NSA limits our Independence

Published: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at 12:53 PM.

Today the Patriots — even with their fanatic and rightful devotion to such a worthy cause — could not succeed. The Declaration of Independence could not be written. It would be stopped dead in its tracks, its authors and the other plotters of our independence arrested or killed.

Patrick Henry’s stirring words — his unifying call to arms — in Richmond, Va., on March 23, 1775, would not be permitted. "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"

Today those words would be squashed, captured unwritten, unsaid and uninspiring by the all-seeing, all-knowing eye of government peering over his shoulder, muting him before his words could spur action.

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden’s revelation that the agency was collecting and, when someone deems it necessary, monitoring communications of Americans, guarantees the Declaration of Independence could not be written today. Our government would not allow it.

The South Jersey Courier-Post described the NSA’s monitoring of our communications this way: "Armed with the nation’s phone logs, the NSA’s computers have the ability to identify what normal call behavior looks like. And, with powerful computers, it would be possible to compare the entire database against computer models the government believes show what terrorist calling patterns look like. Further analysis could identify what are known in intelligence circles as ‘communities of interest’ — the networks of people who are in contact with targets or suspicious phone numbers."

Bloomberg reported that Army general and NSA chief Keith Alexander, testifying before the House Select Intelligence Committee, said that his communication monitoring programs were "limited, focused and subject to rigorous oversight."

He reported, I suppose to make us feel better about giving up our privacy for our near-perfect security, that more than 50 potential terrorist events around the world were prevented by his agency’s snooping.

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