Only Terrorists Need to Worry. You're Not a Terrorist, Are You?


Judging from the response to my column from Townhall readers (a skewed sample, I admit), Americans are not just ready to let the government read their international email and listen to their international phone calls at will; they're happy to ditch the Fourth Amendment altogether, at least as it applies to wiretaps. A sampling:

1) Well, just don't discuss your evil plans when you call your mother. Save that for talking to your Democrat and Muslim friends.

2) What in the world do you talk about with your Mother that could possibly interest the US government?…You are sort of full of yourself aren't you.

3) Why would anyone want to listen to you? [A good question, in any context.] There has to be a valid reason to wiretap. How many people does this involve? Millions use the phones, a few need to be monitored. The resources are not going to be used to pry on folks like you. To think that, unless you have something to hide, someone would want to take their time to listen to you is, to be generous, taking yourself way too seriously (and maybe a little paranoid).

4) Unless you are…plotting death to Israel or death to the United States, you need not fear.

5) Maybe it's time for you to think less of "ME" and more of "US."

Some readers seem to have interpreted "a reasonable expectation of privacy" as referring to one's judgment about the likelihood that the government is listening in at any given moment, as opposed to one's assumptions about a particular kind of communication's protection from warrantless eavesdropping. For the record, I'm pretty sure my mother and I are not very high on the NSA's list of targets. My point was that most Americans probably do (or did) take for granted that their private telephone conversations cannot be tapped by their government without a court's approval.