By Joe King, [email protected]

(The Herald/ Archived Photo)

(The Herald/ Archived Photo)

SEVIER COUNTY- Ever since Edward Snowden leaked information that the National Security Agency had been collecting massive amounts of communication data from Americans who were not suspected of criminal activity, the overreach of big government surveillance has been exposed like never before.

While politicians on both sides of the aisle who have come out in support or opposition of NSA tactics have muddled traditional party lines, Sevier County Tea Party Chairman Steve Osborn is clear on his stance of the issue.

“I absolutely do not approve of these tactics,” he said.  “I was never a supporter of the Patriot Act to begin with. Although it was touted as a tool for fighting terror, it was well known that the unintended consequences of giving any government the right to spy on Americans would soon be abused. The level of hypocrisy by both political parties is unparalleled to anything I’ve seen. Members of both parties condemn the other while violating the same constitutional limitations placed on the federal government.”

And as many who attempt to justify NSA spying by arguing it is necessary to combat security threats, Osborn views the mass data collection as both ineffective and a constitutional violation.

“No instance ever justifies violating any part of the Constitution,” he said. “The government has plenty of tools to monitor legitimate security threats, yet they do a less-than-excellent job, if it. For instance, there were many red flags alerting the government before the Jihadist’s flew planes into the towers: expired visas unchecked; taking flying lessons on only how to fly, not land or take off; their known associations with radical groups in the mid-east, and so on. Yet, the departments responsible for keeping America safe failed miserably. As a knee-jerk reaction, or simply taking advantage of Americans’ fears, George W. Bush enacted numerous laws that eroded our liberty even more than they had been.”

However, just because the Patriot Act was created during the Bush Administration, doesn’t mean Osborn believes Obama to be in the right.

Sevier County Tea Party Chairman Steve Osborn. (The Herald/ Archived Photo)

Sevier County Tea Party Chairman Steve Osborn. (The Herald/ Archived Photo)

“No party or administration has been guilt free of scandals, but Obama’s administration has taken the corruption to a new level,” he said. “The actions of this president and his administration can leave no doubt that he is a die-hard Socialist/Marxist. I really hope your readers begin to look at historical figures such as Mao, Hitler, Marx, Stalin, Castro, Chavez and see how they introduced their version of totalitarian government in much the same way we are seeing it implemented today.”

But Osborn does see a glimmer of hope in the matter.

“Thankfully, there is a growing number of republicans in the House who are beginning to admit our government has become what our founders fought against, and they are trying to take steps in restoring constitutional government,” he offered. “Our own representative Phil Roe, whom I’ve disagreed with on several issues, is beginning to speak out against the Patriot Act and the tyranny that it has fostered. But while the republican party, with the help of democrats in the House, passed the National Defense Authorization Act, allowing the arrest of Americans without warrant and the indefinite detention without Habius Corpus or the right to legal representation, Phil Roe and others voted against; our senators voted for it.”

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