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How the NSA Violates the First Amendment

Written By Geoffrey Pike

Posted August 1, 2014

nssaWhile the National Security Agency (NSA) infringes on our privacy through its spying, it also infringes on free speech.

The ACLU and Human Rights Watch have released a joint report stating that U.S. surveillance is hampering the work of journalists and lawyers.

Based on in-depth interviews with journalists, lawyers, and government officials, the report documents how these professions are having to change the way they do business. The NSA is really infringing on press freedom and the right to counsel, in addition to free speech. The NSA’s spying program may violate at least half of the Bill of Rights.

I have previously warned about the extreme danger of the NSA. Even if some politicians were actually looking out for the public’s best interest, many would have difficulty opposing the NSA due to fear of extortion. If some high-level government official announces his opposition to the NSA, then he will instantly become a target of the NSA.

This report reveals the same problem with journalism. Many journalists are saying that sources for stories are intimidated by U.S. surveillance. They fear being fired or becoming the target for a criminal investigation. I’m sure that many also fear exposure of their personal lives if they have anything to hide, which most people do.

I’m sure the journalists themselves think about the NSA. Do you think that Glenn Greenwald has any privacy now? He is one of the biggest and well-known opponents of the NSA, so we can be certain that he is a target of the NSA.

Free Speech

This is why opposing the NSA is one of the most important political issues that we face. The U.S. faces a lot of problems politically. The government has become a monstrosity. This includes militarily, economically, and socially. The government is involved in virtually every facet of life today.

The most important thing that Americans have is free speech. If you have the freedom to speak, then you can always change things through ideas. Some would argue that it is gun rights, but gun rights won’t do you much good if you can’t speak and you can’t organize.

The only way to beat back the federal government is with ideas. It is not with weapons. The only way to win with ideas is by having the ability to share those ideas with others.

While I criticize the so-called mainstream media, there are some honest and decent journalists out there who want to report on what the government is doing. But it is now evident that many journalists and their potential sources are being deterred from speaking freely.

The only way to stop the NSA at this point is by having an overwhelming number of Americans demanding a stop to the spying. They need to demand the complete abolition of the NSA. This seems unlikely considering that Congress can’t even cut the NSA’s budget.

Interestingly, there is something of a race going on between the growth of government and the growth of technology. This holds true in many aspects, but the technology of spying is included.

While the NSA seems to hold the upper hand right now, I expect that free market technological forces will begin to fight back more. Some will be in the form of spying prevention by using more encryption. Some people may get bold enough to start spying on the NSA members to give them a taste of their own medicine.

We can’t really be certain where all of this will go and who will win out. But it is important that Americans begin to realize the great threat that the NSA poses. It is already hampering free speech and free press. It is better to speak out now than to wait for even more tyranny down the road.