...are the ones that make the biggest difference

10.24.2005

Unauthorized acts

A story originally from the Washington Post, that exposes almost 300 violations of secret surveillance operations, improper searches and seizures, including emails by the FBI over a three year period. The number is certainly higher because the records obtained under FOIA are incomplete and heavily edited.

There are those on the left who would see the spectre of "Big Brother" in these findings, that the evil Bush administration is using law enforcement to crack-down on dissenting voices. Oh that wily President! I don't see that at all. What I do see is the rather unfortunate consequences of human nature; most of these are probably honest mistakes or a simple bit of overzealousness on the part of men & women trying to do their jobs to the best of their ability. They've been given the authority and the mandate and in their minds, it probably seems like a waste of time to appease the pointless bureaucracy. And what's worse, the delays or even denials that could result from all that paperwork could result in terrorists getting away or attacks being executed. So they push the boundaries a bit, they overstep, the cut a corner hoping the good end will outweigh these relatively minor improprieties.

The problem is that these seemingly trivial details are precisely what the Constitution was meant to protect! It was established to prevent these abuses, whether they are big or small is irrelevant. Even well-intentioned violations undermine the Constitutional rights of everyone, which is why we need 1) a more efficent system so agents don't feel like they're fighting uphill against bureaucratic resistance and 2) much better oversight with real consequences to disincentivize this kind of behavior. Unfortunately, I have little doubt that this will not happen.

1 comment:

basil said...

Seeing things only from the one-dimensional perscpective of "right v. left" leads to unfortunate conclusions, such as that leftists would see the spectre of 1984.

Look at that and think carefully about it. Communists are the ultimate leftists, aren't they? So why would they be concerned about extending government power? Only because they disagree with the current administration?

Think two-dimensionally! Take this quiz and get a fresh perspective on the political landscape.