The Freedom Act: Three Monkeys of See No Evil, Hear No Evil vs NSA

Written by David Michaelis

The NSA and Senate are at odds. One wants to see no evil while the other can only see evil. The Freedom Act is new legislation that increases privacy, but at what cost? — The Freedom Act is a new initiative in Congress that intends to reduce the abuse caused by the NSA’s practices. “See no evil, hear no evil” has never been the most-effective or accurate phrase. But it’s inverse sentiment, the first-time quoted, “See only evil, hear only evil” (yes, I have just coined the phrase) is equally as bad, if not more-devastating than the blind ignorance of its silent brother. The three monkeys (see them below) are now parading their foolhardy doctrines in the U.S. government. The U.S. Senate has filibustered its way into an evil-free fantasy world. The senators’ ear-plugging antics have truly lived up to the world-shunning monkeys.

Hear No Evil, See No Evil US Senate

The Senate Monkeys

Image Credit: Wikimedia

Meanwhile the NSA has fallen into a ferocious “intelligence gathering” community that, in reality, panders to mass paranoia. They look more like this:

See Only Evil NSA

See Only Evil

Image Credit: Simon Letch, As Der Spiegel put it:

While far from a dictatorship, the United States has employed a number of paranoid tactics that delegitimize its democracy. This phenomenon is on display in the fictional TV series ‘Homeland,’ which depicts hysterical CIA agents in a hysterical country.”

This ideology is rooted in the post-9/11 scare, which created the Patriot Act as a quick and fast response to evil-doers everywhere.

The Freedom Act

The Freedom Act, co-sponsored by 16 representatives from both sides of the aisle, has a chance to change the monkey profiles. The two opposing viewpoints are illustrated by the nay-sayers in Washington DC and the wild and rogue NSA agents. The Freedom Act hopes to close the artificial divide between these two, putting an end to the days of the Patriot Act. The Freedom Act is legislation that would “end the dragnet collection of Americans’ phone records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act — which allows the FBI to order any person or entity to hand over any tangible item to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities — and ensures that other authorities cannot be used to justify similar dragnet collection.” A special advocate position would also be created to ensure that Americans’ privacy rights and civil liberties were protected, and detailed public reports about the type and frequency of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders would also be required.

In a joint press release on Oct. 29, Patrick Leahy said he co-authored the legislation because of “the government surveillance programs conducted under the foreign surveillance.” But do the senators really understand the issues?

PC World calls into question the necessity of the Freedom Act:

The USA Freedom Act would require the NSA to show the records it seeks to collect are related to a foreign power, a suspected agent of a foreign power or a person in contact with a suspected agent. Among other changes, the bill would also require the NSA to get court orders to search U.S. residents’ communications obtained without individualized warrants. The bill is ‘flawed’ because it presumes intelligence officials often have specific targets when looking for terrorist activity, said Patrick Kelley, acting general counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. ‘That’s the essence of terrorism prevention—we don’t know who we’re after,’ he said. ‘If we’re limited to seeing numbers from a known [suspect], then we’re not very effective.’ “

A balance must be found between these extreme points of view. The constantly suspicious, post-9/11 mindset hardly protects the rights of citizens. Add yet, it seems that some politicians on The Hill are starting to see some evil … hopefully it is not too little too late. For, I’m David Michaelis.

Based in Australia, David Michaelis is a world-renowned international journalist and founder of Link Tv. At, he covers the global beat, focusing on politics and other international topics of note for our readers in a variety of forums. Email him at


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