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article imageOp-Ed: NSA spying is here to stay

By Craig Boehman     Jul 22, 2013 in Politics
In one sentence, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) dismisses public outcry over the NSA's global surveillance program — and reports NSA spying will continue.
This one sentence appeared in a newsroom briefing on the agency's website on July 19.
“Consistent with his prior declassification decision and in light of the significant and continuing public interest in the telephony metadata collection program, the DNI has decided to declassify and disclose publicly that the Government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking renewal of the authority to collect telephony metadata in bulk, and that the Court renewed that authority.”
The DNI serves as head of the US intelligence community and is chief adviser to the President on all intelligence matters foreign and domestic. According to its fact sheet, the DNI describes itself as taking the lead in tracking down Osama Bin Laden to demonstrate to the rest of the world “the unyielding determination and resilience of the United States.”
Now, that same unyielding determination and resilience has been reaffirmed by the FISA court. The NSA has been granted authority — once again — to continue its spying on Americans and the global community through its collection of telephony metadata.
Ex-CIA chief Michael Hayden penned a piece for CNN defending the NSA. He also denounced NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as being “in a class by himself” compared to traitors like Benedict Arnold and whistleblowers like Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning, among others.
“Snowden fled to China with several computers' worth of data from NSANET, one of the most highly classified and sensitive networks in American intelligence,” wrote Hayden. “The damage is potentially so great that NSA has taken one of its most respected senior operations officers off mission tasks to lead the damage assessment effort.”
The NSA has been inconvenienced, in other words, by their own monumental incompetence. Rule Number One for spying on your own citizens is don't get caught at it. Rule Number Two is to never accept responsibility for it if you are caught. Apologies for irreparable damage done to the constitutional mandates of the very government you're actually sworn to uphold (like the Fourth Amendment) are certainly out of the question.
The stance taken by NSA pundits countervails essential freedoms enshrined in the Constitution. The bulk rhetoric issued by our elected officials in response to the scandal is equally reflective of the illegitimate forms of leadership they've come to embrace. By their words and deeds, the US government has metaphorically built its own Berlin Wall moment, leaving us to dismantle it stone-by-stone when the need for freedom decisively trumps our calls for it.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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