We already know the government is watching out phones, and our internet (Hi Dick, Hi George! Hope you enjoy the site) now it seems they may be looking over our bank records as well.
The Bush administration, relying on a presidential declaration of emergency, has secretly been tapping into a vast global database of confidential financial transactions for nearly five years, according to U.S. government and industry officials.
Initiated shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, the surveillance program has used a broad new interpretation of the Treasury Department’s administrative powers to bypass traditional banking privacy protections. It has swept in large volumes of international money transfers, including many made by U.S. citizens and residents, in an effort to track the locations, identities and activities of suspected terrorists.
Current and former counterterrorism officials said the program works in parallel with the previously reported surveillance of international telephone calls, faxes and e-mails by the National Security Agency, which has eavesdropped without warrants on more than 5,000 Americans suspected of terrorist links. Together with a hundredfold expansion of the FBI’s use of “national security letters” to obtain communications and banking records, the secret NSA and Treasury programs have built unprecedented government databases of private transactions, most of them involving people who prove irrelevant to terrorism investigators.
Now for all I know the good people at the NSA are only going after “suspected terrorists” (and that is the problem we have NO idea what they are doing). But these people have been using up a lot of my “trust capital” as of late. A free society demands an open government. We can not be so afraid of getting attacked that we give up all of our freedoms. If you are monitoring my emails, phone calls, and bank records, you had better have a warrant that targets ME specifically and states what you think I did.
There should not be broad warrants that apply to thousands of people. What even happened to “innocent until proven guilty?” Imagine if the government went through your mail box in your front lawn, g-men strolling door to door reading all of your mail. They might find evidence of terrorist activity, but its far more likely that they would simply be invading the privacy of millions of innocent Americans.
This is exactly what is happening now. Our phones are tapped, our email is being read, and now our bank records may be tapped. All because they “might” find something. When does this end? National ID cards? Mandatory fingerprinting? Mandatory DNA submission? If you are not worried, you are not paying attention.
If this continues we are on a path to a fascist government that knows everything about everyone. George Orwell almost got it right. Instead of a militarily enforced “Panopticon” or all seeing eye, the government has instead lulled us all into an amazing apathy, and then used that apathy to do whatever they want. We are not marching in the streets, we are not calling our leaders, we simply go back to watching American Idol, and ignoring the problem.
Now is the time for action people, call your rep, call your congress person, vote, write the white house, organize marches, start a blog, tell a friend, DO ANYTHING. Our freedoms are worth fighting for.
“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”