by Mark Horne
A simple summary of what has happened: The government has secretly provided itself with a secret interpretation of the laws passed by Congress that it then secretly applies and used laws of secrecy to bind all who knew the truth about what the government was doing to secrecy.
I leave aside what might or might not be the full scope of the PRISM program and simply point out that the collection of phone data from Verizon is patently illegal, an obvious violation of the Fourth Amendment.
This Administration, and surely the Bush Administration as well, arrogated to itself the right to defecate on the Fourth Amendment and threaten anyone who told the American people about what it was doing with severe penalties.
The full depth of this arrogance comes out in James Woolsey’s projection of his own sin onto Edward Snowden’s character.
I think Mr. Snowden had no right to arrogate to himself the right to decide where to strike the balance between liberty and security. As President Obama pointed out a couple of days ago this balance has to be struck, and the court system, particularly the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court, the Executive Branch, the President, the Attorney General, and the Congress with the Reviews by the Congressional Committees every few months… this has been a very precisely crafted system for making the decision about where to strike the balance between liberty and security. And Snowden arrogated that entire decision to himself.
No he didn’t. Snowden didn’t arrogate any decision to himself. He simply took it from Woolsey’s small group of friends and gave it back to the American people to decide.
The precisely crafted system was the Fourth Amendment. It is clear and precise in its wording. That system was over thrown by a small group of people who were all compelled by threats of laws if they allowed anyone else to know what was going on. The members of the Congressional Committees were not able to exert any leverage on policy because they were required not to talk about it. They simply were drafted into a pseudo-democratic rubber stamp system. The FISA court is even more of a joke, long known as a system that rubber stamps whatever the regime wants. But the Verizon phone records obviously far exceed any authority of the FISA court.
And all talk of democracy is pure deception in such a context. No politician can campaign on issues he is not permitted to talk about. No politician can be held accountable for practices that he demands be kept secret.
The bottom line is that Woolsy’s oligarchy were the ones to arrogate to themselves the right to cancel the Constitution and decide where they wanted to “strike the balance.” They are a criminal conspiracy and they deserve to be exposed and prosecuted as enemies of the American people. If the terrorists “hate us for our freedoms,” we can add the charge of aiding and abetting the enemy. For these oligarchs have obviously pursued a campaign of appeasement.
Snowden didn’t arrogate any decision for himeslf. He, rather, exposed to daylight those who had arrogated the power to themselves in darkness.
So, naturally, Woolsey wishes life imprisonment upon Snowden. The stakes are too high to do otherwise. Either most of our present (and past?) executive branch are no less than pirate raiders, criminals who need to be prosecuted; or Snowden is guilty of a crime. Woolsey wants his native oligarchy to remain in power. Snowden must be sacrificed for that to happen.