Dick Cheney defends the NSA data-mining program
This really isn’t surprising but Dick Cheney is defending the NSA’s data-mining program on the grounds that this liberty stealing agency is not like the other well-known corrupt government agency, the IRS, so we can and should trust the NSA.
No question this is a difficult subject matter. There are a lot of Americans out there, some of them good friends of mine, who are concerned about the NSA. Part of the difficulty is — and I plead with people don’t conflate the NSA with the IRS. Totally different problems, totally different issues.”
“It would be a terrible mistake if because the IRS has been abused by Barack Obama and his people, we would therefore turn and say, ‘well, we are going to get rid of the NSA program because it might be abused by the president,” he continued. “But there aren’t any really good examples out there how the NSA programs have been abused. You don’t have the kind of evidence there that you’ve got with respect to the IRS
He is clearly defending his baby here as his answer to the problem goes something like this: You could trust the last regime with this program, it is Barack Obama you cannot trust with the program. Therefore if we have a new president we can once again trust the NSA. I am not buying it and here is why.
Granted, we cannot trust Barack Obama with this or any other program, but Dick Cheney is still missing the point. We have secret courts, operating behind the scenes, deciding the constitutionality of spying and other issues while handing out blanket warrants in violation of the fourth amendment; the constitution clearly states the warrant must describe the “place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Apparently “cyberspace” and “almost everybody” are now acceptable places and persons as ruled upon by the FISA court.
A violation of the constitution is a violation of the constitution, pure and simple, and it does not matter if you feel as if you can trust the commander-in-chief or you do not. There will always be roughly half of the citizens who feel as if the president–any president–can be trusted to do the right thing. That is a bogus argument when it comes to defending and upholding the constitution of the United States: you cannot defend it by abusing or violating it, you cannot defend it by bending it to your will, you can not defend it by hurdling its barriers, and you cannot defend it by ignoring the parts of it that you do not like.
Do you remember Ben Franklin’s whole liberty/security argument Mr. Cheney?
But he also states that there have been no real abuses, or at least evidence of abuses, to date and I also have a problem with that statement. Perhaps Mr. Cheney missed the story about how the NSA has admitted to thousands of violations, with some of the violations being intentional.
Or maybe Dick should look at Eliot Spitzer; he was brought down in the prostitution scandal after his suspicious money transactions were discovered by the PATRIOT Act, another pet project of the former vice-president. Screwing prostitutes is not exactly a matter of national security, and if the PATRIOT Act could be used to help take him down it can happen to anyone.
And how exactly was General Petraeus’s inflammatory personal emails discovered? That question still has not been answered. And what about the report the NSA targeted members of the Congress and at least one justice who now sits on the Supreme Court? Could this explain why Justice Roberts changed his Obamacare decision at the last minute and had to scramble to rewrite a new majority decision?
But none of this seems to matter to Dick Cheney, I suppose he would also defend this in the same manner in which the NSA is defending itself; because the program is spying on millions of Americans a few thousand violations here or there really isn’t all that bad in the grand scheme of things.
Somehow that defense does not make me fell any better…..