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Zeoli: Smash the Surveillance State

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- President Trump's tweet that former President Obama had wiretapped his phones caused hysteria in the same media that literally printed a Jan. 20 front page New York Times story about Trump associates being wiretapped. The tweet foretold a very telling point: it's entirely possible the government was spying on Trump because the policy has become spy now and check the constitutional boxes later.

Now that President Trump has identified the problem, it's time for him to smash the surveillance state.

Despite the lie of notorious liar and former CIA Director James Clapper that millions of Americans were not being spied on, we now know that millions of Americans were being spied on via NSA metadata gathering. So when Clapper, a notorious liar who should have been charged with lying to Congress, says there were no FISA court warrants on Trump, I have a hard time believing him. But you don't need the FISA court, or any court for that matter, to spy when we have the NSA and the CIA. We learned this week the CIA can have a personal peep show in your living room using your smart TV.

This nonsense hasn't kept us safer. It didn't stop Boston, Orlando, San Bernardino and on and on. The FISA court is not an independent arm of the judiciary but rather a rubber stamp for the executive branch. This entire incident proves a very disturbing point: the government can easily use the surveillance state to destroy its political enemies.

So far President Trump has delighted conservatives in many important ways. He has defended due process of those wishing to enjoy their Second Amendment rights. He has slashed many regulations and ordered his agencies to slash more. He appointed a true textualist, Judge Neil Gorsuch, to the Supreme Court.

Now it's time for an offensive to save the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution by immediately signing an executive order promulgating that no American citizen can be spied on without a warrant AND that the warrant is in accordance with the Fourth Amendment. Period. He can then order the agencies under his control to properly seek warrants as per the following:

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.

Look, if it can happen to him it can happen to you. Or me. And the government doesn't apparently need probable cause anymore to go on a fishing expedition. Once they start fishing they will find something. They always do. In his very important work, Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, civil libertarian Harvey Silverglate outlined how most Americans are breaking three federal laws a day and don't even know it. When the government makes the accusation, it's on you to prove your innocence because the Fifth and Sixth Amendments have also been so watered down by decades of nonclassical liberalism.

Regarding the notion that if you are speaking to someone on foreign soil you lose your constitutional protections, I would simply ask why then do we even have a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court? If it exists because you actually do have rights when you speak to a foreigner, even a bad one, then let's dismantle this monster and replace it with a court that is actually representative of the judiciary outlined in Article Three.

President Trump is right. This is McCarthyism. Far worse actually. The very definition of a police state is when the state uses its police powers for political purposes. The Patriot Act, and subsequent executive orders by Presidents Bush and Obama, have given the federal government all the tools it needs to make life a living hell for its political enemies under the guise of keeping us safe.

Smash the surveillance state.

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