Congress betrays vow to Uphold Constitution, abrogates 4th Amendment; Snowden is Better

The US House of Representatives narrowly declined on Wednesday to deny funding for National Security Agency collection and storage of millions of Americans’ phone records. The requisition of the records of domestic and foreign calls made by Verizon customers was revealed by The Guardian newspaper’s New York operation .

The NSA Prism program seems to me clearly a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects the innocent from unreasonable search & seizure.

A little over half of the Congress violated their oath of office and trashed the fourth amendment.

AP has a video report, including footage of John Conyers and Michele Bachmann.:

By the way, Edward Snowden, who revealed Prism’s existence to our elected representatives (we won’t be telling them everything, boys), was not a government employee and the only thing he violated was a confidentiality agreement with Booz, Allen, a private firm.

So the congressmen and -women who denounced Snowden for having violated some imaginary oath should look in the mirror.

25 Responses

  1. “By the way, Edward Snowden, who revealed Prism’s existence to our elected representatives (we won’t be telling them everything, boys), was not a government employee and the only thing he violated was a confidentiality agreement with Booz, Allen, a private firm.”

    Edward Snowden had a Top Secret security clearance that granted him access, on a need to know basis, to Top Secret US Government information and documents. Top Secret clearances are granted to individuals with stringent restrictions attached regarding the handling and disposition of information and documents. It does not matter whether one is working as a direct-hire US Government employee or as an employee with a US Government contractor. The restrictions apply equally in both cases.

    Snowden is just as guilty of revealing classified information, and thereby violating the terms of his clearance and employment, as he would have been had he been a direct-hire US Government employee. It is specious reasoning to suggest that Snowden’s act was any less egregious because he worked for Booz Allen rather than directly with the US Government.

    • Why are you more bothered by Snowden then by our government violating all of our 4th amendment rights?

    • AMENDMENT IV

      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 place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      Sigh.

    • Let us be all serious and focus on the Securitat’s view of having its dirty underwear exposed, and just blow right past the interesting phenomenon of “contractors” doing, for a pretty significant profit, a pretty awful set of tasks that seem maybe just a little inconsistent with the silly notions people still have about the limits of government in a “constitutional” system. Where it’s pretty clear that “the law” is whatever the people with clout say it is, both in the sense that they get to write and decide when and against whom to actually enforce it, ask people like William Calley and Dick(less) Cheney and Bradley Manning how that part works, or raise it up as a shield against righteous anger and public outrage as with the NSA revelations and “droning” that the apologists reassure us are all “perfectly legal,” and in the sense that where they choose to, they can simply ignore it.

      “L’etat c’est moi.” “Responsible historians” debate whether Louis XIV actually ever said this, but the principle is clear, and sure seems to be manifest and plenipotent in our Imperial Capital…

      Over to you, Bill, for more examples of specious reasoning…

      • “Over to you, Bill, for more examples of specious reasoning…”

        You have done the work for me with your comment responding to my post about Snowden’s Top Secret clearance and how his obligation to abide by its terms applied equally, whether he worked for Booz Allen or the US Government. My only difficulty is in determining whether your comment is an example of specious reasoning, a non-sequitur, or both.

    • “Snowden is just as guilty of revealing classified information, and thereby violating the terms of his clearance and employment, as he would have been had he been a direct-hire US Government employee.”

      “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble,… “the law is a ass—a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.” Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist

      • Charles Dickens’s “Oliver Twist” is still a good read 174 years after it was first published. Glad to see we are a literate group here.

    • Egregious to whom?

      Violating the 4th amendment is egregious, too.

      Let me ask you this: Was it egregious for Daniel Ellsberg to leak the Pentagon Papers?

        • “You know Bill will never directly come out and call Daniel Ellsberg a traitor at THIS site.”

          THIS site has nothing to do with it, SUPER390. You need to learn the definition of “traitor” before suggesting what I would or would not call Ellsberg. A traitor is one who commits treason. Treason is defined (in the Constitution, no less, under Article III Section 3) as follows:

          “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

          Did Daniel Ellsberg’s actions consist of levying war against the US or giving our enemies “aid and comfort,” SUPER390? I don’t think so, and therefore I don’t think Ellsberg was a traitor. The Pentagon Papers exposed the policy debates and prescriptions that went into decisions regarding our involvement in Vietnam, but that did not rise to the level of treason by a long shot.

          You would be well-advised to be more precise in your own understanding of Constitutional and national security issues before passing judgment on how you think others would or would not respond to any particular issue.

  2. Selective outrage is being practiced by our elected leaders and pro Big Brother media, neither of which raised objections when two AIPAC spies got off without a slap on the wrist for passing along US secrets to Israel.

    Jimmy Carter recently said democracy in this country is a thing of the past.

  3. “A little over half of the Congress violated their oath of office and trashed the fourth amendment.”
    Correction: Congress has trashed the whole Constitution. Congress’ members have been operating in a state of terror in respond to which they have opted for treason.

  4. Well said Juan! You should also mention Sen. Ron Wyden’s speech last week where he pointed out that NSA has a public
    FISA law you can read and a secret interpretation of that law that no one is allowed to discuss… that they deny exists. The debate was excellent! It was FEAR vs THE 4TH! The media seems to be afraid to touch it. The 2014 campaign has begun!

  5. That Michelle Bachman is on the House Intelligence Committee is a sign of how deep the rot is in our system. The idea of Secret Courts in our system is a disgrace. If Bachman and company think secret courts shall operate indefinitely, they are in for a great surprise. It’s a matter of time

  6. Normal Solomon has an article at CounterPunch that provides a link to the House vote so you can see there isn’t much difference between many of the Democrats and the proto-fascists on the right: “Obama’s willing executioners of the Fourth Amendment:” Limitless surveillance – link to counterpunch.org

  7. the only thing he violated was a confidentiality agreement with Booz, Allen

    No.

    Not even remotely accurate.

    The very worst work you do, professor, comes when you try to discuss law.

  8. I’d like congress to pass legislation that prohibits the Administration from expending any funds whatsoever to restrain or interfere with Snowden’s travel outside the US.

    Of course Obama can just drop the charges and let Snowden return a free man, but I think that is one more “Profile in Courage” episode the President will pass up.

  9. For those who are all concerned, whether the concern is real or just agitprop-feigned, there’s this little abstract of what the Security State is up to:

    link to projects.washingtonpost.com

    Ah, the sacredness of the Top Secret Double Secret Probation Eyes Only Security Information Pile! To be preserved at all costs! Pile all right– pile of embarrassing, stupid, potentially-career-limiting, idiotic crap.

    And the pretext, the fraud, that “the law” is some divinely given thing that grows out only healthy roots and shoots, is just that. link to stupidlaws.com What a hoot, for people commenting here, where the hypocrisy and fraudulent mythology that marks “our Great Nation’s” increasingly illegitimate conduct every day is made just so very manifest, to climb up on high horses, try to get everyone else to don prisms that only show one little piece of the spectrum that they want you to accept as the whole, and claim knowledge of what “the law” is, in its serried and corrupt and perverted majesty, and how an act like that performed by Snowden is “illegal.”

    “It’s a simple question, sir: Have you stopped beating your wife? Yes, or no?”

    “Really, sir, have you no shame?”

  10. how dare Snowden do this to the NSA? has he no integrity? gosh, laws are made to stop such nonsense!!! Rights, and Safety and. and… Off with his head! the Red Queen said.

  11. Let’s note that the Congressional bill that would have restricted NSA wholesale spying on Americans was beaten back by a coalition formed by Barack Obama with John Boehner and Michele Bachmann.

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