September 8, 2006 4:00 AM PDT

Post-9/11 privacy and secrecy: A report card

(continued from previous page)

For their part, the Bush administration and its allies argue that critics are blind to the fact that the United States is embroiled in a war on terror that could last for many more years.

Critics of such programs "seem surprised that we wouldn't tell the targets, that we would keep surveillance secret," said Todd Gaziano, director of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank, referring to the NSA program. "It would be kind of laughable in any other era, and I don't know why it's not laughable now."

Gaziano, who likened the Sept. 11 attacks to those on Pearl Harbor, said he found it "absurd" that anyone would argue surveillance and secrecy have been hallmarks of the Bush administration. Anyone who's read up on American history should know that Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt conducted far more sweeping interceptions during World Wars I and II, he said.

This has been one of the most law-abiding wars, overseen by lawyers at every step.
--Heather Mac Donald
senior fellow,
Manhattan Institute
for Policy Research

"My theory is that we are not doing enough surveillance," Gaziano said.

"If Osama bin Laden calls up the next Mohammad Atta and says, 'Start Operation Anthrax.' And then Mohammad Atta starts calling around to a company inquiring about helicopter rides or about machinery that's useful in milling anthrax, it doesn't matter whether the caller on the other side is a legitimate, innocent American," he added. "We ought to know every plan."

Heather Mac Donald, a senior fellow at the conservative-oriented Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, said she's unconvinced that any "significant incursions" on civil liberties have occurred since Sept. 11. "This has been one of the most law-abiding wars, overseen by lawyers at every step," she said.

The Patriot Act's expansion of government powers, for instance, is "shot through with checks and balances," she said. "There's hardly a power in it that doesn't require some sort of judicial oversight. The government simply doesn't have the resources available to be engaged in completely groundless fishing expeditions or spying for the sake of spying."

And allegations of heightened government secrecy are just "preposterous," she added. Take, for instance, a Patriot Act provision that allows delayed search warrants, permitting police to secretly enter a home and notify the targeted person after the fact. "People thought that was improper, that there should be full sunshine disclosure of terrorism investigations," Mac Donald said. "Well, that's absolutely absurd."

Mac Donald acknowledged that she hadn't been persuaded by the Bush administration's assertions that it had the power to ignore the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act when authorizing the NSA to engage in widespread surveillance of communications involving suspected terrorists. But that's no reason to shut down the program, she said. The administration could have resolved those concerns by simply asking for changes to FISA, whose requirements of probable cause don't make sense "when you're initially looking at computers working with large amounts of data."

"I think the NSA program is a good program and an essential program," she added. "I don't think it has been used abusively to violate anybody's privacy."

The level of surveillance conducted by the United States also pales in comparison with other countries, particularly in Europe, said Gary Schmitt, a resident scholar at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute.

"Even though we're far less intrusive than many people would suspect, the intrusive capabilities we have are probably about right given the threat that we face," Schmitt said. "I think we've probably got pretty much the right balance."

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85 comments

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GOOD! We need to be watching.
I love America, and it's freedoms. It doens't cost us any thing to just be careful and look for things like terrorist activities.

Think about it. If your line was tapped... What the
heck is important enough for them to start looking at your records?? Nothing! They don't care if your foolin around, or you invested in off shore banking, or you got your coworker fired, or that you lost your job, or that you skipped lunch in school.

None of that matters.

You've got to give them a reason to pull serious focus on your life, and for most of us there isn't enough going on that would be of any 'real' interest.

The only institutions which have fear for this
kind of monitoring are those that are supported by
foreign interests if you can believe that.

Believe it or not most Civil Liberties which argue
against such policies are usually organized by those who do not have any 'real' commitment to this country.

Regards
Posted by mikesidea (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
sure...
Where can I get a pair of the rose-colored glasses you are wearing?
Posted by jjaser (14 comments )
Link Flag
Exactly
You're so right, Mikey. Our rulers love us and would never, ever abuse any of their power. History proves me right on this. If you've got nothing to hide than obviously you have nothing to worry about. Our rulers have proven over and over that they are paragons of efficiency and virtue and that's why this country has never been stronger our better off. Remember, your government masters love you.
Posted by Sol999 (59 comments )
Link Flag
Agreed
and AMEN...God Bless America!!!!!

How is this IT news?? This BS political opinion by two totally left college students that get paid nothing by Cnet.

