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Let's Go Over This One More Time

Do heads of departments like the NSA get sworn in, as in hand-on-the-Bible-and-take-an-oath sworn in? Or does some flunky just show them to their office and take them around to indicate where the cafeteria and the nearest men's room is? If there's a preserve-protect-and-defend-the-Constitution rule in effect, which being as this is the "National Security" Agency and all would seem like a good idea, it looks like we may need one of those stand-down time-outs for review of the pertinent operating rules:

Congress shall make no law...abridging...the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Because they seem to have gotten a little confused on the objective here:

Thirteen anti-war activists were given citations Saturday for protesting outside the National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade.

An NSA security officer cited the activists for "entering into military facility for purposes prohibited by law" and ordered them to leave the area, protest organizers and an NSA spokesman said.

They were ordered to appear in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to be arraigned at a date to be announced.

Twenty-five people participated in the protest, but only 13 who refused to stop carrying signs were cited, said Max Obuszewski of the Pledge of Resistance — Baltimore, one of those cited. They carried a banner reading "NSA Crime Scene" and other signs protesting the agency's involvement in the war in Iraq.

The activists were stopped on a road near the NSA entrance that provides access to two museums that are open to the public, Obuszewski said.

"We were on, I would argue, public property," he said. "Anybody could go there and get gasoline; anybody could go there and visit the two museums."

Don Weber, an NSA spokesman, said Fort Meade policy specifies that protesters submit a written request for a permit and the activists cited had not done so.

The Pledge of Resistance — Baltimore sent a letter last month to Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA director, seeking a meeting to discuss issues including "the illegal wiretapping and wholesale collection of Americans' phone records" and "the NSA's surveillance of our group." The organization has received no response, Obuszewski said.

Not a terribly well-written story (credited to one "BEN NUCKOLS/Associated Press Writer") but I include the whole thing because the AJC from whence it came is annoying with registrations.

See, NSA fellas, that "submit a written request for a permit" would seem to "abridge" the use of public property for "peaceable...assembly and petition for redress" business. Y'all might want to freshen up on the concept here, okay?

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