Could’ve told you this would happen.
Lots of up-in-arms in the blogosphere today over Pentagon Expanding Its Domestic Surveillance Activity in the Washington Post.
The moves have taken place on several fronts. The White House is considering expanding the power of a little-known Pentagon agency called the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, which was created three years ago. The proposal, made by a presidential commission, would transform CIFA from an office that coordinates Pentagon security efforts — including protecting military facilities from attack — to one that also has authority to investigate crimes within the United States such as treason, foreign or terrorist sabotage or even economic espionage.
Apparently, CIFA is already reading some blogs, and Atrios went so far as to put out a distress call seeking a libertarian — he’s apparently ready to believe in those black helicopters.
None of this would be possible to the extent that it is now without the past decades of erosion of the rights of American citizens under the excuse of the war on drugs. And during all that time, people sat by and said, “Why should we get worked up over some stoned hippies? It’s not worth diluting our efforts for or against gay marriage and abortion. After all, we don’t deal drugs (sure we smoke some pot and stuff), but we’re not the ones they’re after.”
And when the Justice Department said with each erosion, “Trust us. We’ll only use these powers to get the bad guys,” the nation collectively bent over and accepted it. And now the 4th Amendment is so far up our asses that it’ll take some major surgery (or a DEA agent doing a full cavity search) to get it out again.
And now we also have an administrative mindset that is willing to give an official and public sanction to the notion that torture is OK when needed to get information from the bad guys. Not here. Yet. Trust us.