Calling for the end of an entire government agency is not something you can do lightly. There are thousands of jobs on the line, and depending on the work the agency does, a service that may go undone. However, the NSA has crossed the American people too many times to go unpunished. For the last few months we have watched as the agency has devolved from protector of the public good, into a science fiction version of Big Brother gone wrong. We must speak plainly on the issue – the NSA has become an enemy of the American people. Which means the NSA must be destroyed.
I’m not saying that most folks at the agency aren’t decent Americans simply trying to do their job – but there is a portion of the NSA employee roll that has sought to undermine the freedoms and values of the American people. Their reason for doing so doesn’t matter – whether or not it was to protect us from outside threats … the ends don’t justify the means.
Why, after all these months, am I finally calling for an end to the NSA?
“The U.S. National Security Agency violated rules on surveillance of telephone records for almost three years and misled a secret court, raising fresh concerns that spy programs lack adequate controls to protect Americans’ privacy.
The latest revelations show NSA spying was broader, violated restrictions on domestic surveillance more often, and may have targeted innocent Americans to a greater degree than previously known.”
So egregious were the agency’s peccadillos that a judge almost shut down the entire program. In the Judge’s opinion, the NSA’s actions showed that they cared little for the court’s orders, which had been “so frequently and systematically violated that it can be said that this critical element of the overall…regime has never functioned effectively… The court is exceptionally concerned about what appears to be a flagrant violation of its Order in this matter.”
And just so you don’t buy the media spin that the system works because the court found out about what the NSA was doing – the only reason the court found out was because the Justice Department discovered the problem and reported it to the court. No self-reporting on these three years of violations! In fact, the ACLU’s Alex Abdo says that the most recent revelations are just “further evidence that secret and one-sided judicial review is not an adequate check on the NSA’s surveillance practices. The so-called ‘compliance incidents’ are troubling, but this is a program that should never have been authorized to begin with.”
Even worse… we don’t know the half of the story, yet! Senators Mark Udall (D-CO) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) who serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee both say “that significant violations remain classified, including ones related to the collection of data about Americans’ email communications.”
The NSA is still “spinning” of course, acting as if these violations were a simple mistake. The evidence paints a different picture though, one of a culture of deception and rule breaking. How many “mistakes” did they make? Almost 16,000. “Between 2006 and 2009, however, of the 17,835 phone numbers checked against phone records, only 1,935 were based on that reasonable-suspicion standard…”
The NSA used their authority to check phone records almost 18,000 times and they only used that authority properly in less than 2,000 of the cases. That means they acted lawfully in just 10% of the cases, or maybe it would be better said that they acted ILLEGALLY 90% of the time. That’s a horrific track record! One that argues powerfully that the NSA cannot be trusted.
Any organization that is publicly funded serves the people. When an agency like that is found to have lied, cheated and broken the law to effectively destroy the rights of the people, it should be disbanded. The NSA has proven time and again to not care about one word of what is written in the Constitution. The ACLU concurs, saying that the report “showed that the NSA repeatedly violated court-imposed limits on its surveillance powers, and they confirm that the agency simply cannot be trusted with such sweeping authority…”
The loss of the agency may prove painful, but our liberty and our Constitutionally guaranteed rights are more important than the illusion of safety the NSA provides. The work they are doing (besides the spying program which also must be shut down) can be handled by another agency.
American opinion about the work that the government is doing to “keep us safe” continues to plummet. Many of our fellow citizens are beginning to realize that in the war on terror, being safer really does mean giving up certain essential liberties. Is that a price that we are willing to pay? I for one would rather have dangerous liberty than safe slavery… what about you?
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com