The courts have repeatedly ruled otherwise. Whether or not this should be Unconstitutional is a matter of opinion, but the metadata, which is simply the numbers and durations of phone calls, is not protected. Again, I cite the equivalent of a police officer asking a postmaster if anybody sent mail to addresses in a nation which was at war with the US, or threatened to be, and the postmaster providing a list. The content of the mail is protected, but the information on the envelope is not. The metadata is the information on the envelope.
Originally Posted by Generation Why?
As for your knowing right from wrong, I would hope that your knowledge includes not leaking things that could get people killed, and keep in mind that no matter where you are, you don't see the whole picture. Leakers like Snowden put the nation at risk because they assume that they have the right to decide what the people know, and that they know more than the people who are appointed and elected to protect us. Ever heard the acronym, MICE? Intel assets turn for four major reasons: Money, Ideology, Compromise or Ego (Sex comes under compromise). Snowden's a classic egotist. His Youtube videos and his various public pronouncements demonstrate this. He genuinely seems to believe that he's the only one, among all of his co-workers, subordinates and superiors who looked at this massive undertaking and saw a problem.
I'm not saying that he was wrong to blow the whistle if he saw wrongdoing, or even that the NSA is absolutely in the right here (the potential abuses of what they are doing are huge, and this does need to be addressed), but he had other options, like going to congress. One of the great things about an adversarial political system is that someone on the other side would have been interested enough to hold a closed hearing and the political process would have addressed it. Of course, that wouldn't have satisfied his "Look at me!" impulse, but that's the whole point. He wasn't in this to protect your right to privacy, he was in this to ensure that he was the center of attention. He's no hero.
Finally, I direct you to the case of Terminiello v. Chicago. Terminiello was a Catholic priest who incited a riot with a speech in Chicago. He was fined for it, and the Supreme Court overturned the conviction. In his dissent, Justice Jackson wrote the following:
But if we maintain a general policy of free speaking, we must recognize that its inevitable consequence will be sporadic local outbreaks of violence, for it is the nature of men to be intolerant of attacks upon institutions, personalities and ideas for which they really care. In the long run, maintenance of free speech will be more endangered if the population can have no protection from the abuses which lead to violence. No liberty is made more secure by holding that its abuses are inseparable from its enjoyment. We must not forget that it is the free democratic communities that ask us to trust them to maintain peace with liberty and that the factions engaged in this battle are not interested permanently in either. What would it matter to Terminiello if the police batter up some communists or, on the other hand, if the communists batter up some policemen? Either result makes grist for his mill; either would help promote hysteria and the demand for strong-arm methods in dealing with his adversaries. And what, on the other hand, have the communist agitators to lose from a battle with the police?
This Court has gone far toward accepting the doctrine that civil liberty means the removal of all restraints from these crowds and that all local attempts to maintain order are impairments of the liberty of the citizen. The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the Court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.
Self-styled libertarians tend to miss that important distinction, that the maintenance of order is not an impairment of liberty, but a necessary precondition for liberty. Snowden is offering anarchy as the remedy for tyranny, but anarchy and tyranny go hand in hand. The tyrant loves anarchy, because it creates the public clamor for "action" in the face of a crisis. The anarchists who seek to undermine the war against the terrorists have no interest in protecting our liberties, they seek to undermine them so that we will become the kind of fascist state that they secretly love.
Barry's a raging hypocrite. Got it. That isn't a Constitutional issue.
Originally Posted by Generation Why?