January 19, 2014 Updated: January 19, 2014 at 5:45 am
NSA stands for National Security Agency. They monitor every telephone call you make and all your electronic communications. Using a tool called XKeyscore, the NSA tracks and stores all Internet activity. Analysts search by name, telephone number, and key words. Contrary to administration claims about not targeting anyone, that's targeting. The NSA also tracks your phone call records, permanently recording that information.
Our Fourth Amendment reads, "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 . particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
When something is intercepted, like an intimate telephone conversation between you and your boyfriend, and then stored, it has been effectively seized. The NSA employs "selectors" to examine the contents of what they've seized. What's that mean? That means, in effect, they target people, places and things.
The NSA's lawyers perversely manipulated a 1979 case in which a known criminal, Michael Smith, robbed and then repeatedly phoned and threatened a young woman as justification for its violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. The police were upheld in looking, without a warrant, at the phone company's pen register - specifically, phone numbers Smith called - to arrest and prosecute him. The NSA takes that 1979 case, now referenced as "The Third Party Doctrine," and uses it, not to search the phone records of individual, known criminals like Michael Smith - but the phone and other records of every American citizen. The NSA searches everything, without a warrant, much less a warrant that describes with particularity that which is to be searched. Judge William Pauley, who, shockingly, upheld the NSA's violation of every provision of the Fourth Amendment, even noted that the NSA "specifically collects the ACLU's phone records."
In light of recent disclosures about vast, warrantless surveillance, General Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, said, "I think we do a great job, and . more to protect people's civil liberties than they'll ever know." Oh, really? Who does he think he's kidding? Is he kidding you?
Mike Makinney works for Zaccheus Press and is writing a book titled "Without Contradiction. Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage and the Word of God."
America's leading establishment journal, Foreign Affairs, recently claimed that neither Snowden nor Bradley Manning had done serious strategic harm to the nation. Rather, the two leakers had limited the ability of the government to consistently lie to allies and adversaries alike. Politicians in both parties yelling loudest about jailing whistle-blowers are those who cannot accept that this nation needs its constant lies and covert activities to wield power.
Whistle-blowers show the world that the current "keepers of the keys" to nuclear weapons, cryptography, and surveillance tools, have no legitimacy when they claim to make decisions for the rest of the world.