war at home

Back to the sixties---or worse! It's not the good parts this administration wants revived, but the infiltration and monitoring of political, religious and activist groups suspected of being critical of the government.

The NYTimes has it right in a sober editorial today.

Attorney General John Ashcroft has a gift for making the most draconian policy changes sound seductively innocuous. He was at it again yesterday, describing new domestic spying powers for the Federal Bureau of Investigation as nothing more than the authority to surf the Internet or attend a public gathering. That is profoundly misleading. In reality Mr. Ashcroft, in the name of fighting terrorism, was giving F.B.I. agents nearly unbridled power to poke into the affairs of anyone in the United States, even when there is no evidence of illegal activity.


At a press conference Mr. Ashcroft promised that the new rules would be put in place with "scrupulous respect for civil rights and personal freedom." The sentiment is welcome, but unconvincing. Mr. Ashcroft and his colleagues have missed no opportunity since Sept. 11 to expand the investigative powers of the federal government and to stampede Congress into supporting the changes by suggesting that opposition is disloyal.

Adding a modest obsevation: They couldn't even handle all the data they had gathered when they had "restrictions!" It does not seem to have been lack of information that kept us from preventing September 11.

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Published on May 31, 2002 12:07 PM.

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