Letter: When nation trades freedom for security, we all lose out

I have several comments to make about the issue of surveillance and the NSA.

First, the sort of behavior displayed by the NSA is potentially malign in the extreme. It only takes the authorities to redefine acceptable actions by citizens to change “neutral” data gathering and surveillance into social control. Read Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” if you don’t believe me.

Second, to say that something is OK because it has been approved by the FICA court is absurd when the FICA court is itself an unconstitutional infringement of habeas corpus. 

Third, Obama’s claim that his administration’s surveillance policy is “transparent” because it requires FICA’s (secret) actions is either stupid or disingenuous. Given the fact that Obama is a bright bloke, I’d say it’s the latter. Shame on him and on us if we believe him. 

Finally, this country’s citizenry is far too ready to trade freedom for the chimera of security. In exchange for the love of liberty on which this country, incidentally, was founded, we simply have to accept a level of uncertainty and danger.

— Toby Widdicombe