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Letters: End surveillance state

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  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    June 13, 2013 5:30 p.m.

    So most of us now agree, so why isn't it stopping? We don't control congress, money does.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    June 13, 2013 12:35 p.m.

    @2 bits
    Cottonwood Heights, UT
    airnaut,

    At least my numbers weren't in the tens of thousands when there are only 535 people in both Houses combined.

    Anybody who can post tens of thousands of votes and not even realize their numbers are WAY off before posting it... has no room to criticize others for "posting gibberish".

    ======

    I said - and repeat --
    The DN comment box did not paste the format as written at 2:06 pm,
    so I RE-posted at 2:27 when I discovered the format error.

    Besides --
    Even with your Assumed "both" Houses --
    The Republicans voted FOR the spying extension and expansion by over a 2 to 1 ratio over Democrats.

    Even in the Senate - Nearly ALL Republicans voted FOR it, along with the few exception rouge Democrats.

    Give it up, and just admit when you are clearly wrong - and also that the GOP is primarily to blame for it.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 13, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    The Real Maverick,
    I don't know if Rebubs blame Obama for "Everything". But I know SOME people who would like to give Obama a PASS on everything.

    You have to admit that Obama has to own at least HIS role in the Patriot Act being renewed into law, and HIS administration's use of the Patriot Act. I mean you have to admit that HE authorized these surveillance programs... Don't you?

    OK. That's all I'm saying.

    I don't like it. Didn't like it in the beginning (because of it's potential for abuse). Don't like what Obama is doing with it now. At least I'm consistent. How about you?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 13, 2013 10:09 a.m.

    airnaut,
    I gave you the roll call from both the Senate and the HOR. Read the whole thing before ranting.

    When I say "Congress" I mean both the Senate and the House of Representatives. But you can't just combine them. I give the numbers and comments verbatim as they appeared in the "Senate and House roll call" site.

    At least my numbers weren't in the tens of thousands when there are only 535 people in both Houses combined.

    Anybody who can post tens of thousands of votes and not even realize their numbers are WAY off before posting it... has no room to criticize others for "posting gibberish".

  • EDM Castle Valley, Utah
    June 13, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    Great letter, Mr. Rodier!

  • Unreconstructed Reb Chantilly, VA
    June 13, 2013 8:11 a.m.

    Mike, your interpretation of the Fourth Amendment ignores a long string of SCOTUS cases involving the Third Party Doctrine, including:

    Katz v. US (1967) ("What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection.")

    US v. Miller (1970) (Sharing financial transaction records with a bank loses privacy protections of Fourth Amendment.)

    Smith v. Maryland (1979) (Dialing phone numbers "assumed the risk that the [phone] company would reveal to police the numbers he dialed.")

    Plus a lower court decision in US v. Choate (1978)(The Fourth Amendment does not preclude the Government from copying information on a posted letter's envelope.)

    This is well-settled law. The Government must still obtain a warrant based on probable cause to actually read the contents of records rather than analyze their surrounding metadata as NSA does. But nothing in Snowden's allegations suggests that this isn't happening indeed, *that* should be more frightening to people than if there were laws being broken.

    These facts are not an endorsement of NSA's program. However, Mike, the Fourth Amendment needs buttressing to preserve the meaning you believe it does.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    June 13, 2013 8:10 a.m.

    This partisan finger-pointing is ridiculous. What we have is the outcome of decades of building up a national security apparatus to win the Cold War, kicked into overdrive by the aftermath of 9/11.

    Both parties own this.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    June 12, 2013 11:28 p.m.

    @SEY
    Sandy, UT

    So tell me, you defenders of Obama: are you ok with what he and his administration are doing with regard to this issue?

    =======

    1. I'm not a defender of Obama on this matter of the Bush and Republican Patriot Act, and subsequent NSA spying.

    2. I'm disappointing watching Barrack Obama morph into a GW Obama.

    3. I am a man of integrity, and have fought against it everyday for the past 12 years - while the ultra-conservatives posting have called me [a Veteran] a traitor, un-Patriotic, and un-American for crying foul.

