Let me get this straight. We’re expected to support the troops, even
when we don’t agree with their mission, but we’re not allowed to expect
them or their leaders to uphold their oath. Their oath, after all, is
not to support the President, or military commanders, or party leaders
in the Senate or House, but to “perserve, protect, and defend the
Constitution of The United States.”
Now why bother with that? Why make everyone wishing to become a
citizen, join the military, or serve as a representative in our elected
bodies, and even (especially) the Commander In Chief of our military,
our President, take an oath that makes protecting the Constitution their
first and foremost duty?
Those of us who haven’t been asked to answer that question lately
might forget that as citizens we bear the same responsibility of
preserving and protecting the Constitution and its Amendments, against
forces, ever prevalent, that would advance their power at the expense of
the public’s rights and liberties.
These forces may come as an external threat but more often, and more
insidious, they come through corruption of the very institutions of
power charged with our protection, couched in language that appears to
protect what they destroy.
Which brings me to Edward Snowden, now charged under the Espionage
Act. His violation? Informing the public that their rights guaranteed
under the Fourth Amendment are being consistently violated by the
government and its agencies.
To satisfy the terms of The Espionage Act, supporters of the
government’s prosecution must maintain Snowden acted out of ill will, as
an agent of a foreign power or one whose intention was to give comfort
to our enemies. There is no evidence of this. Rather, his expose’ was
aimed specifically at informing the American people, first and foremost,
that their rights are being consistently violated.
The Fourth Amendment states: “The right of the people to be secure in
their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable
searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall
issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and
particularly describing the palce to be searched, and the persons or
things to be seized.”
I’m trying to imagine what the government’s request to the FISA Court
for the present warrant, in order to satisfy the Fourth Amendment, must
have looked like: “All electronic data of every person on the planet,
from all the sources where such data is to be found, to have on hand in
case we feel like we need it, please.”
I find little comfort that the surveillance supposedly restricts
itself to data disclosed to third parties, and courts have ruled such
data is fair game for the government. Call me naive, but I find a
government that justifies such extensive surveillance more of a danger
to my life and liberty than disgruntled foreigners upset with our
Of course these requests didn’t come all at once, but increased over
time, as with the creation of the secret Court itself. Even though
almost all requests are rubber-stamped by the FISA Court, one request
garnered an eighty page opinion, which concluded the current methods of
data collection described by Snowden are illegal and unconstitutional.
We can’t read that opinion. Even though it was reached by those on the public payroll. It’s classified.
Something tells me this is not what the framers had in mind. The
Fourth Amendment contention, “...shall not be violated...” is
non-negotiable in its intention, and how the phrase is interpreted under
The government, then, and by that I mean the President, the National
Security Agency, and their defenders in Congress (our own California
Senator Diane Feinstein among them), are in violation of their oath of
office, putting them effectively in breach of contract with the people
of the United States.
In acting to inform the public of an extensive breach of the Fourth
Amendment, Edward Snowden fulfilled his duty as a citizen to defend the
Constitution. The same duty our leaders conveniently misplaced.
Demonizing him for this is an attempt by the guilty to bury the misdeeds
his actions exposed to the light of day. It is our duty to make sure
their attempt fails.
Copyright © 2011 by Santa Monica Mirror. All rights reserved.