No worries my tax dollars will pay for your defulted student loans.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
the constitution
Wow, obviously you haven't read the U.S. Constitution. I suggest paying particular attention to the 1st and 4th ammendments.
Posted by herkamur (115 comments )
Link Flag
Fools Will Go...With Their Eyes Closed
Let's take the record:
1. This administration went to war against because it had Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Posted by bhushan bhaagii (127 comments )
Link Flag
Fools Will Go...With Their Eyes Closed
Well, let's look at the record of this administration:

1. They went to war because Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. (An absolute, total lie)

2. They went to war because Iraq was supporting the Al Qaeda (Again, an absolute, total lie)

The lies have been nailed by the American Senate's own report on 9/11.

This administration worked to "out" an American CIA agent, simply because her husband was critical of the administration's slanted view on Iraq's search for nuclear material.

They have gone around granting contracts worth billions to their cronies, without any accountability/transparency, without any bidding.

But that doesn't matter, bleating Americans, who have had the fear of Al Qaeda put into their hearts, can't see past this administration's simple lies and propaganda. They have truly had their brains addled for a dim-wit like George Bush to get away with murder.
Posted by bhushan bhaagii (127 comments )
Link Flag
I'm still trying to figure out this "we" thing
I'm always amazed at seeing people refer to the administration as "we", as if somehow they're part of it. Guess what? You're not. Then I started thinking this post was a joke. But it probably isn't.

I just want to ask, how do you (or others like you) KNOW what "they" are and aren't interested in??? YOU DON'T!

It's obvious you slept through history class, because if you hadn't, you'd know who wrote the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights. Those people had 'real' commitment to this country and real commitment to liberty.

The idea that you can defend freedom by giving up liberty is the type of thing George Orwell called doublethink.
Posted by chris_d (195 comments )
Reply Link Flag
i'm sure 'your' life is that interesting...
what exactly is it about 'your' life that would
give any one reason to care enough to look at it.

just give me one just ONE thing that is so
terrific, or so dangerous!! guess what; you don't
have any thing. UNLESS it's illegal.

tell me i'm wrong, please give me some good
reason that makes your life interesting enough
to even care.

let me see if i can wrap up your typical american
life. (if you can call your self that, i know how you libs are offended with being American)

---------
you went to school.
you went to work.
you pay bills.
you buy groceries.
you fall in love.
you have children.
you try to have fun when you can.
you try to buy better things when you can.
bla bla bla
THE END.
---------

yeah one look at this, and your all over their
radar.

GET A GRIP!

we need security for the real criminals out there,
and i don't see people like you us doing any thing
about it, but gripe all the time.

I pose a question for you and liberal agenda
what would you do to keep this county secure.
my wife was just wondering.
Posted by mikesidea (6 comments )
Link Flag
YOU are part of WE
Don't like it? The officially remove yourself from the collective WE by renouncing your citizenship and moving the heck out of this country.

WE are Americans.
WE are engaged in a war against Terror.
WE are working to establish a stable democracy in Iraq.
WE are paying taxes.
WE vote for our leaders.

YOU seem to want to consume all of the benefits of living in America, while claiming to have nothing to do with anything controversial.

WE don't have time for people like you. ACCEPT your responsibility as a part of this Nation, and vote the way you see fit. YOU are not above the WE. YOU are a part of the WE. Accept it, and accept your associated responsibilities, or reject it, renounce your citizenship and move to freakin' France already.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Oh Please
You give up freedom everyday for security and there is nothing wrong with that. To not do so would be stupid.

You give up your freedom by agreeing to drive on the right side of the road, by agreeing to stop at a read light whether you like it or not. You give up freedom by agreeing to road blocks (especially during prom) to make sure kids aren't driving drunk and going to end up dead.

You give up some freedom by agreeing to social security and welfare. You aren't going to get a check without giving up something. That's just common sense 101.

And those are just a handfull of a million things we agree to in order to protect those in the society. We don't live in anarchy where everyone can do whatever they want and be damn with the consequence. We live in a democracy as a social agreement where the needs of the many and the needs of the individual are constantly being juggled and balanced. Sometimes it works, sometimes it comes down to far on one side or the other.

