David Harsanyi

Regrettably, unless the government attempts to use the data it has illegally gathered about a person, the person probably will not be aware of the government's spying on him, and thus will not be in a position to challenge the spying in a court. Relying on the Patriot Act, federal agents have written their own search warrants just like the British soldiers did. They have done this more than 250,000 times since 2001. But the government has rarely used any evidence from these warrants in a criminal prosecution for fear that the targeted person would learn of the government's unconstitutional and nefarious behavior, and for fear that the act would be invalidated by federal courts.

Now, back to the CIA in your kitchen. When Congress created the CIA in 1947, it expressly prohibited the agency from spying on Americans in America. Nevertheless, it turns out that if your microwave, burglar alarm or dishwasher is of very recent vintage, and if it is connected to your personal computer, a CIA spy can tell when you are in the kitchen and when you are using that device. The person who revealed this last weekend also revealed that CIA software can learn your habits from all of this and then anticipate them.

Acting "diabolically" and hoping to "change fingerprints and eyeballs" in its "worldwide mission" to steal and keep secrets, the CIA can then gut the Fourth Amendment digitally, without ever physically entering anyone's home. We already know that your BlackBerry or iPhone can tell a spy where you are and, when the battery is connected, what you are saying. But spies in the kitchen? Can this be true?

Who revealed all this last weekend? None other than Gen. David Petraeus himself, President Obama's new director of the CIA. I wonder whether he knows about the Fourth Amendment and how the Supreme Court has interpreted it and that federal laws prohibit his spies from doing their work in America. I wonder whether he or the president even cares. Do you?


David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of "The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy." Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.