Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The NSA, the 4th Amendment, and Criminal Aliens

As time moves on, it has become clear that my earlier enthusiasm for what Edward Snowden did was premature. As more information has been revealed, it becomes clear that Snowden was not the "Hero of the Republic" I described, but neither is he the traitor that others have made him out to be. I still agree that he should have made the public aware that all of its signals records were being stored and in some cases read. Apparently, the meta data of cell phone calls is stored, but if they need to go back and listen to a conversation, that meta data allows them to do so, and to know where you were, when you called, the phone number you called. With PRISM, they apparently can read every email you send, and that is sent to you. I myself simply delete a lot of the stuff that winds up in my in-box from companies and people I don't know, and have nothing to do with, but the NSA thinks it is all important, apparently. Perhaps I need to put in a FOIA request to find out when the shoes I ordered online will arrive.

Today, at the American Thinker, J. R. Dunn has an article entitled Conservatives and Snowden that makes the point that conservatives on both sides of the argument about Snowden, but sticking to a white hat vs. black hat model, risk burying the lede of the story. Dunn:
One of the axioms utilized by H.L. Mencken in analyzing politics in the United States stated that Americans were unable to grasp arguments on their face and instead needed them recast in pure Manichean terms, with the most repellent of devils on one side and the purest of angels on the other.
Edward Snowden is a criminal, but not a traitor. His is a sad case, and eventually the government will likely catch up with him. The real lede of the story is that our 4th Amendment rights are being violated each and every day.  Government officials in both the Executive and Legislative branches are lying to the American public.  A secret agency is carrying out a broad program to capture the private effects of Americans, and this represents an unreasonable seizure of such effects.  Since most Americans are not terrorists, and have done nothing to give the government probable cause to think they might be, collecting this information goes against the 4th Amendment to the Constitution.  Supposedly, the NSA is doing this under the watchful eye of a Court which is also secret, and whose rulings nobody seems to know.  Apparently, though, this secret Star Chamber has allowed the government to obtain these effects through a generalized warrant, in contravention to the Constitution.  This must stop.

Taking a slight tangent at this point, I note that the NSA apparently also has the cell phone records of all 11 million criminal aliens in this country.  Now, they failed to catch Maj. Hassan, shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, and the Boston bombers, even though those bombers exhibited what is known as probable cause.  Indeed, the claim that these programs have stopped dozens of terrorists we never heard about is suspicious.  But, why couldn't they find these "shadows" the criminal aliens are hiding in.  If they know the date, time, and location of every call I make, and the location and telephone number I call, why don't they know this information for illegal aliens?  If they do know it, why can't they report it to ICE to have them deported? The Senate keeps saying that...gosh...we have legalize them to find out where they are, but it seems to me we already know, if someone were to ask.    

1 comment:

  1. As neat a summary of the issues & the problems therewith as any I've read. Thank you.