Federal Bureau of Intelligence?

Traditionally the FBI, or Federal Bureau of Investigation, has been a law enforcement operation. The agents have investigated crimes since the Bureau’s inception. Yesterday we received word of a new, expanded role which is planned for the agency – intelligence-gathering. Though we’ve had proof here and there of the FBI gathering intelligence on Americans when no crime was involved, and I think most Americans assume it’s more rampant than we’re allowed to know, this has been illegal until now. The right to privacy we have in this country precludes government agencies from legal domestic surveillance. This is the same reason the CIA, even though it routinely breaks the law, is not allowed to operate domestically.

But since the first President Bush was in office, Republicans and Democrats alike have worked to chip away at our liberty and privacy. From the USA Patriot Act to NSA domestic wiretapping and telecom immunity to surveillance of peaceful protesters (something I have personally experienced), our rights and privacy is vanishing before our eyes and our precious America is going down the drain. I go to the bank and see a sign that all transactions are subject to viewing by government agencies thanks to the Patriot Act. I go to the pharmacy and see a sign that says due to the Patriot Act I must show ID when purchasing certain over-the-counter medications. I see statistics that thousands of people have been charged under the Patriot Act since its passage in 2001, but I know that it was to help aid the government in fighting terrorism and we certainly haven’t heard thousands of stories of American terrorists, have we?

If you give an inch, they will take a mile. The expanded powers already given to the alphabet soup agencies have been repeatedly abused. And the agencies, as in the case of the NSA domestic spying program, have even broken the law and taken liberties they aren’t afforded, then demand immunity for their crimes later without revealing the full extent of said crimes. Now the FBI wants to gather intelligence on law-abiding Americans? They already have the ability to spy on criminals, why do they need to spy on people who aren’t committing crimes? Think about it.

In the article linked above, a Justice Department official speaks about the current policy of investigating only criminals:

[O]ne of the Justice officials said. “It interferes with our ability to be an intelligence-driven agency.”

You’re god damn right it does. Our right to privacy precludes intelligence-driven agencies from operating within our borders. These are the kinds of things King George did to the Colonies. This path needs reversing. Wake up.

~ by skepsis on September 13, 2008.

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