    4. Who's crying now? [hypocrites]

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    June 12, 2013 10:11 p.m.

    So tell me, you defenders of Obama: are you ok with what he and his administration are doing with regard to this issue? Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds to me like you're just fine with it. I hear no criticism of anything they're doing. Where do you stand on the issue itself?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 12, 2013 9:45 p.m.

    Repubs continue to blame Obama on everything. Yet, they forget that the hundreds of repubs in DC which have voted to renew he patriot act. Had Obama vetoed it, repubs would have overruled him. Not only that, but these same posters blasting him for signing it would have blasted him for going "too easy" on terrorism and not protecting us.

    Kind of a catch 22 for Obama.

    It's these types of hypocrisies which only hurt the GOP. We see through the smoke and mirrors and recognize that the GOP has no answers to today's problems. They merely wish to play games.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 12, 2013 5:13 p.m.

    From the Huffington Post: "WASHINGTON — Minutes before a midnight deadline, President Barack Obama signed into law a four-year extension of post-Sept. 11 powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists.

    "It's an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat," Obama said Friday after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy."

    We have government intrusion into our lives, including recording to whom we speak and (some say) the contents of those telephone calls and emails because Obama extended the Patriot Act. He cannot blame George Bush. He cannot blame Ronald Reagan. HE signed the bill. HE extended the act. It is under HIS watch that our 4th Amendment rights are being violated.

    If he chose, he could NOT enforce that act, just like he has chosen to NOT enforce DOMA and just like he has chosen to NOT prosecute and deport illegal aliens.

    His actions tell us that he wants to spy on us and that he has nothing but comtempt for the 4th Amendment.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 12, 2013 4:16 p.m.

    "I used to think the Patriot Act and warrantless wiretapping were good ideas..."then a Democrat started doing it.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    June 12, 2013 4:13 p.m.

    Will the last person to leave NSA HQ; please type Lucius Fox into the main control to shut it all down.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    June 12, 2013 4:02 p.m.

    @2 bits
    Cottonwood Heights, UT

    airnaut,
    Where did you get those numbers? There aren't even that many people in Congress!

    ======

    I can't quote the website, but it ended had the key words United States and Congress with .gov

    BTW -
    You said - and I quote you - "Congress", and then ran off on the Senate.

    I don't know HOW you can sit there and argue REALITY,
    but it seems you and Mr. RedShirt are cut from the same cloth of lost reality.

    I gave the numbers - twice -
    and you both sit there and argue pure gibberish.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 12, 2013 3:34 p.m.

    Moderate,

    Please explain to us how a clause in a cell-phone contract eliminates the protection of the 4th Amendment. Have you given away your right to speak freely against the government because you may have signed a piece of paper at sometime in your past stating that you have "nothing to complain about"? Please explain how any clause unrelated to any specific "crime" ever allows the government to abridge our 4th Amendment rights.

    We are United States Citizens. We, not the government, dictate what we allow. We, not the government, dictate how we can be "searched". We, not the government, have set the boundary for ANY search of our personal records.

    If you want the government to enter your home at any time for any reason because you signed something totally unrelated to GOVERNMENT INTRUSION into your life, then that is between you and the government.

    No court in America would allow an obscure clause in an obscure contract to allow the government to set aside our 4th Amendment rights unrelated to any specific "crime, even if four of five supreme court justices agree.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    June 12, 2013 3:21 p.m.

    To "airnaut" since you are now in rant mode, lets look at the facts.

    Fact #1, the Patriot Act was not expanded or extended in 2001, that is when it was created. Please try and respond to what I actually wrote, not what you think I wrote.

    Fact #2, there are more than just those bills that extended the Patriot Act, and the many clauses that have been expanded under Obama. It is nice that you found that the numerically the Democrat Senators liked it, while the Representatives didn't. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. There are acts like the National Defense Act and the Library Provision of Patriot Act, among all sorts of other laws that didn't contain the word Patriot Act in the title, yet extended the time and scope of the patriot act.

