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Which of these things is not like the others? [View All]

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-20-13 09:41 AM
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Which of these things is not like the others?
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If you have ever been a kid, a parent or a grandparent, you will probably recognize that question as one often posed by Sesame Street.

Yet, many of us seem to have a lot of difficulty separating apples from oranges. Hey, they're both round, brightly colored and fruits. Ergo, they are identical right? I have certainly seen and heard people assume identity based on fewer characteristics than three.

This morning, I heard someone on TV somewhere (sorry, no clue who was speaking or what program they were speaking on) say that the NSA is a successor to the ASA (American Security Agency), which was formed to spy on Americans. Hence, while spying on Americans by the NSA is getting "a lot of play," he said, nothing is really new.

The assumption underlying Mr. Asshat's comment was that all spying on Americans is identical to all other spying on Americans. Hence, spying on Americans in 1949 is no different from what the NSA has been up to lately. Can I get a DUH?

Mr. Asshat made no distinction between spying after obtaining a warrant from a court that actually considered the merits versus spying without having obtained any warrant, or spying after having obtained a rubber stamped warrant from a kangaroo FISA court. No distinction between spying because you have reason to believe that one or more named individuals are up to no good, and electronic spying on millions of people (who are paying to be spied on secretly, no less!) just because you can.

IOW, Mr. Asshat made no distinction between spying that complies with the Fourth Amendment requirements and spying that violates the Constitution of the United States.

And, speaking of inconvenient truths, the Bill of Rights limits what the U.S. government may do to anyone. Nothing in the Constitution limits the Bill of Rights to U.S. citizens or to U.S. residents.


* That is exactly what Mr. Asshat said "the ASA--American Security Agency." However, on doing the tiniest bit of research, I learned that Mr. Asshat was wrong about the name of the NSA's predecessor. The correct name was the Armed Forces Security Agency, not the American Security Agency. It was formed in 1949 and renamed NSA in 1951. (The OSS, predecessor to the CIA, had been formed during WWII, and the McCarthy hearings were just ahead on the Cold War paranoia horizon.)


FYI: The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonableprobable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.<1>

Does the above really sound as though the Framers had in mind surveilling anyone who uses a phone or the internet?

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