What if the federal government is shameless? What if it personifies the adage of do as I say and not as I do? What if it does the very things it prosecutes others for doing? What if it has written laws and enacted procedures so that it can spy and kill, while it charges others with doing just that?
What if the feds recently indicted five low-level Chinese military officers for spying on American corporations? What if the feds accused these officers of using their computers in Beijing to hack into computers in Denver that are not owned by the federal government but by well-known and wealthy American corporations? What if these corporations are rich enough to install digital protections and procedures to insulate themselves from hackers? What if when Google and Apple and Facebook were hacked, they protected themselves from their hackers at no expense to the taxpayers?
What if the hackers who hacked into Google and Apple and Facebook -- the hackers that sent them into an expensive self-defense mode -- were agents of the federal government? What if those agents worked for the NSA? What if those NSA agents took oaths to uphold the Constitution? What if they violated their oaths and the Constitution with gusto?
What if the NSA spies on more people in China than the federal government has accused the Chinese military officers of spying on in the United States? What if the NSA used its computers in Maryland to hack into Chinese government computers in Beijing in order to identify the officers it just indicted?
What if the NSA spies on more than one billion persons every minute of every hour of every day? What if the NSA spies on the pope, the chancellor of Germany, members of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and all persons in the Bahamas, as well as every person in America, all day and every day? What if the NSA’s spies gather so much personal data about and from their one billion targets that, if reduced to print, the data collected would fill 27 times the content of the Library of Congress -- every day?
What if the accusations against the Chinese military officers -- who are unlikely to stand trial here -- are just another diversion by the Obama administration to take our eyes off its foreign adventurism, which has caused chaos in Libya, its failures in Benghazi, which may expose political gain at the price of lives, and its incompetence at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which the president has known about since before he became president?
What if the president dispatched his wife to champion the cause of 300 innocent, harmless little girls who were kidnapped by madmen in a lawless area of Africa? What if the hearts and tears of millions were so stirred up by this that the federal government could secretly and without public criticism try to rescue and save these little girls? What if the president’s drones have killed more little girls than the kidnappers have kidnapped? What if the 3,000 people who were killed by the president’s drones, but were not targeted by them, are victims of extra-judicial murder, but the president calls them collateral damage?
What if, when the president decided he wanted to kill people in foreign lands without declaring war on the government of those lands and without indicting and trying the people he wanted to kill, he went to lawyers in the Department of Justice and asked them to find a way to make the killings legal? What if he also asked those lawyers to find a way to make his killings of Americans in foreign lands legal?
What if the Constitution declares that if the government wants to take life, liberty or property from anyone, it must seek what it wants by means of the courts and not by means of drones?
What if, in order to advise the president that he can legally kill, the lawyer assigned to the task sent numerous legal memoranda to the president? What if that lawyer persuaded the president that he could legally and constitutionally kill whom he wishes? What if that lawyer who advised the president that he could kill with drones -- even Americans if he wished -- has been nominated to become a federal judge? What if the bench to which the president nominated this lawyer is the second highest court in the land?
What if the Constitution requires Senate confirmation of all of the president’s judicial nominees?
What if Sen. Rand Paul and others have asked this nominee for public copies of his legal memoranda in which he found a way for the president legally to kill Americans?
What if this nominee and the president refused to make these memoranda available for public scrutiny until a court ordered them to do so?
What if this lawyer claims that he can be faithful to the Constitution and to presidential extra-judicial killing at the same time? What if such a dual loyalty is metaphysically impossible because the Constitution mandates the rule of law and presidential killing mandates the rule of men? What if Paul and others have talked their hearts out in an effort to stop this lawyer from achieving a lifetime judgeship, but the political bosses of the Senate made sure he became a federal judge? What if this judge judged you?
What if these Alice-in-Wonderland tales are really happening? What if you are reading this on a computer and the NSA is looking right at you? What if the government regularly breaks its own laws? What if the government thinks that wrong is right? What if the government doesn’t know the difference?
What do we do about it?
Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel.