The Honorable Lynn Jenkins
1027 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
The Honorable Pat Roberts
109 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-1605
The Honorable Jerry Moran
Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
I am writing you as your constituent in order to urge you to form a committee to publicly and transparently investigate the NSA and FBI surveillance revelations revealed by the Guardian, the Washington Post, and CNET. These reports include secret court orders compelling cellular telephone companies, Verizon specifically named, to hand over all their customer call records, both domestic and foreign, on a daily basis. Other reports include interception of data transmissions to and from major U.S. Internet companies and the ability for the NSA to listen to domestic telephone calls without a warrant. All this data allows the agencies to build profiles on all Americans using these services. This data will be abused, if it hasn’t been already.
In the years since September 11, 2001, more damage has been done to liberty and the United States in the name of protecting us from terrorism than terrorists would ever be able to achieve on their own. The President said shortly after these surveillance revelations that “you can’t have 100-percent security and also have 100-percent privacy and zero inconvenience.” That is a false choice as 100% security is an unobtainable goal. Even if it were possible, there are lines that cannot be crossed and still remain a free society.
I am not naive. I understand the need for some level of surveillance, but it must be under the rule of public law, not secret interpretations of laws by secret courts. It must also be overseen by a judiciary that is more than just a rubber stamp as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seems to be, having rejected only 11 of almost 34,000 requests in its 33 years.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has articulated the measures that they would like to see implemented and I agree with them. They are as follows.
– Immediately create a committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the American public the extent of this domestic spying;
– Demand an explanation from public officials about why and how innocent American are under surveillance;
–Create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;
– Hold public officials — including Attorney General Eric Holder — accountable for their role in these surveillance programs.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” but that should not include subverting the very liberty we are intending to defend.