Statement from Geoffrey J. Neale, chair, Libertarian National Committee, in response to President Barack Obama’s announced plan for minor reforms of NSA mass surveillance:
“Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of the rights of its citizens, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. And, make no mistake, our governments — federal, state, and local — have all become injurious to the rights of citizens.
“Barack Obama today delivered a speech that promised next to nothing. He promised that ‘greater safeguards for civil liberties’ will be enacted, and that steps will be taken to rein in the worst of the NSA surveillance abuses.
“But government cannot be reined in. Once it has power, it seeks more. Once it has information, it keeps it — and often tells us that it didn’t keep it (such as the records of gun purchases run through the NICS system) even though it really did — and then it wants more. It is the nature of the beast; everything it thinks it can use, it stuffs into its gaping, insatiable maw.
“There is already a list of ‘safeguards,’ and they are mentioned specifically in the Constitution. If the supreme law of the land is ‘just a piece of paper,’ what other ‘safeguards’ will keep millions of bureaucrats from breaking the law further?
“The only way to limit government intrusion into our lives is to eliminate the functions that have little to do with defending individual rights within our borders. If government were restricted only to acting on its one legitimate function — protecting individual rights — 95 percent of government operations would cease to exist. And Edward Snowden would have had little incentive to break the news on the government’s rampant criminality.
“Edward Snowden should be granted a full pardon and complete immunity from prosecution. The government’s ire should instead be turned toward prosecuting the millions of bureaucrats who have violated both their oaths of office, statute law, and even the Constitution itself.
“A non-interventionist nation at peace with the world doesn’t need a worldwide security apparatus. A nation that doesn’t meddle in conflicts around the world doesn’t need a two-ocean Navy, or thousands of nuclear weapons, or gargantuan stockpiles of chemical and biological agents. A nation that stays out of foreign conflicts is less likely to be a target of terrorists. And a nation like that doesn’t need to spy constantly on its own citizens.”