NSA spying violates the Constitution and Religious Freedom

This post was written by marc on April 23, 2015
Posted Under: Letters to the Editor

Op Ed

On June 1st the authorization for the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on Americans expires. Congress is scrambling to reauthorize the massive spying that was revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013 for another 5 years. This spying is a violation of religious freedom, privacy, free speech, and is fundamentally a crime against humanity.

The spying started in 2001 after the 9/11 attack. Congress in their haste to protect America passed the “Patriot Act” that created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court commonly referred to as the FISA court. Unlike other courts FISA is a secret court under the control of the Supreme Court and supposedly reports to Congress on it’s activities. This court is a kind of emergency court structure that operates outside of constitutional authority for the purpose of dealing with issues of national secrecy in times of war. FISA is best described as a Black Ops court for covert operations.

Black Ops courts don’t have the same rules as regular constitutional courts that have rules and operate openly in the light of day. They can literally do anything they want and you can’t challenge what they do because any case against them is dismissed on the grounds that national security secrets would be revealed if a challenge were heard in public courts.

Under the authority of the FISA court the Bush Administration initiated a massive spying campaign against the american people. They track our phone calls, read our emails, track where we go, who we associate with, and how we spend our money. Everything about us is tracked by the government. Think of it as a freinds and family plan if it were run by Adolf Hitler.

When Obama took over he greatly expanded the spying after he ran on the platform to end it. Only after Edward Snowden revealed what was really happening did the general public become aware of the abuses. In fact apparently Congress, who was supposedly overseeing the operation, had no idea what was going on. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted lying to Congress about what was going on.

I was raised barely Jewish. Most of the Judaism didn’t stick but I do remember when I was a child seeing people with numbers tattooed on their arm from when they were in concentration camps. I remember the story of Anne Frank who lived in her family in hiding for years until they were eventually found and executed by the Nazis in the early 1940s. So the idea of the government rounding up people for execution was a concept I was raised with as a child. I can just imagine what rounding up people would be like if Hitler had the technology we have today.

America was founded as a free society where the government was “of the people, by the people, and for the people”. The government isn’t supposed to spy on the people, the people are supposed to spy on the government. We are a constitutional form of government with 3 branches forming a checks and balance system so that if one branch does something they aren’t supposed to do then the other branches would put them in their place. But if a mere six people conspire to undermine our freedoms then we become a nation of secret courts and secret laws. And those six people are, President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Senate minority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House John Boehnor, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts. 3 Democrats, 3 Republicans.

Under the Patriot Act the government can send me a national security letter to turn over information and I am required by law to lie about it. A nation that requires lying and prohibits the truth, as Edward Snowden has revealed, is morally offensive to not only all religions, but atheists as well. As a Realist it goes against the very core of what I believe in.

We would like to think that our government isn’t going become Nasis but if they were going to do that gathering this kind of information is the first step. I can imagine George Orwell (Author of Animal Farm, Big Brother is watching you) is spinning in his grave. And who would we round up? It could be the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews, the Mormons, the Atheists, or Seventh Day Adventists. Or they could round up intellectuals and activists. If the Patriot Act is extended the Osama bin Laden wins.

Would this actually happen? I hope not. But if it’s not then why should the government be getting the information to do it in the first place? We are not a nation of secret courts and secret laws. If we are a free nation, that has to mean something. Freedom can not be just a marketing label, it has to be real. This land is your land, this land is my land. From Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party Patriots. From the Christian Conservatives to the Hard Core Atheists. This land was made for you and me.

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