I have read your opinion piece published on May 10, 2015. I understand that this is your opinion, but I am puzzled how you can hold these opinions and still claim to be conservative member of a party that claims to be supporting the Constitution.
Specifically, you claim that the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act are essential to the protection of our “national security” and that we must continue these clear violations of our 4th Amendment and our Right to Liberty to keep us “safe.” To the contrary, with these “permissible” intrusions, we have seen a massive increase in power of government in general and the power of the executive in particular, increased control over the people, and a decreased respect for the Rights of the people throughout America. Faisal Shahzad, the Boston Bombing, and the Garland Shooting are clear examples of when the government was continually monitoring these “terrorists” and still allowed the violence to occur; so tell me again how critical it is to do away with the 4th amendment?
You claim that “Bulk metadata includes phone numbers, the time and duration of calls — nothing else. No content of any phone calls is collected.” You contradict your own claims in the very next sentence: “The government is not listening to your phone calls or recording them unless you are a terrorist or talking to a terrorist outside the United States.” (emphasis mine) What you are truly telling America is that the government IS listening to our phone calls AND recording them–but “trust us, it’s only when we think you are a terrorist.” I’m sorry, sir; I cannot garner that much trust for my government–and you should not suggest you expect it. May I remind you that on two separate occasions, the DHS and DoD have declared the definition of “terrorist” to be so broad as to include many within the Republican party!
“Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are…rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.” This report also claims “return of military veterans…could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks. “ DHS Office of Intelligence & Analysis Assessment April 7, 2009
“Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.” January 2013, DoD Training on Extremism
Knowing that these are the OFFICIAL definitions of a “terrorist,” how can you possibly expect Americans to trust this government with such a gross violation of our Liberties?
Your statement that “Despite recent court rulings, this program has not been found unconstitutional, and the courts have not ordered a halt to the program” is disingenuous at best and borders on complete propaganda. Production of just one case contrary to your claims shows your dishonesty. I will give three:
On March 15, 2013, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston declared that the Patriot Act section 2709 “violates the First Amendment and the separation of powers principle…The government is therefore enjoined from issuing NSLs under 2709 or from enforcing the nondisclosure provision in this or any other case.”
On December 16, 2013, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon entered “an order that bars the Government from collecting, as a part of the NSA’s Bulk Telephony Metadata Program, any telephony metadata associated with their personal Verizon accounts and (2) requires the Government to destroy any such metadata in its possession that was collected through the bulk collection program.”
On May 7, 2015, a three judge panel consisting of Circuit Judges Sack and Lynch, along with District Judge Broderick, ruled that the National Security Agency program that is systematically collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal, stating that “the telephone metadata program exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized and therefore violates § 215.”
In these three court cases, we have seen that actions taken under the Patriot Act have been deemed unconstitutional and illegal, bulk metadata collection has been ordered to a halt, and the National Security Agency’s exercise of section 215 of the Patriot Act has been deemed illegal.
Mr. Rubio, you then try to justify these false claims by clarifying that “In fact, this program has been found legal and constitutional by at least 15 federal judges serving on the FISA Court on 35 occasions.” This is simply more propaganda intended to deceive the public. Who are the FISA Courts?
- They are federal courts appointed by the federal government whose only job is to review “applications submitted by the United States Government for approval of electronic surveillance, physical search, and other investigative actions for foreign intelligence purposes.”
- “Most of the Court’s work is conducted ex parte as required by statute, and due to the need to protect classified national security information.”
- Consideration of the Constitution is secondary to national security needs. (See Rule 5(a))
So let’s get this straight, Mr. Rubio: you expect the American people to be comforted by the fact that 15 federal judges, appointed by the federal government, whose rules and procedures by definition place national security over the Rights of the people, and whose judgments are held in secret with no accountability, have determined the government’s actions to be legal? Tell me again how you believe in the bedrock principles of America. One of your flowery speeches quoting the founders while you pander to real conservatives who haven’t figured out who you are should do nicely.
You claim that “There is not a single documented case of abuse of this program.” Not a single “documented” case of abuse in a system shrouded in secrecy, hidden by “national security” claims, conducted ex parte, protected with gag orders? Wow! That indeed is impressive. I would find your argument more credible if you simply start yelling, “I AM OZ; pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, you young whippersnapper!”
Your Alinsky-like use of threats of future violence puts you in dubious company, to say the least. Don’t you guys get tired of trotting out some boogeyman to scare the people into trading Liberty for a false sense of security? Every attack that gets through your vaunted dragnet is used by you as proof that we need to sacrifice more and more liberty. Somehow, we are supposed to believe that the reason some nutjob blows something up is that the people are too free! Your opinion (demonstrated by your rhetoric) that the Constitution is outdated, that the founders were ignorant fools, is the very thing I labor to combat every day. I am ashamed of ever having worked on your behalf. You have been a sincere disappointment to say the least.
Here are some words that you, Mr. Rubio, should take to heart: “The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it.” John F. Kennedy
You, sir, are a cheerleader for the very thing JFK wisely warned Americans to guard against. I don’t care whether you call yourself Senator or President; your used car sales pitch for security is not worth my son’s Liberty. And you, sir, ought to be ashamed of yourself.
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth