RUSH: Have you seen the news about the NSA? The federal judge, Richard Leon, has declared that the NSA sweeping phone calls is unconstitutional. Fourth Amendment. It violates search and seizure, and one of his big assertions in his opinion was that the government, despite being asked numerous times to produce evidence, has not been able to produce evidence that what they’re doing is working.
They haven’t been able to produce evidence that they’re actually getting closer to capturing terrorists or other criminals, and I’m kind of conflicted because the knee-jerk reaction is to support Judge Leon and the ruling and actually to even almost stand up and applaud and say, “Finally somebody is willing to find something in this Regime unconstitutional,” but then something happened today that made me question it.
RUSH: Anyway, the NSA. Here’s what happened. Like everybody else, when the ruling came down and the NSA was found to be unconstitutional, like everybody else, I sort of applauded and said, “Finally something this Regime is doing, even if just a little thing here, is being found unconstitutional.” And then I was watching Fox today, and a man that I really admire, former attorney general and a federal judge himself, Michael Mukasey, was being interviewed by Bill Hemmer, and Mukasey says he knows Judge Leon, the judge that made the ruling in the NSA case and found NSA data mining phone calls unconstitutional.
He said, “I like Judge Leon and I respect him, but he’s dead wrong on this.” He said, “The only thing the NSA is collecting is metadata,” and Hemmer said, “Well, what’s metadata?” It’s the phone number, and it’s basically the phone number of both phones. It had nothing to do with the content, nothing to do with the identities behind the phone numbers. That’s not possible to know. It could be anybody using anybody’s phone to make a phone call.
So there’s no way that the NSA is spying on people here. They’re simply collecting metadata and therefore it doesn’t violate the Fourth Amendment. And he was really fervently serious about this, and he was worried that all of us hyper-attention and misunderstanding was going to end up really hampering national security apparatus, national security efforts to discover and detect genuine potential terrorists or criminal activity.
The metadata is basically just the traffic analysis. And if the metadata is illegal, then the NSA may as well go out of business. There isn’t any content involved. Nobody, according to Attorney General Mukasey, nobody’s phone calls are being listened to. The NSA is not dialing in, tapping and actually monitoring the voices on phone calls. They don’t even know who’s making and receiving calls. All they know is the two phone numbers and some other information. But it isn’t content.
Another point that was made, he says you’ve gotta be very careful here because there are people who really do want to neuter our intel agencies. There are Americans, there are leftists who really do want to hamper the CIA, who want to hamper the NSA. And they’re taking the occasion of what Snowden has leaked, Edward Snowden — and Mukasey didn’t say this, but the media’s so excited about this, that’s a red flag for me. I’m just telling you. If the media really dig something — normally the media would not be happy about the Regime being found to be unconstitutional. Normally that would irritate the media because that’d be a black mark on Obama. It would be a black mark on the Regime. “How dare you say that our president is breaking the law?”
In this case, they’re fully behind this ruling, and it’s natural that a lot of people, in the process of misunderstanding what the NSA is doing, would also support the ruling. It almost nabbed me, and I was not standing and cheering when I heard that the judge had found it unconstitutional. I wasn’t that exuberant, but I did find myself tending to support it simply because I think this Regime is behaving outside the Constitution on a daily basis and any action that signifies that and identifies and reins it in would tend to get my support.
Then I saw the media reaction to this, and I said, “Wait a minute. They’re too happy about this.” I don’t trust the media. The media’s interests and mine do not coincide. They’re leftists, folks. This is how I do it. Some people may think, “Well, this is awfully simplistic, Rush.” No, it isn’t. It really is very simple. And it is really very truthful. The left is who they are. And I don’t agree with them about anything. And when they’re happy about something I generally am not.
So then I saw Mukasey on Fox, and he’s really, really worried about this, which then gave me pause about this. And that’s what I was gonna ‘splain at the bottom-of-the-hour break. And it’s something that I’m still spending some time informing myself on, trying to avoid a knee-jerk reaction to it.
RUSH: Kevin in Amanda, Ohio. It’s great to have you, sir. You’re next. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hi.
CALLER: Thanks, Rush. Hey, Judge Richard Leon’s decision should be praised and applauded for having the courage to make a constitutional decision. I believe that his decision will follow him for the rest of his career. The IRS has already shown what the government will do when they target people, and you would be amazed at the box you can be put into if the government knows every single person you call, Rush. Do you think the leftist, socialist communists wouldn’t like to know every single phone call you make from your cell phone? It’s a very dangerous thing. Our forefathers had the wisdom to see the dangers of an out-of-control government, and that’s why they gave us our Fourth Amendment. And that’s very important, it’s a treasure, and we ought to protect it with everything we can. I’m all for going after the metadata of a person where probable cause has been developed to demonstrate that they’re up to terrorism or what have you.
RUSH: Well, there ain’t no probable cause involved here.
CALLER: Right. This is a massive fishnet. It’s American citizens, Rush, not —
RUSH: Kevin, I’ve got limited time, and I want to play for you General Mukasey, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Fox this morning. Bill Hemmer said, “A federal judge saying a program to collect your metadata is likely unconstitutional. First, Judge, what is metadata?”
MUKASEY: The number that does the calling, the number that is called, the date of the call, and the length of the call. That’s it. It’s nothing about the content of the call. It’s nothing even about the identity of the person making the call.
HEMMER: It’s not my address?
MUKASEY: It’s not your address.
HEMMER: It’s not the context of the conversation?
MUKASEY: It’s not any of the content of the conversation.
HEMMER: No keywords that are searched for in here?
MUKASEY: No words at all, key or otherwise. I gotta tell you that Richard Leon is a fine judge and a terrific person. But, you know what? Even great judges and terrific people occasionally make mistakes. And I think this one was a mistake.
RUSH: Now, that’s former Attorney General Mukasey, and he is universally respected and so forth. I would be interested to delve deeper into what Mukasey thinks, ’cause I’m sure he’ll write about this and some of his supporters will as well. But Kevin, I appreciate the call. I’m glad there’s attention being paid to all this, finally, in a productive and learnable way.