And I bet you were one of the ones screaming that they didn't do enough to prevent 9/11 or a million other things. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Stop trading the welfare of the nation (freedom and security) for your partisan desires. And by all means stop sounding like you have absolutely no common sense and belong to a cult.
Posted by kxmmxk (320 comments )
Link Flag
What's mpre dangerous than terrorist? A nation of uninformed "believers."
Anyone that thinks giving this administration unlimited information gathering power is patriotic is beyond naive, ignorant, they are stupid (that means you have access to knowledge you just refuse to acquire it.) If you had done the smallest amount of your own reading you would know who you are dealing with. The Bush family has three generations of well documented influence peddling on a scale that makes others like Clinton - look like amateurs. It is not accident that GW's dad was head of the CIA, that he still gets daily CIA intelligence updates. They are influence pimps and apparently have been for at least three generations. Just Google "Bush influence peddling." If you read deep enough you will find claims that go back to their grand father's banking contacts providing help to Nazis hiding assets at the end of WWII, GHW selling protection to Saudi Arabia, to Kuwait, selling "introductions" in Thailand, in China and the list goes on and on. Its no accident that GW is surrounded by advisors from family business ties like the oil industry - they're still clients. The Presidency is just a business vehicle for the Bush family - selling their influence on a much grander scale. 9/11 was the perfect opportunity to violate the remaining corruption safe guards the nation had and provide much with military and financial resources that the Bushes had never dreamed were possible. It was a windfall. You are right they don't care about individuals chatter - unless they can convert what you know to money or more power. If you are major corporate executive - I suggest you not discuss your plans on open lines. I believe history will record this administration as a greater threat to this country than the terrorist they claim they protect us from - unless they retain enough power to rewrite history as they do continually try to do now.
Posted by masonx (244 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Paranoia by the paranoid
I am amazed by the paranoid who are so concerned by the potential abuse by the state without regard for the very real threat we face. Left-wing conspiratorialists are as irrational as the right-wing ones. These are the people who fear someone seeing their inane email more than another 9-11.

Having been on the other side of information gathering and knowing the volume that these people have to deal with, they have little time to worry about the inane. From an IT perspective, the miracle is that they can glean from the billions of data any meaningful information to keep us safe. I applaud them for their efforts in an era where terrorists love their defenders of privacy.
Posted by nicklewis (2 comments )
Link Flag
Insane...
Lets see....
According to you...

One group wants to know everything - to watch and monitor, and to be completely informed at any cost.

Another group wants to kill Americans at any cost, taking thousands of lives at a time without any respect for civilian status.

And you are suggesting that the first group is more dangerous.

Earth, this is Mars Lander 01. We are completely lost. Over.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Title Should Read- "Right Wing Report Card"
How can anyone that applauds the erosion of civil liberties and the violation of the Constitution by our government be labeled "Conservatives"? The two people quoted in this unbalanced article are better charactorized as right-wing reactionaries. Unfortunately their position is shared by large numbers of "conservative" politicians.
Absurd comments abound claiming what a law-abiding war we are waging, the Patriot (sic) Act is brimming with checks and balances, and asserting that other governments engage in vastly more surveillance. All of this is complete rubbish!
Most likely the US government is literally data mining all communications by every source throughout the entire world! No judge will approve a warrant for that hence President Bush's admission of breaking the law by not seeking FISA Court oversite.
Also disturbing is the insidious misuse of secrecy by the Bush Administration for selfish political gain which is at unpresidented levels using any reasonable historical perspective. This country has been at war before and faced greater threats yet only now our leaders deem it essential that vast new powers be granted to them. Of course terrorists pose a real threat. But no matter how many articles of the Constitution reactionary politicians manage to subvert in their campaign against terrorist groups it will never be enough to justify the results. Once expanded powers and diminished liberties are granted they will not be given back. An open-ended war on terror will never end and neither will the surpression of Constitutional rights. Expanded powers will irresistibly become focused on more than just terror threats. The price of living in a Constitutional Republic that prides itself as a democracy is the inherent risk that will always exist against it because of it's restaint. Of course we can remove that "restraint" as many "conservatives" wish so that our government is unfettered in it's use of power in prosecuting a war against it's enemies. Then we would be living under a form of government that we ostensibly are fighting to make ourselves safe from.
The political pressures have always been present to hand government greater powers in hopes of greater security. The problem has been finding a balance. True conservatives are always reluctant in trading away rights and expanding governmental powers. Too bad there are so few of them around and so many pretenders!
Posted by zanzzz (138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You write eloquently, but...
Your writing is slick.. but... for all you say, you fail to identify which protected RIGHTS you've lost. Personally, I can't count a single one.

