Judge Andrew Napolitano

What if the NSA's chief apologist in Congress -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California -- took to the only safe place in the world where she could reveal what she learned from the spies and not be prosecuted for violating her oath of secrecy and there revealed a secret? What if that place is the Senate floor, and what if, while there, she revealed that she approved of the NSA spying on all Americans but disapproved of the CIA spying on her staff? What if it is unlawful and unconstitutional for the CIA to spy on anyone in the United States -- whether private citizen, illegal alien or member of a Senate staff?

What if the equality of the branches of government is destroyed when one of them spies on the other? What kind of a president spies on Congress? What kind of members of Congress sit back and let themselves become victims of spying? What if Congress could stop all spying on all Americans by a simple vote? What if Congress could stop the president from spying on its own members with a simple vote? What if Congress is afraid to take these votes?

What if secret government is unaccountable precisely because it is secret? What if the people's representatives in government have a moral obligation to reveal to their constituents that the president's spies are spying on all of us, and they -- members of Congress -- have not lifted a finger to stop it? Would we all vote differently if we knew the secrets the government has shared with a select few but kept from the rest of us? What if your own representatives in the House and the Senate are lying to you because of fear of the consequences of revealing secrets?

What if the NSA chief claimed to a congressional committee -- one of those with which he secretly shares secrets -- that all this spying has stopped 57 terror plots? What if the next day he changed that number to three plots? What if he has declined to say what those three plots were? What if a federal judge found that all this spying has not prevented any identifiable plots?

What if all this spying doesn't work? What if the NSA has too much data about all of us? What if the president knowingly declined to uphold the Constitution and instructed his spies to do the same? What if the NSA is so accustomed to spying on all of us all the time that it lacks the ability to obtain probable cause and to identify the persons upon whom it needs to spy? What if the government's culture of secrecy and spying has taken on a life of its own? What if even those who started it are afraid to stop it?

What if the NSA missed the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, the Ft. Hood massacre, the Times Square bomber, the Boston Marathon bombers, the coup in Kiev and the Russian invasion of Ukraine? What if the NSA wasted its time spying on Aunt Tillie in Des Moines and the Pope in Rome and Chancellor Merkel in Berlin, instead of Vladimir Putin in Moscow?

What if secrecy has replaced the rule of law? What if that replacement has left us in the dark about what the government knows and what it is doing? What if few in government believe in transparency? What if few in government believe in the Constitution?

What do we do about it?


Judge Andrew Napolitano

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of the State of New Jersey. He sat on the bench from 1987 to 1995, during which time he presided over 150 jury trials and thousands of motions, sentencings and hearings. He taught constitutional law at Seton Hall Law School for 11 years, and he returned to private practice in 1995. Judge Napolitano began television work in the same year.