Spying on Ourselves?

Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff reports something many of us already suspected would happen when the military created the U.S. Northern Command (NorthCom)–military intelligence assets are working inside the United States:

Ever since the 1970s, when Army intel agents were caught snooping on antiwar protesters, military intel agencies have operated under tight restrictions inside the United States. But the new provision, approved in closed session last month by the Senate Intelligence Committee, would eliminate one big restriction: that they comply with the Privacy Act, a Watergate-era law that requires government officials seeking information from a resident to disclose who they are and what they want the information for.

This is an ominous development. We may rationalize that it’s necessary to win the (endless) War on Terror, but consider that the Clintons used the FBI as a tool against their enemies.

Now imagine an equally unscrupulous administration at some future date using not only the FBI, but a network of undercover intelligence operatives to infiltrate unfriendly groups to collect information that can be used against them.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but this seems to be about one step short of setting up a secret police force. Especially since it was approved in closed session, out of plain sight.

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