    Now that you bring Obama into it, if he opposed the Patriot Act extension, why didn't he veto it. That is his job you know, to veto legislation that he thinks would be bad. According to Canidate Obama from 2008, the Patriot Act was horrible and wrong. Why the change?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 12, 2013 3:14 p.m.

    airnaut,
    Where did you get those numbers? There aren't even that many people in Congress!

    These are the real numbers (google "Senate and House Vote Roll Call on U.S. Patriot Act 2001 & 2006" to verify them)

    And I quote...
    "These are the 98 U.S. senators for voted in favor of the US Patriot Act of 2001 (Senator Landrieu (D-LA) did not vote) Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin was the only senator who voted against the Patriot Act on October 24, of 2001"

    So... only ONE Senator voted against it.

    In the House it was to 357 for, 66 against

    ---

    When it came up again in 2006...
    89 of 100 U.S. senators voted in favor of the March 2, 2006 Patriot Act Reauthorizing Act

    In the house... 280 for, 138 against, 14 no vote

    Neither party was against it. The majority of BOTH parties voted FOR it in 2001 and 2006. And in 2010 a Democrat President with a Democrat SUPER-Majority in both houses campaigned FOR it, and a Democrat President could have vetoed it but signed it into law. So you really can't just blame Repugs.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    June 12, 2013 2:53 p.m.

    RE: Mike Richards "They completely ignore whether the government violated our rights."
    You sign up with a service provider. You skim over (but probably skip reading) the End User License Agreement, and check "I agree" so that you can start using the service.

    In the EULA, it says the provider may share data that it collects. The provider shares the data with the government, which stores and analyzes its copy of the data.

    You agreed to all of this. How does the 4th Amendment apply?

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    June 12, 2013 2:26 p.m.

    Sorry - my comment did not format as expected:

    To "RedShirt" did you do know that numerically, your argument falls completely flat?

    Patriot Act 2001
    ...........Yeas...Nays

    Republican 211.....3
    Democratic 145....62
    Independent........1
    TOTALS ....357....66

    Re-Authorization 2006

    ..........Yeas...Nays
    Republican 214....13
    Democratic .66...124
    Independent .......1
    TOTALS ....280...138

    Re-Re-Authorization Extension and Expansion 2011

    .............Yeas.. Nays
    Republican ...210....27
    Democratic ....65...117
    Independent
    TOTALS .......275...144

    Doesn't matter anyway,
    your world doesn't rely on facts or reality.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 12, 2013 2:22 p.m.

    The foolish argue whether the government was "justified". They completely ignore whether the government violated our rights.

    The 4th Amendment says:

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    Before the foolish continue to tell us that the government was "justified, perhaps they should show us when and where the "warrants" based on "probable cause" were issued. Perhaps they should cite those warrants, the name of the judge, the name of the prosecutor, and exactly what that "probable cause" was.

    We are Americans. The Constitutiton protects us from the government. The Constitution protects us from "surveillance" by the "government. The "Patriot Act" does not replace the 4th Amendment. No Amendments have been ratified giving the government the authority to record the numbers or the conversations that we make via telephone, cell-phone or computer.

    Either stand up for your rights or sit still while those rights are violated.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 12, 2013 2:20 p.m.

    When we are small we believe making the right decision is a choice between good and bad. As we get older most (some talk show hosts excepted) come to realize making the right decision is often a little more complex. For example sometimes choosing the right involves a decision between bad and worse.

    Government monitoring who we call = bad

    Bombs exploding in grocery stores = worse

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    June 12, 2013 2:07 p.m.

    @RedShirt
    USS Enterprise, UT

    To "airnaut" you do know that numerically, more Democrats voted to expand and extend the Patriot Act.
    12:15 p.m. June 12, 2013

    ========

    To "RedShirt" did you do know that numerically, your argument falls completely flat?

