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There are 5 comments on POV: The Legality of the Government’s Surveillance Programs

  1. Though there are some good points made here, it is overall difficult to talk about, and indeed the piece lacks in certain areas, the legality of this program without referring to the supreme law of the land, The U.S. Constitution.

    1. Hi Douglas, just keep in mind that this piece is not casting judgement on whether or not the NSA’s programs are ethical, but only on the legality of their actions. While you are correct that the Constitution provides ultimate rights, US Laws are actually the “supreme law of the land”. If you are caught by the police driving a fully-armed main battle tank, you cannot argue that their arrest is illegal since it is illegal to drive around an armed tank domestically. That law was created by the legal system, not by the constitution. You may argue that your 2nd Amendment right covers your right to own a tank, but right there you are arguing that the LAW is illegal, not that your actions are legal under the law.

      The point that this article makes is that the NSA has not done anything wrong or against the law like some people are claiming. Instead, the point is that we should direct our anger not at the NSA, but at congress since they were the ones who created these laws initially.

      TL;DR: Don’t hate the playa, hate the game.

  2. Either Dr. Wippl thinks we are all very stupid, or he is very naive (which I doubt).
    He says: “Subsequent laws…required a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to monitor the communications of a US citizen, green card holder, or corporation in the United States and abroad, or a foreign national in the United States”, and adds that “In order to obtain a warrant from the FISC to monitor the communications of a US person, the attorney general and the director of national intelligence must demonstrate suspicion that that person is an agent of a foreign entity or power”. Seriously? Really? Edward Snowden came out precisely because he realized that none of these provisions were respected by NSA, and that random people (like himself) with no legitimacy (let alone the attorney general’s authorization!) were entering the private lives of Americans without necessary justifications or supervision. He was witnessing the abuse of the agency’s power to operate, vis-a-vis the norms that Dr Wippl mentions in the article.

    I also suggest Dr. Wipple read the latest article by Greenwald and Poitras in “The Guardian” newspaper. He will find therein the copy of a Memorandum of Understanding between the US and Israel, whereby all the *raw* data gathered by the NSA about US citizens are simply turned over to Israel as they are, unfiltered and unchecked. Should the American citizen feel ok with this as well? I am sure a foreign country, like Israel, will certainly make responsible use of US citizens’ data, in line with the US constitution…

    And lastly: Dr. Wippl tells us we should feel safe and reassured because, after all, “What often is forgotten or ignored is that NSA officials are also US citizens, and hundreds of attorneys are in place at the NSA to remind the agency of the law”. You must be joking, Dr. Wippl, right? I believe you are talking about people like the zealous and respectful attorneys from G.W. Bush’s DoJ who distorted the law and constitution so artfully to justify the use of torture in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh yes, I feel much more reassured now.

  3. Dr. Wipple starts out with a straw man argument “until FISA it wasn’t even illegal to monitor US citizens” ignoring the 100 year old legal traditions of ‘Right to Privacy’ expostulated by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis.
    – – – He is basically making the same arguments as the folks who want to maintain unethical campaign contributions. “We found a legal loophole, it’s the people’s fault if they can’t pass laws to plug this loophole, or the next one we exploit, or the next one.”
    – – – He ignores the apparently routine participation of the NSA in the DEA scandal of gathering information and then ‘redoing’ the police work to create a false ‘offical’ paper trail of how they did a common drug bust. And that the track record of all the post 911 surveilance has resulted in much more domestic low level crime enforcement than even the investigation of terrorism.
    – – – Maybe you should put in “HONEST” and “DISHONEST” buttons for opinion pieces. This level of intillectual dishonesty is EXACTLY what I have come to expect from the CIA, and why many Americans don’t trust their agencies that spy.

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