The New York Times reports the Clinton administration has developed a plan for “an extensive computer monitoring system, overseen by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to protect the nation’s crucial data networks from intruders.”

“The plan, an outgrowth of the administration’s anti-terrorism program, has already raised concerns from civil liberties groups,” reports the Times. “A draft prepared by officials at the National Security Council last month, which was provided to The New York Times by a civil liberties group, calls for a sophisticated software system to monitor activities on non-military government networks and a separate system to track networks used in crucial industries like banking, telecommunications and transportation. The effort, whose details are still being debated within the administration, is intended to alert law enforcement officials to attacks that might cripple government operations or the nation’s economy. But because of the increasing power of the nation’s computers and their emerging role as a backbone of the country’s commerce, politics and culture, critics of the proposed system say it could become a building block for a surveillance infrastructure with great potential for misuse.”

No kidding. What we’re talking about here is nothing short of the Big Brother surveillance system foreseen by George Orwell in “1984.”

This is big — really big. Every American ought to be chilled to the marrow that such proposals are even being considered. But what should we expect from this administration? Does it surprise anyone that the crowd that would abuse FBI files and Internal Revenue Service files for political reasons would devise the ultimate Big Brother surveillance system?

And, vice versa: Since this shocking plan was revealed in the pages of the New York Times, there is little reason for any American to question its veracity or to suggest that it is being sensationalized. Therefore, for those out there who still cannot believe that this administration would actually use all the power of the federal government to go after its political enemies, perhaps this story will demonstrate the true character of the Clinton machine.

These are totalitarians. The people running the executive branch of the federal government are nothing less than fascists. No other descriptive quite fits. They would think nothing of turning America into a police state — if they haven’t already brought us to that point. And they would do it without a second thought. They’d do it while telling you the whole time that they are protecting you, safeguarding your interests, making you more secure.

The trouble is, the natural political opposition to this administration — namely the “conservative” movement — doesn’t give a damn about curtailing police abuse, protecting individual civil liberties and controlling the militarization of the federal government. On the other side of the coin, the natural opponents of such abuses have too much political and personal allegiance to Clinton and his party.

The American Civil Liberties Union may be squawking about the Big Brother surveillance system Clinton is devising, but where was it when it came time to exposing Filegate and IRS-gate?

Clinton has been able to weather political corruption and abuse scandals throughout his administration largely because of this delicate political balance — the fact that there is no accountability and no effective political opposition to the very worst aspects of his policies. Whether it is because of fear, naivete or simple political self-interest, the Clinton administration has been able to get away with murder.

And just watch how they dance around this latest revelation in the New York Times. They’ll tell us how these plans are just in the talking stages — nothing has been decided yet. There’s lots of room for input, they’ll say, and safeguards will be in place before the system goes into use.

Don’t believe any of it, folks. America is dangerously close to losing its freedom. There’s no going back once we proceed down this road. We’re accepting the notion that government officials are capable of policing themselves with no accountability, no controls.

Fear, stupidity and naked self-interest are steering us into a cataclysm.

If the White House can get away with intimidation, coercion and blackmail through the use of FBI files and the harassment of political enemies through the IRS, why should any of us doubt that this administration is fully prepared and equipped to chart America’s course into tyranny?

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