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Why I oppose Obama’s spying-gate

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Challenging Obama’s spying-gate. (Fox News, June 8, 2013).

After my June 8, 2013, appearance on Fox News over Obama’s spying-gate (see here for the story), I state here my main reasons for opposing the Obama Administration’s spying on millions of people’s phone and Internet activity without particularized suspicion that the spied-upon people have committed crimes.

This spying violates the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution forbids unreasonable searches and seizures, and applies where individuals have reasonable expectations of privacy. People clearly have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their telephone activities and online activities.

The Obama Administration’s collection of such data amounts to a government  search and seizure of such data from people, which makes the Fourth Amendment apply.

With few exceptions, the Fourth Amendment requires particularized suspicion of criminal activity by an individual before searching and seizing evidence concerning that person. Those exceptions should not be expanded (those exceptions include the court-recognized Fourth Amendment exceptions of sobriety/seatbelt checkpoints, and collection of DNA from arrestees by oral swabbing).

Here, the government is acting in the shadows without subjects of the spying even knowing the extent to which they are being spied on. The Verizon subpoenas are being authorized by the secret FISA court. Our Fourth Amendment rights cannot be protected if we do not even know about Fourth Amendment violations in the first place.

This spying violates the rights of those in the United States, beyond Fourth Amendment issues.

Government is in many ways a necessary evil and harm to people. To reduce that harm, we need substantial democratic protections and sunlight shined on government activity. Government does its best in the sunshine, and makes its worst decisions when operating in the shadows, without enough insight from the governed, and without enough backbone in the President’s and key Congressional underlings to stand up to violations of our rights.

Our federal, state and local governments in the United States are supposed to serve at the blessing and by the will of the governed. That does not happen when the government is operating in the shadows. This spying is about operating in the shadows.

If the governed through the democratic process wish to amend the Constitution to allow such spying, and if the governed wish to exercise their voting rights by keeping in power those who are allowing such spying, then the governed have spoken. The governed must first be allowed such a voice, and are denied that voice through all this secrecy, and through government employees and Congress members meeting behind closed doors on national security committees, fearing prosecution if they shine a light on these shadow activities.

Black bag jobs are not far in the past by the FBI, which admits that they continued right into the 1960’s, where the FBI conducted warrantless searches of citizens that were not allowed without warrants.

Even assuming for argument’s sake that Obama is all well meaning and all sagacious, he is just one man unable to sufficiently supervise the spying apparatus every hour of the day, nor are the Congress members who are privy to such spying.. I heard about an estimated $2 billion dollars to build a facility in Utah to store all this gathered information. That suggests at least thousands of government employees “ paid no more than government wages “ to collect, monitor, and use such data The risk of abuse is too big.

This spying scandal comes on the heels of the IRS scandal “-showing the abuses that are ripe in having bureaucrats in positions of high power -“ and the scandal of the Obama administration’s targeting media members in an effort to uncover and stop leaks. That is enough to show the abuses that are very likely with this spying.