I have trouble with the violation of international and other country's laws when it suits your purpose while claiming to support the rule of law.
The USA has done many things wrong in spying on its citizens and others around the world. The main defense seems to be to
1) make people fearful (essentially they are copying what the house committee on "un-american activities" did)
3) hide extremely bad policy (and most likely lots of illegal activity) behind claims of "national security"
4) say we are no worse at breaking laws than others are
One is bad, but at least not illegal. Still it is the type of behavior we shouldn't tolerate but we have been. Openly debating policy is what should be done. When we allow government to hide their bad policy from even being debated the extremes to which that bad policy goes very quickly becomes horrible (based on our past, and current, experience).
I don't know of an exception to following laws that amounts to -- lots of people kill people so what if I do. But that is the USA spying defense. Yes, we tapped the phones or leaders of Western democracies (and did an unbelievably long list of other violation of laws) but all countries violate laws all the time, so don't worry about it. Why do we bother having laws if the USA doesn't believe they should be followed whenever the USA government doesn't feel like following them?
The whole idea of the rule of law is that everyone has to follow the law not just those who are less powerful than those enforcing the law. The USA government seems to think it is perfectly ok to break laws if other people do (well about every single law is broken by other people) and you are more powerful than the law enforcer - this seems like a bad idea, and it certainly isn't the "rule of law" it is just "might makes right."
It seems like the last 2 adminstrations have just decided laws dont' matter for them. They can jsut do whatever they want because of fear and might makes right. I think the trampling of liberty that has been apparent for a decade and we get a worse and worse picture of as the attempts to hide extremely bad policy from the public view is reduced.
We need people shedding the light on behaviors of the government that are shredding the liberty of people across the globe and shredding the concept of the rule of law. Using the types of tactics that fit only with an organization like the House Un-American Activities Committee is something we should have stopped accepted over half a century ago.
I am very surprised and disappointed to be living through the type of behavior by our government I thought had disappeared with my Grandparents. I realized we would have small type corruption, scandals of very bad behavior by senior government officials, etc.. But the long term commitment to suppress the truth and using extra legal force of government to attack those seeking to expose government wrong doing is extremely disappointing.
Playing games with "classification" to hide the policies that are extremely anti-constitutional and then "un-classifying" (or even just leaking without un-classifying) little bits to attack those that seek to expose the un-constitutional behavior of government is despicable. Never addressing any of the illegal behavior the government has, and continues to pursue, while attacking those that seek to expose government abuse with extra legal might of the federal government is something that shouldn't be tolerated.
A government has the power to take away liberty from individuals. Hopefully that is done when it is necessary for the best interests of society (imprisoning murders etc.). That power however is enormous. The rule of law much protect the people. When the government decides it doesn't need to obey the rule of law that is a very dangerous situation. We have been living through it for more than a decade now and things seem to just be getting worse and worse. That isn't surprising as the abuse of the the rule of law is tolerated those who get away with doing so will likely keep increasing how far from the rule of law they will go.
We have seen over and over how this works in countries. And we are seeing it the last decade plus in the USA. The path we are on, is very scary.
I have always known the USA government did plenty of stuff wrong. But I also did believe we were helping make the world a better place. I am very disappointed now. I think we are not making the world a better place. And sadly, there are not good options to counteract the abandonment of advocacy for the rule of law and liberty that the USA used to promote. We never were perfect at doing so, but we did push those causes more than we pushed against them. Now we clearly are pushing against them much more than we are aiding efforts to promote liberty and the rule of law; both in the USA and globally.
Related: Living Through Your Society Becoming a Police State - The People We Elect Recently Are Dramatically Falling Us - Freedom Increasingly at Risk (2008) - Security Theatre Thinking is Damaging the USA