Unless you can point out a protected right that you had before 9/11, and show how it is no longer your right today... well... all your words seem to mean nothing.

So... list all the rights you've lost... lets see if this problem is as bad as you claim it to be.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
governments' information more important
The government is making sure to conceal THEIR OWN information, yet they're not taking the necessery security precautions to protect CITIZENS' data. <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.iwantmyess.com/?p=77" target="_newWindow">http://www.iwantmyess.com/?p=77</a>
Posted by ml_ess (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Have you considered...
Have you considered that it is the Government's responsibility to protect its citizens? That the information they hold could undermine that protection if it falls into the hands of terrorists? No... I'm sure you haven't. Whatever data you hold is YOUR responsibility to protect. Governments will ALWAYS have secrets. To propose any other scenario is pretty ignorant.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Nothing is worth giving up freedoms
Not even an event like 9/11. As horrible was it was and I am sure many people will disagree, the death of 3k people is inconsequential in scope US history. The only true casualty of 9/11 has been our freedoms, which is worth more than the lives of any of us. Hundreds of thousands (over 653k) of US Men and Women died in wars (300k just in WWII) so we can have these freedoms, now we want to give them up because of some phantom threat? Terrorism cannot overtake our country, as could Nazi Germany or the Communist threat. Terrorism is a criminal act. War on Terror? How can you have a War on something that cant be identified?
Posted by ccblue (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Except for these
You can give up freedom and privacy to

1. Publish your entire life history with photos in MySpace.com

2. Upload artistically challenged home vidoes into YouTube.com

3. Talk about your private life over cell phone in public places

4. Register your information in every useless web sites in the world

5. Pulbish your misinformed/ignorant opionion in the web and call them BLOG
Posted by pdude (65 comments )
Link Flag
WRONG
So "give me liberty or give me death"? I am glad you do not speak for me, I enjoy living. Now I am not for changing the American government into a totalitarian state but we cannot expect to remain safe while not allowing the government to pursue terrorists.

If you think the American government is bad, just look at how much more liberties the British government has taken with freedom. The US is mild by comparison.

Also, I don't think you should be belittling the victims of 9/11. And your points are, well, pointless. Americans have died defending freedom and currently we must defend freedom again. If you knew your American history you would know that America often defends freedom in times of war by restricting rights. For example, during World War I &#38; II it was illegal to encourage people to avoid the draft and publish negative information about the war among many other restrictions. Yet despite the "terror" of the American government of World War I &#38; II you only remember the outcome. I believe history will judge the War on Terror the same way.

-Bill Kramer

P.S. Still waiting for the gestapo to break down my door, I mean seriously, 9/11 happened 5 years ago, the US government moves so slow....
Posted by hybris06 (66 comments )
Link Flag
A Great Pissing Contest
is happening in the front yard of USA! everybody comes and see it!!! AND the spectators are willing to become a slave of the kingdom of so-called democratic government to enjoy the pissing contest!
Posted by sunnymix (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I don't care about your safety
Wasn't the Patriot Act ready to go immediately after 9/11? As if it was written before the attack?
Posted by Mike2575 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Conspiracy Theories Everywhere!
Way to start another conspiracy theory. Except that this one is so pointless it is of no consequence. I imagine that the U.S. has plans drawn up for an invasion of Madagascar too... Obviously written before our invasion. Perhaps that means we plan to conquer Madagascar????
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Patriot Act
Substantial portions of what would become the Patriot Act were approved by the U.S. Senate on Sept. 13, two days after Sept. 11. Here's what I wrote about it at the time:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,46852-0.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,46852-0.html</a>

The FBI had tried to enact some sections before 9/11 but failed. 9/11 gave them the political capital they needed.
Posted by declan00 (848 comments )
Link Flag
The Church of Bush-Haters Just Don't Get It.
1. Thouse outside the US are not entitled to the same rights that those inside the US are entitled to
2. The amount of War-Time survaliance now is nothing compaired to what was going on in WWII, but the Anti-American Left is doing whatever they can to get America to Fail, becaus that will help their Political Cause.
3. Iraq didn't bomb the WTC, but they have been well known for giving assistance to terrorists. Look it up.
4. Iraq had WMDs (we've seen them used, and Iraq has admitted to having them). Clinton even used WMDs as his excuse for attacking Iraq:

