We want a government that is vigilant. A government that stands ready and willing to fight an enemy that stands knocking at the gates ready to bombard through if necessary to destroy the life and happiness of the American people. These threats are obvious to spot or come cloaked in a garment of pride in their deception and deceit. When the threat to liberty comes from within, however, it can be much more detrimental to the will of the people and the spirit of those who seek to defend it.

The National Security Agency is under investigation this week for data mining and trolling the accounts of numerous different technology sources. Specifically, phone records have been analyzed for different activities that may appear suspicious or cause alarm. Though in a post 9/11 world, where the Patriot Act has usurped a great deal of power and undermined several civil liberties in the name of security, many may think this program okay. It is the idea that we must stop the terrorist before they start to act or have the chance to hurt freedom loving people.

But, the problem becomes that it imbedded in the supposed rights that allow for an activity like this data mining and information search to occur is the idea that reasonable suspicion is enough to allow the search. The depth of the probe is unknown yet, and just what was the reasoning, who was targeted, and other information is still sketchy at this point. Regardless (and Republican leaders will tell you that yes… we know that Republicans are not unknown for this behavior as well), the idea that our government has an increased amount of police power is alarming.

We must not, as a nation, become so fearful of external threats that we allow our government to continue to take our rights away. We must not allow “national security” to become a catchall phrase or reasoning for removing our power as individuals. We must stay vigilant of our government, aware of the actions that they take, and hold them accountable with a clear head. Easier said than done.