Thursday, March 13, 2008

His majesty's secret service

Protecting the United States from terrorist attacks is one thing, but eliminating the very things that make the United States a special place is quite another. In its determination to do the former, the government may be well on its way to doing the latter. News today that the FBI twice took it upon itself to ignore orders from the top-secret national security court to obtain private business records demonstrates yet again the dangerous waters our country is wading in. The Justice Department's Inspector General reported the FBI breaches on Thursday and "questioned the appropriateness of the FBIs action," according to the Reuters international news service. But at least one senator accused the FBI of "systemic failure" and an American Civil Liberties Union spokesman said the FBI had "far too much surveilance power," Reuters said. The FBI said was trying to correct its problems and was striving for "zero errors." But it's not an error when an agency purposely ignores orders from a court, even or especially when it's the top-secret national security court set up after the Sept. 11 attacks. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said new laws may be needed to curb abuses by the FBI.

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