Gazillions. That’s the number of times the federal government has spied on Americans since 9/11 through the use of drones, legal search warrants, illegal search warrants, federal agent-written search warrants and just plain government spying.
This is bad enough. And it confirms what we conspiratorialists (yep, that’s me!) have been saying for years. As my good friend Jeff Wright says, if “they” have the technology to spy on us, “they” will use it, regardless.
What’s truly horrifying is the other point Napolitano is making, and that is that Senator Paul isn’t able to tell his citizens what he knows: it’s against the law!
Here’s how the good judge explains it:
The rules for classified briefings of members of Congress on areas of government behavior that the government wants to keep from its employers—the American people—are a real Catch-22. Those rules allow representatives and senators to interrogate government officials about government behavior that they are afraid to reveal, and they require those officials to answer honestly and completely. But the rules keep the interrogations secret, and they expressly prohibit members of Congress from telling anyone what they have learned.
So Paul and his colleagues who joined in the secret briefing now know the terrible truth about the government watching us, but they cannot reveal what they know. Paul—who is the son of Rep. Ron Paul, the greatest congressional defender of limited government in our era—when asked what he learned at these secret briefings and aware that he could be prosecuted for telling the truth, chose a fictitious word to describe the vast number of violations of privacy at the hands of federal agents: gazillions…
The point here is terrifying. If the government derives its powers from the consent of the governed, how can it do things to us to which we have not consented? And when it does these things—like send a drone over your back yard to learn who is coming to your Saturday barbeque or to see what fertilizer you are using in your vegetable garden or to take a peek into your living room or bedroom—and when the laws the government has written prevent our elected representatives from telling us what it is doing, we are at the doorsteps of tyranny.
Indeed we are.