Las Vegas Sun

September 22, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Domestic spying may be necessary

The popular opinion is that the government has overstepped its bounds by adopting the policy of collecting phone records of everyone.

I guess you could make the argument that the government does not need to collect everyone’s records, but what happens if someone who had not reached the level of suspicion was responsible for an attack that killed many of our fellow citizens?

Back when Congress authorized President George W. Bush to start this program, it was understood that the government was going to be looking for foreign threats.

Yes, the government has expanded the scope of its endeavors, and I am not sure if it is good or bad.

The bottom line for me is this: I do not communicate with any terrorist organization, and I am not planning any terrorism on my fellow citizens.

While I am not a supporter of the government’s way of doing business as far as the tax system, elections, lobbying and most of the foreign policy, I am not plotting the overthrow of the government.

Therefore, the government can spy on me all it wants. I think it would be just another waste of our tax dollars, but if they must to make sure nothing bad happens, so be it.

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  1. Mr. Bartner,

    Ben Franklin would be ashamed to know you.

  2. The letter writer may not mind being spied on because he has nothing to hide. But, other Americans do mind and cite their Fourth Amendment rights as the reason. The PRISM and FISA programs need oversight by Congress and reauthorization yearly/biannually going forward. Why? To protect and ensure the rights of freedom of speech and privacy guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution for all Americans.

    Carmine D

  3. There's a "church" up here in the Inland Northwest whose pastor routinely preaches that ZOG, the Zionist Occupation Government of the US, colludes with the United Nations to impose tyranny upon the US. About 80-100 folk regularly attend, being willing to stand publicly in the community. There are more who sympathize but don't attend. The next county over from me has a shadow government, the Assembly, which meets weekly to discuss the same issues discussed by the County Commissioners at their regular meeting but with different interpretations and decisions. Several of our local County Sheriffs have sworn oaths to some organizations pledging to interpret the Constitution their way and pledging to ignore SCOTUS decisions with different interpretations. I've got a neighbor who I help out every so often whose disability check goes to body armor and armor-piercing ammunition, laser sighted night scopes and machining to turn his weapons fully automatic. Should these people be watched and listened in on or is this merely harmless eccentricity of the paranoid?

  4. It's interesting that so many conservatives claim to be outraged by intrusion into phone records -- and yet many of those same people are foaming at the mouth about instituting complete government control over a woman's uterus.

  5. "The popular opinion is that the government has overstepped its bounds by adopting the policy of collecting phone records of everyone. I guess you could make the argument that the government does not need to collect everyone's records. . . . .I do not communicate with any terrorist organization, and I am not planning any terrorism on my fellow citizens. . . . .I am not plotting the overthrow of the government. Therefore, the government can spy on me all it wants."

    Gartner -- and not a word about how the Fourth Amendment protects the rest of us from unreasonable (read "suspicionless") searches. Whether you're ignorant or just don't care, the point is it's your choice to make. But you don't get to make it for anyone else, nor does your choice diminish the limits the Bill of Rights puts on government.

    "...we know that Al-Qaeda operatives still seek to strike out at our homeland..."

    BChap -- and how exactly did "we" come to "know" any of that? I suspect your mere opinion is again masquerading as knowledge.

    "Should these people be watched and listened in on or is this merely harmless eccentricity of the paranoid?"

    wharfrat -- I see you mentioned nothing about either the Bill of Rights nor anyone being injured by those "eccentrics" in your post. My take is they're fully protected by those Constitutional limits.

    "Although "1984" has come and gone, the Orwellian "Thought Police" are now within the realm of scientific possibilities. As Justice Brandeis so wisely observed in his dissent in Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1927), "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding." -- Riggins v. State, 107 Nev. 178, 188 (1991), Springer dissenting

  6. Those of us who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear. The President himself stated that information that is gathered is securely held, is subject to the established process of issuance of a Court Ordered Search Warrant, should there be "a reasonable cause or reasonable suspicion".

    Our Fourth Ammendment Rights are protected thanks to the Court Ordered Search Warrant process. Furthermore, the President has encouraged debate, and a continual examination of the system in place for updating. Seems transparent and accountable enough without compromising Citizens' rights or national security here.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  7. "Those of us who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear."

    star -- you fail to understand the meaning of privacy, especially the kind protected by our Bill of Rights.

    "The struggle for liberty has been a struggle against Government. The essential scheme of our Constitution and Bill of Rights was to take Government off the backs of people." -- Columbia Broadcasting Sys., Inc. v. Democratic Nat'l Comm., 412 U.S. 94, 162 (1973), Justice Douglas concurring

  8. Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/politi...

    "WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials."

    Why didn't you complain when Bush was in office? Many of you have exposed your hypocrisy. It's not about spying, it's all about your hatred of Obama.

  9. A significant part of the discussion should be whether or not these things are necessary. When they use various attacks as an excuse, but they had information or warnings which were not properly acted upon, one has to question the reasons for increased domestic surveillance. But under the cloud of secrecy, you have only the word of some officials that these things are necessary. And some of the best excuses they can give to us are telling us that they stopped a bomb plot against Wall Street when even their own court documents showed that the plan was abandoned for lack of proper data and because it looked too difficult.

  10. Who has been spied on? Give me some names. Maybe a hand full of people calling Iran, Pakistan, Iraq. As of yet not one name.
    Give me a break!

  11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pla...

    One reason why some of you are confused, you are buying into the propaganda.

    The "sky is falling" buy gold! Buy water purifiers! Buy survival seeds! Buy a bomb shelter! That is what motivates those on the far right, fear, and they are being duped by people who want to make money by ginning up fear levels. Unfortunately for many, their education ends with reading the bible and their intellectual curiosity is dead.

