Conservative commentator Mark Steyn explained Thursday why the federal government’s phone records data collection is disturbing: because it falls in the context of other alleged misdeeds by that same government.
“I wouldn’t be were it not for the context in which it appears,” Steyn said when asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt if he is upset over the Wednesday report in the Guardian. “I mean, I think there’s no doubt that computers and technology being the way they are, that governments can know everything about you pretty much when they want to. And I accept the point of my friend and colleague, Andy McCarthy, who points out that in fact the Supreme Court ruled in favor of this kind of metadata surveillance in 1979, although obviously, that’s before the age of the mobile phone, where in effect, tracking what calls you’re making is also a way of tracking where you physically are at any one time.”
“But putting all that aside, you know, in all free societies, freedom, liberty, democracy, depends on a certain circumspection of the government class toward the powers they have,” he continued. “If they want to, they can ride a coach and horses through the thing, and do pretty much what they want to you. And this revelation comes up in the wake of a tax collection agency that is leaking information on groups to their political opponents, in terms of the context of an attorney general who goes on TV and denies that he lied to Congress on the grounds that in fact, he was lying to the judge — when he wanted to read a journalist’s emails. So that’s the context in which this occurs, and I think in that context, it is slightly disturbing.”
When a high-ranking government official lies to a judge, the author of “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon,” warned, there are dire consequences for the nation.
“This is the chief law officer of the United States,” Steyn said. “And he’s just gone on national television and said he was obligated to lie to the judge. I had to sign some rinky-dink, little affidavit for something or another the other day, and you know, you have to get it notarized and all the rest of it, and you’re not allowed, when the citizen has to file relatively routine bits of information, you’re not allowed to lie. In fact, the point of the law, you’re not allowed to lie to Eric Holder’s minions. You’re not allowed to lie to a federal agent. Martha Stewart went to jail for lying to an employee of the attorney general of the United States. Yet the attorney general himself is allowed to lie to a judge. This isn’t small stuff, you know. It’s the point at which a respectable society decays into something darker and far more sinister and unattractive.”