Home » FISA Court Judge Claims NSA Spying Was Infringement of Privacy, But Limits Agency From Keeping Data Collected to 5 Years
In the name of “national security,” American citizens have had numerous God-given rights trampled and seen a destruction of Constitutional Amendments by the government through alphabet agencies aided and abetted by elected/unelected officials. The Fourth Amendment has been almost obliterated thanks to the PATRIOT Act, the National Defense Authorization Act and the ever encroaching National Security Agency collection of communications on every American citizen. Most Americans knew some type of surveillance was occurring in America; but, until the disclosures by Edward Snowden, the extent of the unconstitutional acts by the out of control government were only imagined. Since that disclosure, the NSA has continued it’s spying on American citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The government has even built a mega-storage facility in Utah to hold all the information it has collected for use at a future time.
The NSA is supposedly only able to hold this data gathered through bulk surveillance for five years; however, the NSA petitioned the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC, or commonly called FISA court) to keep the data for a longer period of time. In his 12 page decision, Judge Reggie Walton of the secret FISC, who approves classified surveillance warrants, ruled “the government failed to make a compelling case for preserving the data beyond the current five-year maximum, especially in light of escalating privacy concerns sparked by programs leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.”
Now that should make Americans feel better – not.
A judge in a secret court, aligned with the federal government, has stated the information can only be kept for the maximum of five years. It was not that long ago a federal judge ruled in the lawsuit filed by Larry Klayman that spying on American citizens was in violation of the Fourth Amendment and should be ceased immediately. As has been exhibited by this administration, it follows the laws and rulings that more closely align with their agenda while ignoring the rest. Let’s be honest here, who is going to go force a court decision upon the violators in Washington, DC?
In late February, the US Department of Justice, or INJustice if you prefer, filed a motion to be able to keep the data collected on American citizens indefinitely. The rationale for doing so was for use in pending lawsuits, potential future lawsuits, “and for the NSA’s stated purpose of establishing data trails for identifying possible terrorists or connections to them.” According to the Daily Caller, “many of those program’s protocols were either misrepresented to the court, or not presented at all.”
Anyone who has been paying attention knows who the government classifies as terrorists. It isn’t Al Qaeda or any other sect of Islam perpetrating atrocious acts throughout the world. It’s Christians, American patriots, lovers of liberty, those individuals believing in limited government, conservatives, pro-life supporters, pro Second Amendment advocates, and those individuals who speak out against the agenda of this administration. More than likely if you didn’t vote for Obama, you are considered a terrorist by your own government.
In the decision,
Walton wrote, “the amended procedures would further infringe on the privacy interests of United States persons whose telephone records were acquired in vast numbers and retained by the government to aid in national security investigations.”
Walton denied the government’s motion writing, “The great majority of these individuals have never been the subject of investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” However, Walton did leave an opening for the government to present a follow-up case for storing the data gathered for longer than the maximum of five years.
In a nation, once proud of our inherent freedoms, individuals have lost their right to privacy. Walton himself admitted that Americans have had their privacy infringed and longer retention of the collected data would “further infringe on the privacy interests.” Whatever electronic data that is generated through computer usage, cell phone usage, or credit card usage has been scooped up by the government and stored for later use. It doesn’t matter whether it’s stored for one year, 10 years or 100 years. The point is this data should not be collected period on American citizens without probable cause or due process. It is a violation of the Fourth Amendment which asserts the right to privacy as given to us by God.
While individuals in the government may think a “general warrant” is sufficient, the US Constitution states otherwise. The justification of use in pending lawsuits or potential future lawsuits does not hold water for most nor does it hold up against the Constitution. It would make sense if you plan to use that data later to “invent” criminal activity based on some “trumped up” charge against whomever the administration decides to target. Even with ordinary citizens, using the fact that someone visited a conservative website or posted something pertaining to Christianity on Facebook, the government could allege some charge that would devastate individuals in every way imaginable. It boils down to nothing more than a tool to be used to scare individuals into submission.
Some people don’t mind being spied on or having their data collected and stored as long as it’s for the “collective good.” It would be a different story if one of these “Borgs” got targeted because of some dragnet cast by the government. They yell and cheer when those who are against the police state they so love or believe provides them security get squashed by the government, but would complain dearly should it be they who were caught in the net. It’s a very simple concept – you either support freedom or you don’t. There is no picking and choosing when there should be freedom. No man prospers as a slave.
If you believe that spying on American citizens has prevented any act of terrorism, then bring forth the proof. The proof must be enough to justify the huge amounts of data gathered on every American citizen to date. In other words, considering the government has collected billions of bits of data on every American citizen daily for the last say five years, the thwarting of terrorist attacks against the US equivalent to say 10% of the amount of data gathered would be my requirement to prove it’s even remotely useful. Of course, I don’t believe any freedom should be sacrificed for a little security. So, even if anyone could produce factual evidence that the number of thwarted terrorist attacks against America generated by that mathematical computation have been prevented, I still would not sacrifice my God-given rights to support a surveillance state.
For anyone who thinks a surveillance and/or police state is so great or thinks freedom is a washed up idea, watch the movie “V for Vendetta.” It’s a good movie to watch if you love freedom as well.
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