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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 1, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Snowden antics detract from the issue of secret courts

Emphasis should be on the FISC

Activists of Ukraine's Internet party, one of them acting as a CIA agent making telephone taps, demand the American authorities  stop the pursuit of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden at an action of protest near the US Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, June 27, 2013.  [AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky.]

Activists of Ukraine’s Internet party, one of them acting as a CIA agent making telephone taps, demand the American authorities stop the pursuit of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden at an action of protest near the US Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, June 27, 2013. [AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky.]

Thanks to David Perez for his reasoned commentary on our government’s hunt for Edward Snowden. [“Guest column: Forget manhunt for Snowden, tell us more about secret courts,” Opinion, June 26.]

Perez places the emphasis where it should be, on the failure of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to provide us with the basis for its questionable legal actions taken in secrecy. And thanks to The Times for printing it, when there has been so little concern for this erosion of American principles in the press.

Julie Hungar, Lake Forest Park

NSA surveillance is unconstitutional

I enjoyed David Perez’s opinion in Wednesday’s paper. I agree that the drama of an international fugitive’s flight has overshadowed the real and very serious issues of illegal government surveillance.

A glaring omission in the column was the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It should have been the banner, if not included somewhere.

“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.”

A Foreign Intelligence Service Court warrant mandated that Verizon turn over, on a daily basis, all data records for every phone call made in the United States to the National Security Agency (NSA).

How does that jibe with the Fourth Amendment, and the requirement for probably cause? What probable cause does the NSA have to monitor my — or your — communication?

President Obama twice took an oath to “faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

He did not swear that he would keep us safe from all harm, but to defend the Constitution. Perhaps he needs to reread it. And reconsider.

Mark Schultz, Renton

Comments | More in Politics | Topics: foreign intelligence surveillance court, National Security Agency, NSA

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