Enough to stir a flood of mutiny? 19

The Obama administration will not use the words “Islam” or “Muslim” in connection with terrorism, which means they are not serious about countering the actual terrorist activity that has killed thousands of Americans; but they will use the continuing and growing threat of it as an excuse to invade our privacy, to watch us in the manner of the KGB and the Stasi.

They are taking steps to find out exactly whom you are emailing and what Internet sites you visit.

The Washington Post reports:

The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual’s Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.

The administration wants to add just four words — “electronic communication transactional records” — to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge’s approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user’s browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the “content” of e-mail or other Internet communication.

But what officials portray as a technical clarification designed to remedy a legal ambiguity strikes industry lawyers and privacy advocates as an expansion of the power the government wields through so-called national security letters. These missives, which can be issued by an FBI field office on its own authority, require the recipient to provide the requested information and to keep the request secret. They are the mechanism the government would use to obtain the electronic records.

If this encroachment on our privacy were necessary to protect us from terrorism, we might reluctantly accept it as a temporary measure. But it is not. What is necessary to stop the terrorists is to name their cause, Islamic jihad, and to formulate and implement a policy to defeat it.

Deep surveillance of our private lives is not only unnecessary, it is intolerable.