Two new American heroes have emerged in the fight for civil liberties and they’re both companies that do the same thing. The managements of Lavabit and Silent Circle, two secure email services, have decided to close their respective firms rather than hand over the emails of their users to the National Security Agency (NSA).
“I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on — the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise.”
Bravo to all involved with both companies, who have put their livelihoods on the line to avoid participating in an evil activity—mass spying on the entirety of a nation.
Meanwhile, President Obama has been wimping out. He says that he wants to form a commission to consider scaling back the Patriot Act, yet he continues to have the NSA collect and analyze the personal telephone data of hundreds of millions of Americans.
He expresses concern for the use of drones, but keeps using them. Why can’t he just say, No!
Just because the executive branch of government has the right to do something, doesn’t mean it has to do it. The Patriot Act does not order the NSA to spy on all Americans; it merely gives it the legal right to do so.
All the President has to do is tell the NSA to stop spying and tell the military to stop using drones. But he won’t do it.
Instead he closes more than a dozen diplomatic posts and intensifies the droning of Yemen based on the so-called intelligence the NSA culled from its vast information sifting machine. But what was supposed to be a justification for all this spying turned out to be a petard upon which Al Qaeda hoisted the President, claiming that its campaign of terror was succeeding in its mission to terrorize the United States—we were certainly shivering in terror by closing those embassy offices!
Obama seems to be losing his moral compass when it comes to security the same way that all our Presidents since Truman seem to have done, except Ronald Reagan and Bush II. Under the sway of neo-Con and Nativist thinking, Reagan and especially Bush II fully embraced the idea of curtailing civil liberties and spying on citizens as part of their central political agenda from the very beginning. It’s sad to see Barack Obama continue our drift to a police state.