Intermountain Jewish News

Apr 23rd

Obama can clip NSA; he doesn’t need the courts

E-mail Print PDF

Upon a federal judge’s ruling that the National Security Agency violates the US Constitution with its massive monitoring of the phone calls of Americans, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall said (as quoted in the Denver Post):

“[This ruling] underscores what I have argued for years: The bulk collection of Americans’ phone records conflicts with Americans’ privacy rights under the US Constitution and has failed to make us safer.”

It is scary to watch the Orwellian unfolding of the loss of our freedom as the rogue revelations of the NSA’s unrestricted domestic spying become ever broader.

As to the last phrase in Sen. Udall’s alarm, it is biting to note that the federal judge, US District Court Judge Richard Leon, said, constitutionality aside, “I have serious doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism.”

Translation: The NSA has not stopped a single terrorist attack.

The NSA agenda can now work its way up the courts — level after level, year after year — all the way to the Supreme Court. But there is an alternative. The Obama administration can pull the plug on the NSA’s domestic spying right now. The Obama administration has already been sufficiently embarrassed by the revelations of the NSA spying on heads of state of friendly countries to put a stop to this (or, at least, so the administration says). The administration can just as easily — and just as justifiably — put an end to the entire telephone collection activities of the NSA.

The destruction of privacy feeds on itself. When a security agency spies, it wants to spy more. Every act of spying is deemed insufficient. The heads of the NSA speak true to form. Defense of the country and destruction of the country become synonymous. It becomes necessary (so the security agencies say) to limit freedom in order to protect freedom. Then, it becomes necessary to limit freedom still more. And more. Until the dog chasing its tail catches it, and no more freedom is left. Udall is right.

Few notice this, however. When freedom is taken away incrementally, each minor loss is adjusted to and normalized. Read George Orwell’s Animal Farm for a full report on the process. The administration can put an end to the excesses of the NSA right now — if it wants to.

Perhaps the observation of such pro-Obama pillars of the American economy — Netflix, Twitter, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, IBM, AT&T — that NSA’s spying is driving away big customers due to lack of faith in the privacy of their transactions, will make the administration take a second look.

Copyright © 2013 by the Intermountain Jewish News


Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Cast Your Vote

Should recognition of Israel as a Jewish state be a deal breaker?

Shabbat Times

JTA News

Britain’s Football Association fines soccer player for quenelle support

Marcy Oster A soccer player from the Ivory Coast for Britain’s Hull City team has been fined for posting a message of support for Nicolas Anelka’s quenelle gesture on social media. ... [Link]

Ukraine separatists said holding American Israeli journalist

Cnaan Liphshiz Separatists in Ukraine said they are holding an American-Israeli journalist. ... [Link]

Amb. Shapiro: Israelis welcome in the United States

Marcy Oster The U.S. State Department is working to make tourist visas available for as many Israelis as possible, especially young people, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said. ... [Link]

Abbas: Settlement freeze, agreement on borders to extend peace talks

Marcy Oster The Palestinians would extend the current peace negotiations if Israel agrees to a three-month settlement construction freeze during which the sides would agree on the borders of a future Palestinian ... [Link]

More Jewish sites vandalized in Ukraine

Marcy Oster A Holocaust memorial and the grave of the brother of the late Lubavitcher rebbe were vandalized in Ukraine, amid a string of anti-Semitic attacks in the country. ... [Link]

Jewish lawyer asks to join Morocco’s ruling Islamist party

Marcy Oster A Moroccan Jewish lawyer has asked to join ruling Islamist party. ... [Link]

Jordan summons Israeli ambassador over Temple Mount violence

Marcy Oster Jordan’s foreign minister summoned the Israeli ambassador to protest what it called Israel’s “violations” on the Temple Mount. ... [Link]

Israel attacks Gaza sites in response to rocket, bomb attacks

Marcy Oster Israel’s Air Force bombed three sites in Gaza in response to attacks from Palestinians in the coastal strip. ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942 • •