The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution contains one of our most important individual rights: the right against unreasonable searches and seizures by Federal or state governments. The Fourth Amendment does not protect against all government incursions into our homes, cars, clothes, etc., but outside the exigencies of emergency police action, it does require a warrant from a sitting Judge or Magistrate. It is this law that protects citizens from warrantless searches and seizures by police officers or other government officials. But the Obama administration has begun to erode these fundamental civil protections. It came to light last week that the Obama Administration is attempting to bypass this most basic of our civil rights by creating a Civilian Surveillance Drone program using military drones to spy on American citizens on American soil!
Last week, President Obama decided to green-light the use of drones in American airspace by law enforcement agencies. These are the same drones used by the American military and coalition forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, etc. These drones are used on the battlefield to find and kill terrorists. They are VERY impressive killing machines; able to strike a military target, enemy combatant, or US citizen without putting military personnel in danger. Their “pilots” are safely tucked away on a US military base while the drones do the dirty work. The enemy is not the drones themselves; they have saved the lives of countless American soldiers as well as innocent civilians. No, the enemy is the men and women in our United States government who have laid asunder the Constitution and the real world rights of every American citizen by allowing these instruments of war and espionage to be used domestically in the United States.
Under the Fourth Amendment, no United States citizen may have their person, belongings, or real property searched or seized without a judge-issued warrant. While US courts have created some exceptions to this rule (emergency situations, crimes in progress, and Terry stops for example) these are rare and may not apply to drone use. Some proponents of the Civilian Surveillance Drone program say that the eye in the sky will assist law enforcement and protect civilians. A valid point if law enforcement did not already use helicopters for such purposes. Further, the drones are supposed to be unarmed (at least they will start out that way; (we all know how slopes can get slippery) so how could they be superior to manned police helicopters that have the ability to hover? Further, every suspect in a crime has the right to question his accuser; how will this be possible when the accuser is an unmanned drone? Clearly, when the White House made it’s the decision to use drones against American citizens on American soil they did not bother to assess the Constitutional impact of their decision. But what’s new? These are the same people who declared Obamacare as Constitutional; they have shown that they have no respect for Constitutional provisions.
Unfortunately for Americans who enjoy their Constitutional right to privacy, this story only gets worse. In a brief dated April 23, 2012, the United States Air Force (USAF) stated that it had the right spy on American citizens, using MILITARY drones, and it may keep any information that is found for up to 90 days!! The brief stated that while the USAF may not conduct nonconsensual surveillance while in American air space, it may “incidentally” capture data and analyze said data for ninety days while determining if the subject(s) of such surveillance are legitimate targets of further domestic surveillance. It may then disseminate this data to any government agency. This is ludicrous! Will these drones be armed? Is the USAF completely going to throw out the idea of due process? Will these drones have the capability to see inside homes with thermal cameras, etc.? And finally the most important question: WHY DOES THE USAF NEED TO SPY AND KEEP DATA ON AMERICAN CITIZENS ABSENT DUE PROCESS OR EVEN PROBABLE CAUSE?!
This situation gets more terrifying as we put together the statements and policies coming out of the Obama Administration and apply them to these Citizen Surveillance Drone programs. On September 30 2011, President Barack Hussein Obama took the drastic step of using a drone to kill a United States citizen in Yemen who was suspected of aiding terrorist organizations. This was done without constitutional due process. Embattled Attorney General Eric Holder claims the President has the right to kill US citizens under certain circumstances.
So let me get this straight, and I do not mean to mix the passions of one injustice with another. Attorney General Eric Holder, the one that allowed for weapons to be smuggled from the U.S. to Mexico with no accountability, then lying about it to Congress; is the one making decisions on what circumstances, or that such circumstances exist, in which President Obama can order the execution of an American without due process?
While condemning a United States citizen to a death sentence absent due process is unconscionable, it doesn’t compare to the next trick Obama and his Justice Department had up their sleeve. On March 9, 2012, FBI Director Robert Mueller was asked whether or not President Obama has the right to kill American citizens on American soil without due process. Mueller’s reply should have been an emphatic “NO!”, but it wasn’t. Director Mueller said that he would have to check the Attorney General to see if the President has such authority. WHAT?! Essentially, the Director of the FBI is stating that the Attorney General might believe that President Obama can unilaterally and constitutionally kill an American citizen without due process.
These Citizen Surveillance Drone programs MUST be stopped. We are all accountable for the rights we enjoy and it is our duty to protect them. We must stand up against this unabashed assault on our constitutional protections. Do you want to live in a world where every time you forget to use a blinker you have to worry about a drone spotting you? Do you want to live in a world where the President can KILL you with no due process just because he has the BELIEF that you are a terrorist? This is the same guy who BELIEVED Obamacare was constitutional; do you trust him shooting Hellfire missiles at your neighbors, friends, family, or possibly even you?