Memorandum to: Admiral Michael S. Rogers, Director of the NSA
Dear Admiral Rogers,
Despite the fact that Senator Rand Paul achieved his objective of preventing a renewal of the Patriot Act, I want you to know that I give you authority in your capacity as head of the NSA to gather the data from my various telephones that you deem necessary to protect me (and all Americans) from the growing dangers of terrorism.
And if Congress passes a watered-down version of the Patriot Act, thereby restricting your organization’s ability to collect the data, you have my permission to continue acquiring whatever data you need from my telephones.
And by the way, Admiral, I have spent the last week questioning numerous friends and acquaintances on this issue. The political spectrum of my friends is wide indeed, ranging from the uber right-wing Tea Party to Libertarian to Republican to Democrat and even radical left-wing socialists.
While not all those I contacted feel as I do, the vast majority are in agreement. I was surprised to find that most of those who took issue with me on this matter are in fact Democrats, hardly a group of fans of Senator Paul. They said it was a distrust of government that led them to their point of view.
It’s understandable that many people distrust government, but we know it’s the venality of politics, not our structure of government that is at fault. Back-room deals, pork barreling and too much quid pro quo — all for the purpose of self-perpetuation in government.
Back to the issue at hand, I find it implausible that the NSA has either the interest or the capacity to sit around all day listening to the content of my(notice the emphasis on ‘my’) myriad phone calls — to family, doctors, coworkers, service providers, restaurants and friends here and abroad. It would take armies of government employees to achieve that level of scrutiny, far more than the 35,000 to 40,000 people who work for the NSA. I suppose conspiracy theorists might argue that the listening could be farmed out to “subcontractors.”
I took the time to listen to Senator Rand Paul on Sunday, and there is no doubt that he is earnest in his belief that the gathering of telephone data (note: just the gathering of the data, not eavesdropping) is a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which states “The right of the people to be secure … against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ….”
I am no constitutional lawyer. But like most of my friends and acquaintances, I expect the government to do everything in its power to keep us (and in fact the free world) safe from an enemy that is at war with our values, our form of government and our way of life.
I view the gathering of telephone data as one tool in our government’s arsenal. It hardly seems like an “unreasonable seizure.” In fact, I can see no way in which my liberty is curtailed by it; rather, I feel more secure in the knowledge that the government is doing everything in its power to track and destroy those who would wage war on us.
Thank you, Admiral, for your years of service to our country. I hope you will be granted the tools necessary to fight an enemy we know is growing stronger by the day.