Informant Fever

posted Jul 22, 2002

The Bush administration plans to enlist millions of Americans to spy on their fellow Americans for a program called Terrorism Information and Prevention System, or TIPS....

Even if it is limited to public places, the program is offensive. The idea of citizens spying on citizens, and the government collecting data on everyone who is accused, is a staple of totalitarian regimes. East Germany's infamous Stasi internal security system kept files on some six million citizens -- about a third of the country. Fortunately, TIPS is already facing opposition. The American Civil Liberties Union, not surprisingly, has denounced the program. But so, too, has Dick Armey, the House Republican leader. The "Postal Service" has already expressed serious reservations about participating. And the initial version of the bill to create a Homeland Security Department, introduced by Mr. Armey, includes language that would prevent TIPS from going forward.

The Bush administration's post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorism tactics -- secret detentions of suspects, denial of the right to trial and now citizen spying -- have in common a lack of faith in democratic institutions and a free society. If TIPS is ever put into effect, the first people who should be turned in as a threat to our way of life are the Justice Department officials who thought up this most un-American of programs.

[Privacy Digest]

One year, four months, and twenty-one days ago, I would have taken this for an April Fool's joke of the lowest caliber.

Where's McCarthy when you need him? A little Un-American Activities Committe inquisition directed at the Bush administration might be just what is called for now... let two wrongs keep each other busy so the rest of us can get on living Free lives.


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