Every American, especially those calling themselves civil
libertarians, should be terrified that a president, who no man would
leave alone in the room with his daughter, is putting the ultimate
intelligence gathering tool in the hands of an agency that designed
government offensives against civilians at Ruby Ridge and Waco, Texas.
According to Drudge, on
Tuesday, July 27, "The Clinton administration has developed an extensive
computer monitoring system, overseen by the FBI, that will track
telecommunications, banking and other industries." Drudge goes on to
report, "In some government circles, the proposed system has been
nicknamed 'Hillary.'" And we thought she was running for senator from
New York, not grand inquisitor.
Thankfully, the announcement of the administration's computer
surveillance plan, named Federal Intrusion Detection Network (FIDNET),
has caused some good old-fashioned backlash. Drudge's report on Tuesday
was followed the next day by a corroborating New York Times article.
Later on Wednesday MSNBC reported
that "With criticism rolling in
from all quarters, U.S. government officials on Wednesday backed away
from a controversial plan to monitor private-sector networks for hacking
activity." MSNBC's Internet site took a poll on the computer snooping
proposal. It was heartening to see that 82 percent of the 1906 people
who answered the poll agreed that the threat to privacy outweighs the
system's potential benefit.
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With its hand stuck firmly in the privacy cookie jar, the Clinton
administration began damage control in their usual manner --
obfuscating. According to a Reuters
Tritak, director of the administration's Critical Infrastructure
Assurance Office, said that the Fidnet plan has not been approved by
President Clinton and is still undergoing legal review by the Justice
Department and the White House's chief counselor for privacy, Peter
Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), the group that made the
FIDNET plan available to Drudge and the New York Times, has posted the
entire proposal on their website. Ari Schwart, a policy
analyst at CDT, responded to the Administration's plan for review by
saying, "The draft we received made no mention of a privacy review, and
civil liberties were brushed off." Everyone should encourage CDT to
continue monitoring FIDNET.
It may be coincidence but none other than Clinton's good friend,
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, is also challenging privacy of
records. According to UK News, Blair has just sent a proposal
recommending "drastic changes to the law" in order to allow the
government to access personal bank accounts, confidential medical
records and individual tax files. The Labor Government is not worried
about the threat from terrorist hackers, but rather from British
citizens who allegedly defraud the government of billions of pounds each
year failing to pay their taxes or filing fraudulent insurance claims.
Blair and Clinton, like two peas in a pod, support individual rights
only when it's a means to their political ends: if infringement of
individual rights can be rationalized for public safety reasons -- then
infringement is fully justified.
With all the public furor over FIDNET, the news media paid little
attention to John Koskinen, head of
the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, when he testified that
our government is creating a multi-million dollar command bunker to deal
with any Y2K emergencies. On June 14 without any fanfare Clinton signed
an Amendment to Executive Order 13073 creating the Y2K Information
Coordination Center (ICC).
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I mentioned Mr. Koskinen in my WorldNetDaily piece entitled, "The
as the Y2K Czar who hands out videotapes explaining how to prepare for
Y2K. The ICC bunker or the functions of the newly created ICC are never
mentioned on the tape. Yet, testifying before Congress he said, "While
monitoring and collecting information on system operations across the
globe ... has never been tried before, I am confident that the structure
we have put in place" will work. In addition the administration wants
U.S. industries to give the ICC updates on their systems as we move
through the Y2K transition.
The White House not only asks U.S. corporations to hand over to the
ICC sensitive information; it is encouraging the establishment of
private Y2K information collection centers. What irony -- an
administration that fought a bipartisan bill aimed at limiting lawsuits
against companies causing Y2K problems wants their information. If
corporate America's Y2K worries about lawsuits were genuine, why would
it inform this administration or anyone else the extent of any Y2K
New Year's Day is 148 days away and the hype over Y2K is growing. It
is getting harder to separate information from disinformation. The
popular press has already begun to issue checklists for Y2K
preparations. PC Week suggests "Y2K [is] only potentially disruptive as
an ordinary disaster, like an earthquake." Looking around at today's
current crop of "ordinary disasters" -- the Northeast heat wave with
over 200 dead, drought across the country, computers crashing for 24
hour periods -- it's quite easy to envision the New Year's Day 2000
problem in that context.
But now there are ominous signs that this government is preparing to
suspend, if not cancel, our civil rights under the threat of Y2K
problems. No Bill of Rights -- no freedom. Not only will the Second
Amendment be declared null and void, so will the First, Third and the
rest. Safety will be the prime concern and the FBI will be there to keep
us all safe.
The Clinton administration may be building a physical bunker, but it
already has a bunker mentality. The guys who play the game correctly and
follow all the politically correct rules get to go inside the bunker.
Those that are independent thinkers and thus capable of disruption
remain outside. With a wave of an executive pen, everyone's rights will
be suspended until Clinton decrees the threat gone. Americans are
beginning to prepare for possible shortages of power, food, and other
material items, but who's watching Freedom's Store?