  12. 70 years ago domestic intelligence consists of human spying and data sifting mainly through the mail. The system was so impotent we lost track of the entire Japanese Navy as it sailed across the ocean to blow up Pearl Harbor.

    The same people who are complaining about the current data collection methodologies would be whining if we got hit with a cyber attack or terrorist attack in which lives were lost.

    Criminals and terrorists are using more advanced techniques to try to harm us. We have to respond with better technologies. The same way we did with phone taps and massive data collection when the FBI was in full swing during World War II. Intelligence agencies monitored correspondence that went back and forth to Germany and Asia. It's the same thing today.

  13. Jeff,

    You really need to read what you write before you push the post button. "It is a shame the losers of that election (Future, Casler, DiFazio, Freeman, And Romney etc.) have acted like traitors, rather than partners in devising solutions."

    Traitors? Really? I am a acting like a Traitor because I disagree with what I perceive to be the philosophy of President Obama and I disagree with some (not all) of his policies. My Goodness! Has it really come to that or would you like to re-think what you wrote?

    I am quite sure I have not said or done anything more than many people, probably including you, did during the Bush administration. To me, those people were not acting like traitors; they were expressing a differing view. I know they were called traitors by some on the right, but I considered those that did that idiots. You don't really want to join that group of idiots do you? I hope not.

    Michael

  14. Juice...Franklin lived in England much of his life. His son was loyal to the Brits. While in England Franklin illegally engaged in cadaver dissection and buried the cut up bodies under his basement. He also belonged to the "Hellfire" sex clubs. A bunch of old farts that liked to get high and penetrate young gals.
    Domestic surveillance is a mild past time compared to Ben's predilections. He gave up no safety. He was protected by the US and Britain. Nothing like playing both sides of the coin.

  15. Michael,

    You must admit you are far saner and less paranoid than some of the wing nuts who post here. I may not agree with many of your political beliefs, but at least you present an argument that isn't communicated from Planet Bizarro.

  16. RE Zippert1's (gerry hageman): "Who has been spied on? Give me some names. Maybe a hand full of people calling Iran, Pakistan, Iraq. As of yet not one name.
    Give me a break!"

    You show a distinct lack of knowledge of the term "Catch 22", Gerry. Anyone how actually PROVIDES a name of someone who has been spied on, accompanied by the necessary proof of the spying, would be guilty of revealing classified information and would promptly find him/herself in Edward Snowden's position...

  17. Gartner,

    You really believe you aren't sure about "Yes, the government has expanded the scope of its endeavors, and I am not sure if it is good or bad." ?? Really??

    You and your ilk scare me!

    If I hear the irrational argument "I have nothing to hide" and/or "that could never happen here" one more time, I may erupt.

    What the hell will you do/say when "the government" wants you to report your actions via e.mail on a weekly or daily basis? Will you still be OK since you have done nothing wrong?

    Gartner, what will you do/say when you get a visit from a "government" inspector at your home or office just to check on your actions? Still OK?

    Gartner, what will you do/say when the action you made legally a year ago is now illegal and an inspector arrives at your front door to inform you of that fact? Still OK?

    Gartner, what will you do/say when the inspector arrives with a gun and handcuffs? I know the answer - you are not OK.

    Respectfully, please give your opinion a little more analyses. It CAN happen here.

    Purgatory

  18. Vernos,

    Jeff sometimes makes some sense, but if I am so sane and make decent arguments, even though you disagree with them, how do I come across to Jeff as acting like a traitor? I don't get it.

    Michael

  19. Chuck333,

    I agree that some of Jeff's posts are pretty good. The post we are talking about surprised me.

    Michael

  20. Chuck333,

    I understand your reluctance. It does bother me that so many Americans, as well as many that write to the Sun, both Progressives and Conservatives, just cannot and will not abide someone who just fundamentally disagrees with their perspective.

    I'm quite sure that Jeff disagreed with former President Bush's philosophy and most decisions he made. I'm fine with that. I don't think that makes Jeff seem like a traitor; just someone who had big disagreements with the 'decider' and those that supported him. It should be OK to disagree without being labeled a character from Despicable Me! or something worse.

    Michael

  21. Whether it was Bush policy or is Obama policy does not matter. The unbridled intrusion of the government into our personal lives is wrong. "Data mining" without limits is wrong. The dreamy notion that there is some government court up in the sky making sure the government does not check us out while we are taking a shower or sleeping with our partners is a fantasy. Reasoning that the government is justified in taking everthing it wants about everything we do because the government is somehow protecting us from terrorists is an unrealistic expectation for a government that cannot even take responsibily for its most basic mission to protect its own people,for example in a Benghazi State Department outpost. For a government that cannot even stop a bomb attack in Boston by two terrorists, one of which had been ID'd by another government far before the deadly bombing occured. A government which cannot prevent its own agencies from politically targeting and harassing innocent Americans. A government which cajoles courts to issue search warrants to seize the records of the press,when in fact it was the government's own employees who were the target of the investigation,and the warrants were secured on false pretences. Remember,all this government snooping is happening to protect us from terrorists,when our government has announced to the world through it Commander in Chief that the war on terror is over. What's wrong with this picture? What's wrong with the American people,that they have lost their capacity to think and their will to protect their privacy and civil liberties against unbridled intrusions and abuses by their own government. How pitiful and sad for this once thinking nation.

  22. Obama morphed into Bush on steroids with the same policies and picks as Bush/Cheney. And a poster here calls people who voted against Obama traitors? Obama won the election and lost the presidency just a few months into his second term.

    Carmine D