Tuesday February 17, 1998
"If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow by the knowledge that they
can act with impunity, even in the face of a clear message from the United Nations Security Council and clear evidence of a weapons of mass destruction program."
-President Bill Clinton
Posted by zeeboid (92 comments )
Reply Link Flag
America the Secret?
Our Founding Fathers would cringe if they saw what our government has become. When those who work in government believe it is their RIGHT to use secrecy laws to hide their own misdeeds, incompetence, and private use of their positions for personal or political gain, then we are only steps away from either fascism or civil war. We as Americans must step forward and demand accountability and transparency on the part of those representing us. They are in office NOT for themselves...and they need to be reminded that all government positions are SERVICE positions. This War on Terror...or War on Bad People...is overbroad and a ruse to keep the public in fear and to give up their rights. Yes, we do need to protect against those who intend to harm our country in reality...but when every single citizen could potentially be a terrorist...it creates a wave of suspicion that is dark and presumptuous. This overarching fear of everyone and everything is a disease. And our government misleaders would have us believe they have the RIGHT to invade our privacy to root out every bad person and have access to every communication and thought. That is a very bad omen. It is time to take back this country from any politician demanding more authority to hide secrets claiming they are protecting us...but then protecting their own private interests. Spread the word...FREEDOM is on the front page and we are mad as hell again. ---Just a citizen.
Posted by BoxlessThinker (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ROFLMAO
My quote was incorrect, so my point is too?

You DEFINATELY have no point to make, and no argument that stands, do you?

Enjoy your surveillance society, and march lockstep to it.

Me, I'll try and stop this train before it crashes into everything worthwhile about my country. That is my patriotic duty.

You keep up with your non-arguments and attacks - every little bit helps.
Posted by imric (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Shut up you whiners -- Government is like a wise parent
If you don't trust it, you might die at the hands of stateless
Islamic Fascists.

It's not your place in a democracy to second-guess our
gorvernment's secret inner-workings. It's trying to protect us
from people who attack because they hate freedom! They hate
barbecues and little league, and they would kill you all because
they're evil and hate our way of life.

Obviously it's working because we haven't been attacked since
9/11.

Have faith in our government. It's like a parent or an older
brother.
Posted by mgreere (332 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Parents have been knowen to killed their children
I think I'd rather take my chances on the islamic fascists, at least I know where they stand. I't the government Fascists with all their secretsy that realy scares me.
Posted by Lyricraider (11 comments )
Link Flag
You might want a Daddy....
But I sure as h@ll dont!If you truely beleave that the end justifys the means as far as illeagle surveillance and do think they will abuse it, i suggest you go back to sticking your head in the sand w/your @ss in the air and wait for daddy to change your diapers. you are the whiner...go cry to daddy, and keep your faith. Absolute power corupts absolutely...Bush makes Nixon look like a saint.
Posted by FooKBush (24 comments )
Link Flag
Spoken Like A Prole
He LOVES Big Brother. He's a prole right out of Orwell's 1984. WAR is PEACE. FREEDOM is SLAVERY.
It's doubtful if you were to hold up 1984 in front of these people, they would ever be able to gauge who they are, where they are. The irony of it is that America is being run, not by a Stalinist Big Brother, but a dim-wit. And in that fact lies not America's salvation, but ruin.
Because someone more smarter, more venal, and more unscrupulous will lead the US and the world to Armeggadon.
Posted by bhushan bhaagii (127 comments )
Link Flag
Oh well what a conundrum!
Oh well, best summed up in words by the late Edward R Murrow in the following statement:

" We must not confuse disent, with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear - one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, remember we are not descended from fearful men; Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and defend causes that were for the moment unpopular."

Oh well, for those that fear the very image of a terrorist killing all before them, all western governments, actually publish, on an annual basis, as to what ails and kills it's own citizen at home! Such is life, to be driven by demons of your own imagination, rather than reality! p.s. US State Department , actually lists the numbers of all US citizens killed around the world as well, by known listed terrorism incidents, since the early sixties!

Choices, oh what a conundrum, to cower in fear of your own demons, conjured up from your imagination by all lying power mad politicians spouting vilifying unsubstantiated propaganda, or live a life without fear, truly a vexing question?

