Ken Connor

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last month or so, chances are you've heard the latest revelations regarding the NSA's unlawful invasion of American citizens' privacy. According to the Washington Post, "The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents."

In a free society, it is always a struggle to maintain an appropriate balance between liberty and security. We want the government to respect our privacy, but we also want them to keep us safe. How and where to draw the line has been and will continue to be a subject of fierce debate. Benjamin Franklin famously declared that "they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Regardless of whether you agree with Mr. Franklin, chances are you expect your government to conduct itself lawfully and ethically at all times. Our government is one of laws, not of men. The Constitution, not the President or Congress, is the final arbiter of what's permissible and what's not. This is what makes the NSA scandal so problematic, and it is notable that the government's overreach in this area is drawing criticism from both sides of the political aisle.


Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.