Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Good afternoon to all of our friends.
I am going to follow-up on my brief discussion yesterday about the 9-hour detention and interrogation of David Miranda at Heathrow Airport by British authorities. Miranda is Glenn Greenwald’s marriage partner and he has been assisting Glenn’s ongoing efforts to inform the public about the NSA’s unlawful spying on the public’s internet activities and their electronic and telephonic communications with other U.S. citizens.
Although we do not know the full extent of the NSA’s unlawful spy activities, Glenn has been filling in the blanks with details released by Edward Snowden, the former NSA employee and whistleblower. The emerging picture shows a pervasive pattern of collecting massive amounts of information about the internet activities of people and their communications with others via email and telephone within the United States that have absolutely nothing to do with terrorism.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states:
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.
In Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the SCOTUS distinguished a warrantless custodial arrest, which requires probable cause, from an investigatory stop, which is a contact with a suspect limited to determining whether there is probable cause to arrest. The SCOTUS held that a police officer cannot detain a person to conduct an investigatory stop unless he has a reasonable suspicion (i.e., a suspicion or hunch supported by objective facts and circumstances) that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.
Foreign-intelligence surveillance is another SCOTUS created exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.
The Supreme Court decision in United States v. U.S. District Court (1972) left open the possibility for a foreign intelligence surveillance exception to the warrant clause. Three United States Courts of Appeals have recognized a foreign intelligence surveillance exception to the warrant clause, but tied it to certain requirements. The exception to the Fourth Amendment was formally recognized by the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review in its 2008 In re Directives decision. The court held that “a foreign intelligence exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement exists when surveillance is conducted to obtain foreign intelligence for national security purposes and is directed against foreign powers or agents of foreign powers reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.” To protect the telecommunication carriers cooperating with the US government from legal action, the Congress passed a bill updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to permit this type of surveillance.
The Fourth Amendment and its exceptions do not authorize the NSA’s warrantless collection of every individual’s internet activities and their electronic and telephonic communications with other U.S. citizens. Therefore, the NSA’s surveillance program violates the Fourth Amendment and should be terminated.
We the people did not know that the NSA was violating our privacy until Edward Snowden exposed the nature and extent of its unlawful surveillance program that had been concealed from us by a veil of secrecy.
Our government officials and the NSA have little regard for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Instead of respect and compliance, they conceal their unlawful activity by classifying it as top secret, deny that they are acting unlawfully, and ruthlessly intimidate and prosecute anyone who blows the whistle revealing their unlawful activity to the public. To avoid reprisal, he applied to the Russian government for asylum. His request was granted and he now resides somewhere in Russia.
Glenn Greenwald is a courageous lawyer and journalist who has been exposing the nature and extent of the NSA’s unlawful spying activity with information released by Snowden. Glenn’s marriage partner, David Miranda, has been assisting him.
British authorities intercepted, detained and interrogated David Miranda for 9 hours at Heathrow aiport near London on Sunday. They also seized his laptop computer and cell phone.
Miranda was returning to his home in Rio de Janeiro after visiting Laura Poitras in Berlin for a week. She is a respected documentary filmmaker who also has been exposing the unlawful NSA spy program.
British authorities claimed Miranda’s detention and interrogation were lawful pursuant to Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The Guardian reports,
The White House knew the move was coming.
“There was a heads up that was provided by the British government,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.
So the United States knew it “was likely to occur, but it’s not something that we’ve requested and it’s something that was done specifically by the British law enforcement officials there,” he said.
He would not comment on whether the United States has obtained material from Miranda’s laptop — and would not say whether President Barack Obama condemns the detention.
I suspect the United States government may have contacted the British authorities and asked them to interrogate David Miranda at Heathrow and seize his laptop and phone because they suspect he possessed classified information about the unlawful NSA spy program obtained from Snowden or Poitras. They wanted to intimidate Miranda and by extension Glenn Greenwald to scare him away from publishing more articles about the unlawful program.
Glenn Greewald said in The Guardian,
“This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism,” he said.
“It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by.”
The intimidation tactic reminds me of Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby’s effort to silence former United States Ambassador Joe Wilson, who had publicly disclosed the Bush Administration’s lie that Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium yellow cake in Niger to enrich uranium to a sufficient level to make nuclear weapons. Instead of attacking Wilson directly, however, they destroyed his wife’s career by publicly disclosing that she was a covert CIA agent. Her name is Valerie Plame.
Will Glenn go silent?
“If the UK and U.S. governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded,” said Greenwald.
“If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further.”