But for many , it seems from the selected comments, choose to opt out to live with the former , rather than the latter, as it requires much thought to think outside the prepared squared !
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
what a stellar idea...
what a great position to have. lets take a neutral position on every thing. this way we don't offend anyone.

meanwhile... when ever your done 'pondering', let me know when your prepared to take a stand.
Posted by mikesidea (6 comments )
Link Flag
You Might Want a Daddy.......
But I sure as h@ll dont!If you truely beleave that the end justifys the means as far as illeagle surveillance and do think they will abuse it, i suggest you go back to sticking your head in the sand w/your @ss in the air and wait for daddy to change your diapers. you are the whiner...go cry to daddy, and keep your faith. Absolute power corupts absolutely...Bush makes Nixon look like a saint.
Posted by FooKBush (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Scared?? Haha! get bodyguards
It's funny how people get scared! found this funny site which rents Bodyguards. <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.white.in/result.php?Keywords=Rent+bodyguards" target="_newWindow">http://www.white.in/result.php?Keywords=Rent+bodyguards</a> Enjoy!
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Educate yourself about ECHELON
That will give you an idea what "your" government is up to.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.fas.org/irp/program/process/echelon.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.fas.org/irp/program/process/echelon.htm</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON" target="_newWindow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.echelonwatch.org/" target="_newWindow">http://www.echelonwatch.org/</a>
Posted by Tui Pohutukawa (366 comments )
Reply Link Flag
100% Security = 0.00% Freedom & Liberty
[i] The level of surveillance conducted by the United States also pales in comparison with other countries, particularly in Europe,[/i] - Gary Schmitt, Resident Scholar: American Enterprise Institute.

Gary Schmitts statement is what I like to call a [i]Fill-In-The-Blank[/i] statement use by folks of both political stripes to rationalize [i]bad[/i] things or conditions in their lives. Fill in the blank of the sentence that follows with your favorite [i]bad[/i] thing or condition you want to rationalize:

[b]The level of ______________ in the United States also pales in comparison with other countries, particularly in Europe.[/b]

Gas Prices, Income Taxes, Airport Hassle are three fill in the blanks I hear a lot these days, and now I can add Gary Schmitts [i]Surveillance[/i] to my list.

If I do not bite my lip, and instead choose to respond to [i]Fill-In-The-Blanker[/i] colleagues, friends, family or random chatting folks waiting in line with me at the grocery store or while awaiting TSA screening, I tell them:

* If I wanted to pay high prices for gasoline, I would move to Europe.
* If I wanted to pay high taxes, I would move either to a social democracy in Europe or to Taxachusetts.
* If I wanted to live in a Brave New World, Panopticon society, I would move To London, England or take up residence in a Super Max [i]Condo[/i] in Pelican Bay, California.

As far as claiming that [i]The federal government is concealing more information about its own activities, while engaging in more surveillance of Americans private lives,[/i] this is nothing new. [i]Uncle $ammy Big Buck$[/i] has always done that. A quick review of American History will show that Honest Abe may have been honest, but he got low marks on respecting [i]individual freedoms[/i] in time of war. Other U.S. Presidents followed suit. As Todd Gaziano of the Heritage Foundation reminds us, [i]Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt conducted far more sweeping interceptions during World Wars I and II&[/i]

The government bureaucracy will always [i]defend their programs as necessary in time of war[/i] or in time of peace, for that matter. LBJs [i]Guns &#38; Butter Spending[/i] on his [i]Great Society Program[/i] during the mid 1960s to 1970s combined with the cost of fighting the Vietnam War was a bureaucrats bonanza. Any government expansion or bureaucracy bloat, ala todays Department of Homeland Security, et al is viewed as [i]manna from heaven[/i] by career government bureaucrats. [i]Loss of individual freedoms[/i] is just the latest associated casualty.

The end of the Cold War produced a [i]Peace Dividend[/i] and caused the Military - Industrial Complex to be without a Strategic Global Threat. The resulting reduction in the head count of regular U.S. Armed Forces under Bush I and Clinton, from multi-millions to hundreds of thousands supplemented by [i]weekend warrior reserve forces,[/i] caused the Defense Budget to shrink severely.

The four-aircraft triple tragedy of 9/11/2001, and resultant [i]War On Terror,[/i] changed all that by creating [i]The Global War On Terror.[/i] In the three years since the [i]War In Iraq[/i] was declared, $300 Billion USD has been spent. At the current Iraqi War [i]U.S. Buck$ burn rate,[/i] total war-fighting expenditures are rapidly closing on ½ Trillion USD. Once again, the government [i]trough[/i] brimeth over.

