A group plans to protest at noon Thursday at Metro Hall in downtown Louisville against the National Security Agency’s recently revealed surveillance programs.
The rally is being dubbed “Restore the Fourth”—as in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The group says it’s participants include members of both major political parties and others. It’s part of a nationwide slate of rallies today on the surveillance issue.
The NSA’s massive surveillance of data has drawn wide condemnation from people political figures ranging from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has described himself as a democratic socialist, to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite. Paul said in a statement:
The Bill of Rights was designed to protect us from evil, too, particularly that which always correlates with concentrated government power, and particularly Executive power. If the President and Congress would obey the Fourth Amendment we all swore to uphold, this new shocking revelation that the government is now spying on citizens’ phone data en masse would never have happened.
In the programs’ defense, President Obama said last month:
“My concern has always been not that we shouldn’t do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances? So, on this telephone program, you’ve got a federal court with independent federal judges overseeing the entire program. And you’ve got Congress overseeing the program, not just the intelligence committee and not just the judiciary committee — but all of Congress had available to it before the last re-authorization exactly how this program works.”
For more information on the rally, here’s a Courier-Journal op-ed from Peter Fosl, a philosophy professor at Transylvania University, and James Miller, a journalism teacher at duPont Manual High School and WFPL’s media critic. (He’s not acting on behalf of the station.)