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Apr 23rd

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

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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

 

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