The PATRIOT act was signed into law not long after the 9-11 attack. It’s supposed goal is to increase domestic security. It’s actual effect: significantly reducing American’s rights to privacy. The PATRIOT act gives far too many powers to law enforcement agencies to track the activities of citizens.
The most maddening part about this is that the Justice Department doesn’t even try to deny this. As quoted from the New Jersey Star Ledger:
The Justice Department “goes to great lengths to protect the privacy of every American unless you happen to be a foreign spy or member of a terrorism organization,” said spokesman Mark Corallo. “The average American has nothing to fear. They should be encouraged that the government is doing what it can to protect them.”
I don’t know what part of Mr. Corallo’s statement I find more insulting. “…unless you happen to be a … member of a terrorist organization.” But what is defined as a terrorist organization? Who makes the rules? Would the Justice Department call those nuns that held the anti-ware demonstration on a nuclear silo terrorists? If so, does that make the Catholic church a terrorist organization? Basically, the Justice Department can label any group that they want to as a possible terrorist organization, and then abuse, er, use the powers given to them in the PATRIOT act.
Actually, I think this one infuriates me the most: “They should be encouraged that the government … protect them.” Paraphrased, Mr. Corallo is basically saying, “Citizens should ignore the fact that they don’t have a right to privacy, because we are going to protect them from the boogeyman.” It’s the same set of scare tactics that this administration used to get us into a war with Iraq.
I want to know: who is going to protect us from our government?