The chair of the House Intelligence Committee – Mike Rogers – said yesterday in an NSA spying hearing which he led that there is no right to privacy in America.
Constitutional expert Stephen I. Vladeck – Professor of Law and the Associate Dean for Scholarship at American University Washington College of Law – disagreed.
Here’s the exchange:
Rogers: I would argue the fact that we haven’t had any complaints come forward with any specificity arguing that their privacy has been violated, clearly indicates, in ten years, clearly indicates that something must be doing right. Somebody must be doing something exactly right.
Vladeck: But who would be complaining?
Rogers: Somebody who’s privacy was violated. You can’t have your privacy violated if you don’t know your privacy is violated.
Vladeck: I disagree with that. If a tree falls in the forest, it makes a noise whether you’re there to see it or not.
Rogers: Well that’s a new interesting standard in the law. We’re going to have this conversation… but we’re going to have wine, because that’s going to get a lot more interesting…
What Rogers is really saying is that the government has the right to spy on everyone so long as it doesn’t get caught doing so.
How’s that different from arguing that it’s okay for a thief to takes $100 from your bank account as long as you don’t notice that the money is missing? Or that it’s okay to rape a woman while she’s passed out so long as she doesn’t realize what happened?
That’s beyond ridiculous.
It flies in the face of more than 200 years of American law. In fact, experts say that the NSA spying program is wildly illegal, and is exactly the kind of thing which King George imposed on the American colonists … which led to the Revolutionary War.