A couple of years ago, the left was up in arms about the "unwarranted wiretapping", which all records seem to indicate only occurred to very few targeted individuals on international calls. Yet, the left seems to defend the current much more extreme abuses by alluding to past abuses and saying that they are not much different:
Napolitano has taken her "See Something, Say Something" campaign far beyond the traffic signs that ask drivers coming into the nation's capital for "Terror Tips" and to "Report Suspicious Activity."
She recently enlisted the help of Wal-Mart, Amtrak, major sports leagues, hotel chains and metro riders. In her speeches, she compares the undertaking to the Cold War fight against communists.
We need a full national discussion. I believe monitoring international calls is perhaps in a gray area (after all, foreign governments are probably monitoring them, and I have marginally more faith in our government). However, the effort to build an on-going database, the unwarranted monitoring of our credit card usage and cell phone locations, and the personal invasion of privacy that now takes place when boarding a plane seem to me to be undeniable violations of our privacy rights. Further, if they are monitoring foreign phone calls and doing the rest of this, can we really be sure that they are not monitoring domestic phone calls?
And perhaps most importantly, I am not convinced that these actions are actually making us safer. As a simple example, think of the airport scanners:
- They admit that the airport scanners will not catch PETN, at least when packaged in certain ways
- They admit that the scanning system will not capture small doses of chemicals, meaning that quantities can get through if they are put through in a series of small quantities
- There has not been a single attempt to use passenger planes as a weapon since 9/11, and it is doubtful that there will be given passengers awareness; thus, the "worse case scenario" is along the lines of the Christmas Day underwear bomber - blowing up a plane over a city. This would be tragic, but ultimately not as deadly as any of a number of other possible attacks that would be easier to carry out.
- There has not been a significant attempt by a passenger that has boarded in the US, which is where all of the new scanners have been installed.
- They are already talking about installing the new scanners in a variety of other locations where traditional metal detectors have never even been used.
In short, one has to wonder why our government is so adamant about installing these scanners when they provide so little benefit and have met with such extreme opposition. Yes, Ms. Napolitano, there are parallels to the Cold War and the communists; namely our government is increasingly using modernized McCarthy-style tactics against its own population. It is time for the people to demand their politicians protect their rights. History has demonstrated over and over again that if we do not take a stand now, it is only a matter of time before the data that the government is collecting will be used against us.