I agree with [i]shipmate[/i]Tom Bushs statement, [i]Freedom and security are polar opposites, and I am not willing to give up my freedom for the sake of terrorists.[/i] I believe as Commander Bush does, Americans defeated the British, tamed the West, won two World Wars, put a man on the moon, and should start acting like they did that.

Achieving 100% security would result in 0.00% personal freedom and liberty.  Joseph Poliakon
Posted by Catgic (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
100% Security = 0.00% Freedom & Liberty
[i] The level of surveillance conducted by the United States also pales in comparison with other countries, particularly in Europe,[/i] - Gary Schmitt, Resident Scholar: American Enterprise Institute.

Gary Schmitts statement is what I like to call a [i]Fill-In-The-Blank[/i] statement use by folks of both political stripes to rationalize [i]bad[/i] things or conditions in their lives. Fill in the blank of the sentence that follows with your favorite [i]bad[/i] thing or condition you want to rationalize:

[b]The level of ______________ in the United States also pales in comparison with other countries, particularly in Europe.[/b]

Gas Prices, Income Taxes, Airport Hassle are three fill in the blanks I hear a lot these days, and now I can add Gary Schmitts [i]Surveillance[/i] to my list.

If I do not bite my lip, and instead choose to respond to [i]Fill-In-The-Blanker[/i] colleagues, friends, family or random chatting folks waiting in line with me at the grocery store or while awaiting TSA screening, I tell them:

* If I wanted to pay high prices for gasoline, I would move to Europe.
* If I wanted to pay high taxes, I would move either to a social democracy in Europe or to Taxachusetts.
* If I wanted to live in a Brave New World, Panopticon society, I would move To London, England or take up residence in a Super Max [i]Condo[/i] in Pelican Bay, California.

As far as claiming that [i]The federal government is concealing more information about its own activities, while engaging in more surveillance of Americans private lives,[/i] this is nothing new. [i]Uncle $ammy Big Buck$[/i] has always done that. A quick review of American History will show that Honest Abe may have been honest, but he got low marks on respecting [i]individual freedoms[/i] in time of war. Other U.S. Presidents followed suit. As Todd Gaziano of the Heritage Foundation reminds us, [i]Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt conducted far more sweeping interceptions during World Wars I and II&[/i]

The government bureaucracy will always [i]defend their programs as necessary in time of war[/i] or in time of peace, for that matter. LBJs [i]Guns &#38; Butter Spending[/i] on his [i]Great Society Program[/i] during the mid 1960s to 1970s combined with the cost of fighting the Vietnam War was a bureaucrats bonanza. Any government expansion or bureaucracy bloat, ala todays Department of Homeland Security, et al is viewed as [i]manna from heaven[/i] by career government bureaucrats. [i]Loss of individual freedoms[/i] is just the latest associated casualty.

The end of the Cold War produced a [i]Peace Dividend[/i] and caused the Military - Industrial Complex to be without a Strategic Global Threat. The resulting reduction in the head count of regular U.S. Armed Forces under Bush I and Clinton, from multi-millions to hundreds of thousands supplemented by [i]weekend warrior reserve forces,[/i] caused the Defense Budget to shrink severely.

The four-aircraft triple tragedy of 9/11/2001, and resultant [i]War On Terror,[/i] changed all that by creating [i]The Global War On Terror.[/i] In the three years since the [i]War In Iraq[/i] was declared, $300 Billion USD has been spent. At the current Iraqi War [i]U.S. Buck$ burn rate,[/i] total war-fighting expenditures are rapidly closing on ½ Trillion USD. Once again, the government [i]trough[/i] brimeth over.

I agree with [i]shipmate[/i]Tom Bushs statement, [i]Freedom and security are polar opposites, and I am not willing to give up my freedom for the sake of terrorists.[/i] I believe as Commander Bush does, Americans defeated the British, tamed the West, won two World Wars, put a man on the moon, and should start acting like they did that.

Achieving 100% security would result in 0.00% personal freedom and liberty.  Joseph Poliakon
Posted by Catgic (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
100% Security = 0.00% Freedom & Liberty
[i] The level of surveillance conducted by the United States also pales in comparison with other countries, particularly in Europe,[/i] - Gary Schmitt, Resident Scholar: American Enterprise Institute.

