Whether or not you believe Edward Snowden was a courageous man, he must be thanked for exposing the NSA’s un-Constitutional program of spying on individuals who are not under investigation for acts of treason. I’ve heard people in public places who make the statement ‘it’s no big deal,’ they claim to have nothing to hide. If you have one iota of patriotism remaining, every American should be outraged at the NSA.
First we must ask why this illegal program continues. A law signed on October 26, 2001 by George W. Bush, and misnamed the ‘Patriot Act,’ gives our government the right to invade our privacy and virtually rescind the 4th Amendment of the Constitution. Under the guise of suspected terrorism every individual’s phone records are collected by the NSA; this now includes cell phone information. Although it violates the exact wording in the amendment pertaining to illegal search and seizure, the NSA is protected by a law which cannot circumvent the law of the land; but it does. President Barrack Obama extended the Patriot Act on May 26, 2011.
You’re still not upset about your personal information being hacked by your own government? Wait, there’s more.
The NSA has a program called ‘PRISM.’ Using this method they acquire all your information if you use Apple, AOL, Google, YouTube, Yahoo, Skype, PalTalk, Facebook, or Microsoft.
Still more afraid of terrorism, although you, personally, can do nothing about the possibility of an attack? How’s this?
From 2001 until 2011 under an order from George Bush, your internet information was collected, including who you e-mailed, and who sent e-mails to you. Also included was a record of the sites you chose to visit. President Obama removed this practice, but it could begin again under the auspices of the Patriot Act.
What persons are targeted by the NSA? Everyone, including members of Congress.
In January of this year, Senator Bernie Sanders wrote a letter to the NSA asking if the agency had in the past, or was currently spying on members of Congress. The answer was, ‘of course not.’ That was a blatant lie; simple logic proves that phone records collected in bulk would contain members of our federal government.
One group which receives maximum scrutiny by the NSA is anyone who is politically active. That include celebrities, ranking members of both political parties, and individuals who are activists.
Any individual associated with the Muslim community is under close watch by the NSA. Revealed by Edward Snowden were a man who served under Bush in the Department of Homeland Security, and continues to work for the Republican Party; he is a Muslim. Another is an attorney who has represented individuals in cases associated with terrorism. Yet another is an Iranian-American, who is a professor teaching international relations at Rutgers. A former political science professor at Cal State who was involved in the protection of Muslim’s civil rights and Palestinian Statehood was on the list. And finally the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is under surveillance.
For most Americans the truth is that we have nothing to hide. However, our citizens value our personal freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Our government uses the word continuously in every speech no one listens to. Freedom is what made the United States a unique nation in the past. If you’re not outraged, you should be; if you don’t stand up for your rights, you will lose them forever.
By James Turnage