal has gone from accessing metadata to accessing private encrypted personal information in direct violation of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment guaranteeing Americans the right to privacy by recognizing the right of Americans to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects.”
The Obama administration has a bad habit of slowly leaking out scandal news in a series of small steps designed to minimize the overall effectiveness of the damage any one scandal truly encompasses, and the NSA scandal is no exception. They have not been forthright with Americans on the extent of the NSA spying scandal from the start, and continue to refuse to come clean as to the extent of the violations of privacy to which the NSA is involved. In this, they have been aided and abetted by a complicit media intent on protecting their progressive fellow travelers by refusing to seriously investigate the numerous allegations of corruption that should cause them to salivate with anticipation at the prospects of emulating their heroes Woodward and Bernstein in pursuit of a career-making Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism. Their media acolytes not only refuse to investigate allegations of corruption, but they engage in serious spin to minimize the damage from scandal revelations too noticeable to conceal being broken by alternative Internet media outlets. The mainstream media complains that the Internet is composed of bloggers who are not real journalists and are only engaged in speculation or the repeating of Internet rumors, but they are forced to constantly and grudgingly admit the accuracy of Internet reporting.
Many Americans were shocked at the original revelation that the NSA was engaged in the collection of phone metadata and the implications to privacy this entailed. I was not among this group as I’ve long been aware of NSA interception of communications as detailed in James Bamford’s 1982 book “The Puzzle Palace.” My initial reaction was that this was to be expected given the NSA mission to track foreign communications coupled with its ability to compromise encryption. The automatic filtering of phone metadata by computers to detect terrorist activity seemed to me a reasonable compromise in the fight against terrorism. I was more perturbed by the method by which these tactics came to light with Eric Snowden’s release of classified information than the tactics themselves. Mr. Snowden’s motives have more to do with promoting himself than any concerns for potential disclosure of illegal government sanctioned infringements of American privacy. Snowden chose to travel to communist China and Russia in possession of classified material rather than follow the standard whistleblower path designed to report illegal government actions while avoiding the release of classified information which threatens to harm our nation.
However, with the revelation that the NSA has proudly cracked the encryption of various phone companies and is able to access the contact lists and phone logs of individual cell phones, I now view their actions as going past the point of protecting America from terrorist acts and entering the territory of seriously infringing upon our individual right to privacy. This is a serious power for anyone to possess, much less a government agency with unlimited resources to misuse this technical ability to violate our privacy at will. What is to stop the NSA from determining that an individual who belongs to a TEA Party is now a terrorist whose every communication must be tracked to build a case against them? Absolutely nothing!
The Founding Fathers sought to limit the power of government precisely because they recognized that powers granted to the government under benevolent elected officials could be seriously misused under more nefarious elected leaders interesting in pursing their own agendas over serving the interests of the American people by pursuing policies that benefitted the United States. America has faced numerous threats in the past without having to resort to the wholesale destruction of our right to privacy. We won two world wars and the Cold War against the insidious communist menace which infiltrated our government and its agencies at the highest levels, yet we continued to protect privacy rights. Suddenly, the menace of Islamic terrorism with its asymmetric warfare tactics demanded that we completely erase the rights of American citizens under the auspice of the Patriot Act? When we can no longer live as free citizens adhering to the laws and intentions of the Constitution our Founding Fathers designed to maximize personal liberty, then our enemies have truly defeated us as a nation and any reason for our continued existence as a free nation ceases to exist.
The Patriot Act was never required to combat Islamic terrorism, only the cooperation between America’s various intelligence and law enforcement agencies to allow sharing of information. This was lacking prior to the 9/11 attacks and allowed the terrorists to complete their attacks because the left hand of our government was unaware of information possessed by the right hand. President Bush, no friend of conservatism or limited government, rushed the Patriot Act through a stunned congress in a classic case of overreaction despite warnings from many across the political spectrum uneasy with granting the government such unprecedented powers to invade privacy, even in the cause of preventing future Islamic terrorist attacks. His creation of the Department of Homeland Security added yet another layer of bureaucracy atop federal agencies to ostensibly improve their ability to respond to acts of Islamic terrorism when historical experience has shown the addition of bureaucratic layers has only served to decrease the efficiency of government.
These overreactions have not only hindered the fight against Islamic terrorism, but have led Bush’s successor, President Obama, to abuse their power on an unprecedented level against the American people. The Obama administration has built a massive spying operation to keep tabs on Americans while targeting his political opponents through the IRS and stockpiling weapons and ammunition in massive amounts for possible use against Americans. At the very least, massive Obama administration purchases of ammunition have drastically curtailed their availability to Americans who are left staring at empty store shelves in scenes reminiscent of Soviet era communism. Obama’s abuse of the NSA’s ability to undermine the encryption Americans thought were protecting their privacy to spy on American citizens exists on a scale not seen since the days of the communist East German Stasi.
The progressive agenda has always been a far-left, ultra-liberal platform resisted by center-right America, and disguised by the left precisely because it is unacceptable to most Americans. Where they could not convince Americans to support their policies, the progressives used the courts to enact some of the more egregious components such as abortion and gay marriage over the objections of Americans concerned at the erosion of the institutions which underpin American society. Support for other agenda items came in the form of government dependence through welfare which gradually eroded the ability of a large segment of the American population to remain self-sufficient and supportive of the capitalist system which catapulted America from discovery to the world’s lone superpower in 400 years. Conservative calls for resistance are starting to gain traction as Americans are beginning to see the destruction being wrought on the country through the progressive agenda of tearing America and its institutions down because they view America as unjust. Those opposed to the progressive agenda must be silenced before opposition grows to a tipping point, thus the spying and targeting of opposition groups.
Americans are acutely aware of the damage being wrought by the progressive agenda and are grumbling about how to stop it. Each individual is awaiting the coalescence of opposition which would permit them to express their open hostility to the progressive Obama administration through actions rather than words, but each individual must decide where their line of revolution exists. The Obama administration skillfully lowers the bar to opposition by slowly leaking out details of encroachment of personal liberty or scandal to minimize the shock effect of seeing the true picture. There is much more to come in the scandal leaks and the curtailment of liberty, but we must guard against the temptation to view each revelation as a single event instead of aggregating the multiple revelations over the entire period of Obama’s presidency to fully reveal the extent of their damage.
Many of us recognized Obama for what he really was prior to his election and fought hard against it, but were thwarted by a complicit Republican Party no longer interested in the conservatism which distinguished its brand. The GOP fell under the spell of moderate mushiness as a recipe for electoral success and despite several losses, continues to pursue it while alienating its conservative base. Many of us conservatives have moved on to the TEA Party having given up on a party more interested in fighting against us than in listening to us. I fear the time for rescuing our country from the damage done to it by the progressive agenda through the electoral process has passed, requiring us to resort to revolution to return us to the path of personal liberty tempered by personal responsibility as envisioned by the Founding Fathers. The patriots engaged in the grim task of revolution because they could no longer tolerate the outrageous treatment of the British government, and it is time we Americans admitted we can no longer tolerate the outrageous treatment of the American government!