Skip to comments.Instapundit: Domestic surveillance will be a vehicle for oppression, sooner or later
Posted on 02/11/2014 3:35:49 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
Glenn Reynolds latest column for USA Today is worth noting for its clear warning on the corrosive nature of domestic spying. The NSA claims its not conducting the kind of snooping of which Glenn warns, but then again, they didnt admit to the surveillance they were conducting until it became impossible to deny. And that, Glenn says, is the problem:
But if the federal government has broad domestic-spying powers, and if those are controlled by the executive branch without significant oversight, then the president has the power to snoop on political enemies, getting an advantage in countering their plans, and gathering material that can be used to blackmail or destroy them. With such power in the executive, the traditional role of the other branches as checks would be seriously undermined, and our system of government would veer toward what James Madison in The Federalist No. 47 called the very definition of tyranny,that is, the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands.
That such widespread spying power exists, of course, doesnt prove that it has actually been abused. But the temptation to make use of such a power for self-serving political ends is likely to be very great. And, given the secrecy surrounding such programs, outsiders might never know. In fact, given the compartmentalization that goes on in the intelligence world, almost everyone at the NSA might be acting properly, completely unaware that one small section is devoted to gather political intelligence. We can hope, of course, that such abuses would leak out, but they might not.
Rather than counting on leakers to protect us, we need strong structural controls that dont depend on people being heroically honest or unusually immune to political temptation, two characteristics not in oversupply among our political class. That means that the government shouldnt be able to spy on Americans without a warrant a warrant that comes from a different branch of government, and requires probable cause. The government should also have to keep a clear record of who was spied on, and why, and of exactly who had access to the information once it was gathered. We need the kind of extensive audit trails for access to information that, as the Edward Snowden experience clearly illustrates, dont currently exist.
In addition, we need civil damages with, perhaps, a waiver of governmental immunities for abuse of power here. Perhaps we should have bounties for whistleblowers, too, to help encourage wrongdoing to be aired.
In other words, we need to adhere to the Constitution for all law-enforcement activity within the US. NSAs external mission can exist in accordance with that without much change, if any at all. That seems pretty simple to me, and a pretty good principle to follow.
I hate secretive government. It should all be above board.
The Framers deliberately left out reference to the internet and other electronic means because they felt that would be ok - the principle of privacy against government intrusion wouldn't be affected by that sort of surveillance.
But, they could solve all the MURDERS IN CHICAGO
If we have learned ONE thing from totalitarian
regimes it is that you cannot have organs of
internal security without an internal threat.
If there isn’t an internal threat, one will be
created to justify the existance of internal
Link to the excellent article on which this post is based:
“What I saw at the coup”
That alone isn't sufficient. There should be "structural limits" in the sense that some "crimes" simply don't rise to the level permitting surveillance by extraordinary means.
It simply should not be allowed to use drones, for example, to count a ranchers cows to find out what his carbon footprint is or to find out if he has dug a pond without permission or to find out if he has a still.
There is no freedom without privacy. Tyranny can be entirely legal. Laws that, inefficiently enforced, can serve a purpose in keeping a lid on extreme behavior, can become totalitarian when backed up by inescapable surveillance and interconnected databases.
stasi. sure made east germany a fun place.
yes but then they’d have to arrest murderers that would be well over 90% black, and that is just not done to holder’s people...
Time to start countering the surveillance. Cameras getting broken. Drones going down. The “watchers” who monitor the cameras and drone feeds, and those who give them their orders having “accidents” or just disappearing on their way to or from work.
So you’re suggesting we murder our neighbor who works at Homeland Security?
Preemptive self-defense is not murder. Is your Homeland Security neighbor one who will join the resistance, or one who will happily gun down Patriots? Find out NOW, so you know if you'll have to take him out or not.
The best defense would be to have all of those agencies thoroughly infiltrated, but it's too late now.