“Terrorists win when the fear of them induces us to destroy the rights that make us free.” Those were the words of one victim of post-9/11 anti-terrorism hysteria to a Congressional committee on Wednesday. So we got national security letters, a terrorist surveillance program, and probably many other programs, but instead of stopping terrorists, these programs have targeted ordinary Americans.
Now the Bush administration wants even more power to secretly spy on Americans who have done nothing wrong, further destroying American liberty.
This administration tells us that “terrorists hate our freedom.” Yet, it seems that this administration hates our freedom even more, for it’s hell bent on destroying it. Do we have to destroy freedom to save it from terrorists?
The truth is that U.S. government agencies had all the information they needed to detect and stop the September 11, 2001, attacks. That they failed to do so is not because they didn’t have the power to spy on ordinary Americans without warrants or reason that the administration demanded and received and now wants more of.
“What we need is a smaller, more streamlined government that can actually focus on protecting us,” says Jim Babka, president of Downsize DC. Instead, the government “has run off in a thousand different directions, assuming new powers, and creating new thickets of bureaucracy.”
Several organizations I can personally vouch for, such as Downsize DC, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Liberty Coalition, along with several other organizations, have come together to create Stop Illegal Spying, a web site where ordinary Americans can take action and urge their Members of Congress not to expand the President’s power to spy on innocent Americans, to investigate thoroughly the National Security Agency’s terrorist surveillance program, and to find ways to prevent abuses of power in the future.
You should also consider joining Downsize DC and urging Congress to pass the Read the Bills Act, which would prevent Congress from passing bills it hasn’t actually read, the way the Patriot Act was passed.
(Hat tip: EFF)