Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

July 9, 2013

Citizens only lose when they OK snooping

(Continued)

Members of Congress like Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Mark Udall, D-Colo., have been dropping blatant hints about it for years as well, saying Americans would be “stunned” if they knew of the government surveillance of citizens being conducted. They even wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, arguing that “there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows.”

I generally enjoy saying “I told you so,” (what columnist wouldn’t?) but it gives me very little pleasure to say even I told you about it a few months ago, when I wrote that while President Obama daily breaks his promise that his would be “the most transparent administration in history,” he is very much about making the American citizenry the most transparent population in history.

So Edward Snowden, the most recent whistleblower, was only making it official when he leaked top-secret government documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post about telephone and Internet surveillance by your government.

And anybody who still remained unconvinced should have had their minds changed by the slippery semantic games played by everybody from the president on down.

Obama tried to smooth things over by telling us nobody is listening to our telephone calls. That was his usual effort to duck the issue by knocking down a straw man. Nobody — not even Snowden — said the government is listening in on people’s calls. It doesn’t need to. The point is that the government is tracking your calls, which could reveal what political groups you belong to, what your business plans might be, any kind of medical problems you might have, where you go at night, and more. In light of recent revelations about the Internal Revenue Service’s interest in conservative political groups, the president’s weasel words, even delivered in soothing tones, are not reassuring.

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