WASHINGTON – The contentious House oversight hearings last week of the NSA’s surveillance activities highlighted two opposing interpretations of what constitutes legal activity. House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers (R-MI) explored this disconnect while questioning American University law professor Stephen Vladeck, eventually coming to the logical conclusion that a woman could not be raped if she was not aware that she was being raped.
Rogers began his questions noting that nobody had come forward in ten years with specific complaints of their privacy being violated by the NSA’s activities. “[That] clearly indicates that something must be doing right. Somebody must be doing something exactly right,” he said. “You can’t have your privacy violated if you don’t know your privacy is being violated.”
Vladeck then explained that if a tree falls in a forest, it makes a sound whether anyone sees it fall or not. This analogy seemed to shock Rogers, who replied, “Well that’s a new interesting standard in the law. We’re going to have this conversation… but we’re going to have wine, because that’s going to get a lot more interesting.”
Vladeck then pressed Rogers to explain how far his concept of “it’s not illegal if you don’t get caught” would go. “If nobody knows you’ve done anything wrong, what’s the harm?” Rogers responded. “I’d say pretty much the sky’s the limit. Stalking, burglary, even rape.”
“Rape?” asked a clearly stunned Vladeck.
“Sure. If a guy has sex with a woman who doesn’t know they’re having sex, it’s not really rape, is it? She doesn’t know what’s happening, so she’s not creating any bad memories or experiencing any trauma,” explained Rogers. “Say a woman’s in a coma. What does she care if some guy has sex with her? That’s not rape.
“Hell,” he added. “It might even snap her out of her coma and she’d be grateful.”