SuperGenius author Nat Hentoff asks in The Village Voice if Obama is prepared to deal with the National Security Agency’s surveillance of us all — or if he will merely go along with the rules established by the Bush Administration.
Of all our intelligence agencies, the most unabashedly un-American is the NSA, because it has the continually expanding technological resources to make George Orwell’s Big Brother look like a cantankerous infant. No American president has come close to reining in the NSA, let alone bringing its officials up on charges of murdering our Fourth Amendment privacy rights.
In case you’ve forgotten, those specific constitutional protections were a result of the general searches conducted by British soldiers that turned American colonists’ homes and offices upside down. NSA’s eavesdropping on our phones and Internet activities have largely destroyed some of our rights as mentioned in the Constitution: “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 be issued but on probable cause. . . .” (Computers and the Internet are now included.)
Is the NSA returning us to the days of British soldiers stopping us in the streets and reporting our behavior for punishment?
Should an American government agency ever spy on its own citizens? Is there any irony in knowing we pay taxes so that money can be turned around against us in a Panopticonic gaze?
Do we have any right to privacy under the Constitution or is that terrorism’s biggest win against us: Less freedom, less choice and more punishable wants out of the public eye?