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The issue of domestic surveillance is not principally about privacy, much as President Obama would like to define it that way. It is about a government that violates the Constitution in secret, then lies about it when challenged. Also remember that the federal government regards the person who revealed its chicanery as a criminal, even a traitor, to be sent to prison for espionage and treason. Government spies charge citizens with espionage. Government spies betray their country and its Constitution, then charge those who reveal their crimes with treason.

You cannot reduce this issue to a tradeoff between liberty and security. The only valid reduction is to compare government behavior with the standards of behavior prescribed in the Bill of Rights. When we discovered government tortured people in secret in 2005 and 2006, we said, “If government can do that, it can do anything.” It has proven us correct. It has demonstrated that it does not regard constitutional limits on its power as limits at all. When the president says, “We welcome this debate,” what does he mean? He thinks he’s talking about privacy, but the more important question by far is whether our Constitution has any force. If it does not bind government, our life together as citizens of a republic has ended.

Government does not undertake its projects in secret for your benefit. It acts in secret for its own benefit, to protect its own power and privileges, and to commit crimes too serious and brazen to commit in the open. It only needs to act in secret because it wants to do things the Constitution and other law prohibit it from doing at all.

Do not trust your government, for it does not trust you.


As I thought about how Edward Snowden discredited the United States government, I wanted to search for the meaning of the root cred online. The definitions below reveal a lot.

The root word is cred, which means believe.

  1. Credo : (kreed’ o) n. A set of opinions; a creed.

  2. Creed : (kreed) n. A formula of faith; a set of principles.

  3. Credit : (kred’ it) n. Value; worth.

  4. Creditable : (kred’ it a b’l) adj. Can be believed.

  5. Creditably : (kred’ is a blee) adv. In such a manner that something is believed.

  6. Discreditable : (dis kred’ it a b’l) adj. Not worthy of belief.

  7. Discreditably : (dis kred’ it a blee) adv. Not believably.

  8. Creditor : (kred’ it or) n. One who loans money to another.

  9. Credulity : (kre dyu’ lit ee) n. A willingness to believe easily.

  10. Incredulity : (in kre dyu’ lit ee) n. Unwillingness to believe easily.

  11. Credulous : (krej’ u lus) adj. Inclined to believe readily.

  12. Incredulous : (in krej’ us lus) adj. Not inclined to believe.

  13. Incredulously : (in krej’ u lus lee) adv. Distrustingly.

  14. Credulously : (krej’ us lus lee) adv. Trustingly.

  15. Accredit : (a kred; it) v. To recognize as acceptable for approval; as, to accredit a school.

  16. Accreditation : (a kred i tay’ shun) n. A certificate of acceptance.

  17. Credence : (kreed’ ens) n. Belief; as, he earned the credence of his creditors.

  18. Credibly : (kred’ i blee) adv. Believably; plausibly.

  19. Incredibly : (in kred’ i blee) adv. Unbelievably; implausibly.

Source: English for Students