As we’ve been reporting on the military spying targeted against the American people by the NSA, one thought has brought us some relief: If we don’t want to have our communications spied on by Big Brother government programs, we could always go back to the old ways of communicating – through the U.S. Postal Service. Everyone knows that the U.S. mail system has strict policies of privacy, and that the letters we send and receive through our federal mail boxes are secure from government spying, right?
Wrong. In the latest of a series of revelations of the surveillance systems that the U.S. government has arrayed against the American people, we have now learned that the U.S. Postal Service has been storing images of every single piece of mail that is sent within the United States, recording who is sending letters and packages to who, and entering that information into a gigantic database that can be accessed by law enforcement agents, who can read through lists of who any American is corresponding with – all without a search warrant as required by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The program was put in place by George W. Bush, and Barack Obama has continued the program, despite Obama’s promise to end Bush’s attacks against Americans’ constitutional rights. They call it Mail Isolation Control and Tracking.
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution plainly prohibits this kind of universal dragnet seizure and search of Americans’ private communications. The amendment 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.”
Our letters are our “papers”. The government is seizing them without oath or affirmation, without probable cause, and without particularly describing the things to be seized. This program is a blatant violation of our civil liberties as guaranteed by the Constitution.
The Constitution is the fundamental law of the United States of America. It is the document that established us as a nation of liberty.
Taken one at a time, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, PRISM, FBI spy drones, and the NSA domestic telephone and Internet surveillance programs each constitute a serious threat to the democratic institutions of the United States of America. Taken together, they show a purposeful plan to replace a free and open society with a totalitarian surveillance state.
These programs are unpatriotic. They’re against the core principles that the first U.S. Congress crafted in the Bill of Rights.
Any American who waves the flag in today’s Fourth Of July celebrations but fails to join the movement to repeal the constitutional spy networks that Bush and Obama have put into place is a jingoistic simpleton.