Summary: Benjamin Franklin, in 1759, stated that whomever releases their personal liberty and freedom in order to obtain a temporary security deserves to have neither liberty or security.
Response: The quote “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” by Benjamin Franklin in 1759, incorrectly portrays the debate whether the relinquishing of some liberty for the sake of security is justified. By giving up a little of the ‘American freedom’, the government is more able to help their own citizens and protect them better. There is no way that any participating citizen in America can be completely private. There are always going to be ways of monitoring a person, and some things that the government will always be able to find on that person. In order to have a secure nation, all of the populous of the nation have to participate, much like President Barack Obama says, “We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set,” (Obama, 2008). The military can only do so much for it’s nation. There comes a point when the military can do no more, but using data mining and surveillance to catch even more criminals that could potentially hurt members of the United States helps it’s populous. However, governments do intrude onto its citizen’s privacy in order to obtain security. It is felt by a great many people that governments invade too much into the people’s privacy. As stated by Billy Graham, “Once you’ve lost your privacy, you realize you’ve lost a very valuable thing,” (Graham, 2007). Especially to the American people, freedom granted by the Constitution and the right of privacy is a matter held very close to the heart. By taking it away, even just a little, one leaves open a way for the government to take away even more. At first glance, the matter would seem simple. One doesn’t give up their privacy and freedom to the government for anything. One cannot deny that privacy and freedoms are very important things that deserve to be protected. This interpretation is helpful, but it misses an important point. When privacy is intruded into, which is rarely, and without reasonable cause, it is all so government officials can catch criminals, some of which pose a threat to the civilian population. The use of wiretapping is not so the government can control the populous, but so it can protect it’s own citizens; it’s husbands, wives, partners, mothers and fathers, children. The use of data mining and wiretapping has saved the lives of many people. Under siege for the use of data mining, NSA chief Keith Alexander responds “In recent years, information gathered from these programs provided the U.S government with critical leads to help prevent over 50 potential terrorist events in more than 20 countries around the world,” (Alexander, 2013). The invasion of privacy for only certain people helps to prevent possibly devastating acts of terrorism. Benjamin Franklin’s quote incorrectly portrays today's debate of liberty vs security, because the surrendering of some freedoms and privacy ensures security and helps to save countless lives.