It seems that the intelligence (note that I do not say intelli-gent) side of the US government thinks it can get away with defying a Supreme Court order, and ignoring the constitution.
The [Defense Intelligence Agency]'s justification for its warrantless spying is breathtaking. It argues that because it is not law enforcement, it is not subject to the constitutional restraints imposed upon law enforcement as interpreted by the Supreme Court. This is an argument that the court has never accepted. The DIA, apparently, thinks it is a law unto itself.
It also claims that because it can purchase the [cellphone] tracing software commercially, it can use it freely, just like any other purchaser. Such a rationale utterly defies the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. Private purchasers are not bound by the Fourth Amendment -- but the government is.
. . .
The DIA and other domestic American spy entities -- there are 16 that the government acknowledges it operates -- have taken the view that because the tracking software is available commercially, and because the domestic spies are intelligence and not law enforcement, they need not obtain a warrant. Stated differently, because the DIA did not seek to use its powers to compel a warrantless search of phone records, but rather stole phone signals, it committed no wrong!
This is a profound and direct violation of the Fourth Amendment, which was written for the very purpose of upholding the quintessential American right -- the right to be left alone.
. . .
The Fourth Amendment serves a dual purpose. The first is to prevent fishing expeditions -- such as the very acts the DIA now admits it utilizes -- in violation of the natural right to privacy. The second is to compel the government to focus its resources on those suspects as to whom it has a judicially recognized probable cause of crime.
The depth of the government’s admissions are staggering. Its architecture is a decrepit three-legged stool on which sits totalitarianism, arrogance and lawlessness.
One leg of the stool upholds a self-crafted immunity from compliance with the laws of the land. The second leg supports ways to avoid constitutional norms while still appearing licit in the eyes of the public. And the third and weakest leg offers its interpretation of the Constitution -- separate and apart from what the Supreme Court has ordered.
This stool should be cast into the dustbin of history. It was built by those who have been unfaithful to their oaths to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States -- the very same Constitution that is only as valuable as a safeguard to freedom as is the fidelity of those into whose hands we have reposed it for safekeeping.
We have put it into the hands of madmen.
There's more at the link.
To put it as simply as possible, we can no longer trust our government with power. It's become drunk on the fumes of its own arrogance. Let Thomas Jefferson remind us of the peril that creates.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.
Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.
The man was a prophet.