Liberals screamed like mashed cats when George Bush championed the Patriot Act in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, predicting that precious constitutional protections would be routinely violated by the Bush government.
It turns out liberals were right. But not about George Bush. He used the Patriot Act to monitor communications and transactions of suspected terrorists – particularly when the terrorist was, say, calling Pakistan.
Liberal fears that this power would be abused and turned on ordinary American citizens has turned out to be right – in the Obama administration.
During the 2008 campaign, Obama promised a domestic security force equal in funding and force to the Pentagon. This is one promise he is keeping.
The 67,000 strong Transportation Security Administration has morphed into taking nude pictures and/or engaging in full genital groping of airline passengers in the name of safety.
No other country, some more conscious of the need for airline safety than we are, does this. Holland, for example, uses an RF (instead of X-ray) based scanner (the same American company makes both kinds of scanners) which detects “anomalies” on a stick figure representation of the passenger’s body. Holland is as safe as the U.S. but does not violate the privacy of the individual.
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution states in relevant part: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons … against unreasonable searches and seizures … shall not be violated, and no warrant shall be issued, but upon probable cause … describing the place to be searched, and the person … to be seized.”
Obama’s shredding the Bill of Rights seems deliberate and to have a political purpose.
The Department of Homeland Security (the agency which includes the TSA) put out an alert to all law enforcement agencies in the U.S. in April, 2009, requesting they keep an eye out for potential terrorists like returning veterans and pro-life or pro-gun political opponents of the new regime.
Reporting on the TSA “nudie” scanners and genital groping has already landed a CNN reporter on the TSA’s terrorist “watch list,” along with other opponents of the regime. Nixon’s “enemy list” lives again.
And the TSA issue is only the most well-known example. Consider what else the Obama government is doing to shred liberty.
In a Wired.com article, a Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, request resulted in the revelation that the Justice Department under Eric Holder was issuing “Hotwatch” orders allowing the real-time tracking of Americans through their use of credit cards, grocery store loyalty cards, car rentals and travel reservations without notifying the card owner or first getting a warrant from a court as required. These “orders” are justified, says the Justice Department, because they are in connection with a “criminal investigation.”
Until Obama, every other president has been required to show “probable cause” of criminal activity to a judge and obtain a warrant before spying on you or placing a tap on your phone or using the more modern methods now available to track your actions and whereabouts.
The Justice Department document describes how federal agents write their own subpoena to credit card companies to track your purchases, then get a court order, not to justify the search under the Fourth Amendment, but to prevent the credit card company from notifying you that the government is spying on you.
This lawlessness by the feds has crept into investigation of everyday crimes.
The Soto brothers were arraigned in federal court in Connecticut this year on bank robbery charges. Their attorney sought to suppress the evidence against them because the FBI had ordered phone companies to turn over records on 180 other people (phone numbers taken from the Sotos’ cell phones) so that the feds could monitor their calls and their whereabouts without their knowledge and without a warrant. This “dragnet” surveillance of American citizens not suspected of any crime is illegal.
The Obama Justice Department disagreed, telling the judge in the Soto case that warrantless tracking of Americans is permitted because Americans enjoy no “reasonable expectation of privacy” in their cell phone use!
According to a March 2010 article at Consumerist.com, the Centers for Disease Control mined shopper loyalty cards to trace food purchases by individuals to find the sources of salmonella contamination without notifying any of the shoppers who owned those cards. As with the TSA groping your privates, the CDC claimed public safety required their illegal “search.”
What’s next? A CDC agent at my door asking about that bag of Doritos and six pack of beer I bought to go with Sunday’s NFL game? “Don’t you know Michelle is worried about obesity?”
The Obama regime is also continuing a Bush claim of a “border exception” to the Fourth Amendment to justify seizing laptops, smart phones and other electronic devices without a warrant from American citizens crossing the Canadian or Mexican border back into the U.S. Since October 2008, Customs and Border officials have searched and/or seized some 6,500 such devices.
Just as waterboarding became a rallying cry for the left against Bush when only three terrorists were actually waterboarded, warrantless tracking and spying on Americans was a liberal talking point in the anti-Bush hysteria leading up to the 2008 election. Bush did very little of it.
But now that Obama has made a virtual American KGB out of the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the CDC, such spying and tracking is becoming standard operating procedure. Where is the liberal angst and outrage? All you hear is crickets chirping.