I Had a Secret, You Did Too

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 seized.  – Amendment IV

Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives. – President Ronald Reagan

By J.F. McKenna

 

The National Security Agency, founded in 1952, “intentionally and routinely intercepted and reviewed communications of American citizens in violation of the Constitution and of court-ordered guidelines.” Much of it happened during the Obama regime.

Andrew C. McCarthy, writing in the National Review, detailed this mess: “The unlawful surveillance appears to have been a massive abuse of the government’s foreign-intelligence-collection authority, carried out for the purpose of monitoring the communications of Americans in the United States. While aware that it was going on for an extensive period of time, the administration failed to disclose its unlawful surveillance of Americans until late October 2016, when the administration was winding down and the NSA [National Security Agency] needed to meet a court deadline in order to renew various surveillance authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

“The administration’s stonewalling about the scope of the violation induced an exasperated Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to accuse the NSA of “an institutional lack of candor” in connection with what the court described as “a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.” (The court is the federal tribunal created in 1978 by FISA; it is often referred to as a ‘secret court’ because proceedings before it are classified and ex parte — meaning only the Justice Department appears before the court.) The FISA-court opinion is now public…. The unlawful surveillance was first exposed in a report at Circa by John Solomon and Sara Carter, who have also gotten access to internal, classified reports. The story was also covered extensively Wednesday by James Rosen and Bret Baier on Fox News’s Special Report.

“According to the internal reports reviewed by Solomon and Carter, the illegal surveillance may involve more than 5 percent of NSA searches of databases derived from what is called ‘upstream’ collection of Internet communications. As the FISA court explains, upstream collection refers to the interception of communications ‘as they transit the facilities of an Internet backbone.’”

Did I mention that FISA got its start in 1952—244 years after the Constitution was adopted by a required ninth state, New Hampshire?

Did I also mention the National Security Agency plans to “delete the vast majority of its upstream internet data to further protect the privacy of U.S. person communications.”

“If men were angels,” James Madison said, “no government would be necessary.” Did I mention that men aren’t angels—and never will be?

CBR contributor J.F. McKenna, a longtime West Park resident, is a business journalist, former magazine editor, and marketing-communications consultant. McKenna and his wife, Carol, now live in Steeler Country with their dogs, Lord Max and Prince Teddy. Reach him at jfmckwriter23@yahoo.com

 

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