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Sunday, November 06, 2005

this IS america, right?

it's not some cold war communistic land of big brother, right? should we be concerned about the web sites we visit in our own homes? what books we purchase (lately it's just been knitting books but i really WAS thinking of purchasing a copy of the quaran to read. i just want to further understand islam. i am quite ignorant on the subject). The FBI's Secret Scrutiny In Hunt for Terrorists, Bureau Examines Records of Ordinary Americans
By Barton Gellman Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, November 6, 2005; A01
The FBI came calling in Windsor, Conn., this summer with a document marked for delivery by hand. On Matianuk Avenue, across from the tennis courts, two special agents found their man. They gave George Christian the letter, which warned him to tell no one, ever, what it said.
Under the shield and stars of the FBI crest, the letter directed Christian to surrender "all subscriber information, billing information and access logs of any person" who used a specific computer at a library branch some distance away. Christian, who manages digital records for three dozen Connecticut libraries, said in an affidavit that he configures his system for privacy. But the vendors of the software he operates said their databases can reveal the Web sites that visitors browse, the e-mail accounts they open and the books they borrow.
Christian refused to hand over those records, and his employer, Library Connection Inc., filed suit for the right to protest the FBI demand in public. The Washington Post established their identities -- still under seal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit -- by comparing unsealed portions of the file with public records and information gleaned from people who had no knowledge of the FBI demand.
The Connecticut case affords a rare glimpse of an exponentially growing practice of domestic surveillance under the USA Patriot Act, which marked its fourth anniversary on Oct. 26. "National security letters," created in the 1970s for espionage and terrorism investigations, originated as narrow exceptions in consumer privacy law, enabling the FBI to review in secret the customer records of suspected foreign agents. The Patriot Act, and Bush administration guidelines for its use, transformed those letters by permitting clandestine scrutiny of U.S. residents and visitors who are not alleged to be terrorists or spies.
The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters -- one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people -- are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans................


Anonymous said...

And yet, in the same breath, we would feel the government remiss if the government did not take the obvious steps to protect us. Growing up in the last century, I would never have imagined that someone named Osama could re ignite the crusades. Who would have thought in this age of reason that middle age superstitions would ignite a world wide conflict. Paris is burning. At what point does a rhetorical call for a religious cleansing become a conspiracy to bring down a society? It is one thing to take such fiery oratory and attempt to redress what one sees as personal sins. It is a whole different thing to burn down your neighbor’s house because he worships at a different address. Religion by its very definition is irrational. Faith begins where reason ends. Radical religion burns its neighbors as witches in the 19th century and blows up buildings in the 20 first. As long as a mosque remains a house of prayer, it is protected by the first amendment. The moment it becomes the site of conspiracy, that status is lost. The innocent must be protected. The guilty must be ferreted out just as soon as they reveal themselves. DEC

Anonymous said...

Good for Christian! Incidentally, the Koran is worth the read, in my opinion even now, if only for the understanding.

Unknown said...

please know i agree with you anonymous in general (on religion, on burning on violence on terrorism). however, if you are saying all who worship in a mosque are of a certain nature, i cannot agree. i have only known two in my life who have practiced islam. one was a coworker from africa (a woman who did not even wear a headscarf) and the other was a young man from turkey who went to high school in france and college here. neither of them were terrorists.

Anonymous said...

What a man believes governs what he does. We all have a paradigm that provides the rational framework that governs our reactions to outside stimuli. I am a Deist. Having said that, I respect the fact that all the great houses of religion have provided millions comfort in their darkest hour. The concept that all are made in the image of God did much to humanize the world and shut down the coliseum. It is theocracy that frightens me. What we face now are radicals that would radicalize all of us. I do not wish to be driven into the camp of the crusaders by those who would only offer me the option of conversion or death. The horrible rational of war allows the weapon of the enemy to become a legitimate target. When the people become the weapon, you have an argument for genocide. The French helped the Germans round up the Jews in the last century. In this century, I fear they will help round up the Muslims. I suspect that dark days lie ahead for all of us.

Unknown said...

NOT ALL french helped round up jews just as not all muslims are terrorists. just as all pagans are not heathens.

religion did help our world, but it also hinders it. it instills fear and mistrust and a better than thou attitude.

radicals are everywhere just not the RIGHT kind of radicals.

my dear dec, the dark days are ALREADY here