This is a nation of freedoms, one of which outlined in our Constitution explicitly warns us against the tyranny of unlawful search and seizure.
Here is Amendment IV in all of its glory:
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 issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
This means, quite simply, that without a reason to have your privacy invade, anyone who commits such a personal affront is running afoul of the Constitution itself. And, thanks to the Constitution’s rightful place atop the legal hierarchy of our nation, any laws passed that would tarnish this freedom are simply null and void.
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That didn’t stop our federal government from using “terrorism” as an excuse to spy on ordinary Americans in their homes, however. This trading of liberty for security was insulting for a vast majority of Americans, but seemingly could not be stopped.
The National Security Agency, or NSA, was at the forefront of the scandal thanks to their creation of a massive database of communications information from the unknowing and unwilling American public. Your emails, text messages, phone call, and more may be stored at NSA headquarters in the event that someday you may commit a crime and they could be potentially used against you.
Now the Drug Enforcement Agency stands accused of using similarly vile tactics beginning nearly 30 years ago.
In a heavily redacted, 144-page report published Thursday, the Justice Department Inspector General revealed the administration failed to fully assess the legal basis for three massive international surveillance operations that ran largely unchecked from 1992 to 2013. Two of the programs remain active in some form today.
Under one initiative, which investigators called “Program A,” the administration used “non-target specific” subpoenas to force multiple telecom providers to provide metadata on every phone call made from the U.S. to as many as 116 countries with “a nexus to drugs.” Investigators found some companies also provided the officials with data on all calls made between those foreign countries.
The trouble is just beginning for the DEA, however.
Investigators found the administration “failed to conduct a comprehensive legal analysis” of actions under all three programs. Previous court rulings have called into question the use of the sweeping subpoenas under programs A and B, they said. According to the report, the FBI also raised concerns about the legality of the operations.
When it comes to spying on the American people, it turns out that this sort of federal betrayal is far more common than we realized.
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