Your Thoughts: Liberty vs. Security

May 12, 2006 — -- Here is a collection of comments from our message boards regarding news of the National Security Agencysurveillance program.

bmevaloto: Have we been attacked again since September 11? No, we haven't. Why do you think this is so? Do you not think that the government is doing something right in order for our country to not get attacked again? We do still have our freedom and it is not because the terrorists just don't feel like it. Our president is doing an amazing job at preserving our freedom. Be thankful that we still have the everyday rights and freedoms that our country was founded on, and quit complaining because you are still free.

Nelbrewster: Have we been attacked since … What stupid logic. We hadn't been attacked after 1993 either and anyone could have said the same thing in 1998. (I knew someone who died there.) Maybe the fact that there is a no fly list and no box cutters, and air marshalls on planes has something to do with it. NO? Really! All we needed we got from these measures. The spying on citizens stuff has nothingto do with our safety.

klwilczyk: What the government is doing is wrong! If they have evidence that I or my neighbor is talking to somewhat shady individuals, get a court order and THEN monitor our phone calls. Have you thought what could be next if the government is allowed to snoop into our private lives? The next thing would be breaking down our door in the middle of the night and taking us off to some camp for God knows what! This is what happens in countries where the government has too much power over its citizens and we have no rights. People, this is not what America the FREE is all about, and if you think this is right and are OK with it, I am scared of where our country is headed!

Worried_Patriot: Has it ever occurred to you that we have not been attacked because the terrorists won? We now live in a country in which our Constitution is irrelevant, human rights are irrelevant, and all of our ideals are irrelevant. Our government has simply to assert -- but never to prove -- that it is protecting us when it trashes our laws and our values. And you blindly believe those assertions. When we were attacked, Bush swore that "freedom" was under attack, and that he would protect our freedom against this attack. Well, if that was true, then the terrorists won, because freedom is dead in this country, and so is our Constitution.

gatelyk: "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." -- Benjamin Franklin

yreka56: When you choose to live in a society where governments exist you will have law enforcement to uphold the law and laws and regulations to protect your liberty. If you want total unbridled liberty, move to a remote region of the world, a deserted island for example and do whatever it is you want to do and live however you want to live without having to answer to anyone . Be liberated. Soon you will realize that total liberty is not a panacea for happiness. I prefer to follow my own philosophical view about life: "THOSE WHO SACRIFICE SOME LIBERTIES FOR SECURITY WILL REMAIN BOTH FREE AND SECURE."

Myrites: This would not be so scary if we could be assured that this monitoring would never be used for anything other than terrorism protection. However, our government has a history of using ordinary people's information for political gains.

Anybody remember J. Edgar Hoover? A repeat is not impossible and entirely enticing to people of power trying keep and use that power. This isn't paranoia; this is history!!!

yreka56: There have been hundreds of terrorists arrested worldwide since 9/11. Perhaps many of those arrests can be attributed to NSA's spying program. Do you think they are going to admit to it and compromise their mission? Personally, I don't give a damn if NSA quotes every phone call I have ever made since 9/11 and puts it in a national or international newspaper or on the Internet. You know why? It's because I have absolutely nothing to hide and some minor embarrassment from my conversations matters little to me compared to my country's safety.

ccee4ever: As a business owner who deals with international customers, we have found ourselves being affected everyday by 9-11 in every part of our business, from banking regulations, to FDA standards, to importing rules. It really makes it easier to understand why many companies are leaving the United States. Normal average people do not realize how much all of this affects the daily operation of a business. I am sure my phone numbers are on their report, my bank accounts are watched, my shipments are watched, and I am an American citizen, trying to live my American Dream.

carolrg: I really don't intend to lecture but it is essential in this debate to reflect on the words of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

Amendment IV:

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.

Obviously, no one in 1791 could have anticipated the power of technology to track so much information in 2006, but the intent of the amendment is clear. The government must have probable cause.

It appears that most folks don't really mind if their phone call logs are turned over to the NSA, and that disturbs me. We cannot be complacent when our rights are violated by the very government charged with protecting them, no matter how minor we perceive the violation to be. Each time we say "yeah, that's OK," we willingly give up those very rights we are trying to protect from outside forces.

bytestream1: With the news recently, I am reminded of what this country went through under Richard Nixon. Perhaps we need a reminder of that time.

I was disconcerted by the fact that G.W. Bush's approval rating is as low as Nixon's was just before he resigned rather than be impeached.

Spiro Agnew had already been forced to resign for eavesdropping on ordinary citizens, under some guise or another.

Nixon had an "enemies list" of ordinary citizens who protested the war in Vietnam, even is such protest was as mild as signing a petition.

The only good thing about the Nixon era was that this country learned they did not have to tolerate practices which may have been exercised far longer than Nixon's term.

And after cell phone owners managed to stifle an attempt to even have a cell phone directory, in order to protect their own privacy, now the NSA is monitoring these calls. True, I have nothing to hide -- but our founding fathers were not trying to protect some people's rights -- but all people's rights to privacy. I should not need to justify my rights.

psyseth63: I am in shock and awe that Americans are so willing to surrender their basic constitutional freedoms. I am embarrassed at how easily manipulated "we the people" can be as long as it is done in the name of 9-11 or Christianity. Our forefathers would be sorely disappointed.

Veve13: I mind Taxes … and rising prices … I mind airlines regulations implemented since 911 … I mind cameras watching my every move (in stores, on the highways, in parking lots, etc.) &30133; I especially mind telemarketer phone calls … I mind that my cell phone doesn't work right much of the time … I mind rules & regulations in all sectors of society .I even mind hurricanes, tornados, fires, extreme hot weather and extreme cold, drought and flood.

And while I MIND all these things and detest them, I realize that there are reasons WHY … all these things are simply a part of life in the 21st century.

Has anyone ever heard of Eschlon? (Google it in and get the history.) It was a telephone call listening program implemented by several countries of the world following WW2.

My question is: Why, suddenly it seems, when this listening in on telephone calls has been going on for 50+ years, are people (especially the professional politicians) acting like it's something new? THAT's what really bothers me. By deductive reasoning, it occurs to me that this is just another political ploy so that one party can point fingers of condemnation at the other … And I don't want to play!

eddieapn: The administration just cannot win! President Bush, the CIA, and the FBI were all criticized for not heeding warnings, not communicating well among eachother, and not doing enough to protect the American people before 9/11. Now that new and different tactics are being used in an effort to better protect our homeland, they are being criticized again. Bottom line is -- if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. I agree with any and all actions this and any future administrations take in the interest of protecting Americans from terrorism. The good of the many has to outweigh the good of the few. Enough!

Nunyabiz110: If they had any concern to keep this country safe then they would pull out of Iraq, bring the soldiers home to guard a defend this country. They would have 100% of all containers scanned before coming into our ports. They would put the Billions wasted on Iraq into making our first responders as well prepared as humanly possible.

They are doing NONE of the above.

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