June 12, 2013
“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
― Benjamin Franklin
In response to media concerns over reports that the NSA has been spying on communications between millions of law-abiding American citizens, President Obama said, “You can’t have 100-percent security and also have 100-percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.” But is the promise of security really worth sacrificing our freedoms?
During an appearance on the Alex Jones show, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) said the NSA (National Security Agency) spying scandal was par for the course. “It follows with Obama’s intent to focus on the citizens as the criminal and the terrorists are not to be investigated. The Tea Party and average citizens have become the target. It’s alarming that we do live in an Orwellian world where good is bad and bad is good, and it’s now targeting American citizens over the terrorists.”
Stockman also said he didn’t understand why more Americans weren’t outraged. “What I don’t understand is, people outside of your listeners, you interview them or talk to them, it’s puzzling to me at what degree they’re willing to give up their individual freedoms for the perception of security, and we both know that when you give up your individual liberties you soon have neither.”
In a series of Tweets sent after the announcement of the NSA spy scandal, Stockman reminded followers, “The Democrats defending IRS abuses and illegal spying programs are the same ones who insist they would never abuse a gun registry data base.”
But he also gave folks on Twitter a chuckle: “No. Honest to God. I really did call, just ask Obama!”
Obama isn’t the first president to spy on American citizens. The Bush administration ordered the NSA to engage in warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizen’s phone calls and emails in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In 2008, legislation was passed that permitted the NSA to seek a generalized warrant from the court to allow surveillance on anyone the agency “reasonably” believed to be involved in terrorism, whether they were a U.S. citizen or not.
In 2009, the NSA admitted they’d reached well beyond the boundaries set forth in 2008 and engaged in “overcollection” of communications belonging to U.S. citizens without any connection to terrorism at all.
So Obama isn’t the first, he’s merely the president who plans to put the icing on the cake.
In 2010, under Obama, the F.B.I. proposed expanding the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, a law that requires phone and network carriers to build interception capabilities into their systems. Under the existing law, the F.B.I. must have a search warrant and currently, judges simply ask the service providers to comply with law enforcement. The provider can always use the excuse that he doesn’t have the capability to comply.
Just last month, buried under the news of the AP and IRS scandals, Obama moved closer to endorsing legislation that will make it even easier to put a tap on anyone he wants. Under the new law, judges will no longer request, they’ll order providers to comply, and if they don’t they’ll face fines starting at $25,000 per day.
The new plan will also require Internet giants like Facebook and Google to build backdoors into their systems that will enable government surveillance at-will.
By criminalizing those Americans who disagree with him and classifying anyone who speaks against his plans for takeover as an “extremist,” Obama and his administration have convinced Americans that he’s only looking out for their best interests and the safety of our country.
But Stockman reminds us that we need to look beyond the smoke and mirrors. “The NSA can keep tabs on anyone including federal judges, senators and average citizens. This is massive abuse. These are the same guys who want you to register your guns. They can’t keep this data private so how can they keep gun registrations private?”