On Sundays, Fareed Zakaria hosts a news show on CNN: Fareed Zakaria, the Global Public Square. GPS is one of the best shows to watch to understand current events without spin or shallow minded pundits. With deliberate intent, Zakaria selects knowledgeable guests representing both sides of an issue, providing intelligent dialogue with no histrionics and seldom do guests talk while other guests are talking.
On Sunday, June 16, GPS addressed the Edward Snowden issue. Snowden worked for the National Security Agency until he went public with the fact that he could listen to any telephone conversation by simply putting in a phone number. He exposed the Prism program with the intent of revealing how the Government is violating citizen protection under the Fourth Amendment.
Former CIA and NSA Chief Michael Hayden represented the status quo opinion about collecting whatever it took to find terrorists, meaning collect everything, and that Snowden was an ignorant person who had committed treason.
Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal expert, defended the legal system generally as far as it applied to common practices and agreed that Snowden had violated the law.
John Cassidy, a writer for the New Yorker, said the real issue was not Snowden but the entire movement toward the disappearance of privacy. Snowden was an event but not the main concern. Cassidy yielded to the right of private industry to collect whatever they want if disclosed in an agreement (has anyone ever read the multi-page, fine print, legal jargon that constitutes a legal agreement?). Even if this agreement is read, there is no negotiation. Either one agrees or one does not; in the latter case, use of the product is denied. To be connected to the world, we are forced to surrender our identity and our daily life.
In the United States today, the mariner is concerned about the abuse of privacy, increasing loss of freedom to live an uncompromised life, and lack of economic morality. The common citizen is under assault from a government more incompetent than uncaring, profit-only morality in the private sector, and Tammany Hall legality when it comes to the financial wellbeing of the working people of the United States.
There is no help available from accountable institutions in our society. The American culture is well on its way to a mediocre society little better than that of China and Russia. During the twentieth century, the US won the battle of bullets and bombs, won the battle of economic superiority, but it turns out, at the cost of cultural consciousness. China and Russia are winning the cultural war by dragging the US down toward their level of individual freedom – or lack thereof.
Still, the mariner does not understand why the private sector does not have to abide by the Bill of Rights.
A reader has asked that reference to the Bill of Rights include an actual replication of the Amendment in question:
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.
For more background on the Fourth Amendment, see