The political roots of our country go back to the Declaration of Independence, in which the American people made it clear that we would not be subservient to a government in which we had no representation. Our founding fathers then created a constitution that gave us a well-designed framework for democratic self-government. Abraham Lincoln further articulated the ideal of American democracy as “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” More than anything else, this is the ideal that has united our country and that continues to inspire our democracy.
The recent leaks by Edward Snowden revealing the extensive secret surveillance of American citizens by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the recent report on the interrogation techniques of the CIA should be a wake-up call for Americans who care about their sovereignty as American citizens. The NSA and CIA — both large government agencies funded by our tax money — have been clearly conducting illegal activities that are probably abhorrent to a majority of Americans.
This should not come as a surprise. The CIA has been conducting its secret operations since the end of World War II. Many of these operations have become known, and some are controversial to say the least in that they do not reflect American ideals. Our national security rests ultimately upon the health and vibrancy of our democracy. The time has come when the extent and nature of these covert operations needs to be brought into the light and adequate oversight established so that the American people can be sure that future activities are in keeping with American ideals and valid American interests.
by John Barnes