    Patriot Act 2001
    Yeas Nays

    Republican 2113
    Democratic 14562
    Independent 11
    TOTALS 35766

    Re-Authorization 2006

    Yeas Nays
    Republican 21413
    Democratic 66124
    Independent 1
    TOTALS 280138

    Re-Re-Authorization Extension and Expansion 2011

    Yeas Nays
    Republican 21027
    Democratic 65117
    Independent
    TOTALS 275144

    If it makes you feel any better --
    Rep. Rob Bishop committed political suicide by siding with the DEMOCRATS the last 2 times in opposing it. I applaud him for voting for Freedom and the Constitution,

    ...as opposed to Bennett, Hatch, Chris Cannon, and Jason Chaffetz who vote FOR it, under both Bush AND Obama.
    But go ahead and blame Obama for signing what our representatives in Utah gave him.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 12, 2013 1:38 p.m.

    @lost in DC

    Those words came from Admiral David Farragut during the Battle of Mobile Bay. I have adopted them to use in the Battle of America against conservative and republicans.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    June 12, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    atl134
    you mean the bill would have renewed by itself if BO had not signed it?

    I think you need to retake your US government class.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    June 12, 2013 12:15 p.m.

    To "one old man" I can get around having the merchants track my purchases by going cash only. Explain how a person can do anything in this modern world without using the telephone or email. The NSA is not only listening in on your phone conversations, but is also recording them along with your email.

    So, imagine that in the future you say something to a high ranking politician. They now have the ability to look through all of the records they have on you and dig up anything that is questionable, and arrest you for it.

    To "airnaut" you do know that numerically, more Democrats voted to expand and extend the Patriot Act.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    June 12, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    I used to think the Patriot Act and warrantless wiretapping were good ideas, but in light of the massive abuses of power such as wiretapping of innocents' cellular phone conversations, Internet surveillance and spying on the press, I have changed my mind.

    =======

    In other words...

    I liked Bush and the Republicans passing the Patriot Act,
    I don't like Obama and the Republicans expanding and extending the Patriot Act.

    FYI --
    When I call baloney on this 12 years ago - I was told to sit down and be quiet,
    I was also told I was NOT Patriotic.

    He who has the laughs last, laughs best.

    HaHaHa!

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    June 12, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    Sorry but the NSA, Booz Allen, or the Carlyle group couldn't care less what your say on Facebook or even on the DN opinion page. All these groups are in cahoots to drain your pocket book. Edward Snowden was an employee of Booz Allen which is a subsidiary of Carlyle. The current Director of National Intelligence is an ex employee and a Bush 43 DNI is a current employee of Booz Allen. Bush Sr was on the Board of Directors for Carlyle after he left office. Dick Cheney is a former CEO for Halliburton another No-Bid contractor that is responsible for electrocuting GI's in Iraq. Do you a trend here? Mitch McConnell has increased his personal wealth from 4 mill to 25 mill on a salary of less the 200k. How does that happen? All of this and more because we were convinced we need to be in a constant state of fear over something that has less of chance to happen than killing ourselves in the bathtub. Let's fix the system that has overpopulated our leadership with Flim Flam men.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 12, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    Used to be if you complained about government surveillance you were told to take off your tinfoil hat. Now it doesn't seem so crazy.

    I was concerned and voiced my concern about the broad nature of the Patriot Act when it was originally proposed (Bush Admin) and when it was reneued (when we had a Super-Majority of Democrats during the Obama Administration).

    The Real Maverick
    Your stereotype inspired claim that it's all Republican's fault is not proven true by the voting record in Congress. Look it up.

    Many conservatives (not necessarily "Republicans") including most Tea-Party people loudly voiced concern about this when it was originally proposed and again when it was renewed.

    All Republicans don't LOVE the Patriot Act. And all Democrats don't like it. It's not just another partisan thing. Blaming it all on "Republicans" just doesn't work when you look at the Congressional voting records.

    I've always been against it. Not it's goals... but it's tactics. But I realize why many politicians think we need it. I know current administrations may not abuse it... but there could be administrations in the future that would.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 12, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    @lost in DC
    "The Patriot act would be history if BO (D), had not signed the bill authorizing its extension. "

    Yeah how dare he sign that bill your party got through Congress.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    June 12, 2013 10:07 a.m.

    Open? minded
    The court that oversees this was first informally put in place by Ford, but Carter (D) made it law.

    But go ahead, repeat your mantra (dem good, repub bad) if it makes you feel better.

