Friday, August 18, 2006

Freedom and/or Security

You, like any other good citizen have put your faith in the Government to do everything in their power to guarantee your security and freedom. And you, an honorable tax-paying law abiding citizen also expect the Government to do so without violating your rights under the constitution, and without encroaching your privacy and without dooming your civil liberties.

As it has become increasingly evident in recent times, we have a situation here.

Fundamentally, our way of life stands on the legs of Freedom and Security. We cannot have one without the other. We also cannot have both stretched to their limits. So, when we make our wishes, we also, perhaps begrudgingly accept the fine prints.

Only a fool would understate the difficult balance we seek today. We don't want to get blown up into pieces by the terrorists--we are also not ready to allow the Government to listen to our phone conversations and read our emails indiscriminately.

The Government wants us to choose between the two--freedom or security. That is, we cannot exercise our constitutional rights to have both--freedom and security. The Government forgets, quite willingly that it was sworn to uphold the constitution.

While we fight an invisible enemy hell bent to take us hostages in this war on terror, and who would go any length to destroy our core values--and vandalize our way of life, we also face the obligation to protect everything our enemies want to send to the graves with us.

Which is why today's ruling by a Federal Judge that the warrantless wiretapping program promoted by the Government and carried out by the National Security Agency is unconstitutional and must be stopped immediately, should bring congruous smiles to the faces who realize the significance of the Statue of liberty.

This is an embarrassment to the present administration, which has demonstrated time and time again and beyond reasonable doubts their aggressive intent to bypass the Constitution and the due legal procedures.

Such frivolous practices were part of the former Soviet Union.

I don't think anyone would object to the fact that it is necessary to carry out wiretapping surveillance program for national security purposes. The question is how should it be done. You might be surprised but the answer is childishly simple.

All they--the smart folks in the NSA and Justice Department have to do is to go and convince a judge to give them a warrant to carry out their investigation. I don't see a problem as long as they have valid reasons.

In criminal investigations, such surveillance is routinely carried out by the law enforcement agencies after obtaining proper warrants. I never heard anybody complaining.

I understand that the authorities believe they have justifiable reasons for wiretapping individuals who are terrorists or perceived as threats to the national security. But their insistence to avoid the due process and reluctance to get a proper warrant is incomprehensible--unless of course the whole monitoring business is entirely without merits, or perhaps they have widened their net as much as they could and hoping to get lucky.

To me this looks like incompetence.

Yes, the authorities say that this is not being done indiscriminately--and these are the same people who lied to the country to get into a war that has now cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.

Sorry, George — you had the trust of your people. You lost it.

By all means listen to the phone conversations, read the emails if that helps making everyone safer and more secure. But before you do so, get yourself a warrant.

Now, why is it so difficult?

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