Final Essay

Topics: Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, NSA warrantless surveillance controversy Pages: 7 (2677 words) Published: August 23, 2013
Final Research Paper
David Buckley
HU1440: Rhetoric in Contemporary Culture
ITT Technical Institute
Richard Kmetz

Final Research Paper
Our forefathers with great fortitude put together a document that would be forever known as the constitution. This document addressed the rights of the citizens of the newly formed states. One amendment has been a focal point of discussion in recent weeks with the leakage of NSA protocol. The fourth amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”. With news of the Edward Snowden case and that the NSA has been retrieving phone calls, emails and browser history; Americans are crying foul citing their fourth amendment rights. In this paper, I plan to argue that the NSA Warrantless Surveillance program is not, in my opinion, a violation of our fourth amendment rights. First of all, the NSA Warrantless Surveillance program is not the first identity to listen in on phone calls. This goes back to the days of phone operators and party lines. Many citizens across the United States had party lines, including my parents, where anyone you shared a phone with could listen in on a conversation. No one complained of their 4th amendment rights being violated in those days. Around that same time the NSA was being created. The NSA was established on November 4, 1952, by order of President Harry Truman. This decision followed the Nation's important work in breaking German and Japanese codes during WWII, which contributed to Allied success against the German U-Boat threat in the North Atlantic and victory at the Battle of Midway in the Pacific, and other contributions. As party lines continued to be used, Philips introduced the compact cassette in 1962 which allowed people to record and re-record conversations happening over the party line. Again, because there was little to no expectation of privacy during these years, there weren’t any large outcries against the other parties who could listen or even record conversations. Additionally, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in addressing the fourth amendment he states, ("PRIVACY, TECHNOLOGY AND NATIONAL SECURITY: An Overview of Intelligence Collection by Robert S. Litt, ODNI General Counsel", n.d., p. xx-xx), “under established Supreme Court rulings a person has no legally recognized expectation of privacy in information that he or she gives to a third party. Therefore, obtaining those records from the third party is not a search as to that person”. Secondly, the NSA Warrantless Surveillance program came as a result of our war on terror, is not illegal and has resulted in the prevention of future terrorist attacks. The forefathers could have never predicted that one day the airplane would be invented, or that large jets full of fuel would be used by hijackers as an act of terrorism against the country. The events of September 11th prompted the creation of the Department of Homeland Security which increased its working relationship with the NSA. Since 9/11, at least 50 publically known attempted terrorist attacks against the U.S. have been foiled and of these, at least 42 could be categorized as homegrown plots. Knowing that the NSA has prevented the unnecessary deaths of American citizens as a result of their hard work and dedication should be commended and not criticized. Additionally, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, ("PRIVACY, TECHNOLOGY AND NATIONAL SECURITY: An Overview of Intelligence Collection by Robert S. Litt, ODNI General Counsel", n.d., p. xx-xx)” These programs are not illegal. They are authorized by Congress and are carefully overseen by the Congressional...

References: The 4th Amendment. (n.d.). Retrieved from
50 Terror Attacks Foiled Since 9/11. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Benjamin Franklin Quotes- BrainyQuote. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Cybersecurity | The White House. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Frequently Asked Questions About NSA - NSA/CSS. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Historical Solutions, LLC - Ideas and Inspiration Through History. (n.d.). Retrieved from
History of the Recording Industry. (n.d.). Retrieved from
PRIVACY, TECHNOLOGY AND NATIONAL SECURITY: An Overview of Intelligence Collection by Robert S. Litt, ODNI General Counsel. (n.d.). Retrieved from,-technology-and-national-security-an-overview-of-intelligence-collection
Secret Court Rebuked N.S.A. on Surveillance - (n.d.). Retrieved from
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