Tuesday, May 30, 2017 by Jayson Veley
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution states that the people have a right to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” It was originally included in the Bill of Rights because at the time of the amendment’s ratification, the Founding Fathers were extremely fearful of the rise of tyranny in the new world. Warrantless searches and seizures were common under the rule of the king, and the framers included language about privacy protection in the Constitution to ensure that the same practice didn’t continue. Sadly, over two centuries of progressivism and corruption within the federal government has made the Fourth Amendment all but irrelevant.
Earlier this week, Circa.com reported that the Obama administration violated its own surveillance guidelines by expanding Internet searches and essentially spying on millions of Americans for the past several years.
Since 2011, Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act has prohibited the practice of querying the results of upstream Internet collections. According to Circa, the Obama administration self-disclosed the NSA rule violations during a closed-door hearing on October 26, 2016, just days before Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. The court, which was usually supportive of the Obama administration, declared that the Obama administration’s failure to disclose the massive amount of personal information previously collected amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and was a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a court document from April 26 of this year.
Some officials that served in the Obama administration, such as National Security Adviser Susan Rice, have argued that the data collection was legal under the minimization rule changes that Barack Obama made in 2011. However, even the NSA’s own watchdog group says that this argument is simply not true. “Since 2011, NSA’s minimization procedures have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collections under Section 702,” the court ruling said. “The Oct. 26, 2016 notice informed the court that NSA analysts had been conducting such queries in violation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed to the Court.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, or the ACLU, has recently expressed concern that the U.S. intelligence community may not have the ability to properly restrain itself and operate within the confines of their own laws. If this is true, then the further abuse of power is inevitable.
The Obama-era bombshell raises two legitimate concerns. First, it is abundantly obvious that the former administration had very little respect for the Constitution and the privacy rights of the American people. Once again, the Bill of Rights proved to be nothing more to the Obama administration than a bunch of words on a really old piece of paper; words that can be followed when its politically expedient and ignored when its not. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson would be ashamed that we have elected leaders today who put their hand on a bible, swear to uphold the Constitution, and then do the exact opposite upon stepping into a position of power.
Second, where is the mainstream media? Why aren’t television networks like CNN, MSNBC and NBC and publications like The Washington Post and Politico reporting on this? Furthermore, since liberals like Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren seem to believe so strongly in the use of special prosecutors to get to the bottom of scandals that occur within the federal government, where are the calls for a special prosecutor to investigate Barack Obama and his National Security Agency?
James Madison, considered by most to be the Father of the Bill of Rights, once said, “The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.” And today, it’s clear that abuse is exactly what we the people are experiencing.