govt surveillance - it's not just for terrorists and liberals

Jim Warren jwarren at
Mon Nov 7 02:46:04 PST 2005

[Below is a first-person report by a publisher who appears to be a
staunch conservative!]

Preface by me:  Congress seems likely to approve yet-another ex-
prosecutor, pro-police, soft-on-privacy Supreme Court nominee (Alito)
-- ardently supported by the same folks who brought us the Freedom-to-
Police Act (officially labeled in Orewellian double-speak as the
"Patriot" Act).
  Thus, it's particularly worthwhile to note how wildly-expanding
government surveillance is already being imposed on LAW-ABIDING
citizens.  E.g., consider what's happened to the founder and
publisher of the [conservative?] Capitol Hill Blue daily rant
(subtitled, "Because nobody's life, liberty or property are safe
while Congress is in session or the White House is occupied").


An Enemy of The State
Nov 7, 2005, 08:14

According to a printout from a computer controlled by the Federal
Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice, I am an
enemy of the state.

The printout, shown to me recently by a friend who works for Justice,
identifies me by a long, multi-digit number, lists my date of birth,
place of birth, social security number and contains more than 100
pages documenting what the Bureau and the Bush Administration
consider to be my threats to the security of the United States of

It lists where I sent to school, the name and address of the first
wife that I had been told was dead but who is alive and well and
living in Montana, background information on my current wife and
details on my service to my country that I haven't even revealed to
my wife or my family.

Although the file finds no criminal activity by me or members of my
immediate family, it remains open because I am a "person of interest"
who has "written and promoted opinions that are contrary to the
government of the United States of America."

And it will remain active because the government of the United
States, under the far-reaching provisions of the USA Patriot Act, can
compile and retain such information on any American citizen. That act
gives the FBI the authority to collect intimate details about anyone,
even those not suspected of any wrongdoing.

My file begins on September 11, 2001, the day of the terrorist
attacks on New York and Washington. ...


"Much of this information was gathered through what we call 'national
security letters,'" he said. "It allows us to gather information from
a variety of sources."

A "national security letter" it turns out, can be issued by any FBI
supervisor, without court order or judicial review, to compel
libraries, banks, employers and other sources to turn over any and
all information they have on American citizens.

The FBI issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year.
When one is delivered to a bank, library, employer or other entity,
the same federal law that authorizes such letters also prohibits your
bank, employer or anyone else from telling you that they received
such a letter and were forced to turn over all information on you.

According to my file, the banks where I have both business and
checking accounts have been forced to turn over all records of my
transactions, as have every company where I have a charge account or
credit card. They've perused my book borrowing habits from libraries
in Arlington and Floyd Counties as well as studied what television
shows I watch on the Tivos in my house. They know I belong to the
National Rifle Association, the National Press Photographers
Association and other professional groups. They know I attend
meetings of Alcoholic Anonymous on a regular basis and the file notes
that my "pattern of spending" shows no purchase of "alcohol-related
products" since the file was opened in 2001.

In the past, when information collected on an American citizen failed
to turn up any criminal activity, FBI policy called for such
information to be destroyed.

But President George W. Bush in 2003 reversed that long-standing
policy and ordered the bureau and other federal agencies to not only
keep that information but place it in government databases that can
be accessed by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

In October, Bush also signed Executive Order 13388 which expands
access to those databases to "appropriate private sector entities"
although the order does not explain what those entities might be. ...


? Copyright 2005 by Capitol Hill Blue

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