Many people who were aghast at the idea of Hillary “Hack My Emails Please” Clinton in the Oval Office saw Donald Trump as the one who would preserve liberty. Trump himself claimed to value privacy, and took to Twitter to condemn the fact that his own affairs were spied on by the government before the election. But is he really in favor of the constitutional right to privacy, or is he furthering the surveillance state? And how have his actions as President in this first one hundred days lined up with his campaign promises on the privacy front?
Daily Dot has a collection of Trump tweets from the last several years showing his real position on privacy, which boil down to you should not have any, but I should. That position has been steady for quite some time — and hasn’t changed since he became President, regardless of his claims during the campaign regarding his love for the Constitution.
The warning signs about Trump’s stand on privacy have been there since long before he took office. In 2015, Trump called for a ‘closing’ of the internet in certain areas, claiming that it would stop the spread of Islamic terror among groups that use the web to recruit.
Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people.
As Trump prepared for inauguration, he filled Cabinet positions with people who were wholly in favor of a government surveillance state and violating Americans’ privacy as a matter of everyday occurrence. Former Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), now the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, not only wants to revive the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection program, but wants to expand it. In an op-ed for Wall Street Journal, he argued that Congress should allow for metadata collection to be merged “with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database.” Pompeo also sponsored legislation that would have done just that, calling it the “Liberty Through Strength Act;” the bill died in a previous Congress. In an essay for National Review, Pompeo even argued that Republicans who weren’t on board with mass surveillance were “as weak as Democrats.” In other words, if you expect the federal government to adhere to its Constitutional limits, then you’re weak. Trump put this man in charge of the CIA — an agency with nearly unlimited funding and a long, disturbing history.
Trump also brought former Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) on board to fill the Attorney General position, and Sessions isn’t exactly a privacy advocate either. The lawmaker not only supported the Patriot Act in all its unconstitutional glory, he argued in an op-ed that it should be reauthorized and extended. Sessions is also in favor of police being able to stop and search you at any time — a clear Fourth Amendment violation. Trump put this man in charge of the entire Department of Justice. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocacy group, spoke candidly about what the nation could expect from Sessions.
Sessions has made it clear that he is incredibly hostile to Silicon Valley, the internet in general, and the First and Fourth Amendments…He will be a big-government, anti-liberty attorney general.
This is all interesting — and troubling — background, but what about since he took office? Has he continued that anti-privacy, pro-surveillance state trend? In a word, yes.
Even though Trump “loved Wikileaks as a candidate” — especially when Assange and crew were exposing Hillary Clinton’s misdeeds — the Washington Post points out that he doesn’t like Wikileaks as a president. In fact, as Liberty Nation reported on Friday, CIA Director Mike Pompeo has apparently been given a ‘green light’ of sorts to do whatever it takes to stop Assange from continuing to leak more information about government agencies and the deep state — regardless of whether those agencies are engaged in unconstitutional and illegal activities against the American people. It would seem that when it comes to government surveillance, Trump is only against it if it happens to him.
If Trump is for the Constitution, why is he so comfortable with violating your privacy? If he is so liberty-minded, then why did he surround himself with people who are actively seeking to take more of yours? And what can we expect in the next four years? If the last one hundred days (and his history before it) are any indication, we can expect a lot more surveillance state — and a lot less Constitutional protection.