NSA needs to be scrutinized by Congress and jurors.
The NSA’s mass-surveillance of Americans moves us closer to a dictatorship and, in time, enables the government to oppress us.
Mass-surveillance of civilians is a common tactic of despotic governments. Every dictator has had a secret police that spied on the people for the oppressive regime in question. Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein all had secret police that spied on the civilians. East Germany’s Communist dictatorship also spied on its own people before the Berlin Wall fell. The purpose behind these mass-spying techniques was to arrest, torture, murder or imprison civilians who disagreed with the regime or violated a dictator’s capricious “laws”. Mass-surveillance was used against innocent people so they can be blackmailed into “ratting out” their neighbors, so the latter could be unjustly punished.
The same thing could happen here with our own government because 1) our government has such personal information on civilians and 2) the government represents the use of force and has more power than civilians. Those two reasons explain why our government can use the information collected on us to tyrannize Americans. That is why we can not trust the government that spies on its own people.
The only constitutional purpose behind the government’s legal monopoly over the use of force is to incarcerate criminals to protect people’s lives and rights. When the government goes beyond that, the people must use the Constitution to keep it in check. The NSA is violating its constitutional boundaries. In fact, the Vision Statement for the Intelligence Community (IC) in the National Intelligence Strategy dated Aug 2009 states that the IC must, “exemplify America’s values: operating under the rule of law, consistent with Americans’ expectations for protection of privacy and civil liberties, respectful of human rights, and in a manner that retains the trust of the American people.” Obviously, the NSA has violated those rules.
As the above-named dictators were seizing power from the people, they rationalized their abuses of power by telling people it was for the “common good”. Today, the US government’s excuse is “national security”. Hitler’s Nazis used the myth of “Jew as Villain” to rationalize using oppressive power. Today, the NSA uses the fact of “Terrorist as Threat” to rationalize violating our liberties. The specific excuses change from culture-to-culture and over time but the basic government methodology is the same: Use a positive-sounding excuse to violate the people’s rights.
Continuing its excuses, the NSA has alleged that their mass-surveillance of Americans has stopped terrorists. The problem is that spying on many innocent people to find one bad-guy is like a policeman randomly breaking down doors of innocent people hoping that at least one of them will, coincidentally, be the home of a dangerous felon. That is not only corrupt and unconstitutional but it’s an example of fighting harder, not smarter, against terrorists. So our NSA is either lying or they must have very stupid agents working for them. Traditionally, you do detective work, find suspects, then you wiretap the suspected villains (and only the villains).
Furthermore, 9/11 was predicted by a reporter who did not use mass-surveillance technology on the American public. The government with its mass-surveillance technology (which it used on the populace since the ‘90’s) did not make the prediction. Officials dismissed the reporter’s alarm-raising and 9/11 happened.
There is also no clear legal definition of what an “end” or “victory” is to the war on terror. Hence, the mass-surveillance plan could continue endlessly thereby increasing the chances of the government’s tyrannizing the people. Hence, we would “save” ourselves from the terrorists at the price of becoming oppressed slaves of the US government.
We must politically and legally oppose the government’s push towards despotism. The NSA needs the public (and congressional) scrutiny that Snowden created when he exposed the NSA’s corrupt surveillance program.