This is not a partisan battle. “Power to the Emperor” (government) leftists and most “National Security” Republicans stand with the actions of the NSA without regard to the Constitution. Many old time “Church” liberals such as former Walter Mondale (1984) campaign manager, Bob Beckel and strident secularists such as the ACLU and most conservative and libertarian Americans stand with the Constitution.
This secret government, in the view of many including me, is the most chilling and serious threat to any future for Liberty in America or anywhere. I have deep respect for many who are siding with the “secret government” camp. One is former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.
Appearing Monday on “Chicago’s Talk Leader” WLS Ambassador John Bolton took America’s breath away (well, mine anyway). It wasn’t that he declared that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is guilty of treason. (While none including Ambassador Bolton can declare Snowden guilty, he might be.) Examine with me Ambassador Bolton’s rant:
“Number one, this man is a liar. He [Edward J. Snowden] took an oath to keep the secrets that were shared with him so he could do his job. He said he would not disclose them, and he lied. Number two, he lied because he thinks he’s smarter and has a higher morality than the rest of us. This guy thinks he has a higher morality, that he can see clearer than other 299-million 999-thousand 999 of us, and therefore he can do what he wants. I say that is the worst form of treason.”
Let us start with “He took an oath to keep the secrets that were shared with him so he could do his job.” Mr. Snowden did, in fact, sign an employment contract with his employer, (a so called Consulting giant) Booz Allen. In receiving his top secret clearance, Snowden also signed an unambiguous statement to not divulge classified information to any unauthorized recipient. And Mr. Snowden took an oath—two oaths. The first oath was taken in 2004 when he volunteered in the US Army and was medically discharged months later. He became a CIA employee in 2006 where he took his second oath. The on entrance into active Army duty was:
“I, Edward Snowden, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of th United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
It is important to note that this oath solemnly swears to “obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” The current UCMJ holds each enlisted oath taker accountable, on pain of court martial, to disobey unlawful orders. The second oath taken when Snowden entered into CIA employment is:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
It is clear the CIA oath is to the Constitution. If, having taken this oath, Snowden found secret government actions in clear violation of the Constitution, was he not bound by his oath to make them known? The NSA surveillance programs against virtually all Americans, if not reined in, will destroy the Fourth Amendment. To protect all Americans from the heavy hand of a tyrannical government, the 4th Amendment reads:
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.
The question for Ambassador Bolton is, since Snowden could not keep both his oaths to protect and defend the Constitution and his contractual commitment to not divulge classified information, what would you have Snowden do. Or, Mr. Ambassador, what would do if your choice was between the Constitution and DNI James Clapper? Or between the Constitution and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano? Or between the Constitution and President Obama? I would hope, Mr. Ambassador, a huge majority or your “299-million 999-thousand 999 of us” would decide for the Constitution. I firmly and confidently trust you too would decide for the Constitution, Mr. Ambassador.