The Walkerville Weekly Reader

National Desk: Hard-hitting journalism from your completely un-biased (pinky swear!) reporters in Walkerville, VA.

Walkerville, VA
Monday, July 8, 2024
Carolyn Purcell, Editor

Privacy is not a victimless crime

National Commission on Terrorism recommends increasing crackdowns on non-terrorists to boost terror within United States. “It’s the best way to receive more funding,” says the commission’s chairman.

The National Commission on Terrorism, created by Congress two years ago, recently released its recommendations, including placing the military in charge of controlling civilians after a terrorist attack. “We’re not recommending martial law,” said commission chairman L. Paul Bremer. “we’re just recommending military control. There’s a big difference there, at least five letters worth of difference. It’s not the same thing at all.”

Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder told CNN that after a major terrorist attack on American soil, “I’d be wary of involving the military unless there’s some strong showing that the civilian law enforcement has not been doing their job.” He explained that “they might disrupt our crack funding efforts. Crack law enforcement teams, I mean.”

The commission also recommended making it easier for the FBI or CIA to obtain wiretaps, “as long as they say that they think the target might be Arab or Indian or some other person who looks foreign.” An FBI spokesman doesn’t expect any real changes in the number of wiretaps, however. “It’s already pretty easy,” said one FBI agent, “All we have to do is to do the wiretap first, and then ask for permission. On the permission request, we list the wiretap as an ‘anonymous informant’.”

“Our success rate with wiretaps is already as good as we’d want,” said the FBI spokesperson. Of over thirteen thousand federal wiretap requests over the last twenty years, only one has been denied, “and that was a fluke,” said one FBI agent. “One of our guys, he thought his wife was cheating on him, so he requested a wiretap on her phone. But it turned out the judge we made the request to was the one she was cheating on! We eventually found that out through an anonymous informant.”

When asked what the arrest rate and conviction rate was for wiretapped suspects, the FBI said “We don’t keep that information, but that’s an interesting idea for a metric. I’ll pass that along as a possibility for the future. It might be nice to know that. Thanks!”

The report also recommended that the FBI and CIA be better able to hire criminals and suspected criminals. Responding to the charge that the CIA shouldn’t hire thugs or other “unsavory sources”, Bremer said “We feel that ‘unsavory sources’ and ‘thugs’ does these folks a disservice. We prefer to think of these job applicants as simply good kids gone bad. We feel that the CIA can play a rehabilative role in American society.”

One of the more controversial recommendations is that international students, especially Arab students, should be heavily monitored, right down to their major and what classes they take. Civil rights advocates called this a “major blow to privacy in the United States.”

Holder disagreed. “Privacy is not a ‘victimless crime’, it’s not a ‘minor crime’,” said Holder. “Individual privacy strikes death at the very heart of a free society. Information should be free,” he continued, “especially to law enforcement.” He decried the increasing use of cryptography to protect e-mail and web access, and announced that he would push for new legislation to combat the violence spawned by the Internet’s burgeoning cryptography trade. “There are a lot of crimes that remain invisible without the ability to read e-mail and listen in on phone conversations,” said Holder. “Not all crimes are burglaries or assaults.” Holder said that among the crimes for which wiretap capability was necessary were “bad taste in music, reading the ACLU web site, and sending too many jokes to friends.”

“We believe that if our recommendations are followed, Americans will be safer from terrorist attacks, without any loss of their civil liberties and constitutional rights,” countered Bremer. “We’ll only be targeting Arabs, for Christ’s sake,” he explained, “they don’t have any civil rights. They don’t even believe in God!”

“These recommendations are absolutely necessary,” said Bremer. “Law enforcement needs more funding and more police power. We don’t feel that these recommendations infringe on civil liberties, but we’re going to need to do just that soon. We think there’s a chance terrorists will try to stage a catastrophic event in the United States in the future, something which will have tens of thousands of casualties. That’s exactly what we need to bring public pressure to bear in favor of removing civil liberties. Remember, we’re not going to target you, we’re only going to target your neighbor.”

According to Bremer, history shows clearly that cracking down on a large population just to get at a tiny group of terrorists increases the influence of those terrorists. He analogized the current situation to that just before the American revolution, when a few insignificant terrorists terrorized Boston. It would have all blown over, but the authorities cracked down on all Bostonians. “The terrorists got more members, they committed more acts of treason, the authorities cracked down on everyone else all the more, and the cycle kept repeating until there was full-fledged war. We feel that if we play our cards right, we can ensure that terrorists will be successful in killing thousands or tens of thousands of people in the United States.” According to Bremer, this will ensure heavier funding and more authority to counter-terrorism units. “And the best part is,” said Bremer, “it just keeps getting better: the more funding we get, the more we crack down on students and other Americans instead of the terrorists, the more these people join the terrorists, and the more funding we get in response. Everyone wins.”

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