To the editor:
I agree with your Aug. 9 editorial calling the FBI's proposed TIPS program unacceptable. A national snitch program won't create national unity. I'm also concerned about provisions in the U.S. Patriot Act passed blindly after 9-11. The Justice Department's main argument for expanding its powers in questionable ways seems to be the government will keep us safe if we citizens surrender some of our "unalienable rights."
From a pre-9-11 speech: "Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and associations; and the violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise proscribed."
Sound familiar? It's from Hitler's 1933 speech calling for "an Enabling Act" for "the protection of the People and the State" after the disastrous Reichstag fire.
Trading liberty for protection is a bad bet, even when the politicians mean well. Just last week the Justice Department told a federal judge the courts had no right to review the indefinite imprisonment of U.S. citizens, without charges or counsel, if they are declared enemy combatants.
Wait. This could be useful. There's a guy up the street I don't like. If I call TIPS and ....