An American in Moscow, by Andrew P. Napolitano

That Edward Snowden had to flee the U.S., take refuge in Russia, and become a citizen of that country for telling the truth about the government’s surveillance of ordinary Americans is a stain on the U.S. that will never fade. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

When the Trump administration obtained an indictment of Edward Snowden for violation of the Espionage Act of 1917, many of us who believe that the Fourth Amendment means what it says were deeply critical of the government, and we remain so today. This week, retaining his American citizenship, Snowden became a Russian citizen.

Snowden is the former CIA and National Security Agency operative — he was a CIA agent and was later employed by a contractor for the NSA — who blew the whistle on NSA and FBI mass undifferentiated warrantless spying on all persons in America.

The spying consisted of capturing all fiber-optic data that was transmitted into, out of and within the United States. As no warrants were sought or obtained and no targets were named — hence, the spying was undifferentiated — it captured the communications of everyone. The government did not bother to seek out evidence and target those as to whom it found probable cause, as the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution requires.

The Fourth Amendment was written to keep the government out of our private affairs and off our backs and to force the government to stay in the lane of probable cause of crime. Thus, with the requirement of probable cause — evidence that (a) a crime was committed and (b) it is more likely than not that execution of the warrant will produce more evidence of that crime — the Fourth Amendment explicitly outlaws general warrants that permit the bearer to search wherever he wishes and seize whatever he finds. The amendment requires every warrant to describe specifically the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.

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