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We Have Met the Enemy . . .

June 11, 2013

In the wake of NSA contract employee Edward Snowden's release of a select number of classified documents which revealed the extent and import of our government's monitoring of the communications of virtually all Americans, the truly extraordinary thing about the scandal that has emerged is that very few people seem to be connecting the dots regarding who the real "enemy" is.

Ron Paul and Fox News's Judge Andrew Napolitano are among those who have had the good sense to praise Snowden - Napolitano called him an "American hero" for his actions. As you'd expect, the clueless trio of John Boehner, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham have again failed to understand what's really going on. Others who should know better, including Fox News Analyst Charles Krauthammer -" the chance the data will be abused is no reason not to collect it" - and General Ralph Peters - "execute the leaker" - are hiding behind the shield of "they're not monitoring the content of phone calls, only collecting metadata on who's calling whom and when the calls are made."

The theory behind which newly revealed true believers like Krauthammer and Peters are hiding is that it's only if a specific caller can be connected to a suspected terrorist through phone or computer records that the content of his or her communications will be looked at and listened to. Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.

This despite the fact that it has become abundantly clear that the Obama administration has systematically attacked its political enemies through IRS audits and slow-walking applications for 501-C3 status from political opponents while engaging in egregious invasions of their privacy through questionnaires asking what books they're reading and who their contributors are. The message is that - especially in the case of the Obama administration, but more generally with regard to any central government - no one is immune to persecution for his or her politics.

Krauthammer, of all people, should know better.

When confronted with accusations that the Obama administration's actions violate the U.S. Constitution, many administration defenders typically attempt to divert attention by explaining that the violations have been initiated and carried out by lower-level employees. In fact, the brazen ignoring of our Constitution comes from the top, even if only indirectly. Obama himself not only holds no respect for our Constitution, he openly flouts it at every opportunity; why would we expect any different from those he appoints to positions of authority.

In the NSA case, Obama, by presiding over his administration's going further beyond the bounds of the Patriot Act than we could have imagined possible, has enabled a system that supports what Snowden calls "turnkey tyranny."

Those unable or unwilling to acknowledge the extent of this administration's data grab need to be reminded that a new 1,000,000-square-foot data storage facility is being built in Utah to house the unimaginably large quantity of information - it's now commonly measured in petabytes, with a petabyte consisting of one million gigabytes - that will be collected in the future.

Snowden, it turns out, is an intelligent and reasonably articulate spokesperson for the American people. Despite the fact that so many of his critics attempt to denigrate his words and his actions, here are a few of the points he has made that resonate with those of us who are not blinded by our unwillingness to see Barack Obama for the subversive he is.

In Snowden's words, the NSA has created the "architecture of oppression." He lays out the potential consequences of not stopping the program immediately:

[E]ven if you're not doing anything wrong you're being watched and recorded. And the storage capability of these systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude to where it's getting to the point where you don't have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody even by a wrong call. And then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you've ever made, every friend you've ever discussed something with. And attack you on that basis to . . . derive suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer.

Snowden asserts that he himself "could shut down the surveillance system in an afternoon. But that's not [his] intention." Snowden's real intent, the reason he posits for taking the action he did, is that even in the face of the ominous overstepping of authority engaged in by the Obama administration, the next president will likely go further, saying

that 'Because of the crisis, because of the dangers we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power.' And there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny.

What those who side with Krauthammer and Peters in yawning at the administration's egregious flouting of the Constitution are missing is the fact that the real terrorists are members of the Obama administration who have systematically been implementing a web of policy decisions and information capture that is designed to do nothing less than entrap those who disagree with the Obama government's politics and policies, ultimately disenfranchising them and the majority of Americans who wrongfully assume that our Constitution is being upheld and their right to privacy is still sacrosanct.

My neighbor recently explained to me that she was not engaging in illegal activities so she wasn't worried about the government snooping into her e-mails and phone calls. Krauthammer et al. carry this almost willful ignorance several steps further. They're the ones who should be able to discern the systematic takeover to which we're being subjected, and yet they seem blind to the facts that are emerging before their eyes. Judge Napolitano notwithstanding, it may be that Fox News is revealing its true colors, its unwillingness to confront the menace to a free society that this administration presents.

In the words of "Pogo" cartoonist Walt Kelly, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

If by "us" you understand Kelly's words to mean the Obama administration, then Kelly is correct.

However, if by "us" you mean a majority of the American people who are disturbed at the revelation of the scope and power of the NSA's information grab, coupled with this administration's criminal contempt of the American people and our Constitution through its use of government agencies to trample on our civil rights, then you understand that the positions are reversed: It's the Obama administration that sees the American people as the enemy.

With this foremost in our minds, we must support Edward Snowden and the other whistleblowers who are coming forth, risking their livelihoods and their security, even their lives, in order to make clear to us that we are in nothing less than mortal danger from a rogue administration whose lust for power knows no bounds.



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