I've been in the air quite a bit of late, which explains my sparse to non-existent blogging. I did want to take a moment to briefly address this tempest-in-a-teapot, better known as the domestic spying "controversy".
Look, I believe in the Fourth Amendment as much as the next guy. The fact is though, unless you are in a totally secure inranet environment, emails are not really that secure. Quite frankly, I feel a whole lot more secure knowing that national security types are electronically scanning this material in an effort to track down terrorists as it has been shown that this is the way they have communicated in the past.
Am I concerned that data crawlers are probably, even as we speak, looking at my emails in an effort to thwart a terrorist attack on this country? No, not really. I don't think that NSA gives two hoots in hell as to my personal business or anyone else's for that matter, unless your personal business is a threat to national security. All of this hyperventalating about our loss of civil liberties as a result of this data mining simply rings hollow. I don't think that my liberties have been curtailed in the very least, and I have not heard one instance of any of these tactics leading to the detainment of any innocent individual. If that starts to happen, then perhaps it will be time to take a second look.
We should also keep in wind that this is a war. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and I believe these measures are eminently reasonable given our past experience.
I also find it curious that, not too long ago, the buzz was about the administration's "failure to connect the dots". Now, those same people not only do not want to connect the dots, they want to make the dots off-limits altogether.
As for this report:
In search of a terrorist nuclear bomb, the federal government since 9/11 has run a far-reaching, top secret program to monitor radiation levels at over a hundred Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area, including mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses, plus similar sites in at least five other cities, U.S. News has learned. In numerous cases, the monitoring required investigators to go on to the property under surveillance, although no search warrants or court orders were ever obtained, according to those with knowledge of the program. Some participants were threatened with loss of their jobs when they questioned the legality of the operation, according to these accounts.
I am no legal scholar, but in terms of sheer practicality, I fail to understand how checking for radiation levels is a violation of civil liberties! Have we gone mad?
Clearly, all of this is being portrayed as evidence that we are living in some sort of authoritarian police state and I simply do not see it. What I see is a government that has recognized a threat and is taking prudent steps to protect its citizens. What I also see are those who would stop at nothing to bring down the Bush administration, up to and including the crippling of our ability to protect ourselves.
Whose side are these people on?