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By Ken Esten Cooke— Police patrol the streets, and if suspicious behavior or crime occurs in plain sight, officers do their jobs.

Other times, search warrants can be obtained and executed, if justified.

Records of our electronic communications, by definition, are not in plain sight. And simply making a phone call does not rise to the level of suspicious behavior.

This is what is so disturbing in the Obama administration’s latest overreach in the name of national security.

The Guardian first and then other major news organizations reported that the U.S. government got a secret court order for a Verizon subsidiary to provide logs of all daily calls made. It will surprise no one if more reporting reveals that Verizon isn’t the only carrier under such court order. And the Washington Post reports that the National Security Agency and the FBI have also gotten secret court orders allowing them to tap into the central servers of nine major Internet companies.

We understand; terrorists make phone calls and use the Internet. But so do millions of non-terrorists. Even national security does not warrant treating the records of all these others the same as authorities would a terrorist’s. National security does not justify usurping bedrock principles in U.S. constitutional law — searches and seizures must be justified, privacy is protected.

We understand also that there is a tension between freedom and security.

For the rest of this story, read this week’s print and online editions of the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. If you are a print subscriber, your full online subscription is free. All you need to do is call 830-997-2155 to get a password. If you are not a subscriber, call 997-2155 or click on the ‘Subscribe’ button on the left side of the home page and sign up today!




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