The River

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Steady Fecklessness in Times of Change

Alan Eisner at Reuters reports:

"The FBI on Tuesday asked the U.S. Congress for sweeping new powers to seize business or private records, ranging from medical information to book purchases, to investigate terrorism without first securing approval from a judge.

Valerie Caproni, FBI general counsel, told the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee her agency needed the power to issue what are known as administrative subpoenas to get information quickly about terrorist plots and the activities of foreign agents.


...the really fascinating parts of the testimony came later. The first example was when the FBI counsel claimed that these powers were needed to prevent terrorist attacks such as car bombs. When challenged on that point, she responded:

Caproni said she could not cite a case where a bomb had exploded because the FBI lacked this power, but that did not mean one could not explode tomorrow.

Whether she appreciated it or not, this is the pure, undiluted logic of a Sith Lord. In essence, she contends that we should discard our constitutional protections here and now in the theoretical hope that we can avoid a terrorist attack at some undefined point in the future.

We are, in short, to abandon our freedom for the mirage of security.

While the advocates for the empire are obnoxious and tragically predictable, their odiousness is petty compared to the nature of the bill’s opponents. If anyone dares look down upon the defenders of Lucas’ Republic as being ineffectual and spineless, I give you the junior Senator from West Virginia:

"I am not aware of any time in which Congress has given directly to the FBI subpoena authority. That doesn't make it right or wrong. It just needs to be thought about," said West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller.

An agent of the executive branch paraded into the Senate Chamber with a proposal that directly trashes one of the most important protections in our Bill of Rights, and the esteemed legislator’s only reply was that he cannot say if it is "right or wrong".

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