People who care about the privacy of their papers and their persons may remember the furor that arose during the early years of the presidency of George W. Bush about the development of Total Information Awareness in the Pentagon by Iran Contra conspirator John Poindexter. The Total Information Awareness program was intended to design a super database into which the government would pull all kinds of private information, using the powers of the Patriot Act. Everything from medical records to book purchases would be taken from commercial databases and compiled, so that the government could keep files on the details of every American’s private life.
Congress acted then to end the Total Information Awareness program. So what did the Bush Administration do? They just gave it a new name, and moved it to the National Security Agency, and thus was born the program to seize information and spy without a search warrant.
New revelations by former NSA employee Russell Tice confirm earlier reports by a former employee of AT&T: The NSA was gathering ALL electronic communications into a gigantic computer database, using the Patriot Act as a justification. That electronic spying dragnet was further justified by the passage of the FISA Amendments Act.
Your telephone calls, your emails, your text messages, your credit card use, your Internet habits are all being watched by the government. Secret physical searches of homes and offices without a search warrant are also allowed under the FISA Amendments Act. Big Brother is here. Total Information Awareness is alive.
The funny thing that very few people have bothered to mention is that this search and seizure of Americans’ persons and papers is completely unconstitutional. Read the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution:
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.
Warrants are absolutely required for government searches and seizures, and the government has to be specific in applying for warrants about exactly who and where it wants the searches and seizures to apply to. The new Total Information Awareness program gives no such specification – it searches the electronic communications of the entire United States of America!
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that this is just a problem of the past, and that with the Bush Administration gone, the problem is solved. No, as a senator, Barack Obama voted to approve the FISA Amendments Act, and as President he is administering the program without acting to end the warrantless electronic spying at all. Barack Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, confirms that the Obama Administration’s intention is to keep the NSA Total Information Awareness program in place.
If you care about freedom, you need to act now to put pressure on Barack Obama to change course, and to put an end to the Big Brother NSA spying program being used against the American people.
Filed under: FISA Fiasco Tagged: | animation, eric holder, eye, fisa amendments act, Fourth Amendment, national security agency, nsa, Obama, patriot act, pyramid, russell tice, spying, total information awareness, video