The Fourth Amendment is exceptionally clear. It reads: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
In order to seize “papers” – that is, people’s private information – the government is required by the highest law in the land to target particularly named people, searching only particular places, and naming before search and seizure takes place the things that will be seized.
There’s no exemption to this for security, or for the sake of criminal investigations. Nowhere in the Constitution is there a provision that the Fourth Amendment can be ignored if the Executive Branch claims (using supposedly secret information) that ignoring the Fourth Amendment helps stop criminal conspiracy. The whole point of the Fourth Amendment, and much of the rest of the Bill of Rights, is that, in order to protect the liberty of the American people, the Executive Branch must be strongly limited in its security and police powers.
However, we’ve learned this month that the National Security Agency, which is not even a domestic law enforcement agency, but a part of the U.S. military, has been engaging in massive violations of the Fourth Amendment rights of tens of millions, and perhaps hundreds of millions, of Americans every day. They’ve been seizing private phone records, spying on who talks to who. They’ve been seizing private social media data. They’ve been grabbing private emails, and information about who visits what web sites, when, and what for.
The U.S. military, through its PRISM and telephone surveillance program, has been spying on practically the entire population of the United States of America.
Still, Democrats in the media like Stephanie Miller have been rushing to the defense of Barack Obama. It doesn’t matter that Obama continued George W. Bush’s programs to violate the Constitution, they’re saying now. All that matters is that Americans are safe.
Besides, they’ve argued, spying on millions of people’s private activities doesn’t matter so long as the spying is only on people’s metadata. Sure, the government is watching who talks to who, and watches where they go, and what they buy, but what matters is that Americans feel secure, knowing that Big Brother is watching.
Can you believe it, that the Democratic Party has sunk so low that they’re now clapping loudly for the values of Big Brother and Homeland Security? They’ll approve of anything, it seems, just so long as it’s a Democrat who’s doing it.
Today, in the aftermath of the mental fog of a relaxing father’s day weekend, we’re learning that NO, THE NSA WAS NOT JUST SPYING ON OUR METADATA. U.S. military spies have been listening in on the content of our telephone calls as well – at will.
What’s more, Edward Snowden has revealed that the Obama Administration has been circumventing even the rubber stamp of the Judiciary Branch’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and has been allowing low-level analysts to listen to phone calls and read emails without any search warrant being issued to do so. Electronic privacy experts are backing up his description of what’s been going on, pointing out that data from companies like Google, Facebook and Apple has been grabbed at “listening posts”, regardless of the limitations that those companies, now desperate to stop the stampede of customers leaving their systems, have described.
There are no judges issuing warrants for these searches – just the spies themselves, approving their own surveillance operations against Americans.
Every excuse that the Democratic Party establishment has offered for this Orwellian Obama surveillance against Americans has turned out to be a sham.
I’m saying this as a liberal: No person who sincerely believes in the integrity of the Bill of Rights can stay with the thoroughly corrupt Democratic Party. Oh, yes, the Republican Party is thoroughly corrupt as well, but this isn’t a partisan issue any more. The stain of authoritarianism is heavy upon both the Democrats and the Republicans, and it is time for politicians and voters of conscience to walk away from both. They deserve nothing but our firm opposition.