Gary Schmitts statement is what I like to call a [i]Fill-In-The-Blank[/i] statement use by folks of both political stripes to rationalize [i]bad[/i] things or conditions in their lives. Fill in the blank of the sentence that follows with your favorite [i]bad[/i] thing or condition you want to rationalize:

[b]The level of ______________ in the United States also pales in comparison with other countries, particularly in Europe.[/b]

Gas Prices, Income Taxes, Airport Hassle are three fill in the blanks I hear a lot these days, and now I can add Gary Schmitts [i]Surveillance[/i] to my list.

If I do not bite my lip, and instead choose to respond to [i]Fill-In-The-Blanker[/i] colleagues, friends, family or random chatting folks waiting in line with me at the grocery store or while awaiting TSA screening, I tell them:

* If I wanted to pay high prices for gasoline, I would move to Europe.
* If I wanted to pay high taxes, I would move either to a social democracy in Europe or to Taxachusetts.
* If I wanted to live in a Brave New World, Panopticon society, I would move To London, England or take up residence in a Super Max [i]Condo[/i] in Pelican Bay, California.

As far as claiming that [i]The federal government is concealing more information about its own activities, while engaging in more surveillance of Americans private lives,[/i] this is nothing new. [i]Uncle $ammy Big Buck$[/i] has always done that. A quick review of American History will show that Honest Abe may have been honest, but he got low marks on respecting [i]individual freedoms[/i] in time of war. Other U.S. Presidents followed suit. As Todd Gaziano of the Heritage Foundation reminds us, [i]Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt conducted far more sweeping interceptions during World Wars I and II&[/i]

The government bureaucracy will always [i]defend their programs as necessary in time of war[/i] or in time of peace, for that matter. LBJs [i]Guns &#38; Butter Spending[/i] on his [i]Great Society Program[/i] during the mid 1960s to 1970s combined with the cost of fighting the Vietnam War was a bureaucrats bonanza. Any government expansion or bureaucracy bloat, ala todays Department of Homeland Security, et al is viewed as [i]manna from heaven[/i] by career government bureaucrats. [i]Loss of individual freedoms[/i] is just the latest associated casualty.

The end of the Cold War produced a [i]Peace Dividend[/i] and caused the Military - Industrial Complex to be without a Strategic Global Threat. The resulting reduction in the head count of regular U.S. Armed Forces under Bush I and Clinton, from multi-millions to hundreds of thousands supplemented by [i]weekend warrior reserve forces,[/i] caused the Defense Budget to shrink severely.

The four-aircraft triple tragedy of 9/11/2001, and resultant [i]War On Terror,[/i] changed all that by creating [i]The Global War On Terror.[/i] In the three years since the [i]War In Iraq[/i] was declared, $300 Billion USD has been spent. At the current Iraqi War [i]U.S. Buck$ burn rate,[/i] total war-fighting expenditures are rapidly closing on ½ Trillion USD. Once again, the government [i]trough[/i] brimeth over.

I agree with [i]shipmate[/i]Tom Bushs statement, [i]Freedom and security are polar opposites, and I am not willing to give up my freedom for the sake of terrorists.[/i] I believe as Commander Bush does, Americans defeated the British, tamed the West, won two World Wars, put a man on the moon, and should start acting like they did that.

Achieving 100% security would result in 0.00% personal freedom and liberty.  Joseph Poliakon
Posted by Catgic (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So, I dont care
They can watch my naked but if they want to. I prefer that to have me or my family being blown up into little pieces by one of those crazy #$@%!!.
Posted by yacahuma (530 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Want USA back? Vote Democratic
Our only hope is an overwhelming Democratic Party victory at
the polls in November. With the counting process in the hands
of republican thugs, only an obvious landslide will restore
balance.
May the Lord bless thee and keep thee
May He lift up his countenance upon thee
And give thee peace.
Posted by TogetherinParis (318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Constitutional Republic not "Democracy"!
Aftergood doesn't get it, "democracy" does not appear even once in
the united States Constitution, and that is deliberate and for a
reason: we live in a Constitutional Republic -- there is a BIG
difference.
Posted by libertyforall1776 (650 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Some still don't get it
9/11 was an inside job, orchestrated by people close to home.
Go and educate yourselves. You can start here:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.journalof911studies.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.journalof911studies.com/</a>
Posted by Tui Pohutukawa (366 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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