When do Americans say, 'Enough'?
From back in our history, Ronald Reagan gave a very apposite warning to those of us insistent on protecting our self-governing republic:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States, where men (and women) were free.”
Consider the penetrating national — indeed, global — impact of Edward Snowden's disclosures of the U.S. government's ceaseless, massive spying on us. A former contractor for the National Security Agency, Snowden has “opened an unprecedented window on the details of surveillance by the NSA, including its compilation of logs of virtually all telephone calls in the United States and its collection of emails of foreigners from the major American Internet companies, including Google, Yahoo, Apple and Skype”
Why did he do it? Snowden — now supported by Glenn Greenwald (who broke the story in The Guardian), John Whitehead, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Daniel Ellsberg and myself -- came to realize that “We The People” are constitutionally entitled to know who is stealing our identities.
Snowden, who was charged with criminality and violating the Espionage Act by Barack Obama, exclaimed in an online chat on The Guardian's website: “All I can say right now is the U.S. government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.”
Moreover, Snowden has defined himself against Obama and his other critics: “I did not reveal any U.S. operations against legitimate military targets. I pointed out where the NSA has hacked civilian infrastructure, such as universities, hospitals and private businesses because it is dangerous. These nakedly, aggressively criminal acts are wrong, no matter the target” (“Edward Snowden: NSA whistleblower answers reader questions,” guadian.co.uk, June 17).
This raises the question among more and more Americans: When will Obama be held accountable — under oath, with full due process — for his criminal acts against us?
There is an extraordinary rumbling to expose and make accountable Obama's gluttonous contempt for the Constitution's separation of powers. The United States is not yet a kingdom. But as Ellsberg recently emphasized: “I wouldn't count on the current (Supreme) court with its current makeup making the same ruling with the Pentagon Papers.” (In 1971, Ellsberg startlingly released the Pentagon Papers and was put on trial for it because they revealed deep, dark secrets about the U.S. government's conduct of the Vietnam War. The Supreme Court later cleared Ellsberg in a historic free-speech decision.)
If we don't take back our country, Ellsberg warned, “not only Obama but the people who come after him will have powers that no previous president had. Abilities on surveillance that no country in the history of the world has ever had”
Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. He is a member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Cato Institute, where he is a senior fellow.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Judge lifts order blocking racy state emails
- 1 dead, 1 injured in Westmoreland crash
- Bethel Park settled police officer’s suit for $25,000
- Google grants teachers’ school supply wishes
- Pittsburgh firefighter suffers minor electrical shock in Wilkinsburg fire
- Penguins’ new 3rd jersey similar to early 1990s version
- Steelers’ Polamalu relying on smarts as physical skills decline
- Rossi: The series that will define these Pirates
- Alligator spotted along the banks of the Allegheny River in Cheswick
- Steelers’ Timmons looks to reverse defense’s struggles
- Plum woman dies in Washington Township crash