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On a day which saw Vice President Joe Biden hold a White House event designed to offer a progress report on the administration's efforts to curb gun violence, Tuesday evening's "Piers Morgan Live" featured the father of a boy facing prison time for his pro-NRA T-shirt.
In April, Jared Marcum was arrested after wearing clothing to school that supports the gun lobby. Asked to remove it, the 14-year-old refused, landing him first in the principal's office, and ultimately, in a court room. Supporting his son, Allen Lardieri joined Piers Morgan for a live, primetime interview, during which he insisted he had no clue Jared’s T-shirt would cause such a stir.
Pointing out the strong gun culture within their southern West Virginia community, Lardieri referenced the region's unique school schedule:
“Even the kids in November, they get a two-week vacation just because of hunting season and itself,” he said.
Marcum was arrested not specifically because of his NRA shirt, but rather due to of an altercation he had with the police called to his school following a teacher's protest:
“You hear these stories going on and no matter where it happens, it's always a shame that it happens,” said Lardieri. “But here to have that happen was a shock.”
As the nation's privacy vs. security debate continues, new details have been revealed, and opinionated voices are continuing to speak out.
On Tuesday “Piers Morgan Live” invited Glenn Greenwald and Daniel Ellsberg – two of the staunchest and most vocal advocates for Edward Snowden – to defend not only the NSA leaker's actions, but also their own.
The man to whom Snowden trusted with information exposing the NSA’s secret collection of private metadata, Greenwald declared his skepticism at the organization's recently reported success in foiling terrorist plots as a direct result of a data-mining program:
“It's not that they are lying. It's misleading. When the Bush administration got caught spying and eavesdropping on Americans without warrants in 2005, they said this program is necessary because it will enable us to stop terrorist plots," said the columnist for "The Guardian." "The answer to that was if you had been complying with the law in spying with warrants, you could have stopped the same terrorist plots.”
As a matter of fact, Greenwald argues, the program may have actually been hurting attempts to prevent terrorist threats:
"There is lots of reason to believe if the NSA is collecting millions and millions of phone records and telephones calls and emails as they are it actually makes it more difficult for them to stop terrorist plots because they are collecting so much stuff they don't even know what they have.”
Ellsberg, meanwhile, the man who released the 1971 Pentagon Papers, and who was consequently awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 2006, admitted that his role in political history is somewhat different from that of Snowden’s as a result of the modern capabilities of communications intelligence:
“I had clearances for communications intelligence for years in the government. When I revealed the top secret Pentagon Papers, I put out no communications intelligence because I really knew of none and I’d had access to it in those years. I knew of none at that time that was abusive as what we just learned now, that I felt the public need to know outweighed the need for secret," he told the "Piers Morgan Live" host. "I believe there is and was a reason for communication intelligence and much of it has to be kept secret. What is clear here as you say you were shocked and outraged, I presume not at the discovery of communications intercepts, you must have known that, but at the enormous scale and the fact that it was being done at such a scale against Americans.”
On a Constitutional level, however, Ellsberg defended Snowden’s intentions:
“The question is whether that dragnet, indiscriminate, sweeping up of information about hundreds of millions of Americans, actually not just millions, is on its face a correct violation of the Fourth Amendment, which was the thing that was a spark that caused the American Revolution. General warrants like that to just poke around in the private affairs of then colonists, American citizens and that was regarded as extremely intrusive. That's why the revolution was fought and the Fourth Amendment put in place.”
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