The following are excerpts of editorials from newspapers from across New England:
Your social network — your friends and their friends — might well have another, uninvited member. The NSA could be following your doings — knowing who calls you and whom you call, who sends you emails, where you go and when you go there. But the agency never sent you a request, asking if you’d mind. It never sent such a request to the citizenry as a whole. It just showed up at the party — and has no plans to leave.
Asked about the monitoring, which was detailed in The New York Times, an agency spokeswoman said:
“All data queries must include a foreign intelligence justification, period.
“All of NSA’s work has a foreign intelligence purpose.”
This is so obviously meaningless that it may as well have been read by an NSA computer.
If authorities are looking for connections — people who know people who know people who might be up to no good — the list of who gets watched would very quickly grow awfully long.
Everyone knows someone who knows someone else. String it out far enough, and we are all connected in some way.
This doesn’t make everyone, every citizen, someone to keep an eye on.
The great American experiment in democracy — a government of, by, for the people — cannot function if an entire secret apparatus of that government views and treats all the citizens — and everyone they are connected with — as potential enemies.
— The Republican of Springfield
Considering probable cause
The Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures of “persons, houses, papers and effects” by government is one of the bulwarks of our free society. The amendment goes on to say that “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 searched.”