    Old man,
    You have a choice whether or not to swipe your card. You could pay by cash and some places still accept checks. And as SEY said, can private merchants put you in prison?

    Ultra Bob,
    I think Patrick Henry would have disagreed with your final statement.

    Maverick,
    The Patriot act would be history if BO (D), had not signed the bill authorizing its extension. Leave it to BO to turn the NSA into the Stasi

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 12, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    If those who complain most about government survelliance of our lives really want to back up their words with action, then they must elect more democrats NOT republicans. Republicans love the Patriot Act. As we have seen with how it is renewed, republicans all support it while Democrats do not. So will repubs like this letter writer, red skirt, and Michael Richards vote for Democrats this next election? Don't hold your breath.

    In other words, these folks will complain but won't do anything to fix the problem. Typical of the GOP today.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 12, 2013 9:07 a.m.

    At the beginning of WWII many people thought that the way to fight a war was with massive ships with big guns. Fortunately we were able to realize that the era of big ships was gone and had been replaced by the airplane.

    Today we are engaged in a new war that has new weapons. Yet we are still expecting to defend ourselves with aircraft and submarines.

    Today’s war is a war for the minds of men rather than conquest of physical lands and oceans. We are being attacked by little bits of electricity and have yet to find a war to defend against them. We have built huge monstrosities of inter connected networks and don’t have a good way to defend them.

    Electronic surveillance may not be the answer, but if it has a possibility of helping to defend our nation, Dam the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    June 12, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    How are you going to know that these surveillance programs ended?
    They'd probably just get renamed and made even more secretive.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 12, 2013 8:26 a.m.

    We live in a world where everyone voluntarily provides an incredible amount of personal information about themselves in the name of 'social media'. The metadata collected isn't nearly as intrusive. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge advocate of privacy, but this is kind of what we signed up for when we accepted the patriot act.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    June 12, 2013 8:22 a.m.

    Res Novae: do you believe everything your government tells you?

    One old man: Google isn't going to use that information to go on a fishing expedition that can find me in prison for whatever reason. I'll trust Google before I'll trust government. Government has guns and prisons, Google has spam.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    June 12, 2013 7:35 a.m.

    No, Open Minded Mormon, Bush bad & Obama bad. He's just figuring it out 12 years too late.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    June 12, 2013 7:33 a.m.

    For the sake of informed discussion, I note that the letter is misinformed: the program in question does not involve wiretapping, but gathers and aggregrates metadata. There is a distinct legal difference.

    The Supreme Court ruled in Smith v. Maryland (1979) that use of phone numbers obtained without a warrant from phone records doesn't violate the 4th Amendment's expectation of privacy, and therefore is constitutional. I don't see a difference between that and the data being collected here, except as a matter of scale.

    This is an important issue, and we are long overdue for a robust discussion on collective security versus individual privacy rights. But that conversation has to start with facts and understanding of what is or isn't legal in this country. At this point, I don't consider Snowden a whistleblower because there was nothing to blow the whistle against. The executive is executing a law with legislative oversight, and running it through the judiciary (albeit a s secretive body). Everything is legal, no matter how much discomfort it causes. If we don't like it, we need to tell our elected leaders to change the laws in favor of greater transparency.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    June 12, 2013 7:21 a.m.

    I have news for all those who are screaming about the evil NSA.

    Aren't you aware WHO really has volumes of information about virtually every aspect of our lives? Don't you know who collects your personal information EVERY DAY?

    They are called merchandisers -- the vaunted free market that drives our economic lives.

    Every time you swipe your debit card, every time you make a purchase at a Smith's Marketplace or almost any other retail store, any time to take out an insurance policy or open an account or seek a loan at your bank or credit union, your personal information is sucked up by an enormous corporate vacuum sweeper.

    And is that information secure?

    Well, I can use Google to instantly find dozens of sites willing to provide me with everything known about you -- for a small fee, of course.

    I can learn your date and place of birth, your SSN number, your favorite dish at your favorite restaurant, what size pants you wear, and probably all sorts of embarrassing stuff that you can't imagine.

    So who do we really need to be worrying about?

    But all that is the Free Enterprise system. Not the NSA.