I write a great deal about “big government” and how our elected politicians have expanded the government far beyond its Constitutionally approved limits.  That’s why I noticed an article in The Hill called “10 times the intel community violated the trust of US citizens, lawmakers and allies.”

Honestly, my first thought was, “really?  Just ten?”

The author, Sharyl Attkisson, clarifies that she specifically she was writing of times when our government used the tools of the “intelligence-gathering and law-enforcing” (meant to protect us) to instead spy on us and gather information that isn’t the government’s business (at least not without a court’s approval).  She writes, “And, in some instances, it appears, to punish or silence those with whom they disagree — personal and political foes, in and out of government — rather than to pursue and protect Americans from the country’s real enemies.”

I’m glad she’s tackling this subject, which — obviously — affects both political parties.  If the past couple of years has taught us anything, it’s that the government is corrupt and can’t be trusted.  Here are just a few of the times that the government used the power entrusted to them wrongly:

Olympic spying
In 2002, the NSA reportedly engaged in “blanket surveillance” of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, collecting and storing “virtually all electronic communications going into or out of the Salt Lake City area, including … emails and text messages” to “experiment with and fine tune a new scale of mass surveillance.” NSA officials had denied such a program existed.
But we weren’t just spying on athletes.
Spying on Congress
In 2005 intel officials intercepted and recorded phone conversations between then-Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Calif.)  and pro-Israel lobbyists who were under investigation for espionage. In 2009, someone — exactly who was never revealed — leaked Harman’s “unmasked” name to the press. In 2011, intel officials captured private communications between then-Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and a Libyan official. The wiretapped recordings were later leaked to the press — again, by unknown sources.
But that’s not all.
More spying on Congress
CIA officials improperly accessed Senate Intelligence Committee computers, according to an Inspector General report in July 2014, contradicting denials by then-CIA Director Brennan. Meantime, Obama intel officials secretly captured communications of a half-dozen members of Congress and organizations in the U.S. while wiretapping Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
And then, there’s this:
NSA privacy violations
In fall 2016, the government confessed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court “significant non-compliance” of crucial procedures designed to protect privacy rights of U.S. citizens. The judge accused the NSA of “institutional ‘lack of candor’” and declared: “This is a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.”
It is a shame that our government has been allowed to grow so large…  and it’s a real shame that they’ve started using their ill-gotten power to target innocent people.  (Yes, I’m talking to you, IRS.)  The article has several more instances of government-run-amok.
Now that Pandora’s Box has been opened, the only way to rein in this out-of-control government is using Article V of the Constitution.  That’s why I head up the Convention of States Project, which is calling for an article V amending convention to propose only amending that would impose fiscal restrains on the federal government, limit its power and jurisdiction and impose term limits on its officials and members of Congress.  Find out more here to take back the power that the Founders rightfully gave us.

Hat Tip: The Hill

Image Credit: President Barack Obama holds a meeting with National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice; John Podesta, Counselor to the President; and Phil Reiner, Senior Director for South Asian Affairs, aboard Air Force One en route to New Delhi